PORNOGRAPHY: MEN POSSESSING WOMEN

by Andrea Dworkin

Copyright © 1981 by Andrea Dworkin.
All rights reserved.

Excerpt from Chapter Seven

Whores

Men of the Right and men of the Left have an undying allegiance to prostitution as such, regardless of their theoretical relationship to marriage. The Left sees the prostitute as the free, public woman of sex, exciting because she flaunts it, because of her brazen availability. The Right sees in the prostitute the power of the bad woman of sex, the male's use of her being his dirty little secret. The old pornography industry was a right-wing industry: secret money, secret sin, secret sex, secret promiscuity, secret buying and selling of women, secret profit, secret pleasure not only from sex but also from the buying and selling. The new pornography industry is a left-wing industry: promoted especially by the boys of the sixties as simple pleasure, lusty fun, public sex, the whore brought out of the bourgeois (sic) home into the streets for the democratic consumption of all men; her freedom, her free sexuality, is as his whore--and she likes it. It is her political will as well as her sexual will; it is liberation. The dirty little secret of the left-wing pornography industry is not sex but commerce.

The new pornography industry is held, by leftist males, to be inherently radical. Sex is claimed by the Left as a leftist phenomenon; the trade in women is most of sex. The politics of liberation are claimed as indigenous to the Left by the Left; central to the politics of liberation is the mass-marketing of material that depicts women being used as whores. The pimps of pornography are hailed by leftists as saviors and savants. Larry Flynt has been proclaimed a savior of the counterculture, a working-class hero, and even, in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times signed by distinguished leftist literati, an "American Dissident" persecuted as Soviet dissidents are. Hugh Hefner is viewed as a pioneer of sexual freedom who showed, in the words of columnist Max Lerner, "how the legislating of sexuality could be fought, how the absurd anti-play and anti-pleasure ethic could be turned into a stylish hedonism and a lifeway which includes play and playfulness along with work. 15 Lerner also credits Hefner with being a precursor of the women's movement.

On the Left, the sexually liberated woman is the woman of pornography. Free male sexuality wants, has a right to, produces, and consumes pornography because pornography is pleasure. Leftist sensibility promotes and protects pornography because pornography is freedom. The pornography glut is bread and roses for the masses. Freedom is the mass-marketing of woman as whore. Free sexuality for the woman is in being massively consumed, denied an individual nature, denied any sexual sensibility other than that which serves the male. Capitalism is not wicked or cruel when the commodity is the whore; profit is not wicked or cruel when the alienated worker is a female piece of meat; corporate bloodsucking is not wicked or cruel when the corporations in question, organized crime syndicates, sell cunt; racism is not wicked or cruel when the black cunt or yellow cunt or red cunt or Hispanic cunt or Jewish cunt has her legs splayed for any man's pleasure; poverty is not wicked or cruel when it is the poverty of dispossessed women who have only themselves to sell; violence by the powerful against the powerless is not wicked or cruel when it is called sex; slavery is not wicked or cruel when it is sexual slavery; torture is not wicked or cruel when the tormented are women, whores, cunts. The new pornography is left-wing; and the new pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too.


Excerpt from "Whores," Chapter Seven of Pornography: Men Possessing Women, copyright © 1981 by Andrea Dworkin. All rights reserved.

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