Analysis Of The Censorship Of Pornography

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In a diary started at the age of sixty-five, feminist pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote that: "the first great work to be accomplished for woman is to revolutionize the dogma that sex is a crime." Eighty-seven years after Stanton’s death, lawyer and radical feminist scholar Catharine MacKinnon published Toward a Feminist Theory of the State in which she confronts organized male dominance in the form of the state. MacKinnon views the elimination of pornography as essential to this effort because pornography is: "sex forced on real women so that it can be sold at a profit to be forced on other real women; women 's bodies trussed and maimed and raped and made into things to be hurt and obtained and accessed and this presented as the …show more content…
In believing that men will watch pornography and then perpetrate what they saw on women, Mackinnon ignores the enormous divide between thought and deed. In this sense, it is no different than assuming that because one watches a rated R movie they are more prone to commit a violent crime. In her essay entitled The Censorship of Pornography, feminist sociologist Thelma
McCormack dismisses “the uninformed claim that pornography is in any way a factor" in producing sexually violent men, who seek to abuse and harm women. McCormack repudiates this theory and dismisses it as: "an insult to social scientists and the broader intellectual community for whom structural equality is the crux of social justice and who have labored to develop the knowledge that would clarify and deepen our understanding of it"(75) Throughout the essay Mackinnon assiduously reminds the reader just how insidious pornography is. She states that pornography "turns a woman into a thing to be acquired and used." And that it is primarily concerned "with whether women bleed."(199) She maintains
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It puts women at a disadvantage as they cannot explore without shame their own sexuality. It places limitations on women’s ability to define their own sexuality separate from the sphere of male sexuality.
MacKinnon turns the mere act of penetration into an acknowledgement of submission and subordination. If pornography were to become acknowledged as obscenity adopting the notion that “pornography does not work sexually without gender hierarchy,” (211) a women’s freedom and equality would be repeatedly undermined by simply engaging in sexual intercourse with men. In this sense MacKinnon’s campaign against the pornographic does incredible harm to women. MacKinnon’s analysis allows no room for the possibility that sexual expression via pornography can be liberating. Pornography is the exercise of free speech in a sexual context.
Freedom of speech is important because it allows for the free exchange and evaluation of ideas.
This creates the conditions for progress, the conditions in which feminist theory has been most successful in advancing the cause for female equality. At the heart of MacKinnon’s attack on pornography is a genuine desire to secure

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