by Caryatis Cardea
Lesbian Ethics, Vol 1 No 3, 1985
Liberty loses its meaning when women are not in fact free to change their situation or when they participate in limiting others’ freedom
In the early Spring of 1980, I sat down to my typewriter to compose an essay about the classism I felt subject to within the lesbian movement. As I developed the examples which came to mind, I found it all boiling down to three main categories: The rigid rules of feminist process in politics, the humanist dilution of radical feminism, and the distortion of personal relationships between lesbians. When the paper was completed in draft form, I discovered that each of my analyses of classism reveals the power of therapy in lesbian life.
Feminist process, with its emphasis on courtesy, and on a firm separation of thought and feeling, exists for the comfort, benefit and continued power of middle-class lesbians. And it is to therapy that they go to acquire and maintain this mind-spirit divorce.
The me-first attitude of humanism coupled with its obsessive inclusion of everyone and everything under the formerly womyn’s banner of feminism (See, there’s really no one to be angry with!) is reinforced by, and had its origins in, therapy’s insistence that we each move beyond our anger and create our own reality. And we were to create this reality in our own space, one of individual prosperity and individual happiness.
Lesbian relationships have been newly defined as the place to get one’s needs met, and to enter on a never-ending struggle to process honest political and personal differences. Here therapy has provided perhaps its most popular justification for the imposition of middle-class manners and values under which lesbians like myself, from working-class backgrounds, have been suffocating.
In the intervening years, I’ve tried several times to finish this paper. Each time I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the issue, by the destruction already wrought in the movement, and most of all, by the inescapable fact that no matter when I pulled the article out, my premises still applied. Clearly, the situation was getting no better; in fact, it seemed to degenerate daily.
Everywhere I looked, lesbians were going to therapists, becoming therapists, changing therapists, discussing their therapists, being abused by their therapists. If any other topic of conversation was introduced, it was phrased in the language of therapy. The heart of fire which our movement once contained was gone, replaced by what Mary Daly has termed “plastic passions.” Womyn no longer had opinions, they had “energy around some issues”; they didn’t even get mad any more, they only “experienced some anger.” I have no doubt, as a matter of fact, that I will receive several suggestions when this article is published that I enter therapy to deal with my excessive hostility.
It seems only yesterday that we were yelling in the face of the world which had mislabeled our feelings for centuries, “We’re not crazy, we’re angry.” But anger is passé nowadays. The status quo of misogyny and oppression simply doesn’t exist; we each create our own reality.
Well, in the hope that some semblance of sisterhood still survives, this article is a plea. Let’s try to reverse the tide of “valueless individualism”(2) which stems from therapy. Therapy is not politics; it is not feminism. It is dangerous.
The attitudes and actions which I will describe as middle-class are exhibited in greater or lesser degrees within all strata of the economically privileged in this society. I plan to attack the values and challenge the lesbians who hold to them.
The Drift from Radical Feminism
In the early years of my feminist activism– 1972 and 1973 –the world seemed to be expanding out in front of me as a womon. By early 1975, I had come out as a lesbian and a separatist, and I thought it awesome and beautiful that our horizons, already incredibly broad from the boundaries we had pushed out, moved apace with us, at lightning speed. Radicalism was present even in what would now be seen as the least likely places. Concepts of world feminism, separatism, visions of lesbian nation, and a firm grasp of sexual politics could be found everywhere. We were full steam ahead, no end in sight.
After some time, we realized that the results of our efforts were not to be seen in our lifetimes. Across the country, in the coffeehouses, buildings and centers we had braved everything to establish, the movement sat back to take a breath. Besides the needed rest, challenges were coming from within and without the movement: race, class and other issues were being raised to challenge what we had finally acknowledged to be the white, middle-class domination of the movement.
This breather may be the biggest mistake ever made by a revolutionary movement. For, while some lesbians wanted to rest and move forward again, and others wanted to make the movement inclusive of and responsive to all lesbians and move forward again, many were resting for good. They had sought only reform, and this being achieved, they were through. Like the rest of us, though, they drew energy from lesbians together. So although they retired from the battle, they did not leave our ranks. They remained where their domination was already established, their influence powerful. The lesbian/feminist movement had, often unawares, taken its lead in tone and style from white middle-class womyn. Now their inactivity prevailed, as had most of their other choices, and the Movement became a Community.
The opportunity to challenge our movement’s goals and methods was soon perverted. Few real challenges, and fewer changes, occurred. Political self-examination of ourselves as a group was readily abandoned because it would have required movement, and those dominating the community wished to remain where they were. They met the challenge in a way palatable to them: self-examination on a private level. Therapy. Thus was one of the most dangerous elements of the patriarchy introduced into our midst.
We acknowledge, as feminists, that we live in a patriarchy, but we have failed to recognize that the patriarchy lives in each of us. Had we faced this, we might have taken each political challenge as an opportunity to add more lesbians to our ranks and stretch our horizons further yet. Instead, everything being done by lesbian/feminists was explained, denied, responded to in the terms of therapy, an element of white middle-class life.
Those of us not involved in–or even familiar with–therapy felt as though the earth were shifting beneath our feet. Most of us were working-class and poor. The change was not exactly overnight, it only seemed to be. Attending meetings became an ordeal, conducted according to alien rules. Lesbians who had been by our sides for years grew scornful at our lack of familiarity with the territory into which they were dragging us. Language and vocabulary skidded away from us; words skirted around the edges of clear meaning. Womyn’s centers (and bookstores and restaurants and buildings) were effectively closed to separatist and other radical lesbians by their switch from revolutionary forums to social reform, and later still to a focus on personal growth. Relationships between lesbians were similarly undermined as privileged womyn, bolstered by their therapists, sought not love and mutual respect, but a place to have their needs met. The key word was process; its concepts, goals, and vocabulary were drawn from therapy.
It is claimed by those who employ it that feminist process was devised to correct inequities in our political meetings. Domination by a minority of the lesbians present (those most verbal and assertive), infighting, a lack of structure, certain womyn not being heard. Each of us knew who we believed responsible for these problems; each of us thought all the others meant the same ones.
