Maligning Andrea Dworkin in death amounts to little more than misogyny

Andrea Dworkin died 10 years ago today, and her legacy lives on with many of my feminist sisters, despite massive efforts to rip her to shreds while she isn’t here to defend herself.

Andrea Dworkin, 1966
Andrea Dworkin, 1966

She been accused of so many things, mostly rooted in anti-feminist stereotypes, yet oddly reinforced by many who call themselves “feminist,” albeit of the third wave, liberal, or queer studies variety.

Dworkin, like most of us who criticize misogynistic, violent, oppressive depictions of sex and sexuality, is called “anti-sex” by men and women alike, misquoted as saying “all heterosexual sex is rape,” and labelled as “transphobic,” despite there being no evidence to support any of this. Like most of us, she is accused of hating men, of believing that women are biologically superior to men, and of being essentialist in (supposedly) thinking that all men are innately violent rapists.

In fact, the truth, also applicable to most feminists, is that she believed deeply in men’s humanity and in their ability to change, saying in her famous speech, “I want a 24 hour truce during which there is no rape,”

I don’t believe rape is inevitable or natural. If I did, I would have no reason to be here. If I did, my political practice would be different than it is… Have you ever wondered why we [women] are not just in armed combat against you? It’s not because there’s a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.

It never ceases to amaze me that people think feminism is about vilifying men as violent rapists. Feminism would not exist if not for women’s belief that things can be different — that men can be different. We know that masculinity is not innate and we know that men need not rape and abuse. Men choose it. They choose to force themselves on women, they choose to buy sex from desperate women and girls, they choose to treat those women and girls in inhumane ways, they choose to ogle and intimidate us in public places, they choose to call us names and beat us. They also choose to bully other men — their friends, their classmates, their sons — into perpetuating and replicating this behaviour — masculinity, it’s called.

The way in which Andrea has been maligned in death is rooted in one thing and one thing only: misogyny. In woman-hating. “Feminism is hated because women are hated,” she said. “Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating.” And I don’t care if it is women who are doing it — even women who claim to be feminist. It is still a manifestation of anti-feminism and, therefore, of misogyny. Hating Andrea Dworkin equates to hating women. And you cannot defend your mistreatment of her and your consequent misrepresentations and attacks on feminism unless you are also prepared to defend misogyny.

The truth about Andrea and her work is everywhere. Choose to find it or remain part of the system that keeps women from escaping the violent grip of patriarchy.

RIP sister. We remember.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Joe

    Hi Meghan,
    I listen to your podcast where you play a Dworkin speech. She seemed a great mind (and a fearsome + entertaining orator), I had never thought about radical feminism in that way of seeing men as human rather than naturally as aggressors and oppressors but more importantly clear is her deep love and pain for her sisters. I also thought her comments on race were interesting, as that side of her is not discussed often.
    I am in my early 20s but have had with mental health issues stemming from struggles with my masculinity including self harm and failed suicide attempts (obviously failed ha). I know it isn’t the point of feminism or concern of feminists but being able to understand my emotions as normal came because of reading about feminist views on masculinity (admittedly from more liberal feminist voices) but I can see these views roots are down to people like Dworkin. I will endeavor to find copies of her books and read them as her ideas shouldn’t be forgotten as I owe ideas like hers my life and if I can contribute in a small way to making world more like she’d have wanted that would be nice.
    RIP

    • Brian

      You might want to check out the book that her partner John Stoltenberg wrote, Refusing to Be a Man. There’s a free pdf online!

      • Joe

        thanks I will have a look.

    • Do you have any idea how rare people are who can listen and learn? None of this suicide stuff. Y’hear?

      • Joe

        I can’t promise anything but will try my best 🙂

      • Kiboko

        Saying, “None of this suicide stuff, y’hear?” is really, really, unhelpful, not to mention rude. Getting angry with the suicidal simply makes the situation worse, as do all the comments about the suicidal being cowards. They usually have to deal with pain that you can only begin to imagine. If you really want to help, the response should be, “I’m really glad you’re still with us”. Don’t put a negative on top of a negative.

        • Millie

          I’m not Joe, but it didn’t seem angry to me. I saw it as playful fondness for another human being. there are times when I have been suicidal and really not wanted to exist in this world. to read a comment that said “none of that suicide stuff. Y’hear” felt more comforting than judgmental. If this is the case with you I’m sorry it impacted you negatively, that sucks.

          • lizor

            Me too, Millie. quixote opened with “Do you have any idea how rare people are who can listen and learn?”, pointing out to Joe that he was an uncommonly thoughtful person – a trait for which Joe should feel good and proud. The next line I read as very warm and encouraging, and I believe from his response that Joe did too.

          • Millie

            Or Joe 🙂

  • Lauren

    1st off this is really weird but the captcha you have to type in to make a comment is my last name!!! Whaat the heck!!! Coincidence I suppose, but how weird!!!
    Sorry anyways we talked a lot about the Rolling Stone article in my gender studies class today. Dworkin is of course well respected, I think she was taken out of context when she said piv sex is rape, I man she was married to a man!! But the most troubling thing that was brought up was claim of rape she made in a London hotel which was completely untrue hence it being related to the Rolling Stone article. The question I have is was she serious or was this like a “what if” piece. Most in my class say she made it up for attention while a few say it was supposed to be a fictitious piece. My next class is Monday and I’d like to have some more info about it if anyone knows.

    • Morag

      Dworkin was not a liar; she was brutally, painfully honest about her own life and about the violent truth of male supremacy and other systems of dominance. She didn’t make it up “for attention.” Jesus. What a cruel thing to say about a traumatized woman. How awful, how insensitive. “Gender Studies” class, eh? I’m tempted to say that I’m not surprised to hear this. But, really, I am sad.

    • Morag

      Another thing: what does Dworkin’s critique of sexual intercourse have to do with the fact that “she was married to a man!!” that it merits two surprised exclamation points?

      • Adam

        Maybe she means it would be ironic if people took her out of context like what meghan was talking about. Chill out Morag, if she had a husband she was probably having intercourse so whatever. In response to Lauren I had heard that too. I think I heard it was satire but it was weird.

        it’s April so let it Rain, let the flowers bloom, let love gain!

        • Morag

          A woman’s account of being drugged and raped was “weird” and “probably satire”?

          Are you a complete imbecile, as well as a misogynist who tells uppity women to “chill”? And who is so bored by feminist writings on rape and sexual subjugation that he says “so whatever” because Dworkin had a husband, so obviously — since intercourse in mandatory — she must have been a proper woman who happily fucked men, so we can just lie back and “chill” and not bother trying to understand her critique, which obviously, you, Adam, have not read?

          Where the fuck did you come from, with these offerings from your small mind, encouraging the women to forget all this feminist nonsense and just relax and smell the flowers?

        • Andrea Dworkin had a relationship with John Stoltenberg who is gay.

        • She was married to John Stoltenberg. While I don’t like some of his comments on the Internetz, he was openly gay, and as far as I know she was openly lesbian. If I remember correctly, she married him because of her bad health and because she needed the health insurrance. (No guarantee that what I’m saying is correct, though)

          • Meghan Murphy

            Yes, they both continued to identify as gay/lesbian even when they lived together. “Love” does not = PIV for all people…

        • Ellesar

          From what I remember Andrea saying about her relationship with John it seemed that the relationship was a passionately committed one, but not necessarily sexual. I remember her saying that John was a ‘non genital man’.

