The disappearance of accountability, prudence, and grit in our female millennial narrative?

12 quotes taken from the book title – Free Women, Free Men by Camille Paglia (2017)

Image credit: Canongate

#1 “It is our personal responsibility to define what we will and will not tolerate.”

#2 A woman going to a fraternity party is walking into Testosterone Flats, full of prickly cacti and blazing guns. If she goes, she should be armed with resolute alertness. A girl who lets herself dead drunk at a fraternity party is a fool. A girl who goes upstairs alone with a brother at a fraternity part is an idiot. Feminists call this “blaming the victim”. I call it common sense.

– Page 54

#3 Every woman must take personal responsibility for her sexuality which is nature’s red flame. She must be prudent and cautious about where she goes and with whom. When she makes a mistake, she must accept the consequences, and through self-criticism, resolve never to make that mistake again.

– Page 56

#4 A woman’s number one of defense is herself. When a real rape occurs, she should report it to the police. Complaining to college committee’s because the courts “take too long” is ridiculous. College administrations are not a branch of the judiciary. They are not equipped or trained for legal inquiry. Colleges must alert incoming students to the problems and dangers of adulthood. Then colleges must stand back and get out of the sex game.

– Page 57

#5 We have got to make women realize they are responsible, that sexuality is something that belongs to them. They have an enormous power in their sexuality. It’s up to them to use it correctly and to be wise about where they go and what they do.

– Page 72

#6 It is foolish and counterproductive for feminists to promote mediocre work merely because it is of female provenance.

– Page 98

#7 a successful 1991 lawsuit by female athletes against Brown University (which has appealed), allocations for sports must absurdly follow the exact proportion of males to females in the general undergraduate population, even though the number of men wanting to join teams far exceeds that of women…Women’s liberation cannot be achieved on the smoking ruins of men’s traditions.

– Page 104

#8 I am an equity feminist – that is, I believe in equality of the sexes before the law and the removal of all obstacles to women’s advance in society. However, I oppose special protections for women, which has been sought from the start by some leading feminists.

– Pg 124

#9 My position is that women must enter the arena of power without asking for special protections that are not accorded to men. Hence, I have strongly opposed preferential quotas.

And I call for moderate sexual harassment guidelines that must not infringe on other people’s rights in the workplace or create a reactionary double standard that defines women as somehow weaker. Frailer, or purer than men.

The secondary “hostile workplace” clause in sexual harassment policy is, I think inhibiting women’s progress and guaranteeing that men will treat them with suspicion rather than full collegiality. Every workplace is hostile for both women and men, testing, challenge, and potential sabotage everywhere. Women must learn how to maneuver and negotiate for their own territory from the moment they arrive on the scene of any office or schoolroom.

– Pg 132

#10 When men step out of line, women should deal with it on the spot. Most men are cowed by women! Any woman worth her salt should know how to deal with men and put them in their place. Women must demand respect, and over time they will get it. It is foolish to think that substantial change in human psychology can be achieved through legislation and regulation, that is, through authoritarian intrusion into private life.

– Pg 134

#11 My mission as an Amazon feminist is to strengthen the will power of the individual woman to show how far she can go on her own. Political organization and legislative reform are necessary, but we must beware of the depressive cultural effect of authoritarian bureaucracy. Women must not feel that they can only be strong under the aegis of the all-seeing state.

– Pg 143

#12 I am continually shocked and dismayed by the nearly Victorian notions promulgated by today’s feminists about the fragility of women and their naïve helplessness in asserting control over their own dating lives. Female undergraduates incapable of negotiating the oafish pleasures and perils of campus fraternity parties are hardly prepared to win leadership positions in business or government in the future.

– Pg 271

#13 Whelan: Speaking of a backward turn, young feminists today are obsessed with the idea of “rape culture”. Do you think that, as the idea of rape culture suggests, sexual violence is normalized?

Camille: “Rape culture” is a ridiculous term – mere gassy propaganda, too rankly bloated to critique. Anyone who sees sex so simplistically has very little sense of world history, anthropology, or basic psychology. I feel very sorry for women who have been seduced by this hyper-politicized, victim-centered rhetoric, because in clinging to such superficial, inflammatory phrases, they have renounced their own power and agency.

– Pg 273

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In a progressive first world society – does being a female make me any less accountable for the outcomes of my choices and actions? Do I have that little autonomy and control to protect and assert my boundaries? Is the genital I am born with, or my self-agency a more definitive feature in determining my life outcome? Is female strength about personifying a victim, or practicing a victor mentality? The shackles of pitying oneself into the rhetorical mainstream “helpless and disadvantaged and oppressed” female community narrative… it only prevents young girls from developing grit, strength, and decisiveness in the long run. To undertake responsibility in making more self-reflective, prudent, and wiser decisions, alongside seeking out and grabbing opportunities to improve oneself – that is when one can slowly develop into what it truly means to be an empowered woman.

– Offbeat Perspectives

Feature image credit: Canongate

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