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Oh, Andrea Dworkin

Jenny Diski: Misogyny: The Male Malady by David Gilmore, 6 September 2001

Misogyny: The Male Malady 
by David Gilmore.
Pennsylvania, 253 pp., £19, June 2001, 0 8122 3608 4
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... applied to the female version of misogyny, but since the only practitioner he can come up with is Andrea Dworkin, it’s hardly worth the coinage. In the 1950s and 1960s there used to be a term for it, though lately it has fallen into disuse. In those days it cropped up regularly in conversations that went roughly like this: Man: Do you want to come to ...

Signor Cock

Roy Porter, 25 June 1987

by Andrea Dworkin.
Secker, 259 pp., £10.95, June 1987, 0 436 13961 8
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... to read the torrent of filthy abuse pouring out of this diatribe against sex and men to see that Andrea Dworkin is a sick lady. It’s one long hysterical denunciation of sexual intercourse as really bad news for women. The way she rants on is of course the give-away symptom of sexual frustration. Clearly she can’t be getting enough of it – not ...


Michael Neve, 20 October 1983

by Timothy Leary.
Heinemann, 397 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 434 40975 8
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Freud and Cocaine 
by E.M. Thornton.
Blond and Briggs, 340 pp., £12.95, September 1983, 0 85634 139 8
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Right-Wing Women: The Politics of Domesticated Females 
by Andrea Dworkin.
Women’s Press, 254 pp., £4.95, June 1983, 0 7043 3907 2
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Hidden Selves: Between Theory and Practice in Psychoanalysis 
by Masud Khan.
Hogarth, 204 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 7012 0547 4
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... Freud, of the LSD prophet Timothy Leary, and of the more strident feminist authors, of whom Andrea Dworkin is undoubtedly one, give glimpses of the culs-de-sac into which many roads turn. Unsurprisingly, Freud comes off least badly, but the case made against him by E.M. Thornton is so one-track-minded that it really can only lead nowhere. It is the ...

Drawing lines

Bernard Williams, 12 May 1994

Only Words 
by Catharine MacKinnon.
HarperCollins, 128 pp., £9.99, June 1994, 0 00 255497 6
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... to the law. It is quite unclear what her proposals about pornography would in fact catch. She and Andrea Dworkin designed a Model Ordinance making pornography actionable as a civil rights violation; it was declared unconstitutional in the United States, though a version of it has had more success, with rather dubious results, in Canada. It is drawn in ...

The Mantle of Jehovah

Francis Spufford, 25 June 1987

by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 224 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 0 7011 3169 1
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... covered: Norman Mailer has preferred to steer clear of the peculiar pains of childbirth, and Andrea Dworkin has chosen not to dwell on the distinctive horror an uneasy Christmas dinner can become, while Byatt can and has handled both as elements in her continuing series of novels. That series began with The Virgin in the Garden in 1981, and ...

On Michael Neve

Mike Jay, 21 November 2019

... take hold?’ is the way a piece began that yoked together Timothy Leary, anti-Freud polemic and Andrea Dworkin. ‘Oliver Sacks is the Jules Verne of the neurological interface’ was the opening of another piece. Just as often, the most startling insights appeared as throwaways. ‘It’s a moot point as to whether one should recommend books about ...

Room for the Lambs

Elizabeth Spelman: Sexual equality, 26 January 2006

Women’s Lives, Men’s Laws 
by Catharine MacKinnon.
Harvard, 558 pp., £25.95, March 2005, 0 674 01540 1
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... of the work still to be done to create sexual equality. On the occasion of the recent death of Andrea Dworkin, one of her main partners in the battle against pornography, MacKinnon said that it was precisely because Dworkin unceasingly and unapologetically provided the ‘heavy artillery of the women’s movement in ...


Mary-Kay Wilmers: The Menopause, 10 October 1991

... to the ruling class. Is it just me, or do men care what women say provided they don’t look like Andrea Dworkin? On the other hand, I can’t say I think it’s entirely men’s fault that women live as if under their spell. Looking back at what I’ve written so far, it seems clear that I made a mistake in skipping those consciousness-raising ...

