Feminist Pro-Porn During Sex Wars in the 1970-80s

Introduction

Feminist Sex Wars of the 1970s and 1980s were acrimonious debates about a number of issues relating to sex and the role of women in this context. In the debate that was uniquely feminist in nature, the focus was on various issues about sex and how different members of the society viewed it. According to Duggan and Hunteri, one of the main issues was pornography and how it impacted the fight for the rights of women to choose their sexual orientation without any form of criticism from society. The anti-porn feminists argued strongly against porn. To this group, pornography portrayed women as objects for sexual gratification for men. It takes away the dignity of women, leaving them empty. On the other hand, the pro-porn feminists held that pornography did not have any negative connotation about women. They argue that the actors are consenting adult men and women who believe that what they are doing is morally right.

According to Martindaleii, the pro-porn feminists were opposed to the idea of the anti-porn feminists that women should avoid exposing their privacy before the camera. This was seen by the pro-porn feminist as an oppressive approach to dealing with the issue. In the current society, women, just like men, should be allowed to express their sexual orientation without any prejudice. This is one of the ways of empowering women. For this reason, pornography should not be viewed from a partial angle of just looking at the female actress. It should be taken from a holistic form where the analysis should focus on both male and female actors. Both are involved in the industry, and it would only be fair to analyze the industry by addressing this fact. Giving a biased focus on men gives the impression that women are still the weaker sex than men in society. This is what the pro-porn feminists were opposed to in this war. They argued that both parties are equal and that if the anti-porn feminists thought that women in pornographic films are used as objects, then they should show maturity in the fight for equity by defending the men in those films as well. In this research, the focus will be on feminists who were pro-porn during the sex wars in the 1970s and 1980s.

Feminist Sex Wars

According to Jeffreysiii, the feminist sex war was one of the unique revolutionary debates that had the main players as women. Men played a partial role in these debates, preferring to let women fight their own battle. This scholar says that there was a growing discomfort among many women about the issue of sexuality. The film titled ‘Snuff,’ which was produced in 1976, sparked the public debate on the role of women in society and the effects of pornographic films. Andrea Dworkin was one of the pioneers of this debate. She was concerned about the perception that society, especially men, had towards women. To her, women were seen as objects meant to offer sexual gratification to men. She argued that this was not only demonstrated in prostitution that was common in New York and various parts of the world, but also in pornographic films.

It was a concern to her that the government was ignoring the issue of pornography as it was gaining popularity in society. When this debate started, many thought that it would be a revolutionary debate that would pitch women on one side and men on the other side. Andrea Dworkin was able to convince women that pornography was wrong. She traversed the country and organized public rallies to denounce it. She argued that pornography was the main factor that led to increased cases of rape in the country.iv She was able to get the backing from other staunch human rights activists such as Ellen Willis, Susan Griffin, and Kathleen Barry. It is strange that Kathy Acker and Susie Bright were some of the followers of anti-porn feminism during its early days. Andrea was seen as a hero who opened a topic that no one had dared talk about, and most women were in support of her efforts.

In the early 1980s, there seemed to be a shift of ideology among some of the followers of Andrea. Led by Susie Bright, a section of women started approaching this debate from a different point of view. While the anti-porn crusaders used public forums such as rallies to champion the crimination of pornography in the country, a new outfit that was pro-porn took a scholarly approach. They wrote books and articles in the newspapers criticizing the ideology of the anti-porn crusaders. Susie was particularly concerned with the approach that anti-porn crusaders had taken about issues of pornography and commercial sex workers. According to her, the sex workers went to the streets out of their own free will to earn a livingv. Their concern is to offer service to willing people and get paid out of this, just like a painter or a gardener.

The claim that this was a patriarchal-motivated act was, therefore, not convincing to her. Similarly, she believed that pornography was offering women the opportunity to get liberation when talking about the issue of sexuality. Women, just like men, should be allowed to enjoy sex and express their views freely without feeling intimidated. Criticizing women who act in pornographic films and ignoring the fact that men are also part of the action is unfair to women. It is a clear demonstration that this group feels that women are lesser beings when compared to men. Similarly, appearing to defend women who act in these films and ignoring that men are also part of the action is unfair to women. This is so because it emphasizes the belief in society that women are weak and need constant protection. To Susie, this was wrong and demeaning to women that the pro-porn activists claimed to protect. It would be important to focus on the events that took place in this war in order to understand how the pro-porn feminists fought to make their voices be heard and their contributions be appreciated in this debate.

