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Feb 23 2006

When Dworkin Is A Gift

To counterbalance what I must characterize as my recent spate of “eeew, look at that repulsive thing!” posts:

Feminists have a vision of women, even women, as individual human beings; and this vision annihilates the system of gender polarity in which men are superior and powerful. This is not a bourgeois notion of individuality; it is not a self-indulgent notion of individuality; it is the recognition that every human being lives a separate life in a separate body and dies alone. In proposing “the individuality of each human soul,” feminists propose that women are not their sex; nor their sex plus some other little thing—a liberal additive of personality, for instance; but that each life—including each woman’s life—must be a person’s own, not predetermined before her birth by totalitarian ideas about her nature and her function, not subject to guardianship by some more powerful class, not determined in the aggregate but worked out by herself, for herself. Frankly, no one much knows what feminists mean; the idea of women not defined by sex and reproduction is anathema or baffling. It is the simplest revolutionary idea ever conceived, and the most despised.

Andrea Dworkin. Right-Wing Women. “The Coming Gynocide.” 1983.

67 comments

2 pings

  1. Chris Clarke

    That’s a wonderful passage, and expands rather effectively on the beginning lines of Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex, which I just so happen to have plunked into an execrable Day by Day cartoon only last week.

  2. B. Dagger Lee

    Taken in Hand is So Totally Ayn Rand! Who is already so totally a self-parody! For wicked fun on Ayn Rand read Gore Vidal in one of his earlier books of essays, maybe Rocking the Boat or something, and for other mojo-shield books for tripping through the teeming sub-conscious we call the blogosphere, wield Norah Vincent’s Self-Made Man, maybe Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs, and yes, always have Andrea Dworkin’s Right-Wing Women near to hand. Wave them about to clear noxious fumes from literary pretense places like Taken in Hand.

    And remember, vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.

    I am, as always, your
    B. Dagger

  3. SneakySnu

    I’ve never read anything by Dworkin. I was educated in French feminism, particularly Hèlène Cixous and Luce Irigaray, which challenged the notion of the individual. Reading that passage from Dworkin was very refreshing and certainly suits the American political context better.

    It was even more refreshing to read the Day After What Happened in South Dakota.

  4. SneakySnu

    Sorry that I screwed up the accents on Hélène Cixous’s name above. And the “educated in French feminism” part is not because of any dislike of American feminists on my part. But my introduction to feminism came about at a time (circa 1990) when it was cooler to read the French authors. Then I progressed to Judith Butler and Kaja Silverman and it was all downhill from there…

  5. Burrow

    Thank you. I needed that after the Taken in Hand thread.

  6. CafeSiren

    Does anyone know the origin of the “Andrea Dworkin says all hetrosexual sex is rape” myth (which I’ve also heard attributed to MacKinnon)?

  7. Puffin

    Hey, CafeSire, visit http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/LieDetect.html to learn all about it.

    (Sorry, I have no idea how to convert that line of internet oogley-boogley to neat text that you can just click on with ease).

  8. ginmar

    The best part about that fake quote is that Cal Thomas, the wingnut columnist, made it up.

  9. Catharine

    Ahhhh… sanity….

    Just in time to keep my head from exploding.

    ~C~

  10. norbizness

    Why, that’s just crazy talk. I find it anathema and baffling.

    P.S. South Dakota… gets the GASFACE!

  11. thebewilderness

    Puffin,
    Thank you for that link. I love Dworkins writings and get very tired of trying to defend against the bullshit that inevitably comes up when discussing her work. Rose

  12. ehj2

    your cause is so just and your enemy so pernicious, no matter what you write you always hold the high ground.

    your conflict is on so many fronts you truly must fight it with versions of every conceivable tool. and “obstreperosity” is a tool you wield with extraordinary competence and brilliance.

    you always confront me with horrible truths about me and a world i’ve somehow participated in making. you always make me ache here and wish i could do more; was doing more.

    but thank you for this post. even if i don’t deserve the respite, this post is a break of light.

    /ehj2

  13. Charles

    To the extent I have any measurable amount of consciousness of anything (debatable, of course), it is largely thanks to two professors my first trimester of college. One was Paul Wellstone. The other was Maria Lugones. Some inspiration from I know not where caused me to sign up for Professor Lugones’s philosophy seminar, “Respect for Persons.” She had us wide-eyed 18 year olds reading Dworkin, Firestone, Ralph Ellison and all kinds of great stuff to try to get a handle on what “personhood” and “respect” might mean. As powerful as the ideas were, her presence was even more eloquent. I never learned the details of her story but I knew she was from Argentina (I can still hear her voice in my mind, 25 years later). So this Dworkin quote — as so many other things — reminded me of her. Thank you, Professor Lugones.

  14. MCH

    Bon mots, indeed!

