KATE MILLETT Biography - Writers


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Kate Millett (born September 14, 1934 in St. Paul, Minnesota) is an American             
feminist writer and activist. She is best known for her 1970 book Sexual                 
Politics. This work offers a comprehensive critique of patriarchy in Western             
society and literature. In particular, Millett attacked what she sees as the             
sexism and heterosexism of the modern novelists D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller,             
and Norman Mailer, contrasting their perspectives with the dissenting viewpoint           
of the homosexual author Jean Genet.                                                     
Kate Millett received her BA at the University of Minnesota in 1956, where she           
was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She later obtained a first-class         
degree, with honors, from St Hilda's College, Oxford in 1958. Sexual Politics             
originated as her PhD thesis, which was awarded by Columbia University in 1970.           
Millett moved to Japan in 1961. Two years later, Millett returned to the United           
States with fellow sculptor Fumio Yoshimura whom she married in 1965, but they           
split up in the 1970s. The two divorced in 1985. She was active in feminist               
politics in late 1960s and the 1970s. In 1966, she became a committee member of           
National Organization for Women.                                                         
In 1971, Millett started buying and restoring fields and buildings near                   
Poughkeepsie, New York. The project eventually became the Women's Art Colony             
Farm, a community of female artists and writers.                                         
Millett's 1971 film Three Lives, is a 16mm documentary made by an all-woman crew         
(including co-director Susan Kleckner, cameraperson Lenore Bode, and editor               
Robin Mide) under the name Women's Liberation Cinema. The 70-minute film focuses         
on reminiscences of three women recounting the stories of their lives. The               
subjects are Mallory Millett-Jones (the director's sister), Lillian Shreve, a             
chemist, and Robin Mide, an artist.                                                       
Her book Flying (1974) tells of her marriage with Yoshimura and her love affairs         
with women. In 1979, Millett went to Iran to work for women's rights, was soon           
deported, and wrote about the experience in Going to Iran. Sita (1977) is a               
meditation on Millett's doomed love affair with a female college administrator           
who was ten years her senior. The Loony-Bin Trip (1990) discusses her diagnosis           
of bipolar disorder, describing experiences with hospitalization and her                 
decision to discontinue lithium therapy.                                                 
In a notorious incident, she was a guest on a late-night television program in           
the UK (After Dark in 1991) when an inebriated Oliver Reed tried to kiss her,             
uttering the words "give us a kiss, big tits." Reed was made to leave the set.           
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Millett was involved in a dispute with the             
New York City authorities who wanted to evict her from her home at 295 Bowery as         
part of a massive redevelopment plan. Millett and others held out, but                   
ultimately lost their battle. Their building was demolished, and the residents           
were re-located.