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Anti-pornography

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History

Criticisms of pornography come from two directions: conservative and religious forces, and feminism. Religious conservatives, exemplified by US Rev. Jerry Falwell, decry pornography because they see it as immoral; sex is reserved for married couples, and pornography is thought to lead to an overall increase in what they consider to be immoral behavior in society.

Religious conservatism

In the United States, a 1968 Supreme Court decision which held that people could view whatever they wished in the privacy of their own homes caused Congress to fund and President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint a commission to study pornography. The commission's report recommended sex education, funding of research into the effects of pornography, restriction of children's access to pornography, and recommended against any restrictions for adults. The report was widely criticized and rejected by Congress.

In 1983, prosecutors in California tried to use pandering and prostitution state statutes against a producer of and actors in a pornographic movie; the California Supreme Court ruled in 1988 that these statutes do not apply to the production of pornography (People v. Freeman (1988) 46 Cal.3d 41 (http://login.findlaw.com/scripts/callaw?dest=ca/cal3d/46/419.html)). Some speculate that this decision implictly condones pornography and was one of the reasons most modern American porn is produced in California.

"Evidence of the harm of exposure to sexually explicit images or words in childhood is inconclusive, even nonexistent. The 1970 U.S. Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, the 'Lockhart' commission, uncovered no link between adult exposure to pornography and bad behavior and called for the dismantling of legal restrictions on Erotica." - Judith Levine, Harmful to Minors
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography#Anti-pornography_movement [Aug 2004]

Meese Commission

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan appointed another commission to study pornography issues, specifically to overturn the findings of the Lockhart commission. It was headed by Attorney General Edwin Meese and is generally known as the Meese commission. The commission's report, released in 1986, found that pornography is harmful and can lead to violent acts. This report has been criticised for allegedly producing findings that were politically expedient rather than reflecting the empirical evidence; among those criticising it were some of the scientists who gathered that evidence and reported a conclusion to the Meese commission much different from the conclusion the commission later announced. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-pornography_movement [Feb 2005]

Feminism

The feminist position on pornography is divided. Sex-positive feminists view pornography as a crucial part of the sexual revolution which led to women's liberation, and see conservative views of morality as designed to fortify an oppressive status quo. Other feminists, most vocally Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, see pornography as degradation of women which leads to violence against women. They have attempted to create laws which allow sexually abused and otherwise affected women to sue pornographers in civil court. One such attempt in Indianapolis was struck down by the US Supreme Court in 1986. In a 1992 decision, the Canadian Supreme Court upheld the Canadian obscenity law, accepting the feminist argument that the law is intended to create gender equality and prohibits materials that harm women, rather than "immoral" materials. Dworkin herself favors a civil law approach and opposes all criminal pornography prohibitions.

The criticisms of Linda Boreman, who herself worked as a porn actor under the name Linda Lovelace, focus on the exploitative practices of the porn industry, rather than on pornography's societal effects. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography#Anti-pornography_movement [Aug 2004]

Perversion for Profit (1965)

Perversion for Profit (1965)

Perversion for Profit is a 1965 propaganda film financed by Charles Keating and narrated by George Putnam. A vehement diatribe against pornography, the film attempts to link explicit portrayals of human sexuality to a Communist conspiracy and the subversion of American civilization. The film is in the public domain, and it has become a popular download from the Prelinger Archives. Perversion for Profit illustrates its claims with still images taken from various softcore pornography magazines of the period, though with some portions of human anatomy obscured by colored rectangles. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perversion for Profit [Jan 2006]

"Now, you might ask yourself, why this sudden concern? Pornography and sex deviation have always been with mankind. This is true. But now, consider another fact. Never in the history of the world have the merchants of obscenity, the teachers of unnatural sex acts, had available to them the modern facilities for disseminating this filth. High-speed presses, rapid transportation, mass distribution. All have combined to put the vilest obscenity within reach of every man, woman and child in the country." óGeorge Putnam, narrator

"This same type of rot and decay caused sixteen of the nineteen major civilizations to vanish from the earth. Magnificent Egypt, classical Greece, imperial Rome, all crumbled away. Not because of the strength of the aggressor, but because of moral decay from within. But we are in a unique position to cure our own ills. Our Constitution was written by men who put their trust in God, and founded a government based in His laws. These laws are on our side. We have a constitutional guarantee of protection against obscenity. And in this day especially we must seek to deliver ourselves from this twisting, torturing evil. We must save our nation from decay, and deliver our children from the horrors of perversion. We must make our land, the land of the free, a safe home. Oh God, deliver us Americans from evil." óGeorge Putnam, narrator (closing words)

http://ia200140.eu.archive.org/2/movies/Perversi1965/Perversi1965_edit.mp4 [Dec 2005]

See also: 1965 - American erotica - anti-pornography - film - propaganda - cautionary tale

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