Catharine A. Mackinnon's Pornography, Civil Rights, And Speech

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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 that can be causally linked…show more content…
The lessons learned from them are enforced. Inside private relationship dyads enforcement mechanisms can be leveraged in attempts to alter gender performance. On page 7 Mackinnon reminds the reader that men relate to women. When men relate to women they do it through the lens of power dynamics. These power relations can happen in the private sector (7, 1985). These relationships also play themselves out in the private, between partners. Men can use the power they have in their private relationships to enforce “proper” behavior. Mackinnon writes of husbands coercing wives to participate in relations learned from porn (8, 1985). The cases she brings up do not seem to be the case of outright force, but the leveraging in internal relationship enforcement mechanisms, which is eased by the structural inequalities between men and woman. It does not even have to be structural leverage. Mackinnon points out the use of emotional leverage with a simple “if you love me” (12, 1985). For Mackinnon men watch pornography for the truth about sex and then leverage their power explicitly through assault or more softly in their own relationships to make them match the

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