High-Step with a Bull

T.J. Clark: Picasso, The Vollard Suite, 2 August 2012

Picasso Prints: The Vollard Suite 
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... not good – not good because it is too sure of the name for its object. I am more or less with Andrea Dworkin on this: sexual intercourse, as we and Picasso know it, is a set of events in which violence, violation, absurdity of effort and exaltation, dreadfulness of submission, simple pain and embarrassment, general sweaty muddle are all ineluctably ...

Travelling Southwards

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, 19 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey 
by E.L. James.
Arrow, 514 pp., £7.99, April 2012, 978 0 09 957993 9
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... contributor to the art of terrible writing about sex is that she will not easily be mistaken for Andrea Dworkin. It’s not that Fifty Shades of Grey and E.L. James’s other tie-me-up-tie-me-down spankbusters read as if feminism never happened: they read as if women never even got the vote.† Before we get to the designer labels – and in this, like ...

Return of the Male

Martin Amis, 5 December 1991

Iron John: A Book about Men 
by Robert Bly.
Element, 268 pp., £12.95, September 1991, 9781852302337
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The way men think: Intellect, Intimacy and the Erotic Imagination 
by Liam Hudson and Bernadine Jacot.
Yale, 219 pp., £16.95, November 1991, 0 300 04997 8
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Utne Reader. Men, it’s time to pull together: The Politics of Masculinity 
Lens, 144 pp., $4, May 1991Show More
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... for it (the Oscars, the primaries, the hearings, the trials, Shirley Temple, Clarence Thomas, Andrea Dworkin, Al Sharpton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Swaggart). Whereas, over here, maleness itself has become an embarrassment. Male consciousness, male pride, male rage – we don’t want to hear about it. This of course is the very diffidence and inhibition ...

How do they see you?

Elizabeth Spelman: Martha Nussbaum, 16 November 2000

Sex and Social Justice 
by Martha Nussbaum.
Oxford, 476 pp., £25, July 1999, 0 19 511032 3
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Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach 
by Martha Nussbaum.
Cambridge, 312 pp., £17.95, May 2000, 0 521 66086 6
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... sparring partners: Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Marx, John Rawls, Amartya Sen, Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin, Susan Moller Okin. Though some of the nudging she gives feminists – typically referred to in Sex and Social Justice as ‘them’ but in the more recent Women and Human Development as ‘my fellow feminists’ – is healthy, her ...

Can the law be feminist?

Lorna Finlayson, 25 January 2018

Butterfly Politics 
by Catharine MacKinnon.
Harvard, 490 pp., £23.95, April 2017, 978 0 674 41660 4
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... which exploded in the 1980s and has been growing ever since. MacKinnon and her close collaborator Andrea Dworkin set out to take on the pornographers, and to do it on MacKinnon’s home ground: the field of law. As they saw it – Dworkin died in 2005 – they faced nearly insurmountable obstacles, including a ...

A Row of Shaws

Terry Eagleton: That Bastard Shaw, 21 June 2018

Judging Shaw 
by Fintan O’Toole.
Royal Irish Academy, 381 pp., £28, October 2017, 978 1 908997 15 9
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... stealthy work, and men were simply instruments it used to promote its unfathomable ends. Not even Andrea Dworkin argued that. Shaw’s​ attitude to the First World War was typically paradoxical. It had, he insisted, no moral basis whatsoever, but once it was underway Britain had to go ahead and win it. In his view, the British nation was as much in the ...

When you die you’ll go to hell

Wendy Steiner, 27 May 1993

Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes 
by Helen Benedict.
Oxford, 309 pp., £22.50, February 1993, 0 19 506680 4
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Reproducing Rape: Domination through Talk in the Courtroom 
by Gregory Matoesian.
Polity, 256 pp., £45, February 1993, 0 7456 1036 6
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... MacKinnon, a professor of law and anti-pornography activist, and her co-polemicist, the novelist Andrea Dworkin. They and an army of feminist journalists, artists and scholars blame art, the media and language itself for reinforcing the patriarchal ideology promoting rape. ‘Rape and sexual violence against women are reproduced and legitimated through ...

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