RIP Mary Daly, Self-Described “Radical Feminist Pirate”

As Miriam mentioned briefly in yesterday’s What We Missed, philosopher Mary Daly has passed away. I think there’s no better tribute to Daly–a true pioneer in thought and action–than her own incredible words. Check out this excerpt from the Feb. 26, 1996 issue of The New Yorker:

Ever since childhood, I have been honing my skills for living the life of a radical feminist pirate and cultivating the courage to win. The word ‘sin’ is derived from the Indo-European root ‘es-,’ meaning ‘to be.’ When I discovered this etymology, I intuitively understood that for a woman trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin.’
Women who are pirates in a phallocratic society are involved in a complex operation. First, it is necessary to plunder–that is, righteously rip off gems of knowledge that the patriarchs have stolen from us. Second, we must smuggle back to other women our plundered treasures. In order to invent strategies that will be big and bold enough for the next millennium, it is crucial that women share our experiences: the chances we have taken and the choices that have kept us alive. They are my pirate’s battle cry and wake-up call for women who want to hear.
I urge you to Sin. … But not against these itty-bitty religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism — or their secular derivatives, Marxism, Maoism, Freudianism and Jungianism — which are all derivatives of the big religion of patriarchy. Sin against the infrastructure itself!

In Daly’s honor, “sin” big today!
There are also great pieces to read on Daly here, here, here, and here.
Thanks to the awesome Caryn Riswold, author of the recently released Feminism and Christianity: Questions and Answers in the Third Wave, for the links.

Join the Conversation