35 of 52 people found the following review helpful
A poorly developed and defended premise.
, June 16, 1999
This review is from: Intercourse (Paperback)
Dworkin does offer some compelling discourse. It was good to read the full context of what she's saying rather than just a quote, even if I don't agree with her conclusion or how she got there. Nadine Strossen's a good role model, I'm trying to keep an open mind.
Her mechanism is to take literature (Tolstoy, Tennessee Williams, the Bible, etc.) and draw conclusions about human nature from her selections. Her selections tend to be extreme and from a different historical context. I'm willing to bet that someone with a command of the literary "canon" could find as many examples that would show an optimistic view of inter-gender experience.
That having been said, what made it compelling to me was that I agree with many of the points she makes. The inquisition was a horrible experience and is still, to some degree, happening. The basis for the current state of affairs is in men (Judeo-Christian) understanding that statutory and religious laws and their attendant brutality were necessary to control wealth and power. Women do fundamentally control men's accessibility to sex, and so those same laws and attendant brutality offer(ed) a convenient way to assure accessibility.
Where I diverge, is in the assumption that there is no hope for egalitarian inter-gender experience and the presumption that she speaks with authority on the male perspective. She see's her distorted view of the human nature of intercourse, "the f***" as the root of all evil. I tend to see the problem as one of the political expediency of one group of unenlightened people oppressing another. All of the bad examples of "the f***" seem to me more a symptom than the root cause.
I think that what Dworkin most advances is institutionalization of hatred for men. I don't understand how it can be assumed that that can advance society when we can agree that misogyny has been such a huge impediment. I'm sure that Dworkin feels she has developed and defended a premise in "Intercourse". In the end, I think that it is all just discourse. Not to diminish discourse, it being the only hope we have for understanding, but nothing can be proved. No conclusions reached. No solutions. In this sense I'm afraid that my little effort to understand is of little value.
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