Andrea Dworkin

American feminist writer (1946–2005)

Andrea Rita Dworkin (September 26, 1946April 9, 2005) was an American radical feminist and writer.

Andrea Dworkin, 1988

Quotes edit

  • I'm a radical feminist, not the fun kind.
    • "Dworkin on Dworkin," an interview originally published in Off Our Backs, reprinted in Radically Speaking: Feminism Reclaimed Ed. by Renate Klein and Diane Bell.
  • The nature of women's oppression is unique: women are oppressed as women, regardless of class or race; some women have access to significant wealth, but that wealth does not signify power; women are to be found everywhere, but own or control no appreciable territory; women live with those who oppress them, sleep with them, have their children—we are tangled, hopelessly it seems, in the gut of the machinery and way of life which is ruinous to us.
    • Woman Hating, ch. 9, p. 23, E.P. Dutton, New York (1974)
  • The common erotic project of destroying women makes it possible for men to unite into a brotherhood; this project is the only firm and trustworthy groundwork for cooperation among males and all male bonding is based on it.
    • Our Blood (1973) p.16.
  • Undernourished, intelligence becomes like the bloated belly of a starving child: swollen, filled with nothing the body can use.
    • Right Wing Women, ch.2 (1978)
  • While gossip among women is universally ridiculed as low and trivial, gossip among men, especially if it is about women, is called theory, or idea, or fact.
    • Right Wing Women, ch.2 (1978)
  • Under patriarchy, every woman's son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman.
    • Our Blood (1976)
  • Seductive mirages of progress notwithstanding, nowhere in the world is apartheid practiced with more cruelty and finality than in Saudi Arabia. Of course, it is women who are locked in and kept out, exiled to invisibility and object powerlessness within their own country. It is women who are degraded systematically from birth to early death, utterly and total and without exception deprived of freedom. It is women who are sold into marriage or concubinage, often before puberty; killed if their hymens are not intact on the wedding night; kept confined, ignorant, pregnant, poor, without choice or recourse. It is women who are raped and beaten with full sanction of the law. It is women who cannot own property or work for a living or determine in any way the circumstances of their own lives. It is women who are subject to a despotism that knows no restraint. Women, locked out and locked in. Mr Carter, enchanted with his good friends, the Saudis. Mr Carter, a sincere advocate of human rights. Sometimes even a feminist with a realistic knowledge of male hypocrisy and a strong stomach cannot believe the world she lives in.
    • "A Feminist Looks at Saudi Arabia" (1978)
  • By the time we are women, fear is as familiar to us as air. It is our element. We live in it, we inhale it, we exhale it, and most of the time we do not even notice it. Instead of "I am afraid", we say, "I don't want to", or "I don't know how", or "I can't."
    • Speech at Queens College, City University of New York (March 12, 1975). "The Sexual Politics of Fear and Courage", ch. 5, Our Blood (1976)
  • The fact that we are all trained to be mothers from infancy on means that we are all trained to devote our lives to men, whether they are our sons or not; that we are all trained to force other women to exemplify the lack of qualities which characterizes the cultural construct of femininity.
    • Speech at Queens College, City University of New York (March 12, 1975). "The Sexual Politics of Fear and Courage", ch. 5, Our Blood (1976)
  • For a mother the project of raising a boy is the most fulfilling project she can hope for. She can watch him, as a child, play the games she was not allowed to play; she can invest in him her ideas, aspirations, ambitions, and values—or whatever she has left of them; she can watch her son, who came from her flesh and whose life was sustained by her work and devotion, embody her in the world. So while the project of raising a boy is fraught with ambivalence and leads inevitably to bitterness, it is the only project that allows a woman to be—to be through her son, to live through her son.
    • Speech, first delivered at Queens College, City University of New York (March 12, 1975). "The Sexual Politics of Fear and Courage", ch. 5, Our Blood (1976)
  • A man can be a hero if he is a scientist, or a soldier, or a drug addict, or a disc jockey, or a crummy mediocre politician. A man can be a hero because he suffers and despairs; or because he thinks logically and analytically; or because he is "sensitive"; or because he is cruel. Wealth establishes a man as a hero, and so does poverty. Virtually any circumstance in a man's life will make him a hero to some group of people and has a mythic rendering in the culture—in literature, art, theater, or the daily newspapers.
    • Speech at Queen's College, City University of New York (March 12, 1975). "The Sexual Politics of Fear and Courage", ch. 5, published in Our Blood (1976)
  • Romantic love, in pornography as in life, is the mythic celebration of female negation. For a woman, love is defined as her willingness to submit to her own annihilation.... The proof of love is that she is willing to be destroyed by the one whom she loves, for his sake. For the woman, love is always self-sacrifice, the sacrifice of identity, will, and bodily integrity, in order to fulfill and redeem the masculinity of her lover.
    • Speech at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (September 26, 1975). "The Root Cause", ch. 9, Our Blood (1976)
  • I represent the morbid side of the women's movement. I deal with the shit, the real shit.
    • Feminism: An Agenda, (1983)
  • The female life-force is characterized as a negative one: we are defined as inherently masochistic. [. . .] Sexual masochism actualizes female negativity, just as sexual sadism actualizes male positivity. A woman’s erotic femininity is measured by the degree to which she needs to be hurt, needs to be possessed, needs to be abused, needs to submit, needs to be beaten, needs to be humiliated, needs to be degraded.
    • The Root Cause (1976)
  • The genius of any slave system is found in the dynamics which isolate slaves from each other, obscure the reality of a common condition, and make united rebellion against the oppressor inconceivable.
    • Our Blood 1976 as quoted in The Suffering Will Not Be Televised: African American Women and Sentimental Political Storytelling by Rebecca Wanzo
