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Review :: Gender & Sexuality
Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered Current rating: 14
07 Feb 2005
A review of Pornography: Men Possessing Women by Andrea Dworkin
Anti-sex. Reactionary. A man-hating shrew out to destroy sexual liberation by victimizing women. Andrea Dworkin’s stature is mythic as the caricature of the woman who gave feminism a bad name in her fight to analyze, then criminalize porn. Who wants to be a censor and a prude? Apparently Andrea Dworkin. So she was cast out, denounced and ridiculed – told to shut up for the sake of the pornographers’ free speech.

But just about no one bothered to criticize what she was actually writing. To Dworkin, porn isn’t merely a picture or story about sex. It is the act of “men possessing women,” something so ubiquitous that we didn’t have a word for it. Dworkin provided one and bothered to report on what porn does and how. She says the etymology of the term itself is the “graphic depictions of whores.” And whores get used. Porn sexualizes degradation from the softcore gauze of Playboy’s ever-ready bunnies to the current industry standard of “gonzo,” where the pussy is ignored in favor of throat-...ing and hard anal. Availability is expected, violation preferred. It is the depiction of a generalized reality.

I first read the Marquis de Sade, patron saint of pornographers, at the not-so-tender age of 12. Each chapter seemed filled with rebellion, a casting off of Puritanism and sexual repression. Raw sexuality unleashed was what I saw as a boy becoming a man. Concerned that all Sade’s torture and abuse might not be good, I consulted the philosophers and literary critics who each in turn explained how Sade was a trangressive hero.

In fact, as Dworkin catalogues, Sade was an aristocratic serial rapist who drugged, mutilated and sodomized scores of prostitutes and servants, and then wrote about it with such obsessive fury that he filled thousands of pages with torments he could no longer inflict due to his confinement in the asylum at Charenton. Maybe not a hero, but certainly a truth-teller, if the adoration he’s received from men is any measure. Libertinage for Sade – and by extension the pornographic man – is the ability to take, to use, to ravish.

For Dworkin to notice how uninterested Sade was in sex itself, how hostile to the erotic, is for her to be “anti-sex.” Because to imagine sex without unrestrained male power, as plainly evident in even the most vanilla porn and average marriage, is too frightening for some to consider. To suppress oppression is, to the pro-porn logic, repression. There is no alternative.

The brutality Dworkin was subjected to from both left and right is a standing testament to the radical vision she trained on male supremacy without apology. Here is one woman who wouldn’t bow before the cock.
See also:
http://burning.typepad.com
http://indypendent.org

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Re: Unburning a Witch: Re-reading Andrea Dworkin
Current rating: 4
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 01:35:18 AM
Hey porn is banned in China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan and many other bastions of human and womens rights! I think we should follow their lead!

Instead of making sex workers and porn industry performers lose their stigma and be respected for providing a service and basic human need lets continue to make them feel ashamed. Let's force them to continue to work underground in dangerous environments were they have no rights or chance to unionize.

Did you ever think perhaps it's because women have a certain power over men that men feel the need to treat women in ways that are sexual degrading? Men constantly do things to impress women, have anxiety about women, it's always up to the man to attract the women, men judge each other on how many women they can screw...women judge men on how many women they can screw...

How many times have I heard on this "enlightened" board the flame of "You loser, maybe if you got laid for once you wouldn't be so X, Y, Z"...and this comes from women just as much as men. So when you judge men and belittle them based on their sexual prowess and ability to attract and use women how do you expect them to start to view women?!

But it's just the gender roles that human nature has given us. Maybe it's unfair but that's reality. You could say it's unfair that women have to carry children while men do not...sure it's unfair but that doesn't mean you can do anything about it. It's nature.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Re-reading Andrea Dworkin
Current rating: 5
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 02:09:05 AM
Thank you for bringing in this essay..
I agree with these sentiments and am encouraged to read or re-read Andrea Dworkin's writing.
I always found Sade's writing unreadable garbage (that may have been his point) and the praising of him ludicrous.
And pornography generally represents much of the pathological underside of a pretty sick society of abuse of power, violations without any interest in transcendence but merely in degradation to a point of despair.
It destroys men perhaps as much as women, in degrading the spirit in abusing the world of bodies.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Re-reading Andrea Dworkin
Current rating: -4
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 02:28:28 AM
Why are you panzies denying human sexuality.

Maybe if you actually got laid once in a while you wouldn't go around pretending to be "sensitive porn haters", shea right.

Humans are sexual animals, deal with it.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Re-reading Andrea Dworkin
Current rating: 0
07 Feb 2005
All this crap is is a new way to attach shame to sexuality.

Just when we almost got rid of all that religious bullshit a new wave of sexual shame is being unleashed on the masses.

Fuck that shit.

Maybe the veil in America is porn
Current rating: 8
07 Feb 2005
I thought Andrea Dworkin was supposed to be crazy for saying that sexuality in this culture is defined by male domination of women. Turns out, that's just "natural" and that saying publically what ya'll seem to think personally is something really transgressive.

