Regarding this post and comments made about Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon:
Oort sez: According to snopes and wikipedia, you’re wrong what she says about about the rape thing.
Snopes and Wikipedia are frankly buying into Dworkin’s attempt to walk back statements she made which were fucking retarded.
Yes, she never explicitly said “all sex is rape.” She did, however, say that women who enjoy heterosexual sex are “collaborators, more base in their collaboration than other collaborators have ever been, experiencing pleasure in their own inferiority, calling intercourse freedom.” Or “intercourse remains a means or the means of physiologically making a woman inferior.” Or, my personal fave, “Romance is rape embellished with meaningful looks.”
Mackinnon on sex: “If there is no inequality, no violation, no dominance, no force, there is no sexual arousal.” And “women share… degradation in intimacy.”
Is Cal Thomas a douchebag for directly attributing things to Mackinnon which she never outright said? Sure, but we all knew Cal Thomas was a douchebag already. But that doesn’t mean that there was a logical extension of Dworkin and Mackinnon’s arguments to be made that they equate sex with rape, and it’s not exactly a precarious extension either. Mackinnon, for example, routinely argues that it is impossible for a woman to reasonably consent to producing pornography. Not difficult – impossible. And she repeatedly suggests that this inability to consent might be systematic to women as a whole, and without consent, guess what – all sex is by definition rape.
As time went on, a lot of feminists found this position to be offensive, because (as Nadine Strossen, among others, point out) if you say “no means no,” then the logical collorary of that is “yes means yes,” and just because women might consent to things that aren’t in their best interest doesn’t vitiate that consent, and arguing otherwise threatens to infantilize women. That position marked the rise of “pro-porn” feminism (or “anti-censorship” feminism, if you prefer, because most feminists of this stripe aren’t adopting the position that most porn is awesome), and the beginning of Dworkin and Mackinnon’s steady marginalization.
Blackmage: Seriously, though, what are your thoughts on MacKinnon?
She’s very intelligent and very strident. The latter in particular is something I can sympathize with, because my law profs are always telling me to dial down my rhetoric in my research papers (“you realize someone important might read this some day, right? Right? That the legal community is actually pretty small and you don’t want to offend people, especially sitting Supreme Court justices, Chris?”). I haven’t been exposed to her greater body of work outside of a few pieces on feminist legal theory here and there, but her writing on pornography and obscenity is unfortunately very bad – laced with ad hominem arguments cloaked in righteous outrage and with a lot of things that just don’t make any sense. But reading her, I never get the idea that she’s stupid for writing things that are nonsensical. “Dishonest” isn’t quite the right word either, nor “deluded.” Somewhere in between the two on this topic, anyway.