  • I think the essence of romantic love for women is being the special one, and that's an absolutely terrible trap. If the lover treats certain other people badly, you will be treated that badly, too.
    • Norah Vincent, Sex, Love and Politics: Andrea Dworkin, in New York Press, vol. 11, no. 5, Feb. 4–10, 1998, p. 40, col. 4 (main title and subtitle may have been in either order, per id., p. [1])
  • Q: People think you are very hostile to men.
    A: I am.
    Q: Doesn't that worry you?
    A: From what you said, it worries them.
  • Feminists are often asked whether pornography causes rape. The fact is that rape and prostitution caused and continue to cause pornography. Politically, culturally, socially, sexually, and economically, rape and prostitution generated pornography; and pornography depends for its continued existence on the rape and prostitution of women.
  • I want to see this men's movement make a commitment to ending rape because that is the only meaningful commitment to equality. It is astonishing that in all our worlds of feminism and antisexism we never talk seriously about ending rape. Ending it. Stopping it. No more. No more rape. In the back of our minds, are we holding on to its inevitability as the last preserve of the biological? Do we think that it is always going to exist no matter what we do? All of our political actions are lies if we don't make a commitment to ending the practice of rape. This commitment has to be political. It has to be serious. It has to be systematic. It has to be public. It can't be self-indulgent.
  • Anti-feminism is also operating whenever any political group is ready to sacrifice one group of women, one faction, some women, some kinds of women, to any element of sex-class oppression: to pornography, to rape, to battery, to economic exploitation, to reproductive exploitation, to prostitution. There are women all along the male-defined political spectrum, including both extreme ends of it, ready to sacrifice some women, usually not themselves, to the brothels or the farms. The sacrifice is profoundly anti-feminist; it is also profoundly immoral...
    • "Anti-feminism," Right Wing Women (1983), pp. 230-231.
  • When a word is used to provoke hatred, it does not matter what the word actually means. What matters is only what the haters insist it means—the meaning they give it, the common prejudices they exploit.
    • "The Power of Words" (1978)
  • It is no secret that fear and hatred of homosexuals permeate our society. But the contempt for lesbians is distinct. It is directly rooted in the abhorrence of the self defined woman, the self-determining woman, the woman who is not controlled by male need, imperative, or manipulation. Contempt for lesbians is most often a political repudiation of women who organize in their own behalf to achieve public presence, significant power, visible integrity.
    • "The Power of Words" (1978)
  • Enemies of women, those who are determined to deny us freedom an dignity, use the word lesbian to provoke a hatred of women who do not conform. This hatred rumbles everywhere. This hatred is sustained and expressed by virtually every institution. When male power is challenged, this hatred can be intensified and inflamed so into violence. The threat is omnipresent because violence against women is culturally applauded. And so the word lesbian, hurled or whispered as accusation, is used to focus male hostility on women who dare to rebel, and it is also used to frighten and bully women who have not yet rebelled.
    • "The Power of Words" (1978)
  • All around us there are other women, seemingly not hurt, making small talk, acting normal, which means happy, not discontent, certainly not devastated. Girls are still being socialised not to identify with—feel empathy for—other females: she got hurt because she did x, y, z—I didn’t, so I didn’t get hurt; she’s at fault, I’m not; the punishment fits her crime; blame her, exonerate him. This continuing, culturally applauded socialisation of women not to empathize with other women is a malignant part of the culture of men, dead white ones or not. Women are perceived to be appalling failures when we are sad. Women are pathetic when we are angry. Women are ridiculous when we are militant. Women are unpleasant when we are bitter, no matter what the cause. Women are deranged when women want justice. Women are man-haters when women want accountability and respect from men. Women are trash when women let men do what men want Women are shrews or puritans when we do not.
    • ‘Suffering and Speech’ in Catherine A MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin (eds) In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings.
  • Any man will follow any feminine looking thing down any dark alley; I've always wanted to see a man beaten to a shit bloody pulp with a high-heeled shoe stuffed up his mouth, sort of the pig with the apple; it would be good to put him on a serving plate but you'd need good silver.
    • Andrea (narrating), in Mercy: A Novel (1990)
    • Sometimes misleadingly quoted out of context without mentioning that it was narrated by a protagonist in a work of fiction.
  • (On prostitution:) Incest is boot camp. Incest is where you send the girl to learn how to do it. So you don't, obviously, have to send her anywhere, she's already there and she's got nowhere else to go. She's trained. And the training is specific and it is important: not to have any real boundaries to her own body; to know that she's valued only for sex; to learn about men what the offender, the sex offender, is teaching her.
    • "Prostitution and Male Supremacy" (1993), Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 1(1):1–12. Reprinted in Life and Death (1997), p 139–51.
    • Often paraphrased as "Incest is boot camp for prostitution".
  • I'm going to ask you to remember the prostituted, the homeless, the battered, the raped, the tortured, the murdered, the raped-then-murdered, the murdered-then-raped; and I am going to ask you to remember the photographed, the ones that any or all of the above happened to and it was photographed and now the photographs are for sale in our free countries. I want you to think about those who have been hurt for the fun, the entertainment, the so-called speech of others; those who have been hurt for profit, for the financial benefit of pimps and entrepreneurs. I want you to remember the perpetrator and I am going to ask you to remember the victims: not just tonight but tomorrow and the next day. I want you to find a way to include them -- the perpetrators and the victims -- in what you do, how you think, how you act, what you care about, what your life means to you.