    I don’t know if it was meant, but in parts of the excerpt, Dworkin’s ideas seem to apply beyond feminism to be universal for most everyone, whether their oppressor is patriarchy, fascism, fundamentalism, you name it.

    By which I mean this part in particular: “… but that each life—including each woman’s life—must be a person’s own, not predetermined before her birth by totalitarian ideas about her nature and her function, not subject to guardianship by some more powerful class, not determined in the aggregate but worked out by herself, for herself …”

    I like that especially because it plainly places feminism in the same human-rights context that anti-racism is seen. It places it on the same footing as other, historically male-led struggles for freedom, keeping feminism from being pigeonholed as “uppity chicks grumbling”. It shows the feminist struggle for equality as being really no different–something many men seem to have a very hard time comprehending. (Gender roles are so internalized.)

    It may be just the kind of writing to get any lefty chauvinists to start thinking about things. Being “too feminist” turns off the guys–sad and patriarchal, but true. Gotta sneak the veggies in under the cheese sauce sometimes, as much as you shouldn’t have to. Blaming in progress.

    Righties, patriarchal as they are, don’t think that most *men* deserve that sort of self-autonomy and self-determination–so this fabulous excerpt will be less effective for wingnut conversion interventions.

  15. Hari Narayan Singh

    If this relatively reasonable passage aligns with your worldview, it doesn’t make sense to me that you’ve required us to read the SCUM manifesto. Is that a sort of joke? Or do you just want to stimulate critical thought in us?

  16. LMYC

    Being “too feminist” turns off the
    guys-sad and patriarchal, but true.

    It’s all predicated on the most Inconvenient Thing Ever: that cunts and tits have humans attached to them. Therein lies the heart of all male anger and hatred, envy and resentment toward women, and the root of all their laws about us.

    ABORTION IS WRONG. Wel, okay, but you seem to be forgetting that there is a PERSON ATTACHED TO THAT UTERUS. Now, I know that’s just an intolerable fuck-up on the part of biology, but we have to remember that there is a thinking, emoting, living creature inside of that body NOW.

    PORN IS PERFETLY PEACHY! Okay, but there are people attached to those tits and pussies you seem so intent on consuming as if they were hamburgers, you know. you may think that that’s just the most unfair thing ever, but it’s not going to go away.

    Every single male complaint about women — ALL OF THEM — hinges on our irredeemable habit of existing. If cunts and its grew on trees, their universe would be perfect. They don’t. They come with people attached, and every war, every crime, every offense is a scream of childish temper at that.

  17. marsha

    Thanks so much! It’s the perfect quote for my new 10x angrier website. http://angryfeministmom.blogspot.com/

    Twisty, as well as many others, will be linked in there soon. Just a lot o coding to do.

  18. TC

    I’ve never been happier to share a first name than with Ms. Dworkin.

  19. dd

    each life—including each woman’s life—must be a person’s own

    That’s my new motto. And it’s true, a lot of people can’t deal with that to the point of hating it. It’s all well and good while we decide to do what other people want us to do, but when we decide to do something all on our own, people on both sides of the political fence know how to rain hellfire and brimstone pretty hard.

  20. Mandos

    Righties, patriarchal as they are, don’t think that most *men* deserve that sort of self-autonomy and self-determination–so this fabulous excerpt will be less effective for wingnut conversion interventions.

    Well, yeah. I mean the Dworkin quote is inspiring and all, but the counterarguments are just too easy. The above is one of them.

  21. Hattie

    We are not talking here about the world as it is but of the world as it could be.

  22. Mandos

    We are not talking here about the world as it is but of the world as it could be.

    No—you’re talking about it as it should be. ie, that people should be autonomous and individual. The counterargument is simply, “Why?” Why should you void human bodies of teleology or at minimum social utility? We’ve always lived with one of these. Why shouldn’t some people suffer? To accept Dworkin’s quote, you have to have committed to a lot of answers to these questions.

  23. The Fat Lady Sings

    I have always wondered why entire sections of humanity are regularly ignored or marginalized – especially as regards business or medicine. I mean – why exclude someone based on gender or ethnicity? The woman you dismiss with a pat on the head and requisite lollipop could make your company millions, or reverse aging. Why sacrifice superior intellect on the alter of bigotry? If indeed every human being were considered in Dworkin’s light – as their own ship with their own star to guide them – think of the accomplishments our species might achieve! Add to that uniform equal access to education – equal being the operative word – and where might we all be? Living Asimov’s Auroran ideal? Yet so many white males cry hold! You can’t play here! No girls allowed! They are cutting off their nose to spite their face, and don’t seem to care. The seeming illogic of it simply astounds me.

