An Analysis of Ronald Dworkin and Catherine Mackinnon’s Perspectives on Modern (Obscene) Pornography

4052 Words Nov 26th, 2009 17 Pages
Dworkin Gets Mack’d Out

An Analysis of Ronald Dworkin and Catherine Mackinnon’s
Perspectives on Modern (Obscene) Pornography

March 7, 2005

Introduction In the coming paragraphs, I will prove that Ronald Dworkin’s criticisms and critiques of Catherine Mackinnon’s views towards pornography and society are largely unfounded and immaterial, and that government intervention via legislation is required in the protection of women’s interests. I will begin by explaining Catherine Mackinnon’s opinion and support for the Butler decision and thereafter, I will discuss Ronald Dworkin’s critique of it. After outlining their positions, I will proceed to highlight the areas of incommensurability between their arguments. My perspective
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She comments that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides not only formative but substantial protection from inequalities. Unlike the U.S., Mackinnon comments that the Canadian system seeks to alter the poor treatment of disadvantaged groups and amend their status.[6] The Court utilized this approach in the case of R v. Butler where it recognized that the “humiliation, degradation, and subordination of women – was harm to society as a whole” as it led to an inequality.[7] In other words, the court recognized the social and communal harm imposed by pornography, that is to say it recognized the “context” under which the pornography occurred. Recognizing not only the harm from pornography but more importantly the inequality that it perpetuates, the Canadian courts ruled in an opposite manner to their U.S counterparts. At one point, Mackinnon wonders what warrants the restriction of freedom of speech in the US. One judge once wrote, “fear of serious injury cannot alone justify the suppression of free speech”. She points out that it is this exact fear – a fear of serious injury – which justifies the government’s prohibition on child pornography.[8] She continues that it is the plight of the abused, which is frequently trivialized in the United States. Those who are assaulted are told to “accept the freedom of your abusers” and that “you are not really being hurt”.[9] But one of the most important differences
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