Andrea Dworkin

Andrea Dworkin, author Woman Hating, Pornography: Men Possessing Women, and the rather unlikely Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation, has died.

Everyone talks about her out-there ideas, and her provocations on things like pornography, marriage ("mandated intercourse"), and the family.

But I'd never realized that her life was as rough as it was. I'm thinking especially of the body cavity search after the anti-war protest at the U.N., as well as the Dutch husband who beat her and burned her with cigarettes. I'm also maybe thinking about her trading sex as a young woman to get bus fare to go from Cherry Hill to New York. She went through all that, but she also aggressively lobbied Washington for some years in the 1980s as part of the anti-pornography crusade.

It would be interesting to read an Andrea Dworkin memoir, but somehow I doubt she would have had time to write one.


Ms. World said...

Now I'm really starting to feel old! I'm familiar with Dworkin and she always came off as a woman who had been through hell and back in her dealings with men. However, I didn't know about her anti-war protesting at the U.N. I clearly understood why she was an anti-porn crusader but I didn't agree with her.

Anonymous said...

That Post article you referenced seemed written by someone at pains to keep her at arms-length. It made me sad to read a more-or-less obituary written like just another unpleasant assignment for a reporter. No matter how much one might disagree with her, it's hard to deny that she was an effective provocateur. Like Michael Moore, she used a club where many would prefer a dagger. Unlike Michael, she did not have the gift of humor, and her subject matter, although at least as worthy of investigation, makes men and women far more uncomfortable than the foibles of the president. Regardless of what people think of her, she made people think.

electrostani said...


Yes, I think Michael Moore is a good person to compare her too.

Though she's lost the pornography debate pretty decisively (I think), the question of what porn does and whether/how the industry affects the lives of women involved in it is still a live one.

I think someone should write a biography of Andrea Dworkin.

bitchphd said...

She did have a memoir: Heartbreak: A political memoir.