  24. Mandos

    Well-being in inherently relative. It might still be better to be at the top of an inferior humanity than in the middle of a superior humanity, even if the absolute difference is orders of magnitude. Because being at the top can be an inherent benefit.

    And the benefits won’t be immediately felt anyway. In the short run, those white males may see their immediate position eroded, and with it, their identity. Seen that way, it regains a large amount of its rational character.

  25. Mandos

    Uh, I meant *is* inherently relative.

  26. M

    Ay – that was written while I was still in nappies. Depressing that it’s still not generally accepted.

  27. Cass

    As is your wont, dear M., you’re merely leading yourself into unnecessary confusion here. Read the passage again, with more care this time: Dworkin is arguing from the very basic ethical standpoint that humans should treat other humans, as much as possible, as subjects, or ends in themselves, rather than as objects, or means to another end. Its a thought closely related to that “do unto others” thing…

    “Why should you void human bodies of teleology, or at minimum social utility?”

    Anyone is free to attach teleogical beliefs to their own, or anyone else’s body… in their own head. A much clearerway of putting your question might be, “Why shouldn’t the ethical beliefs of A give them a right to impinge upon the most basic autonomy of B, in line with those beliefs?”

    “We’ve always lived with one of these.”

    Even you must know: that’s not an ethical argument.

    “Why shouldn’t some people suffer?”

    …for the percieved good of the whole, of course; a viewpoint held by the esteemed Dr. Mengele, as well as a few of the more honest apologists for antebellum slavery.

  28. Dubhe

    “Why shouldn’t some people suffer?”

    You forgot to add: “…as long as those ‘some people’ aren’t white males, insofar as they always have an entitlement to inflict more suffering on another set of ‘some people’.”

  29. ae

    Hell yeah Andrea said ‘totalitarian.’ Speak it, sister.

    Thanks, Twisty.

  30. Twisty

    in 16: “If this relatively reasonable passage aligns with your worldview, it doesn’t make sense to me that you’ve required us to read the SCUM manifesto. Is that a sort of joke? Or do you just want to stimulate critical thought in us?”

    Well, I don’t actually require anyone to read anything. I personally enjoy the Solanas–which I re-read every Christmas to counteract, you know, Christmas– because she takes such huge bloody bites with her bare teeth. But I don’t see how she’s at all at odds with Dworkin. They both want revolution. As do I.

  31. Mandos

    As is your wont, dear M., you’re merely leading yourself into unnecessary confusion here. Read the passage again, with more care this time: Dworkin is arguing from the very basic ethical standpoint that humans should treat other humans, as much as possible, as subjects, or ends in themselves, rather than as objects, or means to another end. Its a thought closely related to that “do unto others” thing…

    I know that. But the “do unto others” thing is predicated on the notion that the “others” or “subjects/objects” aren’t apples vs oranges, so to speak. You first have to establish that we’re talking about “apples and apples”. But…that’s half the point (at least) of Dworkin’s assertion. So it’s kind of circular to argue this. Most cultures, I would venture to say, take this position, but simply define the relevant entities to be smaller than one would ideally like.

    Even you must know: that’s not an ethical argument.

    It starts approaching the character of one when one starts to say that “human survival depends on it.” Or, better, “the alternative is worse, it doesn’t get better than this” which is what, after all, right-wing women seem to believe. Of course, that’s an entirely empirical question. And probably wrong on those grounds.

    Anyone is free to attach teleogical beliefs to their own, or anyone else’s body… in their own head. A much clearerway of putting your question might be, “Why shouldn’t the ethical beliefs of A give them a right to impinge upon the most basic autonomy of B, in line with those beliefs?”

    Again, circular. I don’t think it clarifies anything, since the ethical beliefs of “A” could simply contain the sentence “B does not have complete autonomy.” Or, better, “neither A nor B have complete autonomy, and they are apples and oranges too.” And I suggest that it’s actually quite hard to find someone that doesn’t have at least the “neither A nor B” part somewhere in their ethical makeup because…

    …for the percieved good of the whole, of course; a viewpoint held by the esteemed Dr. Mengele, as well as a few of the more honest apologists for antebellum slavery.

    …it’s not just held by Mengele or slavery apologists. I mean, most American liberals believe in more than just sweet autonomy—only naive right-wing libertarians seriously believe in that form of autonomy. I mean, the basis of government-provided single payer health care—which I vehemently support—is that “A should be allowed to survive on the labour—the body—of B because it’s wrong to let A die in the street.”

    Don’t think that I like this result. It’s just that my limited mind finds it very difficult to see an argument based on autonomy that’s actually consistent and non-arbitrary given most people’s other beliefs, even though the results of many autonomy arguments are highly desirable.

  32. LMYC

    As is your wont, dear M., you’re merely leading yourself into
    unnecessary confusion here.

    no, as is his won,t he’s stomping into a female space, making whiney little baby-boy noises, and consequently becoming the center of attention.

