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Andrea Dworkin dead

2005-04-12 15:25:10.731343+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

Andrea Dworkin[Wiki] dead at 58. I was alerted to this by Debra Hyde's notes on the matter, as this seems to have slid quietly by the San Francisco press, but if you were so inclined you could go find all sorts of reports out there: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

[ related topics: Sexual Culture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-12 16:30:30.552098+00 by: ebradway

Encouraged by her socially conscious father, Ms. Dworkin embraced dissent from an early age.

Ouch! I think she just turned over in her grave... Seriously though, Asha and I have an ongoing, low-key debate about Feminism. When we first started dating, she enlightened me on how pornography can be detrimental to women. The biggest issue, it seems, is that pornography tends to be drastically skewed towards male domination. This skewing blends into all aspects of culture (I'm not saying porn creates this, it's all part of the same issue). How many movies, commercials, or TV shows have you seen that feature what society would call a "good looking" woman mated with an ugly or even average male? Very few shows represent represent average looking women. The net effect is that young girls feel like they have to be "good looking" in order to attract any guy and at the same time, young men tend to focus on the "good looking" girls at school (I can speak from experience). The overall experience for young women is that their self-confidence is tied to their looks. Of course, Asha, as a young classical and moden dancer, got to experience thin-is-in in ways most young women are spared.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-12 17:26:35.599667+00 by: crasch

Porn doesn't cause men to want "good looking" women; pornographers shoot "good looking" women because that's what men want to see. Men focus on "good looking" girls because good looks -- silky hair, clear skin, pert breasts, a firm butt, low body fat, proportionality, and a 0.71 waist to hip ratio -- are associated with youth, good health and fertility.

Women are attracted to good looking men too. But it's more important that the guy be a good provider. I would wager that in the majority of those depictions of ugly men with beautiful women, the men were rich, powerful, high status males.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-12 17:33:12.262021+00 by: Dan Lyke

Ballroom dancing is dramatically skewed towards male domination. That pornography reflects something of the larger reality that we'd rather not deal with doesn't make it the enemy.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-12 18:17:26.816633+00 by: ebradway

I think Dan's comment relates to my first parenthetical remark: porn doesn't create the situation, it is endemic of something larger. And yes, ballroom dancing is dramatically skewed towards male domination, hence the great saying "Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high-heels."

And no, crasch, the men are not always rich, powerful, high-status males. And no, crasch, the current mode of women depicted in the media does not represent good health and fertility. Most are near anemic and represent malnutrition. Malnutrition leads to lowered fertility, especially in women.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-12 19:54:46.710524+00 by: Larry Burton

Male domination is Darwinism at work. When female domination becomes a strategy that will give the human race a better chance at survival we will see female domination. I think we may be seeing a turn toward that now. Maybe in a few thousand years that turn will be complete. Then we will see female domination as the dominant theme in pornography.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-13 01:16:57.133505+00 by: crasch [edit history]

ebradway, I did not say that the ugly men with beautiful women depicted in the media are always rich, powerful, high-status males. I said that I would wager that the majority of them are.

Many models and actresses look too thin to me too. But I don't think they're that way because of what men want. If you were to ask men their opinion of Calista Flockhart or Kate Moss, I'd wager that most would answer, "They're too skinny."

That some actresses go overboard does not change the fact though, that the characteristics men find attractive are highly correlated with fertilty and good health.

Though there is much about porn that I would change, I don't think it's porn's fault that men generally find old, wrinkled, fat women unattractive. If you want a book length discussion of why this might be the case, I recommend David Buss's Evolution of Desire.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-13 03:05:30.242763+00 by: Dan Lyke

What I've later learned is that the characterization of Ginger Rogers is a lie: Recently I heard someone in the field say that men often have trouble learning because they really have to manhandle the woman. I don't mean to denigrate Ginger's efforts, but ballroom in particular seems to be a pretty dominant/submissive gender aligned sport.

I also wonder what the real audience is for the stick figure women. Do these models make their appearance in "Women's magazines" first? I don't know, although I have my suspicions.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-13 06:20:19.844+00 by: topspin [edit history]

I'd like to offer the intro to Ms. Dworkin's own writing about porn which cites "first person" (read: anecdotal by critics) accounts from women. She does make the excellent parallel to other witnesses/victims of social atrocities:

Most of what we know about the experience of punishment, the experience of torture, the experience of socially sanctioned sadism, comes from the first-person testimony of individuals--"anecdotal" material. We have the first-person stories of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, of Primo Levy and Elie Wiesel, of Nadezhda Mandelstam and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

On the subject of human sexuality, perhaps I'm splitting short curly hairs here, but there's erotica and there's porn. Dan, and others here, have cited highly erotic photographers, discussed lube in depth, talked about good times on an oily waterbed, etc...... but c'mon guys..... there's sites we've hit that we'd just as soon NOT post here and say, "Wouldya look at that!!!" because we know instinctively we're viewing the woman as a sex object for use, not as an erotic partner.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-13 23:56:55.907742+00 by: Pete

"Erotica" is composed of sexually arousing things the speaker likes.

"Porn" is composed of sexually arousing things people other than the speaker like.

That's the only consistent difference.

#Comment Remember the conjugation: made: 2005-04-14 01:11:50.36135+00 by: baylink [edit history]

I am erotic

You are kinky

They are perverted.