JOYCE CAROL OATES
... a day had to come when women shattered the pearl of their love
for pristine and feminine will and found the man, yes that man
in the million who could become the point of the seed which would
give an egg back to nature, and let the woman return with a
babe who came from the root of God's desire....
— The Prisoner of Sex
It is appropriate that Norman Mailer has become the central target of the fiercest and cruelest of Women's Liberation attacks, not because Mailer is prejudiced against women, or bullying about them, not even because he claims to know much about them, but because he is so dangerous a visionary, a poet, a mystic—he is shameless in his passion for women, and one is led to believe anything he says because he says it so well. He is so puritanical, so easily and deeply shocked, like any hero, that his arguments, which approach the fluidity and senselessness of music, have the effect of making the dehumanized aspects of womanhood appear attractive.
Here is Mailer: "... Why not begin to think of the ovum as a specialized production, as even an artistic creation?" And: "Yes, through history, there must have been every variation of the power to conceive or not to conceive—it was finally an expression of the character of the woman, perhaps the deepest expression of her character—" What, are artistic creation and the expression of character, for women, not detach-____________________