The Radical Feminism of Andrea Dworkin
Fateman and Scholder's anthology is useful as a primer on works by a figure consigned to the radical fringe of feminist discourse. -Kirkus Reviews Dworkin wants us to look straight at those questions in feminism that are the most delicate, the most painful, where women have the most to lose. Dworkin had reason to be angry: Her life was marked by the kind of male violence that is disturbingly common yet consistently goes unacknowledged. -Bookforum Dworkin became the ultimate symbol of radical feminism for a generation coming of age in the 1970s and '80s. This collection of her fiction and nonfiction mixes her most controversial writing with autobiography, like "My Suicide," an essay discovered after her death in 2005. -New York Times Book Review, "New and Noteworthy" So what is it in Dworkin's long-neglected oeuvre that has suddenly become resonant? Perhaps it's simply because we're in a moment of crisis, when people seeking solutions are dusting off all sorts of radical ideas. But I think it's more than that. Dworkin was engaged, as many women today are engaged, in a pitched cultural battle over whose experiences and assumptions define our common reality. -Michelle Goldberg, New York Times Yet time has smoothed many of Dworkin's rough edges. As her overheated rhetoric cools, what is left is the singlemindedness of a woman who courted disgrace, harassment, and mockery in pursuit of liberation. If her tactics were flawed and her polemics often excessive to the point of camp, her ability to trace the awful vitality of sexism is still resonant. "Equality is a practice," she wrote. "It is an action. It is a way of life. It is a social practice. It is an economic practice. It is a sexual practice. It can't exist in a vacuum." The book reintroduces her as a revolutionary thinker unafraid to be the stereotypical "angry woman." Indeed, she embraced that role. She was an artist of rage, alternately poetic and ridiculous, incisive and messy, compelling and tedious. -Boston Review It's book that a new generation of feminists should want to get their hands on. -Bustle The book is a mirror for what I've been afraid of for years: being defiant, being ugly, being unloved by men, even being unloved by other feminists like Andrea Dworkin. -Nona Willis Aronowitz, New York Magazine's The Cut Last Days At Hot Slit pays homage to the Marchiano-era Dworkin, to the anachronistic anti-porn persona everyone loves to hate, but along the way, it makes some much-needed jagged cuts. -The Daily Beast Dworkin sacrificed her comfort, her reputation, and to some extent herself for her writing. What she never gave up was style. -New Yorker Last Days at Hot Slit provides a service by virtue of its inclusion of previously unpublished pieces and excerpts from out-of-print books, but there's also great skill behind the respectful, honest depiction of Dworkin's fraught development as an intellectual. -Dissent The new collection of Dworkin's writings Last Days at Hot Slit, edited by Johanna Fateman and Amy Scholder, is an exhilarating reminder that however you're currently doing feminism, it's probably wrong. Dworkin's writing is forceful, unapologetic, pleasurable without making its author seem likeable. She describes herself, pointedly, as 'one of those serious women.' What Last Days reveals, according to its editors, is that Dworkin shaped our current world without ever being recognized or appreciated as Great, in the ways that Great Men traditionally are, and it's hard to disagree with them. We get our ideas of how we're supposed to be-shaven or not, angry or otherwise-from somewhere, and one of those places is her work. -Commonwealth Dworkin claimed a radical femininity, refusing to perform her gender in order to satisfy the patriarchal palate; she was loud, fat, indifferently dressed, un-made-up. She didn't ask for permission to speak; she simply spoke, when and about what and to whom she wished. She
Andrea Dworkin (1946- 2005) was an American radical feminist author associated with antipornography, antirape, and battered women's movements of the 1970s and 80s. She wrote more than ten books, both nonfiction and fiction, and she coauthored, with feminist law professor Catherine Mackinnon, the highly controversial Antipornography Civil Rights Ordinance of 1983. Johanna Fateman is a writer, musician, and coowner of Seagull Salon in New York. Her art criticism appears regularly in The New Yorker and Artforum. Amy Scholder is an editor and writer. She is currently producing a documentary feature, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, and serves as board president of Lambda Literary. Johanna Fateman is a writer, musician, and coowner of Seagull Salon in New York. Her art criticism appears regularly in The New Yorker and Artforum.