I have only really read excerpts from her books and speeches and just today started on reading ok, more like inhaling a book she wrote titled "Intercourse".
She takes what is in the furthermost reaches of my mind, things I dare not speak of, things I dare not even think of, and lays it out on the page for my eager eyes to absorb.
I feel like I am fully understanding the issue of rape for the first time. I have long thought of it as a hate crime, but only with Dworkin now triggering cognitive functioning, do I recognise it for what it truly is; an institutionalised hate crime.
I will believe that the patriarchy has been dismantled successfully and that gender equality (equity as some have suggested I call it) has room to grow and flourish when I can do the following-
-run down the main street naked
-get so intoxicated I pass out
-walk around outside by myself at night time
-sleep naked next to a boy
without the fear that these actions will result in rape or sexual abuse. All of these things a boy can do (invert the last one to read sleep naked next to a woman) without fear of these such repercussions.
"My body, my choice" is only true if you have a penis.
Returning to Dworkin herself, I believe she will be a great source of inspiration for me. Her ability to persevere through extraordinary personal hardships, never losing sight of the goal, never waivering, never allowing people to bully her. These are all things I admire and hope I can live up to. Amazing lady, just amazing. It is true bravery to state without a doubt that something so widely accepted as right, is actually wrong. Especially for decades, especially besieged by critics. When I grow up I want to be Andrea Dworkin, noble and adamant.
Her work is so emotive, scanning through the pages, lapping up every word of beautifully turned prose I was filled with anger. No, that is wrong, I was allowed to feel the anger I was already filled with. It was...liberating. I have never felt so at peace with myself as I do now, admitting I am pissed off has allowed me to relax.
She made me aware of the true horrors of rape, what I feel personally but didn't have the ability to give voice to. The rage and helplessness and fear I felt during my own experiences are of faded hue compared to the rage and helplessness and fear I feel now on behalf of my gender. How can this keep happening? How can it be that people think its normal for women to go out and have to watch their drink like a hawk lest it be spiked. How can people think its normal to have rape crisis centres scattered everywhere. How can people continue to turn a blind eye when it is their sisters, mothers, daughters, girlfriends, friends being raped. Do they not know that rape is torture, murder of the spirit, destruction of freedom. Do they not realise it is an enslavement of all women, to keep us in our places, keep us behaving, so men can maintain their dominance. You better behave! If you go out drinking, if you wear skimpy clothes, if you flirt without giving up the goods, you might be raped! This isn't conjecture, this is reality, the cold hard facts. Argue with that.
Lurking in my pacifist heart are flickerings of a desire for vengence, a subtle hostility towards men I never allowed near the surface. She is right, if all the men who claim the women in their lives are important and equal actually thought that then we wouldn't have the situation we have now. I feel the nagging feelings of doubt towards these men growing in my belly. Being sexually abused by 4 different men by the age of 22 can do that to a girl though I suppose. I wonder if number 5 would/will push me over the edge into fully formed cynicism. Oh well, I guess we will probably find out.
As for the vengence idea I am already putting my plan into action. I am going to follow in Dworkin's footsteps and rally against the patriarchy and everyone who supports it. I will tear them apart with words and they won't like me very much, but I will like myself and I will be able to sleep at night.
I am entitled to what men are, that is all, and that is all I want, why is it so hard? Decades after we gain the right to vote our movement is stalled. Let us come together once more as the feminists of old did, and take what is rightfully ours. I am done begging.