Anti-pornography movement

Anti-pornography movement

The term anti-pornography movement is used to describe those who argue that pornography has a variety of harmful effects, such as encouragement of human trafficking, desensitization, pedophilia, dehumanization, exploitation, sexual dysfunction, and inability to maintain healthy sexual relationships. Many of those involved in the anti-pornography movement come from religious groups, feminists, and individuals who feel that pornography plays a major role in the breakdown of their marriages and relationships.

Medical research objections

Imageframe|width=450|content=. [Zillmann, Dolf: "Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography", [] ] He describes the theoretical basis of these experimental findings:

The values expressed in pornography clash so obviously with the family concept, and they potentially undermine the traditional values that favor marriage, family, and children... Pornographic scripts dwell on sexual engagements of parties who have just met, who are in no way attached or committed to each other, and who will part shortly, never to meet again... Sexual gratification in pornography is not a function of emotional attachment, of kindness, of caring, and especially not of continuance of the relationship, as such continuance would translate into responsibilities, curtailments, and costs... [Zillmann, pages 16-17]

Additionally, some researchers claim that pornography causes unequivocal harm to society by increasing rates of sexual assault [Malamuth, Neil M.: "Do Sexually Violent Media Indirectly Contribute to Antisocial Behavior?", [] , page 10] [Zillmann, Dolf: "Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography", [] ] , a line of research which has been critiqued in "The effects of Pornography: An International Perspective" on external validity grounds [The effects of Pornography: An International Perspective [] ] , while others claim there is a correlation between pornography and a decrease of sex crimes [cite web | url= | title=Pornography, rape and the internet | accessdate=2006-10-25] [cite web | last = D'Amato | first = Anthony | title = Porn Up, Rape Down | url= | date= 2006-06-23| accessdate=2006-12-19] [ [ The Effects of Pornography: An International Perspective] University of Hawaii Porn 101: Eroticism, Pornography, and the First Amendment: Milton Diamond Ph.D.] , an issue discussed further in public health effects of pornography.

Religious objections

Some religious conservatives, such as Jerry Falwell, criticize pornography on religious-moral grounds. They say sex is reserved for heterosexual married couples, to be used only in accordance with God's will, and assert that use of pornography involves indulgence in lust (which in Christianity is a sin) and leads to an overall increase in sexually immoral behavior.Fact|date=June 2007

Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was well known within the faith for expounding the church's sentiments against pornography.Of pornography, he said, "It is like a raging storm, destroying individuals and families, utterly ruining what was once wholesome and beautiful...suffice it to say that all who are involved become victims. Children are exploited, and their lives are severely damaged. The minds of youth become warped with false concepts. Continued exposure leads to addiction that is almost impossible to break. Men, so very many, find they cannot leave it alone. Their energies and their interests are consumed in their dead-end pursuit of this raw and sleazy fare." [see "A Tragic Evil Among Us"]

Many are opposed to pornography because of religious convictions and morals, as exemplified by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states::"Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials." Section 2354 []

Feminist objections

Feminist positions on pornography are diverse. Some feminists, such as Diana Russell, Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Susan Brownmiller, Dorchen Leidholdt, Ariel Levy, and Robin Morgan, argue that pornography is degrading to women, and complicit in violence against women both in its production (where, they charge, abuse and exploitation of women performing in pornography is rampant) and in its consumption (where, they charge, pornography eroticizes the domination, humiliation, and coercion of women, and reinforces sexual and cultural attitudes that are complicit in rape and sexual harassment). Many feminists differentiate between different sorts of porn.

Beginning in the late 1970s, anti-pornography radical feminists formed organizations such as Women Against Pornography that provided educational events, including slide-shows, speeches, and guided tours of the sex industry in Times Square, in order to raise awareness of the content of pornography and the sexual subculture in pornography shops and live sex shows.

The feminist anti-pornography movement was galvanized by the publication of "Ordeal", in which Linda Boreman (who under the name of "Linda Lovelace" had starred in "Deep Throat") stated that she had been beaten, raped, and pimped by her husband Chuck Traynor, and that Traynor had forced her at gunpoint to make scenes in "Deep Throat", as well as forcing her, by use of both physical violence against Boreman as well as emotional abuse and outright threats of violence, to make other pornographic films. However, in the documentary "Inside Deep Throat", directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato interviewed several people connected with the filming of "Deep Throat", including director Gerard Damiano and co-star Harry Reems; all stated that Lovelace was not forced in any way to participate in the film, and specifically that they never saw a gun on the set. Dworkin, MacKinnon, and Women Against Pornography issued public statements of support for Boreman, and worked with her in public appearances and speeches. Boreman's criticism focused feminist attention not only on the effects of the "consumption" of pornography (which had dominated feminist discussions of pornography in the 1970s), but also the effects of the "production" of pornography, which they claim is rife with abuse, harassment, economic exploitation, and physical and sexual violence. They point to the testimony of other well known participants in pornography such as Traci Lords, and expressed in recent feminist works such as Susan Cole's "Power Surge: Sex, Violence and Pornography". MacKinnon applies the critical test to determine whether the production of pornography is exploitative: would women "choose" to work in the pornography industry if it were not for the money? Critics note that this test fails to distinguish pornography from any other industry.

