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"As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media." -- bell hooks
"Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating." -- Andrea Dworkin
"Since the abatement of censorship, masculine hostility (psychological or physical) in specifically sexual contexts has become far more apparent. Yet as masculine hostility has been fairly continuous, one deals here probably less with a matter of increase than with a new frankness in expressing hostility in specifically sexual contexts. It is a matter of release and freedom to express what was once forbidden expression outside of pornography or other "underground" productions, such as those of De Sade. As one recalls both the euphemism and the idealism of descriptions of coitus in the Romantic poets (Keats's Eve of St. Agnes), or the Victorian novelists (Hardy, for example) and contrasts it with Miller or William Burroughs, one has an idea of how contemporary literature has absorbed not only the truthful explicitness of pornography, but its anti-social character as well. Since this tendency to hurt or insult has been given free expression, it has become far easier to assess sexual antagonism in the male." -- Kate Millett, Sexual Politics, 1968In the late 1960s, Kate Millett identified something, in society and in literature, that was rampantly manifest at the time she observed it: male aggression took especially sexual forms, often against females. Force is fetishised.
Her observation was refuted by many men, even while she had analysed the books of well-read and established "great" male writers. Men fumed that she dared to say out loud something that many already intimately knew, but had no language for: that sex and gender are profoundly political, even more than they were or are "natural" as that term is popularly (mis)understood. It was like announcing "water is wet" or "fire is hot". She was telling a basic, fundamental social (not natural) truth about men in a patriarchal, rapist society that het men knew but didn't want known.
It was and, forty-plus years later, still is het men who aggress sexually against women, calling it "sex". To this day, "fucking" and "sex" are synonymous to many people. From Most heterosexual people I know use the term "sex", when describing an activity between people, to mean "vaginal/penile intercourse" and nothing else. Everything else has its own name: blowjob, eating out, handjob, jerking off. But "sex", to this day, is a synonym for the act in which a part of a man's body is placed, somehow, within a woman's genitals.
Maybe, just maybe we can weed out some of the online antifeminist bozo-block's misinformation campaign's most malicious mendacity.
Ranking in the top ten lies antifeminists tattle online, is that Andrea Dworkin (and/or Catharine A. MacKinnon--with her first name almost always misspelled), said that "all sex is rape" or "all intercourse is rape". Neither of them ever said it or wrote it, and if you want a non-feminist source of verification that neither feminist said it, go to snopes.com, *here* and read the page called "rape seeded" about this internet and off-line printed myth/lie/misinformation campaign. MacKinnon has, in one of her more recent books, in a footnote, traced this misinformation back to a few sources, all of which were anti-radical feminist.
But the lie remains because it serves antifeminist/propatriarchal/propornographer/propimp interests to keep it going and going and going, like an Energizer Bunny on a sports drink, double latte, and speed.
One might reasonably ask, where in Intercourse, by Dworkin, does it say "all sex is rape" or "all intercourse is rape"? Answer: Nowhere. (But surely she's said it, somewhere, at some time, in some book she wrote once about something? Nope. Not at all. Not ever.) What Andrea Dworkin DOES say is that, in English, "violation", socially, is a synonym for intercourse. If you're familiar either with pornography, romance novels, soap operas, or something called "dominant society", you'd know this is ubiquitously and indubitably the case, and is not at all a controversial or contested observation, on the part of Andrea Dworkin. It's as controversial as saying "war kills people" or "pollution is unhealthy". Yes, there are defenders of both war and pollution, and, in fact, those people are in charge of Western civilisation. So too are the men who define sex as fucking and fucking as the violation, penetration, and occupation of a woman by a man. They are called, here, corporate pimps, pornographers, husbands, preachers, and politicians.
Steering clear of pornography, I'll alert those still in massive denial about this matter of socially synonymous semantics with romance novel-speak for "intercourse involving a man's penis and a woman's vagina". Sex, as fucking, as violation, is often called "penetration". Here is a very partial portion of a VERY long list for ALL the heterosexist expressions, phallocentric phrases, antifeminist axioms, endemically misogynistic euphemisms, and plain old dirty terms for "that act", aka "the fuck" found in a collection of romance novels:
- as he took her
- buried himself to the hilt
- burying himself all the way
- claimed her
- cry of pleasure
- driving into her
- drove his manhood
- drove into her
- drove up into her
- embedding himself deeply
- entered her with a driving thrust
- filled her completely
- filled her in one swift motion
- filled her to the hilt
- ground his molten member into her
- he took her
- imbedded himself
- impaled her
- impaling her on his straining shaft
- moved hard into her
- plunged his manhood
- plunged inside her
- plunged into her
- plunging hotness penetrated
- possess the lily
- powerful fullness entered and filled her
- probed her
- pulling her down
- pushed into her
- sharp penetration
- speared her
- thrust himself into her
- thrust his hardness into her softness
- thrust of his manhood
- wanting became reality
I know this will shock some of the most ardent "anti-MacDworkinites" but Andrea Dworkin didn't make society. For all the power anti-feminist men project onto her, she was never so powerful as to be able to create the world we live in. She was able to name aspects of it, however. And she did this without regard to whether it made men look "good". But she noted that men, in a dualistically and hierarchically gendered society, means "good", and womanhood means "bad". So men are good, by definition, and women are bad, by definition. This partially explains why it is that het men who visually violate women who have been pimped and raped and displayed by their pimps, think they are looking at "pictures of naked women". They are not.
