The Power of Andrea Dworkin’s Rage

Johanna Fateman at the NYRB:

In her work, rage is authority; her imperious voice and dirty mouth make for a feminist literature empty of caveats and equivocation. And reading her now, beyond the anti-porn intransigence she’s both reviled and revered for, one feels a prescient apocalyptic urgency, one perfectly calibrated, it seems, to the high stakes of our time. In the #MeToo era, women’s unsparing public testimony—in granular detail and dizzying quantity—is at the heart of a mainstream cultural reckoning with sexual violence and harassment. Such frank accounts were not at the forefront, though, or even in the picture, of early second-wave feminism. Dworkin’s emergence as a militant figure of the women’s movement in New York was part of a turn: she was one of the first writers to use her own experiences of rape and battery in a revolutionary analysis of male supremacy. This is not to say that Dworkin’s books are all autobiographical, but in all of her work—from her frequently cited polemics to her desolate, little-known works of autofiction—she boldly identifies herself with victims, unafraid to brand herself with an image of female abjection and sexual shame in the name of justice. 

more here.

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