As the debate over pornography and its place in so
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As the debate over pornography and its place in society grows hotter
every day, several authors in particular shed a new light on the
subject. Both their intuition and insight involving their beliefs can
help the reader a great deal in seeing aspects of this debate that might
have otherwise gone without the consideration that they so deserve.
I believe that pornography is not only okay, but is allowing our
country to take a step back and ask ourselves how far we are willing to
go and what we are willing to sacrifice in order to preserve free speech
and our rights to personal choice.
The argument over pornography is not merely the debate over right
or wrong, but also involves the theory that its existence requires, or
possibly even causes, an inequality between men and women.
I ask you, how could something like pornography cause an in-equality
between men and women when women are the major contributors to the
industry? Who is going to watch a porn without women in it? Therefore,
at least at first glance, it would seem that since women are actively
contributing to the business of pornography maybe they should be
criticized at least equally if not more so than the men who watch it.
According to author J.M. Coetzee and his article "The Harms of
Pornography", the real questions here are, "what is the difference
between obscenity and pornography", and even more importantly, "where do
we draw the line between the two"? Coetzee brings up a good point here.
A point on which the entire debate over pornography hinges. What is the
defenition of "obscenity"? An excerpt from a speech by Mike Godwin,
Online Counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, gives a good
definition of obscenity in his on-line article: "Fear of Freedom: The
Backlash Against Free Speech on the \'Net\'".
Everybody more or less knows something about what qualifies as
You know it has something to do with "community standards," right? And
with appealing to the "prurient interest." A work has to be a patently
offensive depiction of materials banned by state statute and appeal to
prurient interest to be obscene and it also has to meet one other
requirement. It also has to lack serious literary, artistic, social,
political or scientific value. That\'s how something is classified as"obscene."
Godwin states that one of the criteria for decency or absence of
obscenity is that something must contain social political or scientific
value. Is it possible that pornography is an outlet for people that
prevents ideas that start out as fantasies or desires from becoming
real? If so, then it\'s possible that the porn industry is doing us a
bigger favor than we know. In an article written by Donna A. Demac,
the history of censorship, obscenity, pornography and the rights of "the
people" are conveyed with a decidedly liberal attitude. Demac\'s article
gives an intelligent overview as to the actions of various political
parties, groups and activists that have fought either for or against
some of the issues regarding pornography, and his article can be
effectively used to defend free speech.
The most opinionated and conservative of the authors included is
Catherine MacKinnon, who touches on the thought that there is a great
deal of similarity between pornography and black slavery. In her
article "Pornography, Civil Rights and Speech" she states that "the harm
of pornography does not lie in the fact that it is offensive but that,
at least in developed societies, it is an industry that mass produces
sexual intrusion, access to, possession and use of women by men for
profit". MacKinnon approaches pornography not from a "moral" standpoint,
but strictly from the "political" point of view that says pornography is
a threat to the gender equality of our nation. I say she is wrong and
that not only is pornography okay, but in many cases could contribute to
the health of our society. I will quickly agree that pornography should
be kept away from the eyes of our children, and that there is a proper
time and place for it, but consider some of the acts that, providing
that pornogrpahy was made illegal, would not only go under ground but
might actually become real instead of acted out.
Coetzee goes to great lengths to bring to light indescrepancies
and unclarified ideas throughout MacKinnon\'s article. One of Coetzee\'s
most prominent points is that the differences between "obscenity" and"pornography" go far beyond a difference in term based on either
political or moral argument. While at times Coetzee seems to generally
disagree with or at least greatly challenge MacKinnon\'s ideas, there are
times at which the two authors trains of
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Human sexuality, Feminism, Anti-pornography feminism, Feminist movements and ideologies, Pornography, Sexuality, Obscenity, Feminist views of pornography, Catharine MacKinnon
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