Another Interview With Catharine MacKinnon

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This one is entitled “Raunch culture and the end of feminism” and it appeared in the London Times. Here is how it starts out:

In the pantheon of American feminists, Catharine MacKinnon will be for ever linked with her friend and colleague the late Andrea Dworkin, the anti-pornography crusader whose outsize”feminazi”appearance in baggy dungarees was the cause of a great deal of mirth and endless sexist jokes.

MacKinnon, in contrast, is lithe and stylish and loves wearing Nicole Farhi. She also has an unexpected vice: an addiction to People magazine, the American celebrity weekly that is obsessed with Britney and Angelina Jolie.”I read it cover to cover,”MacKinnon confesses, who also tells me about”this incredible, velvety swing coat thing”that she got years ago at a Farhi sale.

I almost stopped reading right there. That MacKinnon takes an interest in both popular culture and clothing is unremarkable, but that this was noted in the introduction seemed fairly off-putting, as it seemed like an effort to trivialize her. However, I did continue through the piece, and while the author may not be in agreement with MacKinnon on many issues, the article seemed a whole lot fairer and more informative than (e.g.) this or this. I especially liked these passages:

We are supposed to be light-hearted and ironic post-feminists now, who can laugh at our old fears about patriarchy and enjoy flicking through porn with our boyfriends. Nonsense, says MacKinnon.”It’s something the pornographers have been trying to convince us of for a long time.”

Post-feminism is really a return to pre-feminism, she asserts.”It’s kind of funny. When we started, what we were trying to accomplish was so radical and so far out that nobody could take it seriously and then all of a sudden we’re told everything we ever want has already been accomplished and we are passé. I want to know, when are we current?

“There’s a sort of let’s pretend approach. Let’s pretend we are equal and life will feel better today. Even if it isn’t any better.”

The article is available here. Via Feministing.

This is also a good place to direct interested readers to this post, which provides links to recordings and transcripts from the recent Andrea Dworkin Commemorative Conference.

–Ann Bartow

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