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Pornography and the Construction of Misogyny

NCJ Number
The Journal of Sexual Aggression Volume: 8 Issue: 3 Dated: 2002 Pages: 4-42
Catherine Itzin
Date Published
39 pages
Drawing on radical feminist theory, this article discusses public policies, legislation, and regulation concerning pornography.
Focusing on issues of censorship and freedom, this article begins with the author discussing pornography and the law, contending that laws against pornography in the United Kingdom are largely ineffectual. Detailing the various forms of harm that potentially may be caused by pornography, the author discusses connections between viewing pornography and sexual offenses by describing literature and research studies focused on sex offender studies, sexually violent pornography, and standard non-violent soft-core and hard-core pornography. After arguing that viewing pornography influences some men to commit rapes against women and to sexually abuse children, the author summarizes a vast array of research arguing both for and against the idea that pornography may be considered as a significant, causal factor in sexual offending. Discussing the connections between pornography and misogyny, the author details various research studies addressing the ways that pornography conditions some individuals to link sexual arousal with the “normal” subordination of women by reducing women to the body parts depicted in pornographic materials. Addressing public policy concerning pornography, the author suggests that in the United Kingdom men’s access to pornography is considered to be a civil liberty in line with freedom of speech and anti-censorship agendas. An extensive list of references cited completes this article.


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