Controversy of Pornography in Literature: Comparing Ellen Goodman and Susan Brownmiller

Essay by rwuhawk2010College, UndergraduateA-, September 2008

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Ellen Goodman and Susan Brownmiller are two authors who, in this case, choose to be writing arguments over the controversy of pornography in all its forms. They both, as women and simply innocent bystanders, feel as if pornography is strongly obscene, sexist, explicit, brash and several other things. Ninety percent of pornography in the modern world is geared towards attracting males, and often show the females as vulnerable and aggressively handled. Both writers are similarly biased, but show many differences in their arguments, though they are mostly minor.

The first and major difference between Goodman and Brownmiller is definitely the genre of their writings. Goodman is writing her article for a newspaper, whereas Brownmiller is jotting down her thoughts into a book, which automatically has to be more opinionated and biased. Ellen Goodman is focusing on writing about pornography to get the Minneapolis City Council to outlaw pornography. The author implies that pornography is still an exception and violation of freedom of speech.

Goodman stresses the difference between sexual freedom and pornography. The writer, in her adventure to persuade the council, talked with Catherine MacKinnon, a University of Minnesota Law Professor, and MacKinnon quotes that “we chose this tactic because we believe that pornography is central to ‘creating and maintaining the inequality of the sexes… Just being a woman means you are injured by pornography’.” (Goodman 154) This verifies that MacKinnon, MacKinnon’s co-author Andrea Dworkin, and Goodman are all on the same side, against pornography because of its harmful effect on women. MacKinnon also suggests that “pornography is carefully defined as ‘the sexually explicit subordination of women, graphically depicted, whether in pictures or in words’.” (Goodman 154)Goodman’s prime example of her disgust with the male aggression and disrespect in porn and another part of her argument is the pool...