Samois

Samois was the earliest pro-porn feminist group to be started in the United States in 1977. It gave rise to what would be called feminist war because till then, the war against pornography and prostitution seemed to be a fight between men and women. However, this group of lesbians came out to strongly oppose the arguments put forth by the anti-porn activists. One factor that brought members of this group together was that they were lesbians. They analyzed principles laid by the anti-porn activists and realized that their practice was part of what was criticized by this group. This made them feel outsiders to the movement. According to Nestlevi, the name Samois was taken from a story titled ‘Story of O,’ where one of the main characters was a lesbian.

The founders of Samois were convinced that women deserve to be given the right to define their sexual orientation. They argued that men were living in a free world where no one questioned their choices. However, this was different when the issue concerns women. Society still had the belief that women should be closely controlled, and this denied them the liberty to make any choices. In particular, this group was determined to fight for the rights of the lesbians as they realized that the arguments of the anti-porn feminists were against their freedom. It is important to note that this group was not very successful because it was the first organization that was coming out publicly in support of pornography and prostitution in society. Most of their contributions were made in the print media, avoiding public rallies for fear of a possible attack by the extremists.

The group was criticized by the anti-porn feminists, especially the Women against Violence in Pornography and Media. They were seen as a thorn in the flesh, fighting against the principles that were viewed as acceptable by women. Gayle Rubin and Pat Califia were some of the founders of this group. This organization only lasted for six years, and in 1983, it split up into various smaller groups. The split was caused by infighting among members who disagreed on some of the fundamental principles. For instance, while all members agreed on the need to fight for the rights of lesbians in society, a section was opposed to violence in pornography, a view that was shared by the anti-porn feminists. The disagreements led to the split of the organization in 1983, with members forming realignments based on their personal principles. One of the biggest groups formed after the split was The Outcasts, which lasted until 1997, later changing its name to The Exiles. This new group was pro-porn, arguing that the parties involved in pornography are consenting adults. Some of the members of this group published articles and books in support of their view towards this philosophical war.

Lesbian Sex Mafia

In 1981, a sex-positive feminist Dorothy Allison founded a group she named Lesbian Sex Mafiavii. She was concerned with the criticism that the lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, and sexual women were facing in New York. They were forced to live in fear of possible attacks from the anti-porn feminists. Most of them were forced to hide their sexual orientation because of the momentum that the anti-sex feminists had gained in this state. According to Allison, the anti-porn feminists were rigid minded, with principles that belittled women they claimed to protect.

In one of her publications, Allison claimed that men had thrived in the field of sexuality as they were free to express themselves and decide on sexual orientation. On the other hand, women have lived in a society where they are expected to be dormant when it comes to issues of sexuality. They are supposed to be recipients and not initiators. To Allison, this era was long gone, and it was the right time to allow women to make the decision about their own sexuality, a freedom that was enjoyed by men. She believed that controlling women’s sexuality in any way was the equivalent of taking power away from women and handing it over to men. This is contrary to the belief of the pro-porn feminists, who believed that their principles centered on empowering women.

Some of the principles that this organization strongly supported included fantasy role-playing, fetishes, sadomasochism, unrestrained sexual expressions, and alternate gender identities. It is important to note that some of these principles were strongly opposed by the anti-porn feminists who formed the basis of this organization. For instance, this organization strongly supported sadomasochism as they considered it a practiced that allowed women to express themselves in various forms as long as they were not forced into the act. However, the anti-porn feminists considered this one of the worst acts that belittled women and made them be seen as objects of pleasure for men. This was a major point of disagreement among these two warring parties. According to Meikaviii, while one party saw this as a demonstration that women were in bondage and used the way men desired, the other section felt that this was another form of expression for women.