And that's a no-no because according to "fuck this shit!" above, speaking these truths is just an attempt to sexually shame the masses.

Women are a literal commodity. There is an actual trade in women to be sex slaves that is massive. Whole countries are turned into bordello plantations to satisfy the sexual sadism of the West, Japan and the global middle classes. Not China, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Afghanistan -- but Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia, the Slavic countries and more.

Women stand a good chance of being raped by family members, friends, co-workers. By their lovers. But more than just the clear force of violation, is the degredation of custom.

"Yeah" mocks the veil as if make-up was any different. Maybe the veil of America is porn.
See also:
http://burning.typepad.com

Little Kim is trying to tell us something
Current rating: 4
07 Feb 2005
lil-kim-burqa.jpg
Photographer unknown

Andrea Dworkin links
Current rating: 0
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 03:37:41 AM
To correct common misconceptions about what Dworkin thinks, check her website's "Lie Detector."

http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/LieDetect.html

The same site also has numerous other writings by her. I'd also like to say that the things I disagree with Dworkin on, such as this government passing legislation for censorship, were not the point of my review.

I'm saying that Dworkin has been effectively marginalized to the point that she is not broadly read and mostly known through misrepresentation and slander. And that is a great tragedy. The ethical core that she cuts to is ignored at our peril.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 0
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 10:53:22 AM
So how do guys who look at gay porn work into this little theory of yours?

What about women who look at porn?

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 0
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 11:27:40 AM
"There is an actual trade in women to be sex slaves that is massive. Whole countries are turned into bordello plantations to satisfy the sexual sadism of the West, Japan and the global middle classes."

So that's just an argument against slavery not against sex work.

Instead of freeing the slaves in the American south the government should have just ended cotton production?

The thing is there IS something wrong with the roles men and women play in relationships...but why does it always get painted like it's the mans fault.

Maybe women should start hitting on men instead of being passive. That basic part of the "mating ritual" ensures inequality when the two have different roles. Of course this is a cultural relic from eras past but I don't see it coming to an end any time soon.

The other thing is...nasty to admit but...a lot of women are attracted to those domineering guys. If you have two guys one a "hotshot" braggart kind of guy and the other a "nice guy" who are the women going to go to? Despite claiming to want a "nice guy" they will go for the hotshot asshole. And other men will notice this and think "uh oh if I want chicks better start acting like him!".

Men do what they think will attract women. If they think being dominant and assholish will get women then that's what they will do!

So women, want to change male behavior? Stop claiming to want "the nice guy" and then go off and screw the dominant prick. That's just as lame as the guy who says he is turned on by "intelligent women" but then screws the chick with big tits and short skirt.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 0
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 11:46:18 AM
"Stop claiming to want "the nice guy" and then go off and screw the dominant prick. That's just as lame as the guy who says he is turned on by "intelligent women" but then screws the chick with big tits and short skirt."

But that's just nature. You can't actually change it. The fact is women want the dominant male and men want the chick with nice tits. They just make up the excuse about "nice guys" and "intelligent women" to please our culture.

If you look at how primates choose mates the females go for males with the highest positions in the social heirarchy and the males go for the females with the attributes that show they are fertile.

And by social heirarchy I'm not talking about artificial "man made" heirarchy of governments and corporations. It's the heirarchy that appears whenever people (or chimps or gorillas) get together, there is going to be someone dominant in the group.(And there's probably going to be some people with nice tits.)

Maybe it sucks but nature has no concept of "social justice".

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: -1
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 12:27:25 PM
It's a good thing nature has no understanding of social justice or we'd all still be mold on the bottom of a rock somewhere.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 1
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 04:16:10 PM
her analysis is over-the-top rather then illuminating.

to argue that intercourse is rape was where she got villified.

the reaction to her was probably in good part due to her challenging patriarchy no doubt.

still the collapse of hetersexual intercourse into rape is a categorical confusion.

it makes both real, intimate Sex (including or not sexual intercourse) and rape meaningless as terms. The distincition is provocatively collapsed, I guess one could say.

There is a puritanical streak in this premise.

it makes of all sexual activity either a super-all-good aspect to it, or a disgusting picture of dominance and submission by and large, where no pleasure, release or intimacy has anything whatsoever to do with it.

In this sense, her ideas (as they became known) actually worked with the patriarchy order to create a picture of women as primarily tragic victims, without any capactiies for pleasure with men, in situations which may or may not involve intercourse.

nonetheless, perhaps a good thing that came of this hyper-anti-sex-brand-of-feminsim was that she initiated (perhaps) the idea that sex does not need to be phallocentric, to a certain degree.

there are many other theorists, who are women, who have been extremely critical of the entire power-apparatus of sexual relations that are worth checking out, which do not engage in puritanical dread of the body and/or Idealism of it so much.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: -4
07 Feb 2005
Andrea Dworkin is a marginal nutcase. Nobody take her seriously, except for some people like the male pseudo-feminist who wrote this rant above. Talk about trying to score chicks by adopting some half-ass politically correct critique of pornography. Pornography is a fact of human existence. It is something that makes millions and millions of women and men happy. What we don't need are some so-called progressives joining forces with the Taliban right to further mess with our sexualities.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 3
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 06:22:05 PM
dworkin came into the picture during the rise of multiculturalism. this was viewed by the reaganites as a corruption of the great canon.

initially multiculturalism espoused an idea that more then just the white boys ought to be brought to the table, to make decisions.

it became villified, by the right under the banner of PC.

