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Right-Wing Women

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What does the Right offer to women? How does the Right mobilize women? Why is the Right succeeding in opposing women's rights? With the stark precision and forceful passion that characterize all of her work, Andrea Dworkin answers these timely questions. And by providing the first clear analysis of the impact on women of the Right's position on abortion, homosexuality, ant What does the Right offer to women? How does the Right mobilize women? Why is the Right succeeding in opposing women's rights? With the stark precision and forceful passion that characterize all of her work, Andrea Dworkin answers these timely questions. And by providing the first clear analysis of the impact on women of the Right's position on abortion, homosexuality, anti-Semitism, female poverty, and antifeminism, she demonstrates how the Right attempts both to exploit and to quiet women's deepest fears. — From the reverse cover.


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What does the Right offer to women? How does the Right mobilize women? Why is the Right succeeding in opposing women's rights? With the stark precision and forceful passion that characterize all of her work, Andrea Dworkin answers these timely questions. And by providing the first clear analysis of the impact on women of the Right's position on abortion, homosexuality, ant What does the Right offer to women? How does the Right mobilize women? Why is the Right succeeding in opposing women's rights? With the stark precision and forceful passion that characterize all of her work, Andrea Dworkin answers these timely questions. And by providing the first clear analysis of the impact on women of the Right's position on abortion, homosexuality, anti-Semitism, female poverty, and antifeminism, she demonstrates how the Right attempts both to exploit and to quiet women's deepest fears. — From the reverse cover.

30 review for Right-Wing Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Can I give this book 10 stars? No? Bummer... One word sums up this book: BRUTAL. There's a lot of discussion amongst radical feminists about "following a thought to its logical conclusion." This means not stopping when an idea steps on PC toes or becomes uncomfortable - or downright dangerous - either personally or to the sex-class system at large (which obviously BECOMES personally dangerous for individual women.) Dworkin's book is radical - "to the root" - in every single sentence, possibly eve Can I give this book 10 stars? No? Bummer... One word sums up this book: BRUTAL. There's a lot of discussion amongst radical feminists about "following a thought to its logical conclusion." This means not stopping when an idea steps on PC toes or becomes uncomfortable - or downright dangerous - either personally or to the sex-class system at large (which obviously BECOMES personally dangerous for individual women.) Dworkin's book is radical - "to the root" - in every single sentence, possibly every single word. I was floored - I think I underlined about 25% of the book. Also, her writing style is dense but totally readable, which I appreciate. Here's a sample - see if you can stomach it: "...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. ... Subordinate to men, sexually colonized in a sexual system of dominance and submission, denied rights on the basis of sex, historically chattel, generally considered biologically inferior, confined to sex and reproduction: this is the general description of the social environment in which all women live." Speak it, sister.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jude

    i am 64 - this book brought my mother's generation to me in compassionate and world-view-changing ways back when it first came out. Dworkin's respectful and insightful take on the innately sexual politics of conservative women has proved prescient and sadly, all too relevant still. please click the amazon link for reviews-this book's exploration of the mind-set and politics of right-wing women is still expanding the understanding of those who truly care about all women. That's what Andrea Dworkin i am 64 - this book brought my mother's generation to me in compassionate and world-view-changing ways back when it first came out. Dworkin's respectful and insightful take on the innately sexual politics of conservative women has proved prescient and sadly, all too relevant still. please click the amazon link for reviews-this book's exploration of the mind-set and politics of right-wing women is still expanding the understanding of those who truly care about all women. That's what Andrea Dworkin was - that's why she saw and named what so many others could not. The compassion at the heart of her vision is a challenge to us all.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    Andrea Dworkin gets such a bad rap among (some) feminists and anti-feminists alike that I was slightly wary to actually go out and find one of her books. But, in an attempt to figure out what the majority of my female relatives are thinking, I picked this up. And it was damn worth it. Firstly...did I agree with her on everything? No. I do not, for instance, consider pornography to be a base cause of anything, or even one of the biggest problems women face in society. I did, however, agree with h Andrea Dworkin gets such a bad rap among (some) feminists and anti-feminists alike that I was slightly wary to actually go out and find one of her books. But, in an attempt to figure out what the majority of my female relatives are thinking, I picked this up. And it was damn worth it. Firstly...did I agree with her on everything? No. I do not, for instance, consider pornography to be a base cause of anything, or even one of the biggest problems women face in society. I did, however, agree with her on a lot of what she said. Also, there were certainly sections of the book (the "men hate intelligence in women" chapter) which were probably far more applicable a generation or several ago than they are now, though I'm sure there are men today to whom this applies (*coughJohnCarrollconservativescough*). Oh, and the writing is amazing. Also, I read this in conjunction with Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards' Manifesta, in which they succinctly explain that no, Dworkin did not believe all sex was rape. While I have yet to read the book which gave way to that myth (Intercourse), this was important to see. I've heard far too many people, feminists and antis alike, saying this. Also, the other "weird thing" about Dworkin which always gets pointed out, her relationship with John Stoltenberg...why do people care so much if she said she was queer but was in love with a (also queer) man? "She said she was a lesbian but married a man" is what is constantly pointed out as why she was a little "crazy," but it's not like there's a law that a person has to declare their sexual orientation and never deviate...it's not like there's a law that people can't sometimes be attracted to people, not genitals. Just a thought.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Travisalbert

    This is not a book that I would recommend to anyone who is critical of radical feminism. There are lots of assertions that are not argued through and most of the book is written in extremes. However, this is a very valuable book for left-wing folks. Dworkin is brutally honest about the chauvanism prevelent in the left, and why the program of the right is more appealing to oppressed women than the program (or rather hodge-podge of ill-defined ideas)of the left. Whether consious or not, the attitu This is not a book that I would recommend to anyone who is critical of radical feminism. There are lots of assertions that are not argued through and most of the book is written in extremes. However, this is a very valuable book for left-wing folks. Dworkin is brutally honest about the chauvanism prevelent in the left, and why the program of the right is more appealing to oppressed women than the program (or rather hodge-podge of ill-defined ideas)of the left. Whether consious or not, the attitude toward sex among the political left is isolating women from their movements. To sum up, I enjoyed it, but as I read, I was thinking about all of the people who I wouldn't dare recommend it to.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nora

    This book helped me understand the psychology of right-wing women a little and the theories of Andrea Dworkin a lot. The writing is really, really good and persuasive even if I find Dworkin's ideas a bit... pessimistic. This is a mostly-accessible read that I would recommend to someone who wanted to read about radical feminism. This book helped me understand the psychology of right-wing women a little and the theories of Andrea Dworkin a lot. The writing is really, really good and persuasive even if I find Dworkin's ideas a bit... pessimistic. This is a mostly-accessible read that I would recommend to someone who wanted to read about radical feminism.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nalim

    An examination of women's reasons for collaborating with men for the limitation of women's freedom. - Dworkin asked, "Why do right-wing women agitate for their own subordination? How does the Right, controlled by men, enlist their participation and loyalty? And why do right-wing women truly hate the feminist struggle for equality? An examination of women's reasons for collaborating with men for the limitation of women's freedom. - Dworkin asked, "Why do right-wing women agitate for their own subordination? How does the Right, controlled by men, enlist their participation and loyalty? And why do right-wing women truly hate the feminist struggle for equality?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sskessa

    I read this book a couple years ago and it changed my life. Dworkin retains such compassion for all women, even those who fight vehemently against our own rights. Her voice is strong and courageous, and the anger she feels towards the oppression of women is inspiring.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wildlx

