I appreciate Dworkin’s outrage about pornography and believe her arguments are powerful and well founded—that said, I think her assessment of, and subsequent solution to the ‘oppression’ of pornography is too narrow. She does not adequately differentiate between porn and the erotic, nor does she acknowledge their connection.
In an emotional passage, Dworkin states: “As words alone, or words and pictures, moving or still, it [pornography] creates systematic harm to women…It creates harm inevitably by its nature because of what it is and what it does” (27).
Pornography, as 'entertainment' if you will, is bound up in multiple social issues; it is one representation of the very very complicated social and psychological relationship humans have with sexuality. If we accept Dworkin’s assumption, that porn has no positive utility, what message is that sending? Would it be received as an assertion of women’s empowerment? or yet another stifling attack on our erotic nature? Will an all-out condemnation of porn add another layer of disgrace to our battered and beleaguered sexuality—a continuation of centuries of shame?
Pornography is not exclusively an issue of gender, or of women’s rights, though both are fundamental components—it truly is a manifestation of elements of human sexuality; granted, some of those elements are cause for SERIOUS outrage, but analyzing this issue from only one lens will not enlighten us to the complexity of the problem, and thus will not bring us to the most comprehensive and progressive course of action.