Throughout the decade of feminist process’s hold on the lesbian movement, I have watched the growing perplexity of working-class dykes as the proffered solution to our problems–feminist process–has proved not only to exclude us further, but to oppress us. (I have shared the ideas contained in this paper with many lesbians who feel excluded and oppressed by these same things, but on the basis of their race or ethnicity. I am aware that process is more than classist, but it is classist. And as a white working-class womon, I will approach it from my personal perspective in this paper.) Process was so highly lauded and so loudly touted, and in terms so foreign to us, that we were, quite literally, powerless to oppose it. The reason is that feminist process is based on middle-class values and experience, and justified by the middle-class phenomenon of therapy.
First, there is the issue of who gets to talk at meetings. I was among those who complained loud and long about some lesbians controlling all meetings. Like other outsiders (non-WASP, non-middle-class), I meant the middle-class WASPs, whose long-winded, abstract discourses bored and irritated me, in addition to taking up entire evenings, often on personal topics. It took me years to truly understand that while I wished to stop the discourses, they wished to stop my loud complaints.
What are the elements of feminist process which so differed from the lives of nonprivileged womyn that we could not understand their enormous attractiveness to other lesbians? One was the practice, ostensibly to put everyone at ease, of going around in a circle at the beginning of each meeting. This may not have been offensive in ongoing groups where the members wished to keep up with one another’s lives between meetings. But I am referring to the request (read: demand), at the opening of a one-time group (forum, support group, work group, etc.) that we go around the circle and have each lesbian relate her feelings, memories, fears and so forth on the topic of discussion. (The voice of the therapist is saying, So, how have you been this week?) This practice, which may seem very simple and straightforward to some of you, can be very disturbing to working-class lesbians. Opening ourselves to this sort of vulnerability and emotional exposure is a strange experience to be asked of us: encounter groups, after all, are not a working-class phenomenon.
How the classes differ in this respect is really rather simple. Working-class people tend to express our ideas with feeling, but we do not necessarily express our feelings. This would be considered poor taste in our cultures. Middle-class people maintain a level of coolness about ideas which baffles us (and is designed to make us feel vulgar), while displaying a willingness to reveal personal feelings which seems positively uncouth to many of us. It is a difference in style. But since the middle class rules, working-class lesbians are continually reprimanded for our “excitability” in meetings, while also being reproached for our failure to “open up” personally. This we generally prefer to do privately, or with good friends, or in meetings designed to handle personal reactions.
Furthermore, in my world, trust (which is what is being asked in these check-ins) was to be earned, not granted at first sight. Even within the confines of feminism, all we have in common is our existence as womyn and lesbians. Trust on a personal, emotional level, that which implies a shared understanding of these experiences as lesbians in the patriarchy, is something I do not accept as a given. The womyn comfortable with these circumstances therefore do most of the talking, setting the stage for their continued starring role in the meeting as it progresses. If you think this is all a voluntary procedure, try passing your turn some time, and watch the fur fly. You get suspicious glances, everyone feels affronted; you are presumed to be aloof, snobbish, superior. If our meetings are such safe, supportive environments, why is it so threatening for anyone to decline to “share feelings”?
Lesbians have, in fact, countless experiences which are not shared. I once tried to relate a story about one of my little sisters which included, on the way to the point of the story, the fact that there had not been enough food for dinner that night. This was important to the story, but it was not the story, and not important by itself. Yet, a middle-class womon who was listening began to weep at the very thought of such a state of affairs and became so distraught with pity for me that I never could get to the end of the anecdote. We just don’t always speak the same language.
The next practice instituted at political meetings was that of having–always–a facilitator. This snowballed from the initial custom of designating one womon to generally oversee, stepping in only when the group threatened to drift irretrievably from the agenda, or when any one or more lesbians took too much attention or became abusive of any other, to a rigid observance wherein one or two lesbians control all aspects of the meeting. They keep time, limiting how long each individual may speak; as each issue is raised, they take names of those who have raised their hands and call them in order–the order in which they saw them, or perhaps in clockwise order around the inevitable circle in which we sit–but with no weight given to the import of what any particular womon has to say. (The voice of the therapist is saying, I think we’ve dwelled on this enough. I’m sorry, our time is up.)
This is true even if one womon was just directly accused of something by the previous speaker, or has a direct response to her, while the others have new topics to introduce. If, by luck, the next speaker is the one with the most direct response to make, what is now considered a good facilitator would rescind the responder’s right to speak: such personal dialogues are nearly always deemed best left until after the meeting. (The voice of the therapist is saying, It seems you have some unresolved feelings with this person.)
Throughout feminist meetings the language has changed also. Slowly the concepts and jargon of therapy have replaced political language. Everything I had watched middle-class lesbians struggling to learn about assertiveness vanished as they settled into the more comfortable–to them–stance of apparent chronic uncertainty, self-effacement. Assertiveness taught middle-class womyn to leave behind ladylike manners (and who, else, I ask you, ever had them?) which interfered with the possibility of tackling head-on the multifaceted monster of patriarchy. Assertiveness teaches that if your roommate borrows your clothes and leaves them in a heap, you should tell her to knock it off. Middle-class womyn never really got comfortable with this approach. Therapy worked much better for them. Therapy teaches that if your roommate repeatedly borrows your clothes and leaves them in a heap, you should tell her that this feels like a violation of trust to you, that you are flattered that she enjoys your taste in clothes enough to want to be seen in them, you are more than happy to allow her to share in the use of them, but she really must show more respect, so that your feelings for her can remain clean and uncluttered by your resentment.
I can recall attending a meeting of a newly formed group at which volunteers were asked to facilitate. There was a short silence; then, a lesbian I knew slightly said (I am paraphrasing), “Well, although I don’t consider myself any more qualified than anyone else, if no one has any objection, I will volunteer to facilitate. If I offend anyone by my choice of methods, please let me know. I could be wrong about how I think this should be done. When the meeting is over, I will offer my criticism of myself as a facilitator, and I will welcome criticism from the rest of you.” She went on in this vein for some time, wielding the power which therapy bestows: for several minutes she kept all attention focused on herself, yet she used words which sounded a note of humility, self-disparagement. She was, in fact, rather authoritarian in her manner of facilitation. I later found out she was a therapist.
This lesbian also inadvertently made evident to me what makes this distinctly courteous-sounding mode of behavior so desirable to some womyn. She was the first in my experience to forbid direct confrontation between any two lesbians at a meeting. At first, I thought it was only more of the fear often evinced by middle-class womyn at any sign of anger. (They sometimes act as though we’re all about to pull knives.) When I saw that she also stopped all humor, I realized that it was simply emotion of all kinds that made her uncomfortable, out of control of the meeting. She wished to conduct a calm, objective meeting.
