Saturday, November 6, 2010

Andrea Dworkin and the Phenomenon of Selective Quoting: Another Incident at Yahoo Answers

With click-on highlights from
The Andrea Dworkin Online Library

The image and words above are from here.
I welcome people to go to that site to read the lies 
so often repeated about Andrea Dworkin and her writings.

Here we go again. If it weren't so obnoxious and misogynistic, it'd just be boring: the selective quoting of Andrea Dworkin's work to try and miscast her as a man-hater and to distort the meaning of her literary work--fiction and non-fiction both, using one quote from each! Does anyone read and discuss the content of books any more? Apparently not.

One wonders if the whole world would break open if men and women actually bothered to read and comprehend what Andrea was writing about.

Please click on the title/question just below to link back to Yahoo Answers.

Am i a misogynist?! and women..?

"I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig."
"Marriage as an institution developed from rape as a practice." -- Andrea Dworkin

andrea dworkin was a renowed feminist..a whole generation of feminist looked up to her as their idol..
I dont agree with that implies i am anti-feminist and a misogynist...(thats what a person in one of the other questions said)

all sane people support equality for everyone..i do..but i dont support andrea dworkin so does that make me a misogynist?

there are other well known social figures like robin morgan,sheila cronin who say they are fems but i dont agree with their man hating views....
am i a misogynist?
  • 1 day ago
  • - 3 days left to answer.

Additional Details

@cassa--you dont represent the entire female population..i dont agree with you.

i agree with a lot of women here on several topics rhonda,dark eyes,jade and several other GS regulars....and i also disagree with a lot of males over virgin...
so dont go defending or offending someone on the basis of their genitals...:)

@professor-Anyone who spreads the idea that "a whole generation of feminist looked up to her as their idol" is a misogynist.

agreed did not respond to the question asked and instead attacked me for a wording of prof says i am a misogynist....your vote has been taken into consideration..:)
1 day ago
HELENA--thats what i wanted to hear..women coming out and condemning feminist rads but sadly no one does that...
not only does this damage equality wanting feminists but it also means that plenty of women agree with her!!

Fortunately, Toto takes this on again. Thank you, Toto, for covering Yahoo Answers with your careful responses and for forwarding to me the link.

Toto's reply:

Is a fictional character who is raped and brutalized not allowed to make a statement such as the one you quote above? Do you understand that quote is a snapshot of a moment, one feeling, one thought, in that *fictional* woman's life and that she has other things to say too that you don't quote here? How fair do you think that is, and how respectful to Andrea Dworkin?

It's a very sad thing to watch how a informational cyberspace that could educate people, such as Yahoo Answers--which I believe was set up to educate and help people--is instead being used to spread propaganda and ignorance.

She gave a speech to anti-sexist men about human dignity for all people but you don't quote from that. Why? Did you know she lived with a man in a loving relationship for thirty years, and respected and adored her father, brother, and nephew who also respected and adored her?

She always loved men in her life and in the world including male writers of fiction and non-fiction, such as James Baldwin. Have you read the "Communion" chapter in Intercourse in which she carefully and thoughtfully discusses his writings--his writings over a lifetime? It is a profoundly thoughtful discussion about what love and hate does to a person. And she is clearly anti-hate.

I think it is misogynistic and unfair of you to mischaracterize some branches of feminism and some feminists as "man-hating," by quoting one line here and there. You do that without noting what the whole of their work most stood for and is most about. One line of fiction and one from non-fiction isn't sufficient to draw any conclusions.

Which books of hers have you read? Can you summarize one chapter of one book? What is she saying about pornography, brutality, rape, love and hate, and truth and ignorance? What is she describing about how racism and sexism work together to harm women and men's humanity? Does her analysis of how sexual power is misused by men against women mean she hates men, or does it mean she finds rape, battery, and sexual exploitation unacceptable?

That you pull that quote from a fictional work is an act you ought to be responsible for. What you did here, above, is to invite people to once again mischaracterize and dehumanize Andrea Dworkin. Below are more representative quotes of Dworkin's and of other women who were radical feminist writers and activists, some of whom are routinely misquoted or *very selectively* quoted to make the writers appear to hold views that they did or do not hold. Are these quotes "man-hating" to you?

