To what extent do you agree with radical feminists' notion of "pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice"?

“Radical Feminism creates a new political and social theory of women’s oppression, and strategies for the end of that oppression, which comes from women’s lived experiences - To what extent do you agree with radical feminists' notion of "pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice"? introduction. ” (Rowland and Klein, 1990) Radical feminism is a branch of feminism which is popular in 1970s. “Radical” refers “to the root”. Radical feminists look at the root of women’s oppression. Their discourses on gender inequality and sexuality have arisen great debate within the feminist circle. In the following, I will discuss why some radical feminists see pornography and rape as ways that perpetuate men’s oppression of women and the relations of them in the process.

Pornography has been under great attacks by radical feminists. Andrea Dworkin (1994) argues that, “pornography is a prime means by which men assert their power over women…. porn is more about domination and violence than about sex. ” Some radical feminists even argue that pornography is the root of virtually all forms of exploitation and discrimination against women. Pornography is violent and promotes violence against women.

Need essay sample on "To what extent do you agree with radical feminists’ notion of “pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice”?"? We will write a cheap essay sample on "To what extent do you agree with radical feminists’ notion of “pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice”?" specifically for you for only $12.90/page

More Essay Examples on Feminism Rubric

Dworkin also argues that, “the major theme of pornography as a genre is male power, its nature, its magnitude, its use, its meanings. It eroticizes male supremacy and defines the meaning of sexuality in the ways that women enjoy submission and even to be raped. In pornography, gender identity, violence and romance are tied together. Women are defined by their desirability by men. The value of women is defined by whether they can attract men to have sex with them but not other individuality. Catherine Mackinnon (1992) had conducted studies on pornography and showed how women’s bodies are portrayed in particular ways. She argues that women’s bodies are objectified, fragmented and portrayed in a submissive role in pornography.

In pornography, women are depicted as “commodities” or a “thing” for male consumption. They do not have their own characteristics or individualities. Women are fragmentized by the way that particular parts of the women’s bodies are zoomed. Finally, women are presented in a submissive role by lying down, opening their mouth or leaning on something to represent the desire to be conquered and waiting for penetration. These claims are not difficult to understand. If you buy a pornographic magazine from a bookstore nearby, no matter which kind of pornography you buy you can easily understand Mackinnon’s claim.

From a research done in Hong Kong in 1986, it showed that women’s naked bodies exist 32 times in average and focus on the breast exist 64. 9 times in average. Also, there are 27. 8 times in average that the women have their legs wide opened and 18. 1 times in average that they are lying down. 2 Mackinnon (1992) argues that these ways of portrayal made women as second-class citizen. It would cause physical violence to women since men would be under pressure after reading pornography.

It is claimed that there is a direct relation between images and behaviour. This is why it is argued that “pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice. ” It is argued that rape and porn is a continuum in compulsory heterosexuality. The images in pornography trigger men into action. The images also socialize men to act in sexist or violent ways by making this behaviour seem commonplace and more acceptable. Also, the harm of pornography is that it denies women’s civil rights. Women are said to be dependent in not only sex but also daily life. So, women are less competitive in actual economic conditions.

Finally, pornography gives the message that women need to derive genuine pleasure only from having sex with men. There is no other form of pleasure. These encourage women to desire submission. So, sex is violence and perpetuated by the existence of pornography. It eroticizes submission. As Mackinnon (1992) puts forwards that, …. for female, subordination is sexualized, in the way that dominance is for male, as pleasure as well as gender identity, as femininity. Dominance, principally by men, and submission, principally by women, will be the ruling code through which sexual pleasure is experienced.

However, I would only agree to a very small extent to the notion that “pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice. ” I would agree with the argument that pornography objectified women’s body and it denies women as an individual. In pornography, the only useful or valuable thing of women seems to be their sexual organs only. It seems that women’s value is defined by the size or shape of their sexual organs. Also, it seems that women have nothing else to do but desire to have sex with men and waiting for penetration by men.

If a woman does not want to have sex or do not enjoy to have sex with men, she must be something wrong and attack by other “normal” men and women. From these stand points, I agree that pornography dehumanized women into second class citizens and neglect women as human and have their own individuality. On the other hand, I do not agree with the other arguments concerning pornography suggested by radical feminists. The very first problem of the argument is that, what is pornography? The definition of Mackinnon is very vague. Is it defined by how much a woman is wearing?

Or the post or facial expression of the women? The interpretation of the same pictorial by different people would be very different. You can define it as pornography but I can say that it is art. Also, how to define what is fragmentation? The analysis of the pictorial in pornography is under widely criticisms. For example, Myers (1995) argues, “images themselves cannot be characterized as either pornography or erotic…. can only be applied by looking at how the image is contextualized…. the distinction between pornography and other modes of sexual representation cannot rest on the characteristics of the image.

Since the core concept of the argument is not clearly defined, it is hard to agree with the other arguments suggested by radical feminists. Another problem of the argument of radical feminists is the empirical link between pornography and the results. The argument of “pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice” is claimed to be supported by empirical experiment. However, I would like to question whether the result is proving causation or correlation? If reading pornography cause men to rape, then every men who had read pornography would do so.

Also, such action is triggered by the violence scene in pornography suggested by radical feminists, however, very little pornography actually depicts violent acts. The most common behaviour featured in pornography is ordinary heterosexual intercourse. For example, there is only 3-7% is quantified as violent image in Playboy magazine. 4 Also, in a research report from Hong Kong in 1986, violent sex only exists less than 1% in various contexts. 5 Rubin (1995) also suggests that there are fewer images or descriptions of violence in pornography than in mainstream movies, television of fiction.

It is difficult to believe that pornography has such a critical effect in women’s subordination since women are also under oppression in societies without pornography. As Rubin says, “there is no systemic correlation between low status for women and cultures in which sexually explicit visual imagery exists, or high status for women and societies in which it does not. ” Some sex offenders would agree that reading pornography made them carried out the action. However, who can prove that this is not an excuse for their act?

If we agree with the arguments of radical feminists about pornography and fight for the censorship of pornography, this would only reaffirm women as victims in this world. The urge to ban pornography has been put forward by moral conservatives for centuries. This only admits that women are the weaker sex and are incapable to take care of themselves. Women’s sexuality has been hidden for a very long time. Radicial feminists are overemphasizing sexual danger. Women need new and more ways to liberate their sexual oppression. The final problem of radical feminists is the theory they argued.

Are women a class that shares the same subordination and mean as their common enemy? They do not notice that women are very diverse. Would the oppression of a black working class woman be the same as the oppression facing a white middle class woman? Radical feminists see the oppression of women from men as universal, crossing race, class and cultural boundaries. 6 They neglect the diversity of women and their differences in daily experiences. The viewing of men as a class that oppresses women would only polarize men and women. Radical feminists do not see that men are also victims under patriarchy and heterosexuality.

Both men and women live under the existing gender system. The problem of women’s oppression and subordination cannot be solved if we continue to blame men as the enemy. I would rather believe that the enemy is not men but the gender system as a whole. Lastly, I would say it is too simple to argue “pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice. ” If we want to study sexuality we need more information about individual responses to symbol and image. We must look beyond easy generalization to find out the explanation of gender inequality and oppression.

Haven’t Found A Paper?

Let us create the best one for you! What is your topic?

Haven't found the Essay You Want?

Get your custom essay sample

For Only $13/page