Andrea Dworkin Essay Research Paper Andrea DworkinAndrea

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Andrea Dworkin Essay, Research Paper Andrea Dworkin Andrea Dworkin has been an influential write, speaker, and activist for over two decades. She claims to be a feminist, and that her ideas are beneficial to women. This paper will show that many of her most popular beliefs are not only detrimental to society, but also not in the best interests of women. In letters from a war zone, Andrea Dworkin presents a collection of speeches and short articles she has composed during her career as a writer and activist. Many of her articles deal with censorship and pornography. One claim is central to all of these, pornography is an act and not an idea, thus censorship is not relevant to it. In response to a New York Time Review of her 1981 book, Pornography: Men Possessing Women, Dworkin

writes, ?Pornography says the women want to be hurt, forced, and abused; pornography says women want to be raped, battered, kidnapped, maimed; pornography says women want to be humiliated, shamed, defamed, pornography says that women say no but mean yes – Yes to violence, yes to pain.? (Dworkin p 203) In response to Dworkin’s fiery rhetoric, Wendy Mcelroy writes that Dworkin has scientific backing and even cites evidence to the contrary. ?In Japan, where pornography depicting violence is widely available, rape is much lower per capita than in the United States, where violence in porn is restricted.? Mcelroy attacks the belief that pornography cause violence, stating that even if a correlation is present, is does not necessarily mean there is a causal relationship. (McElroy

102) Lynne Segal sees in inherent harm in trying to link the two together. She believes that feminists who try to do so are wasting valuable time that could be spent on other important issues. ?In the end, anti-pornography campaigns, feminist or not, can only enlist today, as they have invariously enlisted before, guilt and anxiety around sex, as well as lifetimes of confusion in our personal experiences of sexual arousal and activity.? ?In contrast, campaigns which get to the heart of men’s violence and sadism towards women must enlist the widest possible resources to empower socially.? (Gibson 19) Another argument of Dworkin’s is that pornography should not be protected as free speech under the first amendment. It is her contention that protecting what pornographers say, is

protecting what pornography does. Pornography is more than words. They are acts against women. ?Pornography happens to women.? As a result, bans on such material are warranted, not only because it is harmfully and discriminatory to women, but also because there are no civil liberties that are violated in preventing an act. (Dworkin 185) Since it is uncertain whether there is even a correlation between violence against women and pornography, any attempt to ban it must be viewed as censorship. What ever it is referred to, it still has the same effect. In many of Dworkin’s writings, she laments the silencing of women. She is partially responsible for this silencing. In 1992, The Canadian Supreme Court ruled in favor of a legal restriction on pornography based on the psychological

damage it does women. ?Ironically, this obscenity law has been used almost exclusively against gay, lesbian, and feminist material.? (McElroy 87) The effect of censorship is absolutely detrimental the weaker voice, as is the case with the Butler decision. Dworkin herself fell victim, when her book, Pornography, was seized by Canadian customs officials. Censorship in contradictory to feminist goals, because freedom of speech is the most powerful weapon in the feminist arsenal. Medical journals used by medical students, and the testimony of women victimized by sexual abuse are prime targets of censorship. (Strossen 77) An episode involving Dworkin and her cohort in censorship, Catherine MacKinnon, demonstrates the dangers of censorship. At a symposium at A Michigan law school, at