Marilyn French, feminist activist and author has died at the age of 79. French is my shero, I have all her books and re-watch The Women’s Room at least once a year. She pulled no punches and said it like it is, putting words to that which had not been named before and in doing so made possible a much needed dialog. She will be very sorely missed.
Her many books are and should continue to be read, they are timeless in their wisdom. They include The Women’s Room, The War Against Women, Beyond Power: On Women, Men and Morals and the 3 volume From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women. The quotes below remind us why her work was so important to the feminist movement:
Men seem unable to feel equal to women: they must be superior or they are inferior.
Men’s need to dominate women may be based in their own sense of marginality or emptiness; we do not know its root, and men are making no effort to discover it.
To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, is more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons.
And perhaps most well known, from The Women’s Room:
Whatever they may be in public life, whatever their relations with men, in their relations with women, all men are rapists and that’s all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, their codes.
While I do not believe French’s words are true of all men, it does, with crystal clear clarity, they describe the inescapable truth of patriarchy. Marilyn French, with gratitude for your wisdom and your courage, you will be missed.