    Just let him sit in his own shit and cry. He’ll die off eventually.

    This, my sweet little sprouts, is why I don’t have kids.

  33. Tyler Durden

    Hi. White male here. A thought about the Dworkin quote everyone is cooing about. It says nothing. I mean, nothing. It is a long, repetitive recitation of what feminists are not, and what feminism is not. It is a catalog of injustices that are so vaguely described, so generalized, and so emotionally loaded that they apply to virtually everyone who ever walked the earth. This is a commercial, or a valentine, for women whose identity is grounded on a constant, simmering sense of injustice, on an incredibly abstract notion of being “angry” and a complete abdication of the responsibility to do anything concrete, specfic and measurable. It also has just enough pseudo-intellectual verbiage larded into it to seem academic, which it isn’t. It doesn’t, ever, even begin to hint at what people should actually do. It’s all about how they should feel, what they should be aware or conscious of. And that’s it. I mean, IT. And you are naive enough to actually construct an identity and a life around this kind of bloviation. This is as insular, childish, and pointless as those housewifes who sit around making scrapbooks all day, except that at the end of it all, they have scrapbooks, and you guys have, literally, nothing.

    Have a nice day. Off to have dinner with my three daughters, whose minds I am shaping.

  34. Chris Clarke

    Hey, why the big blank white empty space after LMYC’s comment?

  35. thebewilderness

    Oh Tyler, I am so laughing over all the lessons you will be learning. As you shape their minds they will shape your life.

  36. tigtog

    I dunno Chris, this part I managed to tease out of the blankness sounded suspiciously like a description of the content of the Pauline Epistles in the Christian New Testament.

    It doesn’t, ever, even begin to hint at what people should actually do. It’s all about how they should feel, what they should be aware or conscious of.

    Undenialbe bloviating blowhard though St. Paul was, it’s hard to deny the man had an effect on the world.

  37. ae

    Yeah, Chris. The empty blankness below LMYC’s comment is positively blinding. My eyes! My eyes!

  38. cinder

    Tyler, your criticism applies to pretty much everything academia has ever done, with a few exceptions. Academia more frequently than not fulfills the role of “complete abdication of the responsibility to do anything concrete, specific and measurable.”

    There are always plenty of intellectuals willing to write endless polemics and not so many willing to take up arms, either literally or figuratively. However, endless polemics are valuable fodder when they are conciously material and have a tactical projectuality. Unfortunately the majority of academics are hopelessly bourgeois and thus are more interested in protecting thier comfort than putting themselves at any authentic risk.

    In any case I appreciated the Dworkin quote. I’m critical of academia but I’m a theory nerd nonetheless. Besides, not every single statement has to be hammering out some false minded final solution. I’m generally wary of anything that claims to have the answers anyhow. Critique and negation are the only things academia are really good for. Its up individuals in conspiracy with others to create thier own process of deconstructing the patriarchy and all them other shitty institutions.

  39. Lorenzo

    So much good stuff in the post and comments (some to praise, some to elaborate on, others to respond too…)

    Great Dworkin quote, first of all. I don’t generally go in for polemics and polemicists (I’m a theory geek) but Andrea Dworkin has to be one of the finest polemic writers I’ve ever read. She’s amazing at making you *feel it* making you know it and feel it in your bones.

    One of my favorite feminist theorists ever got a couple of mentions in this thread as well! Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex is an incredible piece. As far as I know it was the very first time *anyone* thought to conceptualize gender using historical materialism and not to write of gender as a consequence of class (in the Marxian sense). It is probably the single feminist work that inspires my own thought the most (which isn’t to say that it is perfect. I disagree with a lot of stuff in it, but that is besides the point here) and the one that forced me to realize that any fully realized framework for understanding society *must* include an analysis of gender on its own terms and not as a consequence of something else (incidentally, applying this same lesson to economic class is why I reject the primacy thesis for either).

    Onto other issues:

    Mandos,

    No—you’re talking about it as it should be. ie, that people should be autonomous and individual. The counterargument is simply, “Why?” Why should you void human bodies of teleology or at minimum social utility? We’ve always lived with one of these. Why shouldn’t some people suffer? To accept Dworkin’s quote, you have to have committed to a lot of answers to these questions.

    Why in what sense? The answer is implicit in the context of Dworkin’s writing; the social imposition of a need for teleology and/or utility is precislely the mechanism of women’s oppression. The question is almost silly. The answer should be self-evident; men, as a class, impose the teleology and utility they want on women to women’s considerable harm, as a class.