The term PC was born from an article in the NY Times that raised a ruckus about how ( I believe Antioch College) students were engaged in a debate regarding politcally correct sensitivity (i.e. using terms like African-American, rather then black, etc.). I can't remember much more about the article.

It became blown way out, and again used by and large to create a picture of the left in universities, to begin with, as way off the mark, etc. to create a hysteria around 'how things have gotten out of control' type of thing. And don't think wasn't an attack on the left. Cause it certainly was.

What was really at stake was control.

It was a part of a larger backlash.

A backlash against not only leftists with some power in universities but more so, 'leftist' ideas having any sway in the public's mind.

One of the main target areas in this backlash was feminism.

The end result, is that it is fairly difficult to meet a modern, educated regular working women in the USA who would more or less happily say that she is a feminist. It has become identiifed with a picture of card-carrying complainers, man-haters, etc. in pop culture. This was not the case in the 70's.

Dworkin's work was in a sense an extension of a certain brand of 70's feminism and radical theoretical work, per se, of that period. It was anachronistic upon publication and an extension of ideas into a set of propositions which were mainly insupportable, from a theoretical position. The style of academic writing she was working in tended to conflate political power with questions of ontology (the experience of being), such that the analysis tended to emphasize how people internalized and then became in spirit or in their bodies the power itself. This was a kind of confusion, that has been largely abandoned, at this point, of much value. Though it was very much in vogue post-68.

So, when her book hit the stands, you had this piece of writing which was a hold-over from an earlier time period of analysis, shot into a 'cultural debate' about how in essence the left was just plain out of control, with multiculturalism and this spectre of PC being thrown around like hot potatos. She became used to further the backlash against feminism and against multiculturalism. To in essence, neutralize or at least hold off both in one shot. The question of censoring pornography was the weird cross-section where her position conflated oddly enough with right wing sentiments, giving her analysis a kind of novel, surprise, even anarchic pop.

The right has so far fairly decisivly one the battle against multiculturalism's most challenging aspects (bringing more non-white, non-male figures to the table of Decisions) and in that battle then, brokered for time, so that capitalism could find clever ways to absorb the more exciting possibilities of the mulitcultural vibe. hence, we have all kinds of multi-culti eclecticsm in branding, etc. It became an area to market.

Feminism at the same time has become entirely squashed, into a mere side note as the white boy system marches on.

Dworkin's book was an anachronistic experiment which caught the public's mind cause it managed to be both a throw-back (and a reminder) to 70's style revolutionary analysis, and a lightening rod for a debate about our supposed values (really as way of hyping people up on reaganomics and helping them to put the past behind them in a hysterical yuppified tv-space adios to our revolutionary values culturally).

Her book was just what the Right needed.

Family values won.

And now, does anyone even care about all this shyte "Family Values", the Canon, etc.?

I don't think it matters. Cause global capitalism got a chance to get its shit togethor and make something marketable with pc 'sensitivity' you see...

The right blocked a kind of last gasp from the post-68 left generation. Fairly well.

So, that to this day, even people in the "left" are all up in arms about pc'isms.



Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: -1
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 06:43:33 PM
by the way, Sade rocks.

read Philosophy in the Bedroom.

you can get a copy here.
http://www.supervert.com/elibrary/sade.html

not for the feignt of heart, dear modern puritan-guilt-ridden-about-your-body american reader.

you shouldn't take literature as pure representation. cause its not.

it is fiction. Sometimes, as in Sade, designed to provoke us out of our hypocritical beorgoise sentiments. He is funny as hell in this piece of writing.

Yeah, Sade Rocked The Ladies!
Current rating: 0
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 10:31:32 PM
"Sade's biographers attempt to justify, trivialize or deny (even though recoreds confirming the facts exist) every assault Sade ever committed against women and girls. Especailly, tireless efforts are made to discount the kidnapping and torture of Rose Keller, Sade's first non-prostitute victim of record.

"Violence against prostitutes, regardless of its ferocity, is nothing less than an acceptable fact of life. Who, the biographers ask with mock wonderment, can deny that these 'girls' are there to be used? The man's right to sexual pleasure on his own terms is the given, the natural right.

"Sexual pleasure includes by definition, or intrinsically justifies, the use of force, trickery, or violence. The cost to the prostitute's health or well-being means nothing. Her own will has no value and no claim to value. The use of force against prostitutes [by Sade and extension all men -ed.] means nothing.

"Freedom, that hallowed word, is valued only when used in reference to male desire. For women, freedom means only that men are free to use them."

