April 11, 2005
Favorite Andrea Quotes
Please add your most memorable or loved quote from Andrea.
Posted by kathyw at April 11, 2005 05:48 PM
"There is a tyranny that determines who cannot say anything, a tyranny in which people are kept from being able to say the most important things about what life is like for them. That is the kind of tyranny I mean."
Life and Death
Posted by: Kathleen Gottsberger at April 11, 2005 07:11 PM
"I'd like to take what I know and just hand it over. But there is always a problem for a woman: being believed. How can I think I know something? How can I think that what I know might matter? Why would I think that anything I think might make a difference, to anyone, anywhere? My only chance to be believed is to find a way of writing bolder and stronger than woman hating itself - smarter, deeper, colder. This might mean that I would have to write a prose more terrifying than rape, more abject than torture, more insistent and destabilizing than battery, more desolate than prostitution, more invasive than incest, more filled with threat and aggression than pornography. How would the innocent bystander be able to distinguish it, tell it apart from the tales of the rapists themselves it if were so nightmarish and impolite? There are no innocent bystanders. It would have to stand up for women - stand against the rapist and the pimp - by changing women's silence to speech. It would have to say all the unsaid words during rape and after; while prostituting and after; all the words not said. It would have to change women's apparent submission - the consent read into the silence by the wicked and the complacent - into articulate resistance. I myself would have to give up my own cloying sentimentality toward men. I'd have to be militant; sober and austere. I would have to commit treason; against the men who rule. I would have to betray the noble, apparently humanistic premises of civilization and civilized writing by conceptualizing each book as if it were a formidable weapon in a war. I would have to think strategically, with a militarist's heart; as if my books were complex explosives, mine fields set down in the culture to blow open the status quo."
Posted by: Krista Benson at April 11, 2005 08:55 PM
Hurting women is bad. Feminists are against it, not for it.
I have never been able to source this quote to a published work, but in private correspondence Andrea allowed as how she was pretty sure she had said/written it -- possibly as part of a public address. Hard to put it much more clearly than that or in fewer words.
Posted by: DeAnander at April 11, 2005 09:45 PM
"Men use women's bodies in prostitution and in gang rape to communicate with each other, to express what they have in common. And what they have in common is that they are not her."
Posted by: Colky at April 11, 2005 10:12 PM
"I want to see this men's movement make a commitment to ending rape because that is the
only meaningful commitment to equality. It is astonishing that in all our worlds of
feminism and antisexism we never talk seriously about ending rape. Ending it. Stopping
it. No more. No more rape. In the back of our minds, are we holding on to its
inevitability as the last preserve of the biological? Do we think that it is always
going to exist no matter what we do? All of our political actions are lies if we don't
make a commitment to ending the practice of rape. This commitment has to be political.
It has to be serious. It has to be systematic. It has to be public. It can't be self-
indulgent." -- I Want a Twenty-Four Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape (1983)
Posted by: Rad Geek at April 11, 2005 10:42 PM
"Why are we still making deals with men one by one, instead of collectively demanding what we need?"
"I want you to remember the ones who have been hurt for the entertainment, the so called speech of others."
Posted by: Leslie Thaw at April 11, 2005 11:07 PM
"Why are we still making deals with men one by one, instead of collectively demanding what we need?"
"I want you to remember the ones who have been hurt for the entertainment, the so called speech of others."
Posted by: Leslie Thaw at April 11, 2005 11:10 PM
"It began quite possibly with Nancy Drew." From 'the simple story of a lesbian girlhood' in The New Womans Broken Heart (1980)
Posted by: Susan Hester at April 12, 2005 02:20 AM
"By the time we are women, fear is as familiar to us as air. It is our element. We live in it, we inhale it, we exhale it and most of the time we do not even notice it. Instead of "I am afraid," we say, "I don't want to," or "I don't know how," or I can't."
Posted by: Janice at April 12, 2005 02:21 AM
"We all expected the world to be different than it is, didn't we? No matter what material or emotional deprivation we have experienced as children or as adults, no matter what we understood from history or from the testimonies of living persons about how people suffer & why, we all believed, however privately, in human possibility. Some of us believed in art, or literature, or music, or religion, or revolution, or in children, or in the redeeming potential of eroticism or affection. No matter
what we knew of cruelty, we all believed in kindness; no matter what we knew of hatred, we all believed in friendship or love."
Pornography & Grief
(from "Take Back the Night" 1980)
Posted by: Mary at April 12, 2005 05:11 AM
I want to say that she had an influence on popular culture where it might not be expected. Her writings were an influence on Richey Edwards of the Welsh punk/rock/pop band Manic Street Preachers, who read Andrea Dworkin, in writing lyrics and selecting cover images for one of my favourite ever musical albums- The Holy Bible. So I think there should be at least one Manics fan on here posting their thanks, and I'm sure I do so on behalf of many. I didn't always agree with her and am uncertain of some things she said, sometimes I very much disagreed, but she was extremely brave and took a load of crap for it and refused to varnish grim reality or frankly just give in, the way that many media-popular conservative-pandering sell outs, (hell-o Naomi Woolf et al.) who can be described as lolly water feminists, do constantly. And for that I salute her. The following quotes are not by Andrea but remind me of her life and the public service she did humanity;
"I am purity- they call me perverted" ('Faster' MSP, The Holy Bible).
