Pauline Bart, R.I.P

by Phyllis CheslerĀ 

Pauline is sitting alone, I am sitting with Merle Hoffman.

My generation is going, going, gone. Pauline must be the 150th feminist friend and colleague who is no longer here on earth. She was a great trouble-maker as well as a first-rate academic sociologist, researcher, and an anti-rape and anti-pornography theorist and activist. Pauline had a wicked sense of humor. We first met in the early 1970s and remained connected for more than four and a half decades. Once her daughter moved her to North Carolina, I tried to interest Duke University in reaching out to her, including her in their feminist lectures. I failed. I regret that I had no contact with her for the last five or six years but contact was difficult since she began to suffer from dementia. Below, is the text that accompanies a photo of us in NYC.

Dr. Bart is very old feminist colleague of mine and it was a pleasure to dine with her, not once, but twice on her visit to NYC. Here we are at the Brooklyn Diner. Dr. Pauline is delivering a lecture for the UN about violence against women and then returning to North Carolina. Oh, how has time flown. Pauline now has great-grandchildren in addition to her body of work. Most academic feminists have bypassed the most radical, most radiant, and most original of Second Wave feminist work and have become mired in post-colonialism, post-modernism, anti-American, anti-Israel, and LGBT studies as opposed to Women’s Studies. It is a great loss. I quipped: “Someone needs to write another version of Dale Spender’s Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done To Them which was about the British suffragists. The new version would be titled: “Women of Ideas and How Feminists Have Disappeared Them.”