----------

"In 1768, Easter Sunday easrly int he morning, Rose Keller, in her mid-thirties, a German immigrant, a widow, a cotton spinner who had been unemployed for approximately a month, approached Sade to beg for alms. He offered her work housecleaning. She accepted. He told her that she would be well fed and treated kindly.

"Sade took Keller to his private house. He took her to a dark room in which the windows were boarded and said he was going to het her food. He locked her in the room. Keller had waited for about an hour when Sade came to take her into another room. He told her to undress. She refused.

"He tore her clothes off, threw her face down onto a couch, tied her arms and legs with ropes. he whipped her brutally. He took a knife and told her that he would kill her. According to Keller, Sade kept cutting her with a knife and rubbing wax into the wounds. Keller believed she would die and begged Sade not to kill her until she could make her Easter confession.

"When Sade was finished with her, he took her back to the first room and ordered her to wash and rub brandy into her wounds. This she did."

-------

Because this woman was not a prostitute, and because she escaped and found refuge with a surgeon -- and despite the offer of mney from Sade's mother-in-law for Rose Keller to withdraw charges -- Sade was sentenced to his first prison term of 8 months for this torture. There was no sex.

"y" says: "you shouldn't take literature as pure representation. cause its not."

Except when it is: which in the case of porn is all the time.

From reading the attacks on Dworkin and the author above, it's pretty clear what the gist is: challenge male supremacy and you are either anti-sex or an opportunist. The possiblity that some people might care about the mountains of misery on plain display isn't even accepted as a possiblity. Critics of male supremacy need to shut up because bitches just need to get fucked. That's "natural."

Yeah! That's what "liberation" looks like. This is an "empowering" language for women. Women who don't think their job is to service men are frigid. Men who don't want to be dominators are "pansies" or trying to "score."

Wow. This is one of the most illuminating threads I've ever seen on Indymedia.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 10
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 10:43:10 PM
Nice try, gh, but Dworkin never said that all sex is rape. The "all sex is rape" line is an urban legend frequently used to discredit feminists. If you don't believe me, look this up yourself at snopes.com:

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/mackinno.htm

At any rate, I think the underlying deal with Dworkin - like many academics - is that in dealing with older works, there's a tendency to take certain passages out of context, mostly by taking her words about current events of the day, and then presenting them as her iron-clad opinion. Also, there is a horrible tendency to take her writings criticizing the Sexual Revolution as a totally reactionary repudiation of it, when in fact it was much more nuanced understanding of how the revolutionary becomes corrupted by the reactionary. And in the end, she was right -- ask yourselves how it is that Boomers went from a generation that challenged patriarchy to one that is increasingly demanding parental notification, anti-gay legislation, and a host of "morality" laws to be put on the books, all in the name of "their" kids.

In the end, I think Dworkin deserves a better reputation on her own, but also a contextualization - she was not the only feminist writer/theorist of the time, and certainly not the only feminist writer/theorist still around. Rather than the foolish tunnel vision which has created cartoonish "sex positive" "pro porn" and "anti-sex" "anti-porn" categories, we should all strive to achieve a balanced perspective.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: -4
07 Feb 2005
Modified: 11:45:12 PM
All I have to say is, fuck Darwin. If there's a hell, may he be burning in it.

oh baby you ARE rad! (my pet)
Current rating: -4
08 Feb 2005
Intercourse with men as we know them is increasingly impossible. It requires an abortion of creativity and strength, a refusal of responsibility and freedom: a bitter personal death. It means acting out the female role, incorporating the masochism, self-hatred, and passivity which are central to it. Unambiguous conventional heterosexual behavior is the worst betrayal of our common humanity (Dworkin 1974, p.184).
This is not to say that "men" and "women" can’t have sex, but that "androgynous [sex] ... requires the destruction of all conventional role-playing ... of couple formations..."

What does this mean? As Dworkin notes, homosexual sexual relationships are far closer to her version of androgyny because "it is by definition antagonistic to two-sex polarity" (Dworkin 1974, p.185). But even it is too polarizing for Dworkin because many homosexuals have sex only with other homosexuals. Instead what Dworkin wants to see is some sort of pansexuality,

An exclusive commitment to one sexual formation, whether homosexual or heterosexual, generally means an exclusive commitment to one role. An exclusive commitment to one sexual formation generally involves the denial of many profound and compelling kinds of sensuality. An exclusive commitment to one sexual formation generally means that one is, regardless of the uniform one wears, a good soldier of the culture programmed effectively to do its dirty work. It is by developing one’s pansexuality to its limits (and no one knows where or what those are) that one does the work of destroying culture to build community (Dworkin 1974, p.185).
Dworkin doesn’t explicitly say it, but monogamy is clearly one of those "cultur[ally] programmed" views that would have to be discarded to experience "many profound and compelling kinds of sensuality."

Bestiality -- In

One of the "pansexual" activities which Dworkin lauds is bestiality. As Dworkin puts it,

Primary bestiality (fucking between people and other animals) is found in all nonindustrial societies. Secondary bestiality (generalized erotic relationships between people and other animals) is found everywhere on the planet, on every city street, in every rural town. Bestiality is an erotic reality, one which clearly place people in nature, not above it (Dworkin 1974, p.187-8).

