1 BEYOND BARNARD: FEMINISM, LIBERALISM, AND THE SEX WARS By LORNA BRACEWELL A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2015
2 Â© 2015 Lorna Bracewell
3 To Paola, my wife
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS might behoove a po litical theorist to know a little something about it. I thank my committee, the the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School at the University of Flor ida for giving me the opportunity , financial support , and intellectual freedom to follow my curiosity wherever it led . I thank my undergraduate teacher and mentor, Art Vanden Houten, for Toward A Feminist Theory of t he State and, inadvertently, the sex wars when I was a student in his Contemporary Political Thought course at Flagler College in the spring of 2003 . Finally, I thank my wife, Paola Aguirre, my friends and colleagues, Mauro Carracioli, Alec Dinnin, Billy K elly, Jessica Lancia, Manu Samnotra, and Seaton Tarrant , my parents, Lana and Michael Bracewell, and my sister, Amy Wenditz , for listening patiently, sharing generously, and forgiving readily when I neglected my most important obligations for the sake of t his comparatively inconsequential project.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 6 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 8 Terminology ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 17 Chapter Summaries ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 25 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 27 2 THE END OF O BSCENITY AND THE RISE OF ANTIPORNOGRAPHY FEMINISM ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 31 Antipornography Feminism and Liberalism: The Early Years ................................ .............. 34 Antipornography F ........................... 50 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 67 3 LIBERAL APPROPRIATIONS OF ANTIPORNOGRAPHY FEMINISM ......................... 73 Antecedents to Liberal Antipornography Feminism ................................ .............................. 75 Liberal Antipornography Feminism ................................ ................................ ....................... 79 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 113 4 SEX RADICAL FEMINISM AND LIBERALISM ................................ ............................. 119 The Sex Radical Feminist Critique of Liberalism ................................ ................................ 121 From Sex Radical to Anti Censorship/Pro Sex Feminism ................................ ................... 136 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 147 5 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 152 ................................ ................................ .. 152 The Sex Wars and Recent Calls for Trigger Warnings ................................ ........................ 156 The Promise and Poverty of Liberalism ................................ ................................ ............... 161 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 170 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 172 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 188
6 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for th e Degree of Doctor of Philosophy BEYOND BARNARD: FEMINISM, LIBERALISM, AND THE SEX WARS By Lorna Bracewell December 2015 Chair: Major: Political Science From the mid 1970s through the early 1990s, feminists in the United States were e mbroiled in a series of debates over matters pertaining to sex and sexuality that have come to be on a number of issues, including pornography, prostitution, s adomasochism, heterosexuality, lesbianism, intergenerational sex, and butch fem identifies and practices. Unfortunately, these complex and heterogeneous debates tend to be remembered as a rather straightforward conflict minists In my dissertation, I challenge this simplistic and inaccurate view of the sex wars. Rather than focusing exclusively on the differences dividin g antipornography and sex radical feminists, I highlight significant points of contact and overlap between them, particularly the challenges they posed to the sexual politics of post war liberalism . I also highlight other conflicts and relationships that, I argue , were central to the sex wars, including conflict s and improbable alliances between antipornography feminists, sex radical feminists, and liberals of various stripes. By reimagining the sex wars in this way, I hope to provide not only a more nuanced, richly contextualized, and complete account of the sex wars than has heretofore been available,
7 but also to illuminate in fresh and provocative ways a range of contemporary phenomena that , I argue, the sex wars helped produce , including recent controversies over the use of trigger warnings on college and univ ersity campuses, the increasingly carceral character of modern feminism, and the narrow and unimaginative politics of so
8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION On April 24, 1982, some 800 scholars, students, artists, and activists convene d at Barnard sexual pleasure, choice, and autonomy , acknowledging that sexuality is simultaneously a domain (Vance 1993 a , 294; Vance 1984, 443). Judith Butler, who attended the conference as a graduate student 1 and reviewed its controversial program, A Diary of a Conference on Sexuality , stated the Diary and of the Barnard conference is to dislodge the anti pornography perspective on sexuality with an exploration into Not all those who attend ed the Barnard conference emb raced this aim. In fact, on the morning of the conference, just outside the gates of Barnard Hall, a group of self identified S page leaflet 2 for a Feminist Sexuality and Against Sadomasochism (Women Against Violence Against Women; Women Against Pornography; New York Radical Feminists
9 to have been the almost exclusive handiwork of Women Against Pornography (WAP), the leading antipornography feminist organization in the U.S. at the time. 3 The events I have just described are often portrayed as the catalyst for sex wars, 4 a series of conflicts over matters pertaining to sex and sexuality that embroiled the feminist movement in the United States from the mid 1970s to the early 1990s. 5 In the course of these conflicts, feminists staked out a variety of p ositions on a number of issues, including pornography, prostitution, sadomasochism, butch fem identities and practices , intergenerational sex , the nature and limits of law, the wisdom and sufficie ncy of state centered politics , and how (and whether) to define the boundaries of the category of woman . However, the sex wars tend to be remembered as coextensive with the conflict that erupted at the Barnard conference : a straightforward c lash betwe en tw o opposi ng feminist sides. One of the earliest and most influential accounts to present the sex wars in this manner is article between this article, which was first published in the fall of 1984 in a special issue of the feminist periodical Signs feminist sexuality debates , Ferguson describes according to Ferg uson , male dominant society involves danger that is, that sexual practices perpetuate violence against he opposing camp , Ferguson continues , featu re of sexuality is the potentially liberating aspects of the exchange of pleasure between In this account, Ferguson not only portrays the sex wars as a clear cut she parses this conflict in
10 terms pleasure and couplet coined by Carole Vance in the Barnard conference concept paper (Vance 1984, 442). 6 Thus, , in addition to giving the sex wars their name, 7 seems to have established the metonymy between the sex wars and the Barnard conference. More recently, several prominent feminist historians have followed Ferguson in portraying the sex wars as, essentially, the Barnard conflict writ large. For example, in The World Split Open: How (2000), Ruth Rosen 2000, 191; 1 93; 416). Similarly, in The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the present (2010), Christine Stansell presents the sex wars as sex feminists decr[ying] the self righteous morality of the antipornography force s and its animus to their critics of being brainwashed by patriarchal sexuality and ignoring the deadly injuries pornography inflicted on millions of Stansell 2010, 346). Finally and most starkly, i n Desiring Revolution : Second Wave feminism and the r ewriting of American sexual t hought , 1920 1982 (2001) , Jane Gerhard writes of the sex wars as though they were interchangeable with the Barnard conference . For example, in index , readers interested in the B arnard c onference are referred to the entry for the sex w ars, and , in the concluding chapter, entitled Feminist Sex Wars, 1982 , the only place in which legacies is the proceedings of the Barnard conference (Gerhard 2001, 229; 183 195). 8
11 D espite this widespread agreement amongst scholars that the sex wars were a straightforward , two sided, and wholly internecine feminist conflict , t here i s little consensus regarding the names of thes e sides. For instance, in her influential 1984 Signs artic le, Ferguson described 9 feminists, are among the most common (Bronstein 2011; Stansell 2010; Strossen 1993 and 1995; Vance and Snitow 1984; Rubin 1983; Strub 2011 ; Fahs 2014 ). Others i anti (Vance 1993 a ; Rosen 2000; Chapkis 1997; Chancer 1998; B azelon 2015; Lei dholdt and Raymond 1990). proved to be such a bewildering task is telling. Not only does it point to the ext tive conflicts rem ain unsettled, 10 it also raises serious doubts about any attempt to portray the sex wars as a Manichean struggle between two clear cut and diametrically opposed sides. After all, i f the sex wars w ere straightforward enough to lend themselves to some tidy dichotomous schema , then why is there such widespread dissensus concerning which tidy dichotomous schema is most appropriate ? 11 The answer is, of course, that the sex wars we r e not so straightforwar d , and a guiding aim of the present work is to represent (rather than resent and repress) their complexity. 12
12 Ke y to this task is situating the sex wars in a broader historical, political, and ideological context than is customary. 13 In the present work, I do this in a number of ways. First, rather than adopting the conventional narrative framework that presents the sex wars as coextensive with t he clash between antipornography and sex radical feminists 14 that erupted at the Barnard c onference in the spri ng of 1982 , I cast my gaze beyond Barnard , so to speak, and explore the origins of antiporn ography feminism and sex radical feminism in the early 1970s . 15 More specifically, I show how antipornography feminism and sex radical feminism emerged not exclusiv ely ( or , in the case of antipornography feminism, not even primarily ) in relation to one another, but also in relation to a particular liberal discourse on sex and sexual expression that gained ascendancy in the United States in the 1950s and 60s . T his lib eral discourse, which originated as a counter to a conservative discourse that portrayed all public manifestations of sex and sexuality as socially noxious, figured pornography ( and sexuality more generally) as priva te, apolitical, and harmless, a mundane bit of veniality deserving of moral opprobrium and some forms of government regulation , but not full on prohibition . A s I show in the chapters that follow , both antipornography feminism and sex radical feminism emerged , at least in part , as critical respon ses to this ambivalent liberal discourse . The present work also looks beyond Barnard and broadens the context in which the sex wars are typically considered by exploring the ways in which antipornography feminism, sex radical feminism, and liberalism con tinued to interact with and influence one another throughout the 1980s and 90s . The occasion for this continued interaction and influence was the controversy surrounding anti pornography civil rights ordinance , a m unicipal ordinance that defined and gave individuals the right to sue its producers and distributors for
13 damages (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1988, 113 ). As the ordinance wended its way throug h municipal legislatures and federal courts, sparking impassioned debate at every turn, the rancor that had characterized the relationships between antipornography feminism, sex radical feminism, and liberalism throughout the 1970s began to subside . In fac t, beginning in the mid 1980s, a surprising range of scholars, activists, jurists, and legal theorists began invoking liberal principles to bolster antipornography feminist and s ex radical feminist claims. In the present work, I consider these improbable d evelopments in great detail and reflect on their implications for our contemporary understandings of both the history and legacies of the sex wars. While my account of the sex wars is the first to cast liberalism in a central role and to attend to the rel ationships between antipornography feminism, sex radical feminism , and liberalism in all of their complexity and variability , one other scholar has made note of , albeit in a flawed and limited way . In the sixth chapter of her masterful study of the first decade of antipornography feminist organizing in the United States, entitled Battling Pornography : The American feminist a nti pornography m ovement, 1976 1986 (2011), Carolyn Bronstein recounts an important confrontation between antipornography feminists and civil libertarians in the winter of 1978 at a colloquium at the New York University School of Law. According to Bronstein, the conflict that played out at this colloquium was one between , represented by the civil libertarians , a communitarian social position , represented by the antipornography feminists (Bronstein 2011, 181). to have b een the antipornography feminist critique of liberalism articulated at this colloquium,
14 While Br on stein deserves credit for recognizing the significance of this colloquium and for bringing the relationship between antipornography feminism and liberalism into view, her reduction of this relationship to a clash between liberal ism and communitarian ism rev eals the extent to which she fails to appre hend the true nature of the political theoretical chasm that divided antipornography femi nists and liberal s at this time . antipornography feminists did not offer a communitarian crit ique of liberalism. They did not assail liberals for their aspirations to universality at the expense of particularity, their atomized vision of the self , or their tendency to denigrate the claims of tradition, culture , and community . In fact, many antipor nography feminists expressed what can only be described as anti communitarian views. For instance, at the colloquium Bronstein discusses, Florence Rush blamed the sexual abuse of children on traditional notions of marriage and family and Andrea Dworkin imp ugned appeals to the common good as ideological ploys used to dupe women into Thus, despite the great discernment Bronstein shows in situating antipornography feminism in re lation to liberalism, her account of the relationship between these two positions is deeply flawed . It is also incomplete, for, as I show in chapter s two and three, the complex and shifting relationship between antipornography feminism and liberalism began well before and persisted well beyond analysis. In the present work, I offer what I believe is a much more accurate and complete elucidation of the relationship between antipornography feminism and libe ralism than Bronstein provides . Unlike antipornography feminism which chroniclers of the sex wars have largely neglected , the relationship between sex radical feminism and liberal ism is frequently noted in accounts of the sex w ars . H owever, almost invariably in these accounts sex
15 radical feminism is made out to be a species of liberalism rather than a critical engagement with it . One of the earliest examples of this (mis) representation of sex radical feminism appears in the edit ed volume Against Sadomasochism : A radical feminist analysis (1982). Here, philosopher Bat Ami Bar On accuses sex radical al liberation in (Bar On 1982, 72). Two years later, in an article in Feminist Review , Marie France proffered a similar reading, accusing s ex radical feminist s of defending sadomasochism by means of the liberal credo, a strategy based on a distinction between public and private morality where law 1984, 35 ) aforementioned Signs article appea red (Ferguson 1984, 107). In 1990, this interpretative thesis reached its apogee with the publication The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism (1990). Throughout this collection, the politics of sex radical feminists like Gayle Rubin are lumped together with those of civil libertarians like Hugh Hefner and both are derided for their In my vi ew, such interpretations are misleading and mistaken. 16 Not only do they overlook the substantial political differences that existed between sex radical feminists and liberals on issues like pornography , public sex, intergenerational sex, and gay rights in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but they obscure many of sex radical feminism As I demonstrate in the fourth chapter of the present work, s ex radical feminists condemned de fenses of sexual behavior rooted in appeals to privacy, rejected individualistic conceptions of sexual identity and freedom, questioned
16 portrayals of sexual desire as natural or innate, and demanded a sexual freedom that entailed the destruction of the com cultivation of diverse sexual identities and erotic communities. Taken together, all of this indicates that sex radical feminism was not a sp ecies of liberalism, but a critical engagement with it . An important contribution of the present work is to explicitly and thoroughly refute the interpretive thesis that claims otherwise. To sum up then, my goal here is to unsettle the widely accepted vie w that the sex wars were a sororocidal conflict betw een two opposing feminist sides by foreground ing an other set of complex and contentious relationships that, I argue, were also central to the sex wars: those between antipornography feminists, sex radical feminists, and liberals of various stripes. By reimagining the sex wars in this way, I hope to provide not only a more nuanced, richly contextualized, and complete account of the sex wars than has heretofore been available , but also to illuminate in fresh and provocative ways a range of contemporary phenomena that , I argue , the sex wars h elped bequeath to the present, including recent controversies over the use of trigger warnings on college and university campuses , the increasingly carcer al character of m odern feminism, and the narrow and unimaginative politics of so Thus, my efforts here might be best described as historico/theoretical , or historical in a capacious and unabashedly critical Foucauldian sense. By revisiting a nd revising our commonly accepted narratives of the sex wars, I hope to offer contemporary feminists historical analysis of the limits that are imposed on us and an experiment with the possibility of going beyond 1984, 50). most impor tant political offering is [the] opening of a breathing space between the world of
17 common meanings and the world of alternative ones, a space of potential renewal for thoug ht, 2002, 574). My intention in the historical investigation that follows is to do just that: to offer and, thus, possibility of no longer being, doing or th inking what we are, do or think (Foucault 1984, 46). Terminology Before I expound all of this more fully , a few clarifying remarks are in order. In the foregoing section, I m ade use of several terms t hat need explication. The first of these t erms is I mean the set of positions and beliefs defended by feminists who, beginning in the mid 1970s, formulated a distinctly fem inist critique of pornography and worked in various ways to curtail the production, distribution, and display of pornographic materials. As I noted above, th is set of positions and beliefs has been described by many names (e.g. anti sex feminism, sex negat ive feminism, and pro censorship feminism) . I describe it as inism for two reasons. First, unlike other descriptions, nicely captures the defining feature of this set of positions and beliefs : its critical or ientat ion toward pornography. Second , the name would have been, at the very least, tolerable to the i ndividuals who embraced and defended this set of positions and beliefs during the sex wars. The same cannot be said of the other possible alternatives , which seem more designed to malign and impugn than identify and describe . So, who were these antipornography feminists and what exactly were the pos itions and beliefs they embraced ? During the sex wars, antipornography feminists lik e Kathleen Barry, Susan Brownmiller, Andrea Dworkin, Susan Griffin, Catharine MacKinnon, Robin Morgan, Adrienne Rich , Diana Russell, and Gloria Steinem contended that pornography was the linchpin This was not on acco unt of its sexual explicitness , which conservatives
18 had long condemned, but . By portraying women as ed that pornography made rape, battering, sexual harassment, incest, child abuse, forced prostitution, and every other imaginable form of gender based violence and subordination appear normal, natural, and even pleasurable for both perpetrato rs and victims (Brownmiller 1975 , 394). This belief is what fueled a ntipornography feminist opposition to pornography . Thus, d espite the singl e minded focus on pornography that the ir name implies, a ntipornography feminists were , in fact, concerned with a large brace of issues related to gender based violence and subordination . By curtailing the availability and visibility of pornography, antipornography feminists believed they could short circuit the process of objectification , curb gender based violence , and strike a de cisive blow against patriarchal power . mean the set of positions and beliefs embraced by feminists who, also beginning in the mid 1970s, formulated a distinctly feminist vindication of sexual freedom and worked to end the stigmatization and marginalization of sexual minorities , including sadomasochists , fetishists, lesbians, and sex workers, in the feminist community and beyond . As I noted above, this set of po sitions and beliefs has been described by many names ( e.g. pro sex feminism, sex positive feminism, and anti censorship feminism) . In using the name , follow Carole Vance who has persuasively argued that other possible names oversim plify and misrepresent this complex set of position s and beliefs (V ance 1993 a, 297; Vance 1984, 127 ). So, who were these sex radical feminists and what exactly was this distinctly feminist vindication of sexual freedom that they formulated ? During th e sex wars, sex radical feminists
19 like Pat Califia, Amber Hollibaugh, Lisa Duggan, Nan Hunter, Cherrie Moraga, Gayle Rubin, Anne Snitow, and Ca role Vance argued that depriving women of sexual pleasure and autonomy was key to shoring up male dominance . By cuttin g women off from sexual experiences t hat sex radical femin ists considered to be vital source s of power, identity, community, and resistance, sex radical feminists believed that isolation, compliance , and resignation. U pending the complex system of stigmatization, medicaliza tion, and criminalization that kept women (and many men) heterosexuality was , thus, en d, they vindicated a variety of unconventional and , in their minds, subversive sexual practices for women , including the production and consu mption of pornography , nonmonogamy, sadomasochism, lesbian sex, commercial sex, public sex, and even consensual int ergenerational s ex . 17 As leading sex radical feminist s Dierdre English, Amber Hollibaugh, and Gayle Rubin once put it, the goal of sex radical feminism was , essentially, to make good on the promise of the sexual revolution by bring ing about a ( English, Hollibaugh, Rubin 1982, 41 42 ). As I noted above, much has been made of the conflicts between antipornography and sex radical femini sts so much, i n fact, that these conflicts have frequently been presented as coextensive with the sex wars themselves . A nd , of course, as the descriptions I have just offered indicate, antipornography feminists and sex rad ical feminists disagreed on many fundamental matters . For instance, they offered markedly different accounts of with antipornogra phy feminist s emphasizing the sexual objectification of women and the veritable onslaught of violence it provoked and s e x radical feminist s emphasizing deprivation and the resignation and isolation it eng endered . Antipornography feminists an d sex
20 radical feminists also pursued markedly different political programs , particularly where pornography was concerned . For a ntipornography feminists , sexually explicit materials that objectified women were oppressive ly ubiquitous and they set about devising means to curtail and resist their dehumanizing influence. For se x radical fem inists, by contrast, sexually explicit materials , particularly those depicting non normative se xual fantasies and practices, were margina lized to the point of invisibility and they set about devising ways to enhance and promote their potentially liberatory influence. I could, of course, go on cataloguing the differences and disagreements between antipornography feminist s and sex radical fe minist s for many pages . However, r athe r than repeating what is obvious and already sufficiently well established , I would like to undertake a different and potentially m ore illuminating task. W ithout denying the significance of the differences between anti pornography feminist s and sex radical feminist s or the seve rity of the rancor to which these differences gave rise during the sex wars , 18 I would like to highlight some often overlooked affinities between these otherwise bitter feminist rivals . The first af finity concerns antipornography feminist and sex radical feminist views regarding gender and sexuality . While both frequently accused one another of propagating essentialist notions of gender and sexuality of claiming that men were innately and inalt erably sexually aggressive or that sexual desire was born of instinctive and inexorable both antipornography feminists and sex radical feminists , in fact, eschewed such simplistic notions and embraced some version of a social constructivist thes is where gender and sexuality were concerned . This aspect of sex radical feminism is most readily evident in the work of Gayle Rubin who argued emphatically that sexuality is not natural, not an unchanging, ahistorical item in the human repertoire of beha vior what she described as
21 y Weeks, Judith Walkowitz, and Michel Foucault (English, Hollibaugh, and Rubin 1982, 41 ; Vance 1984 , 276 ). On the a ntipornography feminist side , Catharine MacKinnon embraced a similarly thoroughgoing constructivist view , arguing that tally, 19 In addition to this shared anti essentialism , antipornography feminists and sex radical feminists also exhibited similarly critical orientation s toward conventional, or what we might today , 20 In the antipornography feminist view, heterosexuality was ensured that reproductive capacities would be brought and remain co ntrol . 21 As Andrea Dworkin once described it, under cultural conditions of male supremacy, heterosexual ity is the penultimate expression of male d 1995). A guiding aim of antipornography feminism was , thus, to dismantle the political ins titution of heterosexuality by depriving it of what antipornography feminists believed to be one of its most potent forms of propaganda: pornography. 22 S ex radical feminist s offered a different but no less pointed critique of heterosexuality . In the se x ra dical feminist view, heterosexuality functioned as a regulatory norm in a regime of sexual control designed to stifle erotic creativity , diversity, and dissent . This sex radical feminist critique of heterosexuality was put forward most forcefully by Gayle Rubin in her influential contribution to sex radical feminist thought, the ) . In this essay, Rubin described heterosexual ity as occupying the center of a d
22 sexuality , while all other manifestations of human sexual capacity were relegated to the outer (Rubin 1984 , 281 ) . A central goal of sex radi cal feminism was , thus, to decenter heterosexuality and subvert the that m aintained its normative status (Rubin 1984 , 280; 282) . One final affinity between a ntipornography feminism and sex radical feminism that I would like to c all attention to is their shared commitment to pol iticizing sex and sexuality in ways that ran counter to the hegemonic liberalism of their day. I will take the case of antipornography feminism first. B ecause antipornography feminists understood pornograph y to be an imminently political practice aimed at the oppression of women , they were willing to employ a variety of tactics, ranging from letter writing campaigns and consumer boycotts to zoning regulations and civil rights laws, to limit its visibility an d accessibility . This willingness to bring political power, including the power of the state and the law, to bear on sexually explicit expression se t antipornography feminists in frequent and often bitter conflict with their liberal contemporaries who saw pornography , by and large, as private , apolitical, and harmless speech that should be exempt from government al regulation in the name of individual liberty . While sex radical feminists did not share (and, in fact, vehemently criticized) antipornography fe curtail the production and consumption of pornography, they did share with antipornography feminists a desire to politicize sex and sexual expression in way s that flouted liberal convention . While liberals had traditionally defend ed a na rrow rang e of sexually explicit materials as pri vate, apolitical, and harmless speech , sex radical feminists insisted that virtually all forms of sex and sexual expression , including the most stigmatized and marginalized, ought to be affirmed, even celebra ted, as indispensable to i ndividual and communal freedom and identity . 23 This radical vindication of sexual freedom sat uneasily
23 alongside the tepid politics of individual liberty, privacy , and free speech embraced by . This third and final affinity between antipornography feminism and sex radical feminism , their shared opposition to the sexual politics of mid century liberalism , is , in many ways, the inspiration for this entire project . As I have already stated, my aim in the present work is to unsettle conventional narrative s of the sex wars by reimagining this contentious episode in recent feminist history as a complex and shifting array of conflicts and relationships between antipornography feminists, sex radical feminists, a nd liberals of various stripes. Acknowledging and exploring the conflicts that transpired between antipornography feminists , s ex radical feminists , and liberal opponents of obscenity regulation throughout the 1970s and 80s is one crucial aspect of this r eimagining. This discussion of the conflicts between antipornography feminism, sex radical feminism, and liberalism leads me to the final term that I must clarify b efore my project can proceed . L be u sed to signify everything from 24 In t he present work, I use the term to denote a range of positions articulated in the course of the sex wars individual is the highest politica occupational choice, privacy and family rights all place limits on (Ryan 2012, 362; 366; 364; 377). At the heart of liberalism so conceived is a distinction between is figured as a sphere of justice in which law serves as a neutral guarantor of liberty amongst free and equal individuals, while is figured fundam entally at odds (Okin 1989, 25). 25 While liberals have traditionally presented the public/private distinction as a means
24 of securing individual liberty against the encroachments of overweening governments, feminist political theorists have noted its utility for other purposes. As Carole Pateman has incisively to men wit hin an apparently universal, egalitaria b , 120). It rucial role during the sex wars . 26 I n the late 1950s, it was this brand of liberalism that provided the ideol ogical foundation for a campaign waged by a cadre of devout civil libertarians, including book and magazine publishers, film distributors, and attorneys like Barney Rossett, Hugh Hefner, Charles Rembar, Harold Price Fahringer, and Edward de Grazia , to roll back the Comstock era regime of obscenity regulation and clear the way for the virtually unregulated private consumption of pornography in the United States. Beginning in the early 1970s, this campaign drew fire from both antipornography feminis t and sex radical feminist quarters . A ntipornography feminists assailed it for employing conceptions of harm, liberty, a nd the public and the private too rigid and formalistic to accommodate even the most basic pleas for justice on behalf of women. Sex radical femin ists to ok a somewhat dif ferent tack, criticizing civil libertarians for defending pornography and sexuality more generally by relegating them to an apolitical private sphere where their liberatory potential as instruments of community building, identity ar ticulation, and erotic dissent would languish unrealized. Thus, in t he 1970s and early 1980s, the relationship between antipornography feminism, sex radical feminism, and liberalism was profoundly strained. Antipornography and sex radical f eminist s challenged conventional liberal notions of the public and the private by insisting on the imminently political character of pornography and sexuality , while liberals insisted on viewing
25 these matters through the prism of free speech, personal choice , and private morality. Then, beginning in the early 1980s, as antipornography feminists championed an ordinance that would have made pornography wars reached a rolling boil, this relations hip began t o change . Influential liberal s began mounting recognizably liberal defenses of antipornography feminist argu ments and legislative proposals . Meanwhile , sex radical feminist s began to strategically employ the liberal rhetoric of civil liberties and free speech that t hey had once so roundly criticized in their efforts to resist the passage of antipornography feminist legislation . In short, what began in the late 1970s a s a triangular argument between tepid liberal defenders, impassioned feminis t critics, and radical feminist proponents of pornography, expan ded o ver the course of 1980s and 90s into a much more complicated array of argumentative positions with liberalism inflecting virtually all sides . In the chapters that follow, I narrate these complex and improbable developments and reflect on their implications for contemporary understandings of the sex wars and their legacies. Chapter Summaries My project begins with two chapters chronicling the complex and frequently contentious relationship between antipornography feminism and liberalism. In chapter two, I show how, in the early 1970s, antipornography feminism was born in white hot hostility to a particular brand of liberalism prevalent in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s that sought to upend the leg al regulation of obscenity in the United States in the name of privacy and free speech. In the third chapter, I recount the improbable reconciliation of antipornography feminism to liberalism that began in the mid 1980s and continued well into the 1990s . L ed by some of the most prominent figures in contemporary political philosophy and legal theory, th is reconciliation, I argue, is an aspect of the history of antipornography feminism and the sex wars that has been unjustly neglected.