    Tyler Durden

    It also has just enough pseudo-intellectual verbiage larded into it to seem academic, which it isn’t. It doesn’t, ever, even begin to hint at what people should actually do. It’s all about how they should feel, what they should be aware or conscious of. And that’s it. I mean, IT. And you are naive enough to actually construct an identity and a life around this kind of bloviation. This is as insular, childish, and pointless as those housewifes who sit around making scrapbooks all day, except that at the end of it all, they have scrapbooks, and you guys have, literally, nothing.

    How stupid are you? I mean, have you never heard of philosophy as a discipline? Just because you are incapable of grasping the philosophical and political implications of her statement doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

  40. Tyler Durden

    “How stupid are you”? Let’s see, which philosophical tradition is that from? If that paragraph of vague crap is philosophy, then I’m Shrek, and I’d like you to meet my wife, who’s the ugliest princess in the kingdom. Also, by the way, moron, if the philosophical content of her writing has to be implied (i.e., “philosophical implications” — your terms, not mine) then it’s not there BY DEFINITION. It’s implied — i.e., absent but hinted at. If it were present, implication would be redundant. Get it? Duh.

    Here’s another quote from the honorable Ms. Dworkin, an excellent example of the subtlety of her philosophical thinking. I’d really like to hear your analysis of this:

    “Force–the violence of the male confirming his masculinity–is seen as the essential purpose of the penis, its animating principle as it were, just as sperm ideally impregnates the woman either without reference to or against her will. The penis must embody the violence of the male in order for him to be male. Violence is male; the male is the penis; violence is the penis or the sperm ejaculated from it. What the penis can do it must do forcibly for a man to be a man. The reduction of human erotic potential to “sex,” defined as the force of the penis visited on an unwilling woman, is the governing sexual scenario in male-supremacist society.”

    This is the senseless ranting of an angry lunatic. Just to pick on the first sentence of this crap, she is literally writing that evidence of the patriarchy is that sperm cells don’t take the emotional state of women into consideration. I am male, therefore, violence is the source of my identity. And you venerate her. You quote her. You actually call her a philosopher. She’s the feminist equivalent of Jerry Springer. Grow up.

  41. Tyler Durden

    Response to Tigtog:

    Let me get this straight. I have to make sure that I actually read what I think I read. Okay, deep breath. My description of Andrea Dworkin’s steaming pile of verbal excrement reminds you of what people said about the letters of St. Paul? Therefore, Dworkin’s writings are like Paul’s epistles? She’s been dead less than a year — aren’t you rushing her beautification a little? Andrea Dworkin is a saint? In that case, I think I’ll try Buddah. Here’s a little bit of Paul’s epistle to Timothy: “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”

    1) Like a lot of what Paul wrote, this is specific. He’s telling Timothy what he should DO.
    2) The last part of this could be about people like Dworkin. Especially the “meaningless talk” part.

  42. Kat

    What is it about trolls and Dworkin? And why is this one pretending he’s Brad Pitt?

  43. Twisty

    Sayonara, Tyler Durden. There is almost a kind of pathos in your stupidity, exemplified, for instance, by your inability to grasp the meaning of the word “literal,” but I’m afraid “steaming pile of verbal excrement” is a cliché I cannot suffer, even from a retard.

  44. Twisty

    By the way, what is this LMYC blank space to which you are all alluding?

  45. Chris Clarke

    Well, maybe not blank, but devoid of any useful meaning.

  46. Chris Clarke

    And not LMYC’s but the space between her comment and mine.

  47. Twisty

    D’oh! I blame chemo-brain, for which, as you know, I blame the patriarchy. Blame blame blame!

  48. Cass

    “…the ‘do unto others’ thing is predicated on the notion that ‘others’ aren’t… apples and oranges, so to speak. You first have to establish that we’re talking about ‘apples and apples’.”

    The notion that all human beings are endowed with equal worth and dignity isn’t in need of a defense; and the fact that women have some differences with men, blacks with whites or Jews with Gentiles, doesn’t imply the superiority of one party to another, or the privelage of one party to deprive another of its freedom or basic rights. (Now, the inability to concieve of human relationships in any terms other than dominance and submission is a feature of the patriatrchal nuerosis; fundamentalists and fascists always long to be both slave and master, as to-day’s Bush cultists demonstrate.) I’ve dealt with your addle-brained relativism previously. Confronted with a Brahmin who believes his exemplary past lives give him the right to murder an Untouchable, or an anti-Semite who passionately and wholeheartedly believes in the Jewish World Conspiracy you would apparently scratch your befuddled head, and wonder if you had the right to pass judgement. This puts you in a nice quandary; though in the world of the sane, it only makes you an idiot.
    Patriarchy is not about making sure there are enough babies, as we’ve also discussed. Its based on a neurotic fear of the feminine principle projected onto women, as well as other despised and feared groups in society. (As any number of psychologists have pointed out, the anti-Semite’s view of Jews, the Hutu’s view of Tutsis, et cetera, tend to bear an amazing resemblance to the misogynist’s nightmare view of women: stupid but wily, weak yet all-powerful, carriers of disease, bodily and moral corruption… and so on.) This fear is dealt by trying to control the persons being projected on, and in certain cases (with individuals or groups) killing them.