Therapy, of course, is the training ground for the separation of intellect and emotion. I will not belabor the differences in kinds of therapy. The basic premise, stated or unstated, is that emotions need to be examined with the intellect. Instead of seeing our emotions as expressive of our thoughts, therapy teaches that they actually obscure our thoughts and our thought processes. Therapy is the definitive manifestation of middle-class alienation. Therapy institutionalized one of the essential dichotomies of the patriarchy, one to which womyn are very susceptible: the split between intellect and emotion. Mary Daly notes the dangers of therapy to revolutionary dykes in a very few, very pertinent, pages in Gyn/Ecology.(3) Her observations helped me to begin seeing the link between therapy and lesbian/feminist classism, for her complaints about the former were ultimately the same as mine about the latter. She notes, among other things, that therapy “fixes women’s attention in the wrong direction, fragmenting and privatizing perceptions of problems”(4)
The advantage for lesbians who find open emotion distasteful is that they can declare emotion off limits when working-class dykes express themselves with feeling, and still give vent to their more circumspect sentiments by saying that they are just putting out their personal needs, to which, of course, no one dares object. The personal has superseded the political. Whereas womyn like myself, not being possessed of objectified emotions, try to obey the rules and speak objectively. Ironically, we are then accused by middle-class dykes of being “too much in our heads.”
What is the distinction between intellect and emotion? Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary gives us some clues:
Intellect: The power of knowing, as distinguished from the power to feel and to will.
Emotion: A psychic or physical reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling and physiologically involving changes that prepare the body for immediate vigorous action.
Hadn’t we better question our movement’s seeming preference for thought divorced from “the power to feel and to will”? When I began this paper long ago, a working-class friend of mine remarked that what I describe here is what she had long been terming “the difference between feeling and talking about feeling.” The political result is the difference between change and talking about change. A movement aimed at subverting a system (of government, society, religion and personal relationships) many tens of centuries old should welcome “strong feelings” leading to preparation for “immediate, vigorous action.”
But some of our sisters–notably those from middle-class and/or WASP backgrounds–were raised to believe that expressions of emotion signify lack of control. Some years ago, a friend from an upper-middle-class background explained to me the way she had been taught to dissociate herself from the immediacy of her anger by, for example, focusing her attention on the process of being angry rather than on the source of the anger. She was encouraged to doubt her own reactions to the world, and led to believe that intellect was not compatible with emotion. It was all right for her to “have anger,” if she kept control of it. One can’t help one’s feelings, after all, one can only conquer them. She further explained that, without the release of yelling, physically expressing herself, she learned to reach for a reaction from her parent, or whoever had wounded her, by stating–calmly, of course–some essentially cruel thing. Other middle-class womyn have described this kind of training, received either in their families or through therapy. Hence, we now have thousands of lesbians who will sit down, in all earnestness, and say, “I am very angry,” in a perfectly serene tone of voice. (As the years go by, they grow more and more distant in their phrasing, as, “I feel some anger around this,” or even, “I have some anger here.”) The same womyn, while righteously defending the necessity of putting out their feelings, will level charges of aggression, divisiveness, and male-identification at lesbians who don’t need to announce that they are angry, because it is clear, from their every word and gesture.
Alienation, a term widely used in therapy, and chosen by many middle-class lesbians to describe their own state of consciousness, renders understandable their fear of what they see as our emotional outbursts. Assertiveness training, very popular in the 1970s, was a must for active feminists. I never quite got it, having survived working-class poverty, the streets of Buffalo, and eight brothers and sisters. But middle-class feminists, trained as ladies, perhaps afforded an excessively abstract education, and almost certainly exposed to one of the many therapeutic fads of the baby-boomer generation, needed to be taught to speak directly, to make their anger known, to not shrink in fear from their own or others’ emotions, to accept most of all that emotions are not an outside force to abhor and attempt to control.
Therapists thrive on the belief held by these lesbians that feelings are a threatening fog veiling the world, but that with the counselors’ help, the lens of the intellect can be applied so that these womyn, divided against themselves, can see through.
Emotions are not uncontrollable, primitive forces forming a screen between womyn and our world; it is not necessary or advisable to think of them as such, for to do so leaves one open to those who wish to be our interpreters to ourselves.
And so we have the basic set-up of feminist process: a desire to bring into submission those lesbians whose forcefulness was being used to challenge middle-class WASP dominance. A method was devised which included a retreat from the honesty encouraged by assertiveness (and, for that matter, by feminism), and its replacement by a therapeutic substitute which can only function to deeply entrench the power of the middle-class lesbians in the movement. Therapists teach their clients/patients that they have a right to “put out their needs” as whatever they define them to be. But therapists routinely exorcise the demon of open emotion. (The voice of the therapist is saying, Now, let’s calm down and see if we can’t work to get to the true source of this pain.) Open emotion has at least a better chance at being honest, and is much easier to challenge.
Middle-class womyn have had to go through very few changes to adapt to process, to “sharing” feelings, to sublimating anger and emotion and laying a coating of sophistication over their pain. The operate on the tacit assumption that everyone in a feminist political gathering will understand the importance of using the (male-identified) concepts of therapy.
Their explanation usually presents lesbians with an either/or proposition: either feminist process or patriarchal power games. I maintain that the one is the other. Feminist process, we are often told, has been developed so that the business of certain vocal persons dominating the group can be avoided. Through process, we can prevent the yelling bouts, the interruptions, the shouting over each other, the emotional expression of ideas, the mixture of intellect and emotion that have characterized other political movements.
The usual scenario, when the rules are stated for us, is that everyone nods silently, accepting what is really middle-class manners newly defined as feminist process. Many working-class womyn are actually shamed into this silent compliance. And why not? By the equation which has developed, feminist equals middle-class and working-class equals patriarchal. The way we of the working class have related all of our lives is now labeled “male-identified,” “politically incorrect.”
I have had several personal experiences with middle-class folks who were threatened by my readiness to express my anger (or even my sarcasm). They never feared I would strike them or attach bombs to the ignition switches of their cars, but they said repeatedly that my anger frightened them. In the course of their various therapies, they would mention this problem to their counselors.