    This was my first book by Dworkin. The book consists of six essays written at the the end of the 70s beginning of the 80s: The Promise of The Ultra-Right; The Politics of Intelligence; Abortion; Jews and Homosexuals; The Coming Gynocide; Antifeminism. Dworkin's insights can be brilliant but at the same time she can be too emotional, as if she is taking things personally, and a bit too repetitive. This makes her arguments not as clear as they could be. Also, it was noticeable for me that the book This was my first book by Dworkin. The book consists of six essays written at the the end of the 70s beginning of the 80s: The Promise of The Ultra-Right; The Politics of Intelligence; Abortion; Jews and Homosexuals; The Coming Gynocide; Antifeminism. Dworkin's insights can be brilliant but at the same time she can be too emotional, as if she is taking things personally, and a bit too repetitive. This makes her arguments not as clear as they could be. Also, it was noticeable for me that the book is a bit dated, although that in a way shows that some of Dworkin's ideas have been incorporated by other feminists I've read before and also into popular culture. Some essays are better than the others and my favorite was Antifeminism.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Dworkin isn’t my favorite feminist icon for various reasons but she really does hit the nail on the head in a lot of her writings so I find it sad that many people my age interested in feminist thought and ideas skip over her. This book in particular does a really good job of illuminating how misogyny exists on both the right and left of the political spectrum. Dworkin theorizes that right wing women choose the right because they are more attune to the sexism on the left, which can seem subtle b Dworkin isn’t my favorite feminist icon for various reasons but she really does hit the nail on the head in a lot of her writings so I find it sad that many people my age interested in feminist thought and ideas skip over her. This book in particular does a really good job of illuminating how misogyny exists on both the right and left of the political spectrum. Dworkin theorizes that right wing women choose the right because they are more attune to the sexism on the left, which can seem subtle but is also glaringly obvious in many ways. I found myself nodding a lot and thinking “yep this makes sense,” at a lot of the passages.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jehona

    Brilliant! Right in every sense! Most of it is true beyond America. I just couldn't put it down. Brilliant! Right in every sense! Most of it is true beyond America. I just couldn't put it down.

  11. 4 out of 5

    AZ (Saïd)

    Dworkin is right. No pun intended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    M.

    I was especially hostile to Dworkin's POV when I first read this but I've come a long way. I don't agree with some of her most controversial statements on religion, marriage and abortion. But I'm not a "right-wing" woman neither politically, nor as per this book's definition. She has some points that are good to remember, especially as you get on the structure of the right in the United States. Her constant allusions to the far right and omissions of libertarianism were strange to witness, though I was especially hostile to Dworkin's POV when I first read this but I've come a long way. I don't agree with some of her most controversial statements on religion, marriage and abortion. But I'm not a "right-wing" woman neither politically, nor as per this book's definition. She has some points that are good to remember, especially as you get on the structure of the right in the United States. Her constant allusions to the far right and omissions of libertarianism were strange to witness, though I'm pretty sure she'd have classified Rand as complacent with male supremacy (after all, she was). Most interesting chapters were the first three and the last two. Her chapter on Jews and homosexuals has purposefully misrepresented Christianity by giving word to fundies and Mormons, which is really sad. I still don't understand how, after saying that abortion could scar a woman, she still advocated it, and more in the face of the "coming gynocide", which had too much accuracy even when she didn't exactly envision euthanasia or transgenderism: acceptance of prostitution, IVF and surrogacy, female feticide, were there. She was fatalistic and angry, but most importantly I liked her recognition that lesbianism is not necessarily a way out, that feminism still has a lot of work to do, even for these women who find the movement morally reprehensible or misguided. This is something you rarely see in the current political climate. Maybe there are things to be learned from Dworkin.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Incredible, as ever. Definitely one of her key texts. Hard to review for a non-enthusiast, but I'll try at some point (too much travelling to do right now so no time). Incredible, as ever. Definitely one of her key texts. Hard to review for a non-enthusiast, but I'll try at some point (too much travelling to do right now so no time).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Мурка Ленина

    This is essential reading for all American women, especially in today's political climate. Critiques both the right and left in its exploitation of women. This is essential reading for all American women, especially in today's political climate. Critiques both the right and left in its exploitation of women.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Juniperus

