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  From Truth Dig’s article by Janice G. Raymond and H. Patricia Hynes:


“In the 1980s, Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, along with a dedicated band of radical feminist activists, launched a courageous and groundbreaking civil rights ordinance against pornography. Dworkin, in one of our favorite passages, wrote:

The creative mind is intelligence in action in the world. … The world is anywhere that thought has consequences. … Creative intelligence is searching intelligence: it demands to know the world, demands its right to consequence. … Women are not supposed to have creative intelligence, but when they do they are supposed to renounce it. If they want the love of men, without which they are not really women, they had better not hold on to an intelligence that searches and that is action in the world; thought that has consequences is inimical to fettered femininity.

This insistence on consequence, this attempt to make things real for women, is what Dworkin was most reviled for. She dared to think that she could transform her insights and intelligence into legislation that could help provide some legal means of redress to women who had suffered from pornographic violence. When FACT, the so-called Feminist Anti-Censorship Task Force, attacked the anti-pornography legislation that was supported by many women’s groups, neighborhood organizations, women in prostitution, survivors of sexual exploitation, lesbians, ethnic and civil rights organizations, and by the hundreds of women who risked public exposure and harassment testifying on behalf of this legislation, the personal and political attacks on Dworkin escalated.

When violence against women can be rationalized or, more to the point, marketed and valorized as “sex,” common agreement falters. Prostitution and pornography are the not-so-popular issues of violence against women, continually depoliticized and reduced to private choices. The endorsing of pornography and prostitution, especially from progressives and champions of women’s human rights—those who should be radical feminist allies, those who should have been Dworkin’s allies—is inexcusable.

When a woman works against pornography and prostitution, her reputation is destroyed, like the women who are exploited in prostitution and pornography. The latter are branded as sluts, whores, hookers, hoes and tarts, while the former are cast as uptight, anti-sex, extremist, fundamentalist, right-wing, conservative, moralistic, anti-feminist, and against a woman’s right to use her body in a self-determined way. If she is a writer, she gets censored from many publications that would be a natural outlet for her work. Rather than they, it is she who is portrayed as censorious and an opponent of free and progressive speech. In contrast, the pornographers and pimps are garlanded as human rights heroes and defenders of free speech.”


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