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Debating Pornography$
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Andrew Altman and Lori Watson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199358700

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199358700.001.0001

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The MacKinnon-Dworkin Ordinance

The MacKinnon-Dworkin Ordinance

(p.114) 4 The MacKinnon-Dworkin Ordinance
Debating Pornography

Andrew Altman

Oxford University Press

Several decades ago, Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin formulated and advocated for legislation to restrict pornography. Repudiating the obscenity approach, the legislation was shaped as addressing the equal civil rights of women. This chapter explores their ordinance and criticizes important aspects of it. Even though many critics of the ordinance exaggerate the legal restrictions that it imposes, MacKinnon’s claim that the law has nothing in common with censorship is rejected. And the ordinance would arguably make actionable the display of works belonging to the canon of great Western art, notwithstanding MacKinnon’s contention to the contrary.

Keywords:   equality, civil rights, pornography, art, censorship

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