Another fundamental disagreement between Lesbian Sex Mafia and the anti-porn feminists was on alternate gender identities. The anti-porn feminists were conservatives who believed that women should remain women, and they should be proud of this fact when expressing their sexuality. On the other hand, the Lesbian Sex Mafia believed that women could alternate gender identity when expressing their sexuality as this formed the basis of lesbianism. According to this group, for one to be a lesbian, she must have a feeling that she is a man in her sexual orientation, and this will make men unattractive to her. She will view men to be of the same gender. For this reason, she will be attracted to other women. This essentially means that there is an alternation of gender identity. Lastly, these two groups largely differed in their view of unrestricted sexual expression.

The two groups claimed that they supported unrestricted sexual expression of women. To the anti-porn feminists, women should be respected and be allowed to make their own choices of the people they would want to be intimate with within their lives. Their romantic lives should not be subject to filming because the pleasure generated from the intimacy should be enjoyed by the two parties, and not a third party. They should not be used as objects of sexuality by men who may be interested in the funny exploration of the body of women. This is contrary to the view held by the Lesbian Sex Mafia. To this group, women should be granted total freedom to express their sexuality. Those who wish to act in pornography should not be simply restricted because they are women. Women who are interested in watching pornographic should be given the liberty to do so because men have never been restricted from such films.

The group also argued that women should not be restricted in their dressing code, something that anti-porn feminist was very critical about. The Mafia sought to give total liberation to women, handing them the power to choose their personality as far as sexuality was concerned. This organization remained very strong during the feminist sex war, especially due to its liberal approach to various issues of sexuality. Membership was open to women aged 18 years and above. The group would organize some play parties where members would watch erotic movies or practical plays by some of the members. They would also sell sex toys to its members or other parties that visited their dungeons. This was seen as an open defiance to the moralist approach taken by the anti-porn feminists, a fact that that intensified the war. Their act received massive criticism, especially in some of the rallies in New York organized by Andrea Dworkin. They were seen to be the force that was acting against the right course that would liberate women from bondage.

The group was bringing a new approach to the war against pornography and male dominance in the area of sexuality. Women were now doing what Dworkin and her movement had associated men with, and the group had a substantial following. This was seen as a betrayal to the women in the society, according to Dworkin. While they were busy fighting for some of these vices from being committed by men to women, a section of women were not committing the same acts to fellow women and publicly justifying their course. Dworkin and her movement realized that the real enemy in their fight for liberation was not men but fellow women. On the other hand, the pro-porn feminists viewed the anti-porn feminists as the real enemies of the fight for their total liberation. Herbert says that the development of these two strong factions in this debate made men completely withdraw from the war to let the women find the course they thought was the best for all (Meika ). In fact, the only parties that joined in the battle were the pornographic film producers and religious leaders because of their vested interests. The research by Nestle shows that this group still exists in New York and various parts of the United States, and it has held to its initial principles so dearly.

Sex-Positive Movement

Feminists against censorship were pro-sex feminist campaigns that were started in the 1980s in response to the strong opposition to pornography in the United States. A section of the society was increasingly growing intolerant of the campaigns by the pro-porn feminists, especially on the use of pornographic materials. Led by Susie Bright, Kathy Acker, and Rachel Kramer Bussel, these pro-porn feminists were determined to fight against the censorship that they considered was an attempt to control the kind of materials that women had access toix. They argued that pornographic materials had been widely used in the country by men, and for this reason, it was not right to censor its use simply because women had developed an interest in it. They believed that censorship was an attempt to define and rigidly control women’s sexuality, something that they were strongly against. Their campaign was, therefore, a direct attempt to liberate women from such control.

They believed that women, just like men, had the liberty to decide if they wanted to engage in the production or consumption of pornographic materials as long as they are of the legal age. The sex-positive movement was strongly supported by a group of people who believed in safe sex and the relevance of informed consent when women engaged in the production of pornographic materials. Bronsteinx says, “Sex positivity is an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation.” This philosophy holds that any sexual activity that a woman engages in-, as long as it is done with her full consent- is a pleasurable act that has some form of fulfillment to both parties. This philosophy does not exist among different sexual activities, as long as the act is safe, and both parties to it have consented to it. In fact, this movement strongly opposed the call against lesbianism in society. The movement was seen to fight for the rights of the lesbians in the United States in a society that was seen to be intolerant to lesbianism despite its increasing popularity among some women.

