“The emphasis on sex that currently permeates our public life attest not to our sexual freedom but to our continuing sexual frustration. People who are not hungry are not obsessed with food.”
—Ellen Willis, No More Nice Girls
*Quote recommended by Emily of Emily Books, a fantastic new indi(e) bookstore.
It’s less a matter of “the right to control our bodies” than the freedom to accept and relish our bodies, to explore our capacity for pleasure.– Ellen Willis on women’s sexual freedom
Under present conditions, people are preoccupied with consumer goods not because they are brainwashed but because buying is the one pleasurable activity not only permitted but actively encouraged by our rulers.– Ellen Willis
Ellen Willis is such a badass. I am so excited that I get to write about her.
Though everyone knows I’m a sucker for Paul Simon myself, she’s so good here I almost want to nod and agree.
“His alienation, like the word itself, is an old-fashioned, sentimental, West-Side-liberal bore.”
Nailed it. (Just wait for Graceland, Ellen; you’ll like that better.)
Ellen Willis, 1964
For a year I cut myself off from men altogether. Perhaps I had to plunge so deeply into the negative side of my ambivalence in order to say good-bye to it, or try to. When I began to be with someone again it was a bit like moving to a strange country. In the intervening years aloneness had become my norm, my taken-for-granted context. And yet those same years had changed my sense of myself, of men, of the ground rules for relationships, making it impossible to simply pick up where I left off.– Ellen Willis, “Escape from New York” (via rightnow-forever)
Excerpt from the Talk of the Town by Ellen Willis about the feminist disruption of the all-male (save one nun) New York abortion law hearings. Published in the New Yorker, February 22, 1969 and, Nona tells me, about to be republished in the forthcoming anthology!
OMG Sandra Fluke flashbacks.
—notes from Ellen Willis’ Bob Dylan piece, which took her seven months to write
Mom would have been an ultranervous blogger.
It’s my mom Ellen Willis’ birthday today. She would have been 71. Every year, I figure the best way of honoring her is to read my favorite pieces she’s written—things that push me to consider every moment of my life, and to fit together cultural forces like puzzle pieces. Here’s what I’m reading this year:
Women and the Myth of Consumerism, just in time for the holidays
Our Mobsters, Ourselves, a perfect companion to my current “Sopranos” marathon.
Coming Down Again, in No More Nice Girls
Intellectual Work in the Culture of Austerity, in Don’t Think, Smile!—an essay that has never been more relevant to my life