    Two biggest takeaways from this book: Compassion and Self-reflection. Self-reflection is something that the Left lacks and I think it incredibly brave of Dworkin to encourage leftists to engage in self-reflection (or even self-awareness!). Perhaps a better title for this book would be Left Wing Men, because it's important to hear these criticisms coming from a leftist if the Left is to have any lasting power. We need to solve our internal issues of misogyny if we're ever going to confront them i Two biggest takeaways from this book: Compassion and Self-reflection. Self-reflection is something that the Left lacks and I think it incredibly brave of Dworkin to encourage leftists to engage in self-reflection (or even self-awareness!). Perhaps a better title for this book would be Left Wing Men, because it's important to hear these criticisms coming from a leftist if the Left is to have any lasting power. We need to solve our internal issues of misogyny if we're ever going to confront them in society at large... The fact that there's so much misogyny in the movement is terribly depressing!! I would definitely recommend leftist men to read this & try to learn to do better. The thing that surprised me in this book was how much compassion Dworkin writes with, about women who would almost definitely disagree with her on every issue. Take a look at this: "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. On one level, it means that every woman’s fate is tied to the fate of women she dislikes personally. On another level, it means that every woman’s fate is tied to the fate of women whom she politically and morally abhors. For instance, it means that rape jeopardizes communist and fascist women, liberal, conservative, Democratic, or Republican women, racist women and black women, Nazi women and Jewish women, homophobic women and homosexual women." She obviously doesn't make excuses for right-wing women and the harm they do, but still has enough sympathy for them as victims of a patriarchal system which is a nuance that very few writers these days can manage. I guess the one weakness of this book is that it doesn't provide many solutions making it sort of depressing and hopeless, but the idea of "we're all in this together" (she literally says this I'm not even quoting High School Musical!!) is there. Anyway after having read four Dworkin books this is the one I would recommend people start with. It's a lot easier to read than the other three I read, because there's no extensive literature reviews, and it's not dense and philosophical, and she incorporates her own personal experiences (in the chapter "Jews and Homosexuals" she talks about the intersection of being a Jewish Lesbian for example). Anyway this book makes me want to become the Joker.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Izzy

    #BabysFirstDworkin I read a lot of soft garbage on my holiday, so I was ready to kick it up a notch with some political theory. I've also spent the past year reading plenty of libfem, so it was time to throw a little radfem in the mix. I'd never read Dworkin before, but with the release of "Hot Slit" having her make a soft comeback of sorts, I was ready to dive in. And WHEW. LADS. This is the type of moonbat shit I live for. Looney liberalism of the ultimate pedigree. I know Dworkin veers toward #BabysFirstDworkin I read a lot of soft garbage on my holiday, so I was ready to kick it up a notch with some political theory. I've also spent the past year reading plenty of libfem, so it was time to throw a little radfem in the mix. I'd never read Dworkin before, but with the release of "Hot Slit" having her make a soft comeback of sorts, I was ready to dive in. And WHEW. LADS. This is the type of moonbat shit I live for. Looney liberalism of the ultimate pedigree. I know Dworkin veers toward hyperbole for the sake of shock value, but this is the kind of stuff that would make a college professor say, "Chill." So basically what I'm getting from this book is that Dworkin was a female incel who viewed men through the most conspiratorial lens possible. I mean, she's fantastic - and quite possibly the only person who could make Anita Bryant and Phyllis Schlafly sympathetic - but this gal is PAR-A-NOID. It's maddening, but Dworkin represents that kind of hard-lined principled shit that you just don't see in public intellectuals anymore. The type of vehement misandry that makes radfems so appealing (to a certain subset of people). Kind of like with Paglia, I disagree with nearly *everything* (I mean, "cocksucking is cannibalism" and "all P in V sex is rape" is certainly not a hill I wanna die on) but boy oh boy am I having a ball watching her burning down those strawmen.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    So over the top, and I would have liked a bit more evidence for some of the conclusions she draws. That said, there are many parts of the book that speak to the experience of many women, which is why I think it is so highly rated. And it is refreshing to hear someone speak so frankly (read:strongly) about their own experience and the issues surrounding it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    M.

