Feminist author and anti-porn crusader Andrea Dworkin died last Friday of complications from surgery.
As author Susie Bright writes in her weblog, Dworkin was the first woman to take porn seriously. “She was the one who got us looking at porn with a critical eye,” Bright notes. “She made you feel like you could just stomp into the adult bookstore and seize everything for inspection and a bonfire. The funny thing that happened on the way to the X-Rated Sex Palace was that some of us came to different conclusions that Miss Dworkin. We saw the sexism of the porn business… but we also saw some intriguing possibilities and amazing maverick spirit.”
Dworkin was a complicated figure, known as much for her unruly appearance as her writings. She was a woman of enormous paradoxes; her own writing, for instance, owed heavily to the Marquise de Sade. Bright obviously wrestles with complicated feelings in her obit, even resorting to Googlism to author part of it. Still, she ends brilliantly:
“I’m sorry Andrea Dworkin started a sexual revolution that she ended up repudiating. She never got to see people like me, Carol, and the rest of us little protegees who took her inspiration and flew to a new dimension. She got stuck, and then she got sick, and when you’re famous for one thing, no one wants to see you change unless you repudiate it all, like a pathetic sinner seeking redemption. She was too stubborn and too old-fashioned for that. Andrea Dworkin never would have admitted that she was a superstar. She was the animator of the ultimate porno horror loop, where the Final Girl never gets a chance to slay the monster, she only dies, dies, dies, with the cries of the angry mourners to remember her.”