ew i just googled her cause i had literally never heard of it not so sure i should be proud of that now :/
For about six or seven years my perspective on her was totally informed by angry sex-positive feminists who took exception to her (perceived) radical misandry, her (perceived) overtones of lesbian separatism, her (legit) theories that consent might not be possible when sexual acts are undertaken in a patriarchal culture. She’s most famous for saying extremely contentious things, and for crusading against pornography. Somewhat successfully, albeit in a way that she never intended or supported.
A lot of people find it hard to forgive her for that last thing, but then a lot of people also find it hard to admit that pornography such as it exists in the mainstream of our culture causes at least as much harm as the TV shows or magazines they recognize as harmful and oppressive. She herself was opposed to obscenity legislation, because it tends to be essentially misogynist, but her testimonies were used (against her preference, and over her protests) to bolster some laws of that type in Canada. Also I never hear the same people tarring Gloria Steinem or Adrienne Rich with that brush, but she moved in concert with them at times.
I don’t agree with everything I’ve read from her - far from it. But I think she’s one of the most important people for men to listen to who purport to care about feminism, because she doesn’t give a fuck about how we feel about ANYthing and that’s really important.
And she gave this speech, and I’ll be grateful to her for it for the rest of my life, and I feel sick that I didn’t learn what was important and necessary and healing about her until after she died in 2005:
I don’t actually know her relationship to academia. I never pursued a university education. I knew about her because I read a collection of sex-positive essays that trashed her when I was a teenager, and I was wrong about her because I was a young man who didn’t want to look at sex and porn too critically.
She deserves better than to be written off, even if one doesn’t end up agreeing with her.