26 In the fourth chapter, I narrate the complex and shifting relationship of sex radical feminism and liberalism. I begin by showing how sex radical feminism, which is often portrayed s exual pleasure, can also be seen as a critical engagement with the ambivalent sexual politics of mid century liberalism. Although sex radical feminists did not engage in dramatic public debates and confrontations with liberals comparable to those engaged i n by antipornography feminists in the 1970s and early 1980s, their audacious demands for a vibrant and diverse public sexual culture stood in stark contrast to the measured pleas of mid century civil libertarians for a somewhat wider berth for certain form s of sexual expression. In this sense, sex radical feminism, much like its foil, antipornography feminism, can be seen as a critical response to the limited sexual politics of post war liberalism. ralism, I proceed to a description of the emergence of a strategic alliance between sex radical feminists and civil libertarians to oppose the Dworkin/MacKinnon antipornography ordinance in the early 1980s. This alliance, I argue, gave rise to an improbabl e liberal feminist hybrid discourse, feminism . While this discourse proved effective insofar as it contributed to the defeat of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance and opened up space within the conceptual confines of liberalism for a more robust defense of sexual freedom , this effectiveness came at a price. Aspects of sex radical feminism not readily assimilable to a liberal idiom were obscured and, by the mid 1990s, sex radical feminism had been overtaken by a markedly more liberal pr oject. In the fifth chapter, I reflect on the implications of the complex relationships between antipornography feminism, sex radical feminism, and liberalism I have recounted for
27 contemporary feminist politics. More specifically, I argue that both liberal antipornography feminism and anti censorship/pro sex feminism are to some extent complicit in the increasingly carceral character of contemporary feminist politics. I also argue that the tepid and culturally ubiquitous ideological formation that travels u nder the as well as recent calls for trigger warnings on college and university campuses are heavily influenced by the liberal feminist hybrid positions that the sex wars produced. Notes 1 In addition to attending the conference, Butler participated in a post Off Our Butler also signed a letter decrying the antipornogr aphy feminist protest against the Barnard conference published in Feminist Studies 9 (1): 177 180. 2 The full text of the leaflet was reprinted nearly a year after the conference in Feminist Studies 9(1): 180 182. 3 According to Pat Califia, by the time this in an article for Gay Community News (Orlando 1982). Historian Ca rolyn Bronstein has also called into t the 4 See, for instance, Rosen, The World Split Open , 2013; Bronstein, Battling Pornography , 2011; Gerhard, Desiring Revolution , 2001; Hollibaugh, My Dangerous Desires , 2000; Chancer, Reconcilable Differences , 1998; Abrams, Daring to Be Bad 5 2011a, 27). There is, however, a substantial body of scholarship chronicling and reflecting on certain aspects of this contentious episode in recent feminist history. See, for instance, Bronstein, Battling Pornography , 2012; Rubin, Dev iations , 2012; Love, GLQ, 2011; Press, The Communication Review , 2008; Duggan and Hunter, Sex Wars , 2006; Gerhardt, Desiring Revolution , 2001; Cornell, Feminism and Pornography , 2000; Chancer, Reconcilable Differences 6 This couplet also served as the title for the published proceedings of the Barnard conference, Pleasure and Danger: Exploring female sexuality (1984). 7 I Feminist Studies published a letter from 600). 8 Another prominent example can be found in Clare Snyder oice Perspectives on Politics . wave of the American feminist movement split over issues related to sexua Hall explains, adding that during this episode sides of a series of con tentious debates about issues such as pornography, sex work, and heterosexuality, with one
28 (Snyder Hall 2010, 255). 9 In an article published in Fem inist Review in 1983, Elizabeth Wilson also described the opposition to the lson 1983, 36; 38). 10 the co based or not you find their positions compelling or agreeable. Doubtlessly, the fact that present day feminists are still at odds over many of the contentious questions the sex wars pointed up has contributed to the proliferation of names 11 In posing this question, I do not mean to imply that all dichotomous schemas proposed to describe the sex wars are created equal. In fact, I believe t hat some do much more violence to the complex reality of the sex wars than to be significantly less so. Nevertheless, I believe that our understanding of the sex wars is poorly served by continuing to parse them in simplistic, dichotomous terms. 12 Carole Vance, a prominent player in the sex wars, has also criticized the tendency to portray the sex wars in opponents. More specifically, Vance traces this tendency back to fallout from the Scholar and the Feminist IX Co conference aimed to resist the temptation to choose sides when it came to divisive and controversial sexual matters. ist detractors who unfairly depicted the gathering as mon conceptualization or antipornography, or pro or anti two d iametrically opposed sides are simplistic and misleading, I am reluctant to follow her in laying the blame for their ubiquity at the feet of antipornography feminists. Such an account, in my view, simply perpetuates the idea that the sex wars were a simple , two sided, and wholly internecine feminist conflict. 13 Gayle Rubin has made several admirable efforts to contextualize her own contributions to the sex wars, including efforts are now conveniently compiled in one volume, Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader f eminist sex radicals, Lisa Duggan and Nan D. Hunter, have also attempted to lend some much needed context to Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Popular Culture (2006) is particularly helpful. The finest work in this vein has been done by Carolyn Bronstein in her wonderfully detailed study of the antipornography feminist movement, Battling Pornography: The Feminist Antipornography Movement, 1976 1986 (2011) . work has made an immense contribution to internal dynamics of the antipornography feminist movement, it does not attend to antipornography femini interlocutors and opponents in much detail. Nor does it focus on later developments in antipornography feminism, my disagreement wi th Bronstein on a number of issues throughout the present work, on the whole, I see the account I offer here as a supplement to and an extension of her own.
29 14 m in the main body just below. 15 Several scholars have attempted to complicate the traditional narrative of the sex wars by arguing that the clash at Barnard was prefigured by earlier clashes between antipornography feminists and lesbian sadomasochists in San Francisco in the late 1970s . . While these accounts are invaluable insofar as they extend the historical frame of reference for the sex wars back beyo nd the Barnard conference, ultimately, they fail to challenge the notion that the sex wars were a simple, two sid ed, internecine feminist affair and, thus, do little to displace the Barnard conference from the c enter of the sex wars narrative. 16 In a foot pernicious qualities of state acti differential powers. In this analysis, state regulatio n of sex is part of a more complex system of oppression that it reflects, enforces, and influences. The state also develops its own structures of interest, powers, and investments in 17 Some sex radical feminists, nota bly Gayle Rubin and Pat Califia, vindicated many of these practices for men as well. However, many sex radical feminists were reluctant to endorse such an unfettered exercise of sexual freedom contribution to What Color Is Your Handkerchief?: A lesbian s/m sexuality reader feminist M can equalize a power imbalance in a love relationship, but only between members of the same sexual caste. As a lesbian feminist, I believe it would be extremely self destructive for any woman to play either role in an S M relationship with any man. S M as described below is only possible in a situation of profound trust. For a woman to trust a man to such an extent would not be in her best interests. Such an action would be a perversion of masochism and counter 979, 8). 18 antipornography feminists and sex radical feminists could be. Of the infamous clash between antipornography feminists and their critics at the Barna rd Conference, Rubin writes that, rather than feeling privileged to have been a first the breakdown of feminist civility and the venomous treatment to which dissenters from the antiporn orthodoxy 19 As Judith Grant has observed, despite her reput 20 This shared critical orientation toward heterosexuality is not surprising when one considers how heavily both antipornography and sex radical feminism were influenced by lesbian feminism. Formulated in the early 1970s as a reaction to the homophobia and heteronormativity of both the mode movement, lesbian feminism figured lesbianism as the sine qua non of feminist politics. (See, for instance, Movement , 1 975.) Carolyn Bronstein has identified lesbian feminism as a crucial antecedent to antipornography feminism (Bronstein 2011, 52 59). As for sex radical feminism, it was a movement founded largely by lesbian sadomasochists who felt excluded from lesbian fem inist circles on account of their unconventional sexualities. The influence of lesbian feminism is evident throughout some of the earliest and most influential sex radical feminist writings, including What Color is Your Handkerchief?: A lesbian s/m sexuali ty reader (1979) Coming to Power: Writings and graphics of lesbian s/m (1981), and Sapphistry: The Book of Lesbian Sexuality (1980). 21 and Le
30 author of an afterword to the antipornography feminist anthology Take Back the Night: Women on Pornography (1980). 22 Pornography as heterosexual propaganda is a recurring trope in antipornography feminist discourse. For example, ion of heterosexuality (Rich 1980, 141). Several years earlier, in the concluding chapter of Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape , Susan designe 23 This difference raises serious questions about attempts to portray sex radical feminism, particularly in its earliest articulations, as a species of libe rtarianism. I address this issue in detail in the fourth chapter of the present work. 24 can now serve as an all purpose word, whether of abuse inflated, multi 25 On the centrality of th e public/private distinction to liberal theory and practice, see Okin, Women in Western Political Thought , 1979; Elshtain, Public Man, Private Woman , 1981; Okin, Justice, Gender, and the Family , 1989; 26 1960s a nd 70s in The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the present (2011), historian Christine Stansell uses the term sex wars breeds much in the way of confusion and misunderstanding. Consider, for example, antipornography feminists like Susan Brownmiller, Andrea Dworkin, Dorchen Leidholdt, and Catharine MacKinnon. By crafting and advocating on behalf of a municipal ordinance that made pornography a civil rights violation, these antipo rnography of conceptions of harm, liberty, and privacy firmly rooted in the liberal political tradition. Additionally, many ce, Andrea Dworkin, who both co authored antipornography legislation and dichotomy (Stansell 2011, 346).
31 CHAPTER 2 THE END OF OBSCENITY AND T HE RISE OF ANTIPORNOGRAPHY FEMINISM Prior to the advent of antipornography feminism in the mid 1970s, the most prominent critics of pornography were conservatives . Conservatives o pposed the widespread availability of sexually explicit materials on the gro unds that such materials are from the Latin for , and, therefore, corrosive of the moral foundation of a well ordered society. 1 One prominent expo sitor of this conservative view in the United States was Anthony Comstoc k, a nineteenth century anti vice crusader and champion of the sweep ing federal obsceni ty law that bears his name, the Comstock Act. 2 In Traps for the Young (188 3), an advice manual for concerned parents, Comstock likened a wide range of material s , from pulp novels to classic works of literature like Decameron , to contagious disease s imported from ab road threatening the future stewards of American society , boys and young men (Comstock 188 3, x). Nearly 80 years later, echoes of Comstock views were still audible in Lord Patrick Devlin influential second Maccabaean Lecture to the British Academy, The Enforcement of Morals (1959). Framed as a critique of the philosophical underpinnings of liberal arguments for the decriminalization of homosexuality, Devlin argued that every society has an essential right to preserve itself by adicat [ing] threats to its , including pornography and other forms of sexual malfeasance (Devlin 1965, 17 ) . The feminist critique of pornography that emerged in the 1 970s bore little resemblance to these conservative critique s . U nlike conservatives , antipornography feminists did not object to sexually explicit materials tout court nor did they consider . In fa ct, many antipornography feminists vigorously criticized the whole notion of obscenity , called for the outright repeal of all obscenity laws, and affirmed many materials and practices conservatives abhorred , including erotica and lesbianism . 3 What antipo rnography feminists did
32 object ornography. Pornography, in their view, was defined not by its prurience or its morally deleterious effects , but by its tendency to eroticizing gender inequality and violence. As Susan Brownmiller, a leader in what would eventually become a full fledged antipornography feminist movement, explained in a 1979 issue of Newsday Magazine , pornography represents hatred dehumanize the female body for the purpose of erotic sti 1980 , 254). female p 1975, 394). This newfangled feminist perspective on pornography differed not only from traditional conservative perspective s , but from well established liberal perspective s as well . In the course of fending off conservative call s for censorship, liberals had long portray ed pornography as a private, apolitical, and essentially harmless vice deserving of moral opprobrium and some forms of government regulation, but not full on censorship. On Liberty (1 869) concerning reflect this quintessentially here are many acts which, being directly injurious only to the agents themselves, ought not to be legally interdicted, but which, if done publicly, are a violation of good manners, and coming thus within the category of offences against others, may rightfully be prohibited (Mill unnecessary to dwell, the rather as t hey are only connected indirectly with our subject, the objection to publicity being equally strong in the case of many actions not in themselves condemnabl 1989, 98). indecency lived on we ll into the 20 th century, shaping the thinking of some of
33 most prominent liberal defenders. For instance , in a 1981 essay, esteemed liberal political philosopher Ronald Dworkin right to the voluntary consumption of , while simultaneously defending prohibition s against the public display of such photographs and films (Dworkin 1981, 182). Joel Feinberg , another liberal luminary, took a simi lar tack, arguing that voluntary private consumption of pornography is harmless to others and , therefore, to be tolerated, but that the public display of pornography may be prohibited to protect others from moral offense (Feinberg 1984). Thus, for more tha n a century, liberals have considered pornography to be , at best, an undignified diversion, and, at worst, a potential so urce of offense to others. 4 This liberal take on pornography flew in the face of the antipornography feminist cha rge that pornography i s tantamount to 1979, 214). Given this fundamental disagreement, it is , perhaps, not surprising that the earliest encounters between antipornography feminists and liberals were marked by grave suspici on and, at times, outright hostility. Antipornography feminists saw liberals as well heeled shills for the pornography industry and the patriarchal power it served . One prominent antipornography feminist, for instance, went so far as to describe the Americ an Civil Liberties Union as the center L iberals , for their part, reciprocated this contempt by portraying antipornography feminists as little more than Victorian bluenoses in radical feminist drag. For instance, in the preface of one of his most celebrated works, Ronald Dworkin accused antipornography feminists of being in league with religious conservatives . O ld wa r s over pornography and censorship have new armies in radical feminists and the Moral Majority , Dworkin warned , repeating an allegation that dogged the
34 antipornography feminist movement for much of its existence (Dworkin 1985, 1). 5 Thus, throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, the relationship between antipornography feminists and liberals w as profoundly strained. Then, beginning in the early 1980s, as antipornography femini sts championed a municipal ordinance that would define pornography as 6 and give individuals who could prove they h ad been harmed by pornography the right to sue its producers and distributors for damages, this relationship began t o change (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1988, 113 ). Influential liberal thinkers began to mount recognizably liberal defenses of antipornography fem inist claims and legislative proposals , giving rise to a truly improbable ideological position: liberal antipornography feminism. In this chapter and the next, I tell the story of how the feminist critique of pornography, which emerged in the early 1 970s a s a n emphatic critique of liberalism, was remade o ver the course of the 1980s and 90s into a widely accept ed tene t of liberalism itself. Antipornography Feminism and Liberalism: The Early Years To appreciate the improbability of the emergence of liberal an ti pornography feminism in the 1980s, one must first appreciate just how far removed the liberal position on pornography was from the antipornography feminist position in the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s. Prior to the mid 1980s, when a variety of r ecognizably liberal perspectives on the issue of pornography began to emerge, the conversation concerning the regulation of sexually explicit material in the United States was dominated by liberals of a distinctly civil libertarian bent. S ince the days of (1873 1915) , liberals in the United States had been fighting conservative efforts to regulate sexual expression . Through o rganizations like t he National Liberal League (1876), the National Defense Association (1 878) , and the Free Speech League (1902) , liberals lobbied for the amendment or outright repeal of the
35 federal Comstock Act and its state level progeny . 7 Some of these liberals , like Free Speech League founder Theodore Schroeder, advocated what has since co me to be known as an are unconstitutional ( Schroeder 1911, 11). 8 Others , like National Liberal League president Thaddeus Wakeman, to ok a more moderate line, arguing that government regulation of obscenity was permissible, but that the legal definition of obscenity should be a narrow one , [and] arouse lascivio us and lewd though 2002, 428). 9 Despite the efforts of these liberal reformers, Comstock era obscenity regulations remained in force in the United States well into the 20th century . 10 However, when the United States Supreme Court revamped federal obscenity stand ards in Roth v. United States (1957), a cadre of civil libertarians, including book and magazine publishers, film distributors, and attorneys, saw an opportunity to succeed where their forebears had failed . 11 At first glance, the Roth decision does not app ear to hold out much hope for liberal opponents of obscenity regulations . Roth presented the high c ourt with an opportunity to declare the Comstock Act and its ilk prima facie unconstitutional , but the majority demurred. In fact, the central holding in Rot h is that the First Amendment was not intended to protect every utterance and that Nevertheless, ingenious liberal auditors of the c discerned in Roth what one has described as a subsidiary theme a freedom favoring tail that would, in time, powerfully wag the censorship 1992, 320). This was the Roth sex in a manner appealing to the prurient interest . To conservati ves, these seemingly trivial piece s of dicta were mere statement s
36 of the obvious. To l iberals, however , they were an opportunity. If the c ourt meant what it said here , that a work is obscene if it lacks redeeming social importance and appeals to a then it follows, liberals reasoned, that a work with even a modicum of social importance that appeals to a healthy and normal interest in sex is not obscene, and, is therefore, entitled to the protection of the First Amendment . No sooner had the Roth decision been handed down than outspoken civil libertarian attorneys like Charles Rembar, Edward de Grazia, Ephrahim London, and Albert Benich were successfully em ploying this innovative interpretation to vindicate works whose publication had been unthinkable prior to Roth . At the forefront of this post war crusade against the regulation of obscenity were the alternative publishing house Grove Press and its maverick owner, Barney Rosset . 12 As Loren Glass has emphasized in his study of Grove , Counterculture Colophon (2013), p ress was no mere publishing house ; i planned campaign, much like a militar against the entire legal regime of literary censorship in the U.S . (Glass 2013 , 101 ). The first victory came in 1959 in Grove v. Christenberry , a case that ended a decades long ban on the publication of Lady Chatterl e er . The proceeding decade would bring many more victories for Rosset and Grove, including hard fought exoneration s Tropic of Cancer and William Naked Lunch . 13 After successfully championing what might best be describe d as the literary obscene Rosset turned energies and resources to the publication of more straig htforwardly pornographic materials: erotic texts , mostly from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that had previously been available in the United States (Glass 2013, 131 ). A mong t he se black market staples were the wildly explicit works of the Marquis de Sade,
37 a French aristocrat, revolutionary , and libertine from whose name the word s and derived. In 196 5, to the sound of comparatively little controversy, Grove issued the first volume in what would be a massive three . In the following year, Grove published the first American edition of My Secret Life , an eleven volume anon ymous autobiography documenting the sexual adventures of a Victorian gentleman known By the end of the 1960s , Grove had exhumed an entire catalog of Edwardian and Victorian pornography , issuing titles like Man With A Maid (1968), the erot ic saga of the notorious The Pearl (1968), a 19th century magazine of under a series of new imprints such as Venus Library, Zebra Books, and Black Circle (Glass 2013, 140). Buoyed by his success as a pu blisher of sexually explicit books, Rosset decided to try his ha n d at the distribution of sexually explicit motion pictures. To this end, in 1967, Grove licensed I Am Curious (Yellow) , an arty Swedish film that mixed leftist politics with explicit sex, for distribution in the United States. When customs officials confiscated the six 35 mm. reels containing the film at the U.S. border, Rosset and his legal team successfully sued the federal government for their release. 14 Later, in 1969, when the owners of a Boston movie theatre screening I Am Curious (Yellow) were indicted for violating state obscenity laws, Grove Press and the defendants successfully fought the case all the way up to the Supreme Court . 15 In the wake of these legal victories, Grove quickly be ca me a major distributor and exhibitor of pornographic films (Glass 2013, unrepentant pornographer was cemented when Life magazine christened hi 143).
