Susan Brownmiller

American feminist and author

Susan Brownmiller (born February 15, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American feminist journalist, author, and activist best known for her 1975 book Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape.

Quotes edit

  • 200,000, 300,000 or possibly 400,000 women (three sets of statistics have been variously quoted) were raped. Eighty percent of the raped women were Moslems, reflecting the population of Bangladesh, but Hindu and Christian women were not exempt. ... Hit-and-run rape of large numbers of Bengali women was brutally simple in terms of logistics as the Pakistani regulars swept through and occupied the tiny, populous land ...Rape in Bangladesh had hardly been restricted to beauty... Girls of eight and grandmothers of seventy-five had been sexually assaulted ... Pakistani soldiers had not only violated Bengali women on the spot; they abducted tens of hundreds and held them by force in their military barracks for nightly use.
  • The story of Bangladesh was unique in one respect. For the first time in history the rape of women in war, and the compex aftermath of mass assault, received serious international attention. The desperate need of Sheik Mujibur Rahman’s government for international sympathy and financial aid was part of the reason; a new feminist consciousness that encompassed rape as a political issue and a growing, practical acceptance of abortion as a solution to unwanted pregnancy were contributing factors of critical importance. And so an obscure war in an obscure corner of the globe, to Western eyes, provided the setting for an examination of the “unspeakable” crime. For once, the particular terror of unarmed women facing armed men had full hearing.
  • War provides men with the perfect psychological backdrop to give vent to their contempt for women. The maleness of the military—the brute power of weaponry exclusive to their hands, the spiritual bonding of men at arms, the manly discipline of orders given and orders obeyed, the simple logic of the hierarchical command—confirms for men what they long suspect—that women are peripheral to the world that counts
  • The master-slave relationship is the most popular fantasy perversion in the literature of pornography. The image of a scantly clothed slave girl, always nubile, always beautiful, always docile, who sinks to her knees gracefully and dutifully before her master, who stands with or without boots, with or without whip, is commonly accepted as a scene of titillating sexuality. From the slave harems of the Orient potentate, celebrated in poetry and dance, to the breathless description of light-skinned fancy women, de rigeur in [[a particular genre of pulp historical fiction, the glorification of forced sex under slavery, institutional rape, has been a part of our cultural heritage, feeding the egos of men while subverting the egos of women- and doing irreparable damaage to the healthy sexual process. The very word "slave girl" impart to many a vision of voluptuous sexuality redolent of perfumes gardens and soft music strummed on a lyre. Such is the legacy of male-controlled sexuality under which we struggle.
  • Pornography has been so thickly glossed over with the patina of chic these days in the name of verbal freedom and sophisication… Part of the problem is that those who traditionally have been the most vigorous opponents of porn are often those same people who shudder at the explicit mention of any sexual subject… There can be no equality in porn, no female equivalent, no turning of the tables in the name of bawdy fun. Pornography, like rape, is a male invention, desgined to dehumanize women… Pornography is the undiluted essence of anti-female propoganda.
  • Man's discovery that his genitalia could serve as a weapon to generate fear must rank as one of the most important discoveries of prehistoric times, along with the use of fire and the first crude stone axe. From prehistoric times to the present, I believe, rape has played a critical function. It is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.
  • In medieval times, opportunities to rape and loot were among the few advantages open to...soldiers, who were paid with great irregularity by their leaders...When the city of Constantinople was sacked in 1204, rape and plunder went hand in hand, as in the sack of almost every ancient city....Down through the ages, triumph over women by rape became a way to measure victory, part of a soldier's proof of masculinity and success, a tangible reward for services rendered...[and] an actual reward of war.
  • [R]ape by a conqueror is compelling evidence of the conquered's status of masculine impotence. Defense of women has long been a hallmark of masculine success. Rape by a conquering soldier destroys all remaining illusions of power and property for men of the defeated side. The body of a raped woman becomes a ceremonial battlefield, a parade ground for the victor's trooping of the colors. The act that is played out upon her is a message passed between men - vivid proof of victory for one and loss and defeat for the other.

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