Of course many people might point out that is precisely what is wrong with bestiality, but Dworkin is not to be deterred,

Needless to say, in androgynous community, human and other-animal relationships would become more explicitly erotic, and that eroticism would not degenerate into abuse. Animals would be part of the tribe and, with us, respected, loved, and free (Dworkin 1974, p.188).

Incest -- In

Another sexual practice which today is condemned but would be celebrated in this pansexual utopia is incest. Again it is best to simply quote from Dworkin,

The parent-child relationship is primarily erotic because all human relationships are primarily erotic. The incest taboo is a particularized form of repression, one which functions as the bulwark of all other repressions. The incest taboo ensures that however free we become, we never become genuinely free. The incest taboo, because it denies us essential fulfillment with the parents whom we love with our primary energy, forces us to internalize those parents and constantly seek them...

The incest taboo does the worst work of the culture: it teaches us the mechanisms of repressing and internalizing erotic feeling -- it forces us to develop those mechanisms in the first place; it forces us to particularize sexual feeling, so that it congeals into a need for a particular sexual "object"; it demands that we place the nuclear family above the human family. The destruction of the incest taboo is essential to the development of cooperative human community based on the free-flow of natural androgynous eroticism (Dworkin 1974, p.189).

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 0
08 Feb 2005
Modified: 12:25:14 AM
huh!~? wow! and i thought it was essentially true that she said that (hetero-)sexual intercourse was rape, in that it involved what she fairfly consistently called "penetration" -- which was ipso facto, as she was framing it, a situation of dominance and submission, much like if not essentially the same as rape.

wasn't that the gist of the idea? or did I get it wrong?

but on another aspect of her analysis:

"penetration" was a key term associated with all scenes of hetero-sexual intercourse right?

Isn't this very framing, classic phallocentric terminology, usually metered out by men?

doesn't it imagine the erect penis as a sword, a penetrator, you know, the classic phallus stuff, exclusively here. That is, her critique hinges on, no depends entirely on the phallus. The only "break-thru' she is really offering from a fully phallocentric view is to refuse its "penetration". Well, of course!! If a person's erection is exclusively confused with a sword-like battering ram, then, yeah keep that thing away from children, women, etc. etc.

It seems to me that the phallocentricity of our culture is the key problem not creating fear of penis'-as-the-pallus.

porno is not pure representation
Current rating: 0
08 Feb 2005
Modified: 12:47:07 AM
it is a scene of sex. usually paid for no doubt, and often it doesn't look like many of the people are having too much fun, but it isn't exactly what you see. there is no WSIWYG with porn. it is all exaggeration, sound effects added, even stand-ins for some of the shots, i hear.

but porn does get addictive to people, effecting their relations no doubt. So do video games. They are both easy thrills. Is there a relation between Columbine and video games? one that should lead us to ban them?

there is probably too much wildly entertaining material in the world -- and we want vicarious thrills. should these all be stopped if "too violent" or "too graphic" for our own tastes?

what is to be done about the power of media to deliver powerful content, in the widest sense? Don't we all have to make up our own minds, as boring as that is?

we aren't talking about scenes where people are killed. And even that is shown in films all the time, rated R. yet, that is understood as fiction, right?

_____

about sade. I never said he wasn't himself an awful person.

i was just talking about his writing. Unfortunately, some people have done horrible things and still written or produced compelling and important works in their lifetimes. This is uncomfortable to openly deal with in any satisfactory way.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 4
08 Feb 2005
Modified: 02:29:29 AM
yeah, this is a fucking great thread. definitely makes me want to read more Sade AND Dworkin. cheers...

q and a
Current rating: 3
08 Feb 2005
"So how do guys who look at gay porn work into this little theory of yours? What about women who look at porn? "

Gay men have a sexuality that is largely what you would expect when women are removed from the equation. Gay porn is porn for gay men. Andrea Dworkin has comments on it that are interesting, as have many others.

About women who watch porn -- GO TO FUCKING TIMES SQUARE and walk around the stores. If you find a single woman who isn't selling herself, I'll treat you to all the porn you want to buy. I'm a man who has gone for years to buy porn there and have seen maybe one woman shopping alone that entire time. I've seen a couple of couples and thousands of men of every race and class.

Women do not consume pornography as a general rule -- consult Adult Video News, the industry's trade magazine. Some women do, some -- mostly with men, and some among lesbians. But not that much. Most women don't approve of pornography, regardless of how they feel about banning it. Almost all men use porn regularly. That's just a fact.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 0
08 Feb 2005
Modified: 09:19:54 PM
Dworkin understands the domination of the Patriarchy and its phallocratic cult. She is a true feminist who refuses to be co-opted. The womyn's movement needs her to become one of the organizers for the Radical Womyn's Party that is going to dismantle the whole Patriarchal machine starting with the anti-Male-God-laws that we womyn are going to pass. We are half of the sky. The other half has gone to hell so we are left with no choice. All religions professing a male God will be outlawed because they are religions that promote the hatred of womyn and damaging the psyche of our children.
Those who refuse to preach hatred against womyn will be sent to school to be re-educated or just like Mao did with the bourgeois intellectuals they will be sent to shovel shit in pig farms.

women and porno
Current rating: 0
08 Feb 2005
i think more and more women are getting porno on the web. but i don't know the stats.

