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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 113933 Find in a Library
Title: Immoral, Inviolate or Inconclusive?
Journal: Society  Dated:(July-August 1987)  Pages:6-12
Author(s): L Baron
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 7
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The Attorney General's Commission on Pornography (AGCP) was mandated to determine the nature, extent, and societal impact of pornography.
Abstract: In 1985, Edwin Meese appointed 11 members, most of whom already had negative views about pornography. In evaluating the harmfulness of various types of pornography, the AGCP used a subjective standard that rendered inherently harmful anything that offended the commissioners' sensibilities. Thus, the AGCP was able to use its mandate as a platform to proclaim its conservative views of morality. In addition, the AGCP evaluated harmfulness in terms of three tiers: social science evidence; totality of evidence; and moral, ethical, and cultural harms. This approach enabled the AGCP to guarantee that no subcategory of pornography would be fully exonerated from causing harm. In the case of even nonviolent, nondegrading pornography, all of the commissioners agreed that some of the materials in this category are harmful. Further, they were unable to reach a consensus about the moral harm that nudity might pose. To garner support for a crackdown on pornography, the AGCP orchestrated a scare campaign to stir up antipornography activism. It attempted not only to mobilize a moral panic but tried to intimidate directly the distributors and retailers of such magazines as 'Playboy' and 'Penthouse.' A particularly insidious aspect of the AGCP's final report was the use of feminist rhetoric to support its conservative agenda. Overall, the AGCP ignored or distorted evidence of harm because they were more concerned with censoring sexual depictions than ending violence against women. 5 references.
Main Term(s): Pornography
Index Term(s): Censorship; Pornography as crime factor
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