i was going to talk about pop culture today. try to lighten things up, but then andrea dworkin passed away and made things ever so heavy again. it happened last saturday (9 april 2005) so i am a bit behind in my reporting, but she was important enough to warrant an entry even a few weeks after her passing.
who was andrea dworkin? only one of the greatest radical feminist writers of the 20th and 21st centuries. she would delve into issues that most of us don’t even want to think about, let alone write and talk about in public. her ideas on pornography and the subordination of women in all institutional constructs would make her a sworn enemy of other
feminists critics such as camille paglia (who believes in the artistic value of pornography and dismisses the objectification of the industry). although not outwardly argumentative, you can be quite certain that paglia did not appreciate dworkin’s views on feminism and pornography.
what would be a good book of dworkin’s to read to become acquainted with her work? all of dworkin’s books were fantastic, but the one that i feel is the most moving and influential is her memoir “heartbreak”. it explains much of her struggle as a radical feminist and the reasons why she did what she did. “heartbreak” would also prove to be the writer’s last work having passed at such an early age of 58.
wasn’t dworkin just basically a man hater? this is something that the conservatives have long said of dworkin. that she was basically a misandrist (a term used by anti-feminists to point the finger at what they believe to be “man haters”) and that because of this her views were null and void. this, of course, makes no sense (just like most conservative ideas) because she lived with and even married her best male friend, john stoltenberg, in 1998. both individuals identified themselves as gay, but they felt it necessary to wed (perhaps for legal marital status). now, if she really hated men would she have married one? even though he was gay?
why is it important to know about andrea dworkin? just as it is important to have an open mind and always be learning about new people, places, and things, it is important that we know about dworkin and her place in the feminist movement. although many women in the movement thought dworkin annoying for her push toward the demise of all pornography (calling it an infringement of free speech) it remains to be seen exactly what her impact will be on the movement in full. i believe that dworkin was a driving force in a movement that badly needed a push in any direction and this current generation of feminists can gain much knowledge from a woman who defied all stereotypes and wrote from her gut. without her books, the movement would be completely different.
r.i.p. andrea dworkin
26 September 1946 – 9 April 2005