    But enough of that for now. Several weeks ago, Mandos, I was kind enough to warn you your game was quite transparent: you were trying to provoke us here into anger while maintaining the pose of the superior, unemotional male intellectual. I also warned you, a bit more discretely, that you didn’t quite have the intellectual chops to pull this off. I have to admit, I’m a little wounded my kindly-meant advice was so clearly ignored; but in any case the time has arrived to put honesty ahead of manners. By all appearances, Mandos, you’re a moron: thoroughly naive and ignorant on all matters under discussion here, and unable to reason yourself out of a paper bag. When your feeble arguments run into trouble you invariably behave like a frightened squid, spewing an ink cloud of mindless relativism over the discussion so that nothing (that challenges your assumptions) can be known for sure, and all value judgements are up in the air. Perhaps you’re smarter than this, and all of this is just a ridiculous game motivated by resentment. (I tend to this view myself.) In that case, I suggest you confess and deal with these emotions elsewhere, so you don’t have to be burdened by them anymore. As Twisty sez, enlightenment is fun; and it feels much better to be free of resentment than to strike pretentious poses and play stupid games online with people you don’t even know.

  49. Luckynkl

    Let’s talk about stupidity, Tyler. Did you know the adult male brain is biologically smaller and weighs less than a female’s? Perhaps this may explain why Dworkin is beyond your comprehension?

    Of course in your male privilege you fail to realize that just the fact that any woman gets to write or speak at all in this world full of insecure, terrified males, is an achievement. 100 years ago Dworkin wouldn’t have been allowed to do such a thing.

    I had the opportunity of meeting Andrea Dworkin and hearing her speak about 2 years ago. This shy, quiet, soft-spoken woman would step up the podium and a magical transformation would take place as her powerful presence would just fill the room and her voice would just boom with incredible power and her words could just reach down into one’s very soul and move them. Not everyone has this kind of presence or ability. The power to move and empower women and at the same time make men tremble, tho they tried their best to conceal their terror and act as if her words meant nothing. As you try now. But I could smell the fear of those men in that room. Just as I smell the fear on you now. Why else would you come here to spew your dribble if Dworkin’s words were meaningless and meant nothing to you? I’m afraid your actions belie your words, silly rabbit. Trix are for kids.

    Speaking of kids, was that a threat you just now tried to issue? How you would use your daughters to impose your will upon them in order to spite womankind? Do you think that this is something new? Men have been doing this for 5,000 years. Which makes you nothing but common.

    But alas, you missed a crucial point that is glaring you right in the face. The mother of your children has done a great service to womankind by not providing you with a son or heir for your woman-hating, patriarchal legacy. In your family, it will die with you.

    She’s hardly the exception to the rule. As Time magazine reported a few years ago, 70% of American women have no desire or interest in marriage or children whatsoever and have no plans to be subjected to either during their lifetime. 90% of men, however, want and fully expect marriage and children. Uh oh. We have a problem here, Houston, wouldn’t ya say?

    So what was that you said again? Feminists, like Andrea Dworkin, and their words have no impact and their words have no meaning? And what women do amounts to nothing? **chuckle**

    Well the big boys sure don’t seem to think it’s nothing. It’s hard to miss the obvious state of testeria the brotherhood is currently in as they try desperately and frantically to stuff women back into the box from which they escaped during the 60′s and 70′s. Absolutely terrified that women will do what men would do if they were in our shoes and had the power that we have. Which would be to stop creating our own oppressors by simply refusing to reproduce any more white honky males.

    Now shoo, mutant. Even if women don’t decide to do such a thing, Mother Nature has. The Y chromosome, which is literally a sickly, fragmented mutation of an X chromosome, is progressively degenerating. Scientists have already predicted what men’s eventual fate will be. Extinction.

    But please, do go on with your prattling about imagined male superiority and how insignificant women’s words and actions are. It’s rather amusing. It’ll be even more amusing when I see you stuffed into that exhibit next to the dinosaur at the museum, taking your place in line among your other now deceased knuckle dragging descendants.

  50. Mary Sunshine

    Luckynkl : Yessssssssssssss !!

  51. thebewilderness

    The first thing I thought when I read the Dworkin quote Tyler posted was that it explains the attitude of the young men who stood in a circle and ejaculated on the face of an unconscious woman. It also explains those who claimed no harm was done by their action. I blame Tyler for choosing ignorance.