"I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit and force it to look in the mirror" ('Archives of Pain')
Posted by: Rae at April 12, 2005 05:27 AM
"Radical Feminist are always nice. Provoked to the point of madnes, but remaining, at heart, nice." --Andrea Dworkin
Posted by: RijilV at April 12, 2005 10:36 AM
From Right-Wing Women:
"Some will grant that women might have a particular kind of intelligence--essentially small, picky, good with details, bad with ideas. Some will grant--in fact insist--that women know more of 'the Good,' that women are more cognizant of decency or kindness: this keeps intelligence small and tamed. Some will grant that there have been women of genius: after the woman of genius is dead. The greatest writers in the English language have been women: George Eliot, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf. They were sublime; and they were, all of them, shadows of what they might have been. But the fact that they existed does not change the categorical perception that women are basically stupid: not capable of intelligence without the exercise of which the world as a whole is impoverished. Women are stupid and men are smart; men have a right to the world and women do not. A lost man is a lost intelligence; a lost woman is a lost (name the function) mother, housekeeper, sexual thing. Classes of men have been lost, have been thrown away; there have always been mourners and fighters who refused to accept the loss. There is no mourning for the lost intelligence of women because there is no conviction that such intelligence was real and was destroyed. Intelligence is, in fact, seen as a function of masculinity, and women are despised when they refuse to be lost."
Posted by: Lisa Lewis at April 12, 2005 12:02 PM
"I'm a radical feminist, not the fun kind."
"It seems to me that the great misunderstanding is that those of us in the anti-pornography movement have said we are pure, we have nothing to do with that stuff. We have never said that. None of us has ever said that. We've all said that we are fighting pornography because we know what it is. We are fighting for sexual equality because we've experienced inequality. We live in this world. We don't live twelve feet above it. None of us that I have ever heard or seen in my life have made claims of purity, let alone avowals of puritanism. These mischaracterisations have been really just propaganda tools. I see myself as living in this world. I know what sadomasochism is. I know what all those feelings are. I know what all the practices are. I don't think that I am different or better or above it. What I think is that it has to change and that we do not celebrate our powerlessness and call it freedom."
--From "Dworkin on Dworkin," an interview with Andrea Dworkin originally published in Off Our Backs, reprinted in Radically Speaking: Feminism Reclaimed Ed. by Renate Klein and Diane Bell.
Posted by: Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff at April 12, 2005 01:48 PM
"Feminism exists so that no woman ever has to face her oppressor in a vacuum, alone. It exists to breakdown the privacy in which men rape, beat, and kill women. What I am saying is that every one of us has the responsibility to be the woman March Lepine wanted to murder. We need to live with that honor, that courage. We need to put fear aside. We need to endure. We need to create. We need to resist, and we need to stop dedicating the other 364 days of the year to forgetting everything we know. We need to remember every day, not only on December 6. We need to consecrate our lives to what we know and to our resistance to the male power used against us."
From _Life and Death_ regarding the mass murder in Montreal where 14 female students were murdered by anti-feminist Marc Lepine on Dec. 6, 1989.
Posted by: Ann Simonton at April 12, 2005 01:49 PM
Yesterday I reread the beginning of my favorite Dworkin book, Life and Death, and I found a few moments of camaraderie and solace in a world where I increasingly feel alienated or crazed for believing more feminists should be doing more about the prostitution of female sexuality and it's main product, pornography.
"The experiences I have chosen to write about are not polite- they include being raped, battered, and prostituted -and I have not been polite about them; although I hope that in my retelling I have honored intellect, veracity, and language."
"When I emerged as a writer with Woman Hating, it was not to wallow in pain, or in depravity, or in the male romance with prostitution; it was to demand change. I wanted to change the power structure in the social world that had made degradation a destiny for many of us, or lots of us, or maybe even all of us- for women."
"In a system valuing men over women, girls with piss and vinegar carried a heavier burden than girls brimming over with sugar and spice; the stronger were punished more, and still are."
Posted by: smberg at April 12, 2005 02:12 PM
"A world where all are equal ceases to be a place worth inhabiting. I am not for equality. Men and women are different and attempts to make men more womanly or women more manly are not just doomed, they are insulting to humanity. Freedom is what I want, the dawn of a day when each of us can be who we are rather than conform to this or that standard of what is politically correct. That place must come from within us, rather than without."
---A. Dworkin 1999
Posted by: Undergraduate at April 12, 2005 02:37 PM
It's all so good, so true, so real, so right; but mostly I just heard her scream - and so the screams of all her sisters, who she loved - loud and clear; enough to wake me up. And then she touched me, in my sweetest spot. Never been the sam since.
"...we shall look upon her whom we have pierced, and mourn..."
Posted by: Ricky at April 12, 2005 03:47 PM
For those of us who go way back with you to the early days of mid-20th century feminism, to the Meg Christian, Cassie Culver, Willie Tyson, Cris Williamson, Nikki Giovanni, Adrienne Rich, Lili Vincenz, Barbara Gittings, Carol Ann Douglas, Gloria (there is only one), Charlotte Bunch, Charlotte Sheedy, Rita Mae hey-days, we thank you for your words. All of them. The piercing as well as the tender, the wry and the drop-dead write-on. Thank you, Andrea.
Posted by: Adrienne Parks at April 12, 2005 03:48 PM
"Pornography is used in rape -- to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act,"
U.S. Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in 1986
Posted by: Philippa Willitts at April 12, 2005 05:45 PM
From Dworkin's most recent speech given at the University of Toronto:
I'm going to ask you to remember the prostituted, the homeless, the battered, the raped, the tortured, the murdered, the raped-then-murdered, the murdered-then-raped; and I am going to ask you to remember the photographed, the ones that any or all of the above happened to and it was photographed and now the photographs are for sale in our free countries. I want you to think about those who have been hurt for the fun, the entertainment, the so-called speech of others; those who have been hurt for profit, for the financial benefit of pimps and entrepreneurs. I want you to remember the perpetrator and I am going to ask you to remember the victims: not just tonight but tomorrow and the next day. I want you to find a way to include them - the perpetrators and the victims - in what you do, how you think, how you act, what you care about, what your life means to you.
