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Pornography

Inpornographythereitis,inoneplace,alloftheabusesthatwomenhadto
strugglesolongeventobegintoarticulate,alltheunspeakableabuse:the
rape,thebattery,thesexualharassment,theprostitution,andthesexualabuse
ofchildren.Onlyinthepornographythatiscalledsomethingelse:sex,sex,
sex,sex,andsex,respectively.Pornographysexualizesrape,battery,sexual
harassment,prostitution,andchildsexualabuse;ittherebycelebrates,
promotes,authorizes,andlegitimizesthem.Moregenerally,anditeroticizes
thedominanceandsubmissionandthatisthedynamiccommontothemall.It
makeshierarchysexyandcallsthat"thetruthaboutsex"orjustamirrorof
reality.Throughthisprocesspornographyconstructswhatawomanisas
whatmenwantfromsex.Thisiswhatthepornographymeans.
CatharineMacKinnon(MacKinnon1987a:171)

Pornographybenefitswomen,bothpersonallyandpolitically.
WendyMcElroy(McElroy1995:vii)

Asthequotesaboveillustrate,somefeministsopposeandsomefeministsdefend
pornography.Butevenfeministswhoopposepornographyarenotamonolithicgroup
somewanttouselegalmeanstorestrictoreliminatepornography,whileothers
stronglyopposethisidea.Andfeministdefendersofpornographyincludeboththose
whoenthusiasticallyendorseit,likeMcElroy,andthosewhosimplydisagreewith
criticismsthathavebeenmadeofit.Inchapter,Iexploreseveralverydifferent
feministpositionsontwokeyissuesregardingpornographywhat,ifanything,is
wrongwithit;andwhat,ifanything,shouldbedoneaboutit.Inthecourseofthis
discussion,Ishowsomeimportantrelationshipsbetweentheargumentsmadeon
varioussides,andIattempttoisolatesomekeyquestionswhoseanswerscouldaidin
theresolutionofthedebate.

1.Thecaseagainstpornography
1.1Rejectingobscenitystandards
Thetraditionalwaytoviewpornographyisasobscenity.UnderUSlaw,somethingis
obsceneifareasonablepersonapplyingcommunitystandardswouldfindthatthe
work,takenasawhole,appealssolelytotheprurientinterest(lacksseriousliterary,
artistic,orpoliticalsignificance),anddepictssexualactivityinanoffensiveway

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(Dwyer1995:242,245).IntheUK,obsceneworksarethosewhoseeffectistotend
todepraveandcorrupt.Juriesareinstructedtounderstanddepraveandcorruptin
termsofthecurrentstandardsofordinarydecentpeople(Itzin1992:402403).
Importantassumptionsbehindobscenitylaw,then,includetheideasthatthereis
somethingwrongwithappealingonlytosexualinterests(US),andthatordinary
communitystandardsshouldbeupheld(USandUK).

Feministswhoareopposedtopornographyentirelyrejecttheideaofapproachingit
onthetraditionalmodelofobscenity.First,theyoftenconsideritgoodtoviolate
communitystandards.Afterall,partoffeminism'sprojectistochangethewaythat
peoplehavetraditionallythoughtaboutwomen.Manyfeministsalsotakethisto
requirechangingthewaythatpeoplethinkaboutsexandthismayinvolve
challengingacceptedcommunitystandards.Moreover,theydifferfromobscenity
opponentsinthattheyseenothingwrongwithmaterialthatissolelyofsexual
interest.Feministswhoareopposedtopornography,then,opposeitforverydifferent
reasonsfromthosewhoopposeobscenity.Theiroppositionisbasedontheviewthat
itisdeeplylinkedtoviolence,especiallysexualviolence,againstwomenandto
women'ssubordinationmoregenerally.

1.2Definingpornography
Feministsopponentsofpornographyrejectnotonlythetraditionalviewofwhatis
wrongwithpornography,butalsothetraditionalviewofwhatpornographyis.
Roughly,theyopposematerialinvolvingdegradationorabuseofwomeninasexual
context.1Whilethereisnosettledagreementonafeministdefinitionof
pornography,thereisagreementthatdegradationandabusearethekeyfactors.
MuchofthediscussiontakesasitsstartingplaceCatharineMacKinnonandAndrea
Dworkinsdefinitionofpornography,andwewilldosoaswell.Accordingtothis
definition,pornographyis:
Thegraphicsexuallyexplicitsubordinationofwomenthroughpicturesand/or
wordsthatalsoincludesoneormoreofthefollowing:(a)womenare
1
While the focus is mostly on womenbecause (as well see) there are reasons to
suppose that pornography plays a special role in subordinating women feminists who
oppose pornography generally want their concerns to be extended to material that
treats others in degrading and abusive ways as well.

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presenteddehumanisedassexualobjects,things,orcommodities;or(b)
womenarepresentedassexualobjectswhoenjoyhumiliationorpain;or(c)
womenarepresentedassexualobjectsexperiencingsexualpleasureinrape,
incest,orothersexualassault;or(d)womenarepresentedassexualobjects
tieduporcutupormutilatedorbruisedorphysicallyhurt;or(e)womenare
presentedinposturesorpositionsofsexualsubmission,servility,ordisplay;
or(f)womensbodypartsincludingbutnotlimitedtovaginas,breasts,or
buttocksareexhibitedsuchthatwomenarereducedtothoseparts;or(g)
womenarepresentedbeingpenetratedbyobjectsoranimals;or(h)womenare
presentedinscenariosof
degradation,injury,torture;shownasfilthyorinferior;bleeding,bruised,or
hurtinacontextthatmakestheseconditionssexual(MacKinnon1993:121
122,n32).
MacKinnonalsonotesthattheuseofmen,children,ortranssexualsintheplaceof
womenisalsopornography(Ibid.:122,n32);andthaterotica,definedby
distinctionasnotthis,mightbesexuallyexplicitmaterialspremisedonequality;
(MacKinnon1987a:176).

Thefocusofthisdefinitionisonsexuallyexplicitmaterialthatissubordinatingor
dehumanizingtowomen.Importantly,itisnotjustovertviolencethatmaycountas
subordinatingordehumanizing.Presentingwomenassexobjectsorinposturesof
display2canalsorenderaworkpornographic.Andthisisveryimportanttofeminist
opponentsofpornography:whiletheyareespeciallyhorrifiedbydepictionsofviolent
abuse,theyholdthatitisalsoextremelydamagingtodepictwomenasalwayseager
tosatisfymenssexualdesires,evenifthewomenarenotthevictimsofviolence.3
This,theybelieve,perpetuatestheideathatwomensroleistoservemen,andthe
ideathatwomenwant,sexually,onlytopleasemen.Inturn,theseideashelpto
legitimizerapeandtoperpetuatetheideaofwomenasinferior.

Itisimportanttoemphasizejusthowmuchantipornographyfeministsdefinitionsof
pornographydifferfromthestandardunderstandingofobscenity.Somesexually
explicitmaterialwillcountasobscenityunderstandarddefinitionsbutnotas
pornographyunderfeministdefinitions.Imagine,forexample,asexuallyexplicit
depictionofegalitarian,lovinglesbiansex.Imaginealsothatthisdepictionhasasits
2
Therearesomeproblemscashingoutexactlywhattermslikethesereferto.Idiscuss
theseproblemsinmoredetaillater.
3
Sometimes,thetermviolenceisextendedtocoverthesesortsofdepictionsaswell.
Foreaseofcomprehension,however,Iprefertouseitinamorestandardway.

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solepurposeproducingsexualarousal,andthatithasnointerestotherthanthis.Ina
communityinwhichlesbiansexisconsideredoffensive,thiswouldbejudged
offensiveandagainstcommunitystandards.Moreover,ithasnointerestotherthan
thatofproducingsexualarousal.Understandarddefinitionsofobscenity,then,it
mightwellcountasobscene.Itmightnot,however,countaspornographyunder
feministsunderstandings.Aslongasthesexdepictedisegalitarian,andthereisno
dehumanization,subordination,orthelike,itwillnotbepornography.

Similarly,worksthatmightcountaspornographyunderfeministsdefinitionswould
notcountasobscenityundermorestandardones.Consider,forexample,afilm
involvinganapprovinglypresented4sexuallyexplicitdepictionofawoman
displayingherselfasasexobject,showninacommunitywheresuchdepictionsare
consideredacceptableandembeddedinalargernarrativewhichmakessomesmall
unrelatedpoliticalpointssay,aboutthewrongnessofguncontrol.Thiswork,asI
havesetuptheexample,doesnotviolatecommunitystandards.Moreover,itdoes
haveinterestotherthanthatofproducingsexualarousalindeed,oneofthepoints
ofthefilmistoconvincepeoplethatguncontroliswrong.5Thiswouldnot,then,
countasobscenityunderstandardtests.However,itisasexuallyexplicitdepictionof
awomandisplayingherselfasasexobject.Thismeansthatitisverylikelytocount
aspornographyundermostfeministdefinitions.

Feministswhoopposepornographyarewellawarethattheirdefinitionsarevery
differentfromstandardones,bothinlawandincommonplaceunderstandingsof
pornography.Itisnoobjection,then,toarguethattheirdefinitionsinvolvemaking
falseclaimsaboutpornographythatpornographydoesn'talwayssubordinateor
dehumanizewomen.ForifweadoptMacKinnonsdefinition,pornographywillby
definitioninvolvesubordinationanddehumanization.Thingsthatareordinarily

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Somefeministdefinitionsofpornography,suchasLonginosandRussells,
requirethattheoffensivedepictionsofwomenbepresentedinsuchawayasto
endorsethem.Theyaddthisrequirementtoavoidcounting,forexample,anti
pornographyactivistsdiscussionsofpornographyaspornography.(SeeLongino
1995:3447;Russell1993:Introduction,122.)
5
Aswewillseeshortly,speechthatmakespoliticalpointsisoftentakentobe
especiallydeservingofprotection.

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consideredpornographybutwhichdon'tinvolvethesubordinationofwomenare
simplynotpornographyforMacKinnon.Shehaschosentousetheword
pornographyinawaythatisverydifferentfromthestandardusage,andshefully
acceptsalltheconsequencesofthischoice.

