Andrea Dworkin

Andrea Dworkin’s piece is intense. It is a speech given to a room mostly full of men, later reprinted in a men’s movement magazine. The title alone carries with it a shock value as well as a clear message: “I Want A Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape.”

A single day without rape is a foundation that could be built upon. An achievement that would demonstrate that the structures that support and underlie rape, the rape culture, could be stopped, halted, destroyed. Recently, there was quite a backlash against a feminist sentiment of teaching men not to rape rather than teaching girls how to avoid the circumstances that might lead to it. This essay demonstrates that the argument has been going on far longer than Twitter has been around.
[Violence against women] is happening for a simple reason…. Men are doing it, because of the kind of power than men have over women. That power is real, concrete, exercised from one body to another body, exercised by someone who feels he has a right to exercise it, exercised in public and exercised in private. It is the sum and substance of women’s oppression. (332)
Many of the women rhetors so far in Available Means have suggested that women should write the body. Dworkin points out that the body of woman is subject to man. Can a woman write her body when it is oppressed? When it is under threat, or, at least, when it seems to be up for grabs to any man who wishes to claim it? How can the body be written if it is not first self-possessed?

Dworkin also addresses one of the responses that came from women suggesting that men should be taught not to rape, #notallmen. She points out that it is not to her they should be speaking, but to the men that propagate and promote the structures that oppress and demean women. “These men presume to speak for you. They are in the public arena saying that they represent you. If they don’t, then you have better let them know” (335). By saying to women that not all men are rapists, or abusers or sexist, all they do is participate in silencing women. Telling us, yet again, that our silly little emotional opinions aren’t rational, aren’t based in fact, and so should be kept to ourselves.

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