38 Barney Rosse all out war against the regulation of obscenity in the United States set the stage for the first confrontation between the distinctive brand of liberalism animating his crusade and the emerging feminist critique of pornography. On April 13, 1970, a gro up of thirty 16 The occupation was, in part, a response to the firing of several employ ees who had been working to unionize Grove , an action widely perceived (and, eventually, conf irmed by the National Labor Relations Board ) to be union busting . However, it was also a protest against involvement in the publication and distribution of materials the occupiers believed degraded women. 17 In a set of demands issued just before the ir arrest, the occupiers accused Grove and its women through sadomasochistic literature, pornographic films, and oppressive exploitive practices against its own fem books and magazines, and all distribution of films that degrad 1980 , 2 who would go on to coin the defining an ornography is t he theory. Rape is the practice. 18 a nd co f ound Defamation League, th e predecessor organization to WAP (Wo men Against Pornography), 19 described the takeover of the (Lederer 1980 , 268). 20 It was also the first time feminists openly called into question liberal efforts to cast pornography as private, harmless, and constitutionally protected speech. Over the next five years , feminists built upon the critique of pornography that had inspired the Grove Press occupation , and, as they did, the c onflict between liberalism and what
39 would eventually cohere into a full fledged antipornography feminist ideology became increasingly explicit. For example, in the concluding chapter of her groundbreaking 21 feminist history of rape, Against Our Will: Men, W omen, and Rape (1975), Susan Brownmiller, who would go on to serve as the first president of WAP (Women Against Pornography) in 1979, 22 above the rights of women (Brownmiller 1975 large part of the liberal population to be so informed, then I would question in turn th e political 1975 , 390). In the course of mounting this blistering critique of the liberal position on pornography, Brownmiller drew parallels between the early oppo sition of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) to feminist efforts to reform rape law and current efforts to make vil libertarians to the injustice and sexism of the corroborative proof requirements written into the rape laws of many states 23 blinds them now, extension of freed undiluted essence of anti 1975 , 390; 394 395). Against Our Will , Andrea D workin brought her distinctive brand of antipornography feminism to the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In response to a controversy surrounding student government funding for student organizations hosting screenings of sexually expli cit films on campus, 24 Dworkin deliv ered a speech
40 elevate it above its narrow provenance and make it into an in stant antipornog raphy feminist classic (Dworkin (1978) 1993 , 201; 199). 25 her view, pornography is a form of ion as a fact of life (Dworkin (1978) 1993, 201). Vietnamese and the death camps of the Third Reich were to the Jews of Europe, pornographic pulat (Dworkin  1993, 201). Rosset who purport ed to be fighting for the right of free speech we re, in fact , fighting to win constitutional protection for a reactionary cam claim to be the male prope (Dworkin  1993, 202). One year later, at a colloquium at the New York University School of Law entitled influential speech once again, only this time her audience consisted of more than just sympathetic college students. Sponsored by the New York University Review of Law and Social Change, the colloq uium brought leading civil liberta rians, including Herald Price Fa hringer, attorney for adult entertainment moguls Al Goldstein and Larry Flynt, together with leading antipornography feminists, including Dworkin and Brownmiller, to discuss the issue of por nography. The stated aim of the colloquium was to quell the rancor between antipornography
41 face to a transcript of the event published in the New York University Review of Law and Social Change and also to discuss what legal remedies may be available to women subjected to the dehumanization and the physical threats posed 1979, 181). By practically all accounts, these aims went unfulfilled. As Lerman herself describes it, the subjec ry, or 1979, 182 legalese; the fe 1979, 184). 26 However, the co lloquium was a success in at least one respect: by bringing antipornography feminists and liberals directly into conversation with one another for the first time, it clarified the nature and extent of the theoretical chasm that divided them. 27 Nowhere was t his theoretical chasm more evident than in a confrontation between Paul Chevigny, a law professor and former civil liberties lawyer, and Andrea Dworkin during a panel fired by nothing to be said, nothing rational an inexcusable interference with the freedom of every 233).
42 Having painted his antipornography feminist interlocutors as irrational busybodies, Chevigny proceeded to criticize them for fa offered any eviden Not a syllable . N Chevigny expressed a similar frustration later in the panel, this Chevigny 1979, 241). Later, when it was her turn to speak, Andrea Dworkin fired back. Taking up C charge that she and her fellow antipornography feminists had failed to speak directly to have been here all day discussing the issue of pornography [and] articulating our social situation as women did it? No matter how often we explain rape to the rapist, we explain woman battering to the woman batterer, we explain pornography to the pornographers or the consumers of pornography, we explain that law is usually a weapon used against us to the lawyers, no matter how often we 28 expression b When I tell eah Fritz has, and Florence Rush has, 29
43 This exchange between Chevigny and Dworkin is a synecdoche for the conflict that defined the relationship between antipornography feminism and liberalism throughout the 1970s. s subordination but wrong in their presumption that, in pointing to this role, they were iving in a culture that widely sanctions 30 If a legal remedy for such a harm were a implications for individual liberty would be disastrous: such a law would ride roughshod over the relations betwee In her response to Chevigny, Dworkin challenges this liberal analysis head on. By liberty. After all, if practices liberals cordon off from the reach of law and government in the name of individual liberty actually work to systematically undermine the liberty of women, then
44 more like an instrument of patriarchal dominati on. efforts, the colloquium seems to have left civil libertarians and antipornography feminists even more deeply divided over the issue of pornography. As the 1970s gave w ay to the 1980s, liberals and feminists remained at odds over the issue of pornography. By the summer of 1980, Aryeh Nair, then the national executive director of the ACLU, editorial in The Nation (Neier 1980, 737). In the spring of 1981, a debate between Andrea Dworkin and outspoken civil libertarian defense attorney Alan Dershowitz at the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study turned so rancorous that it mad e earl ier clashes between antipornography femin ists and liberals look almost congenial in comparison. According to an account published in the Boston Phoenix , the 1981). Dworkin defended Harry Reems, the male star of the film Deep Throat , in an obscenity trial in Memphis, (Diamant 1981). 1982, 190). Dershowitz also claims that a leather orters carried chains into the auditorium reached a fever pitch when Dershowitz suggested that feminist opposition to pornography would culminate in the censorship of
45 (Diamant 1981). Dworkin responded by gi ving him the finger (Dershowitz 2002 ). Clearly, by the end of the 1970s, antipornography feminists and liberals had reached an impasse. Holding fast to the public/private distinction and the liberty they believed it harmfulness altoget her or insisted that these harms, though regrettable, could not justify any eminists mercilessly condemned conceptions of harm, liberty, and the public and the private too narrow and formalistic to accommodate even the most basic pleas for justice on behalf of women. the inviolability of the First Amendment has replaced God, motherhood, and patriotism as a sacrosanct refuge for those who prefer to rely on sacred cows rather than the working out of complex societal problems in the Pornography conference in 1978, summing up what was, at the time, a rapidly growing consensus among antipornography feminists concerning the limits of liberalism (Bronstein 2011, 161). As the 1970s gave way to the 1980s, and antipornography feminists began to champion an ordinance figuring pornography as legally actionable sex discrimination as opposed to constitutionally protected speech, the already profound theoretical differences separating antipornography femi nists and liberals seemed poised to deepen. In the fall of 1983, at the request of the City of Minneapolis, Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon drafted the first version of their pornography civil rights ordinance. Premised on the defining dogma of anti pornography feminism that pornography threatens
46 amendments to Minneapol t singled out pornography as a for m of sex discrimination a nd ysical attack due to pornography 31 as civil rights violations (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1985, 101 ). As Dworkin, MacKinnon , and their sympathizers frequently emphasized, the ordinance was a civil, and prosecutors (MacKinnon, 1987, 203). 32 More specifically, th e ordinance gave women, as well as any other persons who could prove to the satisfaction of a trier of fact that their civil rights had been violated through a particular piece of pornography, a cause of action to sue the producers and distributors of the material implicated in the civil rights violation for damages as well as a permanent injunction against the sale, exhibition, and distribution of that material (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1988 , 101). Perhaps the most c ontroversial aspect of Dworkin and MacKinn and, therefore, actionable under the ordinance, the ordinance stipulated that materials had to (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1985 , 101). Actionable materials also had to include at least one of nine additional elements: women 33 presented things, or commodities, in such a w including but not limited to vaginas, breasts, or
47 degradation, injury, abasement, torture, shown as filthy or inferior, bleeding, bruised, or hurt in a context that makes th MacKinnon 1988 , 101). Materials action by any individu al alleging that their civil rights had been violated through those materials. The Minneapolis City Council passed two versions of what eventually came to be known y of citing First Amendment concerns . 34 Over the next two years, versions of the ordinance were also considered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Madison, Wisconsin, Suffolk County, New York, Bellingham, Washi ngton, Los Angeles County, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The ordinance also sparked interest at the federal level, and, between the summer and winter of 1985 , MacKinnon, Dworkin and two other prominent antipornography feminists, Dorchen Leidhol t and Diana Russell, accepted invitations the motivations behind t at Commission on Pornography 1986 , 62; 186). Despite these in American Booksellers Association v. Hudnut ( 771 F.2d 323 (7th Cir. 1985) ) . In this decision , handed down in August of 1985, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit struck down Indiana M acKinnon ordinance on first amendment grounds,
48 holding that the law amounted to a content based restriction on speech that was not neutral in regard to viewpoint . Invoking the same quintessentially liberal notions of the public and the private that antipornography feminists had been assailing since the 1970s, Judge Frank Easterbrook, writing for the majority in Hudnut , likened the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance to ned that legal interventions aimed at curtailing mitigation of these effec ts through the regulation of pornography would be to invite the gove rnment in control of all of the institutions of culture, the great censor and director of which While the finding of unconstitutionality in Hudnut was based solely on the ambition to establish what Judge and its consequent failure to remain neutral in regard to the content of the speech it sought to regulate , the Hudnut opinion is brimming with dicta echoing many well worn liberal ideas concerning the regula tion of sexually explicit material s . For instance, the Hudnut majority is critical of the ordinance because it fails to take into account asterbrook observes , e, or even simply is forbidden, no matter how great the literary or political value of the work tak en as a whole The Hudnut decision als o
49 takes the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance to task for eschewing the established liberal framework for the regulation of The Indianapolis ordinance does not refer to the prurient interest, to offensiv eness, or to the standards of the com remarks, and 324; 328). Finally, and most significantly, the Hud nut opinion affirms the longstanding liberal view that non obscene sexually explicit materials , even those that, by the Hudnut to affront and lower ar e , for all intents and purposes, harmless (329). All of the se depend on mental intermediation , Judge Easterbrook writes (329). The implication here is that , as liberals have long maintained , the pornography inflict s are no t truly harmful , or at least not harmful in a sense that would justify the sort of regulation represented by the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance (329). In summarily affirming the Hudnut ruling, the Supreme Court effectively ratified all of these long uncontest ed liberal views. Without a doubt, the Hudnut ruling was a victory for civil libertarians. The ACLU and numerous other affiliate d civil liberties organizations dealt a fatal blow to the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance and hastened the decline of the antipornog raphy feminist movement that had been its champion. 35 However, the defeat of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance and the subsequent decline of the antipornography feminist movement did not mark the end of and relevance . In f waned and as the antipornography feminist movement disintegrated, antipornography feminist ideas underwent a renaissance of sorts at the hands of some very unlikely allies. In the mid 1980s, prominent liberal jurists and po litical philosophers began translating the feminist critique
50 of pornography into a liberal idiom and, in doing so, they dramatically reconfigured the relationship between antipornography feminism and liberalism. s Critique of Liberalism Before chronicling the surprising turns the relationship between antipornography feminism and liberalism took in the wake of the defeat of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance, I would like to explore one significant mark that these con flict s between antipor nography feminists and liberals have made in the discipline of political theory. More specifically, I would l ike to highlight the influence of several key concepts, ideas, and arguments developed by antipornography feminists in the co urse of their critical engagements with civil libertarian defenses of pornography on the work of Carole Pateman, a feminist political theorist who has been for the past four decades. In 1980, in w hat is widely regarded as the flagship journal of the discipline of political theory, Political Theory The Problem of Poli tical Obligation: A Critique of Liberal Theory (1979) and her later and more expressly feminist work in The Sexual Contract suppressed problems of consent 1980, 156). In Pateman estimation , consent theory is far from the radical anti patriarchal doctrine it purports to be. In fact, according to Pateman , it is mere ly a novel means of justifying the patriarchal relationships that voluntarist theories of society a nd politics threaten to undercut (Pateman 1980, 151). That the concept of consent functions in this conservative manner is especially obvious, Pateman argues , in the laws, social beliefs , and practices surround ing rape where submission, including
51 enforced submission, is routinely identified with consent and where gendered conventions of cons virtually meaningless (Pateman 1980, 156; 161). 36 Among the feminist Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape (1975). Pateman explicitly in her article. The first reference is in a footnote supporting her claim that rape is a widespread phenomenon affecting all women, even those who could not h that rapes are intentional acts perpetrated by rational men rather than m istaken or accidental acts comprise what might be described as the thesis of Against Our Will , summed up here in one of s nothing more or less than a conscious process of B Brownmiller makes in Against Our Wil l , the practical indistinguishability of rape and consensual sex, and the interrelationship of rape, pornography, and pros titution had become central tene ts of antipornography feminist politics and ide ology . herself became a leading voice in the antipornography feminist movement, leveraging her notoriety as the author of Against Our Will to found Women Against Pornograp hy (WAP), the first national antipornography feminist organization in the United States.
52 claims concerning the interrelation of rape, pornography, and prostitution. 37 She does, however, widely and quite publicly 38 embraced by the antipornography feminist movement. For instance, Pateman challenges the conventional distinctio n between rape and consensual sex. More between men and wome argument in Against Our Will consti aggressively toward [insertion of the penis], while the natural feminine ro 1975, 383). Thus, for both Pateman and Brownmiller, the naturalization and normalization of force in conventional heterosexual relations makes the line between mutual heterosexual sex and rape exceedingly diffic antipornography feminist analysis, this claim plays a crucial role: it serves as the opening premise in a line of argument linking pornography (as well as prostitution) to rape. According to Brownmiller, both pornography and prostitution are among the most potent cultural forces at [the ideology of
53 psychologic encouragement to commit their acts of aggression without awareness, for the most rownmiller 1975, 391). This argument antipornography feminist ideas and arguments regard ing the continuity between rape and heterosexual sex had made inroads in to . influence . For instance, antipornography feminist contemporaries, less formalized bel ce as 1980, 154). Brownmiller makes a similar inference from the voluminous data on sexual assault she compiles in Against Our Will . According to Brownmiller, the failure of modern liberal societies to acknowledge and redress the sexual injuries sustained toys, dehumanized objects to be used, abused, rights bearing individuals (Brownmiller 1975, 391; 394). For both Pateman and antipornography feminists like Brownmiller, then, sex and sexuality have pride of place analytically because they are seen as givin g the lie to claims that gender equality is an accomplished fact in modern liberal regimes.
54 with antipornography feminism. Like Brownmiller in Against Our Will en and , of antipornography 1975, 15; 389). Similarly, when Pateman argues that the morass of problems concerning w omen and consent in modern liberal societies Brownmiller and an tipornography feminists more generally that rape and the constellation of influence, namely, its interrogation of the conventional distinction between heterosexual sex and rape , subo rdination, and its frustrati on with traditional liberal responses to the problem of the sexual oppression of women , it stops short of advocating a full blown antipornography feminist agenda. political theore tical. She is not out to criticize pornography, prostitution, and the ideology of male supremacy that they support, but to expose the inegalitarian implications of liberal consent theory as it has been applied in the context of rape law. Eight years later, Pateman would expand upon this project and amplify her critique of the concept of consent in The Sexual Contract (1988). In this work, Pateman would
55 also advocate and pursue a recognizably antipornography feminist agenda, including figuring both pornograp subordination. The Sexual Contract can be stated thusly: f ar from signaling the end of patriarchal rule and ushering in a new epoch of egalitarian and co nsensual social relations, the social contract described by classic contract theorists like Hobbes and Locke 3). 39 The excavation of the their implications fo r contemporary politics and theory comprises the bulk of The Sexual Contract . In the preface to The Sexual Contract , Pateman signals that her book is meant to be more arks the book as an expressly feminist project and situates it in the broader context of radical feminist intellectual debt is to the arguments xi). Pateman reveals that o ne of the radical feminist writers to whom she is most deeply indebted is Adrienne Rich. An accla imed poet, essayist, and activist, Adrienne Rich was also a founding member of Women Against Pornography (WAP) and the author of an afterword to the antipornography feminist anthology Take Back the Night: Women on Pornography in which she likens pornograph
56 1980, 314; 318). Rich portrays pornography as an integral part of , al that erotic loyalty and sub male right of physical, economic, and em to women (Rich 1980, 637, 640, 647 ). By exerting influence on consciousness Rich believes pornography brainwashes both women and men into believing that women are natural sexual prey to men and love it , (Rich 1980, 641 , 645 ). In the first chapter of The Sexual Contract , Pateman references . Here is the relevant passage in full: well as a social contract : it is sexual in the sense of patriarchal that is, the contract establishes and also sexual in the sense of establishing orderly access by f male sex In this passage, Pateman positions the central argument of The Sexual Contract , that contract is the distinctively modern means of sex multifaceted s, one aspect of this political i nstitution is contract (Pateman indiv contracts, especially those to which women are practically by definition a party , such as the marriage co ntract, the prostitution contract , and the surrogacy contract,
57 woman (whether as a wife, a prostitute, or a surrogate over her body (evas ively termed the language of contract) in the hands of a man (Pateman 1988, 8; 4 5). 40 lsory hete rosexuality; it is an attempt to use the canonical texts and analytical tools of political theory to come to terms with precisely how the political institution women and their unique capacities that Rich described as com functions and is legitimated in modern liberal societies. The Sexual Contract ant ipornography feminist thought . Perhaps the most obvious feature common to both The Sexual Contract and virtually all antipornography feminist writing is the figuration of pornography as a key it would be misleading The Sexual Contract , it would be equally misleading to suggest that concern with pornography is completely absent from text. For instance, in the first cha for the enforcement of the law of male sex and in representation, should be publi 1988, 14). Later in the text, Pateman e and continually reminds men and women that men exercise the law of male sex r ight, that they have patriarchal rights of acc 1988 ; Pateman 1999).
58 Such portrayals of pornography as a means by which men both proclaim and exercise ornography feminist writing. essay. It is also prominently featured in t manifesto, Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1979). T he following passage from text is exemplary in this regard having pornograp 9 a , 202). Thus, for both Pateman and antipornography feminists like Rich and Dworkin, pornography is one common, highly visible, and virtually unregulated way in which men possess, control, and dominate women in contemporary liberal societies . However, it mu st be borne in mind that neither Pateman nor antipornography feminists believe d pornography to be the sole means by which this wa s accomplished. Rath er, as the passages quoted above intimate, both Pateman and antipornography feminists believe d pornography worked in concert with another key institution of : prostitution. 41 Perhaps the most prominent antipornography feminist to draw a link between to men is Susan Brownmiller. against pornography and the case against toleration of prostitution are central to the fight against Against Our Will (Brownmiller 1975, 390). In rnography is crucial to anti rape efforts just the sort of belief in masculine sexual entitlement that, Bro wnmiller argues, lurks behind acts of rape (Brownmiller 1975, 391 392).
59 how should they not also conclude that that which may be bought may also be taken without th e Andrea Dworkin also posits a fundamental relation between prostitution, pornography, fundamental that it has Dworkin explains in Pornography: Men Possessing Women orkin 1979a , 199; 200). After making this etymological point, Dworkin proceeds to argue that the connection between pornography and prostitution runs even deeper. According to ly reduces used, valued 1979a , 224). Kathleen Barry, another notable antipornography feminist, 42 posits a similar relationship Female Sexual Slavery (1979), 43 a book primarily concerned with laying bear the most horrific aspects of the international sex trafficking industry , Barry devotes an entire chapter fact to elucidating the role pornography plays in the perpetuation and legitimation of forced prostitution. According to Barry, pornography sexual use and abuse of women appear normal, natural, and inevitable (Barry 1979, 182). By
60 safety, (Barry 1979, 174; 184 185). As these examples demonstrate, critiques of prostitution dominance are par t and parcel of antiporno graphy feminist thought . I n the antipornography feminist view, prostitution, like pornography, embodies and perpetuates the belief that women cornerstone of male supremacy. In The Sexual Contract , Pateman echoes this antipornography feminist that, contrary to the sanguine views put forward by libert arians and even some feminists, prostituti interested in sexually indifferent P right is publicly affirmed and 1988, 208). It is also, , what is wrong with sadomasochism. According to Pateman, d prostitution are primarily about the
61 radical feminist defense of s/m , 44 rebellious or revolutionary fantasy The Sexual Contract is that contract is a modern means of instituting patriarchal domination, the characterization of sadomasochism she offers here is tantamount to an accusation that defenders of s/m like Califia are patriarchal collaborators. Of course, such accusations are commonplace in ant ipornography feminist writing . For instance, in the introduction to Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis (1982), a volume that features contributions from several antipornography feminist leaders including Women Against Violence in Pornograph y and Media (WAVPM) co founders Kathleen Barry, s 1982, 4). In her contribution to this volume, Russell, who is also one of the vol editors, offers a response to defenses of sadomasochism that emphasize its consensual nature closely resembles the position staked out by Pateman in The Sexual Contract . Rather than questioning whether or not s/m encounters are actually consensual as their defenders maintain , Russell anting or consenting to domination and humiliation does not make it nonoppressive. It merely demonstrates how deep and profound the 1982, 177). For Russ ell, as for Pateman, the presence of genuine consent does not indemnify s/m against the charge that it is a reflection and affirmation In fact, that defenders of s/m so fervently and frequently invoke the language of consent modern modes of patriarchal domination.
