Q: A lot of your work and ideas focus on intersecting forms of oppression—class, patriarchy, colonialism. How do you overcome those oppressive forces? How can you convince someone to cede authority or resources?
Nawal-El-Saadwi-[Laughs.] Well, it’s very difficult. This is everyone’s struggle—whether against men in the family, or against capitalism. It’s power. I don’t think that people in power can be convinced by words or articles. They will never give it up by choice. Even a husband in the house, no—power has to be taken with power. Mubarak resigned because the people showed their power. If it had been only a few hundred protesters, he would never go, but because it was 20 million, the whole country, he had no choice. You can’t eradicate power with weakness. Knowledge and unity—these were power in the hands of the people.
Within a household, the individual woman must have power. It’s not easy—it means political rights, economic independence, knowledge. A lot of women are afraid of loneliness, so when they see a woman who can live alone, then they think, “Hmm, I can do that.” But you need an example, and that is why I am proud to say I have divorced three husbands.
Q: This idea, especially when it comes to women’s rights, that, “Okay, well, things are moving forward. Women are better off than they used to be.” Do you think we’re rethinking whether that is always true right now?
Margaret Atwood : Well, there’s no such thing as inevitable progress. And it always has been true and always will be true that rights did not descend out of the sky. Rights are things that people agree on, and they end up agreeing on them because people work to get them to agree. So they can always change their minds. They say, “Well, this has gone too far. We certainly can’t have high heels; let’s abolish them.” Or whatever it may be. And people are prone in times of crisis, turmoil, and social unrest … to limiting things. Because it makes them feel safer.
So there’s no inevitability about it. And you can’t have human rights for women unless you have human rights. Think of that. You cannot. Because unless you decide that women are some class of nonhuman beings and should have special treatment, then you have to have a general category of human rights, which includes women as human beings.
Source : https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/4/26/15435378/margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale-interview
In the August 4, 1972 issue of Nola Express, Alta, poet and publisher of the feminist press Shamless Hussy Press, admitted to being “shocked and hurt” by Bukowski’s rape fantasies-published by Fife in Nola Express.
[To Darlene Fife]
August 13, 1972
Your Alta is confused. There are men who rapes and men who think of rape. Writing of this does not mean the author condones the rape, even if it is written in the first person. The right of creation is the right to mention what does exit. I even know some women-personally-whose greatest desire is to be raped. Creation is creation. For instance, just because a man is black does not mean he can’t be a son of bitch and just because a woman is a woman does not mean she can’t be a bitch. Let’s not censor ourselves out of reality from a goody-goody stance. Also, from what Alta quotes from my column I can see that she is so fiercely righteous (almost akin to the religious maniac) that she misses the point of the whole thing-that I am poking fun at male attitude towards the female. I’m sorry that Alta has suffered on the marriage bed(as she mentioned). But let me remind the dear girl that men also suffer on marriage bad. Sometimes they are the ones who are doing service. Really. I might say that Alta is a female chauv. Pig. Men are also looking for women who are able to accept love. Prejudice works in all directions. But it’s almost useless to counter an attack like Alta’s. It will only goad her into more goody-goody wrong direction. But, still, sometimes these types must be answered. You know, they used to say, how can a person who loves pets, children and dogs be a bad person? Now it is, how can be a person who is against war, dirty water, dirty air, how can a person who is fighting for women’s right be a bad person? Or, it is used to be, he has long hair and a beard, he is all right. Well shit, you see, it can all be a stance…I reserve the right to create in any manner that reality or humor or even-whim-dictates. All right.
In The Blood of Others and All Men Are Mortal you deal with the problem of time. Were you influenced, in this respect, by Joyce or Faulkner?
Image Source : internet
No, it was a personal preoccupation. I’ve always been keenly aware of the passing of time. I’ve always thought that I was old. Even when I was twelve, I thought it was awful to be thirty. I felt that something was lost. At the same time, I was aware of what I could gain, and certain periods of my life have taught me a great deal. But, in spite of everything, I’ve always been haunted by the passing of time and by the fact that death keeps closing in on us. For me, the problem of time is linked up with that of death, with the thought that we inevitably draw closer and closer to it, with the horror of decay. It’s that, rather than the fact that things disintegrate, that love peters out. That’s horrible too, though I personally have never been troubled by it. There’s always been great continuity in my life. I’ve always lived in Paris, more or less in the same neighborhoods. My relationship with Sartre has lasted a very long time. I have very old friends whom I continue to see. So it’s not that I’ve felt that time breaks things up, but rather the fact that I always take my bearings. I mean the fact that I have so many years behind me, so many ahead of me. I count them.
Source : https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4444/simone-de-beauvoir-the-art-of-fiction-no-35-simone-de-beauvoir