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social sciences

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Dworkin, Andrea (1946-2005)  
page: 1  2  

For the last three decades of her life Dworkin shared a home with John Stoltenberg, who identifies as a gay man. In the 1980s he founded a group called Men Against Pornography and supported Dworkin in her crusade. He is also the author of several books, including Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice (1989), and has worked as a magazine editor. The couple married in 1998.

Dworkin suffered from various physical problems in her last years. As a result of obesity, she developed arthritis in her knees and had to undergo several surgeries.

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Dworkin died on April 9, 2005 in Washington, D.C., leaving a very mixed legacy. Some found her perception of the situation of women brilliant, while others considered her a man-hater, a charge that she once had weakly countered by saying, "I don't hate men, not that they don't deserve it. It's just not in my nature."

Dworkin's extreme position alienated many people. In 1985 Eleanor Smeal, then president of the National Organization for Women, said of Dworkin's campaign against pornography, "There is almost a fascist overtone to this thing." Cathy Young wrote in the Boston Globe in 2005 that "[Dworkin's] melodramatic assertion that the everyday life of women in our culture is an 'atrocity' could only trivialize real atrocities. Her depiction of all women as perpetual victims--'Being female in this world is having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us'--is profoundly demeaning."

Dworkin may have been sincere in her desire to improve the lives of women, but many people disagreed with her vision for achieving this.

Linda Rapp

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literature >> Overview:  Erotica and Pornography

Erotic and pornographic works have been written in many cultures since ancient times and recently have flourished with the relaxation of censorship.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Left

The Gay Left refers to a cluster of positions on the political spectrum that has existed within the lesbian and gay rights movement at least since the Stonewall riots.

social sciences >> Overview:  Lesbian Sex Wars

The lesbian "sex wars" of the 1980s, centered on issues of pornography and s/m, constituted one of the most significant debates among second-wave feminists in North America and Europe.

social sciences >> Overview:  Patriarchy

Patriarchy, literally "the rule of the fathers," is a social system in which men hold positions of power and women are oppressed and glbtq people are treated negatively.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sex Work and Prostitution: Female

Sex work has long been the last resort of desperate women and girls, but more recently some women--including some lesbians--have been drawn to the profession by a renegade ideology of sexual liberation.

social sciences >> Overview:  The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980

The sexual revolution of post-World War II America changed sexual and gender roles profoundly.

social sciences >> Overview:  Women's Liberation Movement

The Women's Liberation Movement, which flourished during the 1970s, constitutes the largest and most widely publicized social movement of women in history.

literature >> Allison, Dorothy E.

South Carolina native Dorothy Allison refuses to write didactic or romantic illustrations of the lesbian experience, focusing instead on the sheer survival of her lesbian characters in the hostile environment of Southern working-class families.

literature >> Califia, Patrick

Controversial for defending sadomasochism and pornography, gender outlaw and sexual anarchist Patrick Califia, who recently underwent gender reassignment, is widely admired as a defender of individual freedom.

literature >> Gomez, Jewelle

In her poetry, fiction, and essays, Jewelle Gomez seeks to merge her black, feminist, and lesbian identities into an indivisible whole.

social sciences >> National Organization for Women (NOW)

The National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in 1966 with the goal of bringing about political, social, and legal equality for all women.

literature >> Nestle, Joan

Through her writing, teaching, editing, and activism, Joan Nestle has devoted her life to promoting awareness of glbtq culture and advancing glbtq equality.


"Andrea Dworkin: Radical Feminist Who Condemned Pornography and Dismissed Men as Moral Cretins." Daily Telegraph (London) (April 13, 2005): 23.

Bernstein, Adam. "Radical Feminist Writer Andrew Dworkin Dies." Washington Post (April 12, 2005): B6.

Dworkin, Andrea. Life and Death: Unapologetic Writings on the Continuing War against Women. New York: The Free Press, 1997.

Klemesrud, Judy. "Joining Hands in the Fight against Pornography." New York Times (August 26, 1985): B7.

Young, Cathy. "The Misdirected Passion of Andrea Dworkin." Boston Globe (April 18, 2005): A17.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Dworkin, Andrea  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated July 19, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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