The pro-porn feminists were determined to liberate women who had sexual orientation considered abnormal by society, then from constant stigmatization. Their main targets were the lesbians- some of whom were forced to lead double lives- and women who acted in pornographic films. According to Duggan and Hunter (39)xi, a large number of women were forced to have husbands and biological children, just to be considered normal, but practiced lesbianism in secrecy. Those who acted in pornographic films were considered outcasts and were shunned in society. The movement was strongly against this, as its members felt that women should have the freedom to choose their sexual orientation and practices without any form of intimidation from members of society. In order to fight what they considered social injustice against female sexual orientation and freedom, a group of scholars, lesbians, and their sympathizers among other pro-porn feminists started a network of pro-porn feminists to fight for what they described as the liberation of women from censorship. This was a network of women that were focused on what they viewed as social injustice directed towards women in the societyxii. The movement was well-organized, with these organizations being registered and having a membership that represented the affected women in various forums.

According to Bronstein, although in the United States, there were no clear laws that censored pornographic materials among adults, there was strong stigmatization against the usage of such materials, especially by women.xiii The wave of anti-porn feminists’ activities was felt in the United States, where the groups organized public rallies to champion their course. Despite the divided opinion among American society towards the usage of pornographic materials by women, the pro-porn feminists succeeded in convincing the society that women had the right access to these materials. They argued that it was unfair to put restrictions on the usage of such materials on a specific gender. In fact, Herbertxiv argues that if these materials have existed before without raising controversies, then restricting women from using it would be a discriminatory act in a society where people cherish freedom.

The research by Jeffreys focuses on the work of pro-porn feminists towards fighting for the rights of American lesbians.xv American sex-positive feminism had laid massive emphasis on the need for lesbian’s rights to be protected by society. As long as other’s rights are not violated by the act of lesbianism, there is no basis for discriminating against lesbians in society. The pro-porn feminists realized that they had to fight as a team. For this reason, they tied the rights of lesbians to that of every other woman in the country. They gave the image that they were fighting for the rights of all women in the United States. In fact, most of their campaigns were expected to win the hearts of other women in society to support their course. When talking about pornography, this movement was very keen because it was aware that many women had a low opinion about it. For this reason, they mentioned that men in society were at liberty to use pornographic materials without police harassment, a right that was not common among women. They had to find a way of creating a common course for all the women in the society, including those who were strongly against lesbianism and pornographic materials.

Their arguments were more inclined to empowering women and allowing them to enjoy their rights, other than liberalizing pornographic materials.xvi The group managed to instill the spirit of rebellion in many women, and pornography was largely viewed merely as an object in this rebellion. This way, it was easy to bring in more women to the course, including those who did not share the same sexual orientation with the lesbians. For this reason, many women viewed it as a lesser social evil as compared to the discrimination they faced in public. Many contended that if pornography could be used to liberalize society and free women from bondage, then it was an acceptable social evil. This saw many women make contributions in newspaper articles and public rallies criticizing the censorship of pornographic materials in the country. This group is believed to be still active in the country. This helped the pro-porn feminist to champion their rights in American society. Although the anti-porn feminist movement remained strong in this country, the pro-porn feminist also managed to gain popularity among many women who felt that they were fighting for a just course.

Feminists for Free Expression

In late 1989, there was a group of women who were thinking of forming a group that would be more vibrant in supporting the rights of women to express their sexuality without feeling intimidated. This group was that the Lesbian Sex Mafia was not fighting for the rights of a section of women, especially the prostitutes within various cities in the United States. As its name suggests, the Lesbian Sex Mafia was also viewed as a society for lesbians. Most of their activities also showed more inclination towards lesbianism other than overall protection of rights and freedom of women’s sexuality. As a result, some of these women felt that their views were not fully represented in the ongoing feminists’ wars. This formed the basis of the formation of this new organization in late 1989. The founders of these groups included Candida Royalle and Veronica Vera, who were human rights champions. In the past, they had come out strongly to champion the rights of a prostitute and a time when mentioning a world about prostitution by women was considered taboo in this society. They argued that this new organization would be focused on fighting for the interests of all women in society, irrespective of their profession, religion, sexual orientation, or social status.