          • Meghan Murphy

            My understanding is that it was a non-sexual relationship…

        • Priscila

          Never in this life you’ll come to a feminist website, tell a woman to “chill out” and get away with it.

        • C.K. Egbert

          You know she wrote a whole book about how it was problematic to assume that if you have relations with a man, intercourse is compulsory? That’s sort of the whole problem, isn’t it…that women are simply expected to comply with (male-centered) sex acts, regardless of whether they want it and regardless of whether it hurts women.

          I also don’t see why her personal life has to become a topic of discussion in relation to her feminist work, except insofar as she wanted it to be.

        • ArgleBargle

          Adam, when you say ‘chill out’ in this context it means ‘shut up’.
          Please don’t. I’m interested in hearing what Morag has to say.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Seriously. FYI men, do not show up here telling women to ‘chill out’ thx.

          • Morag

            Thank you Argle, Meghan and others who are as angry as I am about being told to “chill out.” Yes, it means “shut up” and it’s also modern way of calling women “hysterical.”

            It’s as misogynist as barging in here and dropping words like “bitch” and “cunt.” Maybe worse, because of his off-hand contempt for serious women trying to have a serious discussion about a serious writer.

            Just a hideous comment. And, of course, totally clueless about Dworkin’s work and life.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Relaaaaax, girl. You’re getting all emotional and shit.

          • Morag

            Snort.

            Hey, yeah, it’s cool. Loosen up, baby. There’s, like, flowers and stuff growing. Why you getting all upset about negative stuff like rape and shit? You on the rag or something? What you should do instead is think about loooovvvee. And about raindrops. I mean, it’s APRIL — in case you’ve been too uptight to notice!

      • Laurel

        Well, no woman can be married to any man without “putting out,” can she? The idea is unthinkable. And doing any research at all, even visiting Wikipedia before before jumping to this conclusion? Even more unthinkable.

        These comments are making Meghan’s point quote well. Bad things we hear about Dworkin (she invented a rape) (she married a man, so she must have been the world’s biggest hypocrite) are true because she was a woman–and not a very submissive or decorative one.

    • Rosa

      This is what it says on her wikipedia page:
      In June 2000, Dworkin published controversial articles in the New Statesman[86] and in the Guardian,[87] stating that one or more men had raped her in her hotel room in Paris the previous year, putting GHB in her drink to disable her. Her articles ignited public controversy[88] when writers such as Catherine Bennett[20] and Julia Gracen[89] published doubts about her account, polarizing opinion between skeptics and supporters such as Catharine MacKinnon, Katharine Viner,[37] and Gloria Steinem. Her reference to the incident was later described by Charlotte Raven as a “widely disbelieved claim”, better seen as “a kind of artistic housekeeping”.[90] Emotionally fragile and in failing health, Dworkin mostly withdrew from public life for two years following the articles.

      It was very strange that a woman who advocated against sexual abuse would suddenly forget to report a crime. Especially strange when she says she had received a huge gash on her leg that wouldn’t stop bleeding yet she did not see a doctor. The hotel she was staying at would have had surveillance cameras making it rather easy to catch the supposed rapists. I do think anytime someone is caught in a lie it takes away her credibility but in Dworkin’s case she was experiencing delirious episodes and it was believed she may have had Alzheimer’s. In any case lying about being raped is rather deplorable and I wondering if this is why much of her writing is no longer required reading for feminist studies.

      • Meghan Murphy

        These questions surrounding Dworkin’s alleged rape are not widely known and have absolutely nothing to do with the way her work has been maligned and misrepresented. Considering that you don’t actually know whether or not she was raped, I think it’s rather ‘deplorable’ that you would accuse her of lying point blank.

        • A Woman of America

          Yeah, she was already being misrepresented prior to 2000, so…

        • Morag

          I agree Meghan. It is simply deplorable to accuse her of lying point blank. None of us were there, and we don’t know exactly what happened to her in that Paris hotel room. Only that something terrible DID happen to her.

          I maintain that she was not lying and that she was not a liar. And I will continue to maintain that because either she was drugged and raped, or, perhaps, her failing physical and mental health caused her to re-expereince a rape just as real as the original experience. Remember that she had, at various points in her life, been prostituted, sexually molested or assaulted, and battered by men. That is the awful truth.

          She was brilliant, courageous and clear-headed, and she was also — she had to be — traumatized. Trauma in males (i.e., battle/war/disaster) is studied and better understood and treated; and, as usual, men and masculine activities form the human standard by which the psychology of trauma is measured. The psychiatric labels for female response to trauma are different: dismissive, shaming, stigmatizing — designed to deny or obscure everyday oppression and abuse. To make it invisible, to individualize and personalize illness so we view it as native to the woman herself.

          • jo

            “Trauma in males (i.e., battle/war/disaster) is studied and better understood and treated; and, as usual, men and masculine activities form the human standard by which the psychology of trauma is measured. The psychiatric labels for female response to trauma are different: dismissive, shaming, stigmatizing — designed to deny or obscure everyday oppression and abuse. ”

            This is really interesting and I’d love to read more about it, do you know of any articles or books?
            I have PTSD myself and haven’t gotten any real treatment so far. It’s either drugs (temporary tranquilizer, doesn’t address the problem) or gtfo here.

      • ArgleBargle

        A better read than Wikipedia is Andrea Dworkin’s own account of the day she was raped:

        http://www.newstatesman.com/comment/2013/03/day-i-was-drugged-and-raped

      • Remember that Linda Lovelace was also never raped even though she said she was, that she was a willing participant and a liar acting on regrets because she wanted a different kind of attention.

        “‘When you see the movie Deep Throat, you are watching me being raped,’ she baldly told an official inquiry into the sex industry in 1986. ‘It is a crime that movie is still showing. There was a gun to my head the entire time.’

        For her old friends in the business, though, she was a traitor and they sneeringly coined the term ‘Linda Syndrome’ to describe former porn stars who later try to disown their seedy careers.”

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2120823/How-Deep-Throat-star-Linda-Lovelaces-tragic-life-modern-morality-tale.html#ixzz3X1K0lapc

        • Meghan Murphy

          All women who tell the truth about male violence are crazy liars, is the trick.

      • Dana

        I heard about that supposedly made-up rape but only on Wikipedia. When I hear people maligning Dworkin it’s always because “she said all sex is rape”. No one mentions her “made-up rape”.

        BTW, just because you’re an activist in something doesn’t mean you’ll be brave enough to go to the cops. An anti-sexual-violence activist in particular knows that the chances of the police handling her case correctly and her attackers actually seeing some justice are slim to none–and this was back in the 1990s when that was even more true!

    • Kiboko

      You can’t study Andrea Dworkin without taking into consideration the historical context of the time in which she lived. It was common to shut up rape survivors by saying they made it up. It still happens now, but not in the way it was then. Why would anyone make that up? She did NOT need the ‘attention’, she didn’t do it to promote hatred of men because she didn’t hate men. I am horrified that your gender studies class would even suggest such a thing.

