Masthead CMC Magazine / January 1, 1996

 A Dialogical Perspective of Feminism and Pornography, by Robert Cavalier

Pornography as Confluence

Like a modern day casuistical exercise, the current issue of pornography reveals an unforeseen confluence of societal and technological change. "Cases" and situations emerge that seem to alter the paradigms that guided discussions of sexually explicit material in the recent past. Women own and publish magazines like On Our Backs and produce films like Erotique, while amateur videos, Polaroid exchanges, on-line chat rooms, and pro- sex World Wide Web-sites proliferate outside the 'sex industry.' In this mix of past, present and future, proponents and antagonists seem to fall through simple categories that might once have contained them. MacKinnon aligns with Jesse Helms; Califia with Screw magazine's Al Goldstein.

For pragmatists like John Dewey, this eruption of the problematical is symptomatic of dynamic change and forms the very area where moral conversations come into play. For neo- pragmatists like Richard Rorty, these conversations contain the possibility of re-describing our very sense of self and moral duty. We live, as the Chinese say, in 'interesting' times.

In light of this rapid change, we can take part in discussion of pornography in a dynamic -- exchange as opposed to working within a pre-existing system.

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