According to Nestle, this organization attracted a high number of prostitutes within the City of New York. In fact, many thought that it was specifically meant for prostitutes, a fact that made some women shun it during its inception. However, the founders were able to convince pro-porn feminists that this organization was focused on fighting for the rights of all women. It only happened that prostitutes formed part of the women in society, and therefore, they were rightfully presented in the movement. During its early days, the society had a slogan which stated, “Let us stop hypocrisy by legalizing abortion.” Veronica Vera criticized Andrea Dworkin and her group, saying that prostitution was not unique to the United States. She was against the criminalization of prostitution in society that made prostitutes look like criminals. According to her, men were hypocritical by stating that prostitution should be legalized, while the truth is that they form 100% of the market for prostitutes. For a crime of prostitution to be committed, there must be the presence of a prostitute and the client. If prostitution is a crime, then both parties are liable and should be answerable for their actions. However, this is not the case. Some states have criminalized prostitution, making the lives of prostitutes in those states unbearable.

According to Vera, criminalizing prostitution does not bring the action to an end but only makes the process more complex for women. For instance, the report by Barton xvii observes that prostitutes, who practice in the states where prostitution is illegal, suffer a lot in the hands of the law enforcers. Some come to their joints, not to arrest them because of their crime, but to harass them and demand sexual favors. In this regard, the law does not help to protect women from molestation from men. On the contrary, it takes away power from women, leaving them vulnerable to sexual abuse from men.

The law enforcers know that these prostitutes have no ability to report them for molestation because their business is criminalized. This makes them commit such atrocities without a second thought. For this reason, this group believed that prostitution should be decriminalized in order to hand over power to women. Prostitutes should be treated just like laborers or physiotherapy and probably allowed operating with a license that would see them pay tax. According to Nestle, there is always an irony when it comes to criminalizing acts such as prostitution or the use of hard drugs. It makes it more attractive to the youth who are rebellious in nature. It also eliminates the ability of the government to levy a tax in that sector. It becomes a black market. Burns says that black markets are always thriving because they do not have to operate under the strict laws of the state. This society argued that this is what is making prostitution even more popular and dangerous in society. It is done without regulation, and some of the main players involved are the very law enforcers who are expected to arrest the prostitutes.

Feminists for Free Expression did not restrict its programs to fighting for the rights of prostitutes. It was also vocal in fighting for the rights of women who decided to act in pornographic films. Their message was very clear on pornography. To them, pornographic materials may pollute the minds of those who are aged below 18 years. For this reason, children under the age of 18 years should neither participate in the production of pornographic materials nor be allowed to watch the materials. However, adult women, just like men, should be allowed the freedom to choose whether they want to participate in the production of the films or not.

During the first forum they held in 1989 when they were still largely seen to be part of the Lesbian Sex Mafia, Candida stated that they were strongly opposed to criminal gangs that kidnapped women and young girls and subjected them to prostitution against their wishes.xviii To them, this constituted a crime that should be prosecuted in a court of law. She also stated that using any form of force, whether financial or psychological, to force women to act in a pornographic film was illegal, and they rejected it as a vice that degrades women. However, she was very categorical that most women in this industry were acting out of their own free will. In fact, some of them even had websites where they sold their pornographic films, in which they were the main actors. It is wrong to claim that such individuals are forced into the act.

Developing legislation that prohibits pornography would render these women jobless. It is their wish to be in this industry, and they believe that they are making decent earnings out of it. It would only be fair to have laws that would protect them as they do what they consider appropriate. The group was also critical of the laws that prohibited the consumption of pornographic materials by adults. Although it did not have direct links with the British Feminists against Censorship society, it shared their views about the consumption of such materials. The group became very active in the 1990s when it became apparent that it had broken away from Lesbian Sex Mafia.

