Sunday, April 09, 2006

Why I Love Andrea Dworkin, part 2

Today is the one-year anniversary of Andrea Dworkin's death.

I wanted to write something big today, something worthy of the occasion. But I'm spent. I simply feel grief for the loss of this woman, and I don't feel very expressive.

Fortunately, others have addressed the anniversary. Be sure to go to Femivist, because lelyons has done a spectacular job on these two pieces. Laurelin is planning two posts based on a conference she attended on Dworkin's life. Witchy-woo has a great post contrasting Dworkin and Hugh Heffner. Just go read it-I never would have thought of this, and it's an apt comparison.

With a jolt, I just realized that I'm writing as if there was an Andrea Dworkin Carnival! If you wrote about her and I missed you or forgot you, please comment so I can add your link. Suddenly, I'm feeling much better. Yes, we've lost Andrea, but she's alive in cyberspace. Andrea Dworkin lives as long as feminists and pro-feminists keep fighting for an end to the violence against women.

I'll end with one of my favorite Dworkin quotes. It's vintage Andrea: painful, dark, and cuts straight to the point. It's so tempting to drink the kool-aid and be blissfully unaware of what's happening in the world. But that's not real. The only thing to do is face the pain and suffering head-on.

The worst immorality is in living a trivial life because one is afraid to face any other kind of life—a despairing life or an anguished life or a twisted and difficult life.

[Edit: I intend "Why I Love Andrea Dworkin" to be an ongoing series.]

Second edit: Sam told me about the memorial she wrote last year. Also, check out her whole site-it's amazing.


le lyons said...

Yay for the announcement that this will be an ongoing series! I was so excited when I saw your part 1. Thanks for the's funny because I have been clicking around the blogosphere today trying to find other posts about Andrea. Now, I am off to read Witchy-woo's.

And, for the record, I am sad today too. But at least we have Andrea's legacy to keep us going strong.

Madame DeBarge said...

I love that quote. It perfectly fits how I feel most of the time.

witchy-woo said...

"Andrea Dworkin lives as long as feminists and pro-feminists keep fighting for an end to the violence against women."

That's exactly how I feel SE! I read somewhere - can't remember where now...maybe it was on Nikki Craft's Andrea memorial site - someone had the idea of t-shirts, bumper stickers etc. saying "What would Andrea do?"

Re-reading her work revitalises me when my stamina starts flagging and fires me up when I need it. The thought of her keeps me going sometimes.

Thanks for the linkage :)

Sam said...

I intend "Why I Love Andrea Dworkin" to be an ongoing series.


It's almost a year old now, but I wrote this for the Portland Memorial last June and it remains one of the articles I'm most proud of because Portland is so virulently anti-Dworkin even the woman's bookstore doesn't carry her books. One woman who had driven two hours to come to the memorial cried saying how good knowing she wasn't alone felt when she saw how many of us were there.

Portland memorial for Andrea Dworkin

spotted elephant said...

le lyons-I'm sorry, I think I've been writing your name as "lelyons". Sigh. Will get it right now.

Madame-yeah, it's a great, if painful quote. It's how life really is.

Witchy-woo-That's great: What would Andrea do? That would make me smile continuously. I'm going to search and see if anyone got that going.

Sam-Thanks for letting me know about the memorial and your site. I've added them to the post.

Why in the world is Portland so anti-Dworkin? I have this lovely mindset about the political climate of the Pacific Northwest (I'm just north of Seattle), and Portland is supposed to be even more liberal, more progressive than Seattle. Feminist bookstores don't carry her stuff? What in blazes is that about?

Sam said...

Portland is still America, and the prostitution industry here is enormous. Portland has something like 120 stripclubs, more than Las Vegas, and other SOBs (sexually oriented businesses) are everywhere because there's no zoning laws keeping them from popping up across the street from schools.

I've gone in the bookstore several times looking for Dworkin and was always told they don't carry any but they'd be happy to order them special for me. Last time I went inquired why they don't carry any Dworkin if they call themselves a feminist bookstore and the woman working there said, "We're not a feminist bookstore, we're a women's bookstore" and that was all.

spotted elephant said...

That's true-those stores are still part of the larger culture.

A women's bookstore, not a feminist bookstore? Oh, very weak.

spotted elephant said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
le lyons said...

SE - no worries on the name thing. It's actually l.e. lyons. It's my first and middle initials and then half of my last name...long story (and I'm clearly not very creative). Anyhow people write it in all different ways, so I never mind. The only thing I don't really like is when people write "Le Lyons" but no one knows, so I don't get upset or anything. Thanks for caring though - it means a lot! Oh - and writing it as lelyons is perfectly fine. The only thing I care about is that it is in lowercases...I am so weird. Enough on this topic...moving on:

Also - Sam, I have written this before at Genderberg, but the sex industry in Portland absolutely overwhelmed me when I visited a year ago. I don't think I will ever go back to the city simply because I can't handle it. Talk about panic attacks. So many "progressive" fakes walking around with their liberal politics and then having a drink while a woman dances naked. Right. Jackasses.