Blog, Politics


Uncomfortable Quotes


Patriarchy has been used variously to refer to the control men exercise over women’s sexuality and fertility, to describe a systemic set of social relations which serve as the mechanism of women’s suppression, and has been seen as the symbolic male principle often with its origins in the power men possessed to exchange women between kinship groups.


Marian Simms

Australian Women and the Political System (1984)


It is important for the minister to have his wife involved…Social contacts where wives are involved are far more fruitful, there is far less suspicion, more readiness to negotiate.


Quoted in Rosemary Whip “The Parliamentary Wife: participant in the ‘Two person Single Career’ “, in Australian Woman and the Political System (1984).


In Western Culture there is a story which has been told over and over again, in innumerable versions, from the earliest of times. It is a story about superiority, dominance, and success. It tells how white European men are the natural masters of the world because they are strong, brave, skilful, rational and dedicated. It tells how they over come the dangers of nature, how ‘inferior’ races have ben subdued by them, and how the spread civilization and order wherever they go. It tells how women are designed to serve them, and how those women who refuse to do so are threats to the natural order and must be controlled. It tells how their persistence means that they always eventually win the glittering prizes, the golden treasures, and how the gods – or the government – approve of their enterprises. It is our favourite story and it has been told so many times that we have come to believe that what it says about the world is true.

Margery Hourihan Deconstructing the Hero Literary Theory and Children’s Literature (1997)


[Women’s] omission seems to prove their unimportance. Rosalind Miles in The Women’s History of the World (1989) provides a literal example of this process of obliteration: the names of all the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed on the historic Mayflower expedition to settle America in 1620  are inscribed on the Plymouth quayside, but of the eighteen women who went with them there is no mention. Their names are not carved in stone, for their existence was regarded as merely contingent (Miles 1989:197). The process still continues. Most people are familiar with the name of Lech Walesa, the heroic leader of Solidarity; but how many have heard of Anna Walentynowicz? Marilyn French tells her story in The War Against Women (1992). She was active during the 1970s in for free democratic trade unions and it was she, together with another woman, Alina Pienkowska, both workers in the Lenin shipyard where Walesa was also employed, who persuaded the workers not to give up the historic 1980 strike but to remain out in solidarity with the other shipyards. From this Solidarity was born. When the polish Government invoked martial law in December 1980, Walentynowicz continued to organize at the yard. As a consequence she was imprisoned.  Men took over Solidarity, and when, after her release, she tried to return to the yard she was sent to prison hospital for psychiatric observation. Walentynowicz lost her job, her pension and her possessions when her flat was looted during her imprisonment. Lech Walesa became president of Poland.

Margery Hourihan Deconstructing the Hero Literary Theory and Children’s Literature (1997)