By: M Volz
Andrea Dworkin is most known for her role as a speaker, writer, and activist in the feminist anti-pornography movement. Andrea was born on September 26, 1946 in Camden, New Jersey. Her father was a socialist, whom she credits for encouraging her passion of social justice. Her mother was a big believer in birthcontrol and legal abortion, this lead to Andrea’s later activism. When she was nine years old she was molested by an unknown man in a movie theatre. She began writing as far back as sixth grade.
In 1965, while a student at Bennington College, she was arrested while taking part in a protest, and sent to Women’s House of Detention. Andrea later testified that the doctors in the House of Detention had given her an internal examination that led her to remain bleeding for days. An indictment was not made in the case, but her testimony contributed to the public’s fight of the maltreatment of inmates, and the House of Detention was closed within seven years.
After graduating college in 1969 she moved to Amsterdam. Soon after moving there, she met a guy, and they married. Once they were married, her husband began abusing her, hitting her, and slamming her head into the floor until she was knocked unconscious. Andrea left her husband in 1971. The next year she tried to raise money to return to the United States. In this period of time, her ex-husband stalked her, and was still after her to beat her. She lived like a fugitive, was often homeless, and even had to be a prostitute for a while. Ricki Abrams, a feminist, offered Andrea a safe house to stay to hide from her husband while trying to raise the money needed for the plane ticket. Ricki introduced Andrea to American feminist writing, and Andrea was very inspired. Andrea and Ricki began writing their own book together.
Andrea made a deal with a guy to help smuggle some heroin for $1000 and a plane ticket. The deal ended up falling through, but the man gave her the plane ticket anyways. Andrea moved back to the United States. Before leaving Amsterdam, Andrea had a convorsation with Ricki where she promised to finish their book, and also vowed to dedicate her life to the feminist movement.
Andrea published her first book Woman Hating in 1974, the book she began writing with Ricki. Living in New York, Andrea worked as an anti-war organizer, taking part in demonstrations, debates, and becoming well known as a speaker. She made a speech at the very first Take Back The Night march in 1978.
On January 22, 1986, Dworkin testified for half an hour before the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in New York City.
Andrea went on to write and publish a total of ten books, made numerous speeches, and wrote many articles. She believed that pornography lead to rape and other violence against women.
Andrea died in her sleep April 9, 2005.
I have never heard of Andrea Dworkin before doing this research. I think she is a woman that everyone needs to hear about. I want to go out and buy a few of her books tomorrow. I’ve been very interested latley in the study of pornography and it’s effects, so Andrea was the perfect woman for me to research.
Resources for further study:
All done by Andrea Dworkin
Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant (2002) ISBN 0-465-01754-1
Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation (2000) ISBN 0-684-83612-2
Life and Death: Unapologetic Writings on the Continuing War Against Women (1997) ISBN 0-684-83512-6
In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (with Catharine MacKinnon, 1997) ISBN 0-674-44579-1
Right-Wing Women: The Politics of Domesticated Females (1991) ISBN 0-399-50671-3
Letters from a War Zone: Writings (1988) ISBN 1-55652-185-5 ISBN 0-525-24824-2 ISBN 0-436-13962-6
Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women's Equality (1988) ISBN 0-9621849-0-XIntercourse (1987) ISBN 0-684-83239-9
Pornography—Men Possessing Women (1981) ISBN 0-399-50532-6
Our Blood: Prophesies and Discourses on Sexual Politics (1976) ISBN 0-399-50575-X ISBN 0-06-011116-X
Woman Hating: A Radical Look at Sexuality (Dutton, 1974) ISBN 0-452-26827-3 ISBN 0-525-48397-7
Fiction and Poetry
Mercy (1990, ISBN 0-941423-88-3)
Ice and Fire (1986, ISBN 0-436-13960-X)
The New Woman's Broken Heart: Short Stories (1980, ISBN 0-9603628-0-0)
Morning Hair (self-published, 1968)
Child (1966) (Heraklion, Crete, 1966)
A few good books by other authors:
Brownmiller, Susan (1999). In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution (ISBN 0-385-31486-8).
Strossen, Nadine, Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights (ISBN 0-8147-8149-7). New York University Press, 2000. (First edition New York: Scribner, 1995).