An incident of mine from about six years ago should serve to explain what happens next. I attended a lesbian concert in a local bar with two friends. At intermission they began a rather esoteric discussion of the talents of the musicians in the band, progress they had noted over the years of observing them, and an assessment of that night’s performance so far. I felt no desire to join the conversation, as I found the academic tone of evaluation inappropriate to the occasion. They asked for my opinion repeatedly and I just said I thought the band was fun. No, they said, they wanted to know what I thought of them musically. Eventually, I said that I had nothing to add, that I had not been listening as critically as they had. Furthermore, their insistence that I contribute to the general running down of the group felt like a test: say something educated, give a critique. I closed with the comment that I thought they were acting rather elitist and campus-y and I didn’t want to play.
What followed immediately is another story. But a few days later, I ran into one of the womyn, who was upper middle class. She had, by now, seen her therapist and they had discussed how my “attack” had hurt her. She resented my having accused her of classist behavior in the other evening’s discussion. To “take back her own power,” she told me that I had had no right to make any “judgments” about her musical opinions because everyone (including some mutual friends whom she had no better grace than to name) knew how rigid I was about music. Her elaboration of this had to do with the fact that some of us got together at her house once a month to play music. Though extremely shy about it (which she knew), I usually played the piano.
In short, I said she was classist. She was angry about this. Unable to say so, she stated something cruel, something which she knew would make me self-conscious about every playing in public again. I was, in fact, momentarily humiliated. But I had time to see the look of triumph on her face. She had cut me down to size and no longer had to deal at all with the truth or falsity of what I said in the bar.
She still hadn’t “expressed her anger,” if you will; but she felt better and could duly report in her next therapy session that she had “dealt with” the situation.
I have eaten it more times than I can count, thanks to lesbian therapists; since the middle-class friends of mine who went to them were never explicit that what made them uncomfortable with me was not what I said but that I could say it, what I got in return was abuse. Just as my long-ago class-privileged friend had explained to me, when people are forbidden a right to honest anger and the apology that could be demanded from one who has injured them, all that is left to express is cruelty; all that is left to reach for from the other person is a reaction–any reaction–but preferably one that hurts as much as the wounded party now feels hurt.
So my friends would approach our next confrontation having gained from therapy no knowledge of how to express anger (and certainly no experience). They would fall back on what skill they had acquired through their class experience and in therapy, for therapy and the middle class are the two places where expression of anger is presumed to mask some other emotion. They would do the familiar: state something cruel, actually make a deliberate attempt of meanness, thereby depleting my power in their eyes, so that I needn’t be taken seriously. They would feel less pain because now I was the one hurt. Because they feel bad when I yell, and I feel bad when they are cruel, they delude themselves that we are doing the same thing. But, of course, they remain therapeutically calm and objective, which gives them enormous power: in a classist culture emotional outbursts in response to such coolness would be so tacky. For both parties would be judged by the standards of “America,” those of the white, Protestant middle class.
As meetings process, and decisions must be made, the only mode now acceptable to feminists is consensus. (Groups such as Abalone Alliance have published statements detailing the consensus process. A pamphlet called “Blocking Progress” is a statement by an Abalone member who finds consensus rife with abuse, especially classism.)
Consensus is said to do away with majority rule, giving everyone an opportunity to speak and to object to group decisions, even if the majority approves them. Being outvoted consistently is decidedly frustrating, but you still get to cast your vote firmly on the side you wish. In consensus, any member of a group may block consensus; for the decisions to go through, then, requires the block to be withdrawn or the person to be persuaded that voting for the decision is best.
In ten years, I have never seen anyone but the most privileged members of any group successfully block a consensus decision. (The important exception is the instance in which womyn attend meetings solely to block decisions. Consensus is dangerous in this way, too. A group of womyn attended the opening sessions of an anti-nuke group I was in some years ago only to make sure that neither the word “lesbian” nor the word “feminist” appeared in the title of the group. They blocked consensus, the group was named as they wanted, and we never saw any of them again.) Since consensus requires that every person be satisfied (the American Dream), that no one be declared the loser of the vote (a horror to privileged folks), the pressure brought to bear on the dissenter is formidable. In the past, if the middle-class lesbians dominated all decision-making, winning simply by outnumbering, we could protest or leave. Now, any objection to losing a vote is childish, because everyone theoretically has the chance to stop any vote from going through. The fact that dissenters must carry the onus of having selfishly stopped the entire group’s process is not officially acknowledged.
Instead, the only authorized dissent is one in which the lesbian who wishes to block the consensus announces, inevitably, that she doesn’t agree with the decision but won’t block. Not many can stand up to the condescension directed at those who don’t seem to understand that consensus is not supposed to be blocked. The dominant group patiently and disdainfully wears the unfortunate down.
To close the meetings, we are offered criticism/self-criticism, perhaps the most jarring item of feminist process for those of us from working-class backgrounds. This allotment of time at the end of meetings for the expression of feeling means implicitly that feelings are taboo during the meeting. Explicitly, it means only that emotionally expressed thoughts are forbidden. Intellectually (read: therapeutically) expressed emotions, the domain of the middle class, are very much indulged. Crit/self-crit is the first element of process to which working-class lesbians objected. When first introduced, it was no secret that it was a therapeutic concept. When we began objecting, they came up with the argument that since it had really originated in China, with the Communist party, it was both racist and anti-revolutionary to resist.
Hand in hand with the disapproval of direct interactions between lesbians at meetings, crit/self-crit serves to allow abusive or manipulative lesbians to say anything they wish in the course of meetings, knowing that it will not be tolerated for them to be directly confronted. The same womyn reign during the crit sessions. Another working-class dyke friend has recounted to me her abuse during these sessions, as her audacity in offering real criticism of middle-class lesbians’ exercise of privilege was consistently punished by a responding criticism of her offensive style. She was castigated in vague therapy terminology about how attacking or unconstructive she had been. This was supposed to silence her protests against oppression. If she couldn’t learn to do it right, she simply had no credibility. Yet, what middle-class dykes said about her never had to do with realities like privilege and oppression (or even with the content of her criticism); only that some delicate spirit experienced her honesty as being hurtful.
Furthermore, lesbians whose low-income backgrounds have placed us in the position of struggling against scorn all our lives sometimes just fail to see the benefit of chastising oneself in the presence of others whose respect one might like to have. We tend to take the brunt of the criticism (which should tell, once again, what and who is being silenced by feminist process) because we do not use the jargon of feminist process. We are not taught in working-class homes to preface everything we say with the phrases: I think, I feel that, in my opinion, I could be wrong but. Our stereotypical bluntness, which precluded the need for assertiveness training in many respects, brings our statements out in a forthright manner. During crit/self-crit, we are often attacked for opinions we expressed, because we neglected to provide ourselves and our listeners, in the fashion of feminist process, with those verbal escape clauses. For the emphasis in middle-class language is not on the “I,” but on the doubt-filled words “think,” “feel,” “opinion.” (As I pointed out in an earlier example, a womon skilled in this manner of speech can still hold the floor a long, long time by using this verbal trick: talk about yourself but sound modest.)
