ifeminists.com: A central gathering place and information center for individualist feminists.   -- explore the new feminism --
introduction | interaction | information

ifeminists.com > introduction > editorials

A Post-Mortem Analysis of Andrea Dworkin
April 27, 2005
by David A. Roberts

An odd thing about this pathetic mixed-up creature is that if you read her Autobiography carefully, it becomes clear that her man-hating style was actually misdirected rage at her mother. As she relates, her father worked himself to the bone with three jobs to pay constant medical bills of her hypochondriac mother. Andrea had a good relationship with her father, whom she credits with introducing her to "the world of ideas" by never failing to watch and discuss Sunday morning talking head news shows with her. But when Andrea reached puberty she became locked in entrenched conflict with her mother. By her own account, she was obviously in competition with her mother for her father's attention.

When her father made clear that he wouldn't take Andrea's side against her mother, she ran away to New York City and became a prostitute. Far from being some kind of "progressive", her motivation for choosing this "profession" is a story as old as the hills. In her case it also appears to involve the woman's counterpart of the Oedipus Complex called the Electra Complex, where a woman sub-consciously wants to murder her mother and/or perhaps marry her father. It's hard to say whether she also did this to "punish" her father for not taking her side against her mother, or whether in some mixed up way she figured that if her mother had used sex to control her father, she'd find some other man and use sex to control him, and thus in some perverted way she might kill two birds with one stone and "even the score" with her mother, while also punishing her father.

Either way, running away to become a prostitute for any reason is such an obviously self-destructive course of action, that one can only conclude that the form of Electra Complex that Andrea fell into, also involved an element of self-hatred of herself as a woman, that in her case manifested itself as an outward persona of "man-hating" as a way of confusing herself about her own inner turmoil that she was unwilling to deal with. It's quite common among radical feminists as well as prostitutes, that they adopt an outward persona of "man-hating" as a way of deflecting their awareness of inner self-hatred of themselves as a woman. Also like Dworkin, many radical feminists deliberately wear dumpy clothes and otherwise make themselves ugly as a way of pretending to themselves and others that they don't care what men think. But few go as far as Dworkin's extreme of self-destructiveness, and stuff themselves until they weigh 300-400 pounds, which ironically probably also contributed to her early demise. Self-respecting women don't do such blatantly stupid things.

Anyway, when her stupid plan of becoming a prostitute didn't work out very well and she eventually came home, her father forgave her and went into debt to send her to Bennington College, where she did a lot of other stupid things like getting arrested at an anti-war protest at the United Nations. In the detention center after her arrest, her clever little pin-head mind figured out that if she told a pack of lies about the "indignity" of the way she was treated, she could attract attention. This plan worked so well, that one sees her repeating this pattern for the rest of her life.

An odd thing about Dworkin's newspaper obituary is that even though it started out with a claim that she was "abused" as a child, the only actual abuse that the obituary described is, "She characterized her first experience of oppression as the result, in elementary school, of her refusal to sing Christmas carols, which led to anti-Semitic graffiti and official punishment. It was the first of many formative travails that marked her adolescence and young adulthood." Wait a minute. Is singing Christmas carols really a form of "patriarchal oppression"? A prudent person could respectfully stand silent without getting into any trouble during an exercise with religious overtones in a country in which they are a minority. Was Andrea subjected to "official punishment" for her religion, or for the flamboyance of a protest that was deliberately designed to create a disturbance and attract attention? In any case, what did this have to do with "patriarchal oppression"?

In her Autobiography she mentions a few more stories like this about her early "travails" in public school. But that's the only kind of "abuse" that she claimed to have suffered as a child. Oddly, most of her conflict in public school was with women teachers (symbols of her mother?). She approvingly mentions a male teacher who tried to befriend and help her as a writer (a symbol of her father?). Is this the stuff that "child abuse" and her theories of the "patriarchal oppression of women" are made of? Give me a break. A boy would almost certainly have been subjected to the same "official punishment", if he had acted the way Andrea did.

Anyway, she next went to the Netherlands, where this alleged "man-hater" got mixed up another guy in a relationship that didn't work out very well, undoubtedly because it was a dance of mutual domestic violence, even though her version of the story was that she was the only "victim." But, "She also credited her time in Europe for helping her to grow as a writer." Once again you see a pattern of her attraction to men who try to help her as a writer, and her inability to establish a stable relationship with them.

Anyway, she returned to New York where as she says "I was too naive to know that hack writing is the only paying game in town", and this "man hater" once again returned to her old tricks as a prostitute, supplemented by hack writing "anywhere she could find a sympathetic publisher" who was willing to publish "stories of her sexual victimization." Most of the publishers were undoubtedly men, and once again by her own words she was seeking their "sympathy." Isn't it obvious that this dingbat was the principal cause of her own "sexual victimization", and all she was really doing was endlessly repeating the "celebrity" of her original 15 minutes of fame from a similar pack of lies she had told after she had been arrested at the U.N. while a freshman at Bennington?

In her Autobiography she says that she first fell in with a radical feminist cult group after she returned to New York. At first she had enough sense to resist their attempts to brainwash her into thinking that her real problem was "patriachal oppression", because from the facts of her life it was so blatantly obvious how absurd that was. But as cult groups do, they kept working on her, and eventually she figured out how to make that line work for her in the man-hating hack writing style that she then adopted as "the only paying game in town." There's not a shred of truth in it of course, but she got so good at spinning this line that she was eventually invited to Harvard to lecture on "patriarchal oppression." Such is the stuff that most "women's studies" programs in our colleges and universities are made of.

But what really takes the cake is that this dizzy dame then gets mixed up with another male writer, John Stoltenburg, who himself was so mixed up that he apparently thought that he "loved" a mixed-up 300-400 pound ugly stupid man-hating burnt-out prostitute turned hack writer. But after she again tried to re-create her original 15 minutes of fame with an unbelievable story about being raped in a hotel on a tour of Europe (give me a break, what man would want to rape such a pathetic person?), "even her husband abandoned her emotionally." "Now a year has passed and sometimes he's with me in his heart and sometimes he's not," she wrote. The poor dear. Life's a bitch isn't it? Not even one of the dumbest men on Earth would put up with her stupid lies and self-destructive con games forever.

Another mixed-up radical feminist who made a name for herself with a public persona of man-hating is Gloria Steinem. That Steinem also ended up married raises similar questions about the motivation of her own brand of man-hating. It also raises questions about Steinem's overblown tribute to Dworkin, "In every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve. Andrea is one of them." One would have to agree that the hack writing style that Dworkin helped pioneer, enabled her to achieve a small measure of the celebrity that she obviously sought as a way to attract attention from her father, and later other men. You be the judge of whether she helped "the human race to evolve" in a positive direction, or whether the tragedy of this mixed-up feminazi was that she never grew up and learned to stop behaving like a naughty little boy in the third grade who misbehaves in order to attract attention. The only difference is that the naughty little boy in the third grade pulls a girl's pig- tails to attract attention, but Andrea cleverly figured out that she could yank men's chains in order to accomplish the same thing.

I doubt that St. Peter lost much sleep figuring out where this dizzy dame should spend eternity. But whatever St. Peter did, one thing's for sure. Andrea Dworkin won't be missed in my neck of the woods.

ifeminists.com > home | introduction | interaction | information | about

ifeminists.com is edited by Wendy McElroy; it is made possible by support from The Independent Institute and members like you.