Pornography Causes Violence Towards Women

Topics: Feminism, Feminist theory, Catharine MacKinnon Pages: 5 (1556 words) Published: March 25, 2008
Pornography Causes Violence Against Women

While researching pornography, and I have come across sources that deal with my sub-topic, Feminist Views on Pornography. There are many women who are against pornography and disagree with it, but they don't have the intention of speaking out and making a difference towards such activities. But of course there are many other women who speak out on what they believe should be done towards pornography, and the class that women are categorized in by men. And for this preliminary report, I am going to be informing you on facts that I have come across by my readings through the different books I have on such an issue-pornography as the cause to violence.

"Politically, contemporary feminist agree that sexuality is of the utmost importance, and indeed, sexual demands have been present since the beginning of the current uprising" (Echols; Coote and Campbell). Even the best- known slogan of the movement, "The personal is political," is often thought to refer primarily to bringing sexuality, the most secret, hidden, and "personal" aspect of life, out into the open and exposing it as a major domain for the development and exercise of domination" (Leonore Tiefer pg. 114).

Many feminist argue that sexuality is important, because of the norms regarding "proper" and "normal" sexual behavior. "Women's sexual freedom and women's sexual victimization have both been more closely analyzed and more visible in recent years than ever before." For a while there was a thrilling sense of new possibilities. But in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, the pendulum within feminist writings swung away from an emphasis on the power of the self-definition to an emphasis on the immensity of sexual violence against women by rape, harassment, incest, and battery. Commercial pornography, once celebrated as a source of fantasy and female experimentation began to be seen by some feminists as the representation, and then even the cause, of sexual oppression against women. Despite the fact that many feminist continue to support explicit sexual imagery as offering more positive opportunity than harm for women (Ellis et al., 1988; Russ, 1985; Burstyn, 1985; Valverde, 1989), the public usually hears only the voices of feminists fighting pornography. The length of time female sexual freedom and pleasure were the main topic was brief as compared with the emphasis on victimization, danger, and repression. Some feminists emphasize the need for greater prostitutes' rights and less stigmatization, whereas others militate for further action against "sex worker". (Leonore Tiefer pg. 116)

"Negative feminist interest in pornography arose in conjunction with the feminist analysis of rape in the 1970s. The initial blast may have been Robin Morgan's article, "Theory and Practice: Pornography and Rape." Mogan wrote: "The act of rape is merely the expression of the standard, 'healthy' even encouraged male fantasy in patriarchal culture, that of aggressive sex. And the articulation of that fantasy into a billion-dollar industry is pornography....Pornography is sexist propaganda-no more, no less. Pornography is the theory: rape is the practice" (pp. 137, 139) Many feminists who agreed with her "initial formulation" of the connection between pornography and sexual violence against women, however, they do not support her in these details.

Much of the credit towards the connection between rape and pornography goes towards the best-seller, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, by Susan Brownmiller's. This book contains chapters of the history and culture of rape. In the final chapter, "Women fight back," "Brownmiller discussed many of the goals raised by feminists in the struggle: eliminating testimony in rape trials about the victim's past sexual life, getting across the idea that it is rape trials about the victim's past sexual life, getting across the idea that it is rape unless women "consent" to sexual intercourse,...
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