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Feminism and Pornography

This paper will discuss the adequacy of laws criminalizing the distribution of child pornography through electronic means. The paper will particularly examine the distribution of pornography by electronic information services, or on-line computer networks. The first part of the paper will discuss feminist arguments against the First Amendment protection of pornography. The second part of the paper will briefly examine how child pornography has adapted itself to the computer. The third part of the paper will discuss the laws against child pornography in the United States, focusing on federal statutory and case law.

Although this paper concerns child pornography, the feminist arguments against pornography in general are helpful in determining the harms inherent in child pornography. In addition, they help us to understand why the traditional obscenity tests in First Amendment analysis do not easily apply to child pornography. Despite the now popular view of feminists as die-hard opponents of pornography, feminism was never completely unified with regard to pornography. Most feminists regarded the sexual revolution and the loosening of sexual mores as positive developments in western society, destroying the basic male-dominance in culture. Many, however, were dismayed at the misogyny in most pornography and argued that pornography was just another example of the societal emphasis on fulfilling the needs of men.

There are four basic objections to pornography in this second strand of feminist thought. First, the content and imagery of pornography are harmful to women, depicting their abuse and degradation. Second, women involved in the production of pornography are exploited and often physically abused. Third, pornography supports sexism by perpetuating sexual stereotypes, undermining the quality of sexual relationships, and promoting a climate in which sexual assault is tolerated. Fourth, pornography producers take adv...

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Feminism and Pornography. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:06, June 19, 2019, from