The Dworkin Whitewash

What's with all the posthumous adulation of loony feminist extraordinaire Andrea Dworkin? The New York Times gives Dworkin's sister-in-censorship, law professor Catharine MacKinnon, a platform to celebrate the late writer/activist as a Nobel Prize-caliber genius, misunderstood by the world and maligned by "minions of the status quo" (such as, presumably, American Civil Liberties Union president Nadine Strossen, who coined the brilliant term "MacDworkin" to describe the duo and their followers). The Boston Globe published an equally glowing eulogy by Wheelock College professor Gail Dines (my own considerably more jaundiced view runs on Monday). I was especially taken aback when the usually reasonable Ann Althouse, University of Wisconsin law professor and blogger, decided to "honor" Dworkin with this tribute. Althouse notes that in contrast to the "blatantly partisan" feminists who flocked to Bill Clinton's defense when he was accused of sexual misconduct, "Dworkin, for all her overstatements and wackiness, was truly devoted to feminism as an end." All right, so Dworkin was nonpartisan in her demonization of men and male sexuality ("What needs to be asked," she notoriously told a British writer on Clinton's dalliance with Monica Lewinsky, "is, Was the cigar lit?"). That's a good thing? And what is this "feminism" she was dedicated to, anyway? It certainly wasn't liberal feminism, anti-censorship feminism, or pro-sex feminism, all of which she despised.

The bottom line:

Whatever her defenders may say, Dworkin was a relentless preacher of hatred toward men ("Under patriarchy, every woman's son is her betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman" -- Letters from a War Zone, 1989, p. 14). Yes, she apparently had genuine and even warm affection for some men in her own life, and spent her last 20 years with a male companion she eventually married (John Stoltenberg, a MacDworkinite feminist and practically a poet of male self-loathing). But no one would absolve a male misogynist on the grounds that he loved his mother and sister, or had a devoted wife who embraced his ideology.

Whatever her defenders say, Dworkin was anti-sex. No, she may not have ever written the actual words "All sex is rape" or "All sexual intercourse is rape." But she did extensively argue, in particular in the 1987 book, Intercourse, that (1) all heterosexual sex in our "patriarchal" society is coercive and degrading to women, and (2) sexual penetration may by its very nature doom women to inferiority and submission, and "may be immune to reform." A chapter from the book, filled with such insights as, "Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men's contempt for women," can be found here. (Again, if a male writer had written book after book arguing that women were evil creatures whose sole purpose in life is to sexually manipulate and destroy men, would we spend a lot of time quibbling over whether he actually used the phrase, "All women are whores"?) In the 1976 book, Our Blood (p. 13), Dworkin had this to say about a feminist transformation of sexuality: "For men I suspect that this transformation begins in the place they most dread -- that is, in a limp penis. I think that men will have to give up their precious erections and begin to make love as women do together." (Gee... can you say "castrating"?)

It's sadly obvious that this supposedly bold and visionary prophet was, in actuality, insane. (Among other things, she described the Caesarian section as "a surgical fuck" by "the new rapist, the surgeon.") So why the praise? Is this really little more than slightly over-the-top rhetoric in defense of the oppressed? Is challenging the very existence of sexual intercourse really a wonderfully bold and provocative idea, as even pro-sex feminist and frequent Dworkin target Susie Bright seems to think? Why the lack of stigma against anti-male bigotry?

In her Times op-ed, MacKinnon complains that Dworkin's brilliant ideas have been "marginalized." Clearly, they haven't been marginalized enough; and that's bad news for women, men, and feminism.

By the way, the best critique of MacDworkinism can be found in Daphne Patai's outstanding 1998 book Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism. I leave you with Patai's observation: "Cultivating hatred for another human group ought to be no more acceptable when it issues from the mouths of women than when it comes from men, no more tolerable from feminists than from the Ku Klux Klan."

UPDATE: Today's New York Times, in the Week in Review section, features a piece on the praise bestowed on Dworkin by some conservatives. Actually, one of the curious aspects of Dworkin's "legacy" is the extent to which appropriating her language helped social conservatives attack freedom and equality for women without appearing anti-woman. I recall Terry Jeffrey of Human Events, a few years ago, saying on the late, unlamented Crossfire that the sexual revolution was "violence against women." And just the other day at the blog of the Independent Women's Forum, Charlotte Hays referred to women being wounded in combat in Iraq as "state-sanctioned violence against women." In a way, it makes sense. The MacDworkinite focus on violent male abuse of women completely obscured the fact that at least in Western history, patriarchy far more commonly took the form of paternalism and special protections for women. Thus, this ideology played straight into the hands of the neo-paternalists.

UPDATE, again: My Boston Globe column on Dworkin is now online.

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  • Ayn_Randian||

    Cathy, the same with all of the posthumous praise for the pope: anti-capitalism, anti-reason and overall pro-guilt for the successful and happy, and that did not stop even enlightened libertarians and (ulp) Objectivists from singing his praises. Sorry, but when people die they tend to get treatment they just don't deserve and never would have received in life.

  • ||

    Cathy, you have been on a roll lately (e.g. your treatment of the Schiavo farce). Keep it up--you are beautiful when you are angry. To hell with evenhandedness, just wield your stiletto and let somebody else count the bodies.

  • Pete Guither||

    I thought that Laura Miller did a fairly decent job in her piece at Salon.

    Here are some excerpts.

    Dworkin was also a pioneer of a particular and pernicious type of rhetoric, one currently being used much more effectively by talk radio hosts and the extreme political right. ...


    ...Dworkin came out of and contributed to a subculture of feminism that specialized in this kind of irresponsible overstatement....

    Her contribution to the discussion on most issues failed the ultimate litmus test: Even when she was right, she made the public conversation stupider.

  • ||

    Had Dworkin's ideas appeared in a single piece of writing you might be able to argue that she was trying to make a contrarian point through satire. But they didn't and she wasn't.