    Even though I do not always agree with Dworkin this book surpasses anything I've ever read in it's brilliance and lucidity. Dworking praises Freud but he's slime and his writing is nowhere near as awe-spring and invigorating. A rare 10/10 for me. Even though I do not always agree with Dworkin this book surpasses anything I've ever read in it's brilliance and lucidity. Dworking praises Freud but he's slime and his writing is nowhere near as awe-spring and invigorating. A rare 10/10 for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Both enlightening and depressing. Worth the read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    As relevant today as it was when it was written. Andrea Dworkin's writing talents and analysis just astound me. As relevant today as it was when it was written. Andrea Dworkin's writing talents and analysis just astound me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    fausto

    Why women choose the Right? That's the main question of the book, and the answer Andrea gives the reader is not only full, but clearly shows the complexity of the subject. The Right gives women the apparent "order" that leads one's life: non-changing values, traditions, the love of Jesus or whatever deitity, a sense of conservation and stability. And from this gloomy picture, Andrea unmask the male construction of sexuality, economy, order, and intellect, explaining in this way what is radical fe Why women choose the Right? That's the main question of the book, and the answer Andrea gives the reader is not only full, but clearly shows the complexity of the subject. The Right gives women the apparent "order" that leads one's life: non-changing values, traditions, the love of Jesus or whatever deitity, a sense of conservation and stability. And from this gloomy picture, Andrea unmask the male construction of sexuality, economy, order, and intellect, explaining in this way what is radical feminism, at the heart: radical feminist want to destroy patriarchy for the harm that inflict into women, right-wing women assimilate to patriarchy for the harm that inflict into women.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    A stirring and compassionate analysis of Right-wing antifeminism and how little it differs from mainstream cultural and social antifeminism. Especially helpful in breaking down the superficial and ultimately irrelevant political divisions between American women.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I'm 35% through with my library copy and am so impressed with it, that I am buying it to reread, mark up and use as a reference. I'm 35% through with my library copy and am so impressed with it, that I am buying it to reread, mark up and use as a reference.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Gets repetitive at the end but overall a pretty great read about conservative psychology. I know Dworkin's work has quite a reputation but don't knock it 'til you try it! Gets repetitive at the end but overall a pretty great read about conservative psychology. I know Dworkin's work has quite a reputation but don't knock it 'til you try it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dasha

    Well thought out and easily opens the readers eyes to the world women are subjected to. At times, the book is hard to read presenting horrifying truths and not mincing any words in the process. It really helped me to see a potential rationalization that women who hold "traditional" and "right wing" values may use, consciously or not. I wish there was more discussion over the role of religion for right wing women, particularly with the rise of right-wing evangelical nationalism. Nonetheless, an a Well thought out and easily opens the readers eyes to the world women are subjected to. At times, the book is hard to read presenting horrifying truths and not mincing any words in the process. It really helped me to see a potential rationalization that women who hold "traditional" and "right wing" values may use, consciously or not. I wish there was more discussion over the role of religion for right wing women, particularly with the rise of right-wing evangelical nationalism. Nonetheless, an amazing read!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mairead

    At times, this book was deflating as I realised how little some things have changed for women.

  27. 4 out of 5

    lezhypatia

    Even the third time around, Dworkin leaves me speechless. This book was life changing for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Adriana Miller