Some anti-pornography feminists -- Dworkin and MacKinnon in particular -- advocated laws which would allow women who were sexually abused and otherwise hurt by pornography to sue pornographers in civil court. The Antipornography Civil Rights Ordinance that they drafted was passed twice by the Minneapolis city council in 1983, but vetoed by Mayor Donald Fraser, on the grounds that the city could not afford the litigation over the law's constitutionality. The ordinance was successfully passed in 1984 by the Indianapolis city council and signed by Mayor William Hudnut, and passed by a voter initiative in Bellingham, Washington in 1988, but struck down both times as unconstitutional by the state and federal courts. In 1986, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts' rulings in the Indianapolis case without comment.

Many anti-pornography feminists supported the legislative efforts, but others -- including Susan Brownmiller, Janet Gornick, and Wendy Kaminer -- objected that legislative campaigns would be rendered ineffectual by the courts, would violate principles of free speech, or would harm the anti-pornography movement by taking organizing energy away from education and direct action and entangling it in political squabbles (Brownmiller 318-321)

Many anti-pornography feminists describing themselves as "sex-radical" such as Ann Simonton and Nikki Craft and other members of Media Watch have advocated working against pornography and been arrested for public nudity and apply civil disobedience against corporations by ripping up single copies of magazines that contained violent pornography that they insist glorify rape as sexual entertainment. They advocate rejecting the representations of sexuality as exemplified in publications like "Hustler" and "Penthouse".

The Supreme Court of Canada's 1992 ruling in "R. v. Butler" (the "Butler decision") fueled further controversy, when the court decided to incorporate some elements of Dworkin and MacKinnon's legal work on pornography into the existing Canadian obscenity law. In "Butler" the Court held that Canadian obscenity law violated Canadian citizens' rights to free speech under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms if enforced on grounds of morality or community standards of decency; but that obscenity law "could" be enforced constitutionally against some pornography on the basis of the Charter's guarantees of sex equality. The Court's decision cited extensively from briefs prepared by the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), with MacKinnon's support and participation. Dworkin opposed LEAF's position, arguing that feminists should not support or attempt to reform criminal obscenity law.

Controversy between anti-pornography feminists and their critics grew when the Canadian government raided and prosecuted Glad Day Bookshop, a gay bookstore in Ontario, in its first obscenity prosecution under the "Butler" criteria. The bookstore was prosecuted for selling copies of the lesbian sado-masochist magazine "Bad Attitude". In 1993, copies of Dworkin's book "Pornography: Men Possessing Women" were held for inspection by Canadian customs agents [ [ WIRED 3.03: Electrosphere - "Canada's Thought Police" by Zachary Margulis ] ] , fostering an urban legend that Dworkin's own books had also been banned from Canada under a law that she herself had promoted. However, the Butler decision did not adopt the whole of Dworkin and MacKinnon's ordinance; Dworkin did not support the decision; and the impoundment of her books (which were released shortly after they were inspected) was a standard procedural measure, unrelated to the "Butler" decision.

In Britain in the late 1970s, there was a wave of radical feminism. Groups such as Women Against Violence Against Women and Angry Women protested against the use of sexual imagery in advertising and in cinema. Some members committed arson against sex shops. However, this movement was short-lived. Its demise was prompted by counter-demonstrations by black and disabled women, who dismissed pornography as a minor issue that had been prioritised by white middle-class women above the discrimination that black and/or disabled women were facing.

Feminist criticism of the anti-pornography position

Other feminists support unregulated access to pornography; some describe themselves as sex-positive feminists and criticize anti-pornography activism. They take a wide range of views towards existing pornography: some view the growth of pornography as a crucial part of the sexual revolution and they say has contributed to women's liberation; others view the existing pornography industry as misogynist and rife with exploitation, but hold that pornography could be and sometimes is feminist, and propose to reform or radically alter the pornography industry rather than opposing it wholesale. They typically oppose the theory of anti-pornography feminism -- which they accuse of selective handling of evidence, and sometimes of being prudish or as intolerant of sexual difference -- and also the political practice of anti-pornography feminism -- which is characterized as censorship and accuse of complicity with conservative defenses of the sexual status quo.