      One of the things which upsets me the most is when Dworkin’s definition of marriage is taken out of context. She said that women have to either sell themselves to one man (marriage) or sell themselves to many (prostitution, and I mean prostitution here, not sex workers) in order to survive. This produced a mass wail from current young women of ‘But marriage isn’t like that’. You can thank your lucky stars, more specifically, you can thank Andrea Dworkin that it isn’t. The reason it is no longer the case is due to the hard work of Dworkin and other feminists.

      She wasn’t anti-sex either, she was anti-porn. There’s a big difference, a huge difference, between the two. She and Katherine McKinnon were opposed to humiliating, degrading, heterosexual porn. They were challenged by other feminists that sex work is somehow ’empowering’. Well, if you are wealthy and you don’t need to do it to survive and you’re sticking two fingers up to your wealthy parents, I guess that could be seen as empowering. But for poor women, women of colour, women who have no choice, somewhat less so. Ultimately, it damages all women because the type of sex in porn is then seen as the norm. Unfortunately, the feminists who opposed Dworkin and McKinnon decided to call themselves ‘sex-positive’. All feminists are sex-positive. We want sex to be something women actively engage in and enjoy rather than something which is done to them. Opposing the ‘sex-positive’ feminists (i.e. ‘pro-porn’ feminists) is the root of the ridiculous accusation that Andrea Dworkin was anti-sex.

  • Andrea Dworkin was the cause of me becoming a radical feminist. I only needed to read her book Woman Hating and Right Wing Women to get a greater understanding of what the world was and still is. I believe that she helped radical feminism in a great number of ways. I think it’s not Dworkin who failed feminism, rather it’s modern 3rd wave feminists who have failed her and refused to carry on her work against pornography and prostitution. Rather they have only been convinced into rooting for their oppressors and continuing their subjugation. Radical feminism is the intellectual movement that will save the world as we know it.

    • Morag

      “Radical feminism is the intellectual movement that will save the world as we know it.”

      I hope so. But, it might be at this point that the world, especially Earth itself, cannot be saved. Still, if there were a movement that could save all of us and everything living, this would be it. At least, for whatever time and resources are remaining, it could be made better. Made more just, more humane. But we have, I think, passed several critical points. According to many scientists, certain kinds of disasters can’t be fixed .. and those babies keep on coming. Two hundred thousand per day!

  • Ellesar

    I have read nearly everything that Andrea wrote, and I started in about ’85. I felt very betrayed by the alliance she and McKinnon made with the religious right, but otherwise I had great respect for her. She was a feminist who sacrificed a great deal for the cause, I cannot think of anyone else so fiercely committed. I am glad that her legacy is living on so strongly.

    And for those who like to maintain that she was anti trans, here is the quote that shows definitively that she was not:

    “Transsexuality is currently considered a gender disorder, that is, a person learns a gender role which contradicts his/her visible sex. It is a “disease” with a cure: a sex-change operation will change the person’s visible sex and make it consonant with the person’s felt identity.

    Since we know very little about sex identity, and since psychiatrists are committed to the propagation of the cultural structure as it is, it would be premature and not very intelligent to accept the psychiatric judgement that transsexuality is caused by a faulty socialization. More probably, transsexuality is caused by a faulty society. Transsexuality can be defined as one particular formation of our general multisexuality which is unable to achieve its natural development because of extremely adverse social conditions.

    There is no doubt that in the culture of male-female discreteness, transsexuality is a disaster for the individual transsexual. Every transsexual, white, black, man, woman, rich, poor, is in a state of primary emergency as a transsexual. There are 3 crucial points here.

    One, every transsexual has the right to survival on his/her own terms. That means every transsexual is entitled to a sex-change operation, and it should be provided by the community as one of its functions. This is an emergency measure for an emergency condition.

    Two, by changing our premises about men and women, role-playing and polarity, the social situation of transsexuals will be transformed, and transsexuals will be integrated into community, no longer persecuted and despised.

    Three, community built on androgynous identity will mean the end of transsexuality as we know it. Either the transsexual will be able to expand his/her sexuality into a fluid androgyny, or, as roles disppear, the phenomenon of transsexuality will disappear and that energy will be transformed into new modes of sexual identity and behavior.”

    From Woman Hating 1974

    • “Three, community built on androgynous identity will mean the end of transsexuality as we know it. Either the transsexual will be able to expand his/her sexuality into a fluid androgyny, or, as roles disppear, the phenomenon of transsexuality will disappear and that energy will be transformed into new modes of sexual identity and behavior.”

      When Janice Raymond wrote the same radical feminist thing she got excoriated as genocidally seeking to “end” the lives of all transgendered people:

      “the issue of transsexualism has profound political and moral ramifications; transsexualism itself is a deeply moral question rather than a medical-technical answer. I contend that the problem of transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence.”

      • Morag

        Yes, Dworkin and Raymond are saying pretty much the same thing in these two side-by-side quotations.

        But Raymond’s thinking/analysis on the issue of transsexualism (e.g., its incompatibility with the radical feminist goals of eradicating inflexible sex-roles and essentialist notions such as the idea of innate femininity or “brain sex”) was, of course, clearer and much more complete than Dworkin’s.

      • Meghan Murphy

        It seems that most who make similar arguments are quickly labeled as bigots and TERFs, despite the fact that the argument is decidedly non-controversial, imo. It’s talking about what would happen if we managed to create a world free from gender roles/steretypes, and therefore the gender hierarchy, yeah? It seems the argument is sometimes framed (malisciously or stupidly, I’m not sure) as advocating for a literal end to transpeople — as in the individual human beings who identify as trans…

        • Rich

          I am sure trans activist types see this as simply avoiding the issue they seek to raise. While you don’t want to physically do away with them, you do want to do away with what they (or at least, many of them) see as their identity. Whether for psychological, chemical, or who knows what reasons, they see themselves as being women. And they want to insist that others accept them as being women.

          A society where it won’t be frowned upon to be a male who tries to act or look like a woman would undoubtedly help them in terms of their day to day interaction with the world. But it is not the same as accepting them as women.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I do? Do I also want to do away with women? And men, in that case? I think the gender binary is not quite as restrictive as you make it out to be here… Or feminists would like it to be less restrictive, in any case… The society you speak of — ” where it [wouldn’t] be frowned upon to be a male who tries to act or look like a woman” — is a feminist society. And it wouldn’t be viewed as “a male trying to look like a woman,” it would just be a society wherein people weren’t forced to perform gender and where “masculinity” and “femininity” weren’t things.

            It feels more as though you are avoiding the “issue” rather than I, redirecting the conversation to be one about whether or not trans people exist or should be allowed to exist, which, of course, they do. The issue, as far as I see it, is whether or not it is transgressive to say “I dress or speak or act in a way that patriarchal society has deemed ‘feminine’, therefore I am female.” I certainly don’t see femininity as transgressive when performed by females, so why would it be for anyone else who identifies as ‘woman’? It doesn’t mean I think women who perform femininity are bad or should disappear (I, too, perform femininity), but that doesn’t mean I think it is ‘good’ or ‘natural’ or transgressive or progressive, in terms of the feminist fight. The “issue” is naturalizing that which is not natural. Not erasing people because they participate in socialization or because they don’t fit into a restrictive gender binary. What would you say to a woman who acted violently or in a misogynist way and then said, “well it must be because I am a man on the inside?” Not particularly progressive, is it?

