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Friday, April 15, 2005


It's political correctness gone mad!

At last someone has written something sensible in the Guardian about feminist Andrea Dworkin, who died a few days ago. Today's article by Havana Marking provided an antidote to the sheer drivel written in the paper earlier this week.

I found the urge to write an abusive post here almost irresistible on Tuesday, when the Guardian carried an
article by Katharine Viner, an obituary and another obituary , all of which were uncritical and sycophantic to an appalling degree.

If you think I'm being harsh, consider this quote of Dworkin's (taken from Viner's article):

"I really believe a woman has the right to execute a man who has raped her."
Just think about the full implications of that view for one moment.

Or consider this Dworkin opinion (again from Viner's article):

Her analysis of the situation in the Middle East... concluded with a call to women to form their own nation state.
And this from someone described by Viner as feminism's last "truly challenging voice", and by Gloria Steinem as having "a breadth and depth of intelligence that was refreshing".

Marking has provided a healthy (and feminist) corrective to this absurd fawning. I was inhibited from posting earlier by the realisation that any criticism by a man of a feminist icon would be dismissed out of hand. I feel no such inhibitions about quoting from Marking's article:

...what no one said, and what no one wrote in Dworkin's obituaries, was this: Dworkin's true legacy has been that far too many young women today would rather be bitten by a rabid dog than be considered a feminist.

Dworkin's radical writing and hugely controversial - practically melodramatic - ideas not only pushed the argument as far as it could go, but pushed it off the cliff of credibility.

The radical feminist view of the late 20th century is so similar to the moral Victorian view of the 19th century. It is, as Natasha Walter writes in her book The New Feminism, "an alarmist cocktail of horror and fury, with little interest in finding pragmatic ways to reduce women's abuse".

...when a woman is portrayed as a victim, even when she is not, and certainly does not feel like one, you not only insult her but you alienate her as well. The idea that a sexually active and interested woman is merely fulfilling man's fantasy, and there to serve him, is outrageous.

Heterosexual culture, like pornography, is not a bad thing in itself. Dworkin might not have actually said "all men are rapists" but she did have the slogan Dead Men Don't Rape above her desk. Blanket and extreme arguments help no one.
Andrea Dworkin was the ultimate example of the ultra-left's belief in the primacy of posturing over doing anything practical or useful. This self-indulgent search for extreme political purity is done in the name of progress while setting it back.

Perhaps now Dworkin's gone, we can focus more on achieving social justice and human rights instead of waging a gender war through doctrinaire loud-hailers.

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