Pornography and the media contribute to the oppression of women. Should they be censored?
When talking about freedom of speech and censorship, it is important to look at them within the discourses of power: the power to impose views, opinions and ideologies, the power to speak, and the power to silence. When socially privileged individuals are challenged about their right to speak, they vehemently defend freedom of speech. Power differences are ignored, who has power and who doesn’t. In regards to this matter, I will argue that pornography should be censored and socially and legally controlled, due to its immoral content which harms women and violates their right to free speech.
To qualify pornography as moral/immoral, one must first define morality. What is moral and immoral is highly diverse between different people, so there is no universal meaning of what morality is. However, an acceptable interpretation of morality could be used to define it as a behavior that does not harm or violate another person or people. Harm could be taken in any form, whether physical, emotional, psychological, social, or economic.
Having defined what is moral/immoral, it becomes necessary to formulate a definition of pornography. To say pornography is sexually explicit material is a premature definition, where the term “sexually explicit” has a diverse meaning and a large variety in content: postures of sexual display, sexually non-violent acts (homosexual and heterosexual), sexually violent acts which include ‘mutilating, torturing, raping and even killing,’ sexually degrading acts that are non-violent (positions of servility to others), material including children, etc. To keep the normative force (that pornography is bad) that usually accompanies the term pornography, some moral conservatives would favor to define it as sexually explicit material that is obscene (West, 2013). The problem with this definition is that it focuses that the badness in pornography is situated in its obscenity. For this paper, I will argue that the badness in pornography is situated in its material that is harmful and degrading to women in particular. Thus using Longino’s definition, pornography is “material that explicitly represents or describes degrading and abusive sexual behavior [to women] so as to endorse and/or recommend the behavior as described” (Longino, 44). Throughout this paper, pornography will strictly refer to degrading and abusive sexual behavior to women (which endorses it), and thus the question that is asked is: which parts of sexually explicit material is pornographic, and should they be censored?
On Pornography and Harm
To prove pornography immoral is to prove pornography harmful to women.
By looking at contemporary pornography, what is eroticized and sexualized is the power differential between men and women. The dominance/subordination relationship that expresses the gender hierarchy is what produces the sexual response. Mackinnon goes...