Ann Oakley

Families are nothing other than the idolatry of duty.

Housework is work directly opposed to the possibility of human self-actualization.

If love . . . means that one person absorbs the other, then no real relationship exists any more. Love evaporates; there is nothing left to love. The integrity of self is gone.

Men are the enemies of women. Promising sublime intimacy, unequalled passion, amazing security and grace, they nevertheless exploit and injure in a myriad subtle ways. Without men the world would be a better place: softer, kinder, more loving; calmer, quieter, more humane.

Clearly, society has a tremendous stake in insisting on a woman’s natural fitness for the career of mother: the alternatives are all too expensive.

The primary function of myth is to validate an existing social order. Myth enshrines conservative social values, raising tradition on a pedestal. It expresses and confirms, rather than explains or questions, the sources of cultural attitudes and values. . . . Because myth anchors the present in the past it is a sociological charter for a future society which is an exact replica of the present one.

There are always women who will take men on their own terms. If I were a man I wouldn’t bother to change while there are women like that around.

Two paradigms of women jostle for first place in the medical model of reproduction. In the first, women are seen not only as passive patients but in a mechanistic way as manipulable reproductive machines. In the second, the mechanical model is replaced by an appeal to notions of the biologically determined ’feminine’ female’.

Technologies alter the relationship between nature and culture, and this is especially true of motherhood, where the overall effect is to control and commodify women’s bodies.

Women’s domesticity is a circle of learnt deprivation and induced subjugation:a circle decisively centred on family life.

The family’s gift to women is a direct apprenticeship in the housework role. For this reason, the abolition of the housewife role requires the abolition of the family, and the substitution of more open and variable relationships….people living together in a chosen and freely perpetuated intimacy, in a space that allows each to breathe and find her or his own separate destiny.

All women are feminists at heart. In their psychology lies a great love for women as a class. But it’s interred beneath a great mound of rubbish.

Most of the debate about sex differences is angled at proving that women are or are not different from men, rather than proving that men are or are not different from women. If this fact needs explaining, it is enough to point out that the bias of our culture is still patriarchal.

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