QotD: “The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism”

24 Jan

Anti-Porn Feminists

In the mid-1980s there were two developments that prompted sex­ual liberals to step up their attacks against feminists. The first was an amendment to a municipal human rights ordinance that defined por­nography as a practice of sex discrimination and gave women injured in its production and dissemination a cause of action to sue pornogra­phers. The ordinance, authored by Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, represented a significant break with legal tradition.

Unlike antiobscenity laws that frame the harm of pornography in moralistic and aesthetic terms, as the offense that pictures and words that arouse some people’s prurient interests do to other people’s sensibilities, the ordinance identified pornography’s harm in feminist political terms, as its damage to the status and safety of women. Unlike antiobscenity laws, which empower the state’s prosecutors to bring criminal charges against alleged purveyors of obscene materials, the feminist ordinance empowered individual women to file civil suits against…

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