From the blurb to The End of Manhood
"John Stoltenberg is the radical profeminist author of Refusing to Be a Man, a frequent speaker at colleges and conferenced, and co-founder of Men Against Pornography. He lives with the writer Andrea Dworkin in New York City."
Both Stoltenberg and Dworkin refuse to speak publically about the details of their relationship, a choice taken (I seem to recall) after Penthouse
ran a story about the couple which, I take it, made many statements about their relationship which were unproven and were posed in ways that attempted to undermine their writings. I may not have the details quite right on this, as most mentions of this incident that I've read are fairly inspecific. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone with more accurate details of the incident.
I do believe it's accurate to say that Stoltenberg defines himself as gay, Dworkin identifies as lesbian. I'm more sure of the first statement than the second.
Stoltenberg's writings have seen a public neglect that is odd, considering the repeated public (albeit often negative) exposure given Dworkin's writings. Perhaps this lack of exposure comes because Stoltenberg's works are often genuinely funny and humourous in ways Dworkin's rarely are. It's my feeling that it's hard to give Dworkin a fair reading unless you have a really strong background in postmodern theory, queer theory, radical feminism, and a very long attention span.
Or you can read Stoltenberg, who says much the same thing as Dworkin, but in ways that "men" might find more acceptable, easier to swallow, or less offensive. He also tends to focus on what "men" lose under the present persistent state of gender inequality.
Dworkin's rage is necessary and real and vital and wonderful, but she's generally a lot easier to read if you've grown up being treated as a woman — or as a self-accepting gay male, or someone who was assumed to be gay during adolescence — than she is if you have a really strong need to think of yourself as "a man."
Stoltenberg has some really funny, sympathetic things to say about penised persons and about the horrible burdens of being raised male, at least in modern and postmodern American culture. It's really too bad his books don't seem to get much attention.
A sample quote (serious in tone) from The End of Manhood:
"Without sexual objectification, there could be no manhood—and humans would truly behold one another for a change."