Isperhapsworthnoting,however,thatfeministsopposedtopornographybelievethat
theirdefinitionsofpornographywillincludethevastmajorityofthingscommonly
consideredtobepornography.Thisclaim,however,isentirelyseparatefromtheir
definitions,andfromargumentsagainstpornographyastheydefineit.MacKinnon,
forexample,couldbewrongabouthowmuchpornographyasstandardlyunderstood
remainspornographyunderherdefinitionwhilestillbeingrightabouthowweshould
viewthosematerialsthatstandaspornographyunderherdefinition.

1.3Argumentsagainstpornography
Iwillbeginbypresentingargumentsagainstpornography,reservingcriticismofthem
foralatersection.Itisworthmentioningagainthatonemayobjecttopornography
withoutbelievingthatthereshouldbeanylawsagainstit.Thissectionconcernsonly
reasonsthatfeministshavegivenforthinkingthatthereissomethingwrongwith
pornography.Itisperfectlypossibletoacceptalloftheseargumentswhileinsisting
thatpornographersnotonlydo,butshould,haveeverylegalrighttoproduce
pornography.Ifthisseemsstrange,itisworthconsideringthefactthatwedontreally
believethereshouldbelawsagainsteverythingwethinkiswrong:mostofusthink,
forexample,thatpromisebreakingiswrong,butwedontthinkitsagoodideafor
allpromisebreakingtobelegallyprosecutable.

1.3.1Introducingthearguments
Feministsopposedtopornographymustarguethattheirreasonsforopposingitareso
strongastoovercomethewidespreadpresumptioninfavouroffreedomof
expression.Withthatinmind,itsworthabriefexaminationofthispresumption.

IntheUnitedStates,freedomofexpressionreceivesspecialprotectionfromtheFirst
AmendmenttotheConstitution.TheFirstAmendmentreads,inpart,congressshall

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makenolawabridgingthefreedomofspeech,orofthepress...Speechis
generallyinterpretedtoincludeallformsofexpression,includingthose,like
photographs,whichwewouldntordinarilycallspeech.AlthoughtheUnited
Kingdomhasnowrittenconstitution,italsohasastrongpresumptioninfavoroffree
speech(thoughnotsostrongasthepresumptionatworkintheUnitedStates).The
mainreasonforvaluingspeechsohighlyisthatitisconsideredtobeessentialforthe
properfunctioningofademocracy.AkeysourceforthisideaisJohnStuartMill'sOn
Liberty.Init,hearguedthatitisvitalforcitizenstobeabletoexpressthemselves
freely,sothatallideascanbedebatedanddiscussed.Itisonlyinthisway,heargued,
thatwewouldbelikelytoworkoutthetruthindifficultmatters.Further,heargued
thatonepersonsexpressionshouldonlyberestrictedforthesakeofpreventingharm
toanother.Bothoftheseideasliveoninlegalthoughtonrestrictionofspeech:
speechwhichinvolvestheexpressionofideas(especiallypoliticalideas)isthoughtto
beespeciallyimportanttoprotectfromrestriction,andrestrictionofspeechcanonly
bejustifiedforthesakeofpreventinggreatdangers.6

Feministswhoopposepornographydosoforavarietyofrelatedreasons.Various
opponentsofpornographyclaimsomeorallofthefollowingtobetrue.
(1) Pornographyisnotjustexpression,astherearerealsexualactstaking
place,andsometimes(alwaysornearlyalways,accordingtosome),these
areactsofrapeandviolence.(See,forexample,MacKinnon1987,1989,
1994;Dworkin1981;Itzin1992a;Russell1993.)
(2) Pornographyharmswomen,bycausing(orhelpingtocause)violence,
especiallysexualviolenceagainstwomen.Thisisarguedforonthebasis
ofrapiststestimony,psychologicalevidence,andwomensreactionsto
pornography.(See,forexample,MacKinnon1987aandb,1992,1994;
Dworkin1981;Itzin1992;Russell1993.)
(3) Pornographyplaysakeyroleinshapingmenandwomen,teachingthat
malenessisaboutsexualdominationandfemalenessaboutsexual
submission.Thispowerdynamicthenworkstosubordinatewomentomen
inmanyotherareasoflife.(MacKinnon1987aandb,1992,1994)
6
ForanargumentthatMillhimselfwouldsupportfeministsargumentsagainst
pornography,seeDyzenhaus1992:534551.

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(4) Pornographyisitselfanactofsubordinationandsilencingofwomen.This
isanotherreasonthatitisnotjustexpression.(MacKinnon1987aandb,
1992,1994;Langton1993;Hornsby1995,2000)
(5) Countriesthatlegislateagainsthatespeechshouldalsolegislateagainst
pornography.(Forna1992)

1.3.2Pornographyisreal
Itisundeniablethatmanypornographicfilmsandphotographsarenotjustdepictions
ofsex.Whilemurdermysterymoviesarenotfilmsofactualmurderstakingplace,
pornographicmoviesarefilmsofactualsextakingplace.Moreover,someofthe
womenfilmedarenotparticipatingwillinglythatis,theyarebeingrapedonfilm.
LindaMarchiano(akaLindaLovelace),starofDeepThroat,haswrittenabook,
Ordeal,describinghowshewasimprisoned,tortured,andforcedtomakethisfamous
film(Lovelace1980).ThemovieDeepThroat,MacKinnonargues,isnotjust
expressionbutaseriesofactualrapestakingplace.Moreover,everytimeitisshown,
peoplegetpleasurefromMarchianobeingraped.Clearly,thereismoreto
pornographylikeDeepThroatthanjustexpression.

1.3.3Pornographyhelpstocauseviolence(especiallysexualviolence)against
women
Akeyargumentforfeministopponentsofpornographyisthatpornographyhelpsto
causeviolenceagainstwomen,especiallysexualviolenceandrape.Opponentslike
MacKinnonclaimthatitdoesthisbydepictingwomenasalwaysinterestedinsex,
particularlyingivingpleasuretomen;asenjoyingbeingoverpowered,tiedup,orhit;
andasenjoyingsexevenaftertheyhavesaidnoorstruggledandresisted.Those
wholearnaboutsexthroughwatchingpornography,then,willtreatwomenas
existingsolelyfortheirsexualdesires,andwillnothesitatetoassaultwomenand
forcesexonthem.Becausepornographyisakeyvehiclebywhichmenandboys
learnaboutsex,then,MacKinnonargues,pornographyleadstorapeandviolence
againstwomen.
[Inpornography,women]desperatelywanttobebound,battered,tortured,
humiliated,andkilled.Or,tobefairtothesoftcore,merelytakenandused.
Thisiserotictothemalepointofview.Subjectionitself,withself

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determinationecstaticallyrelinquished,isthecontentofwomen'ssexual
desireanddesirability.Womenaretheretobeviolatedandpossessed,mento
violateandpossessus,eitheronscreenorbycameraorpenonbehalfofthe
consumer[pornography]institutionalizesthesexualityofmalesupremacy,
fusingtheeroticizationofdominanceandsubmissionwiththesocial
constructionofmaleandfemale...Mentreatwomenaswhotheyseewomen
asbeing.Pornographyconstructswhothatis(MacKinnon1987a:172).
Toshowthatpornographydoesallthisisnoeasymatter.Someargumentsarebased
onpsychologicalstudies,andsomeontheusemadeofpornographybyrapistsand
murderers.However,manyfeministopponentsofpornographytakethemost
importantargumenttocomesimplyfromwomensreactionstoviewingpornography.

1.3.3.1Womensreactions
Accordingtomanyfeministopponentsofpornography,pornographysdangersare
simplyapparenttowomenwhentheyencounterit.CatharineMacKinnonmaintains
thattheexperimentalevidenceonlyshowsuswhatwomenhavealwaysknown.7Roz
Schwartz,forexample,viewedpornographywhileservingonajuryinanobscenity
trial.Shewrites:
Onapurelygutlevel,Ifeltthreatenedbythesebooks.Ifeltthreatened
becausetheyaredegradingnotonlytowomenbuttomenaswell.Menwho
readthesebooks,whoareonlycapableofenjoyingsexvicariouslythrough
thismedium,aredegraded.Thedegradationofhumanbeingsmakesfor
fertilegroundforfascismtotakeroot.This,Ithink,isthemostimportant
thingthatemergedforme.Iunderstoodonaviscerallevelwhatfeltlikea
wideintellectualleap,theconnectionbetweenpornographyandfascism,the
ultimatedegradationofhumanbeings(Schwartz1998:14).
Beforeherexperienceofservingonthisjury,Schwartzwasopposedtoeffortsto
restrictpornography.Afterherexperience,sheconcludedthatpornographyatleast
pornographylikethatwhichshesawneededtobecensored.Manyanti
pornographyfeministsbelievethatpornography'snatureisobviousandmanifestto
womenoncetheyseeit.Thisiswhymuchwritingonthesubjectcontainsvery
explicitdescriptionsofpornography,andantipornographyactivistsspeechesinvolve
slideshowsofpornography.However,forthosewhoarenotconvincedbythis,they
alsoofferotherevidence.
7
Indeed,sheisbotheredthatsomeseemtoneedconfirmationfromexperimental
evidence:Youknow,itisfairlyfrustratingthatittakesstudiesbymenin
laboratoriestopredictthatviewingpornographymakesmenbesexuallymoreviolent
andmakesthembelievewearesexualthings,beforewomenarebelievedwhenwe
saythatthisdoeshappen(MacKinnon1987b:202).

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1.3.3.2Rapistsandmurderersuseofpornography
Manyrapistsandmurderers(ofwomen)havebeenusersofpornography.Somehave
talkedaboutpornographywhilecommittingtheircrimes,somehavetreatedtheir
victimsinwaysthattheysawdepictedinpornography,andsomeevensaythat
pornographyhasmadethemcommitrapeandmurderer.(MacKinnon1987a:184
186,1993:18;Silbert1989:223).Opponentsofpornographytakethesefactstobe
clearindicationsoftheharmthatisdonetowomenbypornography.

