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“There is only one word for a woman who has sex without belonging to a man or without acquiescing to the burden of motherhood, and that word is witch. Or perhaps it is slut. Either way, it is terrifying, for it means that perhaps women don’t need men; and if we merely choose them, they might just owe their existence not to necessity or fate, but to the will of a woman. Suddenly there is nothing more lethal in the world, nothing as unbearable as the black flame of women’s desire. No, you were not meant to be; yes, your mother could just as well have dispensed with you—she could have simply not felt like it. Now do you see why we are hated so? Do you understand the smell of singed flesh burning at the stake, the breaking voice of the lawmaker as he screams out what our bodies should and should not do? The hatred of women for themselves, for others? Now do you see why we so fear the free? Yet rambunctious, light-headed sex alone does not a witch make. Where the traditional slut inspires hate and pity, the witch shines by eliciting fear and rage. One becomes a witch by way of discovering, inside herself, a thing that wants independence and freedom more than it wants water or air, a thing that wants to tell the world: ‘look at me, it is I, the self.’ ” – Marie Baleo, “Desert Animals” (emphasis in original)

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