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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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Pornography as Subordinating Speech

Pornography as Subordinating Speech

(p.124) 5 Pornography as Subordinating Speech
Debating Pornography

Andrew Altman

Oxford University Press

Some anti-pornography feminists contend that (a) pornography is speech, and (b) it is a form of speech that authoritatively subordinates women. This chapter challenges both contentions. Pornography does not say anything but rather shows something. And it lacks the authority that anti-pornography feminists ascribe to it. The sexually explicit images that have the most cogent to authority are not found in the material displayed by the website PornHub but rather in the celebrated works of art and sculpture that occupy the world’s greatest museums. Unlike those artistic works, pornography is not venerated but, instead, is widely regarded as impure and disreputable.

Keywords:   speech, pornography, subordination, authority, art

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