62 her much more developed critiques of prostitution and sa domasochism that the influence of antipornography feminist ideas and arguments on The Sexual Contract is readily visible. Like many antipornography feminists, including those she directly references in her text like Kathleen Barry and Adrienne Rich, Patema n conceives of pornography, prostitution, and sadomasochism as institutions of male dominance. They are not harmless or potentially liberating avenues of sexual exploration and expression to which both women and men should be permitted unfettered access as civil libertarians and sex radical feminists maintain. They are, rather, key means through which enforced and , as Pateman is at continual pains to emphasize, the liberal ideology employed to legitimate them of fers women little in the way of sexual freedom and autonomy . Perhaps the most compelling evidence that a significant continuity inheres between the critiques of pornography, prostitution, and sadomasochism offered by Pateman in The Sexual Contract and tho se offered by antipornography feminist s throughout the 1970s and 80s are In 1990, one year after the publication of The Sexual Contract , P Feminism Unmodified: Discourse s on Life and Law (1989), a collection of speeches and writings composed by MacKinnon at the height of her involvement in the antipornography feminist movement . On the whole, Pateman is sympathetic. w acc 1990, 402; 401). In fact, she describes s insistence ubjection of other groups or categories of people because it is sexual the most important contribution of Feminism
63 Unmodified and her own argument regarding the establishment in The Sexual Contract (Pateman 1990, 401). Pat of pornography . writes , own forceful rhetorical style, can do when they have one of us has no limits. Women are represented as freely available for sexual use, whether or not they are willing, and violence, degradation, and humiliation are represented as sex; the meaning of womanhood is proclaimed to (Pateman 1990, 407). 45 Pateman even goes so far as to tentatively endorse the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance , which was, by the time appeared , all but a lost cause thanks to the Hudnut ruling in 1986 . [to regulate pornography] and the well law is a necessary recourse for women given th e scale of the [pornography] 1990, 407). 46 That as late as 1990 Pateman was willing to give the Dwo r kin MacKinnon ord i nance the benefit of the doubt is powerful evidence of the influence antipornography feminist concerns, concepts, and ar guments exerted o n her political theorizing during this period. favorable review of Feminism Unmodified and sympathetic deportment vis Ã vis the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance appear even more striking when they are considere d alongside the chilly reception one of Patema political theorist Wendy Brown, ideas and legislative proposals around this same time. In a review of Feminism Unmodified published in the summer of 1989, just a review appeared , Wendy Brown offered a scathing critique of
64 book and the antipornography feminist politics it elaborated . Brown begins with an attack of one of the most complex and subtle dimensions of our political and epistemological universe gender power. They are searing manifestos intended to stir the sleeping, spur the complacent, and scorn the apo 1989, 489). 47 ith scientific discourse, its penchant for unambiguous gender inequa sexuality analogous to the way in which class inequality is created, operationalized, and expressed through d sexuality are socially constructed (Brown women, men, and sexuality as thoroughly socially constructed at the same time she speaks of men expropriating female sexuality as if this sexuality had s ome existence prior to and innocent of i 1989, 490). 1989, 491). Such a the ory, consciousness the fact of female sexual diversity as well as the paradox that women have been profoundly injured sexually and women are ali 1989, 491). In
65 sexuality is forcibly constructed by and through male domin ance is polemically powerful but, in within and among diverse cult 1989, 491). read street signs: unambiguous directives to action that are never contradictory, complex, subversive, or contestable in meani all pornography is for 1989, 491). Of what is, in her view, tive and misleading characterization of pornography as a straightforward and all in the totality negate the possibility of feminism itself and as if complexity is in compatible with political struggle sure symptoms, both, of political theory destined to colonize rather than illuminate 1989, 491). The only kind words Brown has for Feminism Unmodified can be found in the final two parag Feminism Unmod ified a res
66 its searing indictment of l iberalism women as powerless victims of sexual ly predatory men , for it is this depiction that drives simplistic and problematically state centered antipornography feminist politics (Brown 1989, 492). Brown and Pateman Feminism Unmodified and the antipornogra phy feminist politics it outlines could not be more different. Whereas Brown sees Mac s founded on faulty, sexist, and, ultimately, freedom denying premises, Pateman sexual subordination and grants t hat the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance is , perhaps, a Pateman, 1990, 407). While it would be misleading and inaccurate to coll the ideas and arguments of the original antipornogr aphy feminists that cannot be denied and that Pateman herself acknowledged. The se affinities are evidence not only of the powerful influence antipornography feminism exerted over feminist thinking during the late 1970s and early 1980s, but o f the extent to which critical engagement with the core concepts of liberal theory was a central part of the antipornography feminist project at this time . Antipornography feminism was born in white hot hostility to the liberalism espoused by mid century civil libertaria n opponents of obscenity regulation like Barney Rossett, Charles Rembar, and Alan Dershowitz. Attuning ourselves to the antipornography feminist resonances in the work of Carole Pateman, one of the discipline of liberalism , un derscores this important
67 fact and moves us toward a richer and more accurate view of the ant ipornography feminist movement. Notes 1 As Joan DeJean notes in The Reinvention of Obscenity: Sex, Lies and Tabloids in Early Modern France (2002), for centuries obscenus and obscenitas its modern sexual connotation until the original Latinate meaning of these terms was recovered in seventeenth century France. 2 The actual name of the Comstock Act was the Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use. Passed by Congress in 1873, the act endowed the U.S. Postal Service with pornography, con traceptives, abortifacients, masturbatory aids, and information or advertisements concerning contraception. From his position as special agent of the U.S. Post Office, Anthony Comstock oversaw the implementation of the act for nearly 40 years. 3 In an int erview published in Ms. In 1994, Andrea Dworkin and Norma Ramos called for the repeal of all obscenity feminist critique of obscenity, see Catha Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law (1987). On the distinction many (though not all) antipornography feminists drew Take Back the Night: Feminist Perspectives on Pornography (1979). No Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law (1987). On the close (and sometimes fraught) relationship betwee Battling Pornography: The American Antipornography Feminist Movement, 1976 1986 , particularly chapters 2 and 7. 4 For a rich and illuminating discussion of ambivalence regarding sexu ally explicit materials in post war American Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the American Right (2011). 5 Defense attorney and outspoken civil libertarian Alan Dershow itz put forward a similar charge in Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age nholy alliance with some antipornography feminist Catherine MacKinnon catalogues and responds to many instances of this charge in her preface to (1997). 6 This language comes from the pornography civil rights ordinance drafted by Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon at the request of the City of Indianapolis in the early spring of 1984 . I di scus the so 7 For accounts of the activities of these early liberal free Free Speech in its Forgotten Years Rereading Sex (2002 ). 8 When the ACLU was first formed in 1920, its founders were reluctant to acknowledge Schroeder and the Free Speech League among its progenitors. 9 These words were not spoken by Thaddeus Wakeman, but by his brother, Abram Wakeman, during the trial of D.M. Bennett on March 18, 1879. The Wakeman brothers served as co counsel for Bennett, who was being prosecuted under the Comstock Act. That Thaddeus Wakeman shared the views expressed by his brother at
68 conviction of Ezra Heywood under the Comstock Act. has a good word for that , s (Horowitz 2002, 423). regulation and that obscenity ought to be stamped out by some other means. 10 While the laws themselves did not change, the common law standard by which judges and juries adjudged materials obscene, the so Hicklin leading role in mid 20 th the end of the 1940s, Hicklin test required, but by their effects on adult readers (Rembar 1968, 22). 11 For detailed first The End of Obscenity (Random House, 1968) and Ed Girls Lean Back Everywhere (Vintage Books, 1993). For briefer summaries, see Perspectives on Pornography (1988), The New Politics of Pornography (University of Ch icago Press, 1989), the documentary film Obscene (2007) Counterculture Colophon: Grove Press, the Evergreen Review, and the incorporation of the Avant Garde (Stanford University Press, 2013) . 12 Charles R embar, an attorne y who represented Grove Press during the litigation, or, if you happen to be on the other side of (Rembar 1968, 27). 13 The Supreme Court ruled Tropic of Cancer not obscene in 1964 in Grove Press, Inc. v. Gerstein . Following the precedent set in this case and another in which the Supreme Court found the pornograph ic classic Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (better known as Fanny Hill ) not obscene, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled Naked Lunch not obscene in 1966. For more detailed accounts of the trials surrounding the American publica The End of Obscenity (1968); Edward de Censorship Landmarks (1969) and Girls Lean Back Everywhere Lady : The Grove Press Publication of the Unexpurg Syracuse University Library Associates Courier 20, no. 1 (1985): 49 79; (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006); Paul S. Boyer, Purity in Print: Book Censorship in Americ an from the Gilded Age to the Computer Age (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002); Felice Flanery Lewis, Literature, Obscenity, and the Law (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1976). 14 United States v. A Motion Picture Film 15 Byrne v. Karalexis , 1969; Dershowitz, 163 168 . 16 Counterculture Colophon Modernism, Censorship, and the Politics of Publishing (2000), and Ruth The World Split Open (2000). 17 In Perversion for Profit (2011), Whitney Strub portrays the Grove occupation and other similar occupations capitalist gestures and only secondarily protests against pornography. This is in the service of his thesis that, early on in the second wave, Strub is right to emphasize that feminist thought on pornography evolved between antipornography feminist dimensions of the Grove Press occu pation. Not only does pornography figure centrally in (Lede rer 1980, 268).
69 18 and Going to Far: The Personal Chronicle of A Feminist (Morgan 1977, 169). 19 For details regarding In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti Pornography Movement, 1976 1986 . 20 Prior to the Grove occupation, at least one feminist had openly ography (Echols 1989, 361). is more accurate, although it does bear mentioning that, in January of 1970, women, some of whom identified as Rat (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1997, 28). The Rat sexually explicit images of women. Rat and other New Left publications The World Split Open (200 0), Ruth Rosen describes an even earlier Dock of the Bay. The founders of Dock of the Bay planned to fund their endeavors through the publication of a pornographic magazine . liberationists caught wind of their plans and sabotaged the plates from which the magazine was to be printed. The publication folded. 21 The impact and significance of Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape is difficult to overstate. In 1975, was featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review as one of th e Best Books of the Year . In that same year, Time Magazine hailed Brownmiller as a Person of the Year , making her one of very few women to have ever receive d that distinction. Two decades later, in 1995, the New York Public Library included Against Our Will in its Books of the Century exposition. 22 Brownmiller founder, chief spokesperson, as well as Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti Porno graphy Movement, 1976 1986 (Cambridge University Press: New York, 2011) as In Our Time: A Memoir of A Revolution (Delta: New York, 2000). 23 , hard to be proved, and harder s. For Addressing Rape Reform in Law and Practice Up Against A Wall: Rape Reform and the Failure of Success (2013). 24 This controversy was reported i n a series of articles in the U niversity newspaper, The Collegian . See, for 25 The Body Politic , an influential Cana dian gay liberation colloquium at the New York University School of Law. The speech was later published along with a transcript of the colloquiu m in The New York University Review of Law and Social Change , Vol. III, No. 2, 1978 1979. Lengthy New York Times Pornography, and Free Speech: A Fierce Debate at N.Y.U New York Times , December 4, 1978. 26 Off Our Backs offers a particularly Off Our Backs l libertarians,
70 1979). 27 Carolyn Bronstein has characterized the theoretical chasm on display at the colloquium as a conflict between position is apt, I cannot say the s antipornography feminists at the colloquium did not assail the liberals for their universal aspirations, their atomized vision of the self, or their tendency to denigrate tradition and culture. In fact, several of them expressed what can only be described as anti communitarian views. For instance, Florence Rush blamed traditional notions of marriage and family for the sexual abuse of children and Andrea Dworkin impugned appeals to t he common good as 225, 242). For more on communitarian critiques of liberalism, see Bell, Communitarianism and Its Critics , 1992 and Delaney, The Liberalism Communitarianism Debate , 1994. 28 D 29 Phyllis Chesler, Leah Fritz, and Florence Rush had each presented on the panel prior to Dworkin. 30 On Liberty concerning expressions of the delivered orally to an excited mob assembled before the house of a corn dealer, or when handed about among the same mob in the form of a that, although accusations circulated through the press that corn dealers are starvers of the poor are likely to prove limit on the expression o f an opinion (Jacobson 2000, 286). Only where the expression of an opinion can be shown can limits on speech be justly imposed in a Millian li beral view. 31 Later versions of the Dworkin Dworkin, MacKinnon 1985, 140). 32 bodied in extant utterances to the doctrine of civil subordination, from the criminal law of morals regulation to the civil law of discrimination, f 302). Robin Morgan made a similar point in a letter to the editor published in the The New York Times Book Review defen ding the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance. drafted by Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon was in fact an ordinance permitting civil not criminal vital distinction. (nor has Ms. Dworkin or Ms. MacKinnon) Morgan 1995) . 33 the features it outlines would also qualify as pornographic and, thus, be actionable under the ordinance (Dworkin MacKinnon, 101). 34 For a detailed account of the campaigns for and against the Dworkin MacK innon ordinance in Minneapolis, see The New Politics of Pornography New York Times (New York, NY), Jan. 6 1984.
71 35 In the final chapter of Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti Pornography Movement, 1976 1986 , Carolyn Bronstein describes the decline of the antipornography feminist movement in the early 1980s. By the time the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance was introduced in 1983, WAP was the only national antipornography feminist (Bronstein 2011, 325). When the ordinance grassroots feminist anti 36 ions concerning the employment and marriage contracts (Pateman 1980, 163). She develops these insights more fully in The Sexual Contract (1988) . 37 As we will see, in her later work, The Sexual Contract (1988) , ly antipornography feminist claims regarding prostitution and pornography . 38 By 1980, the antipornography feminist movement had risen to national prominence in the United States. For instance, in July of 1979, Brownmiller appeared on the Phil Donahue Show a founder , Dolores Alexander and the co founder of Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media (WAVPM), Lynn Battling Pornography: The American Fe minist Anti Pornography Movement, 1976 1986 (Cambridge University Press: New York, 2011) . 39 British Journal of Political Science 19(Oct. 1989): 445 463. 40 The Sexual Contract , explores the subordination of both women and men through another contract concerning property in the person, the employment contract . 41 Despite the single minded focus on pornography their name implies, antipornography feminists were, in fact, as well as rape, incest, wife battering, child abuse, sadomasochism, and prostitution. This wid e array of concerns is Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape Pornography: Men Possessing Women , the antipornography feminist anthology Take Back t he Night: Women on Pornography , and Female Sexual Slavery. Also, t he name of the first antipornography feminist or ganization in the United States, Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW), points to the fact that antipornography femini st concerns extended far beyond pornography. Carolyn Bronstein discusses the influence of feminist anti violence activism on the emergence of antipornography feminism at some length in the second chapter of Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti Pornography Movement, 1976 1986 (Cambridge University Press: Ne w York, 2011). 42 In 1976, Kathleen Barry co founded Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media (WAVPM), a San Francisco based antipornography feminist organization that organized the first national feminist conference on pornography. 43 Female Sexual Slavery is among the works that inspired Adrienne Rich to coin ed, figures prominently in The Sexual Contract . Also, in the course of laying out her own critique of prostitution in The Sexual Contract Female Sexual Slavery directly. 44 Pateman cites and cri ticizes article , this article in 1981 The Sexual Contract read as a sort of antipornography feminist rejoinder to Califia 45
72 1990, 406). In Patem sex difference is natural fact (Pateman 1990, 406). Also, according to Pateman , pornography is not to blame for the fact that sexual difference has come to mean political diff erence. The sexual contract , Pateman explains, established the meaning of aphy was even invented (Pateman 1990, 406). This important difference aside, Pateman is in broad agreement with MacKinnon that pornography does serious harm to women and that the rapid growth of the pornography industry should be a central feminist concern. 46 administrative ones, as opposed t o the deep seated normative and political problems that Wendy Brown identifies with it as I describe in the main body just below . 47 requisite i wielding, syllogism spouting castrator as opposed to a proper political theorist ( Brown, 1989, 491; 492).
73 CHAPTER 3 LIBERAL APPROPRIATIONS OF ANTIPORNOGRAPHY FEMINISM As the clashes between pornography feminist cr itics and liberal defenders throughout the 1970s and early 1980s demonstrate , a critical orientation toward liberalism was as fundamental to antipornography feminism in its earliest articulations as was a critical orientation toward pornography and other i nstitutions of sexual oppression. Andrea Dworkin offered a quintessential expression of the regnant antipornography feminist appraisal of liber alism during this period i n a brief and pugnacious essay , originally written in 1981, criticizing the American Ci vil Liberties Union (ACLU) (Dworkin 1993, 212). F irst Am en dment , operate on an ( Dworkin 1993 , 212). o matter what blood flows, not matter; physical acts are taken to be abstractions; genocidal ambitions and concrete organizing toward genocidal goals are trivialized by m ale lawyers who are a most protected and privileged group. Meanwhile, those who are targeted as victims are left defenseless (Dworkin 1993, 212). In the eyes of early antipornography feminists like Dworkin , liberalism was an instrument of domination , a n i deology that shored up brutally enforced regime s of inequality by placing them beyond the reach of law and government all in the name of individual liberty . Just as a critical orientation toward liberalism was a defining feature of antipornography feminis m in its first decade , a broad consensus regarding antipornography feminism prevailed amongst liberals during this period. In the liberal view , pornography was disgusting, offensive , and degrading , but not harmful or oppressive in the manner antipornograph y feminists alleged. 1 Therefore, liberals insisted, the problem of pornography could be satisfactorily addressed via private action, namely, avoidance on the part of those who find it displeasing . Hera ld Price
74 Fahringer, General Counsel for the First Amend attorney for both Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler , and Al Goldstein, publisher of Screw , gave voi ce to this widespread liberal view I find much of the sexually explicit material available today personally distasteful, and I recognize that some of it degra confessed to a mixed audience of feminists and civil libertarians at the New York University School of Law in 1978 ( Fahringer 1979, 251). new breed of publishers and filmmakers should have their mouths washed out with soap for using four letter words or publishing pictures of nude women in obstetric poses must remember that n o one is compelled to either see or read what is repulsive to him Fahringer 1979, 251). Fahringer 1979, 251). Thus, in the 1970s and early 19 80s, antipornography feminists saw liberalism as the while liberals saw antipornography feminism as a renascent (MacKinnon and Dworkin 1997, 11 ; Richard s 1979 , 237 ). However, in the mid 1980s , in the afterm ath of the defeat of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance, all of this began to change . At a time w prospects appeared most bleak and its relationship to liberalism most strain ed, influential liberals took up the antipornography fe minist cause. Dissatisfied with both traditional antipornography feminist representations of the problem of pornography and pat liberal dismissals of antipornography feminist claims regarding mid 1980s, lib eral politi cal p hilosophers and legal theorists began articulating an improbable ideological amalgam: liberal antipornography feminism.
7 5 Antecedents to Liberal Antipornography Feminism While the emergence of a full fledged liberal variant of antipornography feminism could not have been foreseen amidst the rancor and hostility that defined the relationship between antipornography feminism and liberalism during the 1970s and early 1980s, in retrospect, a ntecedents are discerni ble as early as the late 1970s. For instance, in 1 978, at the same New York University School of Law colloquium where Paul Chevigny pounded on the table as he chided feminists for failing to offer proof of harmful effects , two self identified and one anonymous a udience member a ttempted to h ew a middle ground . One colloquium participant who sought to reconcile civil libertarian concerns about the first amendment and feminist concern s about pornography was Marjorie Smith , the Deputy Commissioner of the New York Ci ty Department of Consumer Affairs and former staff attorney . In the midst of a starkl y polarized gathering, Smith attempted to thread the needle, arguing that the strategy and tactics of the Los Angeles based anti pornography feminist organization WAVAW (Women Again st Violence Against Women) were consistent with civil l iberties principles Founded in 1976 original mission had been to stop Snuff , a film purporting to document the actual sexual assaul t and murder of a woman, from being shown in Southern California theatres. Through a potent combination of protests, pickets, and appeals to local authorities to seize the film on the grounds that it violated state obscenity statutes, WAVAW succeeded in dr iving Snuff out of Southern California in less than a month. By December of 1978, when Smith offered her defense of the organization at the New York University colloquium , WAVAW had moved on to coordinating a national boycott against the recording industry for using to promote their products (Bronstein
76 2011 , 97). 2 S mith defended use of picketing and letter writing campai gns against the recording industry as in keeping with the values enshrined in the first amendment (247). 3 to disagree about whether the problem of media glorification of violence against women in porno in the activities of a group such as Women Against Violence Against Women , the decision to become thout abandoning 1979 , 250). to combat pornography met with grudging approval from her civ il libertarian peers . The p redominant view amongst civil libert arian s at the colloquium was that private acti on against pornography, though technically in accord with civil liberties principles as Smith had argued , was a frivolous misallocation o f feminist energy and resources . Law professor n this score are representa hards told the audience, adding that be family and occupational structure, sex roles, and the Richards continued, if feminists insist on drawing attention to pornography, then they should confine themselves to priva feel about these fantasies that they While Smith was willing to defend only pr ivate action undertaken by feminists in their crusade against pornograp hy , a second self identified the colloquium was willing to grant antipornography feminist s a much wider berth. B renda Feigen
77 Fasteau, a former director of the a national Vice President of N. O.W. , began lawyer I do not think it is possible to be a feminist without believing in the first amendmen t (282). , a u warned her fel low feminists, then Ms. Magazine With her liberal bona fides firmly established, Faste a u went on to recommend two legal avenues feminists mi ght pursue to curtail the production and distribution of pornography . Her first re commendation involved a creative expansion of existing libel laws to invent a new tort for a class action to be brought by a group of women injured both mentally and physically by a particular movie or (292). without offending the first amendment if you can show damage recommendation was to enact statute prohibiting incitement that statute would not offend first amendment values, which, Fasteau reminded the audience , she practically sacrosanct (300). As Carolyn Bronstein has noted, the legal reforms Fasteau recommended at the New York University colloquium foreshadowed the antipornography ordinance Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin would put forward in Minneapolis just a few years later (Bronstein 2011 , 185). A s this affinity mi ght lead one to expect , met with substantial resistance from her fellow civil libertarians at the colloquium . For instance, Ephraim London, a noted civil liberties attorney who handled a string of landmark obscenity cases in the 1950s a nd 1960s, arguing that even a film documenting the rape of a
78 unlawful to show a film of a woman being raped . But soned, that is not an act of rape then taking place . if the film is inten the exhibition of the film should not, in my London further suggestion that might be created without offending the first amendment . to assume for the purpose of discussion granted, that pornography dealing with the torture of women, the rape of women, the e solution we cannot resort to regulate what is to be read or seen or heard, you violate our constitutional freedom of censorship of any kind except that which relates to the degradation of w concluded (284). In 1978, Fasteau was clearly a woman apart among st her liberal peers. Aside , there was one other instance at the New York University colloquium that , in retrospect, can be seen as anticipat ing the surprising shift that liberal thinking regarding the feminist critique of pornography would undergo in the late 1980s. This instance came at the end of a panel discussion on the regulation of pornography when an audience member whom the transcript does not identify spoke eloquently of the serious challenge the femini st critique of pornography posed civil libertarians we want a society that provides for the free and robu st exchan Some of us continued, have only recently come to the realization that we also want a society free from the kind of statistics [dealing with the kind and degree of violence being perpetrated on women by men] that have
79 (297). Once we accept these values as perhaps of equal interest, audience member explained , then the problem becomes one of reconciling these values to create a society that reflects where the free exchange of ideas ( 298). S ome restrictions on speech may be supportable as a means of reaching that kind of society , the audien ce member concluded, adding, st amen (298). According to the col suggestion that the liberal commitment to a society that provides for exchange of i may have to be balanced against was not addressed As the transcript has it, after the unknown audience member finished speaking, another audience member asked a question and the discussi on amongst the panelists quickly turned to The transcript also indicates that, j ust a few moments before the unknown audience member spoke , Su san Brownmille r said to Ephraim London , 4 to cause the liberal establishment to have to do a lot of rethinking of O n that particular day in 1978 , decidedly un willing to rethink its position on pornography . However, some six years later , leading liberal theorists would undertake such a rethinking in earnest, making comment to London seem less ironic and more prescient . Liberal Antipornogr ap hy Feminism One of t he earliest example s of what I a m calling can be found in the work of American legal scholar Cass Sunst ein. In a string of articles and essays published between 1986 and 1993 in the wake of the defeat of the Dworkin MacKinnon
80 ordinance in American Books ellers Association v. Hudnut , 5 Sunstein endeavore d to breathe new life into feminist efforts to curtail the production and distribution of pornography . Distancing himself from the characteristic liberal tendency the product of prudishness or in hibition , Sunstein unequivocally asserted that pornography is a cause of that could be legally regulated without posing significant threats to a well functioning system of free expr (Sunstein 1986, 594; 591 ; 601 ; 626 ). 6 Sunstein also distanced himself from what he calls the according to which government has no business censoring speech merely because some people o (Sunstein 1993, 267; 262). In lieu of these traditional liberal views, Sunstein explicitly advocated for the regulation of pornography. According to Sunstein, regulated not when it is sexually explicit (the problem of obscenity) but instead when it merges sex with violence (the problem of pornography). The problem of pornography does not stem from offense, from free access to sexually explicit materials, from an unregula ted erotic life, or from the violation of community standards. Instead it is a result of tangible real world harms, produced by the portrayal of women and children as objects for the control and use of others, stein 1993, 263 264). Judged solely on the basis of these broad claims, Sunstein appears largely consonant with the positions of earlier antipornography feminists like Susan Brownmiller, Andrea Dworkin, and Catharine MacKinnon , all of whom Sunst ein cites directly in the works considered here . However, when one looks beyond these generalities and examine s arguments in more detail , differences and that
81 which preceded it begin to emerge , and wha t appeared , at first, to be a revival begins to look much more like a revision. 7 The most obvious difference between Sunstein and the antipornography feminists who preceded him is that Sunstein was a committed liberal formulating an approach to pornograph y regulation that conform ed to, as opposed to defied or confounded , conventional liberal notions of evident in the range of materials he singled out for crit ique and regulation . From the liberationists who occup ied the offices of Grove Press in 1970 to the WAVAW activists who coordinated a three year nation wide boycott of Warner Bros. Records from 1976 to 1979 , the original antipornography feminists w ere out to criticize a startlingly wide range of materials. For the Grove Press occupiers, the target was expanding catalogue of books, magazines , and films tha t , in their view, [d] , 269). For the activists at WAVAW, the target was nce against women in mass media, including those used to promote best selling albums like Love Gun by Kiss and Black and Blue by the Rolling Stones . 8 Eventually, and d espite the reservations of some movement leaders , antipornography feminists began to use the term as a kind of short hand for a broad swath of materials that the y believed sanctioned the sexual abuse and degradation of women . 9 As Laura Lederer and Diana E.H. Russell e xplained in the November 1977 issue of the WAVPM (Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media) newsletter, the materials WAVPM oppose d s store wi ndow displays, and billboards in which women are shown bound, gagged, beaten, whipped, an A ll of these materials , Lederer and Russell contended , share that beating and
82 raping women, urinating and defecating on wo men, is erotic and pleasurable for men, and that women desire this kind of treatment, or at least n her contribution to the antipornography feminist anthology Take Back the Night (1980) , feminist philosopher Helen Longino ar gued that this message was the sin qua non of pornography . ornography Longino wrote , is material that explicitly represents or describes degrading and abusive sexual (Lederer 1980, 44). Underscoring the expansiveness of this definition, Longino added that he pornographic view of women is instead thoroughly entrenched in a booming portion of the publishing, film, and recordi 1980, 44; 46). When Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon put forward their antipornography civil rights ordinance in the early 1980s , their intention was to target a narrower range of materials than the se ear lier antipornography feminists had . 10 This is not to say that Dworkin and MacKinnon did not believe messages condoning the sexual abuse and degradation of women permeated the culture . They did . 11 However , as Dw orkin and MacKinnon explain in a self published defense of their civi l rights approach to pornography regulation , Pornography and (1988), their ordinance was designed to reach a quite specific set of materials. granted pornography exists on a larger social continuum with other materials that objectify and demean the ordinance takes the view that pornography is a distinct product manufactured, marketed, and sold by a distinct 1988, 36). pornographer has a ny trouble knowing what to make. No distributor has any
83 trouble kn owing what to carry. No retailer has any trouble know ing what to order. No consumer has any trouble knowing what to buy , Dworkin and MacKinnon observed (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1988, 36). Because pornography is so distinct and the pornography industry so clearly defined , in Dworkin and MacKinnon , def ining pornography is a rather straightforward task: one must simply at the existing universe of the pornograp hy industry Dworkin and MacKinnon ordinance describes in th e pornography industry quite vividly. Their ordinance defines pornography subordination of women through pictures and/or words that also includes one or more of the women presented s, things, or commodities, ssion, in such a way that they injur y, abasement, torture, shown as filthy or inferior, bleeding, bruised, or hurt in a context that makes th ). The ordinance also transsexuals in the place of w bearing the se features would be actionable (Dworkin MacKinnon 1988 , 101). In Only Words (1993), a defense of the ordinance published nearly a decade after it was first proposed , MacKinnon gi ve s a concrete sense of the ran ge of materials t his definition was meant to cover. definition is coterminous with the [pornography] industry, explains , from Playboy , in which women are objectified and presented dehumanized as sexual
84 objects or things for use; through the torture of women and the sexualization of racism and the act, the reduction to the thing form of a human being and the silence of women literal and complete (MacKinnon 1993, 22 23). As MacKinnon emphasizes here, the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance was designed to reach the entire range of wares peddled by the pornography industry , ted no more and no less (MacKinnon 1987, 198). The reason Dworkin and MacKinnon opted to eschew a broader definition of pornography and tailor their ordinance so specifically was their belief that pornography , as the ordinance defines it , does something that other media purveying sexualized miso es not : actively subordinates women (Dwork in and MacKinnon 1988, 37) . On the basis of their own research a s well as testimony presented at public hearings conducted for the ordinance in Min neapolis, Indianapolis , Los Angeles, and Boston, Dworkin and MacKinnon argued that pornography is victimized, and second cl 201 ). 12 It does this , they believed, in a variety of ways . First , Dworkin and MacKinnon contended, pornography subordinates women through its production done through women shown being beaten and tortured report being beaten and tortured (MacKinnon 1993, 27). As MacKinnon once succinctly put it, (MacKinn on 1993, 39). Additionally, Dworkin and MacKinnon argued, many women who
85 or tricked into bein 1988, 40). Such conditions are, in t heir s no overt 1993, 20). In this way , Dwork in and MacKinnon concluded, pornography creates a powerful incentive to maintain women in positions of relative inequality and powerlessness (MacKinnon 1993, 20). Dworkin a nd MacKinnon also believed p ornography subordinates women t hrough its use. As survivor after survivor at the public hearings held on behalf of the ordinance testified and as Dworkin and MacKinno n were at continual pains to emphasize , pornography, including is sometimes used by rapists to plan their crimes or to silence and humiliate their victims (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1988, 40). It is also used, Dworkin and MacKinnon note d, to intimidate and harass wo men in the workplace (MacKinnon 1987, 198 199). Most significantly , Dworkin and MacKinnon maintained , the use of pornography devastating i n ed as fully (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1988, 40; 38; MacKinnon , makes the world a pornographic place n (MacKinnon 1993, 25; 36). It is an eight billion dollar a year industry of rape and battery and sexual harassment, an industry that both performs these abuses for the production of pornography and targets women for them society wide 1987, 19 8) .