...in bizarro world
Current rating: 0
08 Feb 2005
Yeah, my boyfriend is always telling me to stop leaving my porn up on the computer. Isn't that how it always is?

Who is this person trying to kid. Porn is made by and for men.

on porno
Current rating: 0
08 Feb 2005
Modified: 11:54:25 PM
no, for real. i know at least two women personally who regularly go to porno sites. both are entirely "normal", regular working women. now, i don't know that many people really. so you just extapolate on that.. and...

so, i say check it out. i bet more women then you think have been to porn sites, and more then you think do it regularly.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 0
09 Feb 2005
you're kidding yourself. I know several women who watch porn to. About five in my whole life among hundreds of men. Look at it.

In most contemporary porn, the clitorus is ignored, and the pussy a distant third choice.

It's about use of women. You can deny it, but the porn industry is quite frank about on their box covers, promotions -- eg, "bitches too dumb to know what they're good for," etc. etc.

You can mention the 20-something middle class chicks who are trying to act "liberated" during their years at NYU, but you've got to get out a bit more often.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 8
09 Feb 2005
Modified: 07:40:22 AM
Cheers burningman. Glad to see that you are still bringing up the relevant shit.

To all the fools who fall into the knee jerk reaction of railing against the 'banning' of porn, may I point out that in his review (or his other writings) I have never heard burningman sugguest anything of the sort? Our society has tried that approach with drugs and last time I checked it was failing miserably.

The real key here is how pornography, prostitution and other aspects of male domination are in fact symptoms of patriarchy and capitalism. What makes these things repulsive is not the sex (we all, BM included, _like_ sex), but the commercialization of sex and the power relation inherent therein.

The only sensible approach to dealing with these problems is not to criminalize the victims, but instead to 1. come to a real understanding of where these things come from and 2. work on the larger project of dismantling the power structures that make them epidemics in our society.

Read before you criticize.

marxism to the rescue! hurray!
Current rating: -2
09 Feb 2005
"how pornography, prostitution and other aspects of male domination are in fact symptoms of patriarchy and capitalism"

thank god for marxist-revolutionary analysis. I was getting really confused there for a moment! whew! thank you. cause for a moment there, i was about fall into something...just plain common-place, or something..

yes, yes, the *real* issue is as you say, sir

(sometimes you'de think there was no other history then a marxist history!? )

liberalism to the rescue! hurray!
Current rating: 5
10 Feb 2005
Freedom doesn't mean whoever has the biggest wad of cash gets to do whatever they want. Imagine what sexual depictions and culture would be like where coercion wasn't considered normal. Imagine if graphic depiction of sex was legal, but cash exchange was not.

How would porn be different? Would it still be pornography?

What is most interesting in these debates is how the neoliberal model is acceptable when it comes to women (tyranny of the market), but somehow wrong everywhere else. To me, that looks like we embrace the capitalist mindset where WE have the power, but reject it when we don't. Talk about hypocrisy.

I also just found a great debate. Nina Hartley, an older porn star and red-diaper baby, wrote a pro-porn piece for Counter-Punch and Stan Goff wrote a reply. Links below.

http://www.counterpunch.org/hartley02022005.html
http://stangoff.com/index.php?p=2

what lil' kim teaches us
Current rating: 0
11 Feb 2005
"I used to be afraid of the dick
now I throw lips to the shit
handle it like a real bitch."

I have heard several women I know say these lyrics with a smile on their face. Being raunchy is fun. Getting over the fear of sex is great. Learning that women don't have to be victims is wonderful -- who would argue with that?

But what ELSE is Lil' Kim? Why has hiphop gone from "Hail the Queen" to "Face Down, Ass Up?" What does it mean that "empowerment" has more to do with adopting degrading norms with a smile than allowing for a little more complexity, depth and humanity from women?

According to the argument: women who complain or struggle against male domination are "afraid of the dick." What they really need to do is "handle it like a real bitch."

Now, I love blowjobs as much as the next guy... call me crazy, but I want more from women than that. Which is something porn doesn't allow for. And I wonder why Lil' Kim got all those magazine covers with her crazy ass self instead of women who think they have more power than selling pussy. Is THAT what "democracy looks like?"

question for the defenders of porn culture
Current rating: 0
11 Feb 2005
Modified: 03:03:25 PM
Do men have the right to buy the power to sexually degrade women? Can I hire anyone to do anything I want just because it makes my dick hard? Are men who use prostitutes and pornography more sexually free than those who have unpaid, consensual sex? Are pimps and pornographers doing a public service?

burning Neo-Liberal and other degredations
Current rating: 0
13 Feb 2005
"What is most interesting in these debates is how the neoliberal model is acceptable when it comes to women (tyranny of the market), but somehow wrong everywhere else. "

I think you are confusing things. I know PC is bad and all, but there is something to using terms relatively right that is important, no? Otherwise, it is like you might as well say whatevah, whenevah you want. And all debate/discussion of any possibilities for collective change (other then the possibility of some kind of anarchic uprising) goes out the window. A hammer is a hammer not a fish, pretty much, yes?

