Quote of The Day: Andrea Dworkin

A Throwback Thursday quote for our intensely national focus on rape in our culture and institutions from the late feminist activist, Andrea Dworkin:

“I don’t believe rape is inevitable or natural. If I did, I would have no reason to be here. If I did, my political practice would be different than it is. Have you ever wondered why we [women] are not just in armed combat against you? It’s not because there’s a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.”

(thank you dream hampton!)

SYREETA MCFADDEN is a Brooklyn based writer, photographer and adjunct professor of English. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and Storyscape Journal. She is the managing editor of the online literary magazine, Union Station, and a co-curator of Poets in Unexpected Places. You can follow her on Twitter @reetamac.

Read more about Syreeta

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  • http://feministing.com/members/smash/ smash

    Thank you for quoting Andrea Dworkin. She was an inspiration, and reading her work has changed my life. You can find the quote from this speech: I Want a 24 Hour Truce Where There is No Rape http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/WarZoneChaptIIIE.html

    Powerful stuff.

  • http://feministing.com/members/samll/ Sam L-L

    I suppose I am, in turn, willing to believe in Dworkin’s good intentions, against all the evidence.

    • http://feministing.com/members/smash/ smash

      Sam L-L, that’s an opaque statement. What do you mean?

      • http://feministing.com/members/mjameson/ Matthew T. Jameson

        Not to put words in the previous commenter’s mouth, but I think he is suggesting some doubt about the sincerity of Dworkin’s appeal to men to end men’s violence against women.

        It is hard to imagine any interpersonal context where a sincere appeal to action includes the statement, “The preponderance of evidence suggests that you’re not really human, but I really would like to work together with you to . . .”

      • unequivocal

        While I don’t want to put words in Sam L-L’s mouth, I think that this point is perfectly clear: stating that all evidence points towards men being less than human doesn’t sound especially well-intentioned, even if Dworkin tempers it by saying that she’ll keep believing in that humanity all the same. That’s not really an affirmation or acknowledgement of men’s humanity any more than me saying “I’ll continue to believe in your intelligence despite all evidence to the contrary” is an affirmation of my target’s high intellect. These are not-so-thinly veiled insults, nothing more.

        I don’t think it is at all okay to call into question the fundamental humanity of a group of people, regardless of their position in the Kyriarchy.

  • http://feministing.com/members/xocoatl/ Pat

    Pornography reveals that male pleasure is inextricably tied to victimizing, hurting, exploiting; that sexual fun and sexual passion in the privacy of the male imagination are inseparable from the brutality of male history. The private world of sexual dominance that men demand as their right and their freedom is the mirror image of the public world of sadism and atrocity that men consistently and self-righteously deplore. It is in the male experience of pleasure that one finds the meaning of male history.

    • http://feministing.com/members/mjameson/ Matthew T. Jameson

      Pornography says as much about male desire and history (as a monolithic, universal entity) as romance novels say about female desire and history (again, monolithic, and universal).

      In other words, not much.

  • http://feministing.com/members/elo11/ ELot

    One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite feminists. Thank you Syreeta!

  • http://feministing.com/members/angelh/ Angel H.

    Nope. Sorry. I can’t get behind a transphobe.

    • http://feministing.com/members/elo11/ ELot

      No, she wasn’t actually. Read Woman Hating. A couple excerpts:

      “Hormone and chromosome research, attempts to develop new means of human reproduction (life created in, or considerably supported by, the scientist’s laboratory), work with transsexuals, and studies of formation of gender identity in children provide basic information which challenges the notion that there are two discrete biological sexes. That information threatens to transform the traditional biology of sex difference into the radical biology of sex similarity. That is not to say there is one sex, but that there are many. The evidence which is germane here is simple. The words “male” and “female,” “man” and “woman,” are used only because as yet there are no others.”

      “There is no doubt that in the culture of male-female discreteness, transsexuality is a disaster for the individual transsexual. Every transsexual, white, black, man, woman, rich, poor, is in a state of primary emergency as a transsexual. There are 3 crucial points here.

      One, every transsexual has the right to survival on his/her own terms. That means every transsexual is entitled to a sex-change operation, and it should be provided by the community as one of its functions. This is an emergency measure for an emergency condition.

      Two, by changing our premises about men and women, role-playing and polarity, the social situation of transsexuals will be transformed, and transsexuals will be integrated into community, no longer persecuted and despised.

      Three, community built on androgynous identity will mean the end of transsexuality as we know it. Either the transsexual will be able to expand his/her sexuality into a fluid androgyny, or, as roles disppear, the phenomenon of transsexuality will disappear and that energy will be transformed into new modes of sexual identity and behavior.”

      • http://feministing.com/members/angelh/ Angel H.

        And I suppose racism will go away once all of the races interbreed and everyone is one color?

        Transphobe is transphobic.