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Truth, as always ❤️ Stings to realize how pertinent her words still prove to be all these years later, how women are left hopeless and abandoned and right-wing women find themselves taking the evident better deal. Dworkin conveys how the misogyny of the right and left are two sides of the same coin. For my future reference: “She will save herself by proving that she is loyal, obe­dient, useful, even fanatic in the service of the men around her. She is the happy hooker, the happy homemaker, the exe Truth, as always ❤️ Stings to realize how pertinent her words still prove to be all these years later, how women are left hopeless and abandoned and right-wing women find themselves taking the evident better deal. Dworkin conveys how the misogyny of the right and left are two sides of the same coin. For my future reference: “She will save herself by proving that she is loyal, obe­dient, useful, even fanatic in the service of the men around her. She is the happy hooker, the happy homemaker, the exemplary Christian, the pure academic, the perfect comrade, the terrorist par excellence. Whatever the values, she will embody them with a per­fect fidelity. The males rarely keep their part of the bargain as she understands it: protection from male violence against her person. But the militant conformist has given so much of herself—her la­bor, heart, soul, often her body, often children—that this betrayal is akin to nailing the coffin shut; the corpse is beyond caring.” “Most girls, however much they resent their mothers, do become very much like them. Rebellion can rarely survive the aversion therapy that passes for being brought up female. Male violence acts directly on the girl through her father or brother or uncle or any number of male professionals or strangers, as it did and does on her mother, and she too is forced to learn to conform in order to sur­vive.” “Only women die one by one, still believing that if only they had been perfect—perfect wife, mother, or whore—they would not have come to hate life so much, to find it so strangely difficult and empty, themselves so hopelessly confused and despairing. Women die, mourning not the loss of their own lives, but their own inexcusable inability to achieve perfection as men define it for them. Women desperately try to embody a male- defined feminine ideal because survival depends on it.” “The fact that most illegal abortions in the bad old days were performed on married women with children, and that thousands of those women died each year, is utterly meaningless to them. They see abortion as a criminal act committed by godless whores, women absolutely unlike themselves.” “But Anita Bry­ant is stupid and Norman Mailer is smart. Is the difference in the style with which these same ideas are delivered or in the penis?” “If she can make her own fire, read a book herself, write a letter or a record of her thoughts or an essay or a story, it will be harder to get her to tolerate the unwanted fuck, to bear the unwanted children, to see him as life and life through him. She might get ideas.” “The argument between wives and whores is an old one; each one thinking that whatever she is, at least she is not the other. And there is no doubt that the wife envies the whore—or Marabel Mor­gan’s ladies would not be wrapping themselves in Saran Wrap or wearing black boots with lacy neon nighties—and that the whore envies the domesticity of the wife—especially her physical shelter­ing and her relative sexual privacy. Both categories of women— specious as the categories finally turn out to be—need what men have to give: they need the material solicitude of men, not their cocks but their money. The cock is the inevitable precondition; without it there is no man, no money, no shelter, no protection. With it there may not be much, but women prefer men to silence, exile, to being pariahs, to being lone refugees, to being outcasts: defenseless.” “Wife or whore: the whore comes in from the cold to become the wife if she can; the wife thrown out into the cold becomes the whore if she must. Is there a way out of the home that does not lead, inevitably and horribly, to the street corner? This is the question right-wing women face. This is the question all women face, but right-wing women know it. And in the transit—home to street, street to home—is there any place, reason, or chance for female intelligence that is not simply looking for the best buyer?” “Right-wing women have surveyed the world: they find it a dan­gerous place. They see that work subjects them to more danger from more men; it increases the risk of sexual exploitation. They see that creativity and originality in their kind are ridiculed; they see women thrown out of the circle of male civilization for having ideas, plans, visions, ambitions. They see that traditional marriage means selling to one man, not hundreds: the better deal. They see that the streets are cold, and that the women on them are tired, sick, and bruised. They see that the money they can earn will not make them independent of men and that they will still have to play the sex games of their kind: at home and at work too. They see no way to make their bodies authentically their own and to survive in the world of men. They know too that the Left has nothing better to offer: leftist men also want wives and whores; leftist men value whores too much and wives too little. Right-wing women are not wrong. They fear that the Left, in stressing impersonal sex and promiscuity as values, will make them more vulnerable to male sexual aggression, and that they will be despised for not liking it. They are not wrong. Right-wing women see that within the sys­tem in which they live they cannot make their bodies their own, but they can agree to privatized male ownership: keep it one-on- one, as it were. They know that they are valued for their sex— their sex organs and their reproductive capacity—and so they try to up their value: through cooperation, manipulation, conformity; through displays of affection or attempts at friendship; through submission and obedience; and especially through the use of euphemism—“femininity,” “total woman,” “good,” “maternal in­ stinct,” “motherly love.” Their desperation is quiet; they hide their bruises of body and heart; they dress carefully and have good manners; they suffer, they love God, they follow the rules. They see that intelligence displayed in a woman is a flaw, that intelligence realized in a woman is a crime. They see the world they live in and they are not wrong. They use sex and babies to stay valuable be­ cause they need a home, food, clothing. They use the traditional intelligence of the female—animal, not human: they do what they have to to survive.” “An estimated two thirds of the women who got criminal abortions were married.* This means that up to two thirds of the botched abortions were done on married women; up to two thirds of the dead were married women; perhaps two thirds of the survivors are married women. This means that most of the women who risked death or maiming so as not to bear a child were married—perhaps one million married women each year. They were not shameless sluts, unless all women by definition are.” “Dissociation from other women is always the safest course. They are not sluttish, but other women who have had abortions probably are. They tried not to get pregnant (birth control being illegal in many parts of the country before 1973), but other women who had abortions probably did not. They love their children, but other women who have had abortions may well be the cold mothers, the cruel mothers, the vicious women. They are individuals of worth and good morals who had compelling reasons for aborting, but the other women who had abortions must have done something wrong, were wrong, are somehow indistinct (not emerged from the primal female slime as individuals), were sex not persons.” “Women, it is said, have a bad attitude toward sex. Women, it is not said often enough, have a long-lived resentment against forced sex and