Dear goddess on high, it never ends.
Ariel Levy, of all people, wrote the forward to the newest edition of Andrea Dworkin’s classic book, Intercourse. According to this review, published on Nikki Craft’s No Status Quo site, Levy’s forward takes the public insults, misrepresentations, and damnings-with-faint-praise of Dworkin and her life’s work which occurred over decades to a new level, given that Levy presents as a radical feminist.
Warning: this is heartbreaking read for those of us who love and miss Andrea. Why in the name of all that is holy was Levy selected to write this foreward.
Following is an excerpt which could stand all by itself; it is excellent and I know many Women’s Space readers will appreciate it.
Below are a half-dozen common antifeminist tactics routinely employed to discredit and demean feminist writers and activists:
1. Physically objectify or unduly focus on the body of the feminist:
Focus on the writer-activist’s appearance. This is utilized against women who are considered “attractive things” by dominant white male supremacist standards, as well as for those women who are not. This tactic exists to take the focus off the author-activist’s work, especially off the intellectual prowess and power of the work, in order to misogynistically retrain the eyes back on the woman as a patriarchally scrutinized body. This may be done through scornful description, objectifying photography, or both. As a test of sexism, ask yourself if a similarly well-known man’s body, relative to his intellectual-political work (ideas, activism, etc)–think Karl Marx–is similarly scrutinized. Jerry Falwell just died recently: amidst the public contempt there was no preponderance of viscious disparaging comments about his weight; yet when Andrea died, “Finally, that fat b*tch is dead” was among the most frequently uttered remarks, online and off.
2. Psychologize and isolate the feminist:
Focus on the writer-activist’s emotional state, internal world, and personal history as other than socially understandable and politically useful. This is what happens to raped women in courtrooms across the U.S. This tactic is used to get us to think more about what’s happening in or has happened to the author-as-individual, than to examine with the author what’s happening to women as a class.
3. Further portray the feminist as “a kind of woman” seen through patriarchy’s distorting lens:
Turn a complex person back into the raced or gendered female Other, whether the mean mother, masochistic whore, wounded martyr, goddess-savior, or man-hating madwoman, by those who, through their writing, infer they have the ethical or political right to assess or reinscribe any woman in these misogynistic ways. She is thus more easily dehumanized, dismissed, or deified–someone who must be permanently pedestaled, knocked or otherwise taken down, or a combination thereof.
4. Undermine the feminist’s work or reputation:
There are many ways to do this, and most of them employ techniques of back-handed compliments, quotations taken out of context, and subtle to blatant mischaracterizations of the work and its author.
5. Promulgate lies and distortions:
Especially recycle misstatements already circulating in the public domain. The repetition ofÂ these falsehoods helps keep them alive as “truth,” maintaining an inaccurate or delusional understanding of the feminist under scrutiny.
6. Politically compromise and conceptually contain the feminist:
This tactic exists in many forms. Portray the feminist as ideologically rigid or physiologically frigid. Minimize or ignore real patriarchal forces. Keep the sexist spotlight on what those feminists do amongst themselves, as if not in response to living in and fighting a racist patriarchy. Employ conservative to liberal understandings of reality to text that is written from a radical point of view. Refuse to accept or comprehend the work on its own terms, instead collapsing its meaning back into a conservative to liberal worldview–which the radical feminist’s text often exposes as part of the political problem.
What is sad is that the writer, Julian Real, then goes on to demonstrate the ways Levy engaged in all of the above with respect to Andrea– in a foreward to Andrea’s book!
Link to Over Her Dead Body by Julian Real, and thanks to Nikki Craft for the heads up.