  • ||

    Crazy rhetoric couched as some sort of genius vision.

    Insane hyperbole.

    Sycophantic followers declaring this lunacy to be some sort of rare and insightful genius.

    Dare I say it?

    Was Andrea Dworkin the Ann Coulter of feminism?

  • Ron Hardin||

    Something is wrong, and men have to change to fix it.

    It's a formalizing of sending men on quests to prove their worth. If sending takes over all of a marriage, it becomes nagging. If it's independent of any man in particular, it becomes feminism.

    The quest, though, in its simple and particular form, gives a man a chance to show himself worthy of his woman, and her a chance to express her satisfaction with him.

    Divorced from those particulars, it might become almost anything.

  • ||

    Something is wrong, and men have to change to fix it.

    I don't buy that men have to do all the heavy lifting.

    Just what do you expect men to DO? Change their behavior so women don't have to come of sounding like nags?

    Why shouldn't women have to change their approach to one more effective than either nagging or becoming as feminist?

    Since men stopped going on quests, both men's AND womens roles have changed.

    Men are not solely responsible for the changes so why should we be solely responsible for adapting to those new roles.

    The mere idea that men have to do all the changing reduces women to a "passive responder" status.

    Men and women continue to change and adapt to everchanging social rules (and roles).

    Some will cling to old models of behavior and some create clunky new ones (like radical feminism). They are just attempts to understand and deal with these changes.

    As cynical as I am, IMHO men and women seem to lurch forward absorbing these changes.

    The inertia seems to (eventually) take the most effective snippets from any particular ideology and chuck the rest of the garbage.

    Sometimes it moves back before moving forward. And it never hits everyone all at the same time everywhere in the world. But move it does.

    Declaring the "Men Have To Change" simply doesn't say anything at all.

    It places ALL the responsibility for action on men. Gives ALL of the credit for correct behavior to women. And assumes that ALL men and women everywhere are essentially the same.

    It's as pointless a statement as "men are pigs", "sex is rape" and "women are goddesses".

  • ||

    Madpad uses too many words per thought.

  • ||

    In the eloquent words of my overly-large, butch, female, and married sex-ed teacher: "It's a weapon."

  • s.m. koppelman||

    Maybe the people cutting Dworkin a little posthumous slack are just uneasy with the number of ugly necrophilia and corpse-mutilation fantasies celebrating her death that have appeared these past few days.

  • ||

    koppelman: got any links? :-)

  • ||

    Funny story:

    I write for the newswire of a certain popular alternaporn site. When I wrote up a straightforwardly honest sum up of her life, I got a huge backlash.

    People at a porn site were defending Andrea Dworkin! I made the simple point of saying that if she had gotten what she wanted, you all wouldn't be here. I got the most ridiculous excuses from the feminists about her being not *really* anti-sex. She was *really* just against all sex happening back then! And any sex that would happen until her perfect woman-ruled utopia came to pass.

    Oh...ok.

    And only the uneducated masses thought she was anti-male. She was just against maleness as it existed then! And still does...and probably forever will...

    Alrighty then!

    Cathy, I'm surprised you didn't link this excellent Globe article from shortly before Dworkin died:

    What happened to the anti-porn feminists?

    Frankly. I don't care what your intellectual status is. And no doubt Dworkin was a brilliant mind. When you use that mind to try to censor others, you have just lost all cred and your ideas aren't worth shit in my book.

  • ||

    corpse-mutilation fantasies celebrating her death

    Nothing personal, mind you. I'm just glad that castration was never codified into law.

  • s.m. koppelman||

    Well, without even leaving this site, there's this prior H+R comment thread.

  • ||

    Cathy, you have been on a roll lately (e.g. your treatment of the Schiavo farce). Keep it up--you are beautiful when you are angry. To hell with evenhandedness, just wield your stiletto and let somebody else count the bodies.

    I agree! The "One the one hand....but on the other hand..." formula has gotten tired. Simply calling it as you see it is excellent!

  • ||

    "Was Andrea Dworkin the Ann Coulter of feminism?"

    I think if you could see Ann Coulter's soul, her true self, it would look like Andrea Dworkin.

  • ||

    I agree with the article, however, how about backing up those first few quotes with where they can be found.

  • ||

    The "One the one hand....but on the other hand..." formula has gotten tired. Simply calling it as you see it is excellent!

    Comment by: thoreau

    In other news, gaius marius denies relevance of Hegelian philosophy to Social Security debate.

  • ||

    There's an interesting article in *The Times* (London) about something which I don't think Cathy Young emphasizes enough--*right-wing* praise for Dworkin (which actually is logical enough, given the Right's dislike of sexual freedom):

    "Some of the kindest obituaries of Dworkin have come from conservative writers such as David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W Bush who coined the phrase 'axis of evil' about Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

    "Frum was introduced to Dworkin and her husband by the left-wing British writer Christopher Hitchens. 'Despite myself, I was impressed,' Frum said. 'When I met her she was increasingly immobilised by illness but her mind ranged free.'

    "According to Frum, she was revolted by Bill Clinton's behaviour towards women and supported the work of evangelical Christians against sex trafficking. Dworkin also had 'little use for an anti-war movement that made excuses for Saddam Hussein or Islamic extremism'.

    "He added: 'In one respect at least, she shared a deep and true perception with the political and cultural right. She understood that the sexual revolution had inflicted serious harm on the interests of women and children ? and ultimately of men as well.'

    "Stoltenberg said Dworkin 'enormously enjoyed' meeting Frum and his wife, the writer Danielle Crittenden. 'It was a scintillating evening,' he said. Dworkin also enjoyed taking tea with Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy and a consultant on family values for the Bush administration.

