At that point, Dr. Bart had been studying the subject for 10 years, and had noted pornography’s role in incidences of coercive sex. She also presented research by Diana Russell, the feminist activist and sociologist who studied violence against women and popularized the term “femicide.”
After Dr. Bart gave her testimony, she read a poem by an anonymous author that was a somber homage to Virginia Woolf — “who as you recall,” Dr. Bart said, “walked into the river and drowned.”
“She was outspoken, insightful and very, very funny,” Professor MacKinnon said. “She did not suffer fools at all. She was never unkind, but she could be pointed.”
In 1992, Dr. Bart’s classes at the University of Illinois, Chicago, where she had taught on and off for 21 years, were reassigned when a male student complained that she had referred to him in sexist and racist terms. She had already fought and lost a bid for salary parity with her male colleagues, and university officials said at the time there were other incidents that led to her sidelining. She retired in 1995.
“What I study — violence against women — is something people, including women, don’t like to talk about,” she told The Chicago Tribune, which reported her clashes with the university. “It deals with the harm men do to women, and it’s not symmetrical — there are not as many female rapists as male rapists. It gets men where they live.”
Pauline Bernice Lackow was born on Feb. 18, 1930, in Brooklyn. Her mother, Mildred (Prozan) Lackow, was a homemaker; her father, Emil Lackow, manufactured leather goods. In grade school, as she wrote in an essay called “How a Nice Jewish Girl Like Me Could,” the mostly Jewish students were made to sing Christmas carols. Pauline protested by refusing to sing the words she thought were too religious.
She married Max Bart, a chemical engineer, in 1949. They divorced in 1960.
She earned her undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees, all in sociology, at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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