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Unformatted text preview: e serious because the two realms are not at all comparable in power. Without access to public power and skills, woman cannot survive alone, whereas man's control of power and resources means that woman's services are more readily replaceable. Yet the basic humanity of both is fundamentally truncated. Because each lacks an individuated self, there is no genuine person-to-person communication between them. He reduces her to the body that services his domestic and sexual needs but with whom he does not communicate. She experiences the slow soul-starvation of communication denial. The reduction of woman to the bodyobject of male use is enforced by a vast network of control, ranging from the most subtle to the most brutal. Direct physical assault is certainly the ultimate weapon that males assume they hold in reserve over women. Although the battered wife now comes to be regarded as a special "social problem," in fact there are few women, even today, who have not experienced at least one or two beatings from husbands or boyfriends. Historically, this weapon of control over women has been taken for granted as a male prerogative, defended in civil and ecclesiastical law." Male power over women means a denial of women's right to control their own bodies. Denial of reproductive decision-making is fundamental to this control. The male who "owns" a woman is assumed to have total sexual access to her. She must not reject his advances or make decisions about the effects of his "seed" upon her body and her life. The woman not under a particular male's control and protection, in turn, is regarded as available for rape. The rape of women is fundamentally an expression of hostility and contempt for women, rather than an expression of "uncontrollable sexual desire."' This is shown particularly by the way it is often accompanied by violence and mutilation. In tribal societies, men gang-rape women who are found alone, unprotected by a male and out of their place and role in w...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13