As defined by MacKinnon, pornography does indeed cause harm to the women. In her argument, MacKinnon successfully demonstrates how pornography displays male supremacy over women, and how women are mere sex-objects. For the purpose of this paper I will further elaborate on MacKinnon’s argument of pornography depicting women as simply sexual objects and also displaying women as being sub-human to men, almost slave-like. Lastly, I will discuss how pornography lacks literary, artistic, political, and scientific value. First, it is obvious that pornography displays male supremacy.
Feminist, Robin Morgan made some very bold statements when she wrote about pornography, she said that it encouraged sexual violence and rape against women: “Pornography is the theory, rape is the practice” She refers to pornography as humiliating women “Women are hurt and economically and sexually exploited in the production of pornography.” (1) Yet isn’t it a brazen statement to refer to these magazines as pornography? David Gauntlett argues: “Men’s magazines are purely for entertainment, they are not seriously on a crusade to return to a pre feminist ideal or harm anyone in an attempt to provide entertainment.” (2) This is a common opinion where most readers are concerned. I feel there is an important difference where sexist attitudes come into play, between lifestyle magazines and magazines such as Top Gear or other car magazines which have half naked females draped across the body, for no apparent reason – as she isn’t an accessory to the car! Lifestyle magazines generally do portray women in a sexual way; they conjure up a shallow and unrealistic view. Some argue that the emergence of such magazines is an attempt to regain male dominance.
(Heartney) Any type of pornography text, even the most “correct”, contains a distorted image of the social and sexual relations between men and women of the society in which it takes place. On the other hand, there are those who believe that pornography is a necessary evil. While it may be somewhat of an inaccurate display of sexual interaction, pornography is a forum of the persuit of ki... ... middle of paper ... ... of monster that was frowned upon by higher authorities. Watching pornography has become less acknowledged as an improper action, and more as a tool to help people come to terms with their sexuality and help revive the sex lives of couples everywhere. Pornography is not a detriment to society, but rather a benevolent force that is helping those who are sexually confused and in need of guidance.
In their work, Penley et al. define feminist pornography as, “[using] sexually explicit imagery to contest and complicate dominant representations of gender, sex, race, ethnicity, class, ability, age, body type, and other identity markers” (2013: 9). By depicting marginalized identities as desirable and in positions of control, feminist pornography seeks to challenge heteronormative representations of sex and gender where men are dominant. It also seeks to display alternative forms of attraction and pleasure that are not portrayed in the media in an attempt to destigmatize wide a range of sexual acts and identities. Penley et al.
Again, there are different ideas of what is considered pornographic from artwork, movies, and books. While one may look at a painting that depicts nude forms or read a book that includes sexual acts may not see this as a form of pornography while others would find it morally offensive. Feminist would argue that the morality of porn is it is degrading and humiliating to those involved, not of its sexual nature. Their concern is that it promotes sexism and violence against women or children. “What is objectionable about pornography…is its abusive and degrading portrayal of females and female sexuality, not its content or explicitness” (Rodgerson & Wilson, 1994) However, others may feel that it is sexually liberating and in no way degrading to those involved.
In this paper there will be an examination of how the two different radical-feminist theories have dealt with pornography while also discussing why the issue of pornography can be seen as such a confusing topic for feminists as a whole. For the purpose of clarification there must be an examination of what pornography actually constitutes. As stated by Leanne Katz in her essay entitled “Women, Censorship, and Pornography” she says, “‘Pornography’ is frequently — and incorrectly — used as if there were widely agreed upon legal and/or common definitions. In fact, neither is true: the term is not used in American law, and it is considered by most legal scholars and critics even more vague than the legal concept “obscenity,” long infamous for its lack of clarity.” (Katz 1993: 9) This quote provides the essential issue with defining what pornography is. The Supreme Court case Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964) contained a concurrence in which Justice Potter Stewart stated th... ... middle of paper ... ...dical and Libertarian Feminists.” Signs (Autumn): 106-112. http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/3174240.pdf?
In addition, she contradicts her own stance on the position when she mentions that previous literature containing sexually explicit content should not be censored (Brownmiller 59). Brownmiller paints a very strong, emotional, and offensive picture when she claims that women are, “being stripped, bound, raped, tortured, mutilated, and murdered in the name of commercial entertainment” (59). However, this statement is fallacious and does not provide any factual evidence. Furthermore, she makes the hasty generalization that pornography can make people think that certain things, such as rape, are acceptable (Brownmiller 59). Once again, her claim lacks support and relies solely on a faulty pathos appeal.
(McElroy 102) Lynne Segal sees in inherent harm in trying to link the two together. She believes that feminists who try to do so are wasting valuable time that could be spent on other important issues. “In the end, anti-pornography campaigns, feminist or not, can only enlist today, as they have invariously enlisted before, guilt and anxiety around sex, as well as lifetimes of confusion in our personal experiences of sexual arousal and activity.” “In contrast, campaigns which get to the heart of men's violence and sadism towards women must enlist the widest possible resources to empower socially.” (Gibson 19) Another argument of Dworkin's is that pornography should not be protected as free speech under the first amendment. It is her contention that protecting what pornographers say, is protecting what pornography does. Pornography is more than words.
I don’t see how displaying women as objects, and putting them in films portraying the abuse of them in a sexual manner is helping to protect their rights(Faigley & Selzer, 540). Minor Claims Strossen also st... ... middle of paper ... ...ealize that there are men out there who have sick minds and the use of pornography adds to the power of their horrifying acts. I think women should stand up and fight for the rights they know they deserve. Women should be able to see themselves in a sexual matter without having to feel submissive, used, and dehumanized at the same moment. We women are powerful and I hope more powerful women like MacKinnon and Dworkin stand up, for then men will have no choice but to face the fact that it’s wrong and it’s going to change forever.
Catharine MacKinnon's Book Feminism Unmodified Catharine MacKinnon, in her book Feminism Unmodified, takes a unique approach to the problem of gender inequality in America. She claims that pornography defines the way in which America’s patriarchal society perpetuates male dominance, and attacks traditional liberal methods that defend pornography on the basis of the first amendment’s right to free speech. According to MacKinnon, pornography is not an example of speech but rather an act. She proposes that this act discriminates against women as a class, and therefore violates their civil rights and should be outlawed. MacKinnon’s critics may think her argument is excessively radical, and contemporary society may not embrace the changes she suggests.