Thursday, October 25, 2012

And one more time, Andrea Dworkin never said "All Sex is Rape"... but how many times does that have to be said for anti-feminists to believe it?

image is from here

Java man has a question. It's not new and it's not original but it is anti-feminist and fueled by misogyny. Anti-feminism and misogyny isn't new or original either. With thanks, again, to Toto, what follows is from Yahoo Answers. (You may click *here* to see the rest of the answers, most of which are dripping with contempt for feminists and for Andrea in particular.)

What did Andrea Dworkin mean when she said "All men are rapists"

Also: "Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women's bodies." Why do feminists idolize this man hater so much?

I will answer your question fully below, but a better question is this:

Why do so many people--usually anti-feminist men--keep claiming that radical feminists said those things, when it's been demonstrated again and again that they never did? Proof that what you claim she said is a lie is below.

I notice you and the others promoting these misquotes as truths don't ever quote the next two--and I will be happy to let you know where the quotes come from:

"I have spent 20 years writing these books. Had I wanted to say men are beasts and scream, that takes 30 seconds."  -- Andrea Dworkin (Modern Times Interview of Andrea Dworkin With Larry Josephson, on "Modern Times", American Public Radio, 1992, as accessed on Sep. 5, 2010.)

I notice you and the others promoting this nonsense don't quote her saying this:

"I came here today because I don't believe that 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 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." -- Andrea Dworkin

The answer to your question is easy:

She never said "All men are rapists" and neither did any other published feminist such as Marilyn Frye or Catharine A. MacKinnon, which is why you and others can't cite the quote from any of their books. (Putting quotes around the words with Dworkin's name in the same sentence doesn't mean she said it.)

Now, if she actually said and wrote it, wouldn't you think you (or anyone else) would be able to tell us in which book or article or speech it appears?

They never said "All sex is rape" either and the proof is linked to here and below:

This is the truth:
John Berger once called Dworkin "the most misrepresented writer in the western world". She has always been seen as the woman who said that all men are rapists, and that all sex is rape. In fact, she said neither of these things. Here's what she told me in 1997: "If you believe that what people call normal sex is an act of dominance, where a man desires a woman so much that he will use force against her to express his desire, if you believe that's romantic, that's the truth about sexual desire, then if someone denounces force in sex it sounds like they're denouncing sex. If conquest is your mode of understanding sexuality, and the man is supposed to be a predator, and then feminists come along and say, no, sorry, that's using force, that's rape - a lot of male writers have drawn the conclusion that I'm saying all sex is rape." In other words, it's not that all sex involves force, but that all sex which does involve force is rape. [Source for this paragraph is here and below:]

For more on why so many people describe Andrea Dworkin, a human rights activist, as a man-hater or as someone who said the nonsense you are spreading here, see this excellent article:

As for the other quote, you take it out of context. It's not a statement of fact. It's an observation based on evidence which is part of a larger discussion on the reality--a fact--that so many men hate and abuse women in and out of bed (which is the serious social and global issue, not what feminists think of men):

"But the hatred of women is a source of sexual pleasure for men in its own right. Intercourse appears to be the expression of that contempt in pure form, in the form of a sexed hierarchy; it requires no passion or heart because it is power without invention articulating the arrogance of those who do the f---ing. Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men's contempt for women; but that contempt can turn gothic and express itself in many sexual and sadistic practices that eschew intercourse per se. Any violation of a woman's body can become sex for men; this is the essential truth of pornography." -- Andrea Dworkin [Source is here and below:]

I hope the readers here appreciate the difference in meaning. It's quite significant.

 Sources for the above:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Clarifying the focus of this blog

image is from here

Just a quick post to let you know that I changed the subheading atop each page of this blog from:

This blog exists to challenge white heterosexual male supremacy as an institutionalized ideology and a systematized set of practices which are misogynistic, heterosexist, racist, genocidal, and ecocidal.


This blog exists to challenge the oppressive forces of white, heterosexual, and male supremacy. I understand each to be institutionalized ideologies that are mutually reinforcing. They work together as braided practices which are misogynistic, heterosexist, racist, genocidal, and ecocidal.

I hope it is clearer now.

