MAKING OF A MAN HATER; Still Convinced All Men Are Rapists and Sex Equals Repression, Feminist Andrea Dworkin Died This Week. but Did She Loathe Men Because She Wished She'd Been Born One?
Byline: GLENYS ROBERTS
ANDREA DWORKIN did nothing to convert anyone remotely suspicious of feminism. With her huge frame forever clad in shapeless dungarees, she wore the opposition down with her sweeping statements that women are sexual slaves who do not enjoy intercourse and that men are essentially rapists.
The American writer, who has just died at the age of 58, certainly did not believe in the charm offensive. Her shocking pronouncements included: 'In seduction, the rapist often bothers to buy a bottle of wine.' She also said: 'I really believe a woman has the right to execute a man who has raped her.'
It is hard to see how men could win where Ms Dworkin was concerned. She thought the very act of heterosexual sex was an inherent expression of contempt for the female body.
Intercourse, the name of her most famous book published in the Eighties, threw up yet more outrageous quotes- 'Intercourse remains a means, or the means, of making a woman inferior: communicating to her, cell by cell, her own inferior status- pushing and thrusting until she gives in.' She even thought that high fashion was demeaning to women since it was often created by men - hence, presumably, her fondness for shapeless unisex dungarees.
She teamed these with unflattering trainers, a rumpled T- shirt, a veritable haystack of stringy, unkempt hair and a negligent attitude to her own massive weight, which earned her the nickname Mount Dworkin.
SHE took her implacable feminist views to their logical conclusion in her all-out opposition to the pornography trade and her defence of the hapless Linda Lovelace, the 'star' of Seventies porn film Deep Throat. Linda's plight, forced into degrading acts by the men she loved and finally arrested on a drug charge, led to Dworkin's 1979 book Men Possessing Women.
Later she helped bring in a law eventually scrapped - allowing exploited women to sue producers and distributors of adult material, arguing that pornography was a breach of women's civil rights.
Unsurprisingly labelled a man hater, Ms Dworkin once appeared at the Edinburgh Festival calling for a country for women only. Yet to criticise Dworkin from the safety of 21st-century egalitarian attitudes is to forget the status quo of the Seventies, when she made her mark.
Of all of the angry 'wimmin', Dworkin was the angriest. She claimed to have good reason, saying she had been abused as a child, raped several times as a teenager and raped again in middle age in a Parisian hotel. It sounded like such a catalogue of disasters that some people even questioned whether it could all be true.
Ironically, her major role model was a man - her own father, a radical Leftwing teacher from whom she learned her ideas about human rights in 1950s New Jersey.
Dworkin won a scholarship to study at Bennington, one of the most famous American colleges, but the plain student arrived on a campus full of rich girls only to feel an outsider and she stormed out without finishing her Literature and Philosophy degree. Around this time she claimed to have been raped for the first time, but strangely this was not what made her a feminist.
First she became a political activist, demonstrating against the Vietnam war. Then in 1965, aged 19, she was arrested for protesting outside the United Nations in New York and sent to the city's Women's House of Detention.
Her four days there were a seminal experience for the embryonic man hater, who was subjected to a crude internal examination. 'I was very badly hurt by doctors with a speculum,' she said, typically refusing to mince her words.
'Searching your genitals and rectum for bags of heroin over and over again- I haemorrhaged for three weeks.' Because she was a Bennington girl, America - and the world - took notice. Andrea was released from prison to find herself famous and embarked on a European tour, during which she launched into a love affair with a handsome man from Crete. …