Neo-Liberal is the term for what is called "Globalization", since primarily about mid-70's I believe (particularly things like relaxation of capital flight restrictions, structural adjustments, privatization, no democratic oversight, NAFTA, CAFTA, etc.). No?

You seem to use it here in a novel way to go after liberalism...

It is understandable how this confusion arises, but it is important to distinguish the two things.

I hope this confusion doesn't take hold!!

We need more and more people to understand what Neo-Liberal really means *Globalization/Privatization* and all its effects if we are to spread the word/mobilize and tear down this injust, current system of Globalization.

I guess this degredation of the term speaks to how much NYC activists have lost faith or become dis-connected with the fight against globalization/privitization. In other words, it has no meaning to individuals here. Or we are just jaded and cynical.. I don't know.

Unfortunately, Neo-Liberal means very specific things to a great number of people in the world.

The degredation of terms associated with the Anti-Globalization struggle, has already been going on in NYC leftist/activist circles for some time. It does not help the struggle. It only retards it, and makes us weaker. Knowledge is power.

For instance, you often hear leftists having trouble with the term "Globalization" being a "negative thing". (unfortunately its Meaning -- structurally -- is very concrete, and not in reality, good to many, many people -- as much as the ad-hype and the sentiment may be lofty, sweet and play on our greatest hopes of un-controlled communication and sisterhood/communnication amongst all people and across regions, etc.).





Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 0
13 Feb 2005
Modified: 06:12:49 PM
I think recurring academic/white/middle-class debate about what porn symbolizes (liberation or patriarchal sexual control?) completely obscures the most important issue: the human rights of sex workers. Sex workers aren't abstractions for convenient use by middle-class writers and professors. Sex workers are people who struggle for safe working conditions, worker benefits, and proper wages like every other kind of worker; but sex workers have to deal with an oppressive social stigma (if not criminal status). Prostitutes have to deal with abusive cops, pimps, and the condescending, classist attitudes of pompous middle-class second-wave moralists and academics. Feminists should be working as allies in sex worker liberation, fighting for sex workers to gain greater control of their working conditions(and hopefully, like all workers, abolish management) not courting the state to push sex work futher underground, into more dangerous conditions.
Magazines such as playboy and penthouse are appalling, not because the people in the pictures are naked, but because the magazines are controlled by a patriarchal capitalist hierarchy that tightly controls and profits from the labor of the models. If porn were to become illegal, the patriarchal capitalist hierarchy would become even more powerful (totalitarian), and the women who pose for the pictures would have even less agency, and their lives would become much more dangerous. On the other hand, if porn models, and all other sex workers are able to unionize, they can shrink the oppressive management class and eventually abolish it. Also, when sex workers are empowered to control their own work, abusive pimps and other capitalists will be much less able to force unwilling participants into sex work. The state repression of sex work only ripens the conditions for atrocities such as human traffiking and sex slavery. Sex work is work and sex worker's rights are worker's rights.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 0
14 Feb 2005
Modified: 15 Feb 2005
Dworkin's portrayal of Sade is not supported by reliable scholarly sources. The Rose Keller scenario, as quoted by another poster, is an embellished version of Keller's deposition. Her claims could not be substantiated, no signs of abuse were evident, and her story could not be corroborated as no witnesses could be produced. Prior to the trial she blackmailed Sade's family into paying her off, but filed charges anyway, quite likely also with a payoff from other enemies of de Sade. He was charged with blashpemy and descecration of holy objects. The physical abuse charges were thrown out later as baseless. As a Pier 57 survivor I know a bit about political railroading in the courts. De Sade is a classic example of how political radicals and social critics can be put away -- basically for life -- on souped-up charges and by extra-legal methods in an attempt to silence them. It's still going on.

that bitch set me up!
Current rating: 0
15 Feb 2005
Scholarship not supported? Sade was arrested MANY times for torturing women long before politics was an issue. Sade was not a dissident before the revolution and was related to the royal family. He was a Marquis not a sans coulettes.

If Rose Keller was the only case of Sade torturing women (and where he used his family's riches to buy his "liberty"), then it might not be the same discussion. If he had not written thousands of pages detailing torture of women (and children), that was hardly ironic, then it might be different as well.

But it's not. The importance of Rose Keller is that she was a non-prostitute victim. The prostitute victims are irrelevent because, according to what might be called "reliable scholarship" -- that's what whore's are for.

Interestingly enough, those who try to ignore the train of abuses Sade unleashed on women are those who defend sexual torture today as "consensual" without stopping to really wonder why it is that "power is sexy" in THIS culture. Women used to bind their own feet in China. Arab women embrace the veil. American women have their own ways of "consenting" to this system just as men do.

