September 26, 1946
April 9, 2005
Andrea Dworkin, internationally renowned radical feminist activist and author who helped break the silence around violence against women, died in her home Saturday April 9, after an illness. She was fifty-eight.
In her determination to articulate the experiences of poor, lower-class, marginal, and prostituted women, Dworkin deepened public awareness of rape, battery, pornography, and prostitution. She is co-author of the pioneering Minneapolis and Indianapolis ordinances that define pornography as a civil-rights violation against women.
Always innovative, often controversial, and frequently polarizing, Dworkin carved out a unique position as one of the women's movement's most influential figures, from the early days of consciousness- raising to the "post-feminist" present.
The author of 13 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and countless speeches, essays and articles, Dworkin is a political artist of unparalleled achievement. "In every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve," said Gloria Steinem; "Andrea is one of them." (read many of Dworkins works at Andrea Dworkin Online Library )
Dworkin was one of feminism's most rigorous minds and fiercest crusaders. Called "the eloquent feminist" by syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman, Dworkin's impassioned words always informed, provoked and inspired. Here are Dworkin's most recent words, excerpted from her speech at University of Toronto, just one week before her death.
I'm going to ask you to remember the prostituted, the homeless, the battered, the raped, the tortured, the murdered, the raped-then-murdered, the murdered-then-raped; and I am going to ask you to remember the photographed, the ones that any or all of the above happened to and it was photographed and now the photographs are for sale in our free countries. I want you to think about those who have been hurt for the fun, the entertainment, the so-called speech of others; those who have been hurt for profit, for the financial benefit of pimps and entrepreneurs. I want you to remember the perpetrator and I am going to ask you to remember the victims: not just tonight but tomorrow and the next day. I want you to find a way to include them - the perpetrators and the victims - in what you do, how you think, how you act, what you care about, what your life means to you.
Now, I know, in this room, some of you are the women I have been talking about. I know that. People around you may not. I am going to ask you to use every single thing you can remember about what was done to you - how it was done, where, by whom, when, and, if you know - why - to begin to tear male dominance to pieces, to pull it apart, to vandalize it, to destabilize it, to mess it up, to get in its way, to fuck it up. I have to ask you to resist, not to comply, to destroy the power men have over women, to refuse to accept it, to abhor it and to do whatever is necessary despite its cost to you to change it.