Margaret Atwood begins her essay by explaining the distinction between mild pornorgraphy, which portrays the nude form and sexual activities, and violent pornography, which depicts extremely violent activities in a sexual manner. When discussing pornography, people often assume Atwood is referring to mild pornography; however, even though this pornography is considered “mild” by Atwood, the reactions and perspectives from people are rarely mild. The passionate accusations declaring opposing sides “prudish” or “perverted” lead to the question of what is the meaning of pornography, if there is any? Whether it
MacKinnon believes that pornography maintains male-dominated views of sex and is an extension of the patriarchy and thus, from a feminist standpoint, it should be eliminated. First, it should be established that MacKinnon believes that “male dominance is sexual” (315). From that, it can be established that practices such as rape, sexual assault, prostitution, and pornography “express and actualize the
Whilst many disagreements have arisen in feminist discourse over the years, none has been quite as prevalent or divisive as the issue of the commodification of sexuality. There are two central groups in feminist ideology that are divided on this issue, liberal feminism and radical feminism. Liberal feminism is influenced by the ideas and values of liberalism. Thus, these feminists share a contractarian view which places an emphasis on a woman’s ability to make choices for herself and that the selling of one’s sexuality is merely an expression of that choice. Paradoxically, radical feminists believe that because women live in a patriarchal society, the commodification of sexuality can never be a choice or a form of expression. Rather, forms of sexual commodification such as pornography and prostitution just enforce male oppression. This essay will explore these two ideological positions in regard to their divergent definitions of human nature and freedom which has created a division within feminism about the commodification of sexuality.
Good sex is considered to be legal and healthy, whereas bad sex is criminalized and dangerous. In contrast to MacKinnon’s view on pornography, Rubin argues that pornography is a means of sexual exploration and can be liberating. Sexual activities are a means through which sexuality can be explored. Rubin argues that anti-pornography movements exaggerate the dangers of pornography as destructive and negative. Anti-pornography movements depict pornography as harmful and degrading to women, but this in itself is harmful for it does not account for consensual and desired sexual activities. Through classifying sexual activities, such as BDSM and sex work, as good and bad, the state effectively limits sexual exploration to certain acceptable societal norms. This is further illustrated through R v. Price, in which the judge ruled that there was no evidence that BDSM videos cause harm (Lecture Slides: February 9). Conforming to cultural norms subsequently ensures that the patriarchal system of sexual value, in which MacKinnon argued is male dominated, is adhered to. Even though pornography can perpetuate sexual objectification, the oppression of sexual desire by the state limits any form of positive sexual exploration. The state and law should not penalize possibilities for positive sexual experiences because of social stigmas. The disapproval of society and the state of particular sexual
Introduction Pornography is a controversial subject all around the world. Part of its appeal is its taboo nature. It has been argued that pornography is harmful. Porn is an underground market that is more or less legal but is it harmful? An article written by Diana E.H. Russell in “Dangerous Relationships: Pornography, Misogyny, and Rape” argues that it is. Diana E.H. Russell is a sociology professor. She has researched the issue and argues that pornography is profoundly harmful. Professor Russell believes that it inclines men to want to rape women and that it encourages them to act out rape fantasies. However, Michael C. Seto disputes Professor Russell's theory that pornography is harmful. Michael Seto's article, written with
Starting off by addressing the noticeable prevalence of “[b]lack men...surrounded by dozens of black and Latina women dressed in bathing suits...in strip clubs, some at the pool, at the beach, or in hotel rooms” (Perry 1), Perry attempts to parallel such imagery with pornography and female objectification. By painting such an explicit, arousing picture in the minds of the audience, she immediately explains the effects of “pornography [being] increasingly mainstreamed” (1). She relates this phenomenon almost as a causation, and underlies her implicit position that pop culture is
The premise of my argument that one would consider to be most controversial would be the premise that pornography does encourage freedom of speech/expression. Many may object to this because many people specifically feminists such as Catherine Mackinnon and Andrea Dworkin regard pornography as immoral because it is a form of sex discrimination. Other feminists as stated by Garry believe that pornography is a form of hate speech and that it defames women. In Garry’s paper she argues that certain content of pornography violates the moral principle of respecting people and how pornography degrades women as it depicts them as mere sex objects and how it is because of this pornography is morally impermissible. Due to the fact that the conclusion of my argument opposes Garry’s view, I will also discuss what she would say in response to the support of my “controversial” premise.
