In fact, one of radical feminism philosophy’s primary concerns is pornography as they believe porn degrades women and that women involved in the industry are physically damaged by patriarchy, as pornography as often directed by male pornographers (McElroy 2016). Renowned radical feminist Andrea Dworkin explored issues like misogyny and pornography. Dworkin spoke out for several causes, primarily in ending violence against women. Her famous work Pornography: men possessing women (1981) argues that porn teaches men to rape and violently abuse women. However, studies show that watching pornography its self does not cause any considerable social harm.
If if there were a higher representation of women as pornography filmmakers that a large number of these issues would be resolved. Pornography made by women would at the very least put the camera and the power into a woman's hands, thus altering the male-controlled industry in those contexts. Fundamentally, pornography could be simply a healthy expression of sexuality. Obviously, in the patriarchal system in which pornography is ingrained that has stripped away women's power for centuries, there is no possibility that porn could be the only exception to the societal construction that lessens women and makes them subservient to men.
Because of this, there was an early emphasis in the inequality of the sexes and the subordination of women depicted in pornography. In short, according to Andrea Dworkin, “pornography is simply one of the grosser manifestations of the male will to power.” In the United States, there is a strong feminist objection to pornography. It is not based on purity, but rather the fact that it represents the hatred of women, and that its intent is to “humiliate, degrade, and dehumanize the female body for the purpose of erotic stimulation and pleasure.” (Brownmiller) In modern pornography, there are examples of over exaggerated forms of; the male and especially the female body and sexual scenarios. This issue brings up uneasiness among American women in regards to their sexuality, with nonconformity, with the existence of marginal groups and behaviors, and with “deviant” practices. (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.
The first scene describes prostitution while the other is pornography, but what is the difference between the two scenarios? At its foundation, both situations are identical. A young woman is being paid to have sexual relations with another. The difference between them is that in the pornography scenario, the woman is being filmed. If at its foundation these two situations are identical, then why is pornography legal while prostitution is illegal?
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.
But pornography has a detrimental affect on men as well, in that it “hurts men’s capacity to relate to women” (189). Generally, men consider it is better to have power, and do not recognize the need for men and women to work together. Pornography is one of the largest obstacles that prevents men from seeing this truth, and the practice should be banned. Even according to MacKinnon’s definition of pornography, sexually explicit material could remain legal if it portrayed both sexes equally. However, this can not happen until men and women are equal in society.
Most of pornography is objectifying women in a lower image while women are dominant by men in the sex process (Lynch, 2013). A lot of pornography is around men's pleasure as the only goal of sexual activities. It results that men, who watched pornography, are likely describe women by sexual terms, like ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’, rather than by personal attributes (Frable, Johnson, & Kellman, 1997). Pornography tends to describe women as a “sex object” in the pornography, it called ‘male gaze’. Why the objectification affects women?
Robert Baker, in his essay “Pricks and Chicks”, argues that the identification of women reflects our conception of them, and because our conception of women is male chauvinistic, the root of our problem lies with the conception of sex in general. In this essay I will argue that the words that we use to refer to women such as; bitch, cunt, babe, etc. are almost purely negative in the views of the female gender. These words usually refer to something dirty and sexual, and this association between these words and women shows that we define women as well as something dirty and sexual. Not only do these words objectify women, but they also contend to keep women at a social stand-still, by forbidding them to have any true progress in the competition of the sexes.
A critical analysis of ‘Pornland: How Porn Has hijacked Our Sexuality’ Gail Dines in her article Pornland discusses the different ways in which pornography - gonzo (hard-core) porn to be exact - has negatively impacted men and women’s sexuality. Dine disagrees with the concept of porn and calls it out for its hypocrisy regarding its goal of giving men and women sexual liberty. She also notes how porn has filtered into mainstream media, for instance, Cosmopolitan, which requires women to fit a certain archetype of femininity that is found mostly in porn. Dines observes the consequences of porn on culture, sexuality and the relationships between men and women (262). Her article provides substantial points which support her conclusion on porn.
MacKinnon feels that some pornography should be illegal. Her reason for this view is not that she finds it offensive, but rather that she considers it as a form of sexual discrimination. There are many different views on pornography ranging from the belief that it is harmless fantasy all the way to it being a prime factor of the deterioration for society. MacKinnon says that pornography subordinates women and institutionalizes male supremacy. She even goes so far as to say that it is a political practice.