          • Dana

            See, this is how bad transactivism has gotten. You apparently think there are only transwomen, and no transmen.

            I’ve done some reading up on this and it seems that doctors see two kinds of transwomen: those who get a sexual kick out of pretending to be a woman, and those who are homosexual but tired of being harassed for it and they think becoming a woman will make their lives easier. Guess which kind is most active in the movement, which kind is pushing to be allowed in women’s bathrooms and changing rooms when they haven’t even had reassignment surgery yet.

            The “transwoman” found in a Planet Fitness changing room recently had not previously identified on social media as a transwoman and in fact had stated, also on social media, that “she” had a fetish for athletic women. The woman who reported “her” having been in the changing room said that “she” had been hanging a purse up on an open, unprotected, unenclosed wall hook. What woman hangs a purse out in a public area and then walks away? Even if you’re in the same room, especially in urban areas, turn your back for thirty seconds and someone just might rob you.

            Where do you think all those covert upskirt and changing-room and bathroom videos come from that are regularly uploaded to porn sites? Someone sneaks a camera in. Planet Fitness already knew about someone installing secret cameras in a tanning area at another of their locations and didn’t notify the customers for several days after discovery. They’re not gonna care if some perv is leaving a camera in the changing room. They’ll just kick out the cisgendered for complaining.

            We don’t know who these people are and we’re supposed to let them into our private spaces and into our movement without a by your leave.

            And who on earth internalizes oppression as an “identity”? It’s not a permanent state, I can tell you. Eventually people wise up and start resisting that sort of internalization. For those transgendered people who really do mean well (and again, I don’t know them from Adam, Eve, or whoever else and I can’t say for sure who does mean well), it can’t happen a moment too soon. There is no way that wanting to change your hormones and get your parts cut off is biologically-based except in the sense of it being a sickness because before the 20th century we simply *did not have the technology* to make these things happen. Biological means it would happen even if we were all still hunkered down in caves picking our noses. And dressing as your culture expects the opposite sex to dress DOES NOT mean your genitals should be different.

            Just saying, y’know?

  • Rich

    “They also choose to bully other men — their friends, their classmates, their sons — into perpetuating and replicating this behaviour — masculinity, it’s called.”

    Just about every man has, in his minds eye, a picture of how a man is supposed to behave. You get it from the men in your life. From your father, your teacher, your older brother. You get it from literature: whether an Aragorn or an Allan Woodcourt. You get it from movies, from historical figures. You take what seems admirable to you.

    There are certainly elements to some men’s version of masculinity like you describe above. Toxic masculinity. No surprise there. Some people are bad guys, and always will be. But some conception of how a man should behave, as a man, is part and parcel of being a man. To negate masculinity, is to negate the very concept of men.

    There are a lot of ways in which men can go a long way forwards with feminists in addressing social evils. But men are never going to go all the way to doing away with masculinity. Because even most progressive men are going to have in their mind’s eye an idea of how a man should behave. They are going to have a sense of masculinity. That is why there are almost no true “feminist allies” among men.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “To negate masculinity, is to negate the very concept of men.”

      Maybe “men” as we know them today, but not “males.” Your mistake is in assuming that an end to masculinity means an end to males, when really, all it is is an end to gender roles, stereotypes, and hierarchies.

      • C

        Aren’t you assuming that it’s even possible to remove gender roles,stereotypes and hierarchies?

        Name one species of living organisms that doesn’t follow a natural law of hierarchy?

        I guess you would say radical feminism is taking us to the next level of our evolution, which is to be superhuman and be above the urges of natural animal/human instincts.

        And once we eliminate gender roles and stereotypes and hierarchy, societies problems won’t be classism/racism/sexism because the capitalist hierarchy will be destroyed and we will live in a peaceful communal society where we don’t have to be jealous of others haves and our own have nots’. Where every person has a enjoyable job that they did not choose and every person enjoys their living quarters that is allocated to them?

        Or, bare with me here… we could just be reasonable and work to ensure our society promotes equal opportunity in a world that is ruled by hierarchy. Because just to point out, hierarchies can be very important for creating healthy competition which is beneficial to all. It is after all one of the driving forces that evolved us into humans in the first place.

        my opinion: radical feminism socialist rhetoric also places real lives at stake so how is it any different than that of the neoliberal/neoconservative agenda.

        However, it makes for important discussions, and does so much to draw attention to actual issues that develop out of aggressive capitalism, so I think it has a very important role. And I applaud the content of this site for its value.

        Aggressive capitalism= bad
        Aggressive communism = bad

        Radical feminism = bad
        Patriarchal misogyny= bad

        Is centrism out of fashion?

        Just one persons opinion.

        • Meghan Murphy

          “radical feminism socialist rhetoric also places real lives at stake”

          What?? How so?

          Also, you state that radical feminism is “bad” without actually providing any evidence to support this opinion (and you state it, not as an opinion, but as fact).

          • C

            Socialism just like any government takes freedoms away from the people and gives responsibility of enforcing the removal of these freedoms to the government( a group of assholes who think they know whats best for everyone). Government policies can only be enforced and maintained vie force( as commonly seen in the prison system and/or G8 riots, occupy movements etc., which can be agreed are exacerbated thanks to unrestricted neoliberalism/neoconservatism).

            In the case of one example of radical feminism we would need to remove all pornography or anything that even remotely looks like porn. Essentially porn is the new child porn and because of this the government in Harper style says hey, porn’s bad right, I need access to your computer to make sure that this isn’t on there. We all agree, so lets pass this surveillance bill. We can all agree that since porn is bad that it only makes sense to give up this privacy and since we wont be saving any self made amateur porn on our personal computers, who gives a fuck what the government finds on there right?( except all my pirated music and tv/movies… dammit)

            So this being the case, anyone who was caught creating and or distributing this pornographic material would need to be punished via fines/community service/jail time( or some of you may even approve of the death penalty for this heinous crime ). This is accompanied by the fact that almost anyone with access to a camera ( and everyone who owns a cell phone practically) has potential to create this material.

            Now any wife that wishes to send off her husband with some JO material for his biz trip is creating and distributing contraband. Fair enough, having sexual urges should long be destroyed as a result of diminished gender roles and stereotypes right?
            I assume sex will only be for procreation by this point.

            And now we are jailing or fining all pornographers for actions of what a few unjust assholes recorded of some unfortunately weak minded persons. To me that is like jailing marijuana growers because the cartel can still manage to ship in 1000 tonnes of heroin.

            Essentially criminalizing all porn creates an underground network such as the one that is set up for drugs. A war on porn will ensue, which like the war on drugs, is a war that cannot be won. It is too intrinsically connected to our pleasure center and is way to easy to produce and distribute.

            Maybe i’m missing the point of radical feminism. But the aggressive attitude it takes towards individual freedoms and choices seems a bit much to me.

            This just as my last post was and is all just an opinion.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Radical feminists don’t support Harper’s bill… Also, who is criminalizing all porn? Also, there is plenty of ‘underground’ porn already. Check the dark internet. Check SO MUCH child porn. You’re saying a lot of things as though you are sure of them when it’s clear you don’t really know what you’re talking about…

            The state is for the people. A socialist state would be for the people. The state does not have to be a bad thing. Without a state, who would provide the public with health care? Welfare? Roads? Libraries?