    Now, I know, in this room, some of you are the women I have been talking about. I know that. People around you may not. I am going to ask you to use every single thing you can remember about what was done to you -- how it was done, where, by whom, when, and, if you know -- why -- to begin to tear male dominance to pieces, to pull it apart, to vandalize it, to destabilize it, to mess it up, to get in its way, to fuck it up. I have to ask you to resist, not to comply, to destroy the power men have over women, to refuse to accept it, to abhor it and to do whatever is necessary despite its cost to you to change it.
  • [I]t's one thing to talk about the redistribution of wealth. It's quite another thing to talk about the redistribution of power. That's more what interests me.
    • Norah Vincent, Sex, Love and Politics, id., p. 41, col. 1.
  • Michael Moorcock: Several reviewers accused you of saying that all intercourse was rape. I haven't found a hint of that anywhere in the book. Is that what you are saying?
    Dworkin: No, I wasn't saying that and I didn't say that, then or ever.… My point was that as long as the law allows statutory exemption for a husband from rape charges, no married woman has legal protection from rape. I also argued, based on a reading of our laws, that marriage mandated intercourse—it was compulsory, part of the marriage contract. Under the circumstances, I said, it was impossible to view sexual intercourse in marriage as the free act of a free woman.
    • Interview in New Statesman & Society (21 April 1995), discussing her books Intercourse and Right Wing Women.
  • I have been asked, politely and not so politely, why I am myself. This is an accounting any woman will be called on to give if she asserts her will. In the home the question will be couched in a million cruelties, some subtle, some so egregious they rival the injuries of organized war. … It must be admitted that those who want me to account for myself are intrigued in hostile, voyeuristic ways, and their projections of me are not the usual run-of-the-mill rudeness or arrogance to which writers, especially women writers, become accustomed. The work would be enough, even for the unfortunate sad sacks mentioned above. So here's the deal as I see it: I am ambitious—God knows, not for money; in most respects but not all I am honorable; and I wear overalls: kill the bitch. But the bitch is not yet ready to die. Brava, she says, alone in a small room.
    • "Preface," Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant (2002)
  • [Interviewer:] What would you say is the most overrated virtue? [Dworkin:] Compliance and conformity.... [B]eing normal is seriously overrated.
    • Norah Vincent, Sex, Love and Politics, id., p. 40, col. 2
  • [S]ex is often a hostile act, often an exercise of power over somebody else.
    • Norah Vincent, Sex, Love and Politics, id., p. 40, col. 1.
  • Pornography is used in rape—to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act.
    • Testimony before the New York Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in 1986.
  • The pornographers actually use our bodies as their language. We are their speech. . . . Protecting what they 'say' means protecting what they do to us, how they do it. It means protecting their sadism on our bodies, because that is how they write: not like a writer at all; like a torturer.
    • Women Transforming Communications.
  • Rape is a question of access. Men will rape woman to whom they have access. The stranger in rape is used in a very important political way especially in organizing woman on the right: the stranger is used as a scapegoat. In the United States the stranger is black and he is a rapist. In Nazi Germany the stranger was a Jew and he was a rapist.This use of rape associated with a stranger is a basic component of racism. Women's fears of rape are legitimate. Those fears are manipulated to serve the ends of racism.
    We now see the same scapegoat strategy being used against homosexual men, who are accused of child molestation when most child molestation is of little girls. It is not that homosexual men do not rape. They do. So do black men and Jewish men. Men in all classes and of all races and ethnicities rape, which is not to say that all men rape. It is to say that
    all men benefit from rape, because all men benefit from the fact that women are not free in this society; that women cower; that women are afraid; that women cannot assert the rights that we have, limited as those rights are, because of the ubiquitous presence of rape.
    • "Feminism: An Agenda" (1983)
  • I have spent 20 years writing these books. Had I wanted to say men are beasts and scream, that takes 30 seconds.
  • I know a hell of a lot about intercourse. I wish I knew less.
    • Norah Vincent, Sex, Love and Politics, id., p. 40, col. 4.

