Reading Analysis: Feminism and Pornography
I decided to examine Karen Ciclitira’s article “Pornography, Women and Feminism : Between Pleasure and Politics” Two themes Ciclitira focused on within this writing are how the feminism movement altered the way western women think about pornography and the harmful effects of pornography. In the 1970’s Andrea Dworkin lead the Anti-pornography campaign in America. Dworkin, along with many other self-identifying feminists believed pornography was hurtful because it showed underage children and violence/ sexual abuse against women. Another reason pornography is said to be dangerous is because it creates unrealistic expectations of one’s own and other bodies. Additionally, pornography provides us with social scripts about what a sexual encounter should entail, where it should happen, who should instigate it etc.
Is there room for feminism within pornography? Gail Dines , professor of sociology and Women’s studies has this to say: “ Anyone willing to feed off women’s bodies and use them as raw materials to make a profit has no right to call themselves feminists” ( Thebridgehead.ca ,2017). Swedish adult filmmaker Erika Lust feels differently. Lust , who studied gender and political sciences, felt that the porn industry was doing a disservice to the sexuality of women. She’s won many awards for her artsy short erotic films that are based on confessions from real women of different cultural backgrounds, race and sexual orientation. More and more women directors and actors in the pornography industry are pushing back and putting power and personal choice back into their own hands. Considering this, is it possible for feminism and pornography to exist together?
In this interview Lust speaks to the common misconception that all workers in the adult industry are sleazy and lack self- respect:
Ciclitira, Karen. “ Pornography, Women and Feminism: Between Pleasure and Politics’ Sexualities 7 (3) p 281-301