  52. Mandos

    Well, all right Cass, you’ve made it clear that you aren’t interested in a response to your response so I won’t give one, but I am puzzled by your…psychoanalysis of me.

    Perhaps you’re smarter than this, and all of this is just a ridiculous game motivated by resentment. (I tend to this view myself.) In that case, I suggest you confess and deal with these emotions elsewhere, so you don’t have to be burdened by them anymore. As Twisty sez, enlightenment is fun; and it feels much better to be free of resentment than to strike pretentious poses and play stupid games online with people you don’t even know.

    I’m flattered that you think I’m “smarter than this”, but what exactly would I be resenting? This psychoanalysis must be going somewhere.

  53. Mandos

    Let’s talk about stupidity, Tyler. Did you know the adult male brain is biologically smaller and weighs less than a female’s? Perhaps this may explain why Dworkin is beyond your comprehension?

    Actually, I thought it the opposite to a small extent, but that doesn’t mean anything, since size isn’t enough to tell that much about intelligence or even the value of its evidence. I mean, some whales have gigantic brains, but they didn’t build the Golden Gate Bridge. Women are reputed to have a disproportionately large corpus callosum and Brocke’s and Wernicke’s regions, but the effect of socialization on brain size and structure is not well-understood.

    She’s hardly the exception to the rule. As Time magazine reported a few years ago, 70% of American women have no desire or interest in marriage or children whatsoever and have no plans to be subjected to either during their lifetime. 90% of men, however, want and fully expect marriage and children. Uh oh. We have a problem here, Houston, wouldn’t ya say?

    I’ve been googling for a cite either way on this, since I’m curious, but I haven’t found one yet. I mean, I haven’t found anything that contradicts it either. I’ve found a lot of men or women in isolation studies, but rarely a comparative one.

    Now shoo, mutant. Even if women don’t decide to do such a thing, Mother Nature has. The Y chromosome, which is literally a sickly, fragmented mutation of an X chromosome, is progressively degenerating. Scientists have already predicted what men’s eventual fate will be. Extinction.

    Sadly or happily, no (even if the Y-chromosome disappears):

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9146267/

  54. Chris Clarke

    Actually, there are rather a few species in which it’s not a Y chromosome that determines maleness. The human race is potentially one of them, as anecdotally evidenced here.

  55. Lorenzo

    Luckynkl,

    Holy blast from the past! I haven’t read any of your particular brand of verbal napalm in far too long…

  56. Tjurri

    Can someone tell that honky bloke Durden that Paul didn’t write Timothy? It’s another misrepresentation by the Patriarchy to subjugate what was a perfectly liberating spiritual belief… I mean the original Jesus was happy for Mary to get out of the kitchen. That’s why the Patriarchy charged him with blasphemy and sentenced him to death. He would have overturned their hold on power.

  57. Twisty

    The infuriating thing about religion is that people can just make up whatever version of ancient fake events supports their worldview. Which is easy because it’s all based on fictitious ghosts. It’s not like there’s some actual deity going on TV or something, saying “this is how it is, goddammit!” and then backing it up with some thunderbolts.

    If you ask me, Jesus was pretty bitchy to his mother.

  58. louiseculmer

    If it is indeed true as someone said above, that 70% of American women have no interest in marriage or children, don’t you think that holds out a rather bleak prospect for the future? A rather empty and desolate future it will be, with a geriatric population, and no-one to look after them. Is this really something to be pleased about?

  59. Chris Clarke

    I’ve seen what passes for children these days, Louise. I have a two-part answer.

    1) Yes, very much so.

    2) It’s a moot point, because by the time I’m geriatric, they’ll all have driven their hand-me-down SUVs into telephone poles while texting other SUV drivers on their phones.

  60. Lorenzo

    If it is indeed true as someone said above, that 70% of American women have no interest in marriage or children, don’t you think that holds out a rather bleak prospect for the future? A rather empty and desolate future it will be, with a geriatric population, and no-one to look after them. Is this really something to be pleased about?

    Louise,

    Well, then I guess society will finally have to change enough that women no longer see marriage or children as the bad deal they have always been for women in patriarchy. Or, if the fundies win, we’ll go back to imposing social reproduction on women.

  61. ae

    Louise, I’m not sure where you live, but here in Murka our elderly — those who don’t get to retire to Boca — are basically warehoused in state facilities, which I think is not only a crying shame but reprehensible. A more compassionate and just society would be ideal, and if we had one, women and men may feel freer in making reproductive choices that include bringing more humans into a world of limited resources, limited imagination, and the hysterical philistinism of our current social order. Support in its many manifestations and safety in its many manifestations would be a nice start for women to (again?) consider marrying and having children. Frankly, if that percentage is correct, it gives me a little hope for the world. Freedom from the responsibilities for marriage and a family may be just what the doctor ordered in allowing the time and space to agitate successfully for one’s rights.

