Opinion | Not the Fun Kind of Feminist – By Michelle Goldberg – The New York Times

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Andrea Dworkin in 2000. Feminists have started invoking Ms. Dworkin, who died in 2005, in a spirit of respect and rediscovery.CreditCreditColin McPherson/Corbis, via Getty Images

By Michelle Goldberg
Opinion Columnist

Feb. 22, 2019, 171″For decades now, Andrea Dworkin has existed in the feminist imagination mostly as a negative example, the woman no one wanted to be.

An anti-porn, anti-prostitution militant in the feminist sex wars of the late 1970s and 1980s, she sometimes seemed like a misogynist caricature of a women’s rights activist, a puritanical battle ax in overalls out to smite men for their appetites. Dworkin never actually wrote that all sex is rape, a claim often attributed to her, but she did see heterosexual intercourse as almost metaphysically degrading, calling it, in her 1987 book “Intercourse,” “the pure, sterile, formal expression of men’s contempt for women.” Feminism would spend decades defining itself against her bleak, dogmatic vision.

So it’s been striking to see that recently, feminists have started invoking Dworkin, who died in 2005, in a spirit of respect and rediscovery. The cultural critic Jessa Crispin castigated contemporary feminists for their wholesale abandonment of Dworkin’s work in her 2017 book “Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto.” Rebecca Traister listed Dworkin’s “Intercourse” as one of the books that inspired her 2018 best seller “Good and Mad.” The Wing, the network of fashionable women’s co-working spaces and social clubs, sells enameled pins of Dworkin’s face.

A new anthology of Dworkin’s work, “Last Days at Hot Slit,” is out this month, edited by Johanna Fateman and Amy Scholder. (“Last Days at Hot Slit” was a working title for a version of the manuscript that became Dworkin’s first book, “Woman Hating.”) Reading Dworkin now, Fateman wrote in a recent essay in The New York Review of Books, “beyond the anti-porn intransigence she’s both reviled and revered for, one feels a prescient apocalyptic urgency, one perfectly calibrated, it seems, to the high stakes of our time.” (Fateman, an art critic who used to be in a band, Le Tigre, with Riot Grrrl icon Kathleen Hanna, is also working on an experimental nonfiction book based on Dworkin’s life.)

[Listen to “The Argument” podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]

So what it is in Dworkin’s long-neglected oeuvre that has suddenly become resonant? Perhaps it’s simply because we’re in a moment of crisis, when people seeking solutions are dusting off all sorts of radical ideas. But I think it’s more than that. Dworkin was engaged, as many women today are engaged, in a pitched cultural battle over whose experiences and assumptions define our common reality. As she wrote of several esteemed male writers in a 1995 preface to “Intercourse,” “I love the literature these men created; but I will not live my life as if they are real and I am not.”

Dworkin was unapologetically angry, as so many women today are. Even before 2016, you could see this anger building in the emergence of new words to describe maddening male behaviors that had once gone unnamed — manspreading, mansplaining. Then came the obscene insult of Donald Trump’s victory. It seems like something sprung from Dworkin’s cataclysmic imagination, that America’s most overtly fascistic president would also be the first, as far as we know, to have appeared in soft-core porn films. I think Trump’s victory marked a shift in feminism’s relationship to sexual liberation; as long as he’s in power, it’s hard to associate libertinism with progress.

And so Dworkin, so profoundly out of fashion just a few years ago, suddenly seems prophetic. “Our enemies — rapists and their defenders — not only go unpunished; they remain influential arbiters of morality; they have high and esteemed places in the society; they are priests, lawyers, judges, lawmakers, politicians, doctors, artists, corporation executives, psychiatrists and teachers,” Dworkin said in a lecture she wrote in 1975, included in “Last Days at Hot Slit.” Maybe this once sounded paranoid. After Trump’s election, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and revelations of predation by men including Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein, Les Moonves, Larry Nassar and countless figures in the Catholic Church, her words seem frighteningly perceptive.”