          • Laur

            Porn and drugs are not comparable. In the case of drugs, an inanimate object is being used, whereas in pornography, a human being’s body is what is used.

            I know of no feminist that wants drug-war style laws against all porn. The ideal solution would be for men to stop using materials that objectify and exploit women, and to strongly socially stigmatize porn users. But men come up with every excuse in the world to defend their beloved pornography, including invoking red-herring arguments that feminists are not actually making.

            You’re “missing the point” of radical feminism because you don’t like what it says, including that men cannot consume their pornography and be egalitarian people, too.

      • Rich

        “Maybe “men” as we know them today, but not “males.” Your mistake is in assuming that an end to masculinity means an end to males, when really, all it is is an end to gender roles, stereotypes, and hierarchies.”

        It means an end to males as I understand the word. Just as it would mean an end to women as I understand the word. But for most people, men and women, we like that there is a binary sex roles, men and women. Most men are attracted to women who have feminine qualities. And most women are attracted to men who have masculine qualities. Most men (and women) want to keep this, not do away with it.

        This is why, as I note above, men can go a long way with feminists, but not all the way. Even among “progressive” men, most still want to remain men, not simply “male.”

        • Meghan Murphy

          But that’s learned. Doesn’t it seem to you that if, over time, we learned something else we would be attracted to different qualities? You’ll notice that what is deemed attractive or “sexy” is not the same throughout time or throughout all cultures.

        • Lee

          What is deemed masculine and/or feminine depends on the historical and cultural context. High heels, for example, were first worn by men. Dresses and skirts were not always coded female. Long hair, makeup, ‘gentility’, sensitivity, manners, emotional frailty, etc. have all been considered ‘male’ at various points. Some societies viewed women as aggressive, oversexualized, more ‘animalistic’ or base, not capable of being refined or civil.

        • marv

          ‘…men can go a long way with feminists, but not all the way. Even among “progressive” men, most still want to remain men, not simply “male.”’

          Aha! the fear of going all the way. Men don’t have this inhibition when it comes to fucking women. Why trepidation then when it comes to going all the way to eschew manliness? Which takes more courage and humanity? Don’t be so wimpy.

        • Sabine

          Rich you are woefully out of your depth here. You clearly are incapable of taking a far broader view than the one that has been dictated to you by society. You seriously need to try thinking outside the box or you will never be able to grasp what people are actually trying to discuss. It seems to be going WAY over your head every time. It gets exceedingly boring.

    • Joe

      Only reason these attitudes stay is because of idea that it is impossible though, but I think society can and will change. ‘Men’ don’t have anything inherent about us that is any different to women, if men need something in our minds eye as the image of what it is like to be a man then lets make it about being a good human being and nothing to do with false idea of biological sex differences.

      Just watched a Panorama show in UK from BBC talking about male suicide (80% of suicides in UK are men now and age 21-34 and 45+ it is biggest killer, even more so than cancer) and the attitudes men in show talk about ‘what a man should be’ are reasons we are killing ourselves, free yourself from it because it is poison.

    • marv

      Breaking rank with the cults of masculinities is threatening because it requires surrendering lifelong identities and power. Insecurities abound. (Renouncing conscious/unconscious white self-definitions is frightening too on racialized and colonized lands.)

      http://feministcurrent.com/7868/why-talking-about-healthy-masculinity-is-like-talking-about-healthy-cancer/

    • vagabondi

      If a quality is admirable, any human can admire it and attempt to personify it. A conception of how a human should behave, as a human, is fine. A good human should be honest, courageous, loving, etc.

      Now if you’re going to take stuff that’s not good for any human, like violence, domination, and call it manly and try to embody it so that you can be manly, that’s a problem.

      Also, if you’re going to take the stuff that is good for any human and call it manly, then you’re implicitly denying those qualities to females, and forcing us to be negative, passive, unmanly. That’s an even worse problem.

      And, if you’re going to reject stuff that’s good for any human and refuse to embody it, because you call it feminine… well, I hope you can see that none of these three options are any good. And I can’t think of any way that some traits or behaviors could be coded manly and not others that doesn’t fit into one of these three categories.

      • C

        I agree vagabondi

        Any amount of either masculine or feminine qualities, in any quantity, in any person is great. People are allowed to be individuals. The only thing that needs to be removed are publicly expressed negative associations of unusual combinations of feminine or masculine qualities.

        getting this point across isn’t hard, expect with people with extreme beliefs.

        • Morag

          “getting this point across isn’t hard”

          Right. Except you completely missed vagabondi’s point. Deliberately, I assume.

        • vagabondi

          “The only thing that needs to be removed are publicly expressed negative associations of unusual combinations of feminine or masculine qualities.”

          This man is speaking gibberish! What the hell does that mean?

          I was responding to rich’s assertion that men need to be manly like Aragorn, or else… They’ll die? Or something.

          And morag, thank you so much! That means a lot to me, coming from you.

          • vagabondi

            Oh wait, I figured out what rich is talking about! He’s policing the ranks. When he says, “To negate masculinity, is to negate the very concept of men,” that means that if a man isn’t manly like aragorn, he’s really a woman, and he’s gotta put on some makeup and start hanging around in women’s locker rooms.

          • Rich

            “Oh wait, I figured out what rich is talking about! He’s policing the ranks. When he says, “To negate masculinity, is to negate the very concept of men,” that means that if a man isn’t manly like aragorn, he’s really a woman, and he’s gotta put on some makeup and start hanging around in women’s locker rooms.”

            I said nothing of the sort. It is not my affair to police how other men view themselves. I have quite enough to do with policing myself, thank you.

            And I do not believe it is possible for a man to become a woman.

            As for the Aragorn reference, I included it with Alan Woodcourt to note that there are lots of different male role models in literature. Not sure why that is the one that keeps being quoted . . . Woodcourt, while like all Dickensian heroes is a bit too perfect, is a more realistic target to aim at.

          • amongster

            Lots of different male role models… To me it kinda boils down to this:

            “Basically, the whole “geeks versus jocks” thing that gets drilled into us by media and the educational system isn’t about degrees of masculinity at all. It’s just two different flavours of the same toxic bullshit: the ideal geek is the alpha-male-as-philosopher-king, as opposed to the ideal jock’s alpha-male-as-warrior-king. It’s still a big dick-measuring contest – we’re just using different rulers.”

            http://prokopetz.tumblr.com/post/107164298477/i-think-my-biggest-huh-moment-with-respect-to

      • Morag

        You said it well, vagabondi. Wonderful.

      • Rich

        “If a quality is admirable, any human can admire it and attempt to personify it. A conception of how a human should behave, as a human, is fine. A good human should be honest, courageous, loving, etc.”

        Obviously, all good (and bad) human qualities find representation in both sexes. But men overwhelmingly focus on male role models, because men are interested in masculinity.

        • vagabondi

          But that’s tautological and meaningless. You may as well say, but blue eyed people will overwhelmingly focus on blue eyed role models, because they’re interested in blue-eyed-inity.