    "'I was struck by her intellectual seriousness. She grappled with some very hard, deep truths,' said Gallagher. 'When most people think of Andrea Dworkin they think of her assertion that intercourse is rape, but what I remember is her claim that sexual intercourse is not intrinsically banal.'

    "A lot of conservatives used to say, 'Oh, she's a lesbian', as if that explained her views on sex but she really wanted to transcend the body."

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1572296,00.html

  • Jesse Walker||

    Maybe the people cutting Dworkin a little posthumous slack are just uneasy with the number of ugly necrophilia and corpse-mutilation fantasies celebrating her death that have appeared these past few days.

    Those are extremely creepy, but in a way they honor her, or at least her perspective. In life and in death, Dworkin provoked a lot of men to say things about her that were the sort of things she believed virtually all men thought about all women. If they ever build a Hall of Fame for self-fulfilling prophecies, she should be the first inductee.

  • ||

    Due to these threads of the past few days I've been devoting a LOT more brain cells to Andrea Dworkin than I ever bothered to before, and it occurs to me that, whatever beliefs she may have had earlier in her career, and whatever legitimate feminist triumphs her younger self may have achieved, ultimately her main message wasn't anti-man or even pro-woman or pro-feminism; it was anti-sex, period. With all her ranting against 'intercourse' on the grounds that it requires a male body part to enter the body of a woman (cue language of 'violation' and 'occupation' here), you'd think this wasn't a fact of biology but a deliberate plot by men, who purposely designed the female reproductive system for just such reasons.

    And suddenly my thoughts form a creepy cross-connection with the character of Carrie's mother in the Stephen King book, screaming that menstruation and breast growth aren't normal biological functions, but a sign from God that the girl in question is evil.

    Even if Andrea Dworkin had NOT pushed for social policies and laws I find repugnant I STILL would not have supported her, because any philosophy based upon the assumption that there is something inherently evil about a basic human biological function is a philosophy which can't be anything other than fucked up.

  • ||

    I was especially taken aback when the usually reasonable Ann Althouse, University of Wisconsin law professor and blogger, decided to "honor" Dworkin ... Althouse notes that in contrast to the "blatantly partisan" feminists who flocked to Bill Clinton's defense when he was accused of sexual misconduct

    Further proof that, like Bush, Clinton drives normally reasonable and thoughtful people insane.

    Gret comment on Althouse's blog Cathy.

  • ||

    I think if you could see Ann Coulter's soul, her true self, it would look like Andrea Dworkin.

    Bad enough it looks like Ann Coulter.

  • ||

    I think if you could see Ann Coulter's soul, her true self, it would look like Andrea Dworkin

    I don't think so. Ann Coulter strikes me as someone who doesn't actually believe most of the stuff she says. She just says it because he earns her living as a rabble-rouser. She's the right-wing Michael Moore, not the right-wing Dworkin.

  • ||

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Laura Miller's piece in Salon was good, though she could have been tougher on Dworkin.

    s.m. koppelman:

    Maybe the people cutting Dworkin a little posthumous slack are just uneasy with the number of ugly necrophilia and corpse-mutilation fantasies celebrating her death that have appeared these past few days.

    There was definitely some ugly sentiment expressed in the H & R thread you mention, but as Jesse Walker says, there is a certain irony in the fact that Dworkin's brand of extremism would bring out exactly the kind of ugliness in a few people that she saw in all men.

    Anyway, the proper response to such ugliness is certainly not to celebrate Dworkin's oeuvre -- it's to point out that she does deserve a measure of compassion as a very disturbed, very unhappy person.

    Pavel -- thanks for the link to the Globe article! I actually missed that. Amazing story about the pro-Dworkin sentiment on that porn site.

    David -- ironically, at the time you posted the London Times article, I was working on the update to my blog post about the New York Times article on Dworkin and the right.

    Jennifer:

    And suddenly my thoughts form a creepy cross-connection with the character of Carrie's mother in the Stephen King book, screaming that menstruation and breast growth aren't normal biological functions, but a sign from God that the girl in question is evil.

    Even if Andrea Dworkin had NOT pushed for social policies and laws I find repugnant I STILL would not have supported her, because any philosophy based upon the assumption that there is something inherently evil about a basic human biological function is a philosophy which can't be anything other than fucked up.

    That's an excellent point! There is, in fact, a rather creepy resemblance between the misogynist view that menstruation makes women "unclean," and the Dworkinite loathing of erections (and penetration).

    To Henry and thoreau: I always call 'em as I see 'em, guys. On a lot of issues, I think there are good/valid points on both sides. Not here.

    And what's that about a stiletto heel? How sexist! *grin* If I'm going to wield a sharp weapon, I much prefer something like this....

  • ||

    Dan -- good point about Coulter vs Dworkin.

    And Mo, thanks. I'm a bit disappointed that Prof. Althouse never replied to me. Ah well...

  • ||

    Prof. Althouse just posted a response on her blog.

  • ||

    Replied to Althouse, and edited my first post in the thread to include a link to my Globe column (already online).

  • ||

    It's bad luck to speak ill of the freshly dead.
    That's why people are saying nice things.
    Give it a year or two: if she's mentioned at all, it won't be in any fulsome encomium.

  • ||

    >>And what's that about a stiletto heel? How sexist! *grin* If I'm going to wield a sharp weapon, I much prefer something like this....

  • RedGreen||

    I'm a man...
    But I can change..
    If I have to....
    I guess.

  • ||

    cathy:

    I expect that, as weapons go, Dworkin would have gone with the chakram, as it is much less the Mr. Pointy.

    Kevin

  • ||

    I'm a bit confused by the occasionally expressed sentiment, including by her critics, that Dworkin had "a brilliant mind."

    Admittedly, I have read little from Dworkin, but that is in part because I've never seen any evidence of this "brilliance" some speak of.

    Anyone care to point out what I'm missing?

