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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

To Emma, with Love

To Emma, with Love

(p.305) To Emma, with Love
The Essential Ellen Willis

Nona Willis Aronowitz

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter considers sex in relation to freedom and pleasure. These days, the pursuit of happiness is often slandered as irresponsibility, self-indulgence, and narcissism. Contempt for and terror of pleasure—along with frustrated and repressed longing for it—fuel today’s intertwined mass hysterias about drugs and sex. The reluctance of leftists and feminists to wholeheartedly defend pleasure skewed the abortion debate, putting “choice” advocates of on the defensive, for the heart of the matter is women’s sexual freedom, which is integral to freedom itself. It’s less a matter of “the right to control our bodies” than the freedom to accept and relish our bodies, to explore our capacity for pleasure. But this erotic revolution has to begin with children. The chapter aruges that we have to make the radical demand that children’s sexuality be affirmed and protected from both exploitation and inhibition by adults, that teenagers be entitled not only to birth control and abortion but to all the information, advice, and social, emotional, and medical support they need to express their sexuality safely and responsibly.

Keywords:   sex, freedom, pleasure, happiness, abortion, women, sexual freedom, children, sexuality, teenagers

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