1.3.3.3Psychologicalresearch
Itisdifficulttoconclusivelydemonstratewhetherornotpornographycausesviolence
againstwomen.Therehasbeenanenormousamountofpsychologicalresearchon
linksbetweenpornographyandsexualviolence,andnotallofthefindingsare
consistentwithoneanother.Iwillnotattempttosummarizethisliterature.Instead,I
willciteafewofthemostdisturbingfindingsthatseemtoshowalinkagebetween
pornographyandattitudestowardwomenandrape.Experimentershavefoundthat
exposuretopornographyrenderssubjectsmorelikelytoacceptrapemyths,suchasa
womandoesntmeannountilsheslapsyou(Donnerstein.Linz,andPenrod1987:
7576.)Italsomakessubjectsmorelikelytoviewrapevictimsasunworthyof
sympathy,andmorelenientlyinclinedtowardrapists(See,forexampleEinsedel
1992:254).Inaddition,menratethemselvesasmorelikelytocommitrapeifthey
couldgetawaywithit(Weaver1992:298).Finally,subjectsviewingfilmsinvolving
rapeshowadecreasedabilitytorecognizerapeasrape(Everywoman1988:21).
Thesechangesoccurbothwithviolentpornographyandwithnonviolent
pornographythatdepictswomenassexuallyinsatiableandsocially
nondiscriminating(Zillman1989:137).Withviolentpornography,theeffectsseem
tooccuronlyifvictimsareshownasenjoyingtheviolence(Weaver1992:293).At
leastonestudyhasfoundthatstrongereffectsareproducedbynonviolent
pornographythanbyviolentpornography(Zillman1989:137).

Allofthisisverydisturbing.Itsuggeststhatpornographyindeedhasseriouseffects
onthewaythatwomenareviewed.Inparticular,theevidencesuggestingthatit

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makespeopleviewrapeasmoreacceptablelendssupporttothesortsofclaims
MacKinnonmakesabouttheforceofpornography.Thefactthatevennonviolent
pornographyhasthiseffectsupportshersuggestionthatdepictionsofwomenas
alwayswantingsexmakeitmoredifficultformentounderstandthatrapeisbad.

1.3.4Pornographyandinequalityinallrealmsoflife
MacKinnonholdsthattheeffectsofpornographygowellbeyondthesexualarena.
Shethinksitteachesmentoviewwomenasinferior,naturallysubmissive,
subordinate,andexistingsolelyformen'suse.Ifthisisright,itwouldindeedhave
effectsbeyondthesexualrealm.Viewingacoworker,apotentialemployee,or
studentinthiswaycouldcertainlyaffectone'sdealingswithher.Andthisisprecisely
whatMacKinnonmaintains.Inordertoclaimsuchwidespreadeffectsof
pornography,shedoesnotneedtoarguethatallmenviewpornography.Ifmanymen
do,andtheyinfluencetheviewsofothers,itcanstillmakesensetosaythat
pornographyhasthesweepingeffectsthatMacKinnonsuggests.Similarreasoning
alsoallowshertomaintainthatwomensselfconceptionsarestronglyaffectedby
pornography,whetherornottheyhaveseenmuchofit.Pornography,forMacKinnon,
notonlytrainsmentobedominatorsofwomen,but(whetherdirectlyorindirectly)
trainswomentobesubordinatetomen.

MacKinnon,then,considerspornographytobeakeyforceinperpetuatingthe
subordinationofwomentomenineverysphereoflife.8Thefactthatpornography,
8
Infact,MacKinnonsclaimsareevenstrongerthanthis.Shetakesmasculinitytobe
definedintermsofsexualdominationofwomenandfemininitytobedefinedinterms
ofsexualsubordinationtomen.Pornography,forMacKinnon,isthekeyforcethat
putsinplaceandperpetuatestheseunderstandingsofmasculinityandfemininity.For
moredetailonMacKinnonsconceptionsofgender,seeMacKinnon1989:141142;
andHaslanger1993,2000:3155.Lesbiansandgaymenmayseemtoposeproblems
forthisunderstanding,sincelesbiansarewomenbutthey(generally)arentsexually
involvedwith,letalonesexuallysubordinatedby,men;andsimilarlygaymenare
menwho(generally)arentsexuallyinvolvedwith,letalonesexualdominatorsof,
women.MacKinnoninsiststhatthisdoesnotundermineherclaims:shearguesthat
wherethereisdominanceandsubmissioninlesbianorgaysex,therearethegender
rolesofmaleandfemale.Moreover,shethinksthatallofus,whateveroursexual
preferences,havehadoursexualidentityconstructedbypornography,sosexforallof
ushascometocruciallyinvolveinequality.OnemayalsoobjectthatMacKinnons
viewofgenderissimplyfartoosimplisticitfailstoaccommodatethewaysin

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accordingtoMacKinnon,causesmentoviewwomenasinferiorexplainsnotjustthe
prevalenceofrapeandviolenceagainstwomen,andbutalsowhy,forexample,
povertyisoverwhelminglyfemale.MacKinnonissometimescriticizedforfocusing
excessivelyonpornographyandsexuality,tothedetrimentofissueslikefemale
poverty.ButMacKinnonwouldclaimthatthiscriticismismisguided:shebelieves
thatsexuality,andparticularlypornography,istherootcauseofpowerimbalances
betweenmenandwomen.Thismeansthatherwayoffightingfemalepovertyisto
fightpornography.

1.3.5Subordination,andsilencing
1.3.5.1Subordination
CatharineMacKinnon'sclaimsaboutpornographyarenotjustcausalones;thatis,she
doesn'tjustarguethatpornographycausesmentoviewofwomenasinferior,orthat
itcausesthemtoengageinbehaviorthatsubordinateswomen.MacKinnonalso
claimsthatpornographyisitselfthesubordinationofwomen.Aswesawearlier,she
definespornographyasthegraphic,sexuallyexplicitsubordinationofwomen.This
aspectofMacKinnonsviewhaswidelybeenseenasincoherent:althoughfilms,
books,ormagazinesmightdepictthesubordinationofwomen,orcausethe
subordinationofwomen,theysurelycannotbethesubordinationofwomen.

RaeLangtonhasdonemuchtoexplainhowwemightmakesenseofMacKinnon's
claimthatpornographyisthesubordinationofwomen(Langton1993:293330).9
First,shenotes,withMacKinnon,theimportanceofJLAustinsobservation(ina
verydifferentcontext)thatsomespeechisanact(Austin1962).Forexample,saying
toyourtrainedattackdog,"Kill"isindeedsayingsomething:itisspeech.Butitis
alsoanactoforderingyourdogtokill,andcanthereforebeunderstoodasanactof
murder.Lesshorrifyingly,perhaps,utteringthewordsIdocanbeanactof

whichrace,socialclass,religion,sexualpreference,andthelikemayhaveanimpact
onwhatitmeanstobeawomanoraman.(Formoreontheimportanceofsuch
factorstogender,seeSpelman1988.)Itisimportanttonote,however,that
MacKinnonsviewsongenderarenotessentialtotheargumentsdiscussedinthetext
above.
9
Itisworthnoting,however,thatLangtondoesnottaketheseargumentsontheirown
todictateanyonecourseofactionwithregardtopornography.

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marrying.Thesearewords,buttheyalsoconstituteanact.Langtonarguesthatsome
utterancesofwordssomespeechactsareactsofsubordination.Asanexample,
sheconsidersthelegislationinSouthAfricathatbroughtapartheidintobeing.As
legislation,thisconsistedofwords:itwasspeech.But,asLangtonnotes,itwasalso
anactofsubordinatingblackstowhites.Langtonarguesthatpornography,if
MacKinnonisright,rankswomenasinferiorandlegitimizesviolenceand
discriminationagainstthem.Ifthisisso,then,sheargues,itsubordinateswomen.

1.3.5.2Silencing
MacKinnonalsoarguesthatpornographyneedstobeeliminatedforthesakeof
freedomofspeech.Thisseemsparadoxical.ButMacKinnon'sreasonforthisisthat
shetakespornographynotjusttosubordinatewomenbutalsotosilencethem.In
ordertogivewomentheabilitytospeakthatis,toprotecttheirfreespeech
MacKinnonthinksitisnecessarytodosomethingaboutthespeechofpornographers.
Shetakesherproposals,then,tobewaysofsupportingfreespeechratherthan
opposingit.

Inordertoexplainhowpornographymightsilencewomen,LangtonfollowsJ.L.
Austin(1962)indistinguishingthreekindsofactsthatonemayperforminspeaking.
Alocutionaryactissimplytheutteringofwordswithaparticularcontent.A
perlocutionaryactistheutteringofwordswithacertaincontentinordertoproducea
particulareffect.Anillocutionaryactisinmanywaysthemostinterestingsortofact.
Thisistheactthatisdoneinutteringthewords.Toseehowthesedistinctionswork,
letsconsideranexample.SupposeGeorgeW.BushappearsonTVanduttersthe
wordsIherebyresign.HislocutionaryactissimplythatofutteringthewordsI
herebyresign.Thisactmayhavemanyperlocutionaryeffects.Theperlocutionary
acts,then,mightincludemakingDemocratshappy,makingRepublicansnervous,
shockingtheworld,andsellinglotsofnewspapers.Thereisjustoneillocutionaryact,
however,andthisistheactsimplyofresigningthepresidencyoftheUnitedStates.
Likemanyotheracts,notjustanyonecanperformit.NomatterhowItry,Icannot
resignthepresidencyoftheUnitedStatesbyutteringthewordsIherebyresign,
becauseIamnotthePresidentoftheUnitedStates(norcanIresignonBushs

12
behalf).

