I've been trying to write this essay for at least eight years, or perhaps trying not to write it. It has not been fun. I'd like to thank the acquaintances, friends, and lovers who during all that time tolerated my obsessive monologues and the depressing nature of my favourite topic of conversation. Thanks to those who agreed and disagreed with me while I tried to figure out what I really thought. Special thanks to the readers who suffered through the early, awful drafts: particularly D'vora T., whose thorough and incisive comments really helped in the very beginning, but also Nikki C., Lyn G., Kathy M., Melissa F. and Rachel H. each of whom corrected my follies or led me to a wider perspective. Extra special thanks to Julia, and as always to Irene: for her integrity as editor and friend. All of these women convinced me that the paper from hell was worth writing; without them it would never have been more than a pile of notes. And lastly, thanks to Andrea Dworkin, whose clarity, passion and sheer stubborn courage continue to amaze me. I dedicate the piece to her.