Additionally, many point to the hypocrisy of advocating a ban on some forms of communication which may often be sexist (namely sexually arousing/explicit ones) while not advocating a ban of other, equally or more sexist communications (albeit not sexually arousing/explicit) "It's a far different criticism to note that porn is sexist. So are all commercial media. That's like tasting several glasses of salt water and insisting only one of them is salty. The [only] difference with porn is that it is people making love, and we live in a world that cannot tolerate that image.." notes Susie Bright in her book "Sexwise". Notable advocates of these and similar positions include sociologist Laura Kipnis, columnist and editor Susie Bright, essayist and therapist Patrick Califia and porn actress and writer Nina Hartley.

By country

United States

U.S. Government Commissions on pornography

In the United States, a 1969 Supreme Court decision which held that people could view whatever they wished in the privacy of their own homes [ [ STANLEY v. GEORGIA, 394 U.S. 557 (1969)] ] , caused Congress to fund and President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint a commission to study pornography.

In 1970, the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography concluded that "there was insufficient evidence that exposure to explicit sexual materials played a significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal behavior."In general, with regard to adults, the Commission recommended that legislation "should not seek to interfere with the right of adults who wish to do so to read, obtain, or view explicit sexual materials." Regarding the view that these materials should be restricted for adults in order to protect young people from exposure to them, the Commission found that it is "inappropriate to adjust the level of adult communication to that considered suitable for children." The Supreme Court supported this view. [President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. Report of The Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. 1970. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office. ]

A large portion of the Commission's budget was applied to funding original research on the effects of sexually explicit materials. One experiment is described in which repeated exposure of male college students to pornography "caused decreased interest in it, less response to it and no lasting effect," although it appears that the satiation effect does wear off eventually ("Once more"). William B. Lockhart, Dean of the University of Minnesota Law School and chairman of the commission, said that before his work with the commission he had favored control of obscenity for both children and adults, but had changed his mind as a result of scientific studies done by commission researchers. In reference to dissenting commission members Keating and Rev. Morton Hill, Lockhart said, "When these men have been forgotten, the research developed by the commission will provide a factual basis for informed, intelligent policymaking by the legislators of tomorrow" []

Commission member Father Morton A. Hill, S.J., the founder of Morality in Media, helped author a minority report that disagreed with the findings of the Commission. Believing that the Commission was stacked towards First Amendment free speech advocates, Father Hill and another clergyman on the Commission, Dr. Winfrey C. Link, issued the Hill-Link Minority Report rebutting the conclusions of the majority report. Issued in 1970, the majority report was rejected by both President Richard Nixon and the United States Congress. The Hill-Link Report, which recommended maintaining anti-obscenity statutes, was read into the record of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It was cited by the Burger Court in its 1973 obscenity decisions, including Miller v. California. []

President Ronald Reagan announced his intention to set up a commission to study pornography. [] The result was the appointment by Attorney General Edwin Meese in the spring of 1985 of a panel of 11 members, the majority of whom had established records as anti-pornography crusaders. [Wilcox, Brian L. "Pornography, Social Science, and Politics: When Research and Ideology Collide." American Psychologist. 42 (October 1987) : 941-943. ]

In 1986, the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, often called the Meese Commission, reached the opposite conclusion, advising that pornography was in varying degrees harmful. A workshop headed by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop provided essentially the only original research done by the Meese Commission. Given very little time and money to "develop something of substance" to include in the Meese Commission's report, it was decided to conduct a closed, weekend workshop of "recognized authorities" in the field. All but one of the invited participants attended. At the end of the workshop, the participants expressed consensus in five areas:
# "Children and adolescents who participate in the production of pornography experience adverse, enduring effects,"
# "Prolonged use of pornography increases beliefs that less common sexual practices are more common,"
# "Pornography that portrays sexual aggression as pleasurable for the victim increases the acceptance of the use of coercion in sexual relations,"
# "Acceptance of coercive sexuality appears to be related to sexual aggression,"
# "In laboratory studies measuring short-term effects, exposure to violent pornography increases punitive behavior toward women" According to Surgeon General Koop, "Although the evidence may be slim, we nevertheless know enough to conclude that pornography does present a clear and present danger to American public health" [Koop, C. Everett. "Report of the Surgeon General's Workshop on Pornography and Public Health." American Psychologist. 42 (October 1987) : 944-945.]