Criticism towards Sex-Positive Feminism

According to Bronsteinxix, although the sex-positive feminism movement received massive support among American women, especially the lesbians and their sympathizers, it also received a considerable amount of criticism from a section of society. Massive criticism was leveled against this movement by the anti-porn feminism, who felt that Susan Bright and her group were fighting a lost course. The works of Catherine MacKinnon focused on prostitution as one of the worst ways through which the rights of women are violated. According to Duggan and Hunterxx, prostitution is a direct violation of the rights of women. Its very existence is a sign that women are inferior to men. Unlike the argument put forth by pro-porn feminists, who say that women have the right to choose whether or not they want to engage in prostitution, Bronstein argues that prostitution turns women into objects of satisfaction.xxi

This scholar heavily criticizes the works of Susan Bright, who argues that women should be given the liberty to choose whether or not they should engage in prostitution. A large percentage of clients in the industry of prostitution are men. It is a fact that some of the commercial sex workers engage in the vice out of their own will. However, it is also a fact that a section of the women engaged in the practice was abducted and forced into it. Young girls are abducted from various parts of the world and forced into the trade, and given the massive number of clients willing to pay for the young girls; this vice has led to a direct violation of the rights of these girls all over the world. Bronstein says that it is ironic for the pro-porn feminists to claim that they are fighting for the rights of women while still supporting prostitution.xxii Prostitution has led to direct humiliation of the rights of women not only in the United States but also in various other parts of the world.

According to Herbert, the pro-porn feminists have failed to critically analyze issues surrounding the production of pornographic materials.xxiii This scholar says that the production of pornographic films is one of the worst ways through which the rights and dignity of women are always abused by producers who are only interested in money. Just like in the case of prostitution, the majority of those who consume pornographic materials are men. They delight in seeing women in compromising positions. This gives a redefinition of what sex should be in society. It also emphasizes the fact that women are just tools that are used by men to generate satisfaction. Bronstein gives an example of sadomasochism, popularly known as BDSM, to demonstrate how the production of pornographic materials abuses the rights of women.xxiv Sadomasochism involves acts that have direct harm to the actors, especially if it is not conducted properly. In fact, some of the professional actors have confessed that they have sustained serious injuries because of it, a clear sign that armatures suffer even greater pain.

The problem is that sometimes women present themselves to act normal pornography, only to be forced into BDSM without prior consent. Because of their desire for the money, they will accept to act, even if they feel cheated by the actors. This is why anti-porn feminists have been critical of the message given by the pro-porn feminists. The problem gets magnified when the material is released to the market for consumption. When young men- who were not aware of the context under which the film was produced- watch such films, they will develop the desire to practice it because of the misleading conception that it is the best way of generating satisfaction. Without their knowledge, women would get into the trap of men who are interested in experimenting with what they watched in the films. Sometimes even married men would try such acts, a fact that has resulted in physical injury on women. What men fail to realize is that what they see in the films is done by professionals who have taken months or even years to perfect their art as a way of minimizing any injuries. They then force women who have never had any practice on the act, believing that it shall work.

What makes this worse is that the person who bears all the pain is the woman who the pro-porn feminists claim to protect. It is true that some of the female actors were willing to act, mostly because of the income they were generating from the industry players. However, they fail to realize that once they act, the film will influence several people who will watch it, and they may try to practice what they see. In the end, the person who bears the pain will be the woman. This makes the campaign strongly put by the pro-porn campaigners not only irrelevant but also counterproductive in the fight to liberate womenxxv. In Bronstein’s words, the pro-porn campaigners have engaged in a campaign that is meant to oppose the positive gains made by human rights activities that have been fighting for the rights of women.xxvi This scholar says that the pro-porn campaigners have largely been supporting the producers of pornographic materials than the rights of women.

