(TW: VAW) We read things. We read many things. We read ‘Paradise Lost’, about Eve’s Sin, which seemed to consist partly in having curly hair. We read the glorified rape scenes in ‘Peyton Place’ and ‘The Fountainhead’, which proposed sexual assault as a kind of therapy. (For the woman. Leaves you with that radiant afterglow.) We read D.H Lawrence and his nasty bloodsucking gold spiderwomen, and his young girls melting like gelatin at the sight, thought or touch of a good man’s nicknamed appendage.
We read Norman Mailer, who detailed the orgasmic thrill of strangling a bitchy wife. We read Ernest Hemingway, who preferred fishing. We read ‘Playboy’, and its promises of eternal babyhood for boys, in the playpen with the bunnies - well away from the washer-dryer in the suburbs and the gold-digging wife and her (not his) screaming kids. We read Robert Graves, in which Man did and Woman was. Passivity was at an all-time high.
We read sex manuals that said a man should learn to play a woman like a violin. Nobody said a word about a woman learning to play a man like a flute.
- Margaret Atwood “If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Don’t Say Anything At All.”
Shields, Caroline, et al. Dropped Threads: What We Aren’t Told. Vintage Canada: A Division of Random House of Canada Ltd. 2001. (pg. 136 - 137)