An Open Letter

by Marge Piercy

We live in cities like the tame pheasants who are hand-raised and then turned loose for hunters to shoot, an activity called sport. The hunting, maiming, the mutilation and murder of ourselves, our mothers, our grandmothers, our daughters, our granddaughters is the stuff of a vast industry. Just as the National Rifle Association spends millions whenever restriction of hunting is considered in an area like the one I live in, where more dogs are shot every year than deer, so the corporate woman-desecrators hire the best legal talent to keep their violence against women on the streets, in the theaters, in the combat zones of every city. They use all the arsenal of weapons available to those with money and position: they use economic pressure against newsstand vendors: if you don’t take these flesh magazines, you can’t have the others you need. They use muscle. They use threats and injunctions and sympathetic or bought judges. They use male intellectuals who consider arousal sacred, no matter whether it is caused by a caress or the sight of a disemboweling. The link between sex and violence must be broken in our generation and broken for good if we are to survive into a future fit for our children to inhabit.

From Take Back the Night: Women On Pornography edited by Laura Lederer (William Morrow and Company, 1980)

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