Langtonholdsthatpornographybringsaboutbothperlocutionaryandillocutionary
silencingofwomen.Consideragainthestudieswelookedatearlier,whichshowed
thatmenwhoviewedpornographyratedthemselvesasmorelikelytocommitrapeif
theycouldgetawaywithit.Thiskindofeffectcancauseperlocutionarysilencingof
women(although,asLangtonnotes,thisistoomildanameforrape).Thisoccurs
whenawomanrefusestohavesexwithaman,butthemanisnotpersuadedbyher
refusalandrapesher.Hereshehassucceededinutteringthewordnoherintended
locutionaryact.Moreover,shehassucceededinherintendedillocutionaryact
refusing.Butthisrefusalhasnothadthedesiredeffect.Shehasbeenperlocutionarily
silenced.

Itmightalsohappen,though,thatawomansaysnoandamansimplydoesnt
understandthatsheisrefusing.Whenthishappens,accordingtoLangton,thewoman
isillocutionarilysilenced.Langtonarguesthatonecannotrefuseunlessoneis
understoodasrefusing.Theillocutionaryactofrefusalbecomesimpossible,andthis
isaformofsilencing.Pornographybringsthisabout,accordingtoLangtonand
MacKinnon,byintimatingthatwomenalwayswantsex,thatwomenenjoybeing
overpowered,andthatwomendontreallymeannowhentheysayno.Some
evidencesupportsthisclaimwesawthatviewingpornographyincreased
acceptanceofmythslikeawomandoesntreallymeannountilsheslapsyouand
decreasedsubjectsabilitytorecognizerapeasrape.IfLangtonsandMacKinnons
argumentsareright,pornographydoesindeedsilencewomen;anditsilenceswomen
inaparticularlyhideousway.Pornographyssilencingofwomen,accordingto
Langton,iscruciallyimplicatedinbringingaboutrape.10

Langtonarguesthatpornographymaysilencewomeninotherwaysaswell.In
10
Onemightworrythatif,accordingtoLangton,womenareunabletorefusesex,
rapebecomesimpossible.ThiswouldcertainlybeanundesirableresultforLangton.
Itseemstome,however,thatthisisamistake:ifconsensualsexisunderstoodas
requiringnotjusttheabsenceofrefusalbutalsothepresenceofconsent,thenrape
takesplacewheneveronepartyfailstoconsent,regardlessofwhethertheysucceedin
refusing.Formoreontheseissues,seeJacobsen1995.

13
particular,shearguesthatwomensabilitytoprotest(especiallytoprotest
pornography)hasbeensilencedbypornography.Insupportofthisshediscusses
Ordeal,theautobiographyofLindaMarchiano,describinghowshewasraped,
tortured,andforcedtoperforminthepornographicfilmDeepThroat.Thisbookis
nowmarketedinpornographycatalogsassexuallyexcitingmaterial.Withherbook,
Marchianoattemptedtoprotest,butshewasnotunderstoodasprotesting.Instead,
howevershetriedtoprotest,herspeechwasseenassimplymorepornography.
AccordingtoLangton,thisisacaseofpornographysilencingawomanbymakingit
impossibleforhertoperformtheillocutionaryactofprotesting.

Accordingtothislineofargument,pornographyconvincesmenthatwomenlike
sexualviolenceandthatsexualviolenceissexy,whichmeanswomensobjectionsto
pornographyandtosexualviolencewillnotbetakenseriously.Inaddition,
pornographyhasthepowertodefinewhatsexis.Ifviolenceisdefinedassex,itwill
bemoredifficulttoprotestagainsttheviolenceinpornography:sexisconsidered
naturalandgood,soitcannotbequestioned.Thesefailuresmaybeillocutionaryor
perlocutionary:ifmenseeitasimpossiblethatonemightprotestsexasitoccursin
pornography,theywillnotunderstandwomenasprotesting,whichwillmeanthat
womencannotcommittheillocutionaryactofprotest.Ifmensimplydonotcarewhat
protestingwomensay,thisisperlocutionarysilencing:womencanprotest,buttheir
protestsdonothavetheirintendedeffects.

Pornographymaysilencewomensprotestsonothermattersaswellifpornography
convincesmenthatwomenareinferiorandtheirviewsnotworthyofconsideration,
theywillnottakewhatwomensayseriously.Again,thismaybeillocutionaryor
perlocutionarysilencing:illocutionaryifmenfailtounderstandthatwomenare
attemptingtoprotest,andperlocutionarysilencingiftheprotests(whileunderstood)
simplycannothavethedesiredeffects.11

Fordiscussionofwhetherornotfreedomofspeechshouldbeunderstoodas
11

protectingonesabilitytocarryoutillocutionaryandperlocutionaryspeechacts,see
Jacobson1995.

14
1.3.6Pornographyashatespeech
IntheUnitedKingdom,adifferentfeministargumentforrestrictingpornographyis
available.TheUKhaslawsagainstencitementtoracialhatred.Feministshave
arguedthatitmakesnosensetohavelawsagainstracebasedhatespeechandwhile
nothavinglawsagainstsexbasedhatespeech.Inarguingforsuchalaw,Aminatta
Fornawrites,
Pornographicimagesofwomenbound,gagged,rapedorsodomized;women
subjectedtohumiliationandtortureforthereaders'pleasure,andshownto
enjoywhatisbeingdonetothem;womenposedinasexuallydemeaningway
thesemustberecognizedasdoingthesameharmaspicturesorwords
whichtreatblackpeopleinasimilarlysubordinateorviolentway.Ifthose
pictureswereofblacks,AsiansorJews,theywouldberecognizedas
constitutinganincitementtoracialhatred(Forna1992:111).
IntheUS,speechadvocatinghatredagainstparticulargroupsisgenerallyprotectedas
politicalspeech.Attemptsatlawsbanninghatespeecharegenerallystruckdownas
unconstitutional,sothissortofargumentisunlikelytobeeffective.IntheUK,
however,ithasmuchgreaterpotential.12

2.Proposedlaws
Mostpeopleassumethatfeministswhoareopposedtopornographyadvocate
censorship.Thatis,theyassumethatthesefeministswouldsupportapolicyof
banningthepublicationanddistributionofpornography.However,mostofthe
campaignsagainstpornographyintheUSandUKhaveadvocatedadifferentsortof
law,oneproposedbyCatharineMacKinnonandAndreaDworkin.Theirproposed
lawwouldallowwomenwhohavebeenharmedbypornographytosuethemakers
anddistributorsofit.Iftheycanprovethattheywereharmed,theycanwindamages.

Thisproposalisaformofcivilrightslegislation,becausepornography,accordingto
MacKinnonandDworkin,isasortofsexdiscrimination.Theyholdthatitissex
discriminationbecause,theybelieve,itmakesakeycontributiontothedominanceof

ForconcernsregardingUKracialhatespeechlaws,theirimplementation,andanti
12

pornographyproposalsmodeledonthem,seeOsman1988:151160.

15
womeninsociety(seechapter1foradiscussionofthedominanceconceptionof
discrimination):itsubordinateswomentomen.Thisdoesntmeanthattheythink
onlywomenareeverharmedbypornography.Sometimes,men,childrenor
transsexualsareusedintheplaceofwomeninpornography,andsometimessuch
peopleareharmedbypornography(MacKinnon1992:466).Insuchcases,these
peoplewouldalsobeabletosuefordamages.

MacKinnonandDworkinbelievethatthereareimportantadvantagestothesortof
lawthattheysuggest.First,theirproposedlawmakesitveryclearthatwhatiswrong
withpornographyisthewaythatitharmswomen.Ifonecannotprovethatsome
particularworkofpornographyhascausedharm,itsmakersanddistributorscannot
besuccessfullysued.Next,thelawisnotaformofcensorship.Itismerelya
recognitionthatonewaypeoplecanbeharmedisviapornography.Thosewhomake
anddistributepornographyarefreetogoondoingso,butthelawgivestheman
incentivetobesurethatwhattheymakeanddistributedoesnotharmwomen.Finally,
thelawgiveswomenthepowertofightpornography,ratherthanputtingthispowerin
thehandsofthestate.

3.Againstrestrictingpornography
Feministshavedisagreedwiththeargumentsaboveinawidevarietyofways,notall
ofwhichcanreallybeconstruedasdefensesofpornography.Whilesomearguethat
pornographyisbeneficialtowomen,othersmerelydenysomeoftheclaimedharms,
whilestillothersdisagreeonlywiththeideaoflegislatingagainstpornography.

3.1Oppositiontolegislatingagainstpornography
Someargumentsagainstantipornographylegislationdonotatalldependon
defendingpornography,itscontentoreffects.Itisperfectlypossibletoagreewithall
thecriticismsthathavebeenmadeofpornographyandstilltomaintainthatitshould
notbelegallyrestricted.Wewillbeginwithsomequitegeneralobjectionsto
legislationagainstpornography.Wewillseethatsomeoftheseobjectionsdonot
actuallyapplytothesortsoflawsMacKinnonandDworkinpropose.Others,
however,do.

16
3.1.1Generaloppositiontorestrictionsonspeech

3.1.1.2Opendebateasbestpolicy
Wevediscussedthisideaabitalready,butitsworthrevisitingitatthispoint.Many
feminists,likemanynonfeminists,simplyopposeallrestrictionsonspeech.One
importantargumentagainstrestrictionsonspeechisthatitisdangerousforthe
governmenttoenterintothebusinessofpolicingspeech.Accordingtothislineof
thought,freeandopendebateisvitalforthefunctioningofademocracy,andifsome
viewscannotbeexpressed,thedebateisnotasfreeandopenasitwouldotherwise
be.Therightwayforthosewhoopposepornographytodealwithit,then,istospeak
outagainstit.Thosewhobelievethatpornographyperpetuatesdamagingmythsabout
womenshouldsayso;orboycottitanditssupporters;orbuildamovementfornew
andbetter,lesssexistsexuallyexplicitmaterials.Pornographyanditseffects,
accordingtothisline,canbefoughtopenlyinthefreemarketplaceofideas,rather
thanbysuppressingpornography.Moreover,proponentsarguethatthisisthemost
effectivewaytofightpornography:
Asfeministswehavearesponsibilitytobecriticalofthoseimageswefind
sexist,racist,orexploitativetocountertheminthemosteffectivewaythereis,
notbyseekingtogetthembanned,butbyinitiatingamuchmorewide
rangingdebateaboutsex,bylobbyingforbettersexeducationinschools,by
creatingmoreinformed,tolerantandresponsiblesocialattitudestothe
expressionofsexuality,andbysupportingthosewhoarecreatingan
alternativebodyofsexualimagesforwomen...(FeministsAgainstCensorship
1991:1415)
Thislineofargumentonitsown,however,isineffectiveagainstthecasethatanti
pornographyfeministshavebuilt.MacKinnonandLangtonhavearguedthat
pornographysilenceswomensabilitytoprotest,especiallytoprotestpornography
itrendersthewomenunabletoparticipateinfreeandopendebate.Forthisreason,
LangtonandMacKinnonsuggest,pornographycannotbefoughtwithmorespeech:
womenaresilencedaslongaspornographyexists.Ifthisisright,thenthosewho
argueagainstrestrictingpornographyonthegroundsofvaluingdebateseemtobe
committedtotheideathatpornographersspeechismoreimportantthanwomen's
speech.Muchdepends,then,onwhetherornotwomenaresilencedbypornography.
Wewillreturntothisissueshortly.

