The feminist case against pornography

A review and re-evaluation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Despite sustained feminist criticism, the production and consumption of pornography does not show signs of waning. Here, I offer a critical review of the existing feminist anti-pornography debate, arguing that it has largely failed to provide suitable grounds for a stable and comprehensive critique, instead often indirectly providing theoretical resources for pornography to reinvent itself. This is a product, in my view, of a misguided focus on the pornographic object. Feminist critics are better served, I argue, by redirecting their critical gaze towards the consumers of pornography, and, in particular, to the attitudes such consumption reflects. To that end, I introduce an alternative, attitudinal approach that enables criticism of pornography as a reflection of sexist attitudes, as well as for its role in concealing these attitudes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInquiry
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jul 2018

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Erotica

Keywords

  • pornography
  • prostitution
  • feminism
  • sexism
  • attitudes

Cite this

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The feminist case against pornography : A review and re-evaluation. / Cawston, Amanda.

In: Inquiry, 19.07.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - Despite sustained feminist criticism, the production and consumption of pornography does not show signs of waning. Here, I offer a critical review of the existing feminist anti-pornography debate, arguing that it has largely failed to provide suitable grounds for a stable and comprehensive critique, instead often indirectly providing theoretical resources for pornography to reinvent itself. This is a product, in my view, of a misguided focus on the pornographic object. Feminist critics are better served, I argue, by redirecting their critical gaze towards the consumers of pornography, and, in particular, to the attitudes such consumption reflects. To that end, I introduce an alternative, attitudinal approach that enables criticism of pornography as a reflection of sexist attitudes, as well as for its role in concealing these attitudes.

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