Desire - Pornography and Rights, Mackinnon.docx

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Women's Studies
Women's Studies 2283F/G
Andrea Allen

FROM PORNOGRAPHY, CIVIL RIGHTS AND SPEECH – Mackinnon  Sex discrimination law has centered most of its focus on these occasional lapses  If we are inalienably equal, we can’t really be degraded  The law, including much of the law of sex discrimination and the first amendment, operates largely within the realm of these beliefs  I call this a discovery because it has not been an assumption. Feminism is the first theory, the first practice, the first movement to take seriously the situation of all women from the point of view of all women, both on our situation and on social life as a whole  We find rape happens to women in all contexts from the family, including rape of girls and babes, to students and women in the workplace by men that they do not know and by men they do know  Rape is something that men do or attempt to do to women at some point in our lives  Women did not report these events, and overwhelmingly do not today, because no one is listening, because no one believes us  It happens to men too, if women are hurt, men are hurt  To be a prisoner means to be defined as a member of a group for whom the rules of what can be done to you, of what is seen as abuse of you, are reduced as a part of the definition of your status  Men are damaged by sexism what it means when feminists say that maleness is a form of power and femaleness is a form of powerlessness  In pornography, there it is, in one place, all of the abuses that women had to struggle so long even to begin to articulate all the unspeakable abuse  Only in the pornography it is called something else, sex  Pornography sexualizes rape, batter, sexually harassment, it thereby celebrates promotes, authorizes and legitimizes them  Pornography constructs what a women is as what men want from sex  All the ways men love to take and violate women, women love to be taken and violated, their consent merely expresses or ratifies these pre-existing facts  Subjection itself with determination ecstatically relinquished is the context of women’s sexual desire and desirability  Gender is never irrelevant – what pornography does goes beyond its context: it eroticizes hierarchy and sexualizes inequality  Pornography in this view is a form of forced sex, a practice of sexual politics an institution of gender inequality  Fusing the eroticization of dominance and submission with the social construction of male and female  Gender has no basis in anything other than the social reality that is hegemony constructs  Pornography participates in its audiences eroticism through creating an accessible sexual object, the possession and consumption of which is male sexuality as socially constructed  Pornography defines women by how we look according to how we can be sexually used  Pleasure and eroticism become violation. Desire appears as lust for dominance and submission  Pornography is a harm of male supremacy made difficult to see because of its pervasiveness, potency and principally because of its success in making the world a pornographic place  Obscenity law provides a very different analysis and conception of the problem  Feminism doubts whether the average gender neutral person exists  That the law of obscenity has never even considered pornography a women’s issue  Pornography by contrast is a political practice, a practice of power and powerlessness  Pornography is integral to attitudes and behaviors of violence and discrimination which define the treatment and status of half the population  It means that women’s injury – our damage, pain, enforced inferiority – should outweigh their pleasure and their profits or sex equality is meaningless  Erotica defined by distinction as not this, might be sexually explicit material premised on equality  Judicial resolution of this conflict if they do for women what they have done for others, is likely to entail a balancing of the rights of women arguing that our lives and opportunitie
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