In 1983, prosecutors in California tried to use pandering and prostitution state statutes against a producer of and actors in a pornographic movie; the California Supreme Court ruled in 1988 that these statutes do not apply to the production of nonobscene pornography ( [ People v. Freeman (1988) 46 Cal.3d 41] ). Some speculate that this decision implicitly condones pornography and was one of the reasons most modern American porn is produced in California.

United States Supreme Court jurisprudence

In a line of cases beginning with [ Roth vs. United States 354 U.S. 476 (1957)] , the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, or by any other provisions of the United States Constitution. In explaining its position, in [ MILLER v. CALIFORNIA, 413 U.S. 15 (1973)] the US Supreme Court found that

:The dissenting Justices sound the alarm of repression. But, in our view, to equate the free and robust exchange of ideas and political debate with commercial exploitation of obscene material demeans the grand conception of the First Amendment and its high purposes in the historic struggle for freedom. It is a "misuse of the great guarantees of free speech and free press . . . ." Breard v. Alexandria, 341 U.S., at 645 .

and in [ PARIS ADULT THEATRE I v. SLATON, 413 U.S. 49 (1973)] that

:In particular, we hold that there are legitimate state interests at stake in stemming the tide of commercialized obscenity, even assuming it is feasible to enforce effective safeguards against exposure to juveniles and to passersby. 7 [413 U.S. 49, 58] Rights and interests "other than those of the advocates are involved." Breard v. Alexandria, 341 U.S. 622, 642 (1951). These include the interest of the public in the quality of life and the total community environment, the tone of commerce in the great city centers, and, possibly, the public safety itself... As Mr. Chief Justice Warren stated, there is a "right of the Nation and of the States to maintain a decent society . . .," [413 U.S. 49, 60] Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 199 (1964) (dissenting opinion)... The sum of experience, including that of the past two decades, affords an ample basis for legislatures to conclude that a sensitive, key relationship of human existence, central to family life, community welfare, and the development of human personality, can be debased and distorted by crass commercial exploitation of sex.

The Supreme Court defined obscenity in [ MILLER v. CALIFORNIA, 413 U.S. 15 (1973)] with the Miller test.

The USA Supreme Court on May 19, 2008 upheld a 2003 federal law,” the Prosecutorial Remedies and other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act, the Protect Act, aimed at child pornography, in a 7-to-2 ruling penned by Justice Antonin Scalia in "United States v. Williams." It dismissed the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit's finding the law unconstitutionally vague. Michael Williams of Florida was caught in a 2004 federal undercover operation and found guilty later of “pandering” child pornography, since he offered to sell nude pictures of his young daughter and other forms of child pornography in an Internet chat room. [ [, Supreme Court Upholds Child Pornography Law] ] [ [,UNITED STATES v. WILLIAMS, No. 06–694, Decided May 19, 2008] ] [ [, Busting child pornography, real and imagined] ]

United Kingdom

The most concerted opposition in the United Kingdom comes from the Mediawatch group. This group wishes to criminalise possession of pornography.

Possession of pornography has never been an offence in the UK (except for child pornography) but in 2006 the UK Government announced plans to criminalise possession of "extreme pornography" punishable by 3 years in jail. The ban is proposed because of the campaign by Liz Longhurst after the death of her daughter, Jane Longhurst. Graham Coutts was convicted of her murder (although the conviction was overturned in July 2006 [,,1824734,00.html] ). The campaign blamed his actions on an addiction to extreme pornography. Coutts had viewed extreme, violent internet pornography, particularly strangulation fetish sites. Liz Longhurst's campaign was backed by some MPs. A 50,000-signature petition was collected against sites "promoting violence against women in the name of sexual gratification". [] The move is supported by anti-pornography groups Mediawatch and Mediamarch but resisted by umbrella group Backlash, who are supported by organizations representing the BDSM, civil rights and anti-censorship feminist communities. Many of those responding to the Government consultation, especially police organizations, felt that the proposal should go much further, and that tighter restriction on all pornography should be imposed. However, the majority of responses to the consultation said there should be no changes in the law. []