Now, I know, in this room, some of you are the women I have been talking about. I know that. People around you may not. I am going to ask you to use every single thing you can remember about what was done to you - how it was done, where, by whom, when, and, if you know - why - to begin to tear male dominance to pieces, to pull it apart, to vandalize it, to destabilize it, to mess it up, to get in its way, to fuck it up. I have to ask you to resist, not to comply, to destroy the power men have over women, to refuse to accept it, to abhor it and to do whatever is necessary despite its cost to you to change it.
Posted by: Tuesday Lush at April 12, 2005 07:28 PM
From First Love
"I wanted instead to write books that were fire and ice, wind sweeping the earth. I wanted to write books that, once experienced, could not be forgotten, books that would be cherished as we cherish the most exquisite light we have ever seen. I had contempt for anything less than this perfect book that I could imagine. This book that lived in my imagination was small and perfect and I wanted it to live in person after person, forever. Even in the darkest of human times, it would live. Even in the life of one person who would sustain it and be sustained by it, it would live. I wanted to write a book that would be read even by one person, but always. For the rest of human time some one person would always know that book, and think it beautiful and fine and true, and then it would be like any tree that grows, or any grain of sand. It would be, and once it was it would never not be."
Posted by: Robin Carstensen at April 12, 2005 11:28 PM
I am truly shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Andrea Dworkin. I have been greatly inspired and profoundly moved by her ideals and tireless efforts to make the world a better place for women. I am always angered and frustrated by those who misinterpret or misunderstand what she has always professed: women deserve to live in a world in which we can feel safe and free, a world where we are not despised.
She was a truly remarkable individual and she will be missed.
Posted by: Anne Hager at April 13, 2005 12:44 AM
It is so hard to choose. But here are a few . . .
"Now, one of the things that has happened to us is that a whole bunch of people have said not that we are victims but that we *feel* victimized. We feel it. It's a state of mind. It's an emotional overreaction. We feel it. It's not that something happened to us; instead, we have a state of mind that's bad. And feminists are responsible for this state of mind, because we make women feel victimized . . . . If you take a bunch of people and you find out that one is being beaten every eighteen seconds, that one is being raped every three minutes, that ten billion dollars a year now is being spent on watching them being raped for fun, watching them being exploited and objectified and violated for fun, and you don't feel a little bit put upon, I mean a little bit frazzled around the edges by that, it seems to me that one would not only be a victim but half dead, totally numb, and a true fool." (from "Woman-Hating Right and Left," a speech in *The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism)
"One other discipline is essential both to the practice of feminism and to its theoretical integrity: the firm, unsentimental, continuous recognition that women are a class having a common condition. This is not some psychological process of identification with women because women are wonderful; nor is it the insupportable assertion that there are no substantive, treacherous differences among women. This is not a liberal mandate to ignore what is cruel, despicable, or stupid in women, nor is it a mandate to ignore dangerous political ideas or allegiances of women. This does not mean women first, women best, women only. It does mean that the fate of every individual woman--no matter what her politics, character, values, qualities--is tied to the fate of all women whether she likes it or not." (from "Antifeminism," the final chapter of *Right Wing Women* -- "Antifeminism" being, to my mind, still the single most lucid, coherent, and passionate explication and defense of radical feminism in print.)
"Imagine-- in present time--a woman saying, and meaning, that a man who expected to succeed in whipping, must also succeed in killing her. Suppose there were a politics of liberation premised on that assertion--an assertion not of ideology but of deep and stubborn outrage at being misused, a resolute assertion, a serious assertion by serious women. What are serious women; are there any; isn't seriousness about freedom by women for women grotesquely comic; we don't want to be laughed at, do we? What would this politics of liberation be like? Where would we find it? What would we have to do? Would we have to do something other than dress for success? Would we have to stop the people who are hurting us from hurting us? Not debate them; stop them. Would we have to stop slavery? Not discuss it; stop it. Would we have to stop pretending that our rights are protected in this society? Would we have to be so grandiose, so arrogant, so unfeminine, as to believe that the streets we walk on, the homes we live in, the beds we sleep in, are ours--belong to us--really belong to us: we decide what is right and what is wrong and if something hurts us, it stops. It is, of course, gauche to be too sincere about these things, and it is downright ridiculous to be serious. Intelligent people are well mannered and moderate, even in pursuing freedom. Smart women whisper and say please. " (from the introduction to the second edition of *Pornography* -- also reprinted as "Beaver Talks" in *Life and Death*)
Posted by: Rebecca Whisnant at April 13, 2005 01:37 PM
Feminists do fight for free speech when it is a real fight for real freedom of real speech.
Words matter because words significantly determine what we know and what we do. Women, deprived of words, are deprived of life.
No writer can explain how she does what she does so that another can replicate the process and come up with the same results; at the same time, only through reading brave and original writers can one learn how to write.
One of the awful consequences of free speech/First Amendment Fundamentalism is that political people, including feminists, have entirely forgotten that access to media is not a democratically distributed right, butsomething gotten by birth or money.
--All passages from Letters From a War Zone
The struggle for freedom has be a struggle toward integrity defined in every possible sphere of reality--sexual integrity, economic integrity, psychological integrity, integrity of expression, integrity of faith and loyalty and heart.