"No one deserves brutality because of what they are, there condition of birth." -- radical feminist Andrea Dworkin

"Truth is harder to bear than ignorance, and so ignorance is valued more--also because the status quo depends on it; but love depends on self-knowledge and self-knowledge depends on being able to bear the truth." -- radical feminist Andrea Dworkin

"The strongest lesson I can teach my son is the same lesson I teach my daughter: how to be who he wishes to be for himself." -- radical feminist Audre Lorde

"Most men are on our side. They like their lives better than their fathers' lives. They like being involved with their children. They like having a better relationship with their women." -- radical feminist Marilyn French

"People can find eroticism in relations with people whom they respect and whom they see as equals." -- radical feminist Catharine MacKinnon

"I believe that all human beings are equal. I believe that no one has the right to authority over anyone else." -- radical feminist Marilyn French

One thing a fictional character stated while enduring the aftermath of the trauma of rape is not *representative* of the whole of the author's work and real life. Nor is the statement about marriage taken entirely out of context--a statement that is historically accurate, by the way. Andrea did lots of research and careful reading before she wrote anything.

You will note I don't conclude "you are a misogynist." I can't, because I don't know you. And you didn't know Andrea Dworkin. You might find a sentence here or there by any author to be objectionable--as I find what you did above objectionable, but that doesn't mean you or anyone else has the right to mischaracterize another, or you, as a "man-hater" or an "anti-feminist." I hope we all reject two quotes as *representative* or *the sum total* of anyone's writing. We owe it to writers who cared so deeply about humanity to be more respectful than that, in my opinion.


Challenge to list Feminist and Women's Human Rights Organisations on Their Website

this tiny image is from here
Forbes is fascinated with and profits from a certain kind of power: the white het male supremacist kind. They exemplify a major media publication that celebrates men who commit atrocities without noting what those atrocities are--against women. But occasionally they and other WHM supremacist media will toss women an acknowledgement or two. Please click on the title just below to link back to that request from Forbes to its readers.

Vote For The World's Most Powerful People

Nicole Perlroth, Taylor Buley and Kevin Adkins, 09.17.09, 06:00 PM EDT

In November, Forbes will publish its ranking of the world's most powerful people. But first, we want to see what readers think. Use the drag-and-drop poll below to register your ranking of who wields the most influence in the nine categories listed. Final scores will be posted in November.

And here's Forbes magazine's online categories offered to us to choose among, Note how many votes there are for celebrities, and how they don't have "human rights activists" or "feminist activists" listed as choices. I guess those come under the category "Do-gooders".

Who are the Most Powerful People?
I am publicly challenging to list as many feminist and women's rights organisations on their website as they can. What follows is an article by Caroline Howard who discusses the problems with how thus far has chosen to acknowledge--or not--feminists doing human rights work globally. Please offer your comments to this important discussion. There is also a conceptual and political problem with listing "the most powerful women" without noting which men are the most powerfully engaged in making sure no women rise to social, religious, or national power. You can also link back by clicking on the title just below.

Thank you, Caroline Howard, for opening up this conversation! -- Julian Real


The World’s Most Powerful Feminists And Least Powerful Women

Nov. 4 2010 - 5:00 pm | 2,173 views | 0 recommendations | 8 comments
Dilma Rousseff, minister chief of staff of the...
Dilma Rousseff, President-elect of Brazil. Image via Wikipedia

As part of the Forbes The World’s Most Powerful People package, my colleagues sought out playwright, performer and activist Eve Ensler, best known for The Vagina Monologues and founder of V-Day, to name who are the world’s most powerful feminists.

“It is actually an oxymoron to identify the world’s seven most powerful feminists–the exclusionary nature of that determination is a patriarchal construct in itself,” Ensler said. “Still, I simply couldn’t resist the chance to highlight the great and often invisible work of grassroots feminists.”

Here, her list of seven:

Rada Boric, Croatia: A key European activist and a co-creator of the Center for Women War Victims.

Malalai Joya, Afghanistan: A writer and outspoken activist who has risked her life to demand justice for the ongoing oppression of Afghan women.