Another major criticism that has been leveled against feminist pro-porn campaigners is that they have widely focused on the fight against the anti-porn crusaders without necessarily understanding specific issues that are affecting women during the production of pornographic materials. According to Bronstein, the pro-porn feminists believe that their fight is meant to liberate women. They believe that they are fighting to make women gain the freedom to choose their sexual orientation and how to engage in sexual activities without any form of criticism from members of the society. However, the approach they take in this fight is completely wrong, according to Bronstein. One of the ways through which the rights of women are commonly abused in this country is through pornography. It seeks to emphasize the position of women in society as that which is meant to offer satisfaction to men. This is explained in their roles, as seen in many of the films they produce. The words they are forced to say, the manner in which they are treated by men, and the submissiveness they are expected to express shows that their position is secondary to that of men in the process of gaining satisfaction from sexual acts. This is the direct opposite of what fighting for women’s rights should entail. This is what the anti-porn feminists were fighting against.

Conclusion

The discussion above shows the path that the feminist pro-porn campaigners took in order to fight for the rights of women to choose their sexual orientation and how to engage in sexual acts. The feminist sex wars of the 1970s and 1980s sharply divided women into two factions. These two factions had sharply contrasting opinions about how the issue of pornographic materials and prostitution should be addressed in society in order to ensure that the position of women in society is upheld. The first faction was the anti-porn feminists who were opposed to pornography and prostitution in society. The group argued that pornography, where women were treated like slaves or sex objects, was detrimental to the fight for equity and social freedom for women that was gaining pace during this period.

These feminists stated that the way these women were treated in such films was the same violent way some men were treated in real-life scenarios. After watching such materials, men would try to implement them on their wives and girlfriends. They also argued that prostitution was a clear demonstration that women were objects meant to offer men sexual gratification. For these reasons, the law should be established to criminalize pornography and prostitution. On the other hand, the pro-porn feminists championed for the decriminalization of pornography and prostitution, arguing that women who were in this field had made their own choices as adults. They argued that the law should only focus on protecting children and women who were forced into the industry against their own free will. To them, these laws would only limit the freedom of women. The women who had considered the pornographic industry or prostitution as the best means of earning their income should not be criminalized in any way. The impact of these wars is that there has been increased pornography and prostitution in society. It is evident that the pro-porn feminist women the war as many countries around the world became more liberal on the issue of pornography and prostitution.

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Notes

  1. Duggan, Lisa and Hunter Nan, Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture (New York: Routledge, 2014), 46.
  2. Kathleen, Martindale, Un/popular Culture: Lesbian Writing After the Sex Wars (Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1997), 87.
  3. Sheila, Jeffreys, The lesbian heresy: a feminist perspective on the lesbian sexual revolution (Melbourne: Spinifex, 1993), 35.
  4. Ibid, 32.
  5. Lynda, Burns, Feminist alliances (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006), 110.
  6. Joan, Nestle, The persistent desire: a femme-butch reader (Boston: Alyson Publications, 1992), 39.
  7. Walter, Herbert, Sexual violence and American manhood (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002), 48.
  8. Loe, Meika “Feminism for Sale: Case Study of a Pro-Sex Feminist Business” Gender and Society 13, no. 6 (1999): 732.
  9. Ibid, 56.
  10. Ibid, 27.
  11. Ibid, 90
  12. Jane, Juffer, At Home with Pornography: Women, Sex and Everyday Life (New York: New York Univ. Press 1998), 49.
  13. Bronstein, Carolyn. Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement, 1976–1986. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  14. Herbert, Walter. Sexual violence and American manhood. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.
  15. Ibid, 112.
  16. Rose, Lishinsky “On Our Backs Porn” Off Our Backs 15, no. 3 (1985): 29
  17. Bernadette, Barton, Stripped: Inside the Lives of Exotic Dancers (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 54.
  18. Bright, Susie, “Welcome to OnOurBacks: The Best of Lesbian Sex” On Our Backs 1, no. 4 (1985): 45.
  19. Ibid, 67.
  20. Ibid, 28.
  21. Ibid, 89.
  22. Ibid, 10.
  23. Brenda, Cossman, “Pornography, Feminism, and the Butler Decision” Bad Attitudes 3, no.2 (1994): 78.
  24. Ibid, 31.
  25. Neil, Lyndon, No More Sex War: The Failures of Feminism (London: Sinclair-Stevenson1992), 63.
  26. Ibid, 102.