17
3.1.1.2Whodecides?
Anotherkeyobjectiontorestrictionsonspeechistheinherentdangerofgiving
governmentspowertodecidewhichviewscanandcannotbeexpressed.Thereisno
guaranteethatgovernmentswillsuppresstherightbitsofexpression.Infact,when
governmentshavebeengiventherighttorestrictsexualspeechinthepast,theyhave
beenmostlikelytocensorspeechfeministswouldnotwantcensoredcontraception
andsafesexinformation,andpositivediscussionsofgayandlesbiansexuality.(See
Nielson1988:1725;Califia1994.)Protectingaccesstosuchmaterialsisan
importantfeministpriority,andcampaignsthatriskrestrictingaccesstothese
materialsunderminethisaim.

Thislineofthoughtgainsaddedforcefromarecentbitofhistory:In1992,the
CanadianSupremeCourtlaiddownanewinterpretationofobscenity.Underthis
newunderstanding,obscenityisnowamatteroftheharmitinflicts,particularly
harmtowomen.(Scales2000:324).Theiremphasisisnowonmaterial,violentor
nonviolent,thatisdegradinganddehumanizing(Ibid.).Thisnewunderstandingof
obscenityisclearlyinfluencedbyafeministconceptionofwhatiswrongwith
pornography,andseekstobanmaterialsthataffectwomeninthewaysthat
MacKinnondescribes.Unfortunately,however,enforcersofthelawhavenotshared
MacKinnonsviewsonwhichmaterialsaredegrading,dehumanizing,andharmfulto
women.Asaresult,CatharineMacKinnonsandAndreaDworkinsownworkshave
beenseizedattheCanadianborder(Strossen1995:159).Canadiancustomsofficials
appear,inaddition,tohavespecificallytargetedgayandlesbianworks:straight
pornographyandTheJoyofSexhavebeenallowedtocirculate,butgayandlesbian
pornographyandTheJoyofGaySexhavebeenbannedordetainedattheborder
(Califia1994:1089).Clearly,thefeministswhosupportthenewCanadian
understandingofobscenitywoulddisagreewiththeviewthattheworksof
MacKinnonandDworkinaredegradinganddehumanizingtowomen,andwiththe
viewthatgayandlesbianmaterialismoredangerousthanheterosexualmaterial.13

Nonetheless,theywouldntnecessarilydisagreewithallthedecisionsmadeby
13

Canadiancustoms.Inparticular,theymightagreewiththedecisiontobancertain
piecesoflesbiansadomasochisticwriting.SeeScales2000:330;Dworkin,citedin

18
However,theyarenottheonesenforcingCanadianobscenitylaw.Manythinkthe
Canadianexampleshowsthatanyattemptstorestrictpornographywillresultin
unintendedandundesirableconsequences,duetothefactthatthoseenforcingthelaw
willprobablynotbeantipornographyfeminists.14

Thisconcernhelpstobringouttowhatsomehavesaidisadeepandimportantflaw
inMacKinnon'sdefinition(eventhoughMacKinnonsdefinitionwasnotpreciselythe
oneusedintheCanadianjudgment).Theflawisthat,despitethedefinitionslength
andlevelofdetail,thereisstillroomforagreatdealofdisagreementoverwhethera
particularworksatisfiesthedefinition.Whatcountsasapostureofdisplayapose
inananatomytextbook?Inasafesexhandbookilliustration?Whatisascenarioof
degradation?Ahomophobiclawenforcementofficialmightconsideranylesbianor
gaysextobedegrading.Theproblemisthatwehavenoguaranteesaboutwhowill
beinterpretingthetermsinMacKinnonsdefinition.PatCalifiawrites,
Whoknowswhatexactlyismeantbysubordination,sexualsubmission,or
degradation?Feministsusethesetermsdifferentlyfromfundamentalists,who
believethatlesbianism,workoutsidethehome,abortion,andextramaritalsex
degradewomen(Califia1994:124).

3.1.2ObjectionstoMacKinnonscivilrightsordinance
ItisimportanttonotethattheCanadianlawonobscenity,evenwithitsnew
understandingofobscenity,doesnotworkinthewaythatMacKinnonsproposed
lawwould.Ratherthanallowingindividualswhohavebeenharmedbypornography
tosue,Canadianlawsimplyplacesrestrictionsoncertainmaterials.InCanada,
pornographyisamatterforcriminal,ratherthancivil,law.Theconsequencesofsuch
alawarguablydiffer,then,fromthosethatwouldfollowfromalawmoreliketheone
MacKinnonhasproposed.UnderMacKinnonslaw,towindamagesagainsta
pornographerordistributor,awomanwouldneedtoshowthatshehasbeenharmed
bypornography.MacKinnonwouldpresumablyholdthatnoonewouldbeableto
successfullyprovethattheyhadbeenharmedbyherwritingsorDworkin's,orby

Calfia1994:108.
14
See,forexample,Strossen1995;Califia1994;McElroy1995.Foraninteresting
defenseoftheCanadianlawdespiteoppositiontosomeofitsconsequences,see
Scales2000.

19
lesbiansafesexmanuals.Inaddition,thegeneralobjectiontogovernmentrestrictions
onspeechcannotapplytoalawlikethatwhichMacKinnonproposes:herlawwould
givegovernmentsnosuchpower.

MacKinnonsproposedlaw,then,isarguablyfarlesslikelythantheCanadianlawto
resultinthewrongsortsofmaterialsbeingaffected.NadineStrossen,however,
arguesthatpreciselytheoppositeisthecase(Strossen1995:5982).First,shenotes,
aswehave,thatmanyofthetermsinMacKinnon'sdefinitionareopentoawide
varietyofinterpretations.Next,shepointsoutthatitisimpossibletopredictwho
mightclaimtobeharmedbywhatmaterial,orwhetherornottheycouldconvincea
juryofit.TherehavebeenmurdererswhoclaimtohavebeeninspiredbyTheBible,
TheBrothersKaramazov,andRoots,shenotes.Noonewouldexpect,primafacie,
thattheseworkswouldcauseharm,butarguablyonoccasiontheydo.15Sowhat
shouldonedo,Strossenasks,ifoneownsabookstore,andwantstoavoidbeingsued?
SincemanyofthetermsinMacKinnonsdefinitionareopentointerpretation,and
sincewecan'tpredictwhatclaimsofharmmightbemadeorproven,theonlysure
waytoavoidbeingsuedundersuchalawistoavoidsellinganymaterialsthatare
sexuallyexplicit.Thereasonforthisisthatsexuallyexplicitisoneoffewtermsin
thedefinitionwithafairlywellagreeduponmeaning.16Ifsomeworkisnotsexually
explicit,weknowthatitcannotbepornography.TheAmericanBooksellers
Associationhassaidthatthisactofselfdefenseofnotstockingpotentially
objectionablematerialispreciselywhattheirmemberswouldbeforcedtodo
(Strossen1995:68).Ifbookstoresrefusetoordersexuallyexplicitmaterialsinorder
toavoidbeingsued,pornographyasdefinedbyfeministsisonlyonethingthatwould
beaffected.Gay,lesbian,andheterosexualsafesexmanuals,fiction,anderotica,and
perhapseventheworksofDworkinandMacKinnon,wouldallbecomeveryhardto
15
Onewhomaintainsthatpornographycausesharmonthebasisofthefactthatsome
rapistssaytheyhavebeeninspiredbyitshouldacceptthattheworkscitedabove
causeharmbecausesomemurdererssaytheyhavebeeninspiredbythem.
16
Itsworthnotingthateventhemeaningofthistermisnotcrystalclear:tobeginto
seethis,itmayhelptoconsideroneelementthatcouldfigureinjudgmentsofsexual
explicitnessnudity.Intuitively,notallnudityissexuallyexplicit(anatomy
textbookscontainnudity),andnotallsexuallyexplicitmaterialsinvolvenudity(they
mayinvolvefetishcostumesinstead,forexample).Thisgivessomeindicationofthe
sortofdifficultiesthatmightariseevenindecidingwhatcountsassexuallyexplicit.

20
find.Strossenargues,then,thatthissortoflawwoulddofarmoretostiflespeech
thananoutrightban.Anoutrightbanwouldmeanthatthegovernmentprevented
certainmaterialsfromevercomingtobookstores,butalawlikeMacKinnonsleaves
mattersuptobooksellers.Farfrombeingamilderformofrestriction,then,thislawis
likelytohavemuchmoresweepingeffectsthanstandardcensorship.

Feministargumentsthatwomenaresilencedbypornographymakepossiblea
responsetothisworry.Ifpornographysilenceswomen,thenspeechisalreadybeing
severelyrestricted.Wehaveachoice,then,betweenallowingthesilencingofwomen
tocontinueandriskingthesuppressionofsomeworksasdescribedabove.Theactual
silencingofwomenseemsfarmoreworryingthanthemerepossibilitythatsome
workswillhavedifficultygainingdistribution.Again,then,agreatdealturnsonthe
ideathatpornographysilenceswomen.

