Cyber Swing/Polyamory Resource Center
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality
Obits: John Paul II & Andrea Dworkin
In one of those poetic coincidences that no one would believe
if it were fiction, Pope John Paul II and Andrea Dworkin died last month within
days of each other. Their disparate lives were similar in many ways: they were
both bright, articulate, creative intellectuals, passionate believers and
Unfortunately, their fundamental assumptions and their legacies are also similar.
Both feared sexuality, believed it's dangerous, and knew that women aren't lusty. Both believed that sexuality undermines love.
Their work makes it clear that they both mistrusted humans: they focused as much energy on protecting people from themselves as from each other. Both felt that the path to liberating people lay in taking away their choices. Dworkin actually invented new legal doctrine to prevent adults from looking at erotic pictures. And each time John Paul spoke about people's need for freedom out in the world, he cruelly restricted it inside their home.
Both wanted women to "civilize" men, not acknowledging that this trivializes relationships and bars women from full adulthood. Both feared and misunderstood women so much that they wanted to segregate them from power: in the Pope's case, political power; in Dworkin's case, sexual power.
Their respective careers empowered people who hate pluralism and democracy. They gave political conservatives psychological comfort, and provided a vocabulary that dignified their shameful bullying of others.
Dworkin and John Paul II both had influence beyond their own constituents, influence too often codified into legislation. The world of adult sexual choice is certainly better off without them, although each one's disciples will carry on their work. That's the tragedy--their ideals live on to torment believers as well as non-believers.
Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, ©Marty Klein, Ph.D. (www.SexEd.org).
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