Anne McClintock’s “Gonad the Barbarian and the Venus Flytrap”, focuses a lot of attention on how from the beginning of history, women have been denied some of the basic rights and freedoms that have been essential to the way that men live. Starting back from the times where they couldn’t
Paasonen, S., Nikunen, K., & Saarenmaa, L. (2007). Pornification: Sex and sexuality in media culture. Oxford: Berg
on the oppression of women and facilitation of rape culture and violence. The question is not if pornography is virtuous. The question is if government has the ability to regulate and control pornographic material, or if that regulation through law pushed through by Radical feminists is against one’s individual sphere of liberty like liberals and liberal feminists would agree.
Historically, sexuality has been a source of oppression, as well as pleasure and empowerment. The manner in which law recognizes sexuality is important for it produces a standard to be adhered to. From this standard, norms are established. The legal system acts a regulatory and governance body that acknowledges and legitimized cultural norms influence gendered identities. Cultural feminism suggests that gender disparities can be justified through biological differences. Gendered assumptions are therefore justified through reproductive capabilities, such as nurturing and domestic attributes of women. The analysis of law and cultural norms that perpetuate sexual danger and inhibit pleasure will be conducted through a sequential analysis of the three primary waves of feminism in light of Catherine MacKinnon and Gayle Rubin’s feminist critiques. Radical feminists such as Catherine MacKinnon argues that sexuality is the linchpin of women’s oppression. Gender is a hierarchy and a division of power, and therefore, women are inherently oppressed due to their sexuality. The source of sexual oppression originated from gendered patriarchy, specifically through woman being viewed as subordinates to their male counterparts. In contrast, sex-positive feminists, such as Gayle Rubin, reject sexual essentialism and suggest that sexuality is constructed.
Ethics Pornography is a social problem and is a commodity brought into existence by certain characteristics of a highly developed civilization. The problem with pornography is that any form of censorship or downplay cannot solve it. It is difficult to draw the line between ones right to express their ideas and or opinions or sexuality
The idea that pornography gives feminists of differing opinions this middle ground that they can meet on and see how to articulate the different desires of feminism and what they want to turn it into is one of the main reasons Catherine Lumby argues that feminists need pornography (par 60). As Lumby writes in “Why Feminists Need Porn,” chapter five of her book Bad Girls, “the notion that you can draw a cause and effect line between fantasy and social practice is disturbing and distasteful to some feminists,” (par 60).
Sex Ethics Essay Outline Thesis – Multiple outlooks have been taken on the ethics of pornography, and the means by which it may either negatively influence power in sexuality, or actually provide some sort of social value and worth. These different ethical perspectives display the flaws in the industry and what it represents; yet they also end up proving the fact that it can be modified with positive influence and that pornography is not something to be deemed utterly unethical.
MacKinnon argues that pornography defines male treatment of women, and is the clearest demonstration of male dominance. Her perspective is radical, but valuable because it forces one to reexamine his or her view of pornography. She says that, “male power makes authoritative a way of seeing and treating women that when a man looks at a pornographic picture... the viewing is an act of male supremacy” (130). This form of expression dictates the way in which men view women as a class. The uneven distribution of power in this system makes pornography a form of discrimination. “Pornography causes attitudes and behaviors of violence and discrimination that define the treatment and status of half the population” (147). Not only women are subject to this form of oppression. “Pornography is the