Censorship of pornography could harm the goals of feminists.

Essay by marques5College, UndergraduateA+, May 2003

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A concern that has come to the forefront of debate by feminist groups in recent years is the censorship of pornography. After reading arguments for and against the censorship of pornography, I have come to the conclusion that censorship of pornography would harm feminist's goals by repressing the principle of freedom of expression and creating more difficulties that could possibly repress their own feminist goals.

Helen E. Longino's view is that pornography is immoral and should be censored because it harmful to people and thus violates his or her rights. Longino states that it is not the sexually explicit material that is degrading but that it is the portrayal and endorsement of those attitudes that is degrading and harmful. She believes that pornography portrays women as wanton sex objects for a male, and that a woman's pleasure rests in pleasuring a man, and that this leads society to believe that women are depraved and fit objects for rape, bondage, torture and murder (Longino 229).

She believes the degradation in pornography endorses these stereotypes of women. It is this degradation and these stereotypes that Longino believes represses women in society today. While acts of pornography, especially the more explicit forms may in fact be immoral, it is this belief that censorship will alleviate the suppression of women that is inconsistent with the principle of harm.

John Stuart Mill's principle of harm states that one's liberty can only be limited if his or her actions are harmful to others. These actions must prove to be a clear and present danger to someone to limit the liberty of the actions. While Longino states that pornography is harmful to women, it is hard to judge whether it is a clear and present danger to women. Mill believes to silence one's opinion is against...