86 While Dworkin and MacKinnon were convinced that their ordinance offered a definition of pornography that would reach only those materials that subordinated women through their production and use, their critics were not . As Alan Dershowitz pornographic to MacKinnon as the video Sex Kittens 2002, 165). The amici who opposed the ordinance in American Booksellers v. Hudnut shared Der . T he ir briefs allege d that the ordinance would lead to the suppress ion of Ulysses Iliad The diversity of the plaintiffs in Hudnut , who, taken together, om hard co re films to W.B. Yeat s also indicates that concern s regarding were widespread amongst its opponents (327). 13 Surprisingly, these concerns appear to have been shared by Suns tein as well . While Sunstein was in broad agreement with Dworkin and MacKinnon that pornography was harmful and that its legal regulation could be justified , he also agreed with Dworkin critics that parts of their ordinance , as he put it , 1988, 844). Thus, Sunstein proposed an alternative approach to the regulation of pornography that targeted a much narrower range of materials than Dworkin and MacKinnon had hoped to reach. As Sunstein explained i in the Duke Law Journal in 1986, properly regulable pornography (a) [is] sexually explicit, (b) depict[s] women as enjoying or deserving some form of physical abuse, and (c) ha[s] the purpose a nd effect of prod 1986, 592). The most readily apparent difference between the definition of pornography Sunstein offers here and the definition
87 Dworkin and MacKinnon offered in their ordinance is that Sunstein escribes pornography in terms of Dworkin and MacKinnon describes it in terms of subordination . Unlike Dworkin and MacKinnon , who target ed graphic sexually expl icit mate rials that subordinated women through a variety of means ra nging from for the regulati on of only what he called (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1985 , 39; Sunstein 1992, 21 ). Sunstein was forthcoming about his departure from Dworkin and MacKinnon in this regard. e conceded , excludes sexually explicit materials that do not sex ualize violence against women (Sunstein 1986, 616; 592 ). This exclusion , Sunstein acknowledged , mak e s his approach narrower than the one suggested by the Indianapolis ordinance, which created liability for unstein 1986, 592). Just how much narrow er Sunste approach was becomes clear when one considers the examples Sunstein furnished of the sorts of materials his regulation was meant to cover. Whereas Dworkin and MacKinnon had their sights set on the entire range of materials produced by the Sunstein emphasized that his proposed legislation would cover only a fraction of tho se materials. Based on a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry , Sunstein estimated that 17.2% of pornographic magazines sold in New York City would fit his definition of because that was the percentage of magazines surveyed in the study whose (Sunstein 1986, 593). The title of this study , c Imagery and the Prevalence of Paraphilia , sheds additional light on precisely what t ype of material Sunstein intended for his definition to cover : ringe material, magazines with titles like Black Tit and Body
88 Torture, Tit Torture Photos, and Chair Bondage , were Sunste materials like Deep Throat and Playboy (Sunstein 1986, 593) . Sunstein justified the narrower focus of his proposed legislation by referring to scientific research into the effects of sexually expl support for drawing a distinction between violent and nonviole e main contributor to That Dworkin and MacKinnon thought narrower definition of pornography deeply misguided is undeniable. I n a passage that could have been addressed specifically to Sunstein, Dwor kin and MacKinnon insisted the definition of pornography to violent materials for instance, in their use by rapists and child molesters, in increasing the accepta bility of forced and MacKinnon 1988, 40). MacKinnon made a similar point several years earlier in her 1984 Francis Biddle Memorial Lecture at Harvard Law Sch ool. that pornography covered by definition in which normal research subjects seldom perceive violence, long term exposure maintained , still makes them see women as more worthless, trivial, non human, and objec tlike, that is, the way those who are discriminated ( MacKinnon 1985, 54 ). think snuff is one thing, Playboy Conference on Women and the Law in the spring of 1985, ur law says something very narrow which left what MacKinnon once described as
89 so called , clearly set his approach apart from the approach embodied in the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance ( MacKinnon 1987, 187). definition of pornography was also narrow er than Dworkin in other ways . For instance, u nlike the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance, which defined sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures or words sed onl y to movies and pictures Such a limitation is justified, Sunstein explained, 992, 24). d ed mulus to violence deals mostly with movies and pictures, and the immediacy and vividness of these media suggest a In short anti pornography legislation in such a way as that the legislation would be more precisely tailored 1992, 24; Sunstein 1986, 616). Sunstein was also amenable to the idea of grafting customary exemptions to obscenity laws on to his proposed antipornography legislation . For instance, Sunstein suggested, be desirable or at ( Sunst ein 1986, 624; Sunstein 1988, 844 ). 14 Sunstein was willing to accept these exemptions because, in his view, raphic components rt of a more general may on the whole generate (Sunstein 1986, 624). Dworki n and MacKinnon , of course, were
90 reluctant to incorporate such exemptions into their ordinance. 15 As Dworkin and MacKin non saw it , ignores that which the victims of pornography have long known: legitimate settings diminish the perception of injury done to those whose trivialization and objectification 1985 , 21). Regarding exemption s for material protested f a woman is subjected, why should it matter that the work has other value ? 16 T he relative ly narrow range of materials Sunstein aimed to reach with his proposed antipornography legislation points to another significant difference between Sunstein and the antipornography feminist s that preceded him : his comparatively harms. n his view , related harms: harms to those who participate in the production of pornography, harms to the victims of sex crimes that would not have been committed in the absence of pornography, and harms to society through social conditioning that fosters discrimination and other unlawful act (Sunstein 1986, 595). Some six years later, i n an article published in the Columbia Law Review entitled 17 Sunstein offered a similar description of in three categories. First, the existence of the pornography market produces a number of harms to against wom women that are degrading and dehumanizing and that contribute to a variety of forms of illegal (Sunstein 1992, 23 25 ). Based on these descriptions, it is clear that Sunstein, like virtually all antipornography feminists who came
91 before him , believed that pornography contributed to widespread violence and illegal acts of discrimination and harassment against women . However, nota that had been of central concern to earlier As far back as the occupation of Grove Press in 1970, anti pornography feminist s had called att ention to as a principal way in which women were oppressed and, therefore, harmed by pornography . 18 Grove Press occupiers demanded, out No more male radicals who can ignore the oppre Several years later, i n the concluding chapter of Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rap e (1975), Susan Brownmiller present ed objectification as a harm endemic not only to pornography, but to rape as well . Pornography, l contended dehumanize women, to reduce the female to an object o 1975, 394). In the November 1977 issue of Newspage , Diana Russell and Laura harm of objectification . When asked if they object pornography in which the re is no violence , 1980, 24). Not all pornography is violent, r explained, but even the most other f orms of violence to women 1980, 24). As these quotations illustrate , the earliest antipornography femin ist s believed that pornography did more than merely prime its consumers to physically harm or illegally d iscriminate against
92 women . In their view , pornography women and constituted a harm in and of itself. This understanding of objectification as one of pornography is reflected in the Dworkin MacKinnon antipo rnography ordinance. The ordinance defines pornography as includes at least one additional element . includes depictio ns of things generally recognized as harmful , like torture and mutilation, but it also includes depictions of things not generally recognized as such , like dehumanized as and or positions o f sexual (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1988, 36). As Dworkin and MacKinnon mak e clear in their self published defense of the ordinance, this was by design. graphy] MacKinnon explained, specify presentations of women that show express violence; some focus on acts of submission, degradation, humiliation, and objectification that have been more difficult to see as violation because these acts are (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1988 , 39). A mong the central aims of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance was to make the harmfulness of these seemingly harmless acts legible , to make the harm of being seen and treated a s a sexual thing rather than as a human being visible and, most importantly , legally actionable (Dworkin and MacKinnon 1988, 45). As MacKinnon emphasized, even the public hearings organized on behalf of the ordinance were guided by this MacKinnon wrote in the introduction to Pornography Civil Rights Hearings against a backdrop of
93 potential lega MacKinnon and Dworkin 1997, 4) . As Sunstein readily acknowledged , his proposals for regulating pornography differed from Dworkin and MacKinnon in this regard . Whereas h is legislative recommendations deal with pornography as a subject of r egulation only to the extent that it is associated with violence against women (an important ingredient in sexual inequality Dworkin , Sunstein explained, part (Sunstein 1993, 393; Sunstein 1992, 21 ). 19 I Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law , Sunstein expressed serious reservations about t his aspect of Dworkin and [ with respect to effects] is Sunstein wrote , adding that objectification of women, and sexuality in general, [is] a central much 1988, 843; 835; 846). While Sunstein was willing to concede ( once in a footnote ) that objectification is a serious social harm , he was not willing to support Dworkin and secure for it legal recognition and redress (Sunstein 1992, 21 ). Sunstein may have been p repared to use the law to regulate materials that contributed to violence against women and other , but when it came to materials implicated in the not yet legally recognized harm of objectification, he demurred ( Sunstein 1992, 23 25 ). 20 It is impossible to discuss the reasons behind demurral without delving into one of the most fundamental difference between Sunstein and the antipornography feminists who
94 preceded him . Unlike his antipornography feminist predecessors who considere a was a committed liberal offering a feminist critique of pornography that employed a conventionally liberal concepti on of harm. Sunstein so combine sexual explicitness with violence contribute to what he tellingly described as rela Sunstein 1986, 592; 595) ot all of those who focus on [the problem of pornography] treat p ornography as a prob l em of sex discrimination only because it is associated with violence ; however, Sunstein believed that crafting antipornography legislation including the very large category of Sounding very much like one of excessive inroads 1992, 25; 21) . he notion of objectification is one with which it is (Sun stein 1992, 25). Far better, Sunstein advis ed, pornography as a subject of regulation only to the extent that it is associated with violence her criminal acts (Sunstein 1988, 846; Sunstein 1992; 21). Of course , agreed t hat antipornography legislation designed to address including the harm of objectification ,
95 buked liberal conve ntion and thus severe First Amendment difficulties . is precisely why many of them adopt ed such critical posture s vis a vis conventional first a mendment doct rine and the liberal assumptions undergirding it . 21 red in the concluding chapter of Toward a Feminist Theory of the State making male dominance both invisible and legitimate by adopting the male point of view in law ral state, the rule of law neutral, abstract, elevated, pervasive both institutionalizes the power of men over women and 238). Similarly , i n Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Wome (1988), Dworkin and MacKinnon describ ed the first a mendment as a means of shoring up disguised as rights protected by law that ). In an address delivered at the 1979 New York University Susan Brownmiller p ut forward a similar view. T he first amendment of late has been stretched out of shape , she lamented , and used by ble group, an evil group a protected right to promote sexual violence against an (Brownmiller 1979, 255). 22 As these quotations evince, antipornography feminists tended to view the first amen dment as the cornerstone of a dysfunctional system in which the free speech of men [was permitted to silence] To repair this dysfunction and bring about a system of free expression deserving of the name , Dwo rkin and MacKinnon proposed a Under this new model, as MacKinnon described it, free speech would the state [would] have as great a r ole in providing relief from injury to equality through
96 speech and in giving equal access to speech as it has now in disciplining its power to intervene in that speech that manag 1993, 109). Under this new model, in other wor ds, pornography, with its singular capacity to and silence , would no longer be protected in the name of freedom of expression , but restricted instead (MacKinnon 1985, 63). 23 W hile antipornography feminists like Dwork in and MacKinnon were out to break with convention and revolutionize the constitutional meaning of freedom of expression, Sunstein was out to accomplish something quite different. His goal was not to shift the parameters of existing constitutional law to a ccommodate the feminist critique of pornography, but to fashion a feminist critique of pornography that conformed to the parameters of existing c onstitutional law . While he admitted that he insisted that In fact , in the conclusion of his earliest published antipornography feminist effort , Sunstein explicitly states that his purpose has been to show that pornography can be regulated without doing (Sunstein 1986, 624). Sunstein made this same point even more forcefully some two years later in his review of Feminism Unmodified for the Harvard Law Review . In what reads like a thinly veiled repudiation of Dworkin Sunstein contended that mendment doctrine furnishes the building blocks for a quite conventional argument f (Lederer and Delgado 1995 , 258; Sunstein 1988, 844). The quite that Sunstein cobbled together out of furnished him by the first amendment goes somet hing like
97 this : Contrary to the claims of first amendment absolutists , t he f irst amendment does not , in fact, accord equal protection to all speech . For example, commercial speech, labor sp eech and other of the first amendment, which, broadly to fall within the category of and low powerful demonstration of har value speech (Sunstein 1986, 602 603). Pornography, defined as sexually explicit depictions of women enjoying physical abuse designed to produce sexual arousal, communicative exp value speech (Sunstein 1986, 606) . Pornography so defined is also linked to a number of harms, including violence against women and other illegal acts of sex discrimination . While the evidence of pornogr harmfulness is not dispositive , because pornography is low value speech, the evidence is strong enough to permit regulation, provided , of course, that such regulation is sufficiently narrowly tailored to . As Sunstein emphasized, his argument for endorsement of the broader position t hat the first amendment should essentially be irrelevant to the power of 1986, 624). Sunstein was not out to champion a radically new model of freedom of expression. In fact, Sunstein agreed with eminent liberal political philosopher Ronald Dworkin ( ) at pornography not by criminalizing their speech, but by is no reason to abandon a conventional and wholly negative understanding of the freedom of expression . 24 As Sunstein put it,
98 of the political argument against pornography; but it probably should not be part of the First 26). What this show s is that , while Sunstein was generally sympathetic to the femin ist critique of pornography , he was also wary of those aspects of it that he believed raise d n a [ed] areas though and point edly part [ed] company with certain asp ( Sunstein 1992, 21; 26; Sunstein 1988, 835; 846). This wariness drove him to generate a defense of antipornography legislation that does not go so deep , that em ploys a highly restrictive definition of pornography and that addresses itself to a much narrower range of harms (Sunstein 1988, 846). Of course, it should not be overlooked that Sunstein was also wary of many aspects of what had been , at least since the 1950s, the un questione d liberal orthodoxy on pornography . Sunstein did not think that sexually explicit speech was , for the most part, harmless and deserving of constitutional protection and he believed much liberal skepticism toward antipornography legisl ation was misplaced . Nowhere is this more evident than in his incisive critique of the decision in American Booksellers Association v. Hudnut . In this decision, the court struck down the version of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance ad opted by the City of Indianapolis on the grounds that it amounted to a content based regulation of speech that was not neutral in regard to viewpoint . int reg ulation upon whi ch the court relied in this ruling is observed , (Sunstein 1986, 613 614). Obscenity
99 laws, Sunstein added, are also viewpoint based insofar as they prohibit only those sexually 1986 , 613 614; 595). The reason such laws are typically be cause ne based restriction when the harms invoked in defense of a regulation are obvious and so widely supported by social consensus that they allay any concern about impermissible B ecause the Hudnut court subscribed to the classical liberal notion a notion that , Sunstein emphasized elsewhere, represents liberal tradition , (Sunstein 19 88, 835; Sunstein 1986, 626). In short, Sunstein faulted the Hudnut majority , and many of his liberal peers , for their failure [is] to prevent sexual violence and discrimination, not to suppress expression of a By breaking in all these ways with both his antipornography feminist and liberal p eer s, Sunstein, whether he intended to or not, pioneered a highly improbable ar gumentative position. Prior to Sunstein, liberals had , for the most part, been unwilling to take virtually any aspect of the feminist critique of pornography seriously. ception of changed this. He devised an
100 25 He antipornography feminism that employ s, as oppose d to resists, fundamental liberal principles. fforts, scholars across a variety of disciplines began adapting the feminist critique of pornography to the strictures of liberalism and established constitutional law. Fo r instance, in a series of articles published throughout the 1990s, philosopher Rae Langton ingeniously employed the theory of equality and rights laid out by Ronald Dworkin in Taking Rights Seriously (1978) to formulate a refutation of defen se of Do We Have 26 argument goes something like this: The cornerstone of Dworkinian liberalism is the principle of equal concern and respect. A permissive policy regarding violent and degrading p ornography vi olates this principle because the policy is rooted in preferences that are dependent upon the view that women are not deserving of equal concern and respect (Langton 1990, 353) . In such pr eferences are called external prefe rences and the policies they favor (racial segregation is the example Dworkin furnishes) can be overridden by the rights of anyone whom those policies disadvantage . As antipornography feminists have persuasively argued , a permissive policy regarding viole nt and degrading pornography it (Langton 1990, 346). In short, Langton concludes, is not only consistent with, but apparently demanded by, l 1990, 354).