3.3Responsestoargumentsagainstpornography
3.3.1Womensreactions
Feministswhoargueagainstpornographyonthebasisofwomen'sreactionsareon
somewhatshakyground.First,thereisaproblemwithclaimingthatone'sown
subjectivecertaintyaboutsomethingisaguidetothetruth.Manypeopleinawide
varietyoftimesandplaceshavefeltcertainthattheworldisflat,thatslaveryis
acceptable,orthatkingsareappointedbyGod,tonameafewexamples.Sincewe
wouldnotwanttotakethesefeelingsofcertaintytoindicatethetruth,weshouldbe
unwillingtorestargumentsagainstpornographyonfeelingsofsubjectivecertainty.

Inaddition,womenactuallyhaveawidevarietyofreactionstopornography.Many
womensaythattheyenjoypornography,andthatitmakesapositivecontributionto
theirsexlives.LisaPalac,afeministwhoopposedpornographyuntilshesatthrough
herfirstpornographicfilm,writes,
BeforeIwatchedporn,myeroticimaginationwasgroggy.Ididn'tknowwhat
asexualfantasywas;Ihadn'treallyhadthemPornographydangledsexual
fantasyinfrontofme.Itmademeawarethatmysexualimaginationwasn't
limitedtotheheatofthemomentorsensualreminiscence.Icouldthinkabout
anything.Icoulduseanythingbooks,magazines,videosforerotic
inspiration(Palac1995:245).

21
Palacfoundpornographytobeempowering.Andshedidsodespitehavingpreviously
opposeditonfeministgrounds.

Anyargumentthatbeginsfromtheideathatwomensreactionsindicatethetruth
aboutpornographyisforcedtocontendwiththefactthatthesereactionsvary.While
onecanexplainawaythereactionsofwomenlikePalacbyinsistingthattheyhave
hadtheirsexualityshapedbypornography,itismoredifficulttodothisconsistently
whileinsistingthatotherwomensreactionsaregoodguidestothetruth.Womens
responsestopornography,then,cannotprovidestraightforwardsupportfor
MacKinnonsviews.

3.3.2RealActs
Thosewhodisagreewithfeministargumentsagainstpornographydonotdenythe
veryrealandterribleharmthathasbeendonetosomeofthoseinvolvedinthe
makingofit.TheyagreethatwomenlikeLindaMarchianohavebeenraped,
assaulted,andcoercedandthatsuchoffensesshouldbeprosecutedtothefullest
extentofthelaw.However,MacKinnonusesMarchianoscaseasapartofher
argumentagainstpornographyingeneral,andthisisaquestionablemove.Thefact
thatsomepeopleinaparticularindustryhavesufferedterribleabuseisnoargument
againstthatindustryingeneral.Afterall,MacKinnonsownworkonsexual
harassmentandrapeintheworkplaceshowsthatterribleabuseoccursinmany
industries.

MacKinnonsometimesseemstoholdthatanywomaninvolvedintheproductionof
pornographymusthavebeencoerced,andthisviewisoftenattributedtoher.17Ifthis
claimwereaccurateitwouldindeedgivereasonforcondemningtheindustryasa
whole.However,MacKinnonsopponentspointoutthattodefendthisclaimonemust
denythesincerity(orselfknowledge)ofwomenwhoworkinpornography,butsay
thattheydosowillingly,andthattheyhavenotbeenabused.18.Dismissingthe
17
Itisworthnoting,though,thatsheexplicitlydeniesthisinMacKinnon1993:20
21.
18
Forexample,CandidaRoyalle,afeministandformerpornographystarwhonow
producesanddirectspornography,writes,Itisoftentakenforgrantedthatwomen
getintopornbecausetheyarevictimsorprostitutesorselfdestructive.Itsveryhard

22
testimonyofwomenwhodefendpornographyisaproblematicmoveforthosewho
opposethesilencingofwomen.Withoutthismove,however,storieslikeMarchianos
onlygivereasontocondemncertainpiecesofpornographythoseinvolving
coercion,assault,orrape.Andsincethoseoffencesalsooccuroutsidepornography,
thismeansthatcaseslikeMarchianosdonotpointtoawrongspecificto
pornography.

Somealsoarguethatantipornographylegislationwouldleadtomoreabusesinthe
pornographyindustry.GayleRubinsuggeststhatrestrictionsonpornographyonly
servetomakeitmoredifficulttoimproveworkingconditionsintheindustry:
thedegreetowhichsexworkersareexposedtomoreexploitationand
hazardousworkingconditionsisafunctionofthestigma,illegality,or
marginallegalityofsexwork.Peopleinstigmatizedorillegaloccupationsfind
itdifficulttoobtaintheprotections,privilegesandopportunitiesavailablefor
otherjobs.Prostitutes,pornmodelsandexoticdancershavelessrecourseto
police,courts,medicaltreatment,legalredressorsympathywhentheyare
subjectedtocriminal,violentorunscrupulousbehaviour.Itismoredifficult
forthemtounionizeormobilizeforprotectionasworkers(Rubin1993:33).
Ifthisiscorrect,theninterestinthereallivesofthoseinvolvedinmaking
pornographyshouldmotivatefeministsnottoopposepornography,butinsteadto
supporttheeffortsofthoseinvolvedinpornographywhoaretryingtoimprovetheir
workingconditions.19

3.3.3Rapistsandmurderersuseofpornography
Thefactthatsomerapistsandmurderershavebeenusersofpornographyshowsvery
littleonitsownMacKinnonbelieves,afterall,thatmostmenareusersof
pornography.Eventherapistsandmurderersuseofviolentpornographyshowslittle.
Itseemsreasonabletosupposethatonewhoisattractedtosexualviolenceinreallife
mightalsoenjoydepictionsofsexualviolencesowhateveritisthatmakessomeone
wanttocommitrapemightalsomakethemwanttouseviolentpornography.

forthisculturetoacceptthatwomencouldchoosetodothisasajob,whichwas
certainlythecasewithmeandmanyotherwomen.(Royalle2000:541.)Shealso
writes,TheonlytimeadirectorwantedmetodosomethingthatIdidntwanttodo,
Irefused.(Ibid.:542.)Obviously,notallpornactresseshaveexperienceslike
Royalles,butRoyallesexperienceshowsthedifficultyofgeneralizingfromasingle
case.
19
FormoreonthisseeRubin(1993),andalsoCornell(2000).

23
However,rapistsandmurderershavealsoapparentlyactedoutscenariosthatthey
learnedoffrompornography:surelythis,onemightthink,isanindicationof
porngraphyspowerincausingcrime.Defendersofpornography,however,have
suggestedthatwithoutpornographysuchrapistsandmurdererswouldmerelyhave
carriedoutdifferentactsofviolence.Inshort,thesefactsalonedonotshowthat
pornographycausessexualviolence(Williams1993).Moreover,studieshaveshown
thatsexoffenderstendtohavehadlessexposuretopornographythanothermen,not
more(Segal1990:33).Itismoredifficultthanitmightseem,then,tolink
pornographyandsexualviolence.20

Rapistsandmurderershave,however,actuallyclaimedthatpornographyledtotheir
crimes.Thistestimony,itmightseem,surelygivesreasontobelievethatpornography
hascausedsexualviolence.However,onemightquestionwhetherrapistsown
testimonyastothecausesoftheircrimesshouldbebelieved.Mostpeoplehaverather
poorknowledgeofthecausesoftheirownbehaviour,soevenifrapistsaretryingto
beashonestaspossible,theymaysimplybewrong.Moreover,everyonelikestofind
awayofavoidingblameforwrongdoing.AsHenryLouisGatesnotes,
Criminals,liketherestofus,arehappytoattributetheirbadbehaviourtoan
externalagency(mother,HostessTwinkies,demonrum,Playboy),thus
diminishing,insomemeasure,theirownculpability(Gates1992:902).
Thetestimonyofrapists,then,cannotbetakentoshowconclusivelythatpornography
causesrape.However,itcanbetakentobeabitofevidencetobeweighedwiththe
restoftheinformationavailableonpornographysrelationshiptoviolence.

3.3.4Experimentalevidence21

3.3.4.1Linkstoactualviolence
Somehavearguedthattheexperimentalevidencecitedearlierisinsufficienttoprove
harmtowomen,becauseitdoesnotshowthatviewingpornographyactuallymakes
menmorelikelytocommitrapeorotheractsofviolenceintherealworld(Strossen
1995,Segal1990).Atbest,itonlyshowschangesinviewers'attitudes.Whilethisis

Onthisissue,seealsoCameron&Frazer2000:240253.
20

Forfurtherconcernsabouttheexperimentalevidenceregardingpornographys
21

effects,seeSegal1990.

24
correct,itisdifficulttoseehowtheexperimentscouldbeimprovedupon.Itissimply
impossibletodoaproperlaboratoryexperimentsinanethicalmannerwhichtests
pornographystendencytocontributetoactualviolence.Moreover,changesin
attitudesareattheheartoffeministsclaimsaboutpornography.Ifpornography
makesmenviewrapeasmoreacceptable,andmakesmenviewwomenassex
objects22,thenMacKinnonhasshownmuchofwhatshewantstoshow.Theseattitude
changesinthemselves,forMacKinnon,constitutesignificantevidencethat
pornographycontributestothesubordinationofwomen.

3.3.4.2Nonsexuallyexplicitmaterial
AmoreimportantobjectiontotheusethatMacKinnonandherfollowersmakeof
psychologicalevidencecomesfromthefactthatnonsexuallyexplicitmaterialalso
seemstoproduceworryingchangesinattitudestowardwomenandrape(see,for
example,Segal1990,Linz,Donnerstein&Penrod1987.)Studieshavealsoshown
thatnonsexuallyexplicitmaterialwhichpairsviolenceandsexualityhassimilar
effects.23Thismeans,criticsargue,thatthepsychologicalevidencecannotsupporta
lawthatspecificallytargetssexuallyexplicitmaterial.Iftheideaistotargetmaterial
whichleadstothesexualobjectificationofwomenandgreateracceptanceofrape,
thenallsuchmaterialshouldbeencompassed,notonlysexuallyexplicitmaterial.

