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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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Sex, Equality, and Pornography

Sex, Equality, and Pornography

(p.151) 7 Sex, Equality, and Pornography
Debating Pornography

Lori Watson

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains, develops, and defends a sex equality approach to pornography, in which pornography is understood as a practice of sex-based inequality and sex discrimination. The chapter proceeds by distinguishing formal and substantive equality in the context of law. Next, an analysis of gender and sexuality are provided, in which it is argued that gender is hierarchically organized according to dominant cultural norms of heterosexuality. Building on these arguments, a reconstruction and defense of the civil rights approach to pornography, authored by Catharine A. MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, is given. Finally, various criticisms and misinterpretations of the ordinances and their meaning are considered and dismissed.

Keywords:   sex equality, civil rights, gender, sexuality, power, the ordinances, subordination

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