Andrea Dworkin: Time for Progressives to Stand with the Victims, Not the Users (explicit language)

There are other values besides free speech and a free market, says Andrea Dworkin in In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings
(p.34-35). Those on the Left usually acknowledge this, except when it comes to sexual exploitation…

He has a constitutional right to express himself, and if his art requires that she be the canvas, so what? If he’s an engraver and her skin is his surface, so what? If he wants to sculpt her to death or twist her body until it breaks where he turns her, so what? He’s a citizen; she’s a cunt. The Constitution protects him. All’s right with the world.

Then there is the right to sex, which is implicitly his, since he gets what he wants: law, justice, honor, and feminist agitation notwithstanding. If it gives him sexual pleasure, getting in his way is mean and petty. If it hurts her, so what?… And if she screams, and he gets off on it, so what? If she tears–her rectum, her vagina, her throat–and he likes it, so what?…

The free market is where she is bartered, bought, and sold. It is often euphemistically called a marketplace of ideas, but only his ideas have value, put into practice, of how to sell her… She is worth more in pieces than she ever was whole. The pimps’ motive is twofold: money and pleasure. The user does what he wants, calls it what he likes. Everyone wants to be him–to be the user, not the used. This is a political point: what once was the Left wants to be the user, does not want to be anywhere but on top of the used; and some so-called feminists want to be the user, not to be under, not to be the condemned, the injured… It was ignorance to disassociate oneself from the raped before raped women articulated what rape is and means; it is malice, cowardice, and venality to disassociate oneself from the raped now–after the raped have made rape socially real. The same is true for battery, incest, prostitution; the same for pornography, made from the raw material of womens’ bodies, used against womens’ bodies, the production and the use designed to control, dehumanize, humiliate, injure, and subordinate: push down, push under, make lower, make less, render inferior.

We recall the words of Lizzie Borden, porn producer:

“When I was a child, my step-father was an alcoholic. So I think I had
deep issues, and this is kind of therapeutic for me, to take my
aggression out on other people. So in a way, I’m exploiting people,
taking all my inner demons and aggression on them. But it’s good for
me. So I guess that’s all that matters…”

One thought on “Andrea Dworkin: Time for Progressives to Stand with the Victims, Not the Users (explicit language)

  1. I hope everyone will support us in this cause as we all are opposed to the horrible breach of justice against the rape victim by Judge Teresa Carr Deni. Regardless of political feelings on the issue of prostitution we can all agree to oppose rape and to condemn the horrific actions of this judge.

    Call to Action!

    Who: Sex workers, allies and supporters

    What: Live blog action

    Why: To oust Judge Teresa Carr Deni in PA

    When: Monday, November 5th, 2007 5pm Eastern, 2pm Western


    Calling on sex workers and supporters! On Monday November 5th the Desiree Alliance will host a virtual rally to stand in solidarity with the sexual assault victim in PA whose case was reduced to ‘theft of services’ by Judge Teresa Carr Deni. We support the efforts of local activists in Philadelphia to raise voter awareness about Judge Deni and to encourage voters to vote ‘No’ to retain her in Tuesday’s elections. More details in the press release below.

    Please join us by sharing a personal story, reflections, art/poetry or any other messages/images that you feel are important or relevant. New contributors are welcome at the blog! If you’re not already an author at BnG and you’d like to be, send an email to:

    We encourage contributors to make a post either over the weekend or before 5pm Eastern on Monday, then join us at the blog on Monday at 5pm to comment on other people’s posts, add more content, ask/answer questions, etc.

    Thank you for supporting our efforts to raise awareness about violence against sex workers! If you have any questions, please contact

    In solidarity,

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