When such phrases are not used by middle-class lesbians, then the “opinions” come out with no agent at all. Mary Daly has referred in lectures to the diluted emotions of what she calls “therapized” lesbians as “plastic passions.” Saying, “There seems to be some energy around this,” removes the fire from the feeling. You don’t, in fact, “feel” anything at all: you “have” some remote “blob” of ersatz emotion to be “dealt with.”
Therapy teaches self-doubt by its basic premise that womyn (who are the patients of all forms of therapy) need interpreters to understand their own spirits. The willingness of working-class lesbians to simply say what we want to say and take the consequences is an affront to the devotees of therapy. With such responses as “Speak for yourself!” when no one had claimed to be doing otherwise, middle-class lesbians make clear their discomfort with, and need to discredit, the fact that working-class dykes do not negate our own statements. It is claimed that we are less open to criticism because of this. In fact, we are more open, because we take the risk of making statements that can’t be as easily withdrawn as those beginning with, I’m not sure, but it seems to me that
there has been resurrected an individualism which, flowing directly from the human potential movement, emphasizes taking one’s own space, defining one’s own reality, taking care of one’s own needs. For many, concern over the quality of life is personal, individual, and focused on one’s well-being.
These attitudes Barry describes cannot help but be familiar to active feminist lesbians; they have become part and parcel of what is now accepted as feminism. Chapter 10 of Barry’s Female Sexual Slavery contains a section on womyn’s values that is, itself, invaluable. It has given me strength and words when I needed them over the years, and I honor that by using several quotes in this paper, including the opening quote.
Contradicting the middle-class acclaim of criticism/self-criticism as a necessity to growth, the middle class hold their own growth to be dependent upon their maintaining a right to self-centeredness and freedom from challenge. Although feminism as a movement probably no longer exists, feminists certainly do; and the majority of them have succumbed to the “therapeutically polluted environment,”(6) needing above all else to feel good about themselves.
This is a handy focus to have for oneself in a time when lesbians are trying to challenge each other about privilege and oppression. For example, I tried once to approach a lesbian who had been driving me up the wall with her class-oppressive notions and attitudes. She suggested we discuss it over dinner. (I see now that that should have been a dead giveaway; she, being supported by her family, could afford restaurants, while I, employed and underpaid, found it difficult. This never occurred to her. Challenging it never occurred to me.) We settled in the restaurant and I had to begin the talking.
She initiated no part of the conversation, took no risks and no responsibility. After I did all the work, tracing the various things she had done or said in our encounters (we were not friends, but had mutual friends who brought us together frequently) she answered. Looking utterly unmoved by the pain I had just told her she had inflicted on me, she said that, yes, she could see why I felt this way and she would like to promise to do better. However, she had never felt really good about herself and was trying–with the help, of course, of a therapist–to acquire a better self-image. Therefore, much as she was sorry for my feelings, she would simply be unable to do anything about her classism. To acknowledge her privileged oppression of me would make her feel like a bad person. And her prime motivation at this time of her life was to feel good about herself.
This is not the only instance of a middle-class lesbian telling me it was just too painful for her to confront her own oppressive behavior; other working-class womyn have related to me similar experiences, also. The pursuit of a contentment with oneself as one is, without wishing to grow and change–wishing in fact to avoid growth and change–is the symptom of a self-centeredness which is overtly threatening to a revolutionary feminism. With so much emphasis on self, how much concern could there possibly be for the rest of the world? Even for the rest of one’s immediate environment? What kind of revolution waits until its warriors are happy and fulfilled before confronting the enemy?
The answer is: one which has abandoned revolution for “therapy as a way of life.”(7) The larger context which must be grasped here is that feminism is no longer respected, even by most feminists, as a valid movement to which a lesbian could dedicate her life’s energies. It is seen now as a step on the way to humanism: patriarchy in drag. All the values and attitudes radical feminists started out battling are contained within the humanist approach, disguised by “psychobabble,” which, the author who coined that term says, “must be seen as the expression not of a victory over dehumanization but as its latest and very subtle victory over us.”(8)
Processing, or dealing, is also required now in lesbian relationships. Dykes no longer seek partners with whom they can relax, with whom they have much in common, with whom they feel deep happiness or even love. (Love, in fact, is seldom mentioned, although falling in love is. It is really the only uncontrolled emotion accepted by lesbians. It should have been the last one we even considered countenancing, for it is fraught with possibilities for abuse.) Lesbians have been seeking “fixes” of various kinds: Alcohol and drugs, to be sure, but more and more frequently “psychological fixes'” in the form of therapy sessions and the drama-filled relationships which serve to provide the symptoms for which they seek therapeutic “cures.”(9)
The most virulent mode in which I see class oppression affecting personal relationships between middle-class and working-class lesbians is in the therapeutic concept of “getting one’s needs met.” Therapy, in trying to teach womyn what they need and how to get it, has been instrumental in redefining lover-relationships as a place of struggle, instead of as a refuge from the outside struggle of our lives. (This makes eminent sense when we realize that therapists have also been instrumental in closing off lesbians’ awareness of these outside struggles: sexism, racism, and classism, etc., are too painful to deal with.)
Needs are now, in feminist/lesbian circles, anything a womon wants or to which she feels entitled. (I am exploring this more fully in a paper on lesbian battery, a depressing sign of how far things have gone.) This is more than a semantic distortion. A womon needs food, clothing, shelter; secondarily, she needs, in order to have a full life, satisfying work, productivity and usefulness, to love and be loved, the achievement of inner peace and spiritual growth. What each of us wants, however, is a matter of individual taste and the choices we have made in our lives.
Seeking to get their needs met in whatever relationship they find themselves, lesbians with enormous differences and with vastly varying visions of a good relationship can remain together indefinitely. Manipulative behavior by one or both of them and the “adjustment” skills of a “good” lesbian therapist can keep the lovers struggling to process their differences, instead of separating because of them. Therapy greatly aids in this circumstance because it doesn’t deal in facts, e.g., that the relationship is no good for you, but in personal feelings about facts, e.g., that you are unhappy about elements of the relationship (but therapy can help you change it and get your needs met.)
