Form and Content
In Intercourse, Andrea Dworkin attributes women’s societal subordination to their becoming a colonized people through the act which intimately connects them to their oppressor—sexual intercourse. She asks if since women have no physical privacy—that is, they must be entered for intercourse—can they truly be free? Her answer is no.
In the first section, “Intercourse in a Man-made World,” Dworkin discusses the portrayal of intercourse and sexuality in works of five male authors: Leo Tolstoy, explaining how his writings reflect repulsion at being sexual; Kb Abe, whose images of intercourse invoke the sense of going beneath the skin, sometimes through its removal; Tennessee Williams, who connects sexual expression in females with a negative stigma; James Baldwin, who illustrates the pain which must be experienced for two people to commune with each other sexually; and Isaac Bashevis Singer, who provides an example which Dworkin uses to suggest that, for women, intercourse is destructive and requires being possessed. Attitudes and behaviors depicted in the fiction are treated as reflecting real-world attitudes toward the sexuality of women.
In part 2 of the text, Dworkin examines “The Female Condition” first through changing views of virginity, as evidenced in the lives of Joan of Arc and the fictional characters of Madame Bovary and Dracula’s female victims, and then through woman’s agreement or collaboration in being...
(The entire section is 571 words.)