  • ||

    Catharine MacKinnon is still preaching same old rhetoric .

  • ||

    "I don't think so. Ann Coulter strikes me as someone who doesn't actually believe most of the stuff she says."

    I agree. Her ramblings are always straight off the red-meat Republican script. She never, ever strays.

    I've said this before, but once she stops getting all this attention, she will suddenly appear on Al Franken's radio show (is it still on?), confessing her sins to that fruitcake David Brock.

  • ||

    Nothing explains the futility of Andrea Dworkin's worldview and life better than the fact that the antiporn law she and MacKinnon got passed in Canada was used to close lesbian bookstores... and ban Dworkin's own books.

  • ||

    tsiroth wrote:
    "Admittedly, I have read little from Dworkin, but that is in part because I've never seen any evidence of this "brilliance" some speak of."
    - - - -
    If you read any of Dworkin's writings, you can see that she possessed a high intelligence. It is obvious from her skillful use of language and the complexity of her thoughts.

    It doesn't mean she was sane or right, just really smart. I had never read much of her until lately and thought that the nutty ideas attributed to her were probably overstated and out of context. I was giving her the benefit of the doubt.

    After reading quite a few excerpts (everything I could find) of her writings from www.andreadworkin.net , I've now come to the conclusion that she was even creepier and more damaged than popularly represented.

    What a sad waste of human potential. With her intelligence and drive, she could have made a real contribution to humanity.


    Hal

  • ||

    If you read any of Dworkin's writings, you can see that she possessed a high intelligence.

    Could you cite an example of something intelligent she said? Because I've seen her quoted a lot in this and other forums, by both her enemies and her admirers, and it all sounded like the usual half-baked wafer-thin college-freshman bullshit philosophy to me. I've seen more intelligence exhibited by the dust bunnies under my sofa, who at least have the wit not to equate romance with rape.

  • big dirigible||

    "I'm a bit disappointed that Prof. Althouse never replied to me."

    Hah! She's been known to reply to me, twice on one thread! Her first reply was so feeble I never bothered to read the second one, though. The only reaon I wrote in the first place was that I thought she was Reynolds - she was filling in on one of his columns, and ol' dumbnuts here didn't notice it until too late.

    "If you read any of Dworkin's writings, you can see that she possessed a high intelligence"

    Just another wasted resource. Intelligence by itself is little more than pathetic. Ted Kaczynski is unusually intelligent, but best keep your distance. Hermann Goering was the most intelligent man in the courtroom at Nuremberg, and see what good it did him.

  • ||

    Anyone care to point out what I'm missing?

    Read "Woman Hating". She was a brilliant individual, tho sadly misguided. I suspect (as many others do I imagine) that her own experience(s) as a victim ruined sex for her, and through one seriously pernicious selection effect she sought to ruin sex for the rest of us.

  • ||

    "(Again, if a male writer had written book after book arguing that women were evil creatures whose sole purpose in life is to sexually manipulate and destroy men, would we spend a lot of time quibbling over whether he actually used the phrase, "All women are whores"?)"

    Cathy, have you ever read Tucker Max, at TuckerMax.com?

    I only ask because he uses that phrase all the time. Pretty funny.

  • Robert Mandel||

    Could you cite an example of something intelligent she said? Because I've seen her quoted a lot in this and other forums, by both her enemies and her admirers, and it all sounded like the usual half-baked wafer-thin college-freshman bullshit philosophy to me.

    Dan, don't you know that's how the overqualified for nothing "learned" keep their jobs. They create pseudo-academic fields, then create the secure jobs to inculcate their ideas into willing sycophants, and have all their colleagues colalborate in the game. They create their departments, and usurp academic culture. VDH said it best:"I would eliminate anything that has the word "studies" in it: ethnic studies, women's studies, cultural studies, American studies. That would free up about 25 percent of the current therapeutic curriculum." (but of course, he's a real academic, so I'll get blasted)


    When other academics agree that's she's brilliant, then by default, she's brilliant. I've no doubt that Dworkin, et al., were at one time serious students and scholars, but as they found the only way to attract attention was to be ever more radical, and it was path to mainstream, then suddenly their radicalism became mainstream, and they were the leaders. It's simialr to when we won the cold war, the military was thinking, "holy crap, what do we do now?"

    Perhaps with the Churchill affair, Columbia U., and other examples, the glass houses will come crumbling down. The simple fact remains that she was a writer of inanity, amusing at best, disgusting at worst, harmful to some, empowering to a few, a point of ridicule and an example of all that's wrong with "academia".

  • Warren||

    HEY! Did you really delete my post because it offended a Reason staffer? For future reference where does H&R draw it's politicaly correct lines?

  • bubba||

    i didnt no peple that ugly dyed.

  • ||

    beste -

    Thanks for the MacKinnon link - it's always wonderful to see how radical chic still pervades parts of academia.

    Here's an interesting exercise - remove the 9/11 reference from MacKinnon's talk, then substitute the words "Islam" and "the West" for "women" and "men" throughout it. Sounds a whole lot like something Osama bin Laden would say, doesn't it?

    Just as bin Laden was in the past, MacKinnon and Dworkin were and are supported in their message of hate and rebellion by a flock of blithering twerps who find their rantings "sweeping," "profound" and "thought-provoking." It does a profound disservice to the very serious issue of domestic violence, and simply gives the Right additional ammunition in their ongoing Kulturkampf against modern liberalism and secular humanism.

  • ||

    Warren - H&R has received enough accolades that now its standards for offending people have been tightened so as not to irritate the leftists. The mainstream ruins everything.

  • ||

    "It's bad luck to speak ill of the freshly dead."

    If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

    I doubt the death of David Duke is going to get such a nice eulogy (or even any attention at all) from the Boston Globe, so why does Dworkin?

    That's an entirely serious question by the way - I see her philosophy as fundamentally totalitarian in pretty much the same way.

  • ||

    Kevin:

    I expect that, as weapons go, Dworkin would have gone with the chakram, as it is much less the Mr. Pointy.

    But that's Dworkin, not me. ;)

    Was Dworkin "brilliant"? She certainly had a gift for language. Her "style" consists largely of bizarre hyperbole and incantatory, hypnotic repetition of certain phrases. I don't see any evidence of real "intelligence" in any of her writings, but maybe that's because I have a pedestrian view of intelligence which requires that ideas actually have some relation to the real world.

    Daphne Patai, in the book I referenced, compared certain Dworkin-style writings to Otto Weininger's 1903 book Sex and Character. Weininger was a brilliant psychotic who committed suicide at age 23 -- an anti-Semitic Jew and a misogynist who argued that women were lower creatures with no intellectual or spiritual essence who existed parasitically by preying on men through sex, and dragged men down with them into the swamp of sexuality. (He also believed that Jewish culture was essentially "feminine.") His work is still the subject of a good deal of interest, including this centenary reevaluation conference. Who knows, maybe Dworkin will achieve similar stature as a mad genius.

  • ||

    I really liked what Cathy had to say, and thank you for pointing us to the quote "Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men's contempt for women,". That may not be the same as saying penatrative sex is rape, but it sure is damn close.

    I disagreed with everything she said, but I have read a lot of her writing, and in a weird way think she was important. Why? Like a poster above pointed out, there are plenty of men who say things like "all woman are whores" and get away with it.

    I mentioned to a male friend last week that Dworkin had died, his response "lets go masturbate on her grave". Hmmm....stuff like that doesn't excuse Dworkins anti male stance, but it sure does explain it. But what the hell, it's not like highschool principals would have special ed students raped on stage and then tell the parent not to call police...Right?
    NYT-
    "One witness's statement said a boy pulled the girl onto the auditorium stage, ordered her to be quiet, pushed her to her knees and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

    "If you scream, I'll have all my boys punch you," the boy told her and then hit her in the face, causing her mouth to bleed, a student told the investigators."
    and...
    "One of the three assistant principals, Richard Watson, said he had found the videotape and then viewed it with other administrators. Their conclusion, they told investigators, was that there had been no coercion."

    I don't know...Ms. Dworkins evil seems to be a bit smaller than the people who gave wings to her complaints.

    And I still hate her, but I know where she came from.

  • ||

    Quit picking on the slim, fetching and entertaining Coulter. Go to dinner with her and you'd never be one of those couples with dried up conversational wells. Voters would turnout in higher percentages if our dessicated self-important politicians were half as entertaining.

  • ||

    Not unless she was on the menu Surfer Dude, not unless she was on the menu.

    "Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc."

    "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us."

    The Addams Family Credo

  • R. Adrian Reilly||

    """""It's sadly obvious that this supposedly bold and visionary prophet was, in actuality, insane.""""

    Insane? Yes. I'm glad somebody else noticed. From early on I concluded that both Dworkin and McKinnon were mentalyy disturbed -- and I mean as in certifiably, must-be-medicated looney-toons.

    Dr. Money, the shrink of "boys can be raised as girls" fame was also nuts. There are amny others like that, in my view, and they've made our collective lives miserable with the legislated and judicially-mandated results of their insane advice. Maybe these mental defects are the last of the line, and will all die off soon.

  • ||

    I'm amazed no one here seems to be familiar with the best tribute to Ms. Dworkin done anywhere, by Liberal Larry:

    http://blamebush.typepad.com/blamebush/2005/04/bush_murdered_a.html

  • ||

    Dworkin was mad as a hatter, yessiree. But, hatters were mad from the metalic fumes in the work. So reading Dworkin, and descending into the hell that was her mind, while remembering the context...-like women wearing short skirts were asking for it if raped...-where for instance my step-grandfather was able to sleep with my mother without being arrested, in full view of his catholic community here in the 50's...is a telling map...of the insanity that could result in lack of freedom, lack of basic recourse to the law. Yes, things have changed, but just as I read Coulter, so in the same mind I love Dworkin. Insane yes, but context, they provide context to the insanity of those standing next to me...in Coulters case, it was an already right wing pov, combined with the death of a freind...horrified and bent her. But understanding her screeching, has helped me understand (even though I hate them to) the right and lefts slide toward embracing the most chilling kinds of statism.

    When I found out about my step-grandfather's rape crimes agaisnt my mother...Dworkin was the ONLY writer, no matter how deranged, who was talking about this.

  • ||

    Skeptikos --

    Where are the men who say "all women are whores" to great cultural acclaim?

    As for that Ohio story: Yeah, it sounds pretty bad. (Though to be entirely fair -- we don't know the full story, do we? Not everything an eyewitness said was necessarily true.) But you neglected to mention that (1) the principal was fired for failing to notify the police of this incident, and (2) the principal is a woman. And it's not like the schools never hushed up severe physical assaults on boys. I think it's an issue of bureaucratic CYA, not gender insensitivity.

    Question: If Dworkin spoke out on behalf of victims of urban crime (the perpetrators of which, un-PC though it may be to observe, are primarily non-white) and used vile racist rhetoric to prove her point, would her concern for the victims make the hate speech any more acceptable?

    And beste, thanks for the MacKinnon link. I think that one deserves a separate H & R post.

  • ||

    The philosopher Ken Wilber has a great retort to the claim (tacit or otherwise) that "all men are rapists." He says that is ridculous because, as we know, all men are in actuality horse thieves.

  • ||

    My favorite corollary to "all men are rapists" remains "all raped women secretly enjoyed it".

  • ||

    I mentioned to a male friend last week that Dworkin had died, his response "lets go masturbate on her grave". Hmmm....stuff like that doesn't excuse Dworkins anti male stance, but it sure does explain it.