Pornography, Men Possessing Women (1979) edit

  • Men characterize pornography as something mental because their minds, their thoughts, their dreams, their fantasies, are more real to them than women's bodies or lives; in fact, men have used their social power to characterize a $10-billion-a-year trade in women as fantasy.
  • Pornography is the essential sexuality of male power: of hate, of ownership, of hierarchy; of sadism, of dominance.
  • Pornography incarnates male supremacy. It is the DNA of male dominance. Every rule of sexual abuse, every nuance of sexual sadism, every highway and byway of sexual exploitation, is encoded in it.
  • ...pornography is the orchestrated destruction of women's bodies and souls; rape, battery, incest, and prostitution animate it; dehumanization and sadism characterize it; it is war on women, serial assaults on dignity, identity, and human worth; it is tyranny. Each woman who has survived knows from the experience of her own life that pornography is captivity–the woman trapped in the picture used on the woman trapped wherever he's got her.
  • [I]n the male sexual lexicon, which is the vocabulary of power, erotica is simply high-class pornography: better produced, better conceived, better executed, better packaged, designed for a better class of consumer. As with the call girl and the streetwalker, one is turned out better but both are produced by the same system of sexual values and both perform the same sexual service.
    • p 10.
  • Male supremacy is fused into language, so that every sentence as language, is permeated by the linguistic and perceptual values developed expressly to subordinate women. Men have defined the parameters of every subject.
    • p. 17
  • Money speaks, but it speaks in a male voice. In the hands of women, money stays literal; count it out it buys what it is worth or less. In the hands of men, money buys women, sex, status, dignity, esteem, recognition, loyalty, all manner of possibility.
    • p. 20.
  • Wife beating and marital rape , pervasive here as elsewhere, are predicated on the conviction that a man's ownership of his wife licenses whatever he wishes to do to her: her boy belongs to him to use for his own sexual release, to beat, to impregnate. The male power of owning by virtue of its historical centrality, is barely constrained b the modest legal restrictions put on it.
    • p 18.
  • Men are distinguished from women by their commitment to do violence rather than to be victimized by it. Men are regarded for leaning the practice of violence in virtually any sphere of activity by money, admiration, recognition, respect, and the genuflection of others honoring their sacred and proven masculinity. In male culture, police are heroic and so are outlaws; males who enforce standards are heroic and so are those who violate them. The conflict between these groups embody the male commitment to violence: conflict is action; action is masculine.
    • p 53.
  • Men are rewarded for learning the practice of violence in virtually any sphere of activity by money, admiration, recognition, respect, and the genuflection of others honoring their sacred and proven masculinity.
    • p 53.
  • Men renounce whatever they have in common with women so as to experience no commonality with women; and whatis left according to men, is one piece of flesh a few inches long, the penis.'
  • p 53.
  • Boys and Men do experience sexual abuse at the hands of men. The honmophobes distorting concentration on this fact, which cannot and must not be denied, neatly eliminates from view the primary victim of male sexual abuse: women and girls. This is congruent with the fact that crimes against females are ultimately viewed as expressions of male normalcy, while crimes against men and boys are viewed as perversions of that same normalcy. Society's general willingness to do anything necessary to protect boys and men from male sexual aggression is testimony to the value of a male life. Society's general refusal to do anything meaningful to protect women and girls from male sexual aggression is testimony to the worthlessness of a female life. A male life must be protected for its own sake. A female life warrants protection only when the female belongs to a male, as wife, daughter, mistress, whore; it is the owner who has a right to have his rights over his females protected from other men. A female's bodily integrity or well-being is not protected because of the value of the woman as a human being in her own right.
    • p 57.
  • Pornography reveals that male pleasure is inextricably tied to victimizing, hurting, exploiting; that sexual fun and sexual passion in the privacy of the male imagination are inseparable from the brutality of male history. The private world of sexual dominance that men demand as their right and their freedom is the mirror image of the public world of sadism and atrocity that men consistently and self-righteously deplore. It is in the male experience of pleasure that one finds the meaning of male history.
    • p 69.
  • Those leftists who champion Sade might do well to remember that prerevolutionary France was filled with starving people. The feudal system was both cruel and crude. The rights of the aristocracy to the labor and bodies of the poor were unchallenged and not challengeable. The tyranny of class was absolute. The poor sold what they could, including themselves, to survive. Sade learned and upheld the ethic of his class.
    • p 72.
  • Women, for centuries not having access to pornography and now unable to bear looking at the muck on the supermarket shelves, are astonished. Women do not believe that men believe what pornography says about women. But they do. From the worst to the best of them, they do.
    • p 167.
  • The new pornography is left-wing; and the new pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too.