If a therapist’s patient was expected–or even allowed–to say, “I am in a relationship which limits my freedom of movement, inhibits my expression of ideas, threatens my peace of mind, and invades my privacy,” chances are an intelligent and caring friend, or even counselor, would say, “Get out of it!” But the report is–as it is expected to be–phrased as, “I feel she doesn’t trust me, or respect my opinions. I have a lot of anxiety and because of her insecurity, I have less free time than I need.” Now there is something a therapist can work with: Fears, anxieties, insecurities. The relationship could go on for years with the therapist encouraging better communication, more efforts to deal with these differences, perhaps even mediation. Moreover, successful relationships (by therapeutic standards: ones where you struggle and make it last) are the hallmark of health to therapists, who are in the business of recommending and facilitating adjustment to existing circumstances.
It has been so easy, therefore, for privileged womyn to take advantage of working-class dykes in relationships. We do not expect others to do for us. Middle-class people hire therapists and any number of others to provide service for them. The interdependency and innate pride of the working class contribute to a culture where you don’t say to your parents, “I wish I had the money to go to camp,” when you already know they can’t afford it. You don’t come to the dinner table complaining of the unfashionable nature of your wardrobe, when there is no means of replacing it. Therapists tell us we should do this, we should put out our needs: To go where our friends go and to have a sense of belonging, to dress like the more affluent kids and to achieve some kind of popularity. Therapy says, even if it cannot be accomplished, putting out your needs means you have done everything you could about the situation, you feel better, and now, if anything can be done by the listeners, it will be done. You have taken power by putting out your needs.
Working-class etiquette says you don’t expect everything in life. Outright demands to parents would likely be met with scorn and a reminder that the world, after all, did not owe you a living! Besides, what therapy recommends is known, in the feminist vernacular, as “dumping.” Why should I burden my parents with the knowledge of the specifics of what I lacked? Do you suppose they didn’t know we were poorly dressed? Rubbing their noses in their–and therefore our–poverty wouldn’t make me feel better. Recommending that we “take power” in a situation like this means recommending “taking power” over those whose obligation you think it is to provide for you. Power-over is not desirable. We all knew that everything was given which could be given. Living in close quarters with many people brings an awareness of the others’ needs. The natural empathy of working-class culture brings a willingness to help when and if possible, though we were probably not conscious that we followed an etiquette. What one wanted/needed, thus, was never named, opening no one to public disappointment; the responsibility of fulfilling needs was given (by putting them out to others) to no one, opening no one to feelings of guilt and failure. It is a matter of pride, mutual respect, and consideration.
Contact with mixed-class society is a culture shock for working-class dykes on many levels. We are accustomed to keeping our private desires to ourselves, unless we have certain knowledge that someone with whom we are intimate can help. Then it is asked, respectfully, as a favor, to be reciprocated when possible. A refusal to help meant an inability to help, which also was treated with respect. This is how things would function between people of my background. Pointing up the absence of something material (even to the point of asking for sugar or coffee in someone’s home) might be exposing temporary or permanent poverty. We all knew that we gave whatever we had; if you didn’t see it, you didn’t ask for it. Trust was built in widening circles, within which things could be taken for granted.
For working-class womyn, there is more at heart than the absence of a personal therapy experience. There is the basic contempt in which therapy is held in working-class environments. For instance, I not only never experienced therapy myself, I was acquainted with no one who had until I was about twenty-one. People at survival level have a justifiable disdain for the privileged, whose leisure time and money can be squandered on having a stranger solve their problems for them.
I have found that middle-class lesbians go through their lives with the expectation, to varying degrees, that their needs/desires can and will and should be met. There is a selfishness, a shortsightedness, in this attitude that is shocking to me. And what they label “needs” is everything they want, like, prefer in life.
Trained in proper etiquette involving the suppression of emotion, middle-class lesbians seek therapists to teach them about emotion. They spend their childhoods being repressed when trying to express emotion; being told that their feelings are invalid and in need of re-examination with the help of professionals. They are taught to doubt their ability to perceive the world through their own eyes. Therapists then lead them into a web of exploring feelings, examining feelings, analyzing feelings, trying to experience feelings, dealing with feelings, dealing with how others deal with their feelings, and how that affects their own ability to deal with these others. In short, they enter on an absorption with self, acquiring an ability to talk about feeling, but not to trust simply feeling.
A key factor in community life is missing because, not trusting her feelings–never, in fact, feeling them–the middle-class lesbian is unable to comprehend those of us who do, and empathy is beyond her. If it were not, the practices of the privileged over the oppressed would have to become obsolete; standing in the other womon’s shoes makes one more considerate.
Meanwhile, a working-class dyke relating intimately to middle-class dykes is unprepared for the outright demands, the assertion that needs be met; more importantly, she is often shocked by the accusation of failure if she doesn’t meet them. What we consider true needs are those things the lack of which mark one as inferior in the U.S. I repeat, we express ourselves with emotion, and pride is an emotion. Our druthers we do not refer to as “needs.” And, since working-class lesbians expect empathy in other womyn (I have found this to be true even in those from the coldest, most non-nurturing homes imaginable), and because of the class dynamics I laid out above, nonprivileged dykes are sometimes unable, and usually unwilling, to state their needs, as needs are defined by the middle class. We are therefore (conveniently, I can’t resist noting) thought to have none. So, those accustomed to asking for things, do so; those who are not accustomed to asking for things, don’t. And the class system marches on.
I categorically refuse the assertion of the middle class that we all learn to put our needs out. When it becomes valid to say, I need not to have meetings scheduled on Thursdays, I need you not to use that expression because it reminds me of an ex-lover, I need you not to raise your voice because my mother used to yell and then hit me it occurs to me that silence may truly be golden. I grew up around too many alcoholics, constantly putting out their needs, and co-dependents, indulging them and fulfilling the needs, not to comprehend the danger in this. I, for one, have no desire to live in, let alone help create, a world of self-centered therapy addicts. Many lesbian relationships, as well as the current “model” for lesbian relationships, are, in fact, based on the dependency of someone seeking the fulfillment of her needs by another (as opposed to an inner fulfillment enhanced by a joy in the existence of the relationship) and someone feeling worthwhile because she succeeds in meeting her lover’s needs. This is a dependency model, much like alcoholic families. Similarly “falling in love” brings together two womyn, each feeling incomplete, looking for a relationship and the person in it to bring wholeness. A mature love/friendship would be the meeting of two womyn, each complete in herself, or at least seeking to be, coming together for further happiness.
