Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Sexual Liberal Reconsiders Devaluing Andrea Dworkin, after reading Dworkin's writing

[image is from here]

I have often noted that when people actually READ Andrea Dworkin's work--you know, like a whole essay, or a whole collection of essays, or--gasp--a whole book or even three or four of her books, and don't assume what her writing already means they might actually value it. But usually the reader arrives at her work having taken in what significantly biased, anything-but-objective, anything-but-logical, anything-but-rational, anything-but-intellectual, anything-but-reasonable white male supremacist, antifeminist, dick-whipped men tell us Andrea Dworkin means so we don't have to figure it out for ourselves, or be open to it, or take what is valuable from it and leave the rest. You know--they way we are trained to do with white men's writings. We assume there's some value in there and if we can't find it we assume we're not reading it right. Not so with women's writings. We assume it has no value unless it has demonstrated an allegiance and alliance with white male supremacist values and practices. So the woman writer who extols the virtues of pornography--we like her. But the anti-pornography feminist? Naaah.

But what if it's the case that those dick-whipped doods are wrong? OMG, did I just type that OUT LOUD???

Consider, for a moment, how much more visibilised male supremacist harm to women is now that "obscenity" was radically redefined in Canada due to Andrea Dworkin's work. She doesn't use the term in her work (obscenity), except to critique it as you'll see below, but Canadian officials wanted to hold onto it. Unfortunately.

What follows is from the blog, The Bradlington Post. Bradley's interests are listed below.

All of the rest of this post is from *here*.

The Bradlington Post

- Interests to me including the political situation of the times and the CULTURE WAR raging in the U.S. - Religion and especially how and why Christianity is being forced over the people of the U.S. - CULTURE WAR issues such as pornography, extreme and 'deviant' sex practices - And how all these things are relative.

- An area of especial interest to me regarding extreme and 'deviant' sex practices and the phenomena by where the prevalence both in practice and acceptance, occurs highest in the most advanced and highest egalitarian standard of living, lowest crime rate and societies and cultures in the world, not to mention least religious.

Canada's Ruling on Obscenity Constitution

The below quoted information comes from:

“In February 1992 Canada's Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that obscenity is to be defined by the harm it does to women and not by what offends our values.”

"In the United States, the obscenity laws are all about not liking to see naked bodies, or homosexual activity, in public," commented University of Michigan law professor Catharine MacKinnon, who helped write the law brief and along with author Andrea Dworkin has pioneered the "harm to women" approach to antipornography legislation. "Our laws in the United States don't consider the harm to women. But in Canada it will now be materials that subordinate, degrade or dehumanize women that are obscene."


This is an excellent article which I happened to stumble upon. I was always a bit frightened of Andrea Dworkin as a kid. This is the best thing I've ever read regarding her, and it has changed my opinion a fair amount. I wonder if she was still living she'd eventually gotten similar legislation passed in the U.S.

This all really resonates with me personally, nearly everything in the article and theories behind the ruling.
I personally have never had any inkling for bondage or humiliation, not in any art I output or that I enjoy, nor ever will that I can imagine. It’s not only of disinterest, it has unpleasant connotations to me as well as a variety of other unpleasantries.

I am fascinated that gays/lesbians have such a tolerance and at times seeming obsession with and for bondage/humiliation imagery and sex. It’s basically obligatory any more that ‘edgy’ gay sex include some kind of bondage. [This person is speaking for all of lesbian and gay people's interests, and believe me, no gay or lesbian person I know, and no gay man I have dated, was ever into--let alone obsessed with--bondage and humiliation. Sorry to disappoint the homophobic writer. -- Julian]

I think in actuality, heterosexuals have probably almost as large an interest in it (especially males) however heterosexuals are much more closeted in their sexual variances when off the considered norm.

The obsession with this realm of sexuality is I'm assuming based very deep in our fairly early developmental days and thus ingrained in our genetic inheritance even still actively, like so much else. I need to investigate some on any origin theories which may exist regarding the matter.


  1. "The harm to women" approach infantilizes women by presenting them as eternally child-like objects in constant need of protection by the paternalistic government. I'm offended that my government sees me as a perennial damsel in distress in need of special protections from my own sexuality.

    Anti-abortionists proceed from the same logic of "protecting" women, if you have noticed.

  2. @Clarissa,

    "The harm to women" isn't an approach. It's what men do to women: men harm women. Whites harm people of color. The rich harm the poor.

    Pointing out how an oppressor group harms the people they oppress isn't "infantilising" the oppressed any more than Harriet Tubman calling on slaves to resist and leave slavery is "infantilising" slaves. Slavers treat slaves like children, not abolitionists.

    Incest, battery, rape, trafficking do far more that is harmful than "infantilising" women. And radical feminists who speak out about these human rights atrocities aren't infantilising women--they're naming social reality as it currently is.

    If you don't wish for them to do it and equate them doing that with what the government does to you, you can take your critique directly to the government.

    If you really think your time is better spent criticising, in your blog comments, those who point out how men harm women, than it is spent supporting women who fight men who harm women, well, that's your choice.

    But you won't get to express it here.

    You routinely comment here about how insulted or hurt or degraded you feel by my posts. Here's a suggestion: don't read them. This is my space and you come to it. I don't come to you. If you're HURT by what you read here, why do you come here to be hurt? That's not me victimising you, right?

    I won't post any more comments from you, so you needn't bother writing to tell me how my latest promotion of radical feminist critiques of racist patriarchy are hurtful or patronising to you.

    I wish you well in taking on government power, which is, in no way, radical feminist.