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Andrea Dworkin (1946 - )

Related: feminism - anti-pornography

The radicalism of Andrea Dworkin's feminism is best illustrated by her praise of Helen Zahavi's 1991 rape-revenge novel Dirty Weekend as 'good' and 'true'.


Andrea Dworkin (September 26, 1946 - April 9, 2005) was an American radical feminist and writer. She was best known for her criticism of pornography, which she argued led to rape and other forms of violence against women. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Dworkin [Apr 2005]


Andrea Dworkin (born 1946 in Camden, New York) is an American radical feminist and writer. In her numerous books, articles and speeches she has analyzed pornography, prostitution and male violence against women, drawing from her own experience of prostitution and rape. She has met vicious criticism from both right and left, the right vilifying her as man-hater and threat to family values, and the left accusing her of being unreasonably pessimistic, proponent of censorship and against all sex. In response to Dworkin's criticism on pornography, she has been a target of defamation and slander from publishers of pornography, including pornographic cartoons of her in the Hustler magazine.

Dworkin, together with the feminist lawyer Catharine MacKinnon, drafted a proposal for a law that defined pornography as a civil rights violation against women and allowed women harmed by it a chance to sue the producers and distributors of pornography in a civil court for damages. In 1983 the law was passed in Indianapolis, but was subsequently overturned as unconstitutional by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 1985, and by the Supreme Court in 1986 which upheld the Seventh Circuit's ruling. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Dworkin

Catharine MacKinnon

Catharine MacKinnon (born 7th October 1946) is an American feminist and lawyer. She was educated at Smith College (B.A., 1968), Yale Law School (J.D., 1977) and Yale University Graduate School (Ph.D. in political science, 1987). As of 2004, she is the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and is also a long-term Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago.

A proponent of "feminism unmodified," a form of radical feminism distanced from, for example, Marxist approaches, MacKinnon wrote Towards a Feminist Theory of the State, an attempt to understand the oppression of women and strategies to combat it in terms of states dominated by men.

MacKinnon, in the 1970s, was a pioneer in claiming that sexual harassment could be considered illegal discrimination and fall under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, this premise was not tested in court until the 1980s, in the Jenson v. Eveleth case.

In the 80s, in cooperation with Andrea Dworkin, she wrote ordinances for a law recognizing pornography as a violation of civil rights. The "Dworkin-MacKinnon ordinances" placed her at the center of a major controversy. Some favored the ordinances as a novel method of combating what they felt to be objectifying or violent depictions of women. Many others objected on free speech grounds, with some, such as the Friesian School going so far as to call her the epitome of "Stalinist feminists" and the Authoritarian left [1] (http://www.friesian.com/quiz.htm). Some who might have agreed with her opposition to pornography generally objected to her tactics out of concern that placing such control in the hands of male-dominated states could allow them to censor depictions of sex valuable to, e.g., lesbians or the BDSM community. That right-wing Christian organizations sided with MacKinnon did little to endear her to other feminists.

MacKinnon now works with litigation and legislation on women's human rights; her approach is notable in that she claims that traditional approaches to human rights gloss over abuses specific to women (e.g., sexual violence), both in wartime and peacetime. She has, for example, represented women and children victims of Serbian genocidal sexual atrocities. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catharine_MacKinnon [Feb 2005]

"The Girl with the Eternal Cold --Camille Paglia

Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin

In Bad Girls and Sick Boys, Linda Kauffman demonstrates how the 1986 Meese Commission on Pornography appropriated the extremist anti-porn arguments of feminists Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin to issue extremist measures against pornographic film and photography. MacKinnon and Dworkin had negatively defined pornography as "the sexually explicit subordination of women, graphically or in words." (Kauffman s.d.: 233-243) In the early 1990s, the Christian fundamentalist Jesse Helm’s infamous amendment to the American Senate proposed to censor ‘indecent’ art depicting "sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the exploitation of children and individuals engaged in sex acts." Helm’s amendment reflected a moral panic in religious and in feminist circles around pornography, a political development which has had a disastrous effect on public exhibitions of queer and s/m sexuality. [...] -- [...]

Feminism [...]

As a feminist, I resent the extremists and conservative feminists who assume that pornography is detrimental to women and causes violence against them. Such radical ideas are usually based on the 1986 Final Report of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, which was a hoax. Or such ideas are based on assumptions, skewed personal experiences, or flawed logic.

Andrea Dworkin is probably the loudest self-proclaimed feminist to vocalize the harms pornography brings to women. She is adamantly opposed to porn. In her book, Woman Hating, she uses extreme examples of the most explicit pornography ever written to support her views. The pornography she illustrates to support her negative opinion toward porn depicts illegal acts such as rape, mutilation, murder and violence - all sexual and violent acts that are already illegal. -- Colleen McEneany http://www.amazoncastle.com/feminism/porn.shtml [...] [...]

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