  62. cinder

    Somehow I find it extremely hard to believe that 70% of American women are not interested in marriage and children. Maybe that statistic would make sense if that many weren’t interested in diving into those things right NOW, but would prefer to save it for later. I’m also curious as to what age bracket this statistic is supposed to apply to, as well as where people were surveyed. If the surveying took place in new york city, or san francisco than there you go. But if this proportionately includes the midwest and the bible belt, or pretty much any rural or suburban population then I don’t believe it.

    It seems to me like it’s actually a minority of us that are against the thought of EVER getting married, and that a lot of people are simply doing it later in life than is traditional in our culture. Women are having thier first baby in their 30′s and even 40′s rather than popping out 3 or 4 before they make it to 25.

    I think more women have decided that thier 20′s are for partying, school and/or career building and are choosing to hold off, not cancel all that shit entirely, just wait awhile.

    Don’t get me wrong, it would be incredible if 70% of American women were entirely uninterested in ever getting married and having babies. It’s just not realistic when keeping in mind how pervasive conservatism is.

  63. Mandos

    Don’t get me wrong, it would be incredible if 70% of American women were entirely uninterested in ever getting married and having babies. It’s just not realistic when keeping in mind how pervasive conservatism is.

    A too large disparity in expectations may also have the effect of generating a larger and more likely backlash.

  64. syfr

    Thanks for the quote, Twisty; it’s gorgeous.

  65. Cass

    Mandos, I would love a response to my points… as our dear President says, bring it on!! Not, however, if this response will consist of the same pretentious, relativistic drivel that passes for thought in your universe. As for saying your motivation here is resentment, that’s merely an educated guess, hardly amounting to psychoanalysis. (I’ve heard quite a bit of resentment from our male brothers over the phone while working on a DV hotline, with quite a few bogus “intellectuals” wishing to engage me in debates.) What may be the orgin of these feelings is hardly my business either. All I suggested was that it must be very unpleasant to carry around such a load of resentment, and you’d be well advised, for your own sake, to seek some relief from it.
    One more point. Spending your mental energy trying to make the dehumanization of any group of people respectable is a serious matter, even here. I have very strong feelings about this, not only because I’m a woman (and a decent human being) myself, but because my career involves dealing with the horrific suffering caused by the dehumanization of women daily. Now by all appearances, Mandos, you’re nothing more than a pretentious fool, and an empty-headed windbag; I wouldn’t expect an argument based on moral gravity to have much of an effect. There may be other, more impressionable lookers-on about though; and its to them I’d address this humble appeal…

  66. Sam

    “Force–the violence of the male confirming his masculinity–is seen as the essential purpose of the penis, its animating principle as it were, just as sperm ideally impregnates the woman either without reference to or against her will. The penis must embody the violence of the male in order for him to be male.”

    A momentary version of this goes through my mind every time I see reference to the cable network for men known as Spike.

  67. Laughingrat

    She was a gift. She rocked my world when I found Woman Hating in the library, by accident, when I was 11 (and why is there no Dworkin in my library now, I demand to know?); she rocked my world last week when she named “grief” as an emotional response to patriarchy; she rocked my world just now when she talked about the revolutionary idea that women are people. Andrea Dworkin just keeps on giving.

    Thanks for posting this.

  1. on freedom, reason, and the rising tide of bullshit at The Republic of Dogs

    [...] Yesterday, veteran patriarchy-blamer Twisty Faster posted this little gem: [...]

  2. Blog Against Sexism Day at Pandagon

    [...] And we have a couple of good quotes. To emancipate woman is to refuse to confine her to the relations she bears to man, not to deny them to her; let her have her independent existence and she will continue none the less to exist to him also; mutually recognizing each other as subject, each will yet remain for the other an other. –Simone de Beauvoir Feminists have a vision of women, even women, as individual human beings; and this vision annihilates the system of gender polarity in which men are superior and powerful. This is not a bourgeois notion of individuality; it is not a self-indulgent notion of individuality; it is the recognition that every human being lives a separate life in a separate body and dies alone. In proposing “the individuality of each human soul,” feminists propose that women are not their sex; nor their sex plus some other little thing—a liberal additive of personality, for instance; but that each life—including each woman’s life—must be a person’s own, not predetermined before her birth by totalitarian ideas about her nature and her function, not subject to guardianship by some more powerful class, not determined in the aggregate but worked out by herself, for herself. Frankly, no one much knows what feminists mean; the idea of women not defined by sex and reproduction is anathema or baffling. It is the simplest revolutionary idea ever conceived, and the most despised. –Andrea Dworkin (Shamelessly swiped, as is half my stuff, from Twisty.) [...]

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