Posted by: Yvonne R at April 14, 2005 01:45 AM
"Men renounce whatever they have in common with women so as to experience no commonality with women; and what is left, according to men, is one piece of flesh a few inches long, the penis. The penis is sensate; the penis is the man; the man is human; the penis signifies humanity." (Pornography: Men Possessing Women)
Posted by: Earlene Evans at April 14, 2005 02:50 PM
It is commonly and wrongly said that male transvestites, through the use of costuming and makeup, caricature the women they would become, when in actuality these men have penetrated to the core experience of being a woman: a romanticized construct.
Posted by: Nish at April 14, 2005 02:56 PM
Kathy Robertson's Favorite Andrea Dworkin Quote (as posted on the webpage supporter's site):
"And on that day, the day of truce, that day when not one woman is raped, we will begin the real practice of equality, because we can't begin it before that day. Before that day it means nothing, because it is nothing; It is not real; It is not true." --Andrea Dworkin
Posted by: kathy robertson, "halfpint" at April 15, 2005 06:00 PM
"Every woman who has had experience with sexual violence of any kind has not just pain, and not just hurt, but has knowledge. Knowledge of male supremacy. Knowledge of what it is. Knowledge of what it feels like. And can begin to think strategically about how to stop it. We are living under a reign of terror. Now what I want to say is that I want us to stop accepting that that's normal. And the only way that we can stop accepting that that's normal is if we refuse to have amnesia everyday of our lives." --Andrea Dworkin
From "Terror, Torture, and Resistance", keynote speech at Canadian Mental Health Association, Fall 1991
Posted by: Melissa Farley at April 16, 2005 12:47 AM
"Feminist art... will take the great human themes – love, death, heroism, suffering, history itself – and render them fully human." Andrea Dworkin
Posted by: Melinda Masi at April 16, 2005 02:42 AM
There’s this Lovelace creature, …
…and she’s timid, shy, eager, laughing, grateful: laughing and grateful; and moaning; you know, the porn moan; nothing resembling human life; these stupid fake noises, clown stuff, a sex circus of sex clowns; he’s a freak, a sinister freak; a monstrous asshole if not for how he subjugates her, the smiling ninny down on her knees and after saying thank you, as girls were born for, so they say. There’s this Lovelace girl on the marquee; and even the junkies are laughing, they think it’s so swell; and I think who is she, where’s she from, who hurt her, who hurt her to put her here; because there’s a camera; because in all my life there never was a camera and if there’s a camera there’s a plan; and if it’s here it’s for money, like she’s some animal trained to do tricks; when I see black men picking cotton on plantations I get that somewhere there’s pain for them, I don’t have to see it, no one has to show it to me for me to know it’s there; and when I see a woman under glass, I know the same, a sex animal trained for sex tricks; and the camera’s ready; maybe Masta’s not in the frame. Picking cotton’s good; you get strong; black and strong; getting fucked in the throat’s good; you get fucked and female; a double-female girl, with two vaginas, one on top. Maybe her name’s Linda; hey, Linda. Cheri Tart ain’t Cheri but maybe Linda’s Linda; how come all these assholes buy it, as if they ain’t looking at Lassie or Rin Tin Tin; it’s just, pardon me, they’re dogs and she’s someone real; they’re Hollywood stars too - she’s Time Square trash; there’s one of them and there’s so many thousands of her you couldn’t tell them apart even when they’re in separate coffins. There’s these girls here, all behind glass; as if they’re insects you put under glass; you put morphine to them to knock them out and you mount them; these weird crawling things, under glass, on display; Times Square’s a zoo, they got women like specimens under glass; block by city block; cages assembled on cement; under a darkening sky, the blood’s on it; wind sweeping the garbage and it’s swirling like dust in a storm; and on display, lit by neon, they have these creatures, so obscene they barely look human at all, you never saw a person that looked like them, including anyone beaten down, including street trash, including anyone raped however many times; because they’re all painted up and polished as if you had an apple with maggots and worms and someone dipped it in lacquer and said here it is, beautiful, for you, to eat; it’s as if their mouths were all swelled up and as if they was purple between their legs and as if their breasts were hot-air balloons, not flesh and blood, with skin, with feeling to the touch, instead it’s a joke, some swollen joke, a pasted-on gag, what’s so dirty to men about breasts so they put tassles on them and have them swirl around in circles and call them the ugliest names; as if they ain’t attached to human beings; as if they’re party tricks or practical jokes or the equivalent of farts, big, vulgar farts; they make them always deformed; as if there’s real people; citizens; men; with flat chests, they look down, they see their shoes, a standard for what a human being is; and there’s these blow-up dolls you can do things to, they have funny humps on their chests, did you ever see them swirl, the woman stands there like a dead puppet, painted, and the balloon things spin. In my heart I think these awful painted things are women; like I am still in my heart; of human kind; but the men make them like they’re two-legged jackasses, astonishing freaks with iron poles up the middle of them and someone smeared them with paint, some psychotic in the loony bin doing art class, and they got glass eyes with someone’s fingerprints smeared on them; and they’re all swollen up and hurt, as if they been pushed and fucked, hit, or stood somewhere in a ring, a circus ring or a boxing ring, and men just threw things at them, balls and bats and stones, anything hard that would cause pain and leave marks, or break bones; they’re swollen up in some places, the bellies of starving children but moved up to the breasts and down to the buttocks, all hunger, water, air, distended; and then there’s the thin parts,, all starved, the bones show, the ribs sometimes, iridescent skeletons, or the face is caved in under the paint, the skin collapses because there is no food, only pills, syringes, Demerol, cocaine, Percodan, heroin, morphine, there’s hollow cheeks sunk