Therapists are, very simply, lesbians who believe the tenets they learned as students or patients themselves and think they are helping by offering these services. There is, really though, no earthly reason why lesbians should have turned so much authority and power over to any specific group of womyn. If it is true that none of us has escaped indoctrination in the distortions of the patriarchy (and it is true), it is especially true that lesbians who have taken specialized training in one of the power structures of the mainstream society should not be given such absolute trust.
I have heard stories of abuse of patients by therapists. I have been told of therapists who, in some strange move toward equality with their clients, spend entire sessions discussing their own problems; still, of course, accepting payment from the patient. Therapists are not the objective listeners or wise counselors they are widely accepted to be. They bring all of their own biases and personal experiences to each session with them. Some have admitted to encouraging or discouraging some behavior, such as ending a relationship, depending on how well that aspect of their own lives is going at the moment. Lesbians approaching a therapist for help in escaping an abusive or destructive relationship should not be subjected to the prejudice of a therapist who suggests preserving the relationship because the therapist is content with her lover right now.
Moreover, we must question what they, as womyn who so deeply believe in getting needs met, are getting out of these sessions themselves, besides their often outrageous fees. The power to change the course of other lesbians’ lives, the ego-strokes of clients’ dependence on them, the addiction many womyn develop to the therapy sessions: All these things are distasteful at best, and dangerous at worst.
The dependence especially is usually mutual. Many therapists are panicked at the thought of their patients’ leaving them. Even general criticism of the existence of therapy threatens them greatly. With this sort of dependency in action, therapists cannot be teaching their patients skills for handling problems in their lives. Lesbians do not, as a rule, go to therapy to figure out something general which they can then apply to future situations. They go to therapy to learn from therapists what to do. When the next crisis arises, they will be right back in session. Independence, particularly from the therapist, is not fostered.
The power of therapy, residing in both the practitioners and the patients, has conferred on a relatively small group of middle-class-oriented lesbians the power to define virtually every aspect of life in our community. Because therapy patients can be so religiously firm in their belief in the power of counseling, therapy ends up interpreting reality for the whole community: The therapists, the clients, and the rest of us who have to live and work with both.
“Those who argue in favor of feminist therapy’ maintain that it departs entirely from the old freudian presuppositions.”(10) Even if this argument could hold water, therapy is a part of the mental health establishment, which labels womyn’s behavior aberrant and seeks to alter it. How do we dare ignore the pitfalls of embracing, as central to our community life, even this lesser form of an institution which tortures and imprisons lesbians?
By the equation the feminist movement has accepted, all too eagerly, middle class = feminist, while working class = patriarchal. Yet, there are many qualities from poor and working-class lives which others would be wise to emulate. Honesty, straightforwardness, a natural blending of intellect and emotion, a notion of female competency, empathy, self-reliance, a sense of the interwoven nature of life, and not least of all, survival.
It is important to understand that therapy is one of many abuses which have combined to destroy the womyn’s movement. But while racism, classism, reformism and other oppressive elements
serve each a single purpose, therapy has the double effect of being oppressive in and of itself, and of reinforcing, making possible, all of the others by the use of language and concepts which shield oppression. Middle-class manners and values reign in the lesbian community, disguised by therapy and masquerading as feminism.
What We Have Lost
The physical space we fought so very hard for, in which we had hoped to discover ourselves and each other, our commonality as womyn and lesbians, our shared oppression in the patriarchy and our shared strengths as those who had, so far, survived that patriarchy, no longer exists. In the place of the precious few square feet which was solely ours we have establishments in which everyone is welcomed, except those of us who remember when the space was ours. Exclusion (of, for instance, men) would violate the tenets of humanism, which was peddled to lesbians by therapy as the step beyond feminism. Instead of the invaluable womyn-only or lesbian-only space where we reveled in our freedom to learn and grow together, we now have the ubiquitous “safe, supportive environments,” formerly known as womyn’s centers. Now they exist for therapeutic personal growth where lesbians learn not from each other as peers, but in therapist-led or facilitated groups. They offer not revolution, not even assertiveness, but adjustment. (Twelve Step groups, patterned on Alcoholics Anonymous, are blossoming everywhere as the means of coping with every imaginable aspect of life. Despite the successes of AA–in lives saved–we should be more than a little alarmed at the popularity of a program whose first Step is for each person to admit her complete powerlessness over some area of her life.) Self-sufficiency, in the form of hands-on workshops and concrete lessons in survival are gone; in their stead, we have not even self-defense, but self-improvement.
And what sort of improvement is being taught? Defeating racism or classism? Not really; just “unlearning” them. The former is political and involves group movement; the latter is a personal realignment of ideas, having nothing to do with community.
The feminist maxim, “The personal is political,” was distorted like so many other things. It has been made to mean that anything a lesbian does, whether or not she involves herself in the furtherance of womyn’s or lesbian liberation, is political activism. It is not, though every aspect of womyn’s lives does have political implications. That, and the fact that the oppression we suffer in our lives is not a personal issue but a political one, was the
original meaning. The present-day lesbian has acquired the right to live an utterly personal, self-centered life, because, after all, the personal is political. She may seek completely private solutions, through therapy or its related themes, to what we had once defined as universal female problems. Various workshops and seminars, not specifically under the auspices of any therapeutic discipline, are nevertheless dedicated to the same self-improvement. It breaks my heart, as a lesbian witch, to acknowledge that one of the themes related to therapy, of late, is certain forms of feminist spirituality. With a personal/therapeutic slant and humanist origins, “spirituality” is making its contribution to the individualization of lesbian feminism.
The truism that each of us must start the revolution with herself was not meant, by its originators, to mean that everyone could retreat into prosperity workshops, parental-paid educations, professions and the professionalizing of every aspect of womyn’s liberation (licensed psychics, certified relationship mediators, professional organizers, PhD witches) and the religion of once-a-week therapy. Start with yourself, yes; start and end with yourself, no.
