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Porn: The Feminist's Debate

Pornography has been the subject of extensive debate and inquiry in the feminist community.  One school of thought regards pornography as an explicit commoditization of women, reducing a woman’s value to her nude self and sexual appeal.  This school of thought also suggests that pornography is a media through which violence and exploitation of women are shown.  More liberal schools of thought view pornography as simply employing the First Amendment right to produce and consume various words and images, and a “pro-sex” subset of feminists extol the benefits of pornography for women.


Due to this multi-faceted debate feminists often find themselves at odds with each other when it comes to the subject of pornography. Some observations that all feminists note are the increase in violence towards women as a form of pushing the envelope which thereby creates an edgy appeal for porn viewers and a patriarchal context in current mainstream porn.  In addition, the vast majority of current feminists can at least acknowledge the ways in which pornography is a safe venue for exploring new sexual possibilities and alternatives and as a tool for which a woman can give herself pleasure.

Written by Maria Schauble