Stephen Lewis, Canada: The co-director of AIDS Free World, former deputy executive director of UNICEF and the U.N.’s first Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Pat Mitchell, U. S.: President & CEO of the Paley Center for Media and the former head of PBS, she is an advocate to move women forward in front of and behind the lens.

Agnes Pareiyo, Kenya: Works on the front lines in Africa to end the practice of female genital mutilation and early childhood marriage.

Christine Schuler-Deschryver, Democratic Republic of Congo: A powerful grassroots activist for women in the Congo, and the director of V-Day’s City of Joy–a center for survivors of violence.

Vandana Shiva, India: An environmentalist, she puts women front and center to solve the issue of food security in the developing world.

This is Ensler’s list, but it would have been nice to see the names of more younger feminist activists, such as Iranian women’s legal rights attorney Shadi Sadr, 36, who is part of the “Stop Stoning Forever” campaign, and Somaly Mam, about 40 (her birthday is unclear), a Cambodian who was trafficked into a brothel as a little girl, escaped and now fights the brothels and works to help other girls escape.

The most powerful feminists feature is a sidebar to the World’s Most Powerful People list of the 68 “who matter” most. There are just five women on that list: Angela Merkel (No. 6), Sonia Gandhi (No. 9), Dilma Rousseff (No. 16), Hillary Clinton (No. 20) and Oprah Winfrey (No. 64).

That’s 7% of the list. A small number with a strangely familiar ring to it:
  • 3%: The 13 CEOs running the country’s largest 500 publicly traded companies are female.
  • 4%: The U.S. has one four-star military general, Ann E. Dunwoody, nominated in 2008 and who serves as head of the Army’s supply arm, and a total of 57 active-duty women serving as generals or admirals out of 1,536.
  • 9%: There are 18 female world leaders who are in power (including Rousseff, come 1/1/11) out of the world’s some 195 nations.
  • 11%: Of the Forbes 400 richest in the world, there are 42 women billionaires.
  • Less than 0%: Female religious leaders.
It’s easy to resent the Forbes’s Most Powerful for knighting just five women. Not because the list was NOT researched exhaustively or vetted rigorously. It was. Or that it is biased. It’s not. It’s because while highlighting those with global juice, it also throws into stark relief all those without (just two black faces, both Americans). We are reminded (as if we need to be, thanks much) of the 3%, 4%, 9%, 11% and the zero–and how very far women still are from power parity.

Julian Real's comment:

The idea that feminists ought to be recognised only as individuals or ranked as "most powerful" is a particularly U.S. American idea which seeks to create personal heroes not to support social justice for women globally.

Perhaps we ought consider "some of the feminists who should be recognised and supported for their human rights struggles for women" and "feminist organisations you should know about and financially support". Here's a very partial list, to be added to people named above. In it, there is recognition that most women's rights activists will never be named or recognised, don't speak English, are women Western reporters don't shine any light on, and are usually fighting in extreme poverty, with on-going death threats and attempts against their lives, and perpetually in a context and crucible of men's terroristic wars against women: physical, psychological, sexual, spiritual, social, environmental, educational, economic, religious, and always terribly political.

Yanar Mohammed:
Daw Aung Suu Kyi: and
Ruchira Gupta:
Andrea Smith:
Catharine A. MacKinnon:
Antiporn Feminists of London:
Apne Aap:
Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter:
Black Women's Rape Action Project:
COAL: Coalition of Activist Lesbians, Australia:
CodePink--Women for Peace:
Indigenous Women for Justice:
JCP--Jerusalem Center for Peace:
Sista II Sista/Hermana a Hermana:
Prostitution Research and Education:
SisterSong--Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective: regard féministe sur le monde:
WIDE Network:
In memory of Wilma Mankiller, tribal leader of the Cherokee Nation,
Women for Wik:

In memory of three Haitian Women's Rights Activists killed in the Earthquake:
Myriam Merlet, Magalie Marcelin, and Anne Marie Coriolan:

and in memory of feminist theologian, professor, and author Mary Daly:

and in memory of Wilma Mankiller, tribal leader of the Cherokee Nation:

All five great women died in 2010. I regret that I am leaving out so many more great feminists and women activists who died this year. And please, once again, support the organisations in ways they welcome your support.