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2005-06-23

Gloria Steinem Remembers Feminist Writer and Activist Andrea Dworkin

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Feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem remembers writer and activist Andrea Dworkin. She died at her home in Washington in Apri. Steinem says, "She is our Old Testament prophet raging in the hills, telling the truth...She really is a world mind that is still accessible to us through her work, and that is her greatest legacy." [includes rush transcript]

Last April, feminist writer and activist Andrea Dworkin died at her home in Washington. She was 58 years-old. Dworkin was best known for her feminist critique of pornography which she first outlined in her book "Women Hating." She was the author of over a dozen books on pornography and violence against women.

She often argued that pornography was a precursor to rape. She said in 1986, "Pornography is used in rape–to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act."

Feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem spoke at a memorial service for Andrea Dworkin in May in New York City.

  • Gloria Steinem, speaking at Andrea Dworkin memorial service, May 19, 2005.
  • Gloria Steinem, on Democracy Now!

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: But before we go to break, because we have Gloria Steinem in the studio, I wanted to ask you, Gloria, about the feminist writer and activist, Andrea Dworkin, who died at her home recently in Washington, 58 years old. She was best known for her feminist critique of pornography, which she first outlined in her book, Woman Hating. She was the author of over a dozen books on pornography and violence against women, often argued that pornography was a precursor to rape. She said in ’86, (quote), "Pornography is used in rape to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act." Just a few weeks ago, I watched you, Gloria Steinem, at the memorial service for Andrea Dworkin in May in New York City. This is an excerpt of what you had to say.

GLORIA STEINEM: It’s hard to imagine anyone else who was simultaneously more clear and more misunderstood than Andrea, more fierce and more vulnerable. Those of you who knew her personally knew how vulnerable she was. She always reminded me of the gray panther saying, which was "Speak truth to power, though your voice shakes." And somehow, Andrea managed always to speak, no matter how many fears she had.

AMY GOODMAN: Gloria Steinem, speaking in New York at a memorial service for Andrea Dworkin. If in just a few minutes, for particularly young people who may never have heard of Andrea Dworkin, you could describe her legacy and her significance.

GLORIA STEINEM: Her most important legacy is her writing, so I hope that people go straight from Democracy Now! and look at Woman Hating. Just look up her name and all of her books and go find anything. She is, I always thought, our Old Testament prophet raging in the hills, telling the truth. She was constantly accused, for instance, of censorship, though she never, ever, ever advocated prior restraint. She was only talking about a civil remedy, if it could be demonstrated that pornography had contributed to a crime, yet, you know, she — the lovers of pornography kept accusing her of censorship. She really is a world mind that is still accessible to us through her work. And that is her greatest, greatest, greatest legacy. She had a capacious mind. You know, when she died she was preparing a book about authors in this country, the male icon kind of authors and looking at the values reflected in those authors and taking on Faulkner and, you know, all of the great names. She was endlessly curious. It just — it’s hard to think of another writer who is so clearly authentic in every word, and at such personal cost.

AMY GOODMAN: Gloria Steinem, I want to thank you for being with us. Talking about Andrea Dworkin, who died in May in Washington, D.C.

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