Sade is a hero to many because he spoke publically of what many do privately or fantasize about. The trick is getting into the construction of desire. In other words, just because it turns you on doesn't mean it's good for your or your partners. It doesn't make it wrong either -- but the trick about porn/prostitution is that they are CASH activities, not voluntary associations and as such should be recognized as inherently coercive.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 0
15 Feb 2005
Modified: 01:35:30 PM
I worked in the porn industry, briefly. Let me say that is more exploitative to women than you'd like to believe, with young actresses comprimising their safety and mental health to get more money and more camera time. It seems that the porn industry is filled with those who have been sexually assaulted or abused in some time in their life. Some are reclaiming their identities, but many are just reliving the degredation of the act in a way that is socially "acceptable" because the resources aren't there to give them help they want. Some women in porn are amazingly rich and successful. Most are taken advantage of and not given their share.

Get in touch with the reality of the pornography industry before supporting everything it represents.

Re: Unburning a Witch: Andrea Dworkin Reconsidered
Current rating: 0
15 Feb 2005
Modified: 02:23:40 PM
I watch porn and have for many years, basically since I came of sexual age as a teenager. I've watched what must be thousands of hours of it. It's not "sex-positive."

There was a serious outbreak of HIV in the porn industry last year which led it to shut down for a few weeks. One actor had come back from shooting in Brazil and infected others on his return because he hadn't gotten his monthly HIV test yet. The particular act which led to the infections is called an "anal cream pie." What's that? Well, in this case a pack of men anally gang-banged the actress and then made sure to deposit their semen directly on her distressed rectum basically mainlining HIV.

How does the industry respond? By fighting tooth and nail against the mandatory use of condoms, which are common in gay porn. One notable exception was the guy who used to review porn for the Voice who launched an unsuccessful campaign to ban "cream pies," and shortly thereafter got his column pulled...

One of my favorite performers, Avy Scott, can no longer get parts in major productions because she refuses to risk her life for a few hundred dollars. She is beautiful, raunchy and well-liked. But for the porn industry, the chance that sales will go down is worth blacklisting performers who won't tow the line.

Other semi-mandatory acts include anal sex and the ever-charming A2M. What's that you ask? It's when the dick is taken from the freshly wrecked ass of a female performer and then she is made to "clean it" with her mouth, often over and over again.

Aside from the obvious health risks involved in this, the whole point is that it is totally dehumanizing to the female. If that point missed you, then turn up the volume and listen to the dialogue. This is not a specialty act -- but has become totally normal.

Think about that after you finish reading some Suzie Bright mumbo-jumbo. That's the reality of the porn industry. That's what sells. That is the gist of what the pornographers aim for.

fiction is not transcript
Current rating: 0
18 Feb 2005
Modified: 02:09:22 PM
the thing about sade's writings which is important, is not that he wrote about things which people fantasize about or do, publicly, but rather that he wrote provocative, crazy, over the top, scenes, of imagination. provocative is the key word. writing isn't always about what is real, transposed to the page, or even 'fantasized about' by real people in the privacy of their homes, type of thing. sometimes it is about a weird imagination itself, that takes you on a ride that goes beyond what is imaginable otherwise, then what the writing act is doing. in other words, to measure his writing by some idea of it being a representation of things in people's heads (a humanist approach) misses the point of what the literature/writing is doing. How it is transgressing boundaries and in the experience of reading that, one engages in new ideas, experiences, possibilities. Nothing there has to be transposed for further use.

writing like celine or bernhard, or burroughs, or anne rice, lets say, or elizabeth bishop or wallace stevens, or.... is NOT about making public what goes on people's heads. It is not a transcript or a symbol of some kind of humanistic ideas of the-potential-of-all-humans, rather it is simply a story that ignites fears, desires, etc.

that is what is exciting about all kinds of art, whether it be hip hop or whatevah.

it is not a document of someone's interior space, made public (it is not autobiography, or the like). but rather a performance, which brings togethor all kinds of cultural things, forms and ideas into a sequence, that we, the reader follow along with. THis isn't to say that some of this isn't disturbing, i.e. Stephen King, or Poe, or any number of other writers who delve into horror and despair, or even cruelty and pain.

It doesn't mean you have to like it. But to think that writing of fiction, whether it be in music or otherwise is itself a simple repitition of the Order is missing how many acts of writing exist in a space of imagination, per se.

And alot of writing/entertainment/etc. DOES re-work the tried-and-true hegemonic order, no doubt.

Sometimes, actually more often then people sometimes think, a work of fiction has a whole bunch of different things going on in it. Rhetorics, symbols, etc. which are for and against the system, supporting and defending certain mores, etc. etc. and sometimes like Celine rallying against everything and anything under the sun...

but about porno. Clearly the sheer abundance of this industry, testifies to the degree to which it is re-working dominant fantasies of power and phallus.

Mass entertainment in capitalism often works like this.

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