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Opinion | Can a Corpse Give Birth? – BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD – The New York Times

BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD DEC. 28 2018

“Rarely will a woman who lost an unborn child be charged with murder. Yet the mere existence of criminal statutes aimed at forcing women to make decisions to protect their fetuses — even at the expense of their own health — has injected fear into maternity wards and operating rooms, complicating even routine health care decisions.

Sometimes doctors or nurses are overzealous. In Florida, a doctor told Lisa Epsteen that he was sending law enforcement to her home if she didn’t report immediately to the hospital for a C-section. In New Jersey, a woman known in court documents as V.M. lost custody of her newborn for years after refusing to have her baby delivered surgically. The baby was born vaginally — and in full health — but put in foster care.

Other times, in many states, doctors and nurses — the very people who are meant to help pregnant women — are required to report suspected drug use to the police. The threat of prison and losing custody of their children drives pregnant women who suffer from addiction or mental illness away from much-needed prenatal care and treatment.”

Opinion | Lilly Ledbetter: My #MeToo Moment – The New York Times

“Equal Pay Day — the day up to which the typical woman must work in a particular year to catch up with what the average man earned the previous year — always brings back a rush of memories. Not surprisingly, many of them I’d rather forget: the pit in my stomach, for example, that developed when I read the anonymous note left in my mailbox that told me I was being paid a fraction of what other, male supervisors at Goodyear were making. And when the Supreme Court denied me justice in my pay discrimination case.(Some of them are happier memories, like when President Barack Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ensure other women would not receive the same treatment.)

But this year, Equal Pay Day, which falls on April 10, has brought back a whole different set of memories:

“You’re going to be my next woman at Goodyear.”“Oh, you didn’t wear your bra today.”
“If you don’t go to bed with me, you won’t have a job.”

Those words, spoken to me by one of my supervisors many years ago, still crawl through my ears and down my spine. I remember my fear, both for my personal safety and because if I lost my job, I didn’t know how I would pay my kids’ college tuition, our mortgage and other bills. I remember how that fear led me to keep a phone number for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission tucked in my pocket at all times, in case I needed legal help.”

Opinion | Mitch McConnell- Your Female Colleagues Are Fed Up – The New York Times

“Over the past six months, Americans have come to understand the galling ubiquity of sexual misconduct and how such misdeeds are too often swept under the rug. Now some of the most powerful women in the United States are saying they’ve waited long enough to address these issues at their own workplace.

All 22 female members of the Senate, Republicans and Democrats, are demanding the chamber’s leadership stop stonewalling an overhaul of Congress’s byzantine method of handling complaints of sexual harassment against members of Congress and their staffs under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.”

Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O. – by David Brooks – NYT

“Geoffrey Miller, a prominent evolutionary psychologist, wrote in Quillette, “For what it’s worth, I think that almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate.”

Damore was especially careful to say this research applies only to populations, not individuals: “Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population-level distributions.” ”

David Brooks impressed my greatly with his points. But here is a comment which claims to overturn the writer.

HT is a trusted commenter Ohio 7 hours ago

I’m a woman engineer, and I’ve heard the argument made by Damore countless times. It’s flawed in two ways.

First, it is obvious to all but the most sexist observers that some women do excel in STEM. To argue that the population-level differences in, say, mathematical abilities between men and women have a biological basis is to argue that women who do excel in math are biologically different from women who do not. Once you make this claim, then none of the other population-level averages in other traits can be applied to women in STEM. In other words, if you are going to claim, as Damore does, that women are underrepresented leadership positions at Google because of innate differences in competitiveness, then you need to look at competitiveness among STEM women, not the general population.

Secondly, companies like Google are striving for a diverse workforce because they believe that it makes their company more competitive. (The literature supporting this is just as strong as the literature on gender differences associated with STEM.) The smaller pool of STEM women means that companies like Google must work harder to attract, recruit, and retain STEM women than STEM men. In other words, diversity is about winning a competition between corporations. Damore completely misses this point, but Pichai, whose job is to maintain Google’s competitiveness, does not.

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