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NCJ Number: 98615 Find in a Library
Title: Feminism and the First Amendment
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:2  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1985)  Pages:271-282
Author(s): T McCormack
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper analyzes the current pornography-censorship debate that divides procensorship feminists from anticensorship libertarians.
Abstract: The civil libertarian philosophy, which emphasizes the right of dissent and the 'marketplace of ideas,' fails to make a compelling argument for an acceptance of pornography's right to exist, since pornography is not dissent but a cultural phenomenon, and its content and marketability are controlled by a particular segment of society which reinforces the devaluation of women. Feminist arguments for the censorship of pornography are based primarily on the views that pornography degrades women and causes social harm. Feminist arguments, however, have not demonstrated why censorship is desirable or necessary, and the preoccupation with censorship is changing the character of the feminist movement from liberationist and creative to punitive and normative. The larger cause for feminists is the same as that for civil libertarians, i.e., to attack the cultural and economic forces that exclude women from a significant contribution to the marketplace of ideas. Feminists will have to learn to live with pornography just as all persons in a free society must learn to live with ideas, lifestyles, and movements they detest. Fifteen footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Censorship; Conservatism; Feminism; Freedom of the press; Liberalism; Pornography
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