Woman of the Day – Andrea Dworkin

Green Party Women Celebrating Women’s History Month
Day 23: Woman of the Day:  Andrea Dworkin

In 1978, whilst attending a feminist conference on pornography, radical second wave feminist Andrea Dworkin addressed the first ever Take Back the Night March, inspiring nearly 3,000 women to march on San Francisco’s Red Light district and close it down for the night.

Andrea was a vocal advocate for the Take Back the Night movement, speaking at rallies and participating in marches to raise awareness about sexual assault and demand an end to violence against women. Her involvement in these events helped to amplify the voices of survivors and galvanise communities to take action against sex-based violence.

Early years

Born in New Jersey in September 1946, Andrea was raised in a liberal Jewish home. Whilst still in school, she expressed a desire to effect social change as either a writer or lawyer. Her father was a school teacher and dedicated socialist, whom she credited with inspiring her passion for social justice.

Throughout high school, she read avidly, with encouragement from her parents and eventually set her sights on becoming a writer. She went on to attend Bennington College in Vermont, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in literature.

Politically active by the age of eighteen, Andrea was arrested at an anti-war rally in New York City in 1964. She was jailed in the Women’s House of Detention where she was sexually assaulted during an invasive body search, prompting her to lead a public demonstration upon her release.

Disillusioned by America’s involvement in Vietnam, Andrea moved to the Netherlands. During this time she was in a physically and emotionally abusive marriage to a Dutch man, whom she escaped in 1971 with the help of intervening feminists.

These early experiences would greatly influence her writing and activism.


Angela Dworkin, radical feminist activist and writer

Andrea’s feminist writing is characterised by its radicalism, an unflinching critique of patriarchy, and advocacy for women’s liberation from oppressive societal structures. Throughout her career she penned numerous essays, articles, and books that challenged mainstream conceptions of gender stereotypes, sexuality, and power dynamics.

Her most influential work is Pornography: Men Possessing Women, published in 1981. In this book she delves into the complex and often contentious subject of pornography, arguing that it is not merely a form of entertainment but a tool used by men to exert dominance over women. Andrea’s analysis of pornography as a form of systemic misogyny sparked intense debate and controversy, yet also shed light on the ways in which sexualised violence against women is normalised and perpetuated within society.

Another notable work is Intercourse, published in 1987. In this book, she explores the dynamics of heterosexual intercourse within a patriarchal context, arguing that it often serves as a mechanism for the subjugation and objectification of women. Andrea’s unapologetic critique of conventional notions of sex and relationships challenged readers to confront the power imbalances inherent in heterosexual interactions and to envision alternative models of intimacy based on equality and mutual respect.

The radical feminist perspective of her work often positioned her as a lightning rod for criticism, particularly from those who saw her views as extreme or divisive. However, her defiant advocacy for women’s rights and uncompromising stance against all forms of oppression earned her a dedicated following among activists and feminists worldwide.


Beyond her written works, Andrea was also a vocal speaker and activist, frequently participating in protests, lectures, and public discussions to raise awareness about issues affecting women. She co-founded organisations and coalitions aimed at combatting violence against women and campaigning for justice.

Despite facing significant backlash throughout her career, she remained steadfast in her commitment to challenging the status quo and envisioning a world free from sexism and misogyny. Her legacy continues to inspire feminist activists today to push the boundaries of social change and advocate for a more equitable society.

Tragically Andrea died age 58 on April 9 2005.

“Being female in this world means having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us. One does not make choices in freedom. Instead, one conforms in body type and behaviour and values to become an object of male sexual desire, which requires an abandonment of a wide-ranging capacity for choice… Men too make choices. When will they choose not to despise us?”

The Complete Works of Andrea Dworkin are available at radfem.org.





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