Andrea Dworkin is dismissed as the ultimate radical feminist: she was a prolific writer, activist, fat, anti-porn, lesbian and sexual abuse survivor. Above all, Dworkin remained steadfast and true to her principals. Her refusal to back down caused many divisions within the second wave community. Nowadays, even the word feminist, is a terrifying one to speak, partially due to Dworkin. It is important to examine Dworkin, in context, specifically her most famous work, Intercourse. Many simply cave in and state they believe in equality of gender, which is a backhand way of saying, “I support feminism, but I am not a lesbian, nor do I want to seem threatening to men.” Within Dworkin’s “Preface” to the text she states, “Why fuck a women who might ask a question let alone have a complex emotional life or political idea?” She is the fear of Men’s Rights Activists because they worry she is what all women will turn into someday, an actively questioning female member of society who chose to examine capitalism and the damages wrought against females.
In Dworkin’s own words, “Men often react to women’s words- speaking and writing- as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence. So we lower our voices.” If one party consistently sees the other as inferior, then how can we ever grow as a society? The idea that men feel they are “owed” from a women who passes them on the street or even whom they purchase dinner or a coffee for is a problem that is rarely addressed. Despite thousands of years of dowries and the tradition that the bride’s side of the family must pay for the wedding, a woman is earned and not purchased! Dworkin is much maligned and unappreciated for embracing the radical concept that a woman and her body deserve respect.