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Pornography: Men Possessing Women (Plume) Paperback – November 1, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
This strongly argued feminist case against pornography stirred tremendous controversy when first published in 1979, and has lost none of its bite during its several years out of print. Dworkin ( Letters from a War Zone ), who lobbies for municipal statutes declaring pornography a violation of women's civil rights, insists that pornography links sex and violence by incorporating violent domination of women as a key element of sexual fantasy: "Force in high-class pornography is romanticized . . . as if it were dance." Dworkin also takes what many consider to be an extreme position; she believes that pornography incites men to sexual violence. To support her thesis, she draws parallels between the life and writings of the Marquis de Sade and provides critical summaries of several contemporary pornographic works. Dworkin's style is intense, vivid and eloquent, infused with a sense of urgency.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
. Andrea Dworking is one of those special people,who occupies that category of 'prophet of our times', presenting aspects of life in which, as human beings, we must look at, examine and do much personal reflection if we, as men and women, are interested growth and becoming aware, compassionate human beings in relation to each other. I am heartened that there are people, men and women, like herself in this world.
All I can do is tell my story. I am a Christian, a white male, and the perfect candidate to massively reject Andrea Dworkin and her message. But when I read this book it was a bone-breaker and a b***s breaker. I mean, I had to rethink my own consciousness after reading Dworkin. She turned me into a Christian feminist-in-training (ain't arrived yet), and I suspect every woman I've interacted with since (from my wife to my daughters to my pastors to my friends) owes Dworkin a debt!
The book is flawed. It is written with such red-hot intensity (reminiscent in tone to Richard Wright's novel "Native Son") that her often literary voice goes a bit flat. But the flaw may also be why it works. For instance, she writes passages which at first read seem pornographic... and one begins to respond to them that way. Then, suddenly, one sees through what she is doing and apprehends just how demeaning, appalling, depersonalizing, and UNsexual it all is! Which of course is her point. And one, if allowing the self to do so, comes into contact with that reactionary core that none of us want to admit to.
Read it. But know it is not an easy book to read and you will come out with bruises.
She wrote in the Preface to this 1981 book, "This is a book about the meaning of pornography and the system of power in which pornography exists. Its particular theme is the power of men in pornography. This not a book about the First Amendment... This is not a book about obscenity... This book is not about the difference betwen pornography and erotica... Finally, this is not a liberal book about how pornography hurts all of us."
Here are some additional quotations from the book:
"The female name on the cover of the book is part of the package, an element of the fiction. It confirms men in their fantasy that the eroticism of the female exists within the bounds of male sexual imperatives." (Pg. 34)
"The fear that what men have supressed in women will emerge to destroy them makes the control of women an urgent and absolute necessity. Men dare to claim not only that they are fragile but that the power of women over them is immense and real." (Pg. 65)
"Women do not believe that men believe what pornography says about women. But they do. From the worst of them to the best of them, they do." (Pg. 167)
"We will know that we are free when pornography no longer exists." (Pg. 224)
This book is not for the faint-hearted, weak, or those who wish to live in a fantasy-land when it comes to male views of women's bodies and sexuality. Andrea Dworkin is a genius and, whether or not one agrees with any of her points, she will challenge the very foundations of our paternal societies and their implications for female sexuality, how women's lower social status is perpetuated through the condoning of degrading and violent sexual themes in art, entertainment, and literature, and how these repeating (and all to frequent) themes affect the zeitgeist of our culture.
You are not a woman until you have carefully read this enlightening and liberating book, and you are not a man until you have faced up to the ugly and destructive side of male-dominated culture and sex explicitly exposed by Ms. Dworkin.
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*it has one of the nicest, most complete indexes I've ever come across. Exemplary!Read more