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Kate Millett

  • Perhaps patriarchy's greatest psychological weapon is simply its universality and longevity. ... Patriarchy has a still more tenacious or powerful hold through its successful habit of passing itself off as nature.

  • The rationale which accompanies that imposition of male authority euphemistically referred to as 'the battle of the sexes' bears a certain resemblance to the formulas of nations at war, where any heinousness is justified on the grounds that the enemy is either an inferior [part of the] species or really not human at all.

  • Because of our social circumstances, male and female are really two cultures and their life experiences are utterly different.

  • Perhaps nothing is so depressing an index of the inhumanity of the male-supremacist mentality as the fact that the more genial human traits are assigned to the underclass: affection, response to sympathy, kindness, cheerfulness.

  • It is interesting that many women do not recognize themselves as discriminated against; no better proof could be found of the totality of their conditioning.

  • For it is precisely because certain groups have no representation in a number of recognized political structures that their position tends to be so stable, their oppression so continuous.

  • Hostility is expressed in a number of ways. One is laughter.

  • In many patriarchies, language, as well as cultural tradition, reserve the human condition for the male. With the Indo-European languages this is a nearly inescapable habit of mind, for despite all the customary pretense that 'man' and 'humanity' are terms which apply equally to both sexes, the fact is hardly obscured that in practice, general application favors the male far more often than the female as referent, or even sole referent, for such designations.

  • The worst part about prostitution is that you're obliged not to sell sex only, but your humanity. That's the worst part of it: that what you're selling is your human dignity. Not really so much in bed, but in accepting the agreement — in becoming a bought person.

    • Kate Millett,
    • paraphasing a prostitute interviewed for "Prostitution: A Quartet for Female Voices," in Vivian Cornick and Barbara K. Moran eds., Woman in Sexist Soceity ()
  • Monogamy and prostitution go together.

  • Prostitution is really the only crime in the penal law where two people are doing a thing mutually agreed upon and yet only one, the female partner, is subject to arrest.

  • Life is a publicity stunt. A shill. You've been had.

  • You're dead already, and we never talked. ... Now, really dead. Literally and finally. I've mourned you so many years, I wonder, now, what it will be like to start again.

  • Homosexuality was invented by a straight world dealing with its own bisexuality.

  • Aren't women prudes if they don't and prostitutes if they do?

    • Kate Millett,
    • speech ()
  • People have a right to their own lives, and if you can't help somebody, you ought to get out of their way.

    • Kate Millett,
    • in Andrea Freud Loewenstein interview, Sojourners ()
  • By the threat of example as effective over the general population as detention centers in dictatorships, the image of the madhouse floats through every mind for the course of its lifetime.

  • ... it was accepted by those around me that I was 'crazy,' so I might just as well be.

  • ... one of the blessings of adulthood is that one is no longer addressed as a thing.

  • Mystical state, madness, how it frightens people. How utterly crazy they become, remote, rude, peculiar, cruel, taunting, farouche as wild beasts who have smelled danger, the unthinkable.

  • How crazy craziness makes everyone, how irrationally afraid. The madness hidden in each of us, called to, identified, aroused like a lust. And against that the jaw sets. The more I fear my own insanity the more I must punish yours ...

  • No one should be adored, it's fundamentally immoral.

  • Ah, but depression — that is what we all hate. We the afflicted. Whereas the relatives and shrinks, the tribal ring, they rather welcome it: you are quiet and you suffer.

  • [On horses:] ... they are more beautiful than anything in the world, kinetic sculptures, perfect form in motion.

  • If only no one had told them I was mad. Then I wouldn't be.

Kate Millett, U.S. writer, critic, sculptor

(1934 - 2017)

Full name: Katherine Murray Millett.