Her harrowing experience is now a theater piece. This is the backstory.

[This essay was originally published in 2014 in a UK webzine called Feminist Times, whose archive is no longer online. I have retrieved my text from the Wayback Machine and updated it to coincide with the production of Aftermath now available online.]

Helena Levitt as Andrea Dworkin in the Waterworks Company production of Aftermath, adapted from Andrea’s essay “My Suicide,” which she wrote in secret after being drug-raped in 1999. Photo by Gemma Stevens.

Soon after Andrea and I met in 1974, she began to let me know about her history of battery and rape. I had never spoken with anyone to whom such things had happened. Or maybe I had, but no one before had trusted me to hear…


And we shouldn’t bicker over whose is better

One hears a great deal these days about the cornucopia of human efforts to resist or escape the hegemony of gender. Some of the chatter is judgmental and disapproving. Some is extolling and affirming. And much of the focus is on what kids these days are doing — declaring themselves noncompliant with heteronormativity, transitioning to another gender identity, living as their authentic selves in ways that prior generations could scarcely imagine, and so on.

There’s a long history of people defecting from gender expections, to greater or lesser acceptance by others. The phenomenon is not new. But what’s different today…


A radical interogation of gender, a memoir from our life together

[This essay was originally published April 28, 2014, in a UK webzine called Feminist Times, whose archive is no longer online. I have retrieved my text from the Wayback Machine, together with its comments and my replies, to make it available again.]

The radical feminist author Andrea Dworkin seated at her desk in her booklined study in Brooklyn, October 2003.
The radical feminist author Andrea Dworkin seated at her desk in her booklined study in Brooklyn, October 2003.
Andrea Dworkin (September 26, 1946–April 9, 2005) in her study in Brooklyn, October 2003.

When Andrea and I met in 1974 her first book, Woman Hating, was on press. She wrote all her subsequent work in the home where we lived together until 2005, when I and the world lost her.

One passage in Woman Hating changed my life forever:

The…


We can never again underestimate the political appeal of toxic masculinity. It inspires loyalty like nothing else.”
— Kate Manne on Twitter, November 4, 2020

In Trump’s domination and humiliation of his morally gutless male sycophants, we have witnessed a gendered spectacle on the national stage that has broken the country and very nearly destroyed democracy. The swaggering bully who boasted that he could grab women by the pussy with impunity has in fact been grabbing Republican cojones. And he’s been getting away with it because he knows just how to trigger and exploit other men’s fears of being wussy.

Illustration by Erkan Atay


A simple explanation for people raised to be a man

“The purpose of theory is to clarify the world in which we live, how it works, why things happen as they do.” — Andrea Dworkin

“The commitment to ending male dominance as the fundamental psychological, political, and cultural reality of earth-lived life is the fundamental revolutionary commitment.” — Andrea Dworkin

This is a story about the worst story ever told.

It’s about the story you are told if at the time of your birth it was decided that you should grow up to be a real boy and then someday…

John Stoltenberg

Radical feminist author (Refusing to Be a Man, The End of Manhood), novelist (GONERZ), and theater reviewer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stoltenberg)

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