Masthead CMC Magazine / January 1, 1996

 A Dialogical Perspective of Feminism and Pornography, by Robert Cavalier

Supression and Pornography

Combining both sexual preference issues and political coercion concerns, Pat Califia sees the MacKinnon/Dworkin legal initiative as opening the door for suppression of gay rights and the gay life-style. The 1992 Canadian Supreme Court decision regarding pornography, the so-called Butler decision, states in part: "If true equality between male and female is to be achieved, we cannot ignore the threat to equality resulting from exposure to audiences of certain types of violent and degrading materials." But, Califia writes, "the Butler decision has had almost no visible impact on the straight-porn industry. Instead, it has been used to impede the circulation of gay literature...The first obscenity case under Butler was a prosecution of Glad Day Bookstore, a gay business in Toronto, for selling the lesbian S/M magazine, Bad Attitude. Madonna's Sex, however, heated up Canadian cash registers with impunity" (pp. 107, 123).

In articles entitled "Among Us, Against Us: Right Wing Feminism" and "The New Puritans: Does Equation of Pornography with Violence Add Up to Political Repression?," Califia argues strenuously against anti-porn feminism. No one is for rape, torture, and child abuse, but, in the view of this counter movement, organizations such as Women Against Violence in Pornography in the Media (WAVPM) espouse a Victorian view of women and their physical, emotional, and sexual abilities that is out of sync with the reality of many women's lives.

Some see a -- middle ground.

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