Free Speech, Sex and the Fight for Women's Rights
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Defending Pornography by Nadine Strossen
Book DescriptionReissued with a new foreword and introduction by the author Traditional explanations of why pornography must be defended from would-be censors have concentrated on censorship's adverse impacts on free speech and sexual autonomy. In contrast, Nadine Strossen focuses on the women's rights-centered rationale for defending pornography.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780814781494
(5193mm x 3233mm x 24mm)
Imprint: New York University Press
Publisher: New York University Press
Publish Date: 31-May-2000
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Nadine Strossen
Government vs. Erotica, Hardback (June 2001)» View all books by Nadine Strossen
Discusses First Amendment freedom of expression versus government attempts to limit the availability of erotic materials. This book raises questions about federal abuse of power, the effects of pornography, archaic laws that attempt to regulate sexuality between consenting adults, and the interplay between sex and religion.
US Kirkus Review » The definitive feminist critique of MacKinnon/Dworkin anti-pornography laws, by ACLU president and legal scholar Strossen (Law/New York Univ.). Since the late 1970s, feminist discourse has been dominated by the anti-pornography voices of law professor Catharine MacKinnon, writer Andrea Dworkin, and their followers, whom the author dubs "MacDworkinites." MacDworkinites hold that pornography should be suppressed because it causes (and is itself a form of) violence against women. These feminists have forged what Strossen calls "frighteningly effective alliances" with religious fundamentalists staunchly opposed to women's rights. This alliance has won victories on many fronts: in Canada, where obscenity laws have been interpreted as embodying MacDworkinite standards for pornography (e.g., whether the work of art "dehumanizes" women); on campuses, where draconian speech codes cover "sexually suggestive looks." Dworkin and MacKinnon are great communicators, but Strossen proves their match. Her response to them is tough, clear, and pithy. She offers a host of reasons why MacDworkinite measures actually imperil civil liberties: The laws are a "hopelessly vague" curtailment of free speech; they will be enforced unevenly by traditionalist governments against disfavored groups such as feminists, gays, and lesbians; they perpetuate the stereotype of women as victims requiring protection from the patriarchy; they distract us from concrete discriminatory conduct. Strossen also explores the MacDworkinite ambivalence toward sex in general: On the one hand, both MacKinnon and Dworkin portray sexual conduct as inherently degrading to women - as rape; on the other hand, both express themselves in hot-and-heavy language that the author gleefully quotes. Sometimes Strossen's attacks seem personal and petty, as when she chides MacKinnon for avoiding debate and mocks Dworkin for having two of her own books seized at the Canadian border under anti-pornography statutes. But her counter-argument is firmly rooted in both the First Amendment and the real world. An important book that will rally free-speech feminists and civil libertarians of all stripes. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Nadine Strossen
A nationally renowned speaker and debater, NADINE STROSSEN is Professor of Law at New York Law School and President of the American Civil Liberties Union.
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