How Pornography hurts women and everyone


My group has chosen to focus on porn. I am taking the stand that porn, as well as prostitution, are ways in which women are further victimized and hurt by men. Why do we call it "prostitution" when "sex" that is the product of coercion and/or the threat to one's life is legally defined as rape? This is something that as a feminist I am truly bothered by. I am not opposed to sex positive thinking for women, but what I am opposed to is the commercialization of women for the pleasure of men.

The myth that porn is just and image and doesn't affect other women is not true-
21% of women subjected to abuse, (rape, and battery) knew the harm was a direct result of the perps use of porn, meaning when women are assaulted by their partners there is a link between their viewing of porn and the harassment and assault of the woman or man. Penthouse, Playboy and Hustler are delivered to over 200 million homes annually becoming informal sex education for young men which gives them a great start as seeing women as objects and not subjects.

The Myth that women choose porn is also often misunderstood
One of the most famous women in porn is named Linda Marchiano aka Deep Throat. During the filming of this porn classic a gun was held to Marchiano's head, she also received NO MONEY from this film even though it is the largest grossing porn film ever made. Women are photographed and videotaped without their knowledge and then these videos are played on the internet. Systematic childhood abuse provides conditioning for continuing abuse in porn/prostitution- 75% of women in porn are incest victims. Porn justifies and reinforces rape myths that women enjoy and deserve pain, humiliation and violence.

Andrea Dworkin makes this very apparent in her essay which we read in class. Dworkin says, "Porn is the institution of male dominance that sexualizes hierarchy, objectification, submission, and violence." This creates inequality.

In an essay written by Rebecca Whinsnant she writes about how porn hurts women and what we all need to do to confront it and stop it. In 1972 porn was a 7 million dollar business. By 2000 it has gone up to a 12 billion dollar business- that is a thousand fold increase- this cannot be a good thing even if it means women are making money from this. Because of porn's effect no persons understanding of sexuality or experience of sex can be unaffected. Large companies like GM and AT&T own the companies that make and produce porn; they are the ones making the money off of women, not the women.

We need to start listening to the men and women who are hurt by porn. This is not a free speech issue, not when people are being hurt, battered, humiliated and raped. Not when it reaffirms men's idea that women WANT to be treated like objects. MEN- Stop using porn- Throw it away and start dreaming your own dreams about women and men- don't think that by saying you don't watch the bad stuff that makes it better- it is all bad and harmful. Look at these women in these videos! Do you really believe that they WANT two penises in the anus at a time while another one is in her mouth! Challenge friends who use porn! Tell them you don't want to be a part of something that hurts women and men and makes it hard for all people to see sex as something healthy and consensual. Women- Don't lie to yourself and think that it is OK because it is her choice- Have the ability and the courage to see that this is not choice- all women are subject to this treatment and we do not need porn reinforcing this attitude towards sex.
Porn is getting more and more violent as more men are not satisfied with regular old male dominated sex- there has to be an extra kick. For feminist who worked against porn know that this is such a deep form of violence and contempt against women- As a whole it is a form of hate propaganda whose effects are especially powerful because it bypasses rational thought and goes straight for the jugular conditioning the viewer to respond sexually to a repressive sexual ideology.


  1.    I was wondering where you got the statistic: "21% of women subjected to abuse, (rape, and battery) knew the harm was a direct result of the perps use of porn, meaning when women are assaulted by their partners there is a link between their viewing of porn and the harassment and assault of the woman or man." Is it that porn makes men violent or, rather, that violent men have a tendency to watch porn more than non-violent men? I've read conflicting studies and research on this, and from what I've read, it seems as though there is still no consensus on whether porn causes violence or not.

       Some would argue that pornography is empowering rather than exploitative, allowing women to break free from the bondage of society's chaste expectations. According to, Nelsen/Net reports that 9.4 million women in the United States accessed online pornography Web sites in the month of September 2003. Should all porn be banned, or should there be a higher age limit than 18? Is some porn still okay? Should porn for women be abolished? There are women who direct pornographic films specifically to appeal to a female audience. Also, I think non-traditional forms of sex is less discussed amongst women. Pornography could be a means by which women learn about themselves or spice it up in the bedroom. Also, pornography can be a means by which women explore their fantasies, which they might be opposed to in real life.

  2. Check out my post up above on the scientific study and pornography. There has been a lot of conflicting research, and I looked into why that is. I think there is information that we can look at and feel more confident in as reliable than other information when it comes to the link between pornography and violence.

  3. Could you provide some more information about the Rebecca Whinsnant article--title? date? where was it published? Also, what is your definition of pornography--what materials/practices/industries are included in your definition?

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This page contains a single entry by Tara published on April 30, 2010 10:23 PM.

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