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RIP Shulamith Firestone, U. City-Raised Feminist Revolutionary

Categories: Obituaries

shulamith-firestone_opt.jpg
Firestone, ca. 1970
Shulamith Firestone, a painter and writer whose 1970 book The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution was one of the seminal books of second-wave feminism, was found dead in her apartment in New York's East Village this past Tuesday. She was 67.

Born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Ottawa, Canada, Firestone and her five brothers and sisters were raised in Kansas City and University City. Firestone attended Washington University before moving to Chicago to finish her education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

While still in her early twenties, Firestone helped found several radical feminist groups in Chicago and then in New York, including (with future Village Voice critic Ellen Willis) Redstockings, which ran consciousness-raising groups, taught self-defense classes and advocated for abortion rights. The manifestos she had written for those groups eventually became The Dialectic of Sex, which was published when she was only 25 and cemented her reputation as an important voice in the women's revolution.

Drawing on Marxist theory, Firestone argued that women were oppressed by childbearing and that the only way to end gender inequality was not only to eliminate male privilege (higher pay for equal work, etc.), but to eliminate all gender distinctions as well.

So that just as to assure elimination of economic classes requires the revolt of the underclass (the proletariat) and, in a temporary dictatorship, their seizure of the means of production, so to assure the elimination of sexual classes requires the revolt of the underclass (women) and the seizure of control of reproduction: not only the full restoration to women of ownership of their own bodies, but also their (temporary) seizure of control of human fertility - the new population biology as well as all the social institutions of child-bearing and child-rearing.

In Firestone's radical vision of the new world order, all conception would take place via artificial insemination and fetuses would grow in external artificial wombs. The nuclear family would be dissolved and, instead, people would live in "community units." In order to preserve this perfect equality, everyone would remain celibate.


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3 comments
RutgersSam
RutgersSam

It's so ironic these butch dykes call themselves feministsl And to praise a woman who was so radical is laughable. Hopefully, she can snuggle up to Karl Marx thru eternity, burning in hell. Either way, I won't lose any sleep nor shed any tears over the death of a most angry and evil dyke.

mynamespat
mynamespat

The Dialectic of Sex is one of the most idiotic, fascist, and repugnant works ever published under the guise of women’s liberation and its purported contributions to radical feminism reveal the dehumanizing foundations of that movement.

 

Shulasmith’s suppositions, if not ridiculous enough, on how society should be reorganized (not to mention the entire human condition of both men and women) to suit her hatred of the biological imperative and natural evolution are made more so by the fact that she and other radical feminists actually believe them.  To suit radical feminists minority views of perceived oppression Shulasmith offered a vision of a remodeled society founded on unenforceable gender-neutrality, eugenically pure and engineered children reared by the state to hate their mothers and fathers, and the destruction of any and all natural or artificial incentives that could possibly promote sexual reproduction to include the medical annihilation of orgasm for both sexes and including chemical or physical castration of men.  And to think that this Neo-Fascist fusion of Marxist-socialist ideas with extreme pro-feminist agenda came from a born and raised orthodox Jew!

 

If some of the points made in the Dialectic of Sex have found real-life representation in modern society they have done so to its detriment, not its advantage.  The raising of children gender-neutral can be just as harmful as helpful, artificial insemination is a useful tool but not a substitute, and real feminism is about the free expression of equality and sexuality for men as much as it is for women.  Shulasmith and those like her want to burn down the house in order to fix it.  Her life and her lifestyle were indicative of the deep-seated resentment and instability she felt inside her and those feelings were expressed as nakedly crazy and certifiably insane in the Dialectic of Sex.

 

RIP Shulasmith, your contribution to the feminist movement did more harm than good.

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