Project Proposal: Sex Wars Feminism

Gilberto Ramos Rodriguez
Dr. Rosenthal
Gender, Culture, and Communication
May 6th, 2018
Project Proposal: Sex Wars Feminism
I would like to focus my project on Sex wars feminism. In simpler terms, this movement was also known as anti-porn feminism. This movement arose in the 1970s which was led Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, which I will speak more about their contributions in my paper. Basically, the problem they are addressing is that pornography became accessible to anyone, which violated their civil rights as women. Another issue that they addressed is that pornography  lead to sexual violence. Feminists in support of this movement felt that this sexual violence lead to rape and male domination, which they felt was harmful.
Feminists involved within this movement spoke out against big pornographic companies such as Playboy. The only thing that is at stake for them is that is another group of feminists that did not fall well with this notion. This group of feminists that opposed this movement believed that a woman’s total liberation included sexual freedom. This is where the term, Sex-Positive feminism arose from. Influential people of this notion included Betty Dodson and Gayle Rublin, who sought to claim that heterosexual intercoursre is a pleasure between both partners.
Since the sex wars feminists believed that pornography lead to sexual violence and violated women’s civil rights, it is unfortunately important to relate this to the #MeToo movement. Despite the fact that women continue to suffer from sexual assault, they are speaking up to fight against the norms by exercising their voice to stand together. No woman deserves to go through such a thing, which is why I chose to study this topic. These feminists want to seek answers as to why women were sexually portrayed. Why do they objectify women just to sell some bullshit movies? Why would other feminists oppose those views of the anti-porn movement? Courageous figures such as Mackinnon and Dworkin should definitely be highlight. It already is hard enough for a woman to speak in today’s society, so imagine how it was for them back then? With that being said, is this then an issue dealing with free speech or violence against women?
There was a group that arose in 1976 in support of sex wars feminism entitled, Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media (WAVPM). The women in this group and sex wars feminists shared the same movements which were:

  • To educate women and men about the hatred expressed towards women in pornography. In other words, they wanted to increase the awareness of the destruction of women these images portray.
  • To confront those responsible of owning pornographic stores or devise violent images in movies, magazines, and record covers.
  • To put an end to the portrayal of these images that degraded women due to sexual stimulation or pleasure.
  • To object all pornography because they objectify the bodies women.

In all, the ultimate goal of these feminists was to show how, in each and every instance, pornography was and still is harmful to women and detrimental to their well-being. These feminists used the arguments of Dworkin to further prove their points. They said that pornography was not only harmful in its production, that it not only harms women who are performing, but it also harms the consumption of  men watching these images because they internalize the misogynistic portrayals of women in pornography. Dworkin and other supporting feminists equated pornography with violence and force and left little, if any, room for debate. They also spent a good amount of time demonizing male sexuality, such as male sexual aggression. They said that it is the unifying thematic and behavioral reality of male sexuality. In Dworkin’s book, Woman Hating, she says that “Pornography is the essential sexuality of male power: of hate, of ownership, of hierarchy; of sadism, of dominance. The premises of pornography are controlling in every rape and every rape case, whenever a woman is battered or prostituted, in incest, including in incest that occurs before a child can even speak, and in murder—murders of women by husbands, lovers, and serial killers.”
Males create majority pornography content for men to watch for their entertainment. Men are dominant because they hold too much power, which is unfair since women and men should be treated equally. The unequal power between the two genders is ignored as a cause of the sexual assault occurring in the world. Even though pornography was a big deal, the movement didn’t entirely focus on this particular subject.

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