Those Days

Female suicide attempts are not so much realistic “calls for help” or hostile inconveniencing of others as they are the assigned baring of the powerless throat, signals of ritual readiness for self-sacrifice. Like female tears, female suicide attempts constitute an essential act of resignation and helplessness–which alone can command temporary relief or secondary rewards. Suicide attempts are the grand rites of “femininity”–i.e., ideally, women are supposed to “lose” in order to “win.” Women who succeed at suicide are, tragically, outwitting or rejecting their “feminine” role, and at the only price possible: their death.

– Women and Madness, Phyllis Chesler


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