          And you didn’t even touch the interesting part of my comment, where I analyze what it means for some behaviors or traits to be in the masculinity box and some in the femininity box.

          If I got it wrong, rich, what you mean by “negated as a man,” then you tell me: “negated as a man” = dead? “negated as a man” = a child?” negated as a man” = nature? “negated as a man” = a woman? All of these things have symbolically been posited by our culture as being the opposite (ie “negation”) of men in different contexts, and therefore the same as each other. One of the reasons why women were treated as children for so many centuries.

          See, this is what masculinity means. Like I already pointed out, and you already ignored, if you’re taking the things you find admirable and calling them manly, then you must be taking the things you find despicable and calling them feminine.

          • Rich

            “See, this is what masculinity means. Like I already pointed out, and you already ignored, if you’re taking the things you find admirable and calling them manly, then you must be taking the things you find despicable and calling them feminine”

            No, I am taking the things I find admirable when exhibited by men and calling it manly.

            And, like most men, I am attracted to women who exhibit what you might think are stereotypically feminine traits. I have no idea why you think I (or most men) would find those traits “despicable.” I like the binary sex roles, and think feminine women are great.

            This is one thing I never understand about the dialog among radical feminists. They think that, for men, the “other” must mean something to be looked down upon. Actually, most men love women. We love the “other” (feminine) qualities in women. Just as most women love the “other” (masculine) qualities in men. This, as is often pointed out, is how we are socialized. When it comes to sex roles, “different” does not mean “lesser.” Quite the contrary.

          • amongster

            So in the end your analysis of masculinity and femininity is totally subjective and depends on your very subjective value system since only what you “find admirable” gets called masculine/feminine and whatever you dislike gets probably ignored for manly logical reasons…

            Of course you think feminine women are great, because feminine equals submissive and while you go on philosophizing about your idea of yin and yang and the perfect harmony of the two equal but different poles you believe in – or pretend to believe in – females get oppressed by males through gender. Gender means inequality and you keep eroticizing it. Yuck.

          • marv

            Absolutely. White men have done/do this with race which is racist.
            http://newint.org/features/2015/03/01/pseudo-science-dangerous/

            It is just as abominable when you do it with sex, Rich. Male fascist ideologies rule the world and you’re naturalizing them.

          • Rich

            “It is just as abominable when you do it with sex, Rich. Male fascist ideologies rule the world and you’re naturalizing them.”

            I don’t know what you mean by “male fascist.” I understand “fascist” to refer to a particular type of authoritarian government, such as what ruled Italy in WWII. But for all their flaws, to refer to dominant ideologies in the US, Canada, Great Britain, etc. as “fascist” is hyperbole.

          • marv

            Rape culture, ubiquitous porn, endemic prostitution, widespread battering, murder, unpaid domestic labour…aren’t evidence of fascism? Your male bias and denialism are evident as well as extremist.

          • Rich

            “females get oppressed by males through gender. Gender means inequality and you keep eroticizing it. Yuck.”

            That is your experience of gender. To my mind, gender does not mean inequality, it means difference. I, like most men, value femininity in women, I don’t denigrate it.

            And yes, gender is eroticized. My wife eroticises my masculine traits, too. Eroticism is a major part of what makes couples happy with each other. Eroticism is a wonderful thing. Without it the world would be a dismal place.

        • vagabondi

          Oh, and rich? You may not have said explicitly anything about men “becoming” women, but it’s the only possible outcome of your ideology of manliness. Those males who aren’t manly and are therefore “negated as men” have to go somewhere, and so they are thrown into the other/defective/woman box where we’re expected to take care of them. Just look here at all these boys who figure since they’re failing at masculinity, they must really be women: http://transgenderreality.com/2015/04/14/this-hurt-the-man-inside-of-me-but-it-was-ok-for-the-girl-inside-of-me-on-failing-to-conform-as-a-motive-for-transition/

          • Rich

            “Oh, and rich? You may not have said explicitly anything about men “becoming” women, but it’s the only possible outcome of your ideology of manliness. Those males who aren’t manly and are therefore “negated as men” have to go somewhere, and so they are thrown into the other/defective/woman box where we’re expected to take care of them.”

            No, it is not the “only possible outcome of your ideology of manliness.” Men who have a feminine oriented identity do not have to “go” anywhere. The rest of us can simply ignore them.

          • amongster

            Oh, ignoring reality is a masculine trait indeed. Your ignorance comes in many shapes and shades.

          • Rich

            What part of reality am I ignoring? I am not one of those who believe that you can turn a man into a woman by cutting off body parts and injecting him full of hormones.

            I am also not one of those who believe that there are lots of men who are feminists in the sense that most of you are feminists. There are lots of liberal men, and not a few who are socialist or who otherwise think of themselves as “progressive.” Since much of what passes for feminism is simply liberalism, there are a lot of men who think they are feminist. But the majority of these men have a masculine identity, and desire women with feminine traits. They are not keen on abolishing either masculinity or femininity. They are not feminists or feminist allies (although, like conservative men, they can go a long way with feminists on some issues).

            So tell me where in the above am I ignoring reality?

          • amongster

            You ignore reality by not mentioning the fact that masculinity and femininity (in other words “gender) are not natural but social concepts of how men and women in patriarchy should be. It has been said countless time before and you still don’t get it since you don’t want to. Ignorance is bliss for men like you.

          • C

            Isn’t the patriarchy and the social concepts that came with them “natural”? It would have occurred “naturally” over the course of human existence like most social structures.

            To say that it is unnatural is willfully dismissing it’s historical importance to the evolution of human civilization.

            If concepts of masculinity and femininity are passed on through family traditions, art and story telling. Aren’t those characteristics likely to be exaggerated or misinterpreted? Are people today just trying to live up to the exaggerated expectations?

          • marv

            ‘Isn’t the patriarchy and the social concepts that came with them “natural”? It would have occurred “naturally” over the course of human existence like most social structures.’

            Would you make the same assumptions about slavery, feudalism, torture, war, religion, prostitution….? Is it natural that men not women invented these institutions?

            ‘To say that it is unnatural is willfully dismissing it’s historical importance to the evolution of human civilization.’

            I guess colonizing First Peoples’ lands is acceptable too because of the value it rendered to male imperialist civilizations?

            ‘If concepts of masculinity and femininity are passed on through family traditions, art and story telling. Aren’t those characteristics likely to be exaggerated or misinterpreted? Are people today just trying to live up to the exaggerated expectations?’

            Are your questions unnatural or based on exaggerated misinterpretations of patriarchy?

          • vagabondi

            Ahhh, so being negated as a man means being ignored. I guess I’d have thought of that if I’d spent a little more time on the puzzle, what with dudes’ relentless need to be at the center of attention.

            It’s not that I want those men to be ignored, rich, it’s that I want them to be accepted as men, by men, so that they don’t go trying to penetrate female spaces. In fact, men who fail at masculinity are usually the ones I like most, as long as they’re not pretending, in insulting shallow ways, to be women.

          • Rich

            “It’s not that I want those men to be ignored, rich, it’s that I want them to be accepted as men, by men, so that they don’t go trying to penetrate female spaces.”

            I know. And if I understand them, that is the problem that those men have with both feminists and other men. Those men do not want to be accepted by either of us as men. They want to be accepted as women.

            (I know that is a generalization, but it is true of those trans-men who are the activists who are complaining about feminists. They cannot abide the fact that they are not accepted as women. )

          • vagabondi

            Well yeah, that’s my point. They think they’re women because men like you have told them if they’re not manly they’re negated as men.

          • Rich

            “Well yeah, that’s my point. They think they’re women because men like you have told them if they’re not manly they’re negated as men.”

            No, I don’t think you have them right at all. They don’t want to be accepted as being any kind of male. Masculine, feminine, or indifferent. They want to be accepted as female.

            If other men were completely accepting of everything about them, except that we continued to view them as male, they would feel pretty much the way they do now. They are not “trans” because they are not accepted by other men.

            In fact, I don’t think being accepted by men is all that important to them. It is being accepted as female by women that is important to them. That is why so many of them are so over the top in their reaction to feminists.

          • marv

            ‘In fact, I don’t think being accepted by men is all that important to them. It is being accepted as female by women that is important to them. That is why so many of them are so over the top in their reaction to feminists.’

            It still all comes back to ending masculinity as the solution. If manhood would fall womanhood would too.

            Round and round we go in our discussions.

          • As Monique Wittig said “We have to eliminate men as a class though a political struggle – not a genocide. Once the class of men will have disappear, the women as a class will disappear simultaneously as there are no slaves without masters.”

            Attacking masculinity would indeed be a far more radical act to me, more so than redefining or changing femininity. It could be thought that feminists, as women, would have an easier time changing femininity, but the concept of femininity isn’t in the hands of women but of men, otherwise why would it be so self-destructive ?

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  • Mar Iguana

    Get your mind’s eye out of its little blue box and take it out for a walk, Rich. It might figure out its being played like a fiddle for fun and profit by those men at the top of the pyramid scheme that is patriarchy. Quit being a tool. Your mind’s eye will find relief when it rejects the death cults of masculinity that are about to wipe out all living things.

    To negate masculinity is merely to reject a role, a bad act; a supremely stupid construct having nothing to do with what is innate to human males.

    “Aren’t you assuming that it’s even possible to remove gender roles,stereotypes and hierarchies?”

    That’s right, C. Now you’re catching on. Tiny baby steps.

    • Rich

      “To negate masculinity is merely to reject a role, a bad act; a supremely stupid construct having nothing to do with what is innate to human males.”

      I disagree. I see both good and bad versions of masculinity. You see only the bad.

      And while I think of our sense of self as mostly nurture rather than nature, I do not believe it is all social construct.

      • amongster

        What is the good version of masculinity, Rich? And for whom is it good? Only for men, I’m sure.

        • lizor

          I predict you will provided with a bunch of benevolent sexism shit like “providing” and “protecting” and “being analytical” and other things that supposedly don’t come naturally to us lady folk.

          • Rich

            “I predict you will provided with a bunch of benevolent sexism shit like “providing” and “protecting” and “being analytical” and other things that supposedly don’t come naturally to us lady folk.”

            Yes, actually. But without the part about things that supposedly don’t come naturally to lady folk.

          • amongster

            If it *does* come naturally to women too than why do you call it “manly”? You obviously think that men can also behave in “feminine” ways so not everything a man does is “manly” to you. But if some behavior comes naturally to both sexes in which sense can it be exclusively masculine or feminine then? Your reasoning doesn’t make sense.

          • lizor

            Yes amongster, he just proved our point. There is no evidence that these traits are exclusive to or even weighted towards males. Tonnes of self-serving mythology and assumptions surrounding it, but nothing concrete.

            A big one is men and money. My mother was not able to get a mortgage without her father’s or husband’s approval – the mythology behind it being that women were unsuited to financial management. History has shown us that men in the finance industry again and again behave irresponsibly and even criminally with other people’s money. On the domestic front, with every heterosexual couple I know, the woman manages the finances because the man cannot control his spending responsibly and stay out of debt (despite the fact that in most cases his income is higher than hers). This is a pattern that has come to my attention recently and I would like to know if there is any social research on it.

          • Rich

            “On the domestic front, with every heterosexual couple I know, the woman manages the finances because the man cannot control his spending responsibly and stay out of debt (despite the fact that in most cases his income is higher than hers).”

            In my marriage, my wife keeps the books, but neither of us “manages” the other one’s spending. And truth be told, she spends more money than I do, though certainly not excessively so. So it is not necessarily the need to manage male spending that has wives doing the finances. In our case, she is a lot better at it than I am. More precise, more detailed, and less likely to do something after its due date.

          • Rich

            There is no behavior that I can think of that is exclusive to one sex or the other. But there are clusters of behavior that together tend to signify masculinity or femininity in our culture.

          • Mar Iguana

            Yeah, clusters of bad actor behavior signifying bullshit.

          • Insolence

            Really? You can’t think of ANY behaviors exclusive to one sex?

            British Crime Survey and police crime figures from 2009-10 show men were perpetrators in 91% of all violent incidents in England and Wales.

            96% for mugging
            97% of dangerous driving offences
            98% for robbery
            98% sexual offences
            99% child rape

            Please spare us your manly pedantry of pointing out 99% isn’t “exclusive” and try to engage these statistics as a human being concerned about the epidemic of male violence obliterating lives, homes, communities, cities, and nations.

            This is masculinity, Rich. It doesn’t have to be, but it is.

          • @Rich, I’ll just go ahead and quote some of your comments.

            “(although, like conservative men, they can go a long way with feminists on some issues).”

            Maybe I’m at a disadvantage here since I’m not a native English speaker but are you implying that (radical) feminists can have similar views to right-wingers? I’m sorry but are you daft? One group comprises misogynist reactionaries and the other one doesn’t. Both groups are fundamentally different.

            “That is your experience of gender. To my mind, gender does not mean inequality, it means difference. I, like most men, value femininity in women, I don’t denigrate it.

            And yes, gender is eroticized. My wife eroticises my masculine traits, too. Eroticism is a major part of what makes couples happy with each other. Eroticism is a wonderful thing. Without it the world would be a dismal place.”

            You know, it’s such an exquisite irony to see you criticise “liberal men”, when you yourself are the epitome of “liberal men”. Seriously, this is some liberal garbage you’re writing.

            Since masculinity/femininity is based on (male) domination/(female) subordination* then “eroticism”, as you call it, is not such a wonderful thing. And you’re right, the world would be a dismal place without it. For anti-feminists and “liberal men” like yourself, that is. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t miss it.

            I could go on and on about your comments but this should be enough for now.

            *This is radical feminism 101 by the way, Richie. I suggest you read some of it.

          • Rich

            “This is radical feminism 101 by the way, Richie. I suggest you read some of it.”

            I was in graduate school and law school during the 80s. And I continued to read law review articles in particular for a few years after that. So,while I am no expert, I have read a fair amount of it, particularly as it relates to the law.

            And you are the first person who has ever called me a liberal.

            “but are you implying that (radical) feminists can have similar views to right-wingers?”

            There are a lot of different varieties of conservatism, but there are areas where conservative policy over laps with feminism. Conservatives are never going to agree with the Nordic model. But ost would agree that prostitution is a social evil that is degrading to the participants, deleterious to neighborhoods, and should not be legal. Feminists are more likely to be able to combine with conservatives on this than with liberals.

            As to pornography, in the U.S. conservatives will not agree with the feminist analysis. But most conservatives will recognize that the Constitution does permit regulation of obscene images, and much of the most egregious examples would qualify as obscene. That is not going to satisfy feminists, but it is more than you can get from most liberals.

  • Sheena

    No surprise Dworkin was left off Time Magazine’s 100 most influential women edition. I’ve known so many feminists especially from Dworkin’s generation that look at her as a disgrace to progress. So many women that hate being told that masculinity equals rape and violence.
    I have a hard time believing Dworkin is maligned because of misogyny though, most men have no idea who she is. It’s the feminist women who have maligned her work and efforts. Walk into any women’s studies class and you’ll always find a sharp divide when it comes to Andrea. Third wave feminism has certainly failed her.

    • Ariel

      “Walk into any women’s studies class and you’ll always find a sharp divide when it comes to Andrea. Third wave feminism has certainly failed her.”
      Sad but true. Several years ago I took women’s studies at a very prestigious liberal arts school and the professor was convinced Andrea Dworkin was a misandrist. This “professor” then went on rant of quotes from Dworkin’s work which in my opinion were taken out of context. None of the other young “feminists” had anything good to say about her, some went as far as to say she made up an instance of being raped late in her life. Why do so many women despise another woman?

      • Meghan Murphy

        That’s horrible! Where was this, if you don’t mind my asking?

        • Ariel

          I’d rather not say because I still have ties to the school but it’s in the pacific northwest. I’m currently working there as a counselor and a T.A.
          I did have a really good overall experience in that class. It seems like the program is out of the norm these days because it is still called women’s studies and not gender studies like most are called. I remember telling that particular experience to my mother and she actually backed the professor up. At first I thought it was because she didn’t want me to drop the class (my parents were paying for it) but she also told me of an experience she had where she had met Dworkin and it didn’t go well. Apparently my parents, who were definitely feminist activists, were told they were doing feminism “wrong”. Dworkin questioned my mother’s commitment because she would not concede that masculinity was the root of all evil. I would have loved to talk more to my mother about this interaction but she passed away several months later. One day I will ask my dad about it but he’s still so heartbroken about her death that I have a hard time bringing her up because he gets all teary eyed usually.

      • lizor

        “Why do so many women despise another woman?”

        Well, the idea as presented by Sheena, that Dworkin is not maligned as a result of misogyny because “most men have no idea who she is”, presumes that misogyny is the exclusive pursue of men. I don’t think that is the case.

      • It doesnt matter

        >Hey
        I can see why A.D. is so polarizing. sometimes she was emotionally unstable but she was the voice of a generation just like ms. lena dunham. both might have been accused of making up being raped but that that’s because of this thing we like to call patriarchy. Helllooo, it’s men that want us to believe they made it up.

      • Mar Iguana

        “Why do so many women despise another woman?”

        Women despise women for many of the same reasons conservative women do, which Dworkin wrote about in her book “Right Wing Women.”

      • Ash

        The fact that a professor would use the term “misandrist” is mind-boggling and telling of how strong backlash is, even in so-called “feminist” communities/spaces.

      • Thelx

        I think many women, even feminist women, malign the strongest voices in the feminist movement in order to be granted more respectability and attention from powerful men. If these women/feminists can “admit” there are certain species of “bad women” or “evil feminists”, they are suddenly considered by the general public (ruled by men in power) as “reasonable”, “objective” and “reliable” enough to be listened to. Simultaneously, by portraying radical feminists (because it’s mostly radical feminists who are maligned…) as bad and evil, they portray themselves in contrast as “the good ones”: the “balanced women”, the “fair feminists”, those you have nothing to fear from and from whom you can learn valuable things which won’t turn the world upside down.

        I’m sure you’ve already noticed how suddenly everybody carefully listens to a woman when she starts criticizing “these bad feminists whose brand of feminism I don’t support because it’s awfully extreme/hateful”. I know a woman, self-appointed feminist, who always opens conversations about feminism by telling “I’m not the sort of feminist who denies that there are some awful feminists who are extremists”; and each time, she’s listened to more than other women/feminists for introducing her point of view like that… (But I still don’t know which feminists she constantly refers to – not a single name has been given in my presence.)

        What I find “funny” in all that, is that most people applaud to such discourses because they agree that “these evil feminists, you know, the extreme ones who want to do to men what macho-men do to women…” exist, and that we shouldn’t listen to them because they are obviously wrong and nasty, and generally when I ask them to name a single one of them, people systematically fail to do so. The same sketch repeats itself over and over:
        “Just give me the name of one of these evil feminists.
        – Well, I don’t know, it’s some articles I’ve read one day…
        – If you read several articles of that sort, I’m sure you can give me at least one name, to check if what you say she said is true!
        – Well, I really don’t remember… but I do know they do exist, of course! And they say horrible things, even if I can’t tell you where you can find them to check.”
        -> LOL.

        Therefore, even if I’m faaaaaaaar from agreeing with all women and even with all feminists (because it’s obviously not possible, there are too many of them saying completely different and opposite things, unfortunately…), I consider this reference to “these evil feminists” as nothing more than a convenient urban legend. Like witches and banshees: most people heard stories about them, most people heard someone saying they heard one making strange disquieting noises… but most people aren’t capable of giving a single proof of this legendary malice-in-the-guise-of-feminism, and certainly not erudite knowledge of what these supposedly evil feminists actually wrote and said…

        Andrea Dworkin, for the English-speaking world (I’m not a native speaker), is a convenient foil/witch for many people who never read a book of hers. She is maligned because it is convenient, both for men *and* women who care more about being thought “good”, clever and important in men’s viewpoint than to be honest about another woman’s writing and efficiently challenging male dominance.
        Fortunately, it doesn’t prevent us from benefiting from her tremendous insight into women’s condition when we are emotionally and intellectually ready to listen to her and to recognize the past and current dire state of things!

  • It doesnt matter

    Andrea Dworkin was a saint. She knew that women were eachothers closest allies and that men should only on the most surest circumstances be trusted. masculinity in it’s purest form is a hellish form. Be wary of it as it pertains to why we as women are left behind. Earlier today I even told a man to “shut up!” because he was badgering a female cashier about prices. What can you do today?!

    • Mar Iguana

      Good for you for telling that man to shut up, It doesnt matter. You committed an outrageous act of everyday rebellion, as recommended by Steinem. You did something.

      “Sister Joan Chittister is an outspoken advocate of justice, peace and equality, especially for women, all over the world. ‘I really believe that nothing is going to change in the world until the situation of women changes,’ she says. ‘I’ll tell you why: You cannot simply dismiss over half of the human race, which means dismiss their agendas, dismiss their needs, dismiss their gifts, dismiss their intelligence.’

      “When asked how to start making change happen, Sister Joan’s answer boils down to two words: ‘Do something.’ Watch as she explains how we can all make a difference.”

      Read more: http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/What-Sister-Joan-Chittister-Believes-Will-Change-the-World-Video#ixzz3XlJCEMVf

  • Ash

    I don’t know where I’d be without Andrea’s words. So inspiring and moving.