The British government exerts a much greater degree of control over pornography than is common in other countries. Hardcore material was not legalised until 2000, almost 30 years after the United States and the rest of Europe. Filmed material still has to be certified by the British Board of Film Classification in order to be legally supplied. This makes the UK's media one of the most regulated liberal democracies. O'Toole, Laurence (1998). Pornocopia: Porn, Sex, Technology and Desire, London, Serpent's Tail. (ISBN 1-85242-395-1)]

outh African Parliamentary Commission on pornography

The South African government is reviewing the [ Films and Publications Act] , which prohibits both virtual and real child pornography. Real child pornography involves the use of real children involved in sexual conduct while virtual child pornography is made up of a number of different types of erotic material that do not involve the use of actual children (including paintings, cartoons, sketches, digitally-created images and written descriptions as well as depictions of adults represented as under the age of 18). A recent [ submission] to the South Parliament argued that real child pornography ought to be prohibited while virtual child pornography ought not to be prohibited. The [ submission process] , which involved discussion between members of the public, non-governmental organizations and members of parliament, was recorded by the Parliamentary Monitoring Group.

ee also

* Pornography addiction
* Women Against Pornography
* Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media


Further reading

Anti-pornography advocacy

* Andrea Dworkin (1979). "Pornography: Men Possessing Women." ISBN 0452267935.
* Robert Jensen (2007). "Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity". Cambridge, MA: South End Press. ISBN 978-0-89608-776-7.
*Michael Kimmel. "Men Confront Pornography". New York: Meridian--Random House, 1990. ISBN 0452010772. (A variety of essays that try to assess ways that pornography may take influence or harm men.)
*Catherine MacKinnon. "Pornography, Civil Rights, and Speech," 20 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1 (1985) (arguing that pornography is one of the mechanisms of power used to maintain gender inequality).
* Brownmiller, Susan (1999). [ "In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution"] ISBN 0-385-31486-8.

Anti-pornography criticisms

*Susie Bright. "Susie Sexpert's Lesbian Sex World and Susie Bright's Sexual Reality: A Virtual Sex World Reader", San Francisco, CA: Cleis Press, 1990 and 1992. Challenges any easy equation between feminism and anti-pornography positions.
*Betty Dodson. "Feminism and Free speech: Pornography." Feminists for Free Expression 1993. 8 May 2002 []
*Kate Ellis. Caught Looking: Feminism, Pornography, and Censorship. New York: Caught Looking Incorporated, 1986.
*Susan Griffin. Pornography and Silence: Culture's Revenge Against Nature. New York: Harper, 1981.
*Matthew Gever. "Pornography Helps Women, Society" [] , UCLA Bruin, 1998-12-03.
*Michele Gregory. "Pro-Sex Feminism: Redefining Pornography (or, a study in alliteration: the pro pornography position paper) " []
*Andrea Juno and V. Vale. Angry Women, Re/Search # 12. San Francisco, CA: Re/Search Publications, 1991. Performance artists and literary theorists who challenge Dworkin and MacKinnon's claim to speak on behalf of all women.
**"A Feminist Overview of Pornography,Ending in a Defense Thereof" []
**"A Feminist Defense of pornography" []
*Annalee Newitz. "Obscene Feminists: Why Women Are Leading the Battle Against Censorship." San Francisco Bay Guardian Online 8 May 2002. 9 May 2002 []
*Nadine Strossen:
**"Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex and the Fight for Women's Rights" (ISBN 0-8147-8149-7)
**"Nadine Strossen: Pornography Must Be Tolerated" []
*Scott Tucker. "Gender, Fucking, and Utopia: An Essay in Response to John Stoltenberg's Refusing to Be a Man." [,+Fucking,+and+Utopia:+An+Essay+in+Response+to+John+Stoltenberg%27s+Refusing+to+Be+a+Man&sig=7ozk4FCFqIFMpHsyUp3QWORaPmQ] in Social Text 27 (1991): 3-34. Critique of Stoltenberg and Dworkin's positions on pornography and power.
*Carole Vance, Editor. "Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality". Boston: Routledge, 1984. Collection of papers from 1982 conference; visible and divisive split between anti-pornography activists and lesbian S&M theorists.

External links

* [ Andrea Dworkin's Attorney General's Commission Testimony] on Pornography and Prostitution
* [ Andrea Dworkin's Keynote Speech] at the January 1985 Pornography Awareness conference at Duke University. "(Audio File: 1 hour, 128 kbit/s, mp3)"
* [ Media Watch] A resource with written and audio downloads, much of them against pornography
*Bibliography on Pornography and Men's Violence Against Women []
* [ Candeo's Six Weeks to Freedom] - An effective, private, online system which was developed by Dr. Randy Hyde, Dr. Bernell Christensen and Mark Kastleman, author of the book "The Drug of the New Millennium."


* [ "Romance is Dead"] Daniel Z. Epstein, 2007.


* Kutchinsky, Berl, Professor of Criminology: [ The first law that legalized pornography] (Denmark)

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