    That makes no sense at all. If I spend forty years calling black men "dirty niggers", would it retroactively "explain" my racism if they in turn expressed a desire to defile my grave? I don't think so. If you devote your life to expressing loud public hatred towards a group, it is asking too much of human nature for the members of that group not to celebrate your death.

    Dworkin didn't become a crazy man-hating bitch because your friend wanted to masturbate on her grave. You friend wanted to masturbate on her grave because she was a crazy man-hating bitch.

  • ||

    In discussing a prof. I had in college with someone, I described her as a man-hating feminist of the Dworkin/MacKinnon school of feminism.

    He looked at me and asked who they were.

    That I think, is the most fitting tribute for Ms. Dworkin' s ideas that I can imagine.

  • Brainster||

    She gets a pass from the MSM on her hatred for men because it doesn't violate their credo:

    It's not sexism if it's anti-male, it's not racism if it's anti-white, and it's not discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation if it's anti-straight.

    It also helps that she was relentlessly anti-US, still referring to it rather quaintly as "Amerika" as late as the 1980s.

  • ||

    I can't get over how many porn/erotica supporting feminists are singing Dworkin's praises over her ashes. I thought part of being a liberated woman meant stopping the habit ot excusing the abuser because they meant well, or had some other good qualities.


    My review of Defending Pornography

  • Brian Carnell||

    "When I found out about my step-grandfather's rape crimes agaisnt my mother...Dworkin was the ONLY writer, no matter how deranged, who was talking about this."

    Yes, but Dworkin *APPROVED* of parent-child incest:

    The parent-child relationship is primarily erotic because all human relationships are primarily erotic. The incest taboo is a particularized form of repression, one which functions as the bulwark of all other repressions. The incest taboo ensures that however free we become, we never become genuinely free. The incest taboo, because it denies us essential fulfillment with the parents whom we love with our primary energy, forces us to internalize those parents and constantly seek them...

    The incest taboo does the worst work of the culture: it teaches us the mechanisms of repressing and internalizing erotic feeling -- it forces us to develop those mechanisms in the first place; it forces us to particularize sexual feeling, so that it congeals into a need for a particular sexual "object"; it demands that we place the nuclear family above the human family. The destruction of the incest taboo is essential to the development of cooperative human community based on the free-flow of natural androgynous eroticism (Dworkin, Woman Hating, 1974, p.189).

  • ||

    "Sorry, but when people die they tend to get treatment they just don't deserve and never would have received in life."

    Absolutely true. Funerals are notoriously fantastic in the sense of being unlike the reality of the life that was lived by the deceased.

    "any philosophy based upon the assumption that there is something inherently evil about a basic human biological function is a philosophy which can't be anything other than fucked up."

    Not to mention a basic animal biological function. Did boars and stallions conspire against sows and mares, too?

  • ||

    While I understand that there is indeed some powerful benefit to referring to groups of persons, especially when dealing with widespread social issues, I think this approach, however common and even intuitive, has its limits.

    Referring to 'men' and 'women' in the context of groups of oppressors and oppressed seems, possibly more than any other generalization, to forget that in the end only *indivuals* ever actually suffer (or experience) anything. Even when large numbers of persons go through the same experience, they each suffer as individuals. Since we are not collective beings, we do not have any particular 'collective' experience, just common experiences which each of us go through uniquely.

    Therefore I am always at least a little itchy beneath the waves of rhetoric about 'men', 'women', or racial or ethnic or any other groups. It has been pointed out elsewhere that considering white, middle-classed women as oppressed *in general* is dubious. How much more *all* women? Even the subset of women who have had sex with men . If a given iindividual woman was/is oppressed, that demands redress. But because one, or many, or even millions, of women have been or are being oppressed does not mean that all, or even most, women are oppressed.

    Similarly with the advantages of being male, or the common sins of males. If a given individual has an advantage or does something reprehensible, he (or she) has it or does it. Not all he's or she's.

    I realize that slogans like "Stop Violence Against Women" are more catchy and therefore useful than "Stop Violence". But to an individual man being violently oppressed, or an individual women *not* being so, the slogan seems unhelpful.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "As for that Ohio story: Yeah, it sounds pretty bad."

    I heard a show on NPR about the state board here in North Carolina that recommended sterilizations. Apparently, one case was a priest molesting a little girl. Rather than imprisoning (or executing) the priest, they apparently sterilized the girl. For her protection, of course.

    My point? If I have one, it's that no matter how bad something sounds now, it probably used to be worse.

  • ||

    For those interested, more is being discussed in another Althouse post at

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2005/04/have-i-been-too-kind-to-late-andrea.html#comments

  • John Sabotta||

    I think that the credibility of any social or intellectual movement is pretty severely damaged when it looks to obvious lunatics (see: Mary Daley) as it's exemplars and leaders. Dworkin's grim career is a case in point.

    Having said this, I'll observe that Tucker Max (who somebody earlier up the thread described as "funny") is pretty loathesome too - the only difference, I suppose is that he doesn't overtly expect to be taken as seriously. But I've always found him repulsive and his view of women as ultimately false and twisted as Dworkin's view of men. Behind Max's clown act lurks a genuinely malign sensibility as well.

    "(Again, if a male writer had written book after book arguing that women were evil creatures whose sole purpose in life is to sexually manipulate and destroy men, would we spend a lot of time quibbling over whether he actually used the phrase, "All women are whores"?)"

    Cathy, have you ever read Tucker Max, at TuckerMax.com?

    I only ask because he uses that phrase all the time. Pretty funny.

    Yes, I wouldn't mind seeing the same standards applied to Tucker Max as are applied to Dworkin - and if there's a dating service in the afterlife, those two would deserve each other for eternity.