Intercourse (1987) edit

  • Intercourse is a world that moves through the sexed world of dominance and submission. It moves in descending circles, not in a straight line, and as in a vortex each spiral goes down deeper.
    • Introduction
  • The public censure of women as if we are rabid because we speak without apology about the world in which we live is a strategy of threat that usually works. Men often react to women's words—speaking and writing—as if they were acts of violence' sometimes men react to women's words with violence. So we lower our voices. Women whisper. Women apologize. Women shut up. Women trivialize what we know. Women shrink. Women pull back. Most women have experienced enough dominance from men—control, violence, insult, contempt—that no threat seems empty.
    • Introduction
  • Men must make women afraid and compliant, including through beatings; women must be housebound and servile. The men, then, can attend orgies or engage in any other sexual activity.
    • Chapter 1, "Repulsion"
  • Sexual intercourse is not intrinsically banal, though pop culture magazines like Esquire and Cosmopolitan would suggest that it is. It is intense, often desperate. The internal landscape is violent upheaval, a wild and ultimately cruel disregard of human individuality, a brazen, high-strung wanting that is absolute and imperishable, not attached to personality, no respecter of boundaries; ending not in sexual climax but in a human tragedy of failed relationships, vengeful bitterness in an aftermath of sexual heat, personality corroded by too much endurance of undesired, habitual intercourse, conflict, a wearing away of vitality in the numbness finally of habit or compulsion or the loneliness of separation.
    • Chapter 2, "Skinless"
  • Sex is the dim echo of that original nakedness, primal, before anything else that is also human; later, isolated in an identity, hidden by it, in insensate because of it, one is a societal human being ruled by conformity and convention, not naked.
    • Chapter 2
  • In Amerika, there is the nearly—or so it appears—that sex (fucking) is good and that liking it is right: morally right; a sign of human health; nearly a standard for citizenship. Even those who believe in original sin and have a theology of hellfire and damnation express the Amerikan creed, an optimism that glows in the dark: sex is good, healthy, wholesome, pleasant fun; we like it, we enjoy it, we want it, we are cheerful abut it; it is as simple as we are, the citizens of this strange country with no memory and no mind.
    • Chapter 4, "Communion"
  • There is no imagination in fetishlike sexual conformity; and no ques­tions are being asked in political discourse on sex about hope and sorrow, intimacy and anguish, communion and loss. Imagination is both aggressive and delicate, a mode of cogni­tion unmatched in its ability to reveal the hidden meanings in reality now and the likely shape of tomorrow. Imagination is not a synonym for sexual fantasy, which is only—patheti­cally—a programmed tape loop repeating repeating in the narcoleptic mind. Imagination finds new meanings, new forms; complex and empathetic values and acts. The person with imagination is pushed forward by it into a world of possi­bility and risk, a distinct world of meaning and choice; not into a nearly bare junkyard of symbols manipulated to evoke rote responses. The paring down of the vocabulary of human affect to fuck-related expletives suggests that one destroys the com­plexity of human response by destroying the language that communicates its existence.
    • Chapter 4
  • Truth is harder to bear than ignorance, and so ignorance is valued more—also because the status quo depends on it; but love depends on self-knowledge and self-knowledge depends on being able to bear the truth.
    • Chapter 4
  • No one deserves brutality because of what they are, their condition of birth, including being born female; and the women in this book are not asking for it—instead they are risking as much as any man risks to live, to love.
    • Chapter 4
  • Intercourse is commonly written about and comprehended as a form of possession or an act of possession in which, during which, because of which, a man inhabits a woman, physically covering her and overwhelming her and at the same time penetrating her; and this physical relational—over her and inside her 0 is his possession oh her. He has her, or when is is done, he has had her. By thrusting into her, he takes her over. His thrusting into her is taken to be her capitulation to him as a conqueror; it is a physical surrender of herself to him; he occupies and rules her, expresses his elemental dominance over her, by his possession of her in the fuck.
    • Chapter 5, "Possession"
  • This is nihilism; or this is truth. He has to push past his boundaries. There is the outline of a body, distinct, separate, its integrity an illusion, a tragic deception, because unseen there is a slit between the legs, and he has to push into it. There is never a real privacy of the body that can coexist withe intercourse: with being entered. The vagina itself is muscled and the muscles have to be pushed apart. The thrusting is persistent invasion. She is opened up, split down the center. She is occupied—physically, internally, in her privacy.