Thereareseveralresponsesavailabletothisargument.Oneistomaintainthatthis
showsaneedforalterationofMacKinnonsunderstandingofpornography:according
tothislinepornography,properlyunderstood,alsoincludesmaterialthatisnot
sexuallyexplicit.DianaRusselladvocatesjustsuchaviewofpornography(Russell
1993:122).However,itwouldbepoliticallydifficulttosuccessfullymakeacase
againstallsuchmaterials,andthisdifficultycouldwellmotivateafocusjuston
sexuallyexplicitmaterials.Ifweknowthatacertainclassofmaterialsproduces

22
Studiescanbeinterpretedasshowingthis,thoughthereisroomfordebateover
exactlywhatcountsasviewingwomenassexobjects.
23
Manyofthesestudiesinvolveslashermovies.Butonecaneasilyimagineviews
ofsexualitybeingnegativelyaffectedbypositivedepictionsofrapeinevenclassic
movieslikeGoneWiththeWind.Indeed,onemightexpecttheeffecttobe
stronger,sincethesemoviesareconsideredrespectablewhattheydepictmayseem
moresociallyacceptable.

25
harmsthatwetakeseriously,thisgivesusthereasontoactagainstasmuchofthis
materialaspossible.Itisbetter,thislinegoes,totargetsomeofitthannoneofit.

3.3.3.5Linkagewithinequalityingeneral
ManyhavequestionedthecentralitythatMacKinnonassignstopornography.
Feministshavespentmanydecadesdocumentingwaysinwhichawidevarietyof
mediafiction,textbooks,nonpornographicmovies,television,commercials,and
thelikecontributetothedamagingofviewsofwomen.Moreover,theyhaveargued
thatmanysocialforcesotherthanthemediacontributetokeepingwomenina
subordinateposition.(Theotherchaptersofthisbookdiscusssomeoftheseforces.)
Why,then,singleoutpornographyinthewaythatitsopponentsdo?Itisvery
difficulttojustifyclaimsthatpornographyisthekeytothecurrentinequalities
betweenmenandwomen,andthateliminatingpornographyisthekeytoendingthese
inequalities.Further,inequalitiesbetweenthesexesseemtohavebeenpresentsince
longbeforepornographywaswidelyavailable,andsomesocietieswithverystrict
restrictionsonpornographyareveryoppressiveofwomen(Strossen1995:255).This
doesconclusivelyshowthatMacKinnoniswrongitcouldbethattherearemany
causesofinequalityindifferentsocieties,butthatinourcurrentsocietypornography
isthekeybutitcertainlycastsintodoubtherclaims.

Moreover,somehavesuggestedthatthecampaignagainstpornographyconstitutesa
damagingdistractionfromtheneedtodirectlyaddresstheseotherproblemswomen
face.PatCalifiawrites,
responsibilityfordiscriminationisshiftedtopornratherthanthe
individualsandinstitutionsthatactuallycommitsuchacts,andwomensanger
andfearofviolencearedirectedawayfromrapistsandbatterersandshiftedto
dirtymagazines.Butdiscriminationandviolencearecausedbymanythings;
theywillnotstopjustbecausesexist,sexuallyexplicitmaterialbecomes
unavailable.[Anantipornographylaw]isnomorethanacomfortingplacebo.
(Califia1994:123)

Theideathatasinglemindedfocusonpornographyisamistakedoesnotnecessarily
meanthatallworriesaboutpornographyareamistake.Onemaystillthinkthat
pornographyisoften(orevenalways)problematicwithoutthinkingthatitassumes

26
thekindofimportancethatMacKinnonandmanyantipornographycampaigners
assignit.CaroleVance,forexample,criticizestheantipornographyfocusasan
excessivelysimplemindedattempttomakesenseofanextremelycomplicated
reality.
Initially,mostfeministscouldagreewiththecontentionthatpornographywas
oftensexist.Beforelong,however,itbecameclearthattheclaimsand
characterizationsofantipornographyleadersandgroupsweregrandioseand
overstated.Nolongeranorganicpartofcommercialmediaandimageswhich
oftenpresentedwomeninademeaning,trivializing,andsexistmanner,in
theirmonolithicaccountpornographybecamemonstrousinwaysthat
mainstreamTV,GoodHousekeepingmagazine,ortheBiblecouldneverbe.
(Vance1992PleasureandDanger:xviii)
Vancecallsforacareful,nuancedinvestigationofthewaysinwhichmanydifferent
forcesmaycombinetoperpetuateinequality.Whenitcomestopornography,Vance
holdsthatwhatisneededisanexplorationofthemanydifferentfacetsandvarieties
ofbothwomensandmensresponses.MacKinnonsviewofpornography,according
toVance,isnotonlyimplausiblebutalsoabarriertothesortofresearchand
discussionthatwouldbeneededforgenuineunderstanding.Butobjectingto
MacKinnononthesegrounds(asVancewouldadmit)bynomeanssetsasideall
feministconcernsaboutpornography.Accordingly,therearestillimportantquestions
regardingsomeofthemorespecificclaimsopponentsofpornographymakesuch
astheclaimthatitsilenceswomen.

3.3.6Pornographyassilencing
3.3.6.1Silencingandrape
TheexperimentalevidenceseemstosupportLangton'sandMacKinnon'sclaimsthat
pornographysilenceswomenbymakingrapeseemmoreacceptable,andmakingrape
moredifficulttoperceiveasrape.Theseareterribleeffects,anditisterriblefor
womentobesilencedinthisway.However,nothingfollowsfromthisalone
regardingwhatshouldbedoneaboutpornography.If,assomehaveargued,
suppressingpornographywouldnoteffectivelycombatitseffects,thenproposalslike
MacKinnon'saremisguided.Inparticular,ifthebestwaytofightpornographys
effectsisbyspeakingoutagainstrapemyths,suppressingpornographyisnotthe
answer.EvenifMacKinnonssilencingclaimisestablished,then,muchwillturnon
thequestionofwhatisthebestwaytofightpornography'seffects.

27
3.3.6.2Silencingandprotest
Onewayoffightingpornographyanditseffects,weveseen,wouldbetospeakout
againstit.ButMacKinnonandLangtonhavealsoarguedthatpornographyrendersit
impossibleforwomentoprotest,whichwouldmeanthistechniquewouldnotmeet
withmuchsuccess.ThekeyexampleusedinsupportofthisclaimisLinda
Marchiano'sfailedattempttoprotestpornographywithherbookOrdeal.

Itisnotclear,however,thatthisexamplecandotheworkthatMacKinnonand
Langtonneedittodo.ItisappallingthatMarchianosprotesthasbeensoldas
pornography,butgeneralizingfromonecasetoall(orevenmany)womenistoobiga
leap.Langtonrecognizesthis,andarguesmoregenerallythatpornographystendency
tomakemenseewomenasunworthy(perhapscombinedwithitsabilitytodefine
whatsexis)meansthatwomenscriticismsofpornographywillnotbetakenas
genuineprotests.Thisargument,however,needssubstantiallymoresupport.In
particular,thereisgoodreasontosupposethatitsconclusionisfalse.Theworldat
largehashadnotroubleunderstandingthatMacKinnonisopposingpornography.
Herprotestshavebeenheard,andshehasbuiltalargeandinfluentialmovement.Her
viewshaveinfluencedlaws,courtrulings,andthefindingsofgovernment
commissionsonpornography.24Itseemsjustfalsetosaythatwomenhavebeen
silencedsothoroughlybypornographythattheycannoteffectivelyspeakoutagainst
it.

3.4Fightingpornographyseffects
Somestudiesseemtoshowthatpornographysharmfuleffectscanbesuccessfully
countered.Aftersubjectsparticipateinexperimentsinvolvingtheviewingof
pornography,itisstandardtogivethemdebriefingsthatexplainthatrapemythsare
false,thatwomensufferagreatdealwhentheyareraped,andthatfilmslikethose
theyhaveseenservetoperpetuatefalseanddamagingideasaboutwomen.Studies

24
InadditiontotheCanadianSupremeCourtdecisiondiscussedearlier,MacKinnon
playedacentralroleinshapinglawspassedinMinneapolis(thoughvetoedbythe
mayor)andIndianapolis(thoughstruckdownbythecourt),andinfluencedthe
findingsoftheMeeseCommissiononpornography(Dwyer1995b:243245).

28
haveshownthatthosewhoviewpornographyandreceivedebriefingsarelesslikely
toacceptrapemyths,evenmanymonthslater,thanthosewhohaveexperienced
neitherthepornographynorthedebriefingduringtheirexperimentalsessions.Ifthis
iscorrect,theneducationalmessageshavethepotentialtodoagreatdealtoward
eliminatingthenegativeeffectsofpornography(Linz&Donnerstein1989:259288).

Evenifthesestudiesareright,however,itisunclearwhetherornoteffective
educationalpoliciescouldbedevisedwhichmightcounteractharmfuleffectsof
pornography.Althoughtheexperimentersresponsibleforthesestudiesadvocate
educationalpoliciesratherthanrestrictionofpornography,theythemselvesraise
concernsregardingthedifficultyofdevisingeffectivepolicies.Inparticular,
debriefingsaremosteffectivewhentailoredtothespecificworksofpornographythat
viewershaveseen.Generalized,briefwarningslikethosefoundoncigarettecartons
seemnottohavemucheffect.Thismeansthatworkingoutaneffectivemass
educationprogramtocounteractpornography'seffectsmightbeadifficultfeat(Linz
&Donnerstein1989:259288).

