Phyllis Chesler

Psychotherapist, college professor, and author

Phyllis Chesler (born October 1, 1940) is an American writer, feminist psychotherapist, and professor emerita of psychology and women's studies.


  • Although Sikhs and Hindus do sometimes commit such murders, honor killings, both worldwide and in the West, are mainly Muslim-on-Muslim crimes. In this study, worldwide, 91 percent of perpetrators were Muslims. In North America, most killers (84 percent) were Muslims, with only a few Sikhs and even fewer Hindus perpetrating honor killings; in Europe, Muslims comprised an even larger majority at 96 percent while Sikhs were a tiny percentage. In Muslim countries, obviously almost all the perpetrators were Muslims. With only two exceptions, the victims were all members of the same religious group as their murderers.
    • Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings by Phyllis Chesler Middle East Quarterly Spring 2010, pp. 3-11
  • Most of the views that Spender attributes to me … are still my views. Some are not. For example, .... I am probably more of a feminist-anarchist than ever before; more mistrustful of the organisation of power into large bureaucratic states than I once was.
    • as quoted in Dale Spender For the Record: The Making and Meaning of Feminist Knowledge (London: The Women's Press, 1985, ISBN 0-7043-2862-3, p. 214.
  • I am not talking about illegal immigrants to Europe or North America. I am describing Muslims who are penetrating India’s West Bengal region. These Bangladeshi immigrants are becoming conduits for criminal activities (arms, drugs, and sexual slavery) which also fund global jihad. You won’t read about this in the Western mainstream media—or even in the Indian media, which has turned a blind eye to this ongoing tragedy because they are afraid to be labeled “politically incorrect” or “Islamophobic.” They are also afraid of reprisals. When Islamic zealots ransacked the office of the renowned newspaper, ‘The Statesman’ in Kolkata, in retaliation for a mere reproduction of an article condemning Islamic extremism, the Indian press remained silent. The editor and publisher of the newspaper were arrested for offending Muslim sentiments and no action was taken against the rioters.
    • Phyllis Chesler, Muslim Persecution of Hindus In India -- The Story You Won't See In the Western Mainstream Media, September 9, 2010 [1]
  • According to Ghosh, there has recently been a sharp increase in incidents of “Muslim rioting during Hindu festivals, destruction of Temples, desecration of Deities, and large-scale, provocative cow slaughter.” Worse: “Hundreds, thousands, of Hindu girls have been kidnapped, trafficked into sexual slavery, or taken as second or third wives for wealthy Muslim men. In recent years, Ghosh’s organization has rescued nearly 100 such girls, and one of his main missions has been to help reintegrate those survivors into their families and societies.
    • Phyllis Chesler, Muslim Persecution of Hindus In India -- The Story You Won't See In the Western Mainstream Media, September 9, 2010 [2]

Women and Madness (1972, 2005)

  • If women take their bodies seriously—and ideally we should—then its full expression, in terms of pleasure, maternity, and physical strength, seems to fare better when women control the means of production and reproduction. From this point of view, it is simply not in women's interest to support patriarchy or even a fabled "equality" with men. That women do so is more a sign of powerlessness than of any biologically based "superior" wisdom.
    • Women and Madness (N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, rev'd & updated ed., 1st ed., 2005, ISBN 1-4039-6897-7, pp. 337–338 (emphases in original), and Women and Madness (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972, ISBN 0-385-02671-4, p. 287 (emphases in original).
  • It is clear that women who are feminists must gradually and ultimately dominate public and social institutions—so as to ensure that they are not used against women. I say "dominate" because I don't think that "equality" or "individuality" will be possible for women who have never experienced supremacy in public institutions as men have. ... The point is to have our entire social drama played out as fully by women as by men. And it is revolutionary by definition to have women "out of the biological home," both psychologically and actually. Whatever happens after that is then a matter for . . . everyone.
    • Women and Madness (2005), p. 347 (emphases & latter ellipsis in original), and see Women and Madness (1972), pp. 298–299 (similar text).
  • Miracles of consciousness aside, I see no way for women to defeat or transfer patriarchy without achieving power. Unlike male groups, women have little power with which to either avoid or commit violence. Women traditionally are physically weak and politically powerless in a culture that values physical strength and its extended representation in the form of weaponry and money. Women, like men, must be capable of violence or self-defense before their refusal to use violence constitutes a free and moral choice, rather than "making the best of a bad bargain."

    Survival is the characteristic property of power.

    • Women and Madness (2005), p. 341, and see Women and Madness (1972), p. 292 (similar text).
  • To those who think I am suggesting that we have a war between the sexes, I say: but we've always had one.
    • Women and Madness (2005), p. 345, and Women and Madness (1972), p. 297.
  • Amazon society, as mythology, history, and universal male nightmare, represents a culture in which women reign culturally supreme because of their gender. Amazon societies are also important because women were trained to be warriors—military and, presumably, in other ways as well. ...

    In Amazon societies, women were mothers and their society's only warriors; mothers and their society's only hunters; mothers and their society's only political and religious leaders. No division of labor based on sex seems to have existed in such societies. Although Amazon leaders existed and queens were elected, the societies seem to have been … ones in which any woman could aspire to and achieve full human expression.

    In Amazon society, only men, when they were allowed to remain, were, in widely differing degrees, powerless and oppressed.

    • Women and Madness (2005), pp. 335–336 (emphases in original), and see Women and Madness (1972), pp. 284–285 (similar text).
  • I am not saying that a female-dominated or Amazon society based on the oppression of men is any more "just" than is a male-dominated society based on the oppression of women. I am merely pointing out in what ways it is better for women.

    Perhaps someday a choice between forms of injustice will not be necessary.

    • Women and Madness (2005), p. 338 (emphasis in original), and see Women and Madness (1972), pp. 287–288 (similar text).
  • Should or can there be a single standard of behavior for both sexes? Is there such a thing as a biologically rooted female culture that should remain separate from male culture, partly because it is different than or superior to male culture?

    Women must convert their love for and reliance on strength and skill in others to a love for all manner of strength and skill in themselves.

    • Women and Madness (2005), p. 346, and see Women and Madness (1972), p. 298 (similar text).
  • Women must begin to "save" themselves and their daughters before they "save" their husbands and their sons; before they "save" the whole world.
    • Women and Madness (2005), pp. 348–349, and Women and Madness (1972), p. 301.
  • For women not to fear rape because we can successfully defend ourselves against it is not anachronistic but revolutionary. For women to be considered as potential warriors (in every sense of the word, including its physical representation) is not anachronistic but revolutionary. If realized, it might imply a radical change in modern life. ...

    What would it mean for a woman to be a warrior today? How could modern women control the means of production and reproduction?

    • Women and Madness (2005), p. 340 (emphasis in original), and see Women and Madness (1972), pp. 290–291 (similar text).
  • Women … do not have to forsake the "wisdom of the heart" and become men. They need only transfer the primary force of their supportiveness to themselves and to each other—but never to the point of self-sacrifice.
    • Women and Madness (2005), p. 348, and see Women and Madness (1972), p. 301 (similar text).
  • Perhaps only some young women, perhaps only a minority of all women, will be able to effect such changes through consciousness alone, through the strength of understanding, which, if transformed into wisdom, always means the performance of necessary actions.
    • Women and Madness (2005), p. 349, and see Women and Madness (1972), p. 302 (similar text).
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