  • ||

    A couple of things come to mind that I'd like to share:
    1)Any "No Exit" fans out there? If so, please take comfort, as I have, in picturing the Pope and Dworkin together in Sartre's Hell, awaiting the arrival of the 3rd damnee.
    2)In the past, I've enjoyed substituting the word "liberal" for "patriarch" in some one-dimensional transparent fatuous feminist screed or another. The result? An almost word-for-word carbon copy of one of Rush Limbaugh's dope-addled ravings. Try it! It's fun.
    3)Do the anti-porn people ever - once - take into account that not all pornography has women actors? At that point, is all pretext of "principle" abandoned? Just asking.

  • ||

    Hey Cathy - isn't paternalism (women-protecting) just another form of patriarchy (women-controlling)? And for the record it's entirely possible to be a pro-sex, anti-pornography (heterosexual, intercourse-liking) feminist like me.

  • ||

    Then there's the other response - "All women are ball busters, so it evens out." It's sad that some people view the world through mud-coloured glasses.

  • ||

    Cathy Young has misquoted Andrea Dworkin, by leaving out the word "potential" before the word "betrayer". This book has been in print for a long enough time that all of those commenting could have read it by now. Have you read even one Andrea Dworkin book from the beginning to the end. It would seem that Cathy Young cannot open a book, or copy print accurately.
    May you forever bypass reading the written words of the author in favor of the words of the reviewer, that will misquote, take "quotes" out of context, and tell you what someone else is thinking.
    Then your meaningless opinion is voiced. Meaningless because YOU never read the whole book.
    Some ugly posts have been inspired by so many writers and reporters about Andrea Dworkin. Tell me where is your plan for human equality? What beauty and caring is shining through your words? Andrea Dworkin was always optimistic, caring and yes, angry about violence towards women. Are You?

  • ||

    isn't paternalism (women-protecting) just another form of patriarchy (women-controlling)?

    The real patriarchy of the US tended to be paternalistic; it wasn't a repressive patriarchy that kept women in line with violence and rape.

    That a substatial distinction radical feminists miss (probably intentially).

    Perhaps you don't appreciate the paternalistic varity, but you should appreciate the difference.

  • ||

    Tell me where is your plan for human equality?

    [sarcasm on]Can't speak for Cathy, but my plan is a bullet to the back of the head--one for each person, in the Soviet tradition. Only path to true human equality.[sarcasm off]

  • ||

    I recall when Susan Brownmiller wrote, in Men, Women and Rape, that all men were guilty of the rape of all women, signifying that a woman who had never been raped had been raped by a man who had never raped her. That was when I learned who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop.

  • ||

    Cathy Young has left out the word "potential" before the word "betrayer". Cathy Young is at least guilty of laziness. Read all of Andrea Dworkin's books. Every word.

  • ||

    Don, I see the sarcasm indicator, but I really don't see the purpose for the comment. Perhaps some like it(kill em all etc) That would make a nice t-shirt for an average moron, but you may have missed my second question about the beauty, and the part about the ugly.

  • ||

    Kiss someone with mouth of that sort Don? Yucky Poo Poo Doo Doo. Anyhoo, you realize now that Cathy Young and many others tell you what to think about authors, and you don't know any better because.....What da-you-know? You haven't read it. I don't have the time or energy to spend on a "total factual defense of Dworkin", but I can tell you that she writes fierce angry words full of fire and if you research, full of love not vengence. She has written about vengence as well, but against particular people, not all men. This is an old discussion, and one that won't end with me. I wouldn't try speaking for Ms.Dworkin. One shouldn't speak for others.

    I see no sign of Andrea Dworkin wanting any mass graves, and my wish for equality is for all to know that women are human to precisely the degree and quality that men are. Rape is damn serious, but the sentences for rapists are not serious, and should bring out enough anger in any caring human to at least consider themselves a feminist. It's a name you can wear. You'll need strength of character in this world. Your own character.
    This instant thought of death and mass graves when the word equality is mentioned is an odd one indeed. Quite a conclusion. Was a Soviet mean to you in school? Just kidding. Not relevant to Ms.Dworkin's writing.
    Discussion of Andrea Dworkin's ideas is always healthy but only if you've read the whole book yourself. This is logical. Good Bye.

  • ||

    I wouldn't try speaking for Ms.Dworkin.

    You haven't presented much in the way of factual defense of Dworkin. And frankly, I don't have the time to sit around reading her books. I've already seen enough to draw a conclusion.

    This instant thought of death and mass graves when the word equality is mentioned is an odd one indeed. Quite a conclusion.

    Not at all. he last century was marked by mass murder justified by an effort to achieve equality.

    the sentences for rapists are not serious

    I agree--when it really is rape. There has been recent posting on one of these threads about very high false rape report rates. I'm convinced of three things: violent rape doesn't recieve the punishment that's due; there is a range of sexual coercion that deserves punishment but not at the level of violent rape; and many things are defined as rape that are nothing of the kind.

  • ||

    It is the words that are censored that would tend to be the most important.

    The word 'potential' is on the face of it a pretty important word to leave out.

    On the other hand Cathy Young has never actually published anything important.

    "Under patriarchy, every woman's son is her potential betrayer...

    has a completely different meaning to the Cathy Young quote which belonged to Cathy Young rather than Dworkin.

    At my school in the 1970s we got sent down for that sort of thing in debate.

    Careful proof-reading or integrity, call it what you will, call it Englishness, whatever.

  • ||

    "I agree--when it really is rape. There has been recent posting on one of these threads about very high false rape report rates. I'm convinced of three things: violent rape doesn't recieve the punishment that's due; there is a range of sexual coercion that deserves punishment but not at the level of violent rape; and many things are defined as rape that are nothing of the kind."

    Significant levels of false rape reportage is a myth. Police agencies often compete with each other in dumping unwanted cases.

    In the UK the idea of a false sexual abuse allegation against a teacher is thought to be (virtually) statistically impossible.

