News your connection to The Boston Globe

Andrea Dworkin, 58, feminist who fought porn

NEW YORK -- Andrea Dworkin, a feminist who viewed pornography as a violation of women's civil rights and a direct cause of rape and violence, has died, her agent and family said yesterday. She was 58.

Ms. Dworkin died Saturday at her home in Washington, said John Stoltenberg, who married Ms. Dworkin in 1998 after living with her for three decades. She had been ill several years, and suffered from ailments including osteoarthritis.

''Pornography is used in rape -- to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act," Ms. Dworkin testified before the New York Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in 1986, according to a transcript posted on her website.

Ms. Dworkin's first book, ''Woman Hating," published when she was 27, launched her effort to show the harmful effects of pornography on women.

She campaigned frequently on the subject, helping to draft a 1983 law that defined pornography as a civil rights violation against women, her agent, Elaine Markson, said in a statement.

The law was inspired by the case of Linda Marchiano, who as Linda Lovelace appeared in the pornographic film ''Deep Throat," the statement noted.

''In every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve," said fellow feminist Gloria Steinem.

''Andrea is one of them."

Ms. Dworkin, a native of Camden, N.J., wrote more than a dozen books, including ''Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation," which won the American Book Award in 2001.

She was writing a book with the working title ''Writing America: How Novelists Invented and Gendered a Nation," when she died, Stoltenberg said.

A public memorial will be held in New York, said Stoltenberg, an author and managing editor of AARP The Magazine. Arrangements were incomplete.

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives