Analysis Of Pornography

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There is a statistic that gets thrown around a lot regarding how much of human communication is intimately tied to body language. When humans talk about gender and sexuality, speech becomes especially embodied, a performance for others to interpret, internalize, or judge. But if this is true, the speech-action dichotomy falters. Pornography, one of the ways humans communicate about gender and sexuality, is both action and speech. Catharine A. Mackinnon’s article Pornography, Civil Rights, and Speech is arguing for access to legal recourse to those who have been harmed by the pornography industry. In order to get to that conclusion though, she must first get across that porn acts upon the world and changes it to be worse off for women in ways…show more content…
First is the idea of merit, that bad things happen to bad people (1, 1985). The main example for this is sexual assault of a woman wearing a provocative outfit. This notion is full of oughts. Women ought not to wear provocative outfits, because, as we know from porn, a provocative outfit is a communication to men about openness to sex. The raped woman’s gender performance was wrong, it sent the wrong signals. Mackinnon also uses the language of reference objects, writing that porn purports to tell “the truth about sex” (3, 1985). That “truth” is the sexiness of violence and hierarchy. Pornography is a visual reference that tells the viewer what woman is, as if a pictorial dictionary. The image of the woman presented in porn represents “true” woman and is internalized as woman by the man (4, 1985). Mackinnon also gives concrete examples of porn acting as a reference. In turn, the women she interviews talk about their husbands using porn as both a textbook and a recipe (8, 1985). On pg. 12 she gives several of what I would call sample sentences, one of which is “Like this you stupid bitch, here is how to do it”. While it is the virulence that stands out, notice the instructive quality. There is a correct sexual performance that must be conformed
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