In the past some have criticised me for only challenging the oppressive behavior of "white het men" as if I don't also critique the misogyny of men of color, the racism and misogyny of white gay men, and the racism of white feminism and white women generally. I try to be respectful and responsible in the ways I challenge other oppressed people, because as a Western white male, I occupy several positions of privilege over so many people, even while we may also share some experiences of oppression and marginalisation given my location as a gay Jewish person.

I hope it is clear from reading many of my posts that I believe the white, het, or male supremacy that is practiced by oppressed people is always in service to powerful and privileged white het men, at the expense of everyone else.

Anyway, I hope the change clarifies the political stance taken here. And I also hope this blog remains a place where the concerns, challenges, theories, and activism of radical and feminist women of color are put front and center.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide": an invitation to discuss this film

Amie Kandeh speaks to girls in Freetown about staying focused on their studies.
Photo: Melissa Winkler/IRC
If you haven't as yet, I encourage you to watch the documentary, Half The Sky, based on a book by two New York Times journalists, Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof. It is filled with stories of pain and empowerment. (For any survivors of rape, trafficking, prostitution, female genital cutting, battery, and other forms of misogynistic abuse, please be warned: this film deals with each of these atrocities.)

Let's discuss the strengths and the problems with the film. What follows is from one of the websites for the film *here*:

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into
Opportunity for Women Worldwide

A special presentation of Independent Lens.

Watch part one online through October 8 and part two through October 9.

A landmark transmedia project featuring a four-hour PBS primetime national and international broadcast event (check local listings), a Facebook-hosted social action game, mobile games, two websites, educational video modules with companion text, a social media campaign supporting over 30 partner NGOs, and an impact assessment plan all inspired by Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the widely acclaimed book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide was filmed in 10 countries and follows Kristof, WuDunn, and celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde on a journey to tell the stories of inspiring, courageous individuals. Across the globe oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls. The linked problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality — which needlessly claim one woman every 90 seconds — present to us the single most vital opportunity of our time: the opportunity to make a change. All over the world women are seizing this opportunity.
I'll add to this post soon, especially if there are no comments. But I'd like this to be a conversation about the film and the politics of it, as well as the activists featured in the film and the male supremacist atrocities against girls and women they are combating. The activists are:

Edna Adan

Edna Adan was raised in Somaliland in an educated and wealthy family, and went on to a distinguished international career with the World Health Organization. But after retiring, Adan returned to her roots and opened Somaliland’s first maternal health facility.

Urmi Basu

Urmi Basu is the founder of New Light, a secular nonprofit charitable trust that has set up a shelter to protect and educate young girls, children and women at high risk of commercial sexual exploitation.

Amie Kandeh

Amie Kandeh is the Women's Protection and Empowerment Coordinator for the International Rescue Committee in Sierra Leone. After fleeing Sierra Leone with her family during the country’s civil war, Kandeh returned in 2002 to put her skills as an educator and counselor to use in rebuilding the country.

Rebecca Lolosoli

Rebecca Lolosoli is the matriarch of the Umoja Women's Village and an advocate for women's rights. Growing up as a member of the Samburu tribe, Lolosoli attended primary school and then nursing school but dropped out early on due to lack of money to pay the fees.

Somaly Mam

Somaly Mam was born in an ethnic minority community in Cambodia's Mondulkiri province, and grew up as an orphan living in extreme poverty. A man posing as her grandfather sold Somaly as a young girl into sexual slavery.

Ingrid Munro

Ingrid Munro is a Swedish national who worked for eight years for the Swedish government in the Bureau of Housing Research. Following this, she began her career as an advocate for the poor in Kenya, pressing for their right to housing as a staff member of Habitat and the head of African Housing Fund, an advocacy group for the homeless.

Jane Ngoiri

Jane Ngoiri grew up in the slums of Nairobi and dropped out of school after the eighth grade. She married at age 18, but when she was pregnant with her second child, her husband took a second wife and she soon found herself with three younger children, pushed out of her home and with no money.

John Wood

John Wood is the founder and board chair of Room to Read. He started Room to Read after a career with Microsoft from 1991 to 1999, where he was in charge of marketing and business development teams throughout Asia, including serving as director of business development for the Greater China region and as director of marketing for the Asia-Pacific region.

So let's talk about this film and the activism.