They are looking at pictures or are watching videos of women who are portrayed as bad, with their sexuality and their genitals also being "bad", in need of punishment, abuse, subordination, submission, death. Andrea Dworkin didn't create the pornography industry, she wrote about it. Pimps created all that material that portray women as wh*res, as sinful, as evil, as a tease, as deserving of all forms of degradation and violence. The only irony, and it is a bitter one, is that since women are, definitionally, "bad", one wonders why men have to make her pay for it over and over and over again. For what else can she be? And what will she be after all that degradation and violence: "good"?
Well, according to dominant society, her being tamed and tethered to him is "good". In our terribly romantic heterosexist society, her father gives her to hre husband. If he's a gentle-man, he asks her father for permission to marry her. How sweet, right? She never quite gets to stand alone, does she? This is the real world of patriarchal imperatives and practices. This is "life". And Kate Millett and Andrea Dworkin, among many other women, had the audacity to challenge those imperatives and call for an end to those practices which subordinate women and define her, her sexuality, and her genitals as "bad"--in need of punishment, subduing, subordination to him and his other "him"--his penis.
As Dworkin notes in her writings, pornography takes all that romantic Disney-esque racist, rapist CRAP to far more overtly misogynistic and racist places. I'll leave it to the reader, who I trust has been around the patriachal block, to seek out verification, using Google, if necessary, of the degrees to which corporate pimps will go to keep this propaganda (called "porn" in popular vernacular) in the censored and withered Western imagination. As Dworkin noted, it is pornographers who are the censors, not the feminists who oppose them with their not-so-well-funded speech. Pornographers make many billions of dollars a year and can afford a bevy of attorneys to make sure their "speech rights" are not abridged in any way. That their speech means women's silence was noted by Dworkin and is ignored, generally.
Her work is both ignored and distorted, by anti-feminists who want to kill feminism so their their white economically privileged dickdoms may stay institutionally erect, looming large, in charge.
With great thanks to feministx, I am glad to be able to post this clarification of misogynist men's incessant internet lie about "what Andrea Dworkin said" that anti-feminists have been blabbering on about endlessly, as if they've ever read a book by Dworkin. What follows is all hers--a post she just did on this subject:
Sophia's blog in response to a criticism of a feminist. Commenters subsequently implied a mocking derision of an author who is dear to me, Andrea Dworkin.
Here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercourse_(book)) Dworkin describes her assessment of heterosexual intercourse as it is generally performed and perceived.
Intercourse is a particular reality for women as an inferior class; and it has, in it, as part of it, violation of boundaries, taking over, occupation, destruction of privacy, all of which are construed to be normal and also fundamental to continuing human existence.And the mocking ensues- Oh Andrea! What a loony. Heteronormative sex degrading? Comparable to an occupation? Only something the most vile of extremists would say such a thing!
Intercourse is often said to argue that "all heterosexual sex is rape", based on the line from the book that says "violation is a synonym for intercourse."
Pah. If you don't think heteronormative sex is degrading for a woman, there are some possible explanations for your puerile and impaired understanding of sexual relations:
Reason A: You are a virgin. You don't know anything about sex.
Reason B: You either aren't very reflective or you aren't good at coming to reasonable conclusions upon reflection.
Reason C: You are stoopid.
First, we should make sure to develop a careful understanding of the meaning of the word, degraded.
degrading: de⋅grade [di-greyd or, for 3, dee-greyd] Show IPA verb, -grad⋅ed, -grad⋅ing.
–verb (used with object)
1. to lower in dignity or estimation; bring into contempt: He felt they were degrading him by making him report to the supervisor.
2. to lower in character or quality; debase.
3. to reduce (someone) to a lower rank, degree, etc.; deprive of office, rank, status, or title, esp. as a punishment: degraded from director to assistant director.
4. to reduce in amount, strength, intensity, etc.
5. Physical Geography. to wear down by erosion, as hills. Compare aggrade.
6. Chemistry. to break down (a compound, esp. an organic hydrocarbon).
–verb (used without object) 7. to become degraded; weaken or worsen; deteriorate.
8. Chemistry. (esp. of an organic hydrocarbon compound) to break down or decompose.
To empirically verify the degrading nature of heteronormative sex, I propose an experiment which is at least as empirically valid as other online studies performed in the Roissysphere.
If you are a hetero male, I want you to follow these instructions closely.
1) Get on your knees with your legs slightly spread.
2) Position yourself so that your head is closer to the ground than your ass. Arch your back.
3) Remain in this position for a few minutes.
Ok, you complied? Let's review the nature of this experience.
Question (1) Pick the word that most closely describes how you felt in that position.
b) callipygean (s'how I always feel anyways)
That was step one. For step two of the experiment, you probably have to use your imagination. Return yourself to the position required for question 1 (remember to keep your head to the ground and your butt raised high), and now close your eyes and envision the following scenario. An entity of a categorically different physical form with twice your muscle weight is going to repeatedly jam a six inch foreign object into to a cavity in the middle of your body. Imagine this vividly for several minutes.
Ok, back up? Now again let's review how this made you feel for question 2.
Imagine that the above scenario is regularly expected of you. Note that the larger entity involved in the thought experiment in question 2 is practiced at lying, bribery, coercion and emotional manipulation and enjoys using such methods to convince you to engage in the scenario described in question 2. You are also well informed of the historical fact that the identical predecessors of said larger entity often resorted to brute force and totalitarian oppression in order to coerce your physical category into continuously tolerating the scenario described in question 2. Additionally, these larger entities colluded together to maintain such oppression for thousands of years. This information makes you feel:
b) skoptic (hint: this is the right answer)
c) moo cow
Post answers in the comments section. Notice that a number of words used in the very definition of the word degraded also directly apply to the description of the position described in question 1 (lower, reduced in rank etc).