Therapy, with its endless list of diseases to cure in oneself, keeps us standing still and isolated. While dealing with alienation, fear of intimacy, and poverty consciousness, while learning dynamic listening and havingness, we are trapped, as Mary Daly points out, into arrested thinking, “neatly labeling/limiting every impulse,”(11) finding no end to the process, spending our lives peeling off layer after layer after layer of seemingly bottomless personal sickness. It cannot be a stage in preparing ourselves for activism, because “therapy, including the institutions of feminist therapy,’ resists being relegated to the role of a step.'”(12) It is the religion of middle-class-oriented feminist lesbians, and those who oppose it are indeed heretics. There is an element of coercion here that we are not facing.
What We Could Have
Understanding the feminist classism made possible by lesbian therapy does not mean that from now on our groups can have no structure or form. It means that any group’s structure must be arrived at as at least a synthesis of working-class and middle-class experience and values. Whoever is facilitating a meeting must question whether she makes certain decisions and suggestions for the true benefit of the whole group and all of its members, or for the comfort of the group’s middle-class members, who don’t like raised voices and sudden interruptions.
It doesn’t mean that anyone should be allowed to pitch a fit in the middle of meetings or indulge in any sort of temper tantrum. It means recognizing, when a middle-class lesbian uses subtle manipulation of a group’s rules or structure, invoking the principles of therapy which give her the right to demand that others deal with her feelings, that she is on a power trip. It means that when middle-class lesbians, skilled at speaking interminably while sounding humble and altruistic, calmly demand attention to their opinions, taking far more than their share of time, they are interrupting at least as much as a working-class lesbian who yells about the oppressiveness of the rules. We have come to view the middle-class model as objectively right because we live in a classist society that has taught us all to respect and aspire to middle-class values, even if we don’t understand any way in which they are workable in our own lives–even if they mean denying our traditional class and race and ethnic backgrounds.
It does not mean that there can be no politeness, no respectful treatment of one another in meetings. It means realizing that feminist process, while it may prevent yelling bouts (not always evil, you know), also prevents simply the excited expression of ideas, the interruption of each other, the mixture of intellect and emotion that have characterized other groups. Feminist process is not automatically egalitarian. The lesbian community ignores the facts that assuming the necessity of “sharing feelings” in a specified time slot means that those feelings must be hidden (essentially forbidden) until the appropriate time, that many people talking at once does not necessarily mean that on one gets heard (only that it might be a challenge for someone to hold the floor solely to herself for very long, a fact which I am sure upsets those accustomed to undivided attention); that silence while one lesbian speaks does not necessarily imply attention in the listeners; that calm, objective political discussions sometimes indicate (and often create) boredom in many working-class lesbians.
It does not mean that any group should be permitted to dominate group dynamics. It means realizing that feminist process may have put an end to one kind of hierarchical domination of group interactions but has instituted another kind. Both forms of control exclude working-class lesbians. In both formats, the middle class rules; therapy gave them the right to rename much of what they were already doing to maintain control, such that therapy becomes synonymous with feminism. Under feminist process, only objectified feelings, which one has analyzed and dealt with, are acceptable. Our liberation movement was not created to provide a solitary stage for each lesbian/womon who felt entitled to one. The system we know as feminist process has become static, a fixed and rigid presence in our community, which we can ill afford if we are ever to become a movement again.
It does not mean that middle-class lesbians have no rights. It means acknowledging that working-class lesbians have had to learn to relate in the forms acceptable to middle-class womyn for years now–and I do mean had to. The complete denial of our way of life has been a means of coercing us into conformity with a way foreign to us. A middle-class womon relating with a working-class womon should no longer feel completely free to find the solutions to her own problems within the relationship without considering the methods and results of her solutions. Is she making demands which are acceptable according to middle-class standards, but which are painful for a working-class womon? Has she ever considered the vast differences in those standards and whence they arise?
At this point, it is incumbent upon middle-class lesbians to stand aside from the privilege they have assumed for themselves and really listen to their sisters who see things differently. This means an ongoing assessment of choices.
Working-class lesbians who seek therapy or become therapists are advised to think twice. Solid friendships are a better place to talk about problems; politics is a better weapon against our oppression, within and without the movement. Therapy does not truly help any of us, individually or collectively; that many oppressed lesbians (subject to classism, racism, anti-Semitism, etc.) end up in this “helping” profession is not a surprise. We all too often serve the upper classes and act as a buffer for them.
Politically, the anger of working-class lesbians is an expression of raw pain, the unsophisticated anger to which middle-class feminists once felt attached and to which they are now hostile. The acknowledgement of that pain would be many-faceted. It would involve a recognition of the psychic suffering of the affluent housewife (your mother, perhaps); the loneliness of the inner-city widow; the terror of the institutionalized womon, abandoned by everyone (including most of us); the hopelessness of the enslaved prostitute; the entrapment of the incest victim; the struggle of the unemployed teenage mother; the bureaucratic nightmare of lesbians and poor womyn and Third World womyn whose children are “adopted” right out of their homes by social welfare agencies; the isolation of the incarcerated womon: The sadly endless list of nonprivileged lesbians/womyn whose lives our rhetoric has never touched.
Relief from oppression must come to all of us or none. We cannot settle for academic and employment gains for those who had at least limited access to such privilege–albeit, sometimes, through men–even before feminism. A revolution of lesbians cannot make privilege more comfortably accessible to the already privileged. “Feminism demands more than private solutions or even private solutions stated in political terms.”(13)
Life, after all–especially lesbian/feminist life–is a progression of relationships in the truest sense: from the momentary to the life-long, the vital touching of one spirit with another. We should draw laughter and tears from one another, and we must learn to find them in ourselves. Separation of intellect and emotion, the prime raison d’etre of therapy and its primary function, is one of the most deadly dichotomies of the patriarchy, one to which womyn, always stereotyped as controlled by our emotions, are especially susceptible. Above all things, this dichotomy must be struggled against. Certainly, we must not perpetuate it ourselves. Otherwise, defeat is imminent. A successful battle, however, could give us back ourselves: Whole, integrated, prepared to seek the joy of freedom, individually experienced, but collectively achieved.
Kathleen Barry, Female Sexual Slavery (Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979), p. 237. [My emphasis.]
- Ibid., p. 223.
- Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology (Boston: Beacon Press, 1978), pp. 275-283.
- Ibid., p. 276.
- Kathleen Barry, Female Sexual Slavery, p. 223.
- Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology, p. 276.
- Ibid., p. 280.
- R.D. Rosen, Psychobabble (New York: Atheneum, 1978), p. 13.
- Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology, p. 280.
- Ibid., p. 281.
- Ibid., p. 282.
- Ibid., p. 283.