    • Chapter 7, "Occupation/Collaboration"
  • Life can be better for women—economic and political conditions improved—and at the same time the status of women can remain resistant, in deed impervious, to change: so far in history this is precisely the paradigm for social change as it relates to the conditions of women. Reforms are made, important ones' but the status of women relative to men does not change. Women are still less significant, have less privacy, less integrity, less self-determination. This means that women have less freedom.
    • Chapter 7
  • Freedom is not an abstraction, nor is a little of it enough. A little more of it is not enough either. Having less, being less, impoverished in freedom and rights, women then inevitably have less self-respect: less self-respect than men have and less self-respect than any human being needs to live a brave and honest life. Intercourse as domination battens of that awful absence of self respect.
    • Chapter 7
  • A woman has a body that is penetrated in intercourse: permeable, its corporeal solidness a lie. The discourse of male truth—literature, science, philosophy, pornography—calls that penetration violation. This it does with some consistency and some confidence. Violation is a synonym for intercourse. At the same time, the penetration is taken to be a use, not an abuse; a normal use; it is appropriate to enter her, to push into ("violate") the boundaries of her body. She is human, of course, but by a standard that does not include physical privacy.
    • Chapter 7
  • But the hatred of women is a source of sexual pleasure for men in its own right. Intercourse appears to be the expression of that contempt in pure form, in the form of a sexed hierarchy; it requires no passion or heart because it is power without invention articulating the arrogance of those who do the fucking. Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men's contempt for women; but that contempt can turn gothic and express itself in many sexual and sadistic practices that eschew intercourse per se. Any violation of a woman's body can become sex for men; this is the essential truth of pornography.
    • Chapter 7
  • Being female in this world is having been robbed of he potential for human choice by men who love to hate s. One does not make choices in freedom. Instead, one conforms in body type and behavior and values to become an object of male sexual desire, which requires an abandonment of a wide-ranging capacity for choice Objectification may well be the most singly destructive aspect of gender hierarchy, specially as it exists in relation to intercourse.
    • Chapter 7
  • Can intercourse exist without the woman herself turning herself into a thing, which she must do because men cannot fuck equals and men must fuck: because one price of dominance is that one impotent in the face of equality?
    • Chapter 7
  • To become the object, she takes herself and transforms herself into a thing: all freedoms are diminished and she is caged, even in the cage docile, sometimes physically maimed, movement is limited: she physically becomes the thing he wants to fuck.
    • Chapter 7
  • Society says with the authority of its police power how intercourse will and will not occur. Any act so controlled by the state, proscribed and prescribed in detail, cannot be private in the ordinary sense. Privacy is essentially a sphere of freedom immune from regulation by the state. In that sense, intercourse has never occurred in private.
    • Chapter 8, "Law"
  • Women do not know how to be women exactly; men constantly fail to be men.
    • Chapter 8
  • Law steps in where nature fails: virtually everywhere. Laws create nature—a male nature and a female nature and natural intercourse—by telling errant, unnatural human beings what to do and what not to do to protect and express their real nature—the real man, the real female, the real hierarchy that nature or God created putting man on top.
    • Chapter 8
  • Laws creates male dominance, and maintain it, as a social environment. Male dominance is the environment we know, in which we must live. It is our air, water, earth. Laws shape our perceptions and knowledge of what male dominance is, of how it works, of what it means to us. Laws shape the experiences the experiences we have before we have them Laws significantly predetermine how we will feel, will understand, what will happen to us in life. Laws establish or humans the terms of our symbiosis with male dominance: what it takes from us to sustain itself as an overall environmental system.
    • Chapter 8
  • Inferiority is not banal or incidental even when it happens to women. It is not a petty affliction like bad skin or circles under the eyes. it is not a superficial flaw in an otherwise perfect picture. It is not a minor irritation, nor it is it a trivial inconvenience, an occasional aggravation, or a regrettable but (frankly) harmless lapse in manners. It is not a "point of view" that some people with soft skins find "offensive." It is the deep and destructive devaluing of a person in life, a shredding of dignity and self-respect, an imposed exile from human worth and human recognition, the forced alienation of a person from even the possibility of wholeness or internal integrity.
    • Chapter 9, "Dirt/Death"

Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation (2000) edit

N.Y.: Free Press, 2000, ISBN 0-684-83612-2

  • Berlin says: "… You cannot combine full liberty with full equality—full liberty for the wolves cannot be combined with full liberty for the sheep...." …. Are women sheep ("led like sheep to the slaughter")? Must women become wolves? Is violence against women a direct result of the fact that there is no inevitable, painful, retaliatory consequence for hurting women?
    • pp. 245–246.
  • Do women need sovereignty—not only over their own bodies as currently understood in the United States ...; but control of a boundary further away from their bodies, a defended boundary? Do women need land and an army ...; or a feminist government in exile ...? Or is it simpler: the bed belongs to the woman; the house belongs to the woman; any land belongs to the woman; if a male intimate is violent he is removed from the place where she has the superior and inviolate claim, arrested, denied parole, and prosecuted. .... Could women "set a high price on our blood"? Could women set any price on our blood? Could women manage self-defense if not retaliation? Would self-defense be enough? Could women execute men who raped or beat or tortured women? .... [¶] .... Could the acts of women in behalf of women … have a code of honor woman-to-woman that weakens the male-dominant demands of nationalism or race-pride or ethnic pride? Could women commit treason to the men of their own group: put women first, even the putative enemy women? Do women have enough militancy and self-respect to see themselves as the central makers of legal codes, ethics, honor codes, and culture?
    • p. 246.
  • Can women make use of men's vulnerability not to marry but instead to destroy male power?
    • p. 248.
  • Could women's liberation ever be a revolutionary movement, not rhetorically but on the ground?
    • p. 248.
  • One needs either equality or political and economic superiority.
    • p. 336.

Letters from a War Zone: Writings 1976-1987 edit

  • The women's movement is like other political movements in one important way. Every political movement is committed to the belie that there are certain kinds of pain that people should not have to endure. They are unnecessary. They are gratuitous. They are not part of the God-given order. They are not biologically inevitable. They are acts of human will. They are acts done by some human beings to other human beings.
    • "Feminism: An Agenda" (1983)
  • The pride comes from accomplishment. I have done what I wanted to do more than any other thing in life. I have become a writer, published two books of integrity and worth. I did not know what those two books would cost me, how very difficult it would be to write them, to survive the opposition to them.
    • "A Battered Wife Survives", (1978)
  • A take back the night march goes right to our emotional core. We women are especially supposed to be afraid of the night The night promises harm to women. For a woman to walk on the street at night is not only to risk abuse, but also—according to the values of male domination—to ask for it. The woman who transgresses the boundaries of night is an outlaw who breaks an elementary rule of civilized behavior: a decent woman does not go out—certainly not alone, certainly not only with other women—at night. A woman out in the night, not on a leash, is thought to be a slut or an uppity bitch who does not know her place.
    • "The Night and Danger" (1979)
  • If you believe that God made women to be submissive and inferior, then there is almost nothing that feminism can say to you about your place in society.
    • "Feminism: An Agenda" (1983)
  • The purpose of theory is to clarify the world in which we live, how it works, why things happen as they do. The purpose of theory is understanding. Understanding is energizing. It energizes to action. When theory becomes an impediment to action, it is time to discard the theory and return naked, that is, without theory, to the world of reality. People become slaves to theory because people are used to meeting expectations they have not originated—to doing what they are told, to having everything mapped out, to having reality prepackaged. People can have an antiauthoritarian intention and yet function in a way totally consonant with the demands of authority. The deepest struggle is to root out of us and the institutions in which we participate the requirement that we slavishly conform. But an adherence to ideology, to any ideology, can give us the grand illusion of freedom when in fact we are being manipulated and used by those whom the theory serves. The struggle for freedom has to be a struggle toward integrity defined in every possible sphere of reality—sexual integrity, economic integrity, psychological integrity, integrity of expression, integrity of faith and loyalty and heart. Anything that shortcuts us away from viewing integrity as an essential goal or anything that diverts our attention from integrity as a revolutionary value serves only to reinforce the authoritarian values of the world in which we live.
    • U.S. edition, pp. 127-128