101 While Langton mined Dworkinian liberalism for antipornography feminist resources, others sought them in what had historically been the citadel of liberal opposition to pornography regulation , the liberal theory of John Stuart Mill. For instance, i (1992), David Dyzenhaus argued that pornography violates and , therefore, merits regulation. s reading s of both On Liberty and The Subjection of Women , Mill is not solely , or even primarily, concerned with harm s (Dyzenhaus 1992, 537; 545). Rather, according to Dyzenhaus , moralistic majority can be as coercive and as harmful to [the interest individuals have in autonomy] 1992 , 545). Because pornography makes between men and women appear legitimate as well as sexy , argued , it that living out conceptions of the good life which would be theirs to explore were they in a position 992, 536, 550). Pornography, in other words, harms the interest women have in autonomy. This, Dyzenhaus concludes , is why liberals lay ing claim to the Millian tradition pornography 1992, 536, 550). 27 were significant, they pale in comparison to what came next. On March 5 7, 1993, some 700 lawyers, scholars, students, and activists convened at the Univ ersity of Chicago School of Law for Pornography and Hate Propaganda . Conferees included veteran antipornography feminist leaders like Catha rine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin, Do rchen Lei dhol d t, Laura Lederer, and
102 Kathleen Barry as well as prominent liberal legal scholars like C ass Sunstein, Frank Michelman, Elena Kagan, John Powell , and Frederick Schauer and leading critical race theorists like Kimberle Crenshaw and Richard Delga do . Their goal in coming together was to role of pornography and hate propaganda on the safety and status of women, people of color, gay m en and lesbians 28 by develop ing legal solutions to the problems of pornography and other discrimination, and maintains whole groups of people as second class citizens, hamperi ng their 29 While a handful of proposals presented at this conference bucked liberal conventions and concepts, 30 many were carefully tailored to accord with central liberal tenets , signaling a gro wing common ground between . Prior to this conference, t he last time antipornography feminists and liberals had formally convened to discuss legal perspectives on pornography was in 1978 at the New York University School of Law colloquium , Obscenity: Degradation of Women vers us Right of Free Speech. As you will recall from the previous chapter, the discussions at this colloquium were not partic ularly productive . In fact, according to e event w as marked with liberals interpret[ing] the [feminist] outcry against violent pornography as a call for censorship and feminists the evils of violent porno graphy oblivious to the 184). By 1993 , however, the dynamic between liberals and antipornography feminists had changed dramatically.
103 For instanc e, the University of Chicago conference featured presentations from a variety of experts purporting to offer . Evelina Giobbe, founder and executive director of WHISPER, a non profit organization of ex prostitutes, and Kathleen Barry, a sociologist specializing in the study of international sex trafficking, spoke to an alleged link between pornography and forced prostitution. Barbara Trees , a carpenter and labor organizer, and Olivia Young , a registered nurse , spoke to the role pornography played in their experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace. Additionally, t he edited volume that grew out of the conference, The Price We Pay: The Case against Racist Speech, Hate Propaganda, and Pornography (1995), included con tributions from a number of psychologists who presented as well as its cont ributions to sexist and racist discrimination and harassment in schools and workplaces . This same volume also included contributions from several distinguished law professors, including Kimberle Crenshaw and Michelle J. Anderson, who proposed new conceptual frameworks to facilitate the legal recognition of the harm of racist speech, hate propaganda, and pornograph y. Clearly, antipornography feminists were oblivious to the need for specificity, proof of . Liberals at this conference were also no longer inclined to perceive feminist concerns about pornography as attacks on fundam ental liberal values. In fact, to a person, the liberal legal theorists who participated at the conference welcomed feminist insights into the role of in the reproduction of social inequality . Unlik e their counterparts at the 1978 New York University colloquium, liberals at the 1993 University of Chicago conference saw these insights as vital contributions to the project of deepening and expanding the freedom of expression . s comments on this score are
104 repre sentative. , system of freedom of expression for all a deaf ear to [feminist] claims of 1995 , 273). S ome speech , Michelman insists, 1995 [a society that values freedom of expression] read its Constitution to forbid absolutely restrictions of speech when those restrictions appear aptly and sincerely to be aimed ag ainst the evils of caste and subordination, as those evils are reasonably (Michelman 1995 , 276). As Michelman many l iberals had gone f rom seeing the feminist critique of pornography as an assault on first amendment values to a n invaluable contribution to a more complete realization of those values. Others adopted a slightly different view. Consider, for example, the proposals for pornog raphy and hate speech regulation offered up at the conference by Elena Kagan, then a junior law professor at the University of Chicago law school. While Kagan expressed a great ms of speech regulate pornography and hate speec h must take into account Lederer and Delgado 1995, 202). Kagan was p articularly concerned that legal efforts aimed at curbing harmful speech give the long its due . According to t his principle, which had been invoked by the majority in American Booksellers v. Hudnut to invalidat e the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance , law s regulating speech
105 must not do so on the basis of the viewpoint the regulated speech expresses . Unde rgirding this sp here of thoughts, values, judgments, and beliefs. To permit the government to regulate speech on the basis of viewpoint , so the liberal reasoning goes, is to permit the government to wield authority over fundamentally private matters, effectively deposing the individual as the ultimate arbiter of what is good, true, and worthy of consideration and what is not. It seems that Kagan, embraced something very much like this conventionally liberal view as each of the regulations she proposed was carefully designe d to respect the principle of viewpoint neutrality and the public/private distinction it safeguards by refraining from regulating speech altogether (Lederer 1995, 203). perpetuate [s] and promote [s] inequality would not regulate speech at all, or at least not in the first instance ( Lederer and Delgado 1995, orientation, or other stipulated status ( Lederer and Delgado 1995, 203). Another remedy proposed by Kagan was a law modeled after federal ch distribution of materials whose manufacture involved coercion of, or violence against, kind s of harassment, threats, o r intimidation, including but not limited to those based on race and w as that their ultimate aim was not to curb speech or extirpate undesirable beliefs or opinions
106 (Lederer and Delgado 1995, 203; 205). engendering speech only where such speech intersects with illegal conduct reveals the extent to which liberal conception s of harm, liberty, and the public and the private had merged with antipornography feminist thinking by the mid were widely embraced by other feminist and anti racist opponents of pornography and hate speech at the time, 31 is that this alone does not insisting that pornograph acts public/private distinction intact and unchallenged. Once irreconcilable opponents, by the mid 1990s, antipornography feminism and liberalism had become allies and complements. Kagan was not the only opponent of pornography at the University of Chicago conference whose vision for reform was colored by liberal investments. In fact, even veteran antipornography feminist Dorchen Liedholdt, 32 no friend of liberalism in principle, 33 advocated an approach to pornography regulation at this conference that ceded m uch to liberal convention. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Drawing on precedents established over nearly two decades of sexual harassment litigation, Liedholdt
107 based employment discrimi nation (Lederer 1995, 218; 23 1 232). workplace can be seen as a sort of pragmatic capitulation to liberal dictates (Lederer 1995, 232). By figuring pornography as a discriminatory employment practice , Liedholdt ensured that pornography regulation would not extend beyond the workplace into other, more traditionally 34 established legal Liedholdt moved away from the sweeping and highly politicized representations of harm rd the narrower and more conventional representations (e.g. feminists. Even before the University of Chicago conference, liberal antipornography feminism was well enou gh established as a legible and credib le argumentative position that, in a 1990 review of Toward a Feminist Theory of the State , Drucilla Cornell was able to criticize MacKinnon to see that there are liberal arguments for some of the legal refo rms she 1990, 2261). However, in the wake of the University of Chicago conference, liberal antipornography feminisms proliferated. 35 In fact, by the mid 1990s, liberal antipornography feminism had risen to such promine nce that Nadine Strossen, president of the
108 ACLU from 1991 2008 and adamant critic of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance , was in a position to lament MacKinnon approach to pornography enjoys an enormous intuitive appeal to many feminists and in the mid 1990s is evident in liberal politica l philosopher Martha Nussbau Dworkin critique of pornography in Sex and Social Justice (1999). In Nussbaum view , despite her self styled radicalism, her frequent and impassioned fulminations against liberalism, and her unalloyed contempt for libera l feminism, Catharine MacKinnon is, at bottom, 79). 36 Sex and Social Justice t that women be treated as ends in themselves, centers of agency and freedom rather than merely insights into the ways in which the sexualities of both men and w long habits of domination and subordina John Stuart and preference is not antithetical to liber (Nussbaum 1999, 12). in pornography is rooted
109 in her puta tively liberal vision of personhood and autonomy. Accomplishing this is a rnography] is start from the notion that all human beings are owed respect, and that this respect is incompatible with treating them as instruments, and also with denials of auton (Nussbaum Nussbaum offers Isabelle and Veronique: Four Months, Four Cities and Playboy magazi ne send the unambiguous message that the look very sexy and are displayed out there for his consumption, like delicious pieces of fruit, existing only or primar Nussbaum insists, following her stylized versions of MacKinnon and Dworkin, constitutes a 1999, 217; 234). Given Nussba d aracter istically harsh
110 passage, phy] is the type of abuse and violence against women as sexy is morally problematic in a way that the traditional wholehearted agreement with moral critique of pornography, likely to While Nussbaum ult imately disagrees with Dworkin remedy, she en making this endorseme nt, Nussbaum emblazons Dworkin p ornography with the imprimatur of canonical liberals such as Kant, J.S. Mill , and herself , and in the representation of women as meant for abuse and humiliation not only as antifeminist, but illiberal to boot (Nussbaum 1999, 249). In a 2001 article in the American Political Science Review ( APSR )
111 follows humanist ideals (Scha effer 2001, 704; 706). to see differently and to see more of what already tends to register as contrary to liberal 2001, 705). Specifically, MacKinnon wants liberals to acknowledge trine (Schaeffer 2001, uld reach an agreement about how best to delineate the harm to women caused by ). This shows, aeffer 2001, 700). In another APSR article from 2001, MacKinnon r Schaeffer and others who would assimilate her position to liberalism, MacKinnon is clear that
112 attempt to reinvent me as a born porary liberal scholars, notably Martha ist concerns on liberal terrain ; impossible effectively to stop ne ed to step forward in 2001 and public ly defend her record as a critic of liberalism and remind readers of the objections that antipornography feminists had been raising against liberalism since the early 1970s is evidence of just how firmly established l ib eral antipornography feminism was by this time. By 2001, the long history of enmity between antipornography feminism and liberalism had been a lmost completely elided : it was all but taken for granted tha t liberals and feminists were allies in an effort to cur While much has been made of conservative appropriations of antipornography feminism, 37 t he liberal appropriations I have catalogued here have gone largely unnoticed. 38 One reason for this is doubtlessly that there has been more political hay to be made by linking antipornography feminism to the rise of the New Right than to the emergence of a more nuanced and complicated liberal discourse on the question of pornography . Another reason, I suspect, is that the s uccess of liberal antipornography feminism has effectively covered over the
113 historically contentious relationship between liberalism and antipornography feminism, making appear unremarkable, if not even natural and inevitable. As my excavation of the complex and often contentious relationship between antipornography feminism and liberalism has shown, n othing c ould be further from the truth. Antipornography feminism emerge d in the early 1970s as a critical response to a concerted campaign undertaken in the mid twentieth century by liberals of a distinctly civil libertarian bent to roll back obscenity regulations in the United States. For over a decade, liberals uniformly re acted to the antipornography feminist critique of this project with great suspicion and hostility. Then, beginning in the mid 1980s, as antipornography femi nism was on the wane and under attack even from within the feminist movement, liberals took up the a ntipornography feminist cause , fundamentally altering both liberalism and antipornography feminism in the process . Notes 1 Some liberals did concede that pornography was harmful in the ways antipornog raphy feminists alleged, but maintained that it was, nevertheless, deserving of first amendment protection. For instance, at the 1978 New York out t 2 album Black and Blue . The ad featured an image of a woman dressed in linger ie. Her bodice was torn to display her breasts, her hands were tied above her head with ropes, and her bruised legs were spread eagled atop an image of the e from the Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Antipornography Movement, 1976 1986. 3 In her contribution to Take Back the Night graphy and the First Amendment: Prior Restraints and Private against pornography must remain an anti defamation movement, involved in education, consciousness raising, and 4 Ephraim London was a well The Miracle of obscenity charges in 1952 (Joesph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson). He also advised Barney Rosset and Grove Press concerning the publication of the unexpurgated edition of . For a detailed account of Counter Cultu re Colophon , pages 104 106. 5 Duke Law Journal Harvard Law Review , Vol. 101, No. 4, 826 848
114 Reference Columbia Law Review Vol. 92, No. 1, 1 52 (1992); The Partial Constitution , Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA (1993). 6 l speech stands on the same ground and that government has no business censoring speech merely because some people or some officials are puritanical nstein 1993, 267). Instead, Sunstein advocates for a sort of liberal antipornography feminism that focuses on the regulation icit speech should be regulated not when it is sexually explicit (the problem of obscenity) but instead when it merges sex with violence (the problem of pornography). The problem of pornography does not stem from offense, from free access to sexually expli cit materials, from an unregulated erotic life, or from the violation of community standards. Instead it is a result of tangible real world harms, produced by the portrayal of women and children as objects for the control and use of others, most prominentl 263 264). 7 Yale Journal of Law and Feminism Vol. 5 (1992) 123 rewrites and distorts i t in such a way as to leave only a surface similarity, while excising its essential nature. A call simultaneously both a feminist sympathizer and a good liberal working within respectable, mainstream 125). 8 Battling Pornography: The Feminist Anti Pornography Movement, 1976 1986 . 9 to designate the over inclusive (pulling in erotica and m erely sexually explicit materials) and grossly under inclusive (since it (Bronstein 2011, 125). Bronstein makes much of this wariness regarding the w sets WAVAW apart from other organizations like Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media (WAVPM) ization. In my view, Bronstein makes too much of this particular difference between WAVAW and WAVPM and WAP. As Bronstein herself notes, WAVAW, WAVPM, and WAP understood themselves as truggle against commercial and cultural merely on account of their sexual explicitness and all three objected to materials that they believed co ntributed to public legal action as opposed to private consumer action), was their belief that a feminist redeployment of the term refer to a broad swath of materials that eroticized the abuse and degradation of women, WAVAW chose not to contest the term, believing that doing so would breed little but c onfusion and misunderstanding. This is, indeed, a difference in strategy, but it is not the difference in substance that Bronstein makes it out to be. 10 The Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance has often been portrayed, particularly by its critics, as an attempt t o codify the sweeping definition of pornography embraced by the broader antipornography feminist movement at the time. For instance, in the Washington Post , Hans Bader accused the Dworkin French and Italian art films, avant Portrait of the New Puritanism , Wash. Post, Feb. 2, 1992, at C8). Similarly, in the New York Times , Michiko Kakutani criticized MacKinnon for Penthouse and Playboy together w ith snuff films, a stand that leaves the status of
115 Books of the Times: Pornography, the constitution, and the fight thereof , New York Times, October 29, 1993). 11 Dworkin devoted an entire book, Intercourse (1987), The Kreutzer Sonata Another Country , for sanctioning the sexual abuse and degradation of women. Similarly, MacKinnon often noted the troub ling continuities she perceived between pornography and other types of media. The following quote from Toward a Feminist Theory of the State difficult to distinguish from art and ads once it is clear that what is degrading to women is the same as what is converges with more conventionally acceptable depictions and descriptions just as rape does with interco urse, 12 The ensuing catalog of ways in which Dworkin and MacKinnon believe women are subordinated by and through Pornography and Civil Rights , 1988; MacKinnon, Only Words , 1993; Dworkin and MacKinnon, , 1997. 13 er district court in Hudnut all took issue with the breadth of the .S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that it amounted to a content based regulation on speech that was not neutral in regard to viewpoint. As Judge ech is Hudnut majority, that ordinance made actionable only graphic sexually explicit speech that endorses a particular viewpoint: the viewpoint that women are inferior to men. Graphic sexually explicit speech endorsing the opposing viewpoint, that women are equal to men, was left unactionable and untouched. In this sense, Judge Easterbrook argued, the ordinance nstitutional on these grounds, it was not necessary for the court to rule on the question of whether the definition of pornography provided t 14 Miller v. California 413 U.S. 15 (1973) s a whole, appeal to the prurient interest, (2) portray unstein 1986, 595). 15 In American Booksellers v. Hudnut , the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit noted the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance does not refer to the prurient interest, to offensiveness, or to the standards of the community. It demands attention to particular depictions not to the work judged as a whole. It is irrelevant under the ordinance whether the work has literary, artistic, 325). It should be noted, however, that the most kin and MacKinnon 1988, 45). Under this provision any woman, whether she had been individually harmed by pornography or not, could bring a complaint against producers, sellers, exhibitors, and distributors of pornography for subordinating women as a group. 16 power of an erection, these days 17 The Partial Constitution (1993).
116 18 Although by no means a supporter of antipornography feminism, philosopher Sandra Bartky has described Dworkin, MacKinnon and other antipornography feminists that objectification is one way in which pornography subordinates (MacKinnon 1989, 199). 19 Silencing, and Sub The Price We Pay: The Case Against Racist Speech, Hate Propaganda, and Pornography not exclude these categories from the field of harms that speech can cause, nor does he minimize their gravity, but still he would screen them out of consideration when it comes to a legal appraisal of restrictions on speech. I wonder Tennessee Law Review (1988). 20 Jeanne Schroeder has accused Su nstein of transforming Dworkin 21 Signs Toward A Feminist Theory of State (1989). 22 In a 1973 article in the Boston Globe Miller v. California , which was universally reviled by liberals for relaxing obscenity stand ards and giving the government a freer hand to regulate sexually explicit materials, had given her hope in the possibility that the first amendment might be made to work for women. k is symptomatic of disease within a . Despite the confidence she expressed in the new Miller standards in 1973, by 1979, Brownmiller was no longer convinced that they were sufficient for feminist purposes. 23 As Sheila Kennedy, an attorney who worked on behalf of the ordinance in Indianapoli Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance] is an attempt to amend the existing constitutional framework. This particular group of feminists is quite clear in briefs, etc., that we understand that the ordinance as framed is inconsistent with existing law. But we want 24 to Isaiah Berlin and critique of Cather ine MacKinnon. Dworkin published several other pieces criticizing MacKinnon in the New York Review of Books . 25 26 27 effects seems to go beyond even what proponents of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance called for. For instance, his vil remedies, or wholly private efforts to
117 te initiated or by dint of informal public pressure, aimed at suppressing production, distribution, and consumption of anticipates the approach t o pornography regulation proposed by Elena Kagan that I discuss later in this chapter as well as in the conclusion. 28 Off Our Backs, Vol. 23, No. 4. 29 This description co The Price We Pay: The case against racist speech, hate propaganda, and pornography (1995), an edited volume that grew out of the conference. 30 For instance, both Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea D workin offered defenses of their now decade old ordinance. Also, critical race theorist KimberlÃ© Krenshaw delivered a paper criticizing objections to hate speech i 31 For instance, in their introduction to The Price We Pay , the edited volume that grew out of the University of tentially effective solutions to the problems of pornography and hate speech (Lederer and Delgado 1995, 8 10). 32 Leidholdt had been active in the antipornography feminist movement virtually from its inception. She was a founding member the New York chapte r of WAVAW (Women Against Violence Against Women) and a participant WAP (Women Against Pornography). In this capacity, she organized prot ests against Playboy magazine and drummed up support for the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance in cities throughout the U.S. See Bronstein, Battling Pornography , 2011. 33 In her introduction to a volume she co edited with Janice Raymond entitled The Sexual Libera ls and the Attack on Feminism accurate 34 Catharine MacKinnon actually called attention to this aspect Leidholdt nography] is 35 ; Denise Reason, Power and Objectivity in MacKinnon a 36 A Mind (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1993) for prompting her to think about MacKinnon as a Kantian of sorts .
118 37 For instance, in Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right (2011), Whitney Final Report of the Atto (Strub 2011, 249; 269; 254). Many feminist sex radicals, including Carole Vance, Gayle Rubin, and Pat Califia, made simi lar observations, regarding the ease with which gainst Us The Advocate , Issue 290 (1980); Sex Exposed: Sexuality and the Pornography Debate (1993); and Gayle American Feminist (1993). 38 (1992) is one nota ble exception. Also, in Defending Pornography , Nadine Strossen expresses distress at the fact that traditionally have resisted calls for censor oes not explore this phenomenon in any gre at detail (Strossen 1995, 83).
