Essay On Andrea Dworkin

Submitted By Danzer7
Words: 1731
Pages: 7

Essay on Andrea Dworkin's book Heartbreak
Heartbreak, is aptly named on many levels. Andrea Dworkin was a chronic victim, sometimes by misfortune and sometimes by her own negligence. In either circumstance, her life at times, must have been difficult and fraught with despair. No matter how critics may condemn Dworkin and her acerbic views, one must acknowledge the fact that instead of perpetuating a victim role, she chose to dedicate her life to the feminist movement. Heartbreak tells the story of Dworkin's evolution from a child whose family was immersed in the tragedy of the Holocaust, to the woman who fought endlessly against the injustices experienced by women. She was a complicated woman and her choice of lifestyle could be summed up by her own words, “The worst immorality is in living a trivial life because one is afraid to face any other kind of life—a despairing life or an anguished life or a twisted and difficult life" (p 202). Dworkin most definitely did not lead a trivial life, she chose to rise above the despair and anguish she must have endured to become a feminist activist. It seems that her most basic intrinsic conviction, was to live a non-conforming lifestyle. She was a rebel and an innovator, who refused to give into the historical social demands placed upon women. Dworkin grew up in a time where women were still traditionally expected by society to get married, stay at home, and take care of the children in the household. Even though, around the time of her birth, women had to step in during World War II and work many of the physically demanding jobs normally held by men. After the war, most women had to step down from those same jobs as the soldiers returned home and sought work. The progression of the women's movement had been a steadily growing force long before Andrea Dworkin found her calling. In the late 1950's and into the 1960's, women were slowly becoming part of the workforce out of necessity as the economy boomed. Although at that time, employment for women was mostly limited to jobs such as department store clerks, secretarial jobs, and telephone operators. Women were accepted as clerks, but not in management positions or in the more professional careers. By the sixties, women made up thirty percent of the workforce, yet it was not necessarily a welcome development to most Americans. The average middle class American during that time period believed that the woman's place was in the home. Women in the sixties sometimes ran some rather odd experiences. In Gail Collins book When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of the American Woman, Collins tells of an experience in the early 1960's by Betty Friedan, a freelance writer who had stopped into the bar at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston to order a drink. The bartender informed her that, "we do not serve women". She was bustled off, out of sight, to the "women's lounge" where he then brought her the drink. Collins also tells of a restaurant in Milwaukee which barred women from the counter because, "men needed faster service because they had important business to do". In the sixties, television shows often portrayed women as helpless homemakers and were often depicted standing aside while the man made all the decisions. When a producer was asked why there could not be a female lead in Mr. Novak, the producer said, "For drama, there has to be action, conflict....For a woman to make decisions, to triumph over anything, would be unpleasant, dominant, masculine" (p 14). The plight of flight attendants in the sixties is a perfect example of the maltreatment of women in the workforce at that time. The airlines hired only attractive single women as
"hostesses" for the flights. Not only did the airlines only hire the pretty girls, the women had to move to a ground