a longing for freedom, which is often ex­pressed as an aversion to sex.” “Every woman—no matter what her sexual orientation, personal sexual likes or dislikes, personal history, political ideology—lives inside this system of forced sex. This is true even if she has never personally experienced any sexual coercion, or if she personally likes intercourse as a form of intimacy, or if she as an individual has experiences of intercourse that transcend, in her opinion, the dicta of gender and the institutions of force... Every woman is surrounded by this system of forced sex and is encap­sulated by it. It acts on her, shapes her, defines her boundaries and her possibilities, tames her, domesticates her, determines the quality and nature of her privacy: it modifies her. She functions within it and with constant reference to it.” “The girls were idealists especially because they believed in peace and freedom so much that they even thought it was intended for them too. They knew that their mothers were not free—they saw the small, constrained, female lives—and they did not want to be their mothers. They accepted the boys’ definition of sexual freedom because it, more than any other idea or practice, made them different from their mothers. While their mothers kept sex secret and private, with so much fear and shame, the girls proclaimed sex their right, their pleasure, their freedom. They decried the stupidity of their moth­ers and allied themselves on overt sexual terms with the long­ haired boys who wanted peace, freedom, and fucking everywhere.” “Sexual radicalism was defined in classically male terms: number of partners, frequency of sex, varieties of sex (for instance, group sex), eagerness to engage in sex.” “Empirically speaking, sexual libera­tion was practiced by women on a wide scale in the sixties and it did not work: that is, it did not free women. Its purpose—it turned out—was to free men to use women without bourgeois constraints, and in that it was successful.” “Sexual-liberation ideology, whether pop or traditionally leftist- intellectual, did not criticize, analyze, or repudiate forced sex, nor did it demand an end to the sexual and social subordination of women to men: neither reality was recognized. Instead, it posited that freedom for women existed in being fucked more often by more men, a sort of lateral mobility in the same inferior sphere.” “It was the brake that pregnancy put on fucking that made abor­tion a high-priority political issue for men in the 1960s—not only for young men, but also for the older leftist men who were skim­ming sex off the top of the counterculture and even for more traditional men who dipped into the pool of hippie girls now and then. The decriminalization of abortion—for that was the political goal — was seen as the final fillip: it would make women absolutely accessible, absolutely “free.” The sexual revolution, in order to work, required that abortion be available to women on demand. If it were not, fucking would not be available to men on demand. Getting laid was at stake. Not just getting laid, but getting laid the way great numbers of boys and men had always wanted—lots of girls who wanted it all the time outside marriage, free, giving it away.” “Abortion, they say, flourishes in a pornographic society; pornography, they say, flour­ishes in what they call an abortion society. What they mean is that both reduce women to the fuck. They have seen that the Left only champions women on its own sexual terms—as fucks; they find the right-wing offer a tad more generous.” “At worst it must be said that these drugs are pre­scribed to women because they are women—and because the doctors are largely men. The male doctor’s perception of the female patient, conditioned by his belief in his own difference from her and superiority to her, is that she is very emotional, very up­set, irrational, has no sense of proportion, cannot discern what is trivial and what is important. She has no credibility as an observer of her own condition or even as one who can report subjective sensations or feelings with any integrity or acuity. She is over­wrought not because of any objective condition in her life but be­cause she is a woman and women get emotional and overwrought simply because that is how women are. Doctors have prescribed tranquilizers to women for menstrual cramps, which have a phys­iological cause; for battery—the battered woman is handed a pre­scription and sent home to the batterer.” “When a man and a woman go to doctors complaining of the same symptoms, she is dismissed or handed a tran­quilizer and he is examined and given tests.” “She starts with a lot of emotion by vir­tue of being female; when she gets more emotion than is socially acceptable, or when emotion begins to interfere with the exercise of her female functions or the performance of her female duties, then she is sedated or tranquilized. Female complaints to male doc­tors are perceived as emotional excrescences; and indeed, women learn as girls that either they convince through emotional display or they do not convince at all, so that women do tend to persuade by force of feeling and do learn early to compensate for the almost certain knowledge that they will not be believed because they are not credible no matter how accurate, restrained, or logical they are. The solution to female emotional excess, whether expressed by the woman—appropriately by her lights—or hallucinated by the male doctor, is keeping women calm or numb or asleep with drugs.” “Thirty-six million women can be tranquilized in a year and the nation does not notice it, does not miss their energy, creativity, wit, intellect, passion, commitment.” “Depression is commonplace among women because women are often angry at the conditions of their lives, at what they must do because they are women, at the way they are treated because they are women; and depression truly is anger turned inward. Depression is commonplace among women because a woman’s life is often a series of dead ends, joy in which is the measure of femininity.” “In Nevada, where prostitution is legal, women on welfare have been forced off wel­fare because they refused to accept the suitable employment of prostitution; once it is a legal, state-regulated job, there is no basis for refusing it. Prostitution has long been considered suitable employment for poor women whether it is legal or not.” “The state creates the conditions in which the woman is prostituted, sanctions force against her to effect her prostitution by system­atically ignoring it, creates the economic conditions that mandate her prostitution, fixes her social place so that her sex is a com­modity; and then, prostitution is seen to exist because the woman wills it and the political question is whether or not the state should interfere with this expression of her will. What is seen as the eter­nal dimension of prostitution—why it must always exist—is that the will of women to prostitute themselves will always exist. This means, simply, that men accept that the conditions that create prostitution are acceptable, fixed, and appropriate because prostitution is a proper use of women, one congruent with what women are.” “It is admitted that there are excesses of male sadism—committed by deranged indi­viduals, for instance—but in general the massive degradation of women is not seen to violate the nature of women as such.” “Feminists are accused of being the agents of degradation by postulating that such degradation exists.” “As long as the sex-class system is in­ tact, huge numbers of women will believe that the Right offers them the best deal: the highest reproductive value; the best protec­tion against sexual aggression; the best economic security as the economic dependents of men who must provide; the most reliable protection against battery; the most respect. Left and centrist philosophies, programs, and parties tend to vicious condescension with respect to women’s rights; they lie, and right-wing women are quite brilliant at discerning the hypocrisy of liberal support for women’s rights.”

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Allison

    An incredible polemic. The last chapter is a must read for those interested in radical liturature of any political orientation.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. dworkin's view of women is "women as pornography/women as sex." the systematic oppression of women (which she expands upon really well, very eye-opening) is rooted in women's reproductive role; this leads to views of women as idiots, morally elevated or effete, etc. somewhat repetitive but her writing is splendid. got nauseous at moments just from how bleak and grotesque she can render the status of women. ends on an interesting/classic note abt "class consciousness" and the need for liberation f dworkin's view of women is "women as pornography/women as sex." the systematic oppression of women (which she expands upon really well, very eye-opening) is rooted in women's reproductive role; this leads to views of women as idiots, morally elevated or effete, etc. somewhat repetitive but her writing is splendid. got nauseous at moments just from how bleak and grotesque she can render the status of women. ends on an interesting/classic note abt "class consciousness" and the need for liberation for ALL women. more thrillingly, dworkin provides an interesting delineation of the feminist motive (universal standard for human freedom and rights AND recognition of the sex-class system). honestly, a great primer on women's issues in many ways. dworkin goes beyond public school k thru 12 summaries of suffrage, abortion rights, etc.; explores how certain forms of control relate to the domination of women; and highlights issues less explored now as women's issues (marital rape laws, regulation of welfare benefits, etc.) would recommend postscript: the bits abt right-wing women's reasoning honestly feel a bit shoehorned in. incompletely incorporated in the text. interesting but repetitive after a while.

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