Elizabeth Gould Davis

American writer

Elizabeth Gould Davis (June 23, 1910 – July 30, 1974) was an American librarian who wrote a feminist book, The First Sex. She committed suicide in 1974.

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  • Recorded history starts with a patriarchal revolution. Let it continue with the matriarchal counterrevolution that is the only hope for the survival of the human race.
    • The First Sex (N.Y.: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1971 (Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 79-150582)), p. 18 (Introduction)
  • Woman's reproductive organs are far older than man's and far more highly evolved. Even in the lowest mammals, as well as in woman, the ovaries, uterus, vagina, etc., are similar, indicating that the female reproductive system was one of the first things perfected by nature. On the other hand, the male reproductive organs, the testicles and the penis, vary as much among species and through the course of evolution as does the shape of the foot — from hoof to paw. Apparently, then, the male penis evolved to suit the vagina, not the vagina to suit the penis.
    • The First Sex, ch. 1 - Woman and the Second Sex (1971).
  • Proof that the penis is a much later development than the female vulva is found in the evidence that the male himself was a late mutation from an original female creature. For man is but an imperfect female. Geneticists and physiologists tell us that the Y chromosome that produces males is a deformed and broken X chromosome — the female chromosome. All women have two X chromosomes, while the male has one X derived from his mother and one Y from his father. It seems very logical that this small and twisted Y chromosome is a genetic error — an accident of nature, and that originally there was only one sex — the female.
    • The First Sex, ch. 1 - Woman and the Second Sex (1971).
  • Asexual reproduction by females, parthenogenesis, is not only possible but it still occurs here and there in the modern world, pernaps as an atavistic survival of the once only means of reproduction in an all female world.
    • The First Sex, ch.1 - Woman and the Second Sex (1971).
  • The idea of feminine authority is so deeply embedded in the human subconscious that even after all these centuries of father-right the young child instinctively regards the mother as the supreme authority. He looks upon the father as equal with himself, equally subject to the woman's rule. Children have to be taught to love, honor, and respect the father, a task usually assumed by the mother.
    • The First Sex, ch. 7 - Mother-Right (1971).
  • In civilized societies today … clitoris envy, or womb envy, takes subtle forms. Man's constant need to disparage woman, to humble her, to deny her equal rights, and to belittle her achievements — all are expressions of his innate envy and fear.
    • The First Sex, ch. 9 - The Sexual Revolution (1971).
  • … it is not men that most women worry about when they rise to the defense of the status quo. Their apparent endorsement of male supremacy is, rather, a pathetic striving for self-respect, self-justification, and self-pardon. After fifteen hundred years of subjection to men, Western woman finds it almost unbearable to face the fact that she has been hoodwinked and enslaved by her inferiors — that the master is lesser than the slave.
    • The First Sex, ch. 21 - The Prejudice Lingers On (1971).
  • The fact is that men need women more than women need men; and so, aware of this fact, man has sought to keep woman dependent upon him economically as the only method open to him of making himself necessary to her. Since in the beginning woman would not become his willing slave, he has wrought through the centuries a society in which woman must serve him if she is to survive.
    • The First Sex, ch. 22 - Woman in the Aquarian Age (1971).
  • Men insist that they don't mind women succeeding so long as they retain their "femininity". Yet the qualities that men consider "feminine" timidity, submissiveness, obedience, silliness, and self-debasement — are the very qualities best guaranteed to assure the defeat of even the most gifted aspirant.
    • The First Sex, ch. 22 - Woman in the Aquarian Age (1971).
  • To the "masculists" of both sexes, "femininity" implies all that men have built into the female image in the past few centuries: weakness, imbecility, dependence, masochism, unreliability, and a certain "babydoll" sexuality that is actually only a projection of male dreams. To the "feminist" of both sexes, femininity is synonymous with the eternal female principle, connoting strength, integrity, wisdom, justice, dependability, and a psychic power foreign and therefore dangerous to the plodding masculists of both sexes.
    • The First Sex, ch. 22 - Woman in the Aquarian Age (1971). "Masculist" is a coined word meant to correlate grammatically with "feminist."
  • The misnamed "feminine" woman, so admired by her creator, man — the woman who is acquiescent in her inferiority and who has swallowed man's image of her as his ordained helpmate and no more — is in reality the "masculine" woman. The truly feminine woman "cannot help burning with that inner rage that comes from having to identify with her exploiter's negative image of her," and having to conform to her persecutor's idea of femininity and its man-decreed limitations.
    • The First Sex, ch. 22 - Woman in the Aquarian Age (1971).
  • Man is by nature a pragmatic materialist, a mechanic, a lover of gadgets and gadgetry; and these are the qualities that characterize the "establishment" which regulates modern society: pragmatism, materialism, mechanization, and gadgetry. Woman, on the other hand, is a practical idealist, a humanitarian with a strong sense of noblesse oblige, an altruist rather than a capitalist.
    • The First Sex, ch. 22 - Woman in the Aquarian Age, Putnam (1971).
  • In the new science of the twenty-first century, not physical force but spiritual force will lead the way. Mental and spiritual gifts will be more in demand than gifts of a physical nature. Extrasensory perception will take precedence over sensory perception. And in this sphere woman will again predominate. She who was revered and worshiped by early man because of her power to see the unseen will once again be the pivot—not as sex but as divine woman—about whom the next civilization will, as of old, revolve.
    • The First Sex (G.P. Putnam's Sons), op. cit., p. 339 (paragraph in full), in ch. 22 - Woman in the Aquarian Age (1971). This is the last paragraph in her book, which explicated the thesis that women were originally the superior and dominant sex.

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