3.5Interpretation,fantasy,androleplay
Onekeypointmadeindefenseofpornographyisthatpornographicimagesand
narratives,likeanyothers,areopentointerpretation.Tosome,awomanasking
repeatedlyandenthusiasticallyforsexisadegradingimage.Toothers,thismaybe
anempoweringimageoffemalesexualassertiveness.Somepornography,however,
mayseemnottobeopentosuchvariedinterpretations.Inparticular,scenesof
dominationseemratherunambiguous.(Feministopponentsofpornographydonotin
factfocusonjustpornographyofthissort,butthiswouldbeapossibleposition.)
However,useofpornographytendstoinvolveacomplicatedinterplaybetweenthe
pornographyandtheusersfantasies.JeanGrimshawhasnotedthatfantasyis
particularlymurkyitmayevenbedifficulttosayjustwhatroleoneisidentifying
withinasexualfantasy(Grimshaw1997:175187).25Thiscansurelyhappenwiththe

25
SusanDwyer,however,notesthatweonlyfeeltemptedtoclaimthatfantasiesare
indeterminatewhenweareuncomfortableaboutthesefantasies:Whensomeone
fantasizesaboutpuppiesandfreshapplepie,oraboutlivingasuccessfulandhappy
life,theurgetointerpretdiminishestozero.(Dwyer2003.)

29
viewingofpornographyaswell.Inasimilarvein,SueGeorgenotes,justbecause
womenappearsubmissiveinmuchporndoesnotmeanthatawomanwatchingithas
tobesubmissiveinherfantasies.Womencanmanipulateporntofittheirexisting
fantasies,asmendo(George1988:111).

Somefeministsdefendevenviolentimages,withoutanyreferencetoreinterpretations
orambiguousfantasies.PatCalifiaarguesthatthereisnothingwrongwithimagesof
dominationandsubordination(Califia1994).Shetakestheretobenothingwrong
withbeingarousedbysadomasochism:sexualdesireisacomplicatedmatter,and
poweroftenplaysacrucialroleinit.Notonlyistherenothingwrongwithbeing
arousedbythoughtsofdominatingwomen,accordingtoCalifia,butthereisnothing
wrongwithactingonsuchdesires.

ThekeyforCalifiaisthatallsexualactivityincludingsadomasochisticsexual
activitymustbefullyconsensual.Shearguesthatsadomasochism,farfrom
involvinglackofconsent,insteadinvolvesexceptionallycarefulconsent.
Sadomasochistsmakeuseofsafewords,which,whenuttered,willimmediatelyputa
stoptowhateveractivityistakingplace.Further,sadomasochistsalsoengagein
carefulnegotiationregardingwhatactivitiestheywouldliketotakeplace.This,she
claims,makesitjustaboutthemostconsensualsexualcommunityaround.Andthis
claimhasconsiderableforce:howmanypeopleoutsidethiscommunityhaveexplicit
presexdiscussionswiththeirpartnersregardingwhatsexactstheylike,oragreetoa
safewordthatwillbeanunambiguousno?Givenfeministconcernsaboutfailureto
recognizewomensrefusals,thelatterisespeciallyimportant.

Sadomasochistswhofailtorespecttheserulessoonfindthemselvesostracizedbythe
community,sotherulesareadheredto.Withthissortofconsensuality,Califiaargues,
thereisnoreasontoobjecttosadomasochisticsex.Sadomasochisticsexalsohelpsto
revealsomeproblemswithinferencesfromsexualpracticestootherspheresoflife:
Califianotesthatmanymenwhoaresubmissivesexuallyareextremelypowerful
outsidethebedroom.Itiswrong,then,toassumethatsexualizedinequalitymust
carryoverintootherareasoflife,asMacKinnondoes.

30
Thosewhoviewimagesfromsadomasochisticpornographywithoutproperly
understandingthesadomasochisticcommunityanditsemphasisonconsentwillfailto
appreciatetheusethatismadeofthispornography.Itisdesignedforacommunity
whofarfrombeinglikelytorapehaveanunusuallyexplicitcommitmentto
consensuality.Onemightworry,however,thatsadomasochisticpornographywillbe
widelyviewedbythoseoutsidethecommunitythatCalifiadescribes.Againstthis,
however,severalauthorsclaimthatviolenceisrareinmainstreampornography
(Segal1990;Donnerstein,Linz,andPenrod1987).26Further,studieshaveshownthat
mostmenarenotarousedbyviolentpornography;instead,theyaredisgusted(see
Segal1990).

Summary
Feministswhowanttorestrictpornographydosobecausetheytakeittosubordinate
andsilencewomen,inpartthroughhelpingtocausesexualviolenceandshaping
negativeattitudestowardwomen.Feministswhoopposerestrictionofpornography
dosoforavarietyofreasons.Somequestiontheevidencethatpornographyis
especiallycrucialtoshapingattitudestowardwomenandcausingsexualviolence.
Othersarguethatrestrictingpornographyisnotthebestwayofunderminingthese
effectsofpornography.Stillothersdefendpornography,evenasitcurrentlyis,as
importanttowomenssexualfreedom.Whoisright?Wehaveseenthatmuchturns
on(a)theextenttowhichwomenactuallyaresilencedbypornography;(b)how
importantpornographyisinshapingattitudestowardwomen;and(c)whatthebest
wayoffightingpornographysnegativeeffectsis.Theanswerstothesequestions
remainsunclear,andsothereforedoestherightapproachtopornography.

Suggestionsforfurtherreading
General
Chester,G.andDickey,J.FeminismandCensorship:TheCurrentDebate,

Theinternet,however,maywellhavemadeitfareasiertogainaccesstoless
26

mainstreampornographythanitformerlywas.(Onthis,seeDwyer2003.)

31
Bridport,Dorset:Prism1988(EspeciallyusefulforBritishreadings)

Cornell,D.FeminismandPornography,NY:OxfordUniversityPress2000

Dwyer,S.TheProblemofPornography,Belmont,CA:Wadsworth1995

Itzin,C.Pornography:Women,Violence,andCivilLiberties,NY:Oxford
UniversityPress1992.(EspeciallyusefulforBritishreadings.)

Pornographyassilencing,subordination
Hornsby,J.DisempoweredSpeech,inSallyHaslanger,ed.Feminist
PerspectivesonLanguage,Knowlede,andReality,specialissueof
PhilosophicalTopics23:2(1995),22159.

,FeminisminPhilosophyofLanguage:CommunicativeSpeechActs,in
Fricker,M.andHornsby,J.(eds.),TheCambridgeCompaniontoFeminismin
Philosophy,2000,87106.

Jacobsen,D.FreedomofSpeechActs?AResponsetoLangton,Philosophy
andPublicAffairs,Vol.24(1995):6479(ThisarguesagainstLangton)

Langton,R.SpeechActsandUnspeakableActs,PhilosophyandPublic
Affairs22(1993):293330

MacKinnon,C.FrancisBiddlesSister,inMacKinnon,C.Feminism
Unmodified,Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniversityPress1987a.

,OnCollaboration,inMacKinnon,C.FeminismUnmodified,
Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniversityPress1987b.

,Pornography,CivilRights,andSpeech,inItzin,C.Pornography:
Women,Violence,andCivilLiberties,NY:OxfordUniversityPress1992

,OnlyWords,Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniversityPress1993

Otherargumentsagainstpornography
Dworkin,A.Pornography:MenPossessingWomen,London:WomensPress
1981.

Dyzenhaus,D.JohnStuartMillandtheHarmofPornography,Ethics102
(April1992):534551

Forna,A.PornographyandRacism:SexualizingOppressionandInciting
Hatred,inItzin,C.Pornography:Women,Violence,andCivilLiberties,NY:

32
OxfordUniversityPress1992

Itzin,C.LegislatingAgainstPornographywithoutCensorship,inItzin,C.
Pornography:Women,Violence,andCivilLiberties,NY:OxfordUniversity
Press1992

Longino,H.Pornography,Oppression,andFreedom:ACloserLook,in
Dwyer,S.TheProblemofPornography,Belmont,CA:Wadsworth1995,34
47.

MacKinnon,C.FrancisBiddlesSister,inMacKinnon,C.Feminism
Unmodified,Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniversityPress1987a.

,OnCollaboration,inMacKinnon,C.FeminismUnmodified,
Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniversityPress1987b.

,Pornography,CivilRights,andSpeech,inItzin,C.Pornography:
Women,Violence,andCivilLiberties,NY:OxfordUniversityPress1992

,OnlyWords,Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniversityPress1993

Russell,D.Introduction,inRussell,D.MakingViolenceSexy:Feminist
ViewsonPornography,Buckingham:OpenUniversityPress1993

Concernsregardingattacksonpornography
Califia,P.PublicSex,Pittsburgh,PA:Cleis1994.

Cornell,D.PornographysTemptation,inCornell,D.Feminismand
Pornography,NY:OxfordUniversityPress2000

FeministsAgainstCensorship,PornographyandFeminism,London:
Lawrence&Wishart1991

George,S.CensorshipandHypocrisy:SomeIssuesSurrounding
PornographythatFeminismhasIgnored,inChester,G.andDickey,J.
FeminismandCensorship:TheCurrentDebate,Bridport,Dorset:Prism1988

Palac,L.HowDirtyPicturesChangedMyLife,inStan,A.DebatingSexual
Correctness,NY:Delta1995

Rubin,G.Misguided,DangerousandWrong:anAnalysisofAnti
pornographyPolitics,inAssiter,A.BadGirlsandDirtyPictures,London:
PlutoPress1993.

Strossen,N.DefendingPornography,NY:Anchor1995

33
Vance,C.MorePleasure,MoreDanger:ADecadeAftertheBarnard
SexualityConference,inVance,C.PleasureandDanger,London:Pandora
1992.

ExperimentalEvidence
Donnerstein,E.,Linz,D.,andPenrod,S.TheQuestionofPornography:
ResearchFindingsandPolicyImplications,NY:TheFreePress1987.

Einsedel,E.TheExperimentalResearchEvidence:EffectsofPornography
ontheAverageIndividualinItzin,C.Pornography:Women,Violence,and
CivilLiberties,Oxford:OxfordUniversityPress1992,248283.

Linz,D.&Donnerstein,E.TheEffectsofCounterinformationonthe
AcceptanceofRapeMyths,inFeministsAgainstCensorship,Pornography
andFeminism,London:Lawrence&Wishart1991

Segal,L.PornographyandViolence:WhattheExpertsReallySay,
FeministReview36(1990):2941

Zillman,D.andBryant,J.Pornography:ResearchAdvancesandPolicy
Considerations,Hillsdale,NJ:LawrenceErlbaum1989

34