Forever Relevant: The Demon Lover
Gloria Steinem discusses the ongoing importance of Robin Morgan's political classic in understanding terrorism.
Well before terrorism was a word in our daily lives, I read Robin Morgan’s The Demon Lover: The Roots of Terrorism. She traced the deep political source of extreme violence to the self-perpetuating obsession of male-dominant cultures: Males must dominate at all costs, including to themselves. A few months later, a lone gunman in Montreal murdered 14 young women, students at a technical school that had rejected him as a student. From then on, I noticed the many lethal attempts at control in various countries. Then came 9/11 and the leader of its terrorist squad who had been taunted as a boy for not being “masculine” enough, refused to even accept his diploma from the hand of women, and had left instructions behind that no woman should be allowed to touch his body.
Recently, we’ve read about Zimmerman, the murderer of Trayvon Martin, who was obsessed with his right to control as a white man. Had his violence against women been taken seriously, a young black man might still be alive. This year in Santa Barbara, another male student smiled as he gunned down sorority women who symbolized women he felt had refused him. In other US cities this summer, white male cops have exerted their control over unarmed black men with chokeholds and bullets. The years have proved Robin Morgan terribly right, and she has kept updating her prophetic book, as well. I urge you to read The Demon Lover as a key to understanding and uprooting terrorism in all its forms.
Gloria Steinem is an American feminist, activist, writer, and editor who has shaped debates on gender, politics, and art since the 1960s. Cofounder of Ms. Magazine and a founding contributor of New York Magazine, Steinem has also published numerous bestselling nonfiction titles. Through activism, lectures, constant traveling as an organizer, and appearances in the media over time, Steinem has worked to address institutional inequalities of sex, race, sexuality, class, and access to power in the United States and abroad.