About edit

  • In the 1980s, Ellen Willis led the so-called pro-sex radical feminists in their heated challenge to the antipornography movement. Countering the arguments of Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, and others that "sexual liberation is a male supremacist plot, Willis proclaimed that sexual liberation was the keystone of broader social and cultural change.
    • Joyce Antler Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices from the Women’s Liberation Movement (2020)
  • Andrea presented herself as a street fighter intellectual, a bohemian freedom fighter, and someone who wanted to get to the bottom of things. That quote about Malcolm X is apt. Malcolm pointed out “The problem is WHITE PEOPLE.” Dworkin said, “The problem is MEN.” And for all the holes that can be poked in that cloth, there is something about that grain that is absolutely true, when you are the short end of the bolt.
  • Even if you believe that prostitution and pornography are fundamentally acceptable, the challenge of Dworkin is to explain why they should exist – rather than merely accepting their current existence as an argument for their continuation. We are creatures of culture and Intercourse is the promise that we are not doomed to the endless replication of misogyny, but can reinvent that culture in new and better shapes.
  • I’m sorry Andrea Dworkin started a sexual revolution that she ended up repudiating. She never got to see people like me, Carol, and the rest of us little protégées who took her inspiration and flew to a new dimension. She got stuck, and then she got sick, and when you’re famous for one thing, no one wants to see you change unless you reject it all, like a pathetic sinner seeking redemption. She was too stubborn and too old-fashioned for that. Andrea Dworkin never would have admitted that she was a SuperStar. She was the animator of the ultimate porno horror loop, where the Final Girl never gets a chance to slay the monster, she only dies, dies, dies, with the cries of the angry mourners to remember her.
  • So now we come to what Andrea Dworkin wants and it is this: she wants women to have their own country. But that's mad, I said to her. Why bother discussing it? It isn't going to happen. To which she has a reply -- didn't they say that about Israel? And didn't the world think that Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, was a crank? The Jews got a country because they had been persecuted, said that enough was enough, decided what they wanted and went out and fought for it. Women should do the same. And if you don't want to live in Womenland, so what? Not all Jews live in Israel, but it is there, a place of potential refuge if persecution comes to call. Furthermore, Dworkin says, as the Jews fought for Israel so women have the right to execute -- that's right, execute -- rapists and the state should not intervene. I couldn't really believe she was serious, but she is.
  • Andrea Dworkin, who was pelted and ridiculed for decades of her life, was another of those rare people who feel other people's pain as if it were their own. When she first sent me one of her books, I was all ready to snigger. But she could write, and think, and argue, and it was often a pleasure to disagree violently with her, which is more than I can say for some of her detractors. Like many clever and tormented people, she had the gift of getting the gist of supposedly complex questions. It wasn't OK with her that President Clinton had a special staff of private dicks to "handle" and to slander truth-telling women; it wasn't OK with her that Serbia used rape as a weapon of ethnic cleansing; and she wasn't neutral against a jihadist threat that wanted, and wants, to enslave and torture females. That she could be denounced as a "conservative" for holding any of those positions says much about the left to which she used to belong. If she was indeed crazy, I wish she had bitten more of her twisted sisters.
  • I am just thinking of Andrea Dworkin. I have really known Andrea since she was very young. I have known her since she was about eighteen years old. I used to love her very much. She was very dear to me. I mean when she writes about sexual life, it's horrible. And she did have some horrible experiences, you know, but I am not writing about her. That's all I can say. For me I really want to celebrate sexuality. (“Because that's the way you feel about it?”) And because I want to celebrate it. Because I think it's one of the greatest things invented [laughs], and it may be a pure invention that it is so great. I could be wrong, and Andrea could be right. But I think it should be. One of the things that bothers me with a lot of my sisters in movements that I have worked with is that their anger with men really has turned them not against men, which is all right as far as I am concerned, but against sex in general, so that even their lesbian experiences don't strike me as so hot as far as that's concerned.

External links edit

Wikipedia has an article about: