Andrea Dworkin has died. How do we feel about that?

Here’s a link to the Washington Post obituary of her.

My feelings about Dworkin have always been pretty strongly negative, mainly because of her anti-pornography (and thus anti-First Amendment) point of view.

In fact I was about to start a “good riddance” thread in the Pit, but on reflection I’ve decided this would be better, because the woman has always been badly misquoted. I am given to understand, for example, that she never said “every act of heterosexual sex is rape,” although that’s widely attributed to her.

So, Andrea Dworkin: wild-eyed nut, or feminist heroine? Or something in between?

The only feelings I can conjure up in regards to her death is indifference. Then that’s about the only feelings I ever had about her to begin with.


Are you indifferent because you don’t know much about her? Because I find it hard to believe that someone who’s paid her any attention at all can be ambivalent about her opinions.

I don’t have any direct knowledge of the woman; everything I know about her comes from a series of, um, unflattering articles in Penthouse in the early 80s (Would her views be taken more seriously if she were thinner and pretty?).

I’ve heard lots of outrageous things attributed to her, like “Possession of a penis should be a felony,” but have my doubts as to whether she actually said them. My curiosity about her never extended to the point that I’d want to read one of her books or anything.

I have only seen her on television and not read her works (yet), I cannot give a qualified answer. But my feeling is any feminist would be classified as a wild-eyed-nut by a patriarchal society. So I will say something in between. She made her mark.

I hope her crackpot misandrist views don’t gain credence in the eyes of academia because of her demise.

I took a Feminist Philosophy course a few years ago with a prof who parrotted a Dworkin/McKinnon party line. Turns out that I was the only one who had read books written by Andrea or Catherine.


After 17 years of being out and dating men I can man bash with conviction like few others. The big difference is that I don’t rely on crackpot pop psychologies to support it.

I’m indifferent because I’ve dismissed her ideas as the ideas of a kook. I’m not happy she’s dead or anything I just didn’t think she was all that important.


I’m largely the same way but not quite. Admittedly all I have heard of her viewpoints are what others have told me about them and a few articles I read long ago. Still, while my impression of her was that of a fringe loonie I also have had some great (and friendly) debates with friends of mine over her views (male and female friends and Dworkin’s take on things were being put forward by others…not me as I didn’t know enough). Interestingly I never had a single female friend think Dworkin was spot on in her opinions…or even very close to mainstream women. It should be noted that the women I was talking to about these things were strong personality types, well educated and self-described feminists. Still, they mostly seemed to think she had gone a bit far overboard as well so it wasn’t just the guys working from a male viewpoint. Bottom line though was some great dialogue and a better (albeit FAR from complete) understanding of my female compatriots. All-in-all not a bad thing.

The First Amendment has one less enemy.

Although I guess she brought some unspoken things in to the public eye, I can’t forgive her for the whole porn thing. I think she’s wrong, and her extreme views on it have hurt some of the real causes of feminism.

My exposure to her was in college a few years back. I can’t take anyone who uses the word gynocide seriously. After reading the linked article I was surprised to learn that she had prostituted herself out for bus fare. Though why she referred to her tricks as the “stupid male” piques my curiosity.


Here is Susie Bright’s post-mortem of the woman.

I wish I could say indifferent.

I find the entire feminist movement to be morally bankrupt at this point. The lack of outrage when Bill Clinton sexually used a subordinate staff member in the office made me sick. If a Fortune 500 CEO had done the same thing to a summer intern, the feminist activists would have been cackling for his castration.

Change that to aplogism and you’re right on point. It’s hard to imagine how a man so openly and egregiously opprobrious about his abuse of position could still receive the unqualified support of the same proported feminists who villified Clarence Thomas for much more vague and less iniquitous behavior. (What is strange is that Thomas was an otherwise unexpectional and unqualified candidate for a chair on SCOTUS, and had more attention been focused on his lack of experience and landmark decisions, he might have been a less acceptible applicant for the job.)

As for Dworkin, she was to feminism what McCarthy and HUAC was to the Cold War; a person dedicated to ramping up tensions and creating controversy where none actually existed. Even ignoring the various inflammitory statements that may or may not be correctly attributed to her she elevated, or rather, lowered, feminist discourse to a series of pointless attacks and idiotic sound bites instead of promoting social, educational, and vocational equality between the sexes.

Meh. No loss. No gain. Just another body and another defunct, fanatic, post-modernist ideology to bury.


Where did she claim she thought she was “used”?

Why should they have been outraged about a consensual blow job?

First of all, that’s more than slightly hyperbolic. Plenty of people still get involved in sex scandals and are able to get away with it for a variety of reasons.

But, why WASN’T there more general criticism from Clinton from liberals? I can think of at least four answers:
(1) Because liberals are partisan
(2) They did criticize him, but no one paid any attention when they could pay attention to the circus that it turned into
(3) They were so disgusted at the ridiculous extent to which the situation was blown out of all conceivable proportion that they didn’t really feel like trying to levy reasoned criticism against their leader, who they generally respected most of the time, while he was in the midst of being impeached for perjury in one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the US government
(4) consenting sex between an adult employer and a non-direct adult employee is certainly not a GOOD thing, but it’s pretty low on the sexual harassment scale compared to situations involving children or coercion of some sort

Andrea Dworkin isa classic example of somebody widely hated by people who have never read her books or made any attempt to understand what she had to say. I don’t agree with much of what she had to say, but she was outspoken, intelligent, and thought provoking. Without any doubt her writings helped to shift widespread opinions and break through denial, and like many important thinkers we may not realize how important she was because some of her formerly revolutionary ideas have now become basic common sense. As for those who insist that any attempt to alert people to the fact that pornography is harmful is a violation of First Amendment, what can I say? Ignoring the fact doesn’t make it go away.

Monica Lewinsky was NOT a victim. She was an opportunist who wanted to be on the President’sw staff.

(Doing my Alec GUinness imitation)

“Andrea Dworkin… now THAT’S a name I haven’t heard in a long time.”

I remember her well from her appearances on William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line” and on Barry Farber’s old radio show.

On the radio, she always came across as a maniacal, foaming at the mouth kook. With Buckley, on TV, she seemed a more restrained, even likeable kook. But she never made the least bit of sense.

If she’d died 15 or 20 years ago, I’d have had a wisecrack, but it’s been so long since I heard anything about her that it seems pointless and mean to attempt one now.

Her 15 minutes of fame are long since expired. Today, she’s not even a footnote. I’ll let whatever family and friends she had grieve for Andrea, the human being. But as a thinker and icon, she stopped mattering ages ago.