    Ditto rape allegations against jail guards in the USA. For some puzzling and bizarre reason 99.99 percent turn out to be true.

    The average rapist has virtually no chance of going to prison, so it is barely academic. It has to be a real issue to be an issue.

  • ||

    "I recall when Susan Brownmiller wrote, in Men, Women and Rape, that all men were guilty of the rape of all women, signifying that a woman who had never been raped had been raped by a man who had never raped her. That was when I learned who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop."

    Collateral rape is possible, when a jail guard rapes one female inmate, he is imposing a regime of sexual tyranny on all the inmates.

    Similarly there are streets in London, Utecht, Antwerp etc. which have rape as a routine risk. It is a tyranny of something.

    Most kerb-crawlers abuse children (they really do), and so prostitution is what it really is.

    It is often the same with school abuses. Abu Ghraib (for example) happened because of the Dworkin effect, no other outcome was possible.

    The females detainees had lost the facility of speech before the pornography was filmed.

    That was a 'group' response to what they witnessed happening mostly to others.

    The soldiers knew they could get sex fun by butchering the males in front of the females. One does not work in Pa corrections without understanding leverage.

    That being the pornography shown to congress of course.

    Nobody in the US seemed to work out that the females were in the same place, at the exact same time, with the same torturers. None of whom would teach chivalry at Camelot.

    Why did so many hope for chivalry? Did Dworkin not teach us what always happens?

    Often there are not enough good apples to crew a motorcycle. That was part of the message. It was ultimately that simple and that sad.

    The art of writing a modern column is apparently not to reflect upon fact, but upon bias, and the more slant the better. I think that was what Cathy Young was trying to do.

  • ||

    "As for that Ohio story: Yeah, it sounds pretty bad. (Though to be entirely fair -- we don't know the full story, do we? Not everything an eyewitness said was necessarily true.) But you neglected to mention that (1) the principal was fired for failing to notify the police of this incident, and (2) the principal is a woman. And it's not like the schools never hushed up severe physical assaults on boys. I think it's an issue of bureaucratic CYA, not gender insensitivity."

    I doubt your scepticism is sincerely held. The Ohio scandal is fairly typical.

    I investigate sexual misconduct, it struck me as being what one would expect.

    Sexual abuse is often just dogs running after something, nobody takes a vote, they do not have to. No show of hands, it just happens.

    The Abu Ghraib as a model is often the norm, and not the exception. It is everywhere.

    Sex abuse is entered into without hesitation and without a committee meeting.

    There is (by the way) more sexual misconduct in the state systems over a period of months than in the Catholic sector in the last fifty years.

    Catholic Priests are no more likely to offend than any other trusted profession.

  • ||

    While everyone's entitled to their own opinion, I get uncomfortable when respect for a political/literary figure is deemed taboo by definition. Some of the eulogists go further than I would wish, but even if I hated Dworkin, I think I would be pleased to see a radical thinker of the female gender receive not-totally-despising treatment in the popular media. There's more than one way to be a feminist, after all. Or a woman. My perspective on gender issues is in some ways closer to Young's than Dworkin's (and in others, choke, closer to Dworkin's), but to be honest, I see less enforced conformity among the eulogists who tend to say, "I didn't agree with everything she wrote but...I kinda liked her," than I do here.

  • ||

    Oooh, fun. I see we have some Dworkin mini-mes here. Pity I haven't checked this thread lately!

    Not that it matters, but I do have a copy of one of Dworkin's books and photocopies of about 150 pages total from others.

    I can't say I've read all of them, but I've read enough.

    As for my inadvertent omission of the word "potential" from a quote which also describes every man as "the inevitable rapist or exploiter" of a woman ... if you think that word makes a difference, I think that says a lot about you. Is it all right in your book to say that every Jew is a potential swindler?

    (For the record, a correction appears in today's Globe; I emailed a Reason.com staffer asking to correct the quote as soon as I was alerted to the missing word, but for some reason the correction has not been made.)

    By the way, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Dworkin's ideology points to mass graves. Our late, great thinker explicitly and unabashedly stated her view that abused women have the right to kill their abusers. She was equally candid about her belief that the vast majority of men are abusers of women. So... time to start digging!

  • ||

    [i]"Was Andrea Dworkin the Ann Coulter of feminism?"

    I think if you could see Ann Coulter's soul, her true self, it would look like Andrea Dworkin.[/i]

    Sorry, have to disagree. However venomous Ann Coulter is, she has a great sense of humor (and weilds it like a weapon). Dworkin never said or wrote anything intentionally funny in her life.

  • ||

    Rachael:

    While everyone's entitled to their own opinion, I get uncomfortable when respect for a political/literary figure is deemed taboo by definition.



    Would that include, say, David Duke?

    Some of the eulogists go further than I would wish, but even if I hated Dworkin, I think I would be pleased to see a radical thinker of the female gender receive not-totally-despising treatment in the popular media.



    I think true respect for women requires judging female thinkers by the same standards as male ones. In other words, women should not get a pass on bigotry any more than men. IMO, the fact that Dworkin gets a pass means that women are not taken as seriously as men.

    There's more than one way to be a feminist, after all. Or a woman.



    Of course, and I certainly don't expect all feminists to agree with me on everything. I have many disagreements with Betty Friedan, or, say, Carol Gilligan, but I would never take issue with honoring them for their work.

  • ||

    "As for my inadvertent omission of the word "potential" from a quote which also describes every man as "the inevitable rapist or exploiter" of a woman ... if you think that word makes a difference, I think that says a lot about you. Is it all right in your book to say that every Jew is a potential swindler?"




    The word Jew is emotive Cathy. The true art of hyperbole is to do it properly.

    "Under patriarchy, every woman's son is her potential betrayer...


    I think you are over-egging the pudding. Dworkin was *always* being misquoted.

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