in hollow faces and the waist’s hollow, shrinking down, tiny bones, chicken bones, dried up wish bones; and they’re behind glass, displayed, exhibits, sex-women you do it to, they’re all twisted and turned, deformed, pulled and pushed in all the wrong directions, with the front facing the back and the back facing the front so you can see all her sex parts at once, her breasts and her ass and her vagina, the lips of her vagina, purple somehow; purple. The neck’s elongated so you know they can take it there too. They’re like mules; they carry a pile of men on top of them. They’re like these used-up race horses, you give them lots of shots to make them run and if you look at the hide there’s bound to be whip marks. There’s not one human gesture; not one. There’s not one woman in the world likes to be hung or shit on or have her breasts tied up so the rope cuts in and the flesh bulges out, the rope’s tearing into her, it sinks, burning, into the fleshy parts, under the rope it’s all cut up and burned deep, and the tissue’s dying, being broke apart, thinned out and ripped by pressure and pain. If I saw pictures like that of a black man I would cry out for his freedom; I can’t see how it’s confusing if you ain’t K.K.K. in which case it still ain’t confusing; I’d know it was a lie on him; I’d stand on that street corner forever screaming until my fucking throat bled to death from it; he’s not chattel, nor a slave, nor some crawling thing you put under glass, not subhuman, nor alien; I would spit on them that put him there; and them that masturbated to it I would pillory with stones until I was dragged away and locked up or they was dead. If they was lynching him I would feel the pain; a human; they are destroying someone. And if they put a knife in him, which I can see them doing, it ain’t beyond them by no means, they wouldn’t show him coming from it; and if they urinated on him he wouldn’t be smiling. I seen black men debased in this city, I seen them covered in blood and filth, in urine and shit, and I never saw one say cheese for a camera or smiling like it was fun; I didn’t see no one taking sex pictures either; I myself do not go through garbage or live on cement to have an orgasm; be your pet; or live on a leash; I ain’t painted red or purple; I seen myself; how I was after; on the bed; hurt; I seen it in my brain; and I wasn’t no prize in human rights or no exemplar of human dignity I would say; as much as I tried in my like, I did not succeed. But wasn’t nobody put me under glass and polished me all up as if I was a specimen of some fucked thing, some swollen, painted sex mule. This Linda girl, with the throat, who tormented her? In the end, it’s always simple. I paid the dollars to go; to the film; to see it; if it was true; what they did to her throat; I figured the boy who did it to me must of got it from there; because, frankly, I know the world A to Z; and no one banged a woman’s throat before these current dark days. …
Mercy by Andrea Dworkin, 1991, pp. 296-300
Posted by: Linnea Smith at April 16, 2005 11:37 PM
"Third, power is the capacity to terrorize, to use self and strength to inculcate fear, fear in a whole class of persons of a whole class of persons. The acts of terror run the gamut from rape to battery to sexual abuse of children to war to murder to maiming to torture to enslaving to kidnapping to verbal assault to cultural assault to threats of death to threats of harm backed up by the ability and sanction to deliver. The symbols of terror are commonplace and utterly familiar: the gun, the knife, the bomb, the fist, and so on. Even more significant is the hidden symbol of terror, the penis. The acts and symbols meet up in all combinations, so that terror is the outstanding theme and consequence of male history and male culture, though it is smothered in euphemism, called glory or heroism. Even when it is villainous, it is huge and awesome. Terror issues forth from the male, illuminates his essential nature and his basic purpose. He chooses how much to terrorize, whether terror will be a dalliance or an obsession, whether he will use it brutally or subtly. But first, there is the legend of terror, and this legend is cultivated by men with sublime attention. In epics, dramas, tragedies, great books, slight books, television, films, history both documented and invented, men are giants who soak the earth in blood." --Pornography: Men Possessing Women pp 15-16
"We dream, some of us, of being able to be good in a better world."
--Guardian article 1/11/04
Posted by: rdsc at April 17, 2005 09:32 AM
"People play life as if it's a game, whereas each step is a real step. The shock of being unable to control what happens, especially the tragedies, overwhelms one. Someone dies; someone leaves; someone lies. There is sickness, misery, loneliness, betrayal. One is alone not just at the end but all the time. One tries to camouflage pain and failure. One wants to believe that poverty can be cured by wealth, cruelty by kindness; but neither is true. The orphan is always an orphan.
The worst immorality is in apathy, a deadening of caring about others, not because they have some special claim but because they have no claim at all.
The worst immorality is in disinterest, indifference, so that the lone person in pain has no importance; one need not feel an urgency about rescuing the suffering person.
The worst immorality is in dressing up to go out in order not to have to think about those who are hungry, without shelter, without protection.
The worst immorality is in living a trivial life because one is afraid to face any other kind of life--a despairing life or an anguished life or a twisted and difficult life.
The worst immorality is in living a mediocre life, because kindness rises above mediocrity always, and not to be kind locks one into an ethos of boredom and stupidity.
The worst immorality is in imitating those who give nothing.
The worst immorality is in conforming so that one fits in, smart or fashionable, mock-heroic or the very best of the very same.
The worst immorality is in accepting the status quo because one is afraid of gossip against oneself.
The worst immorality is in selling out simply because one is afraid.
The worst immorality is a studied ignorance, a purposeful refusal to see or know.
The worst immorality is living without ambition or work or pushing the rest of us along.
The worst immorality is being timid when there is no threat.
The worst immorality is refusing to push oneself where one is afraid to go.