119 CHAPTER 4 SEX RADICAL FEMINISM AND LIBERALISM On April 24, 1982 , some 800 scholars, students, writers , artists, and activists conve ned at Barnard College for a conference entitled The Scholar and the Feminist IX : Towards a Politics of Sexuality. According to Carole Vance, the academic coordinator for the conference , the aim was t o by addressing sexual pleasure, choice, and autono my , acknowledging that sexuality is simultaneously a domain (Vance 1993 a , 11; 1984, 443). 1 Judi th Butler, who attended the conference as a graduate student 2 and review ed its controversial program , A Diary of a Conference on Sexuality , 3 for Gay Community News , he clear purpose of the Diary and of the Bar nard conference is to dislodge the anti pornography movement as the one and only feminist discourse on sex the anti pornography (B utler 1982). N ot all those who attended the Barnard conference embraced this aim . In fact, on the morning of the conference, j ust outside the gates of Barnard Hall , a group of self identified radical and lesbian formed a picket line. S portin g t shirts that read e back , the protestors distributed a two page leaflet accusing the conference, as well as one organizer, two presenters, and one attendee by name , 4 of endorsing titutions and values that oppress all women , including sexual abuse of children ( Coalition for a Feminist Sexuality 1983, 180 181 ) . 5 Although the leaflet was signed the Coalition for a Feminist Sexuality and Against Sadomasochism (Women
120 Against Violence Against Women; Women Against Pornography; New York Radical Feminists ) it was soon discovered to have be en the almost exclusive handiwork of the New York based anti pornography feminist organization, Women Against Pornography (WAP) . 6 WAP protest at the Barnard conference is often portrayed as the catalyst for sex wars. 7 And, indeed, if the sex wars are conceived of as a straightforward conflict between an tipornography feminists on one side and sex radical feminists on another, the Barnard conference seem s an almost natural starting point . However, as my recounting of the complex and shifting relationship between antipornography feminism and liberalism in t he previous two chapters has demonstrated , t he sex wars were not a simple, two side d , and wholly internecine feminist affair , but a dynamic array of con flicts and relationships that encompassed a variety of participants, including antipornography feminists , sex radical feminists, and liberals of various stripes. In the vicissitudinous relationship with liberalism. In the present chapter, I do the same for s ex radical feminism. Concei ved in the late liberation movements, sex radical feminism combined a trenchant critique of heterosexuality with a scandalously exp ansive vision of sexual freedom and cultural practices of identity articulation and community building for marginaliz ed groups on the sexual fringe. While sex minded focus on sexual violence at the expense of sexual pleasure and i ts complicity in the marginalization of stigmatized sexual minorities , antipornography feminism was not the only discourse on sex that sex radical feminism challenged. In its earliest articulations, sex radical feminism also offered a powerful rebuke to co nventional liberal views regarding sex and
121 sexuality. Then , in the mid 1980s, antipornography civil rights ordinance gained momentum across the United States , sex radical feminists aligned themselves with antip censorship civil libert arians. strategic deployment of liberal anti censorship rhetoric proved effective insofar as it contributed to the d efeat of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance, this effectiveness came at a price. A spects of sex radical feminism not readily assimilable to a liberal idiom were obscured and , by the mid 1 990s, sex radical feminism had been overtaken by a markedly more liberal project, . The Sex Radical Feminist Critique of Liberalism As I described in chapter two, i n the late 1950s and 60s , a cadre of civil libertarian attorneys, publishers , authors, and film producers waged a concerted campaign against the Comstock era regime of obsce nity regulation in the United States. T his campaign , I argued, provided a crucial impetus for the emergence of antipornography feminism, which openly called into question its guiding premise : that sex is fundamentally private , apolitical, and harmless . Alt hough sex radical feminists did not engage in dramatic public debates and confrontations with liberals comparable to those engaged in by antipornography feminists in the 1970s and early 1980s , their audacious demands for a vibrant and di verse public sexual culture stood in stark contrast to the measured pleas of mid centur y civil libertarian s for a somewhat wider berth for sexual expression . In this sense, sex radical feminism , much like its foil, antipornography feminism, can be seen as a critical response to the limited sexual politics of post war liberal ism . As historian Whitney Strub has observed , throughout the mid 20 th century, American liberals opposed censorship in ways that reinfor (Strub 2011 , 44). Not even the stalw art civil libertarian s who challenged the Comstock era regime of obscenity regulation head on were w illing to defend sexual expression qua sexual expression or
122 sexual expression tout court. Consider , for example , t he argument made by celebrated civil liber ties attorney Charles Rembar in Grove Press, Inc. v. Christenberry (1959) , the landmark case that exonerated the first unexpurgated American edition Lady s Lover from charges of obscenity and that pioneered the legal strategy that would lead to the exoneration of dozens of other sexually explicit works throughout the 1960s and 70s . As Remba r explains in his first hand account of the trial , in this case, that the Comstock Act as a whole was invalid , but that th e First Amendment forba de its application to the book [he] (Rembar 1968, 119) . Rembar offered two reasons why Lady ought to be exempt from regulation under the Comstock Act . First , despite its the nove l was not (Rembar 1968 , 119). 8 Since the Supreme Court, in Roth v. United States (1957) , had descri bed such as could not, Rembar reasoned , be adjudged obscene (Rembar 1968 , 119) . Second, although the novel might arouse lus t it was not the nasty kind (Rembar 1968 , 124). Since the Supreme Court, also in Roth v. United States , had described obscenity as appealing nasty, morbid, [and] unwholesome , est in sex , such as could not, Rembar reasoned , be adjudged obscene (Rembar 1968 , 124). 9 As these arguments indicate, in this pioneering challenge to obscenity regulat ion , neither the legal category of obscenity nor its association with prurience were called into question. In fact, invoked the very logic used to justify the
123 suppression : productions that are merely beyond the pale. 10 I t is tempting , of course, to view this equivocal defense as born of necessity rather than principle. Rembar was, after all, an attorney out to win a law suit , not a philosopher accountable only to his own utopian imaginings. Surely , one might think, a more robust vision of sexual freedom must have animated these narrow legal arguments ; as a matter of fact, though, t here is much evidence to the contrary . For instance, within a decade of the resol ution of Grove Press v. Christenberry , Rembar could be heard publicl y denouncing the more permissive sexual culture his groundbreaking legal victory helped bring about. Rembar wrote in the concluding chapter of his memoir The End of Obscenity (1968), pointing to Rembar warned, a seductio ad absurdum 1968, 491). 11 Fortunately, Rembar continued , mpoverished, masturbatory conce ntration on representations of sex will diminish as the (Rembar 1968, 492). hustle pornography off the scene, a bi 1968 , 492). reveal a pro found ambivalence about sex at the heart of the post war liberal campaign against obscenity regulation . Un deniably , t his campaign sought to broaden the legal boundaries for sexual expression in the United Stat es. However, in doing so , it simultaneously sought to narrow the range of sexual expressio n on offer and to shore u p conventional boundaries between healthy and pathological sex. Nowhere are the se ambivalent sexual politics more vividly on display than in The Playboy a series of editorial essays written by Playboy Magazine creat or and editor, Hugh Hefner, and
124 published in Playboy between December 1962 and May 1965 . In this ungainly manifesto, Hefner excoriates (Hefner 1963 Few censors comprehend the labyrinthian twistings and Hefner e xplain ed , and, as a consequence, f appeals to the normally hete rosexual than to the somewhat more subtle offerings to sadism, Hefner 1963, 31). he primary heterosexual source s of stimulation from society , Hefner believed that censorship compelled men affix [their] responses to something else other men, perhaps, or perhaps a shoe or a bit Hefner 1963, 90). This is the kind of sickness thundered , that the unknowing censor can bring to society and its only cure is the curtailm ent of to suppress healthy and normal sexual expression (Hefner 1963 , 90). If this prescription is followed , Hefner promised , diminish sex will flourish ( Hefner 1963, 82 83 ; 89 ). This liberal faith in the capacity of sexual freedom to root out sexual perversion lived on well into the 1970s. For instance, in 1978, Herald Price Fahring er, attorney for both Larry Flynt, publisher of Hu stler , and Al Goldstein, publisher of Screw , confessed distress [ ed by the enormous demand for pornography and the ubiquity of depictions of (Fahringer 1979 , 289 I find something very unhealth y about t his sex which is not tastefully portrayed which is not erotic unlike that which is exciting, that which we saw eight years ago in Playboy , for example, a 1979 , 290). T he antidote to the distressing , Fahringer insisted, was not censoring
125 sexual expression, but freeing it . Fahringer explained, dark crevices of a frightened soc iety preoccupied with a sense of self (Fahrginger 1979 , 253). O nce pornography is exposed to the strong sunlight of a completely free and uninhibited people, 1979 , 253 ). Like liberal opponents of obscenity regulation believed that the censorship of sexually explicit materials robs the human race of the opportunit y of 20). During the sex wars, sex radical feminists assailed this ambivalent sexual politics in a variety of ways. First, u nlike mid century civil libert arian defenders of sexual expression , sex radical feminists were out to subvert boundaries separating the obscene from t he non obscene, the prurient from the wholesome, an d the perverse from the normal , not shore them up . This aim is evident throughout sex radical feminist writings, including the first expressly sex radical feminist publication, What Color is Your Handkerchief: A lesbian s/m sexuality reader (1979) . P ublished in June of 1979 by the San Francisco based lesbian feminist s/m group Samois , What Color is Your Handkerchief is a 45 page pamphlet on the practice and politics of lesbian sadomasochism . It mission statement in which feminist lesbians who share a positive interest in sadoma sochism and 1979 , 2). With this simple act of identification , Samois directly challenged the notion, propagated by mid century civil libertarians like Rembar, Hefn er, and Fahringer , that the only sex was vanilla (i.e. non kinky) and heterosexual.
126 challenged another boundary between the perverse and the normal , this one defended by many of their lesbia n femini st peers p olitical lesbians like Ti Grace Atkinson and Rita Ma e Brown , sex involving ran counter to feminist values (Brown 1975 ) . 12 This meant that sadomasochism, which Samois defined icized exchange of power negotiated betwee n was suspect , even counterrevolutionary ( Samois 1979 , 2) . flatly rejected this proposition , arguing that it amounted to a feminist redescription of conventional notio ns of sexual propriety . , 1979 , 2). This included hierarchies defended by non feminist liberals and lesbian feminists alike . T he most radi cal interrogation of boundaries dividing the perverse from the normal included in What Color is Your Handkerchief is In this essay, Rubin, a founding member of Samois and a leadin g sex radical feminist theorist, called work in solidarity with to secure legitimacy, rights, and for all ( Samois 1979, 28 30). feminists are called lesbians, when homosexuals are portrayed as c hild molesters, and when child are presented as the fou contended s develop more sensitivity to the problems, the humanity, and the legitimate c laims of stigmatized sexual minorities ( Samois 1979, 29 30). plea f or understanding, , for groups whose sexual desires and practices are almost universally reviled underscores the extent to which sex radical
127 feminis ts were committed to the destabilization of sexual hierarchies and the subve rsion of boundaries separating perversion from normalcy ( Samois 1979, 29; 33) . The defense s of stigmatized and even criminalized sexualities offered up in What Color is Your Handkerchief point to another significant challenge sex radical feminism posed to the sexual politics of post war liberalism . Unlike mid century civil libertarians who sought little more than the easing of extant obscenity regulations , sex radical feminists were out to upend what they viewed as a massive socio legal regulatory apparatus aimed at the enforcement of erotic conformity . One of the most outspoken sex radical feminists on this score was writer, sex educator, and Samois co founder , Pat Califia . 13 While Califia is best known for her unsparing critiques of the antipornography femi nist movement, 14 she was much more than an opponent of censorship. 15 In fact, i n a pair of controversial articles published in The Advocate in the fall of 1980 , Califia spoke out passionately in defense lovers , gay men who have sex with male minors, and against laws criminalizing consensual intergenerational sex , including s tatutory rape and child pornography laws . 16 Just two years later, in another article for The Advocate , Califia came to the with othe r men in public restrooms, and forcefully condemned laws criminalizing public sex. 17 such laws were not sensible measures designed to protect children or the public, but thinly veiled mechanisms for the punishment of erotic dissidence and the family and everything it stands for middle class values, homophobia, uniformity, and 1994a , 50). I n her seminal contribution to sex radical feminist theory , Radica Gayle Rubin offered a similar critique of the sexual regulatory regime in the U.S
128 1984 e sex contact, anal penetration, and oral sex make homosexuals a criminal group denied the privileges of full Rubin 1984 , 291). Rubin also decried laws denying minors consent laws, custody laws tha anyone whose erotic Rubin 1984, such laws did not protect children so much as cut them off from unorthodox sexual possibilities , thereby ensuring one generation to the next ( Rubin 1984, 290). ual behavior shoul Rubin stated categorically , calling Rubin 1984, 294). 18 In a ddition to calling for the restructuring of sex law to emphasi ze consent and punish coercion, sex radical feminists also criticized many extra legal modes of sexual regulation. As aggering, most everyday social control is extra care provision, psychiatric diagnoses, religious condem nation, zoning ordinances relegating sex beverage codes to shut down businesses catering to sexual minoriti es, and street harassment (Rubin 1984 , 292; 289; 295). T aken together with more formal legal regulations, sex radical
129 identification, surveilla nce, apprehension, treatment, incarceration, and punishment produce jobs and self satisfaction for thousands of vice police, prison officials, psychiatrists, and social Rubin 1984, 293). Their ultimate goal was to dismantle this oppressive system and Rubin 1984 , 293; 1979, 11). 19 It almost goes without saying that s demands for liberation from the sexual oppression far outstripped anything civil libertarian opponents of obscenity regulation ever imagined . 20 A s I have already described, post war liberal defenders of the freedom of sexual expression like Rembar, Hefner, and Fahringer did not seek to c hallenge sexual norms but to bolster them by swaddling in the pr otection of the First Amendment. E ven Al Goldstein, the publisher of the pornographic magazine Screw who prided himself on his willi ngness to transgress bound aries of sexual propriety others dared not, was unwilling to question taboos concerning intergenerational sex and publically supported stiff criminal penalties for child pornography as a delegate to the Libertarian Party national convention in 1991 (Buckley 1991). The failure of mid century liberals to confront the system of sexual oppression in all its facets and offer a clear, consistent, and unqualified defense of sexual freedom was a frequent target of sex radical fem inist cri ticism . For instance, in an article reflecting on the passage of the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation Act of 1977, Pat Califia criticized attorney Heather Grant Florence , who represented the ACLU at the congressional hearings for the Act, for neglecting to speak out on behalf of those targeted by the legislation . According to Califia, (anyone under sixteen years of age) in the nude, engaged in se xual activity with another person
130 or masturbating] was the threat it posed to the First Amendment. She did not object to the appropriate for [the committee] to increa se the legal penalties for adults who have sex with Califia 1994a, 45). testimony missed the point; what was at stake in the proposed law w as not only or even primarily expressive freedom, but the sexual freedom of yo ung people, t heir adult friends and lovers , and gay people generally who were likely to bear the brunt of a law enforcement crack down on sex crime (Califia 1984c , 71). Califia made a similar point regarding the testimony civil liber tarians offered before the ). lot of the people who turned up to testify before the commission on behalf of the First Amendment Califia noted, did not focus their testim ony on the issue of pornography to speak about the dangerous impact that censorship could have on the arts, Califia 1984d, 36). As Califia saw it, the failure of these liberals to tied up, and soundly fucked in a full left an opening for the Justice Department to implement many of the Commission draconian recommendations, including crack ing down on the production, distribution, and display of gay and s/m pornography as well as ( Califia 19 9 4d, 36). Sex radical feminists were also critical of liberal put forward in 1978 that For instance, Amber Hollibaugh, a sex radical feminist writer an d activist who played a critical
131 role in the campaign to defeat the Briggs Initiative , spoke out against her anti Briggs allies advocating Hollib augh 2011 , 53). Initiative was a animating support for the Initiative unaddressed (Hollibaugh 2011 , 50; 52 53 ; 55 ). preferred appr oach , by contrast, was one that directly confronted homophobia in all its cultural and political manifestations , (Hollibaugh 2011 , 50). As Hollibaugh saw it, the Brigg s I nitiat ive was an antigay issue and framing it as an infringement of obscured this in an insidious and counter productive way (Hollibaugh 2011 , 52 53). I t forces people right back into the closet, it makes you dead, it makes you crazy 2011 , 53). Like other sex radical feminists, Hollibaugh be lieved that the abstract liberal failed to grasp what Gayle Rubin once and hindered the cause of sexual liberation ( Rubin 1984 , 310). One final challenge sex radical feminism pose d to the sexual politics o f post war liberalism can be seen in the variety of political activities in which sex radical feminists engaged . While the political activities of mid century civil libertarians were almost exclusively juridical and focused on cha llenging the constitutional category of obscenity , the political activities of sex rad ical feminists were pri marily cultural and focused on a variety of objectives including ident ity articulation and community building . N owh ere were the se multi faceted cul tural politics more apparent than in the lesbian feminist s/m organization Samois. According to its mission
132 statement, the purpose of Samois was to s/m lesbian feminists (Samois 1979, 3) . To this end, they engaged in a variety of activities aimed at developing a distinct lesbian feminist s/m identity and community. They organized sex parties and educational workshops that catered to lesbians with feminist sensibilities and s/m sexualities . They published a guide to s/m businesses in San Francisco, an annotated bibliography of literature on lesbian s/m, and a glossary of lesbian feminist s/m , a system designed to provid e s/m lesbian s a way to publically proclaim their sexual identities and preferences, identify simple enough to be practicable, yet complex enough to express an impressive degree of erotic variety. For instance, by sporting a red handkerchief in her left pocket, a woman could indicate Samois 1979, 36). By moving that handkerchief from her left pocket to her right, she could identi Samois 1979, 36). If she switched her red Samois 1979, 36). All in all, 36 discrete sexual id entities and preferences women/i have trouble keeping track of all these permutations, Samois offered wallet In addition to working to build a s/m lesbian f eminist community of their own , Samois also fought on behalf of s/m lesbian feminists for acceptance within existing gay, lesbian, s/m, and feminist c ommunities. These battles often took the form of struggles for access to communal space. For instance, in 1979, Samois overcame the objections of the organizing committee and
133 secure d ame year, on lesbian feminist s/m , What Color is your Handkerchief . In 1981, after much wrangling with wary staff members, Samois even mana ged to host an event for s/m Throughout the four years it existed, Samois also fought many smaller battles to gain access to bars, bathhouses, and sex clubs traditionally reserved f s, or straight s/m people. 21 variegated political activities indicate , the politics of sex radical feminism exceeded a simplistic liberal politics of anti censorship and legal reform. While sex radical feminists certainly sought to change laws , including those regulating the production and they also sought to carve out broad swaths of public space for sexuality in general and to make alternative sexualities more vibrant, visible , and accessible. Ending the ce nsorship of sexu al expression by the state was one part of this, but such legal reform was not the be all end all of sex radical feminist politics. Pat Califia mak e s this point in the introduction to Public Sex (1994) , a collection of her most influential sex radical feminist writings. f expres 1994d, 19). Also a t stake in these battles, Ca lifia observes , is the power of marginalized sexual 1994d , 19). According to Califia he line between word and deed is a thin one that cannot Califia 1994d , 19). As this passage makes clear , sex radical feminists valued expressive freedom not as an end in itself, but as the adjunct of a larger and more fundamental sexual freedom . Thi s freedom was not the
134 freedom Califia once described as the freedom to vi sit sex as if it were a brothe l or a shooting gallery, get [a fix], and then go home without getting busted and publically labeled as [a pervert or a sex fiend ] (Califia 1994d , 36) . The freedom sex radical feminists sought was the freedom to cultivate, craft, express, and live out their sexual desires, identities, and pleasures in public and in the context of erotically nurturing communities. It was the freedom Amber Hollibaugh thoug ht gays and lesbians in San Francisco had finally achieved in the aftermath of the White Night Riots. After the riots, Hollibaugh told the London based journal The Gay Left stro, but gayer 2000 , 117). It was also the freedom Califia described when she be as queer, as perverted, on th e street and on the job (Samois 1981, 251). T his freedom vastly exceeded the freedom sought by mid century civil libertarians to peruse non prurient sexually explicit materials possessing s ome modicum of redeeming social value in private. Ellen Willis , an influential sex radical feminist writer and activist wh o is, perhaps, best known for her work as a pop music critic for The New Yorker , called attention to this distinction between the sexual freedom sought by liberals and the more expansive sexual freedom sought by her and her fellow feminist sex radicals . As it defines sexual freedom as the simple absence of external restrictions laws and overt social taboos on s exual information and activity not only the abolition of restrictions but the positive presence of social and psychological conditions that foster satisfying sexual relations rom that standpoint, this culture is still deeply rep ressive 185).
135 The foregoing argument , that se x radical feminism posed a number of fundamental challenges to the sexual politics of post war liberalism , cuts against a long standing interpretation of sex radical femini sm a s, essentially, classical liberalism applied to sex. One of the earliest example s of this interpretation appeared in 1982 in the edited volume Against Sadomasochism (1982 ) . H ere , philosopher Bat Ami Bar On accuses femi nist defenders of sadomasochism of ( Bar On 1982, 72). Two years later, in an article in Feminist Review , Marie France proffered a similar reading, accusing sadomasochism by means of the liberal credo, a strategy based on a distinction between public and private morality where law only regulates public activi (France 1984, 35 ) . In that same year , Ann Ferguson published an article in Signs characterizing sex radical feminist s as libertarian s (Ferguson 1984 , 107). In 1990 , this interpretative thesis reached its apogee with the publication of Dorchen Leidhol and Janice Raymond The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism (1990). Throughout this collection , the politics of sex radical feminists like Gayle Rubin are lumped together with those of civil libertarians like Hugh Hefner and both are derided f or their i s m (Lei dholdt and Raymond 1990, xi; 15, 133). In my view, such interpretations are misleading and mistaken. 22 Not only do they overlook the substantial political differences that existed between sex radical feminists and liberals on issues like pornography, public sex, intergenerational sex, and gay rights in the late 1970s and early 1980s , but they obscure many of sex radical feminism features. Sex radical feminists condemned defenses of sexual behavior rooted i n appeals to privacy , reject ed individualistic conceptions of sexual identity and freedom, questioned
136 portrayals of sexual desire as natural or innate , and demanded a sexual freedom that entailed the destruction of the complex of laws, norms, and social pr cultivation of diverse sexual identities and erotic communities . Taken together, all of this indicates that sex radical feminism was not a species of liberalism , but a critica l engagement with it . From Sex Radical to Anti Censorship /Pro Sex Feminism In the late 1970s and early 1980s, sex radical feminism stood as a defiant alternative to the sexual politics of post war liberalism . During this period, sex radical feminists like Gayle Rubin, Pat Califia, Amber Hollibaugh, and Ellen Willis challenged the erotic hierarchies that liberals reified and demanded not merely the reform or repeal of extant obscenity laws , but an end to sexual oppression in all its guises and the active cu ltivation of a vibrant and diverse public sexual culture. However, in the mid 1980s, as sex radical feminists mobilized to combat Andrea civil rights ordinance, the lines between sex radical feminism and civil libertarianism began to blur . In an effort to counter the lurid rhetoric of antipornography feminists , s ex radical feminists began to employ the liberal rhetoric of p ositioning themselves as defenders of expressive freedom pitted ag ainst a n antipornography movement eager to prescribe its own conservative sexual vision by law . This strategic deployment of civil liberties rhetoric yielded ambiguous results for sex radical feminism. While t he Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance was defeated and a space for a more robust defense of sexual expression than liberals had traditionally offered was opened up within the conceptual confines of l iberalism , these achievements came at a price: sex radical feminism most distinctive aspects its expansive vision of sexual freedom, its concern with modes of sexual oppression beyond the censorship of sexual expression by the state , and its commitment were
137 muted and u ltimately displaced anti censorship /pro sex feminism . The displacement of s ex radical feminism by anti censorship/pro sex feminism began in the early 1980s as the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance gaine d momentum and sex radical feminists began to organize in opposition to it. Although the ordinance was defeated twice by a Mayoral veto in the City of Minneapolis where it was originally proposed, it fared better in Indianapolis where it passed into law in the spring of 1984. 23 Over the next two years, versions of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance were also consi dered in Suffolk County, New York, Madison, Wisconsin , Bellingham, Washington, Los Angeles County, California , and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In most o f these cities, coordinated opposition to the ordinance came primarily time foes, civil libertarian opponents of obscenity regulation. However, in several instances, traditional liberal coalitions of booksellers, publis hing trade associations, and state civil liberties unions were joined by sex radical feminists acting under the aegis of a new organization, the Feminist Anti Censorship Taskforce (FACT). According to Carole Vance, an influential sex radical feminist 24 and FACT co founder, FACT was formed in the fall of 1984 in response to the introduction of a Dworkin MacKi nnon style antipornography ordinance in Suffolk County , New York (Vance 1993 a ). 25 Within a year, FACT c hapters had sprung up in Madison, Wisconsin, Los A ngeles, California, and Cambridge , and Hunter 2006, 23 ; 242 ). To this end, FACT engaged in a variety of activities, including offering formal testimony at public hea rings concerning the ordinance, organizing a street theatre Caught Looking (1986), a tabloid style book that paired essays criticizing antipornography
138 feminism with sexually explicit photographs and illustrations. 26 influential intervention was an amicus brief it submitted on behalf of the plaintiffs in a legal challenge to the version of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance enacted by the City of India napolis, American Booksellers v. Hudnut ( 771 F.2d 323 (7th Cir. 1985) ). Authored by feminist legal scholars Nan Hunter and Sylvia Law and signed by what the radical feminist peri odical Off Our B acks attorneys like Nadine Strossen and David Richards, the FACT brief sought to persuade the Cou rt of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that the Indianapolis ordinance was unconstitutional (Wallsogrove 1985, 12). To this end, the brief marshaled two primary arguments. First, the brief (Hunter and Law 1987, 108; 89; 101). Second, the brief contended, by defining pornography in 132; 10 per se sexist or harmful to antee (Hunter and Law 1987, 89; 130). Judged solely on the basis of these arguments, the FACT brief appears to be a conventional liberal effort. It figures sexually explicit expression as harmless and denounces attempts to regulate it as censorious encroac hments on the freedom of speech. Even the FACT
139 traditional liberal claim that obscenity regulation is patronizing and paternalistic. However, despite these affinities, the FACT brief was no straightforward rehearsal of the liberal creed. 27 In making as citizens on a wi de range of argument that the Indianapolis ordinance woul suppression was not an argument that traditionally emanated from liberal quarters (Hunter and Law 1987, 109). I n fact, liberals had traditionally argued just the opposite: that censorship laws unjustly targeted non prurient, wholesome, healthy, and normal (read: conventionally heterosexual) materials for suppression and did little to staunch the flow of prurience, filth, and smut. ordinance posed to expressive freedom in general, of course) was fear that, if enacted, the sexuality (Hunter and Law 1987, 121 ability to ower charged, pushy, vulgar, urgent, confident, beral orthodoxy (Hunter and Law 1987, 122). points to w
140 over the Dworkin were sex radical feminists committed to an expansive vision of sexual liberation that exceeded liberal strictures, 28 political action consists in appropriating, transforming and deploying the friendliest discourses, and Hunter 2006, 2). In keeping with this strategy, FACT co which i ncluded resisting sexual oppression in all its forms and creating a vibrant and diverse public sexual culture to make not only an effective case against the Indianapolis ordinance, but a lasting contribution to liberal thought as discourse on pornography and sexual freedom that provided a stark alternative to the ambivalent one liberals had 29 A key figure in the articulation and popularization of this new liberal discourse was Nadine Strossen. 30 As president of the ACLU, founder of Feminists for Free Expression, and a pro
141 pornography (Strossen 1987, 201; Strossen 1993, 1107; Strossen 1995, 13). Accordin g to 1993, 1103; 1106). To support (Strossen 1995, 14; Strossen 1993, 1111 1112). Such contentions, originally put forward by sex femini ical alternative to liberalism, sex radical feminism had become its ally and its complement. This improbable union of sex radical feminism and liberalism proved a potent one, contributi ng not only to the defeat of the Dwo rkin MacKinnon ordinance, which, by the summer of 1986 , was, legally speaking, a dead letter, 31 but also bringing about some noteworthy shifts in liberal discourse concerning expressive freedom . With nsorship/pro sex liberals who had traditionally demurred from explicit and robust defenses of sexual freedom began to link their traditional concerns like censorship and free speech to a much broader set of concerns , including the freedom of sex ual expression and the civil liberties of sexual minorities. A pr ime example of this new and expanded liberal discourse can be found in A CLU in July of 1986 to c riticize the
142 findings of the Attorney Meese Commission ) . Throughout this report, the ACLU stakes out a series of positions that bear the unmistakable mark of sex radical feminist influence and diverge significantly from the spe cies of civil libertarian ism that animated the anticensorship campaigns of the 1960s and 70s . The most obvious difference between the 1986 ACLU report and the anticensorship arguments of civil libertarians of the previous generation is that the ACLU repor t features a bold and unequivocal defense of sexual expression qua sexual expression. As the report states, presumption that there is a difference between sexually oriented speech and all other kinds of and t Amendment should protect all sexually explicit without regard to notions such as prurience, offensiveness, or social value or utility ( 27 29). Th e report roots this sweeping defense of the freedom of sexual expression in the claim that sexually e xplicit speech, including pornography, ng the aesthetic, ethical, and political ideas expressed in pornography according to the ACLU report is the kind of sexual ac , or at least worth wat ching (30). In other words , the ACLU report argues , pornography has an important role to play in specific sexual practices To bolster this claim, the ACLU report quotes directly from an essay by sex radical feminist theorist and activ ist Ann Snitow , 32 noting that pornography may also promote the joys of passivity, of helpless abandon, of response without responsibility , ideas that deserve , the ACLU report insists, to be (30).
143 The 1986 ACLU r eport also parts company with the arguments of the previous generation of civil libertarian opponents of censorship by emphasizing what the report describes as achievement of self or 32). B y legitimating the viewers deepest emotions , reactions , or most peculiar rational ideas by showing that others share them , the ACLU report argues that pornography can play an se xual meaning, fulfillment, identity, and community (32). In the area of sexuality, , where social pressure and taboos frequently socie ty to find others who feel similarly. There is obvious political significance attached to the knowledge that there are others who think as you do. The social message of certain sexually explicit material may be viewed by some people, particularly those in sexual minorities, as beneficial to their self i dentity and self 33). This insistence on self realization and self fulfillment, particularly for sexual minorities, marks a definite shift from earlier a nd much more ambivalent civil libertarian defenses of sexually explicit expression and shares an undeniable affinity with sex radical feminist ideas and arguments. The ACLU report also signals concern for the dignity and civil liberties of sexual minoriti es in other re sp ects e ACLU voices concern that such an amendment would simply apon against 123). The report also condemns the commission that ons as
144 new ways to criminalize or regulate consensual (albeit dangerous in some cases) behavior, 135). The ACLU report even takes step s toward condemning the stigmatization of practitioners of s/m and defending the pornography of this nearly universally Report report whole wholly cons ensual and non eport departs from liberal convention s of the 1960s and 70s . However, the extent to which the advent of broaden ed liberal discourse on sexual freedom should not be overstated . For instance, the 1986 ACLU report did not call producing film or pictures, not sexual gratification for money, is the primary purpose of the The ultimately l imited nature of the influence sex radical feminism was able to exert on liberal sexual politics is most visible in those aspects of the 1986 ACLU report that touch on the sexuality of young people. For instance, i n re s claim b y the dat a in this report here is not a
145 76 77). Such a reply pornography regulation might change if the Me ese Commission Report had offered credible evidence that young people consumed large amounts of pornography . The ACLU should enact legislation prohibiting producers of certain sexually exp licit visual depictions from using performers under the age of twenty is similarly limited in virtually all legal senses . Eighteen year olds vote, drive, marry, make contracts, give legal consen t to medical treatment, and die forbid them from freely choosing to pose for sexually explicit pictures Of course, c oncern fo r the civil and sexual liberty of those who are not yet legally adults is wholly absent from this response, which implicitly endorses the notion that it is permissible to forbid people under the age of 18 from freely choosing to pose for sexually explic it pictures . stance on laws regulating child pornography and intergenerational sex is vastly different from the position on these matter staked out by sex radical feminists like Gayle Rubin and Pat Califia. While Rubin and Califia opposed age of consent and child pornography laws as oppressive denials of the sexual autonomy of young people and unjust threats to the civil liberties and sexual freedom of their adult lovers, the ACLU report shows little concern for either of these mat ters. In fact, the ACLU report clearly states that, while the ACLU believes that child pornography laws pose a threat to constitutionally protected speech, the organization also agrees with [the Meese Commission] that the vast bulk of child pornography do es represent the non and that
146 (103 ; 105). Ther e is much to be done to reach those who finance these photographic productions; those who procure the children (with various degrees of coercion) into making the photographs; those who engage in sexual activities with children , as well as other knowing and willful participants who aid and abet in molestation 33 The possibility that pictures of young people engaged in sexual conduct with adults depict benign and consensual sexual acts is not mentioned or entertained in the ACLU report . expressive freedom, not the sexual freedom of the young or oppressed sexual minorities. In the course of its discussion of child pornography laws, t he ACLU r eport also reproduces, rather that questions or chall pedophilia as dangerous and pathological. criminal bans on the production and distribution of child pornography] could decrease the market for such mater ials, the deep patholog ies of many such a result is quite unlikely. At its root, there is no basis to conclude that What the ACLU has done here is invoked the specter of the incurably degenerate pedophile to argue against the criminalization of child pornography. Sex radical feminists, who were as concerned with mitigating the social stigma endured by sexual non conformi sts as t hey were with reforming sex law, would have stridently opposed such a strategy. As this brief discussion of the 1986 ACLU report has shown, the amalgamation of civil liberties and sex radical feminist rhetoric censorship/pro yielded ambiguous results. While the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance was defeated and a space for a
147 more robust defense of sexual expression than liberals had traditionally offered was opened up within the conceptual confines of liberalism, thes e achievements came at a price and many of sex radical aspects its expansive vision of sexual freedom, its concern with modes of sexual oppression beyond the censorship of sexual expression by the state, and its commitment to cultural projects of ident did not survive liberal translation. Notes 1 Diary of a C onference on Sexuality . The concept paper was also included in Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality (1984), an edited volume that grew out of the conference. 2 In addition to attending the conference, Butler also participated in the post confer against the Barnard conference published in Feminist Studies , Vol. 9, No. 1. 3 than just a conference program. As Gayle Rubin, one of the Barnard Diary was a seventy archival document, not only of the planning process but of the day itself meetings, blank pages where attendees could take notes, and a page for each workshop. The workshop pa ges contained a description of the workshop, a list of the presenters, a suggested bibliography, and a photograph or Diary were sexually explicit. This, along with the conf Diary days before the conference. For a more detailed description of these events, see note xcvi below. 4 Those individuals singled out in the leaflet by name were Ellen Willi committee, Gayle Rubin and Dorothy Allison, presenters at the conference, and Pat Califia, whose only involvement with the conference was as an attendee. The leaflet criticized Willis for her involvement with No Mor e Nice Girls, a pro Village Voice support full text of the leaflet was reprinted nearly a year after the conference in the Notes and Letters section of the journal Feminist Studies , Vol. 8, No. 1. The reproduction of the leaflet gave rise to a controversy all its own when Carole Vance, along with Willis, Rubin, Allison, Califia, and several other conference supporters, sent letters to Feminist Studies criticizing the journal Feminist Stu dies quickly published these letters text of these letters and the Feminist Studies ction of Feminist Studies , Vol. 9, No. 3. 5 In the week prior to the conference, similar criticisms were also shared with the Barnard College administration. officials and trustees, as well as on prominent local feminists, complaining that the conference was promoting anti feminist views
148 President alarmed at the possible reactions of donors to sexual topics and images confiscated all copies of the [ Diary of a Conference on Sexuality nography, and announcing their intention to the [conference Diary (Gould 1997, 200). Ultimately, the Barnard administration confiscated all 1,500 copies of the Diary and did not agreed to pay to reprint the Diary , removing two lines of type with the names of Barnard College and the conference (Rubin 2011, 26). These events are reco as well as in a series of stories published in the Barnard Bulletin by Jessica McVay and Mary Witherell. See Barnard Bulletin Barnard Bulletin , vol. 80, no. 2. 6 According to Pat Califia Feminist Studies letter responding to the charges made ag ainst her in the leaflet, by the covering the Barnard conference for Gay Community News written by Lisa Orlando, a former member of New York R Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW), and New York Radical Feminists (which, as a former 1982). In her Feminist Studies letter, Califia also reported that eaflet and having been leaflet has also been called into question by historian Carolyn Bronstein. According to Bronstein, at the time of the Bar chapter of WAVAW publically di ssociated themselves from the leaflet in a letter published in off our backs in November, 1982. 7 infamous Barnard Conference on Sexuality] wou ld go down in history as the iconic catalyst for polarization between different elements in the feminist movement the antiporn versus the anticensorship groups; the sexually androgynous feminists versus those of us who came out of the old gay butch/femme Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti Pornography Movement, 1976 1986 (Cambridge Universi Desiring Revolution: Second Wave Feminism and the Rewriting of American Sexual Thought, 1920 1982 (Columbia University Reconcil able Differences: Confronting Beauty, Pornography, and the Future of Feminism (University of Californi Columbia Law Review , Vol. 95, No. 2 (1995) off our backs Feminist Studies , Vol. 12, No. 3 (1986). Other scholars have take n a longer view, arguing that the clash at Barnard was prefigured b y earlier clashes between antipornography feminists and lesbian sadomasochists in San Francisco in the late 1970s . New York Law School Law Rev iew , Vol. 289 (1993) The Communication Review , Vol. 11 (2008); and Gayle Rubin GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies , Vol. 17, No. 1 (2011). While these accounts do much to historicize the Barnard conflict, they do little to displace it from the center of the sex wars narrative or to challenge the notion that the sex wars were a simple, two sided, internecine feminist affair.
149 8 Lore 2013, 103). 9 The Second Court o modern marriage (276 F.2d 433 (1960)). 10 Interestingly enough, the author of , D.H. Lawre nce, appears to have shared these views . In The right sort of sex stimulus is invaluable to ut even I would censor open. In the second, you can recognize it by the insult it offers, invariably, to sex, and to the human spirit. Pornography is the attempt to insult sex, to do d 240 241). 11 shared this view. In the late 1960s, Rosset, the publisher of numerous sexually explicit works including an entire catalogue of Victorian and Edwardian pornography, criticized Al Goldstein, the publisher of Screw Obscene 12 For Ti 29, 1977. 13 Pat Califia is now Patrick Califia. In 1999, he began the process of sexual reassignment and now identifies as a bisexual trans m For the sake of historical accuracy, I refer to Califia here using his former name, sexual orientation, and gender identity. 14 Heresies , Sex Issue, No. 12, 1981, pp. 30 The Advocate in April of 1980; revised and reprinted in Caught Looki ng: Feminism, Pornography, and Censorship , published by the Feminist Anti Censorship Taskforce, New York, 1986). 15 opposition to censorship differed fundamentally from conventional libera l opposition. For Califia, the power of marginalized sexual minorities to cou The line between word and deed is a desire that cannot be named or described i s a desire that cannot be valued, acted upon, or used as the basis expression was not an end in itself but one crucial aspect of a broader politics of sexual resistance an d liberation. 16 17 18 I inc luded in What Color Is Your Handkerchief, Janet Sch rim adopted a similar stance vis Ã vis sex law. is going to tell me what I consent and a regard for personal safety. No feminist, no politician, no right wing hero, no church Samois 1979, 23).
150 19 included in W hat Color is your Handkerchief . 20 ls. The inequalities, and differential powers. In this analysis, state regulation of sex is part of a more complex system of oppression that if refle cts, enforces, and influences. The state also develops its own structures of interest, powers, 21 al View of the Coming to Power (1981). See x, and the Problem of S/M, 1969 1993 (2014). 22 2011, 390). According to Rubin, while it is true that both sex radical feminists and libertarians nd differential powers. In this analysis, state regulation of sex is part of a more complex system of oppression that it reflects, enforces, and influences. The state also develops its own structures of interest, powers, and investments in sexual regulatio 23 For a detailed account of the Dworkin The New Politics of Pornography (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1989). 24 conference held at Barnard College in the spring of 1982 that brought together leading sex radical feminist theorists and activists from across the country to critically engage the sexual pol itics and ideology of antipornography feminism. She was also the editor of Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality (1985), a collection of 25 ntipornography ordinance borrowed language from the version of the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance enacted by the City of Indianapolis, it depar ted significantly from Dworkin original design. For example, it described pornography as a primary c New York Times New York Time s , Dec. 27, 1984; New York Times , November 13, 1984.) MacKinnon described the 26 For a transcript of testimony of fered by FACT members at various hearings for the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance, see Catharine A. MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, eds., Hearings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997). For a description of F Mother Jones , May 1987, 49. 27 It has often been mistaken for such. See, for example, Dorchen Leidholdt and Janice G. Raymond, eds. , The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism (New York, NY: Teachers College Press, Chicago Kent Law Review 75 (October 2000); J Columbia Law Review 93 (March 1993): 374; and Richard Delgado Ohio State Law Journal 53 (1992). 28 founder and influential sex radical feminist Carole Vance has also
151 emphasize were almost never liberals or libertar ians in terms of their political philosophy or analysis and rejected these terms, whether used by anti porn feminists or thoughtless bystanders, as an attempt to misrepresent their intentions and 29 y and its consequences differs from of those of other commentators. For instance, in (Vance 1993, 304). Dierdre English, by contrast, en FACT and liberal anticensorship groups were the genders of their members. Finally, Kathryn Abrams has portrayed FACT as a subjectivity (Abrams 1995). While I am persuaded by Abrams that FACT did, indeed, fail to influence liberal thinking in this one respect, I am also persuaded that FACT succeeded in influencing liberal thinking in other 30 Other key figures include Wendy Kaminer, Leanne Katz, Thelma McCormack, Wendy McElroy, and Alison The Nation June The Atlantic , New York Law School Law Review 1 (1993); Thelma McCormack, Justice Quarterly 2, no.2 (1985); Wendy McElroy, Freedom, Feminis m, and the State: An overview of individualist feminism (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 1982) and Right to Pornography Pornography, Feminism and the Individual (London: Pluto Press , 1989). 31 In the summer of 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily affirmed the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in American Booksellers v. Hudnut . In Hudnut , the appellate court held that the version of the Dworkin MacKinnon ord inance enacted by the City of Indianapolis was a content based regulation of speech that was not neutral in regard to viewpoint and violated the First Amendment. The ruling referenced the FACT brief approvingly. 32 in Powers of Desire , an edited volume that included contributions from other seminal sex radical feminist thinkers such as Amber Hollibaugh, Cherrie Moraga, Dierdre English, Ellen Willis, Joan Nestle, and Carole Vance. Snitow Caught Looking: Feminism, Pornography, and Censorship . See Snitow, authored t wo short pieces with leading sex radical feminists Carole Vance and Lisa Duggan. See Vance and Snitow, 33 All in all, the ACLU report en requirement that the prosecution identify or procure testimony from the child who is depicted if proof of age can that person engaged in sexual conduct with a minor sufficient evidence of child molestation for u se in prosecuting 159).
152 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION I began the present work with an invitation to conceive of the sex wars as something other than a straightforward conflict bet ween antipornography feminists on one side and sex radical feminists on another invitation, I promised, would disclose aspects of the sex wars that are rarely considered, including a rich history of theoretical contestation and improbable collaboration between antipornography feminists , sex radical feminists, and liberals of various stripes . Now, having recovered this history and placed it squarely in our view, I would like to extend one f inal invitation. Let us reflect on the implications of t he complex relationships between antipornography feminism , sex radical feminism , and liberalism that the foregoing chapters have illuminate d for contemporary feminist politics . The Sex Wars and Femin As a growing number of scholars and activists have observed, i n the past several decades , feminist efforts to resist gender based violence have taken on an unmistakably carceral hue. 1 From international campaigns to stiffen penalties campaigns to institute mandatory arrest policies in cases of intimate partner violence , ostensibly feminist projects increasingly figure policing, prosecution, and incarceration as solutions to the problem of gender based violence and oppression . Of the scholars who have documented this most have attempted to explain it in terms of a confluence of feminist and conservative forces. Kristen Bumiller , for instance, has arg ued that reactionary the feminist movement a gainst sexual violence in the 198 0s, giving rise to
153 2008, 5 7). Elizabeth Bernstein has offered a similar account of the rise of justice in the femin ist antitrafficking movement (Bernstein 2010, 47). According to Bernstein, n and eminist Laura Lederer and Dorchen Liedholdt and wing organizati te and the Heritage Foundation (Bernstein 2010, 47; 52 53 ). that certain affinities (as well as more concrete c onnections) 2 do, indeed, exist between contemporary femini st anti of antipornography feminism , sex radical feminism, and liberalism in the 1980s and 90s indicates th carceral turn may not be exclusively or even primarily a product of conservative or right wing influence. Consider, for example, the convergence of liberalism and antipornography feminism that I described in chapter three . According to my research , prior t o the emergence of liberal antipornography feminism in the mid 1980s , antipornography feminists figured pornography as harmful in ways that challenged traditional liberal conceptions of harm, liberty, and the public and the private. They did not, however, advocate or pursue criminal legal solutions to the problem of pornography . As I have already emphasized , even Catharine MacKinnon, who was notoriously eager to wield the law in the service of feminist e nds, advocated only a civil arms and adamantly opposed efforts to regulate pornography through criminal law , including extant obscenity law state over sexuality or the problem of
154 140; Lederer and Delgado 1995, 302). With the advent of liberal antipornography feminism, this reluctanc e to employ the criminal law to address the problem of pornography the sweeping regulations on speech that broad and de eply politicized conceptions of antipornography feminists starting with Cass Sunstein eliminated the possibility for the sort of wholesale regulation of sexually explicit speech that liberals so feared, in my view, they also, inadvertently perhaps, made criminal law appear to be the One sees this paradoxical logic at work quite vividly in the liberal antipornography feminist proposals put forward by Elena Kagan in 1993 at the University of Chicago School of Law conference, peech, Equality, and Harm: Feminist Legal Perspectives on Pornography and In her zeal to ameliorate the undesirable effects of pornography and hate speech while remaining faithful to the liberal principle of viewpoint neutrality and prese rving the of various acts through criminal law. More specifically, she called for stricter enforcement of existing hate crimes laws as well as the enactment o f new criminal prohibitions on both pornography whose production involved violence or coercion and certain kinds of harassment, threats, and intimidation (Lederer and Delgado 1995, 204). By translating the feminist critique of pornography into a liberal id
155 government action to ensure the preservation of individual liberty, liberals like Kagan infused antipornography feminism with an unmistakably carceral flavor. My account of the emergence of a nti censorship/pro sex feminism out o f the strategic alliance formed by sex radical feminists and civil libertarians to fight the Dworkin MacKinnon ordinance in the mid 1980s also points toward a possible liberal genealogy for carceral turn. Con sider, for example, t he carceral thrust of the anti censorship/pro sex feminist arguments put forward in the ACLU official report on the findings and recommendations of the Meese Commission that I discussed in chapter four. While the report offer s a bold defense of sexual expression qua sexual expression and alerts readers to the adverse effects of censorship on sexual minorities , it also, at times, tacitly endorses, and, at other times, openly a dvocates , the criminalization of a variety of forms of sexua l conduct , including prostitution, pandering, intergenerational sex, and the production of so child pornography While it may seem counterintuitive to claim that liberalism, with its emphasis on individual liberty and limited government, helped t o forge a feminist politics that figured the seems to have occurred in the case of both liberal feminist hybrid s that emerge d out of the improbable couplings of liber alism and feminism during the sex wars (Bernstein 2010, 56; 2007, 143). In the case of liber al antipornography feminism, a dogged commitment to the inviolability of expressive freedom led to calls for criminal antipornography statutes targeting conduct rat her than speech . In the case of anti censorship/pro sex feminism, a similarly dogged commitment to expressive freedom supplanted broader vision of sexual freedom and led to the endorsement of a variety of criminal laws regulating sex ual conduct. In both of these cases, t he carceral thrust, if you will, derive d not from some latent conservative impulse s or ill -
156 advised conservative alliances , but from a consummately liberal commitment to the sanctity of d belief. This indicates that been fired by more than merely conservative fuel . Liberal , sex, appear to have be en in play here as well. The Sex Wars and Recent Calls for Trigger Warning s As the fo regoing discussion has shown, t he convergence of antipornography feminism, sex radical feminism, and liberal ism during the sex wars gave rise to new feminist perspectives on sexual expression and its implications that were far less critically oriented to wa rd the carceral power of the state than their feminist predecessors . Nevertheless , the carceral thrust of liberal antipornography feminism and anti censorship/sex radical feminism should not obscure the fact that both of these positions we re , at bottom, cr ea tures of liberalism, and, as such, jealous of individual liberty, suspicious of state power , and deeply invested in the public/private distinction . Indeed, as I have already demonstrate d, it was these consum mately liberal commitments that, paradoxically, propelled liberal antipornography feminists and anti censorship/pro s ex feminists in such improbable carceral directions . However, the criminalization of various acts like the production of pornography involving violence or coercion and the production of child pornography are not the only prescriptions that the curious combinations of liberalism, antipornography fem inism, and sex radical feminism that emerged in the course of the sex wars produced . In my view, r ecent and university campuses must also be understood , at least in part, as products of liberal antipornography and anti censorship/pro sex feminist thinking . Originating in feminist spaces on the Internet , trigger warnings, as their advocates describe them, ar for traumatic conte esolution to Mandate Warnings For
157 Triggeri ng Content in Academic Settings anta Sexual Assault, Abuse, Self Injurious Behavior, Suicide, Graphic Violence, Pornography, 4). Affixing labels Wakefield 2014). While critics denounce trigger warnings as encroachments on academic freedom and freedom of speech, 3 a dvocates insist that they are nothing of the sort. For instance, according to I ncluding trigger warnings is not a form of crit simply requests the respect and acknowledgment of the effect of triggering content on students with PTSD, both (Calderon and Wakefield 2014). An architect of a controversial trigger warning policy at Oberlin College has made a similar point, insisting that the policy and support Likewise , in an op ed urging professors to incorporate trigger warnings int o course syllabi, Rutgers University student Phillip Wythe minded
158 As these arguments on behalf of trigger warnings indicate , trigger warnings are seen by their advoca tes as a means of address ing the potential harmfulness of depictions of sex and violence without interfering with the free dom of individuals to consider such depictions if they so choose. In this sense, trigger warnings appear to be the descendants of libe ral antipornog raphy feminist proposals put forward in the 1980s and 90s . Like the liberal antipornography feminists I described in chapter three , proponents of trigger