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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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Feminism, Moralism, and Pornography

Feminism, Moralism, and Pornography

(p.94) Feminism, Moralism, and Pornography
The Essential Ellen Willis

Nona Willis Aronowitz

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the feminist debate over pornography, with particular emphasis on how antiporn activists are rationalizing their campaign as feminism. Feminist criticism of sexist and misogynist pornography is nothing new; porn is an obvious target insofar as it contributes to larger patterns of oppression—the reduction of the female body to a commodity (the paradigm being prostitution), the sexual intimidation that makes women regard the public streets as enemy territory (the paradigm being rape), sexist images and propaganda in general. But what is happening now is different. The antiporn movement, including Women Against Pornography (WAP), essentially condemns all pornography as equally bad, claiming that pornography is not really about sex but about violence against women, that it is a reflection of vicious male lust and patriarchal sexual relations. Despite the insistence of WAP organizers that they support sexual freedom, their argument appeals to the antisexual emotions that feed the backlash.

Keywords:   pornography, antiporn movement, feminism, women, Women Against Pornography, sex, violence against women, sexual freedom

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