The worst immorality is not to love actively.
The worst immorality is to close down because heartbreak has worn one down.
The worst immorality is to live according to rituals, rites of passage that are predetermined and impersonal.
The worst immorality is to deny someone else dignity.
The worst immorality is to give in, give up.
The worst immorality is to follow a road map of hate drawn by white supremacists and male supremacists.
The worst immorality is to use another person's body in the passing of time.
The worst immorality is to inflict pain.
The worst immorality is to be careless with another person's heart and soul.
The worst immorality is to be stupid, because it's easy.
The worst immorality is to repudiate one's own uniqueness in order to fit in.
The worst immorality is to set one's goals so low that one must crawl to meet them.
The worst immorality is to hurt children.
The worst immorality is to use one's strength to dominate or control.
The worst immorality is to surrender the essence of oneself for love or money.
The worst immorality is to believe in nothing, do nothing, achieve nothing.
The worst immoralities are but one, a single sin of human nothingness and stupidity.
"Do no harm" is the counterpoint to apathy, indifference and passive aggression; it is the fundamental moral imperative. "Do no harm" is the opposite of immoral. One must do something and at the same time do no harm. "Do no harm" remains the hardest ethic."
--Andrea Dworkin, "Heartbreak".
Posted by: Zoe at April 17, 2005 01:33 PM
morning broke. I mean, fell right on its goddam ass and broke. no walking barefoot if you care about yr feet, kid.
I waited and waited. no call came. I cant say, THE call didnt come because it wasnt a question of one really. it was a question of any one. it was a question of one goddam person calling to say I like this or that or I want to buy this or that or you moved my heart, my spirit, or I like yr ass. to clarify, not a man calling to say I like yr ass but one of those shining new women, luminuos, tough, lighting right up from inside. one of them. or some of the wrecked old women I know, too late not to be wrecked, too many children torn right out of them, but still, I like the wrinkles, I like the toughness of heart, one of them. not one of those new new new girl children playing soccer on the boys team for the first time, young is dumb, at least it was when I was young. I have no patience with the untorn, anyone who hasnt weathered rough weather, fallen apart, been ripped to pieces, put herself back together, big stitches, jagged cuts, nothing nice. then something shines out. but these ones all shined up on the outside, the ass wigglers. I'll be honest, I dont like them. not at all. the smilers. the soft voices, eyes on the ground or scanning outer space. its not that I wouldnt give my life for them, I just dont want them to call me on the telephone...
...and I have $11.14 in the bank. bleak, Arctic in fact, but not bitter. because I do still notice some things I particularly like. the sun, for instance, or the sky even when the sun isnt in it. I mean, I like it. I like trees. I like them all year long, no matter what. I like cold air. Im not one of those complainers about winter which should be noted since so many people who pretend to love life hate winter. I like the color red a lot and purple drives me crazy with pleasure. I churn inside with excitement and delight every time a dog or cat smiles at me. when I see a graveyard and the moon is full and everything is covered with snow I wonder about vampires. you cant say I dont like life.
people ask, well, dont sweet things happen? yes, indeed. many sweet things. but sweet doesnt keep you from dying. making love doesnt keep you from dying unless you get paid. writing doesnt keep you from dying unless you get paid. being wise doesnt keep you from dying unless you get paid. facts are facts. being poor makes you face facts which also does not keep you from dying.
people ask, well, why dont you tell a story the right way...
...the truth is she would rather be dead if only the dying wasnt so fucking slow and awful and she didnt love life goddam it so much. the truth is once you stop you stop. its not something you can go back to once its broken you in half and you know what it means. I mean, as long as youre alive and you know what trading in ass means and you stop, thats it. its not negotiable. and the woman for whom it is not negotiable is anathema.
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
so now Im waiting and thinking. Anne Frank and Sylvia Plath leap to mind. they both knew Nazis when they saw them, at some point. there were a lot of ass wigglers in the general population around them wiggling ass while the ovens filled and emptied. wiggling ass while heroes goosestepped or wrote poetry. wiggling ass while women, those old fashioned women who did nothing but hope or despair, died. this new woman is dying too, of poverty and a broken heart. the heart broken like fine china in an earthquake, the earth rocking and shaking under the impact of all that goddam ass wiggling going off like a million time bombs. an army of whores cannot fail--to die one by one so that no one has to notice. meanwhile one sad old whore who stopped liking it has a heart first cracked then broken by the ladies who wiggle while they work.
Andrea Dworkin--The New Womans Broken Heart, chapter 5 (same title [for E. and L.])
Posted by: Annie McCombs at April 18, 2005 03:34 AM
Neither weep nor laugh but understand - Spinoza
"There was a stone fence, only about two feet high, uneven, rough, broken, and behind it the mountains: a hill declining, rolling down, and beyond the valley where it met the road the mountains rose up, not hills but high mountain peaks, in winter covered in snow from top to bottom, in fall and spring the peaks white and blindingly bright and the rest underneath the pearly caps browns and greens and sometimes dark, fervent purples where the soil mixed with varying shades of light coming down from the sky. The building near the stone wall, facing out in back over the descending hill to the road and then the grandeur of the mountains, was white and wood, old, fragile against this bold scenery, slight against it. When it snowed the frail building could have been part of a drawing, a mediocre, sentimental New England house in a New England snow, a white on white cliche, except exquisite: delicate, exquisite, so finely drawn under its appearance of being a cheap scene of the already observed, the cliched, the worn-down-into-the-ground snow scene. In the fall, the trees were lush with yellow and crimson and purple saturated the distant soil. Green got duller, then turned a burnt brown. The sky was huge, not sheltering, but right down on the ground with you so you walked in it: your feet had to reach down to touch earth. Wind married the sky and tormented it: but the earth stayed below solid and never swirled around in the fight. There was no dust. The earth was solid down in the ground, always. There was no hint of impermanence, sand. This was New England, where the ground did not bend or break or compromise: it rested there, solid and placid and insensitive to the forms its own magnificence took as it rose up in the mountains of ominous heights. These were not mountains that crumbled or fell down in manic disorder. These were not mountains that slid or split apart or foamed over. These were mountains where the sky reached down to touch them in their solid splendor with their great trees and broken branches and dwarfed stones, and they stayed put because the earth was solid, just purely itself, not mixed with sky or air or water, not harboring fire or ash , no ice sliding down to kill anything in its path: no snow tumbling to destroy: just dirt, solid ground, made so that humans could comprehend it, not die in awe of it, while snow packed itself down on top or rain pelted or punched or sun burnt itself out or wind flashed through the sky, torturing it. These were mountains meant to last forever in a community of human sight and sound: not mountains meant to swallow cities and towns forever: and so one was surrounded by a beauty not suffused with fear, splendid but not inducing awe of the divine or terror of the wild, intemperate menace of weather and wind gone amuck. These were mountains that made humans part of their beauty: solid, like earth, like soil. One felt immeasurably human, solid, safe: part of the ground, not some shade on it through which the wind passes. The mountains could be one's personal legacy, what the earth itself gave one to be part of: one simply had to love them: nothing had to be done to deserve them or survive them: one could be innocent of nature and not offend them."
Ice and Fire -- pp 31-32
Posted by: rdsc at April 18, 2005 05:30 PM
This is by far my fave quote. I have written "Thank you Andrea, thank you! *heart*" in the upper margins of the page.
"Anti-feminism is resistance to the liberation of women from the sex-class system, that resistance repressed in constructing political defenses of the constituent parts of sex-oppression."
"[Anti-feminism] is easy, popular, and always fashionable in one form or another.
Anti-feminism is also operating whenever any political group is ready to sacrifice one group of women, one faction, some women, some kinds of women, to any element of sex-class oppression: to pornography, to rape, to battery, to economic exploitation, to reproductive exploitation, to prostitution. There are women all along the male-defined political spectrum, including both extreme ends of it, ready to sacrifice some women, usually not themselves, to the brothels or the farms. The sacrifice is profoundly anti-feminist; it is also profoundly immoral...
Whenever some women are doctrinally delivered to sex-exploitation, the political stance is corrupt(...)
Women intent to save themselves when sacrificing some women, but only the freedom of all women protects any woman."
Andrea Dworkin, Right Wing Women, Anti-feminism, p. 230-231.
Posted by: Maria Technosux at April 19, 2005 08:31 AM
"The sex of domination leads to death: it is the killing of body and will -conquest, possession, annihilation; sex, violence, death - that is pure sex; and it is the slow annihilation of the body that is eros, her violation is sex, whether it ends in her aesthetic disappeatance into oblivion or her body bludgeoned in a newspaper photograph or the living lust used and discarded as sexual garbage".
Posted by: Brenda Mokoena at April 20, 2005 09:36 AM
"Everything that didn't happen to you--I apply this to myself as part of the way that I survive--everything that didn't happen to you is a little slack in your leash. You weren't raped when you were three, or you weren't raped when you were 10. Or you weren't battered, or you weren't in prostitution, whatever it is that you managed to miss is the measure of your freedom. And what you owe to other women."
From: Andrea Dworkin, "Terror, Torture, and Resistance" in Canadian Woman Studies Vol. 12, No. 1(Fall, 1991): 37-42, p. 41.
Posted by: Leslie Thielen-Wilson at April 21, 2005 12:21 PM
"A commitment to sexual equality with males is a commitment to becoming the rich instead of the poor, the rapist instead of the raped, the murderer instead of the murdered."
"Renouncing Sexual Equality" in Our Blood, page 12
Posted by: Nina at April 29, 2005 12:56 PM
And so it has been a very
brilliant part of the pornographers' propaganda campaign to protect pornography
by characterizing the industry as an industry of fantasy. In fact when you have
that Asian woman hanging from a tree, you have a real Asian woman and she is really
hanging from a real tree. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with fantasy. It
has to do with a human being actually having happen to them what we see has happened
to them. And I think it is just the most extraordinary insult to the human conscience
to continue to characterize these real acts to real people as if they only exist
in the head of the male consumer. And what that means is: his head, his psychology,
is more important than her life.
Posted by: Dee at May 1, 2005 07:09 PM
despite her many critics who continued to ridicule her lifestyle and paraphrase her ideas so much so they were no longer her own, Andrea remained grounded and in awe of life and living...her quote which moves me is...'the universe is a tapestry of the most awesome magnificence'
My admiration and gratitude to a woman so self assured she did not feel the need to conform in order to reinforce and make her theories 'acceptable'. Patriarchy feared her...and rightly so! She was a legend who will be remembered with great affection.
Posted by: marian donnachie at May 16, 2005 09:45 AM
Intercourse, p. 8: “…Now, this repulsion is literal and linear: directed especially against her genitals, also her breasts, also her mouth…It is a goose-stepping hatred of cunt. The woman has no human dimension, no human meaning…Photograph what she is, painted pink; the camera delivers her up as a dead thing; the picture is of a corpse, embalmed. The contemporary novelist does it with words: paints the thing, fucks it, kills it.”
Intercourse, p. 18: “But the killing, according to the killer/husband, was not one gross act of physical and violent rage. Instead, the killing was slow, over the long years of their marriage, a consequence of the sex he wanted from her…All this sexual use of her was the killing.” [citing L. Tolstoy, Kreutzer Sonata, pp. 382, 396]
Intercourse, p. 122: “Violation is a synonym for intercourse. At the same time, the penetration is taken to be a use, not an abuse; a normal use…” p. 125: “…With intercourse, the use is already imbued with the excitement, the derangement, of the abuse; and abuse is only recognized as such socially if the intercourse is performed so recklessly or so violently or so stupidly that the man himself has actually signed a confession through the manner in which he has committed the act…”
Intercourse, p. 143: “Whatever intercourse is, it is not freedom; and if it cannot exist without objectification, it never will be…”
Letters from a War Zone, p.269: “The pornographers actually use our bodies as their language. We are their speech. Our bodies are the building blocks of their sentences. What they do to us, called speech, is not unlike what Kafka’s Harrow machine--‘The needles are set in like the teeth of a harrow and the whole thing works something like a harrow, although its action is limited to one place and contrived with much more artistic skill’ [p. 194]--did to the condemned in ‘In the Penal Colony’:
‘Our sentence does not sound severe. Whatever commandment the prisoner has disobeyed is written upon his body by the Harrow. This prisoner, for instance’--the officer indicated the man--‘will have written on his body: HONOR THY SUPERIORS!’ [p. 197]
‘…The Harrow is beginning to write; when it finishes the first draft of the inscription on the man’s back, the layer of cotton wool begins to roll and slowly turns the body over, to give the Harrow fresh space for writing….So it keeps on writing deeper and deeper…’ [p. 203]
Asked if the prisoner knows his sentence, the officer replies: ‘‘There would be no point in telling him. He’ll learn it on his body.’” [p. 197]
Letters from a War Zone, p. 17: “We must use our bodies to say ‘Enough’--we must form a barricade with our bodies, but the barricade must move as the ocean moves and be formidable as the ocean is formidable. We must use our collective strength and passion and endurance to take back this night and every night so that life will be worth living and so that human dignity will be a reality. What we do here tonight is that simple, that difficult, and that important.”
Intercourse, p. 135: “We hear something, a dim whisper, barely audible, somewhere at the back of the brain; there is some other word, and we think, some of us, sometimes, that once it belonged to us.”
Letters from a War Zone, p. 267: “Pornography uses each component of social subordination. Its particular medium is sex. Hierarchy, objectification, submission, and violence all become alive with sexual energy and sexual meaning…”
Posted by: Rebecca Diegelman at May 31, 2005 12:24 AM
Wow. the first time I heard of Andrea was when i was doing forest defense in Oregon. Two trees were named after her. I learned about her from other activists and thoughts of her have circulated my mind every day.
Posted by: Rosemary Crowe at June 2, 2005 02:26 AM
I will have never met Andrea in person, though she will resound in my efforts always...
"Remember: Resist do not comply"
Posted by: Antonis at June 6, 2005 02:28 PM
I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and picked up the most recent Ms magazine, I was shocked and so saddened to read of the passing of this passionate, angry (justifiably so) and brilliant feminist. I am an African and Native American woman who is a feminist, mother, daughter, and older sister. I share this, because I know first hand what it is like to live in terror. My history speaks of it. Not since the presence of Audrey Lorde, June Jordan, and Toni Cade have I've been so affected by the Power of Passion and truth.
Posted by: Judith at June 8, 2005 10:13 PM
"The one difference, unbridgable, intractable, between prisons and pornography was that prisoners were not expected to like being in prison, whereas women were supposed to like each and every abuse suffered in pornography." Heartbreak, the political memoir of a feminist militant
Posted by: Sarah at July 13, 2005 02:12 AM
"In the United States, violence against women is a major pastime. It is a sport. It is an amusement. It is a mainstream cultural entertainment. And it is real. It is pervasive. It is epidemic. It saturates the society. It's very hard to make anyone notice it, because there is so much of it. "
Posted by: Penny G at July 16, 2005 05:25 AM
"I have been asked, politely and not so politely, why I am myself. This is an accounting any woman will be called on to give if she asserts her will. In the home the question will be couched in a million cruelties, some subtle, some so egregious they rival the injuries of organized war."...that's the first paragraph. now the last paragraph..."It must be admitted that those who want me to account for myself are intrigued in hostile, voyeuristic ways, and their projections of me are not the usual run-of-the-mill rudeness or arrogance to which writers, especially women writers, become accustomed. The work would be enough, even for the unfortunate sad sacks mentioned above. So here's the deal as I see it: I am ambitious---God knows, not for money; in most respects but not all I am honorable; and I wear overalls: kill the bitch. But the bitch is not yet ready to die. Brava, she says, alone in a small room." --Heartbreak, Preface
Posted by: Tom Vitale at September 11, 2005 01:43 PM
I just wanted to say Andrea's death saddened me, as she was a great writer and woman.
Posted by: Joanna Stan at September 21, 2005 10:42 PM
i have always believed that words cannot ever be enough to express the depth of human emotions; yet andrea proves me wrong every time.
Posted by: Helen at March 22, 2006 01:29 AM
Scapegoat has entirely too many brilliant quotes by Andrea. I am unable to locate one that stands out to me that I found rather amusing, but it said something along the lines of, "Could it be? Could feminism be a Jewish-socialist conspircy?"
If there's one book I recommend reading it is Scapegoat.
Posted by: Laurel at April 2, 2006 07:22 AM