Feminist writer Dworkin (Life and Death, 1997, etc.) exploits a common analogy between the inferior status of diaspora Jews and women to highlight the function of both groups as scapegoats.
Dworkin draws on an extensive bibliography to demonstrate how, for thousands of years, marginalized groups have been systematically abused, violated, and deprived of human dignity. Her sources, however, seem to be used pell-mell and quoted out of context. Even worse, when Dworkin speaks in her own words, she frequently exhibits an ignorance of many of the subjects (from Jewish law to social conditions in Russia) most relevant to her argument. Her tendentious narrative rapidly deteriorates into a one-sided, angst-filled generalization of Dworkin’s own bitter personal feelings (rooted in her experience as a battered woman). As a result, she ends up committing the very sin she seeks to expose, “scapegoating” all men for all injustice in every period of history. She declares, for example, that it is degrading for a woman to hear the words “I love you” from a man, because these words are “a sign of appropriation.” The reader is left to wonder whether men should be equally insulted by women’s declarations of love. Furthermore, Dworkin completely ignores the force of the female libido, instead portraying women as passive prey to men’s desire. Both pornography and high art depicting the female form are declared equally hostile to women, with no attention paid to paintings and statues of nude men or the purely aesthetic value of the human body. Dworkin even advocates sending Israeli women to the front lines for the sake of her cherished principle of equality.
This deplorable piece of man-hating propaganda ultimately does a disservice to women as well. Inciting them to violence against men, Dworkin contributes to furthering the rift between the sexes, making the dream of a truly humane society based on mutual respect as elusive as ever.