“Pain is an essential part of the grooming process, and that is not accidental. Plucking the eyebrows, shaving under the arms, wearing a girdle, learning to walk in high-heeled shoes, having one’s nose fixed, straightening or curling one’s hair - these things hurt.
The pain, of course, teaches an important lesson: no price is too great, no process too repulsive, no operation too painful for the woman who would be beautiful.
The tolerance of pain and the romanticization of that tolerance begins here, in preadolescence, in socialization and serves to prepare women for lives of childbearing, self-abnegation, and husband-pleasing. The adolescent experience of the “pain of being a woman” casts the feminine psyche into a masochistic mold and forces the adolescent to conform to a self-image which bases itself on mutilation of the body, pain happily suffered, and restricted physical mobility.
It creates the masochistic personalities generally found in adult women: subservient, materialistic (since all value is placed on the body and its ornamentation), intellectually restricted, creatively impoverished. It forces women to be a sex of lesser accomplishment, weaker, as underdeveloped as any backward nation. Indeed, the side effects of that prescribed relationship between women and their bodies are so extreme, so deep, so extensive, that scarcely any area of human possibility is left untouched by it.
Men, of course, like a woman who “takes care of herself”. The male response to the woman who is made-up and bound is a learned fetish, societal in its dimensions…
The meaning of this analysis of the romantic ethos surely is clear. A first step in the process of liberation (women from their oppression, men from the unfreedom of their fetishism) is the radical redefining of the relationship between women and their bodies. The body must be freed, liberated, quite literally: from paint, girdles and all varieties of crap. WOMEN MUST STOP MUTILATING THEIR BODIES AND START LIVING IN THEM.
Perhaps the notion of beauty which will then organically emerge will be truly democratic and demonstrate a respect for human life in its infinite, and most honorable, variety.”
- Andrea Dworkin, Woman hating pg 115-116