The Feminist Split
As apart of Yale University’s “Sex Week, a full week allowing college students to explore sexual culture, a panel of diverse feminists views sat down to further discuss the “ethics of pornography” in front of a 60 person crowd containing mostly students. This panel consisted of three feminists from different professions and backgrounds who spoke about the pornography industry today and how it affects all types of women in society.
Many opinions were voiced some in support of the industry of pornography and some opposed to it, called “anti-porn activist”. Gail Dines, a sociology professor at Wheelock College and an anti- porn activist herself, spoke strongly on how she “condemned the industry for “selling humans”. She also said how porn productions portray women as sexual objects and therefore demean women as well as the actresses participating.
Unafraid to challenge opposing thoughts, Maggie Mayhem an Independent porn producer and actress argued how pornography can be a way of self-expression as well as creative and liberating exercises for both the actresses and viewers. “Mayhem, who stars in her own porn productions, said she went into the field to “immortalize her youth” in her work.”
The third panelist was Carolyn Bronstein, a professor of communications at DePaul University. Bronstein was also the author of Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement, 1976-1986,” and added a unique historical perspective to the panel. Bronstein’s suggestion was that “pornography helps people of alternative sexualities — those whose sexual preferences are not “married, heterosexual and procreative” — discover desire and find others similar to them”. She also stated that with the internet gaining such popularity in usage, anti-pornography efforts seem unlikely to accomplish wide success. “We’ll never eradicate porn,” Bronstein said.
After reading this article as well as doing some research of my own on this topic, still find it very interesting as to how women who classify
themselves as “feminist”- people who collectively share ideologies aimed for defining and establishing equal rights for all women could disagree when it comes to the topic of pornography. Both sides are logical in this “Feminist split” but which one is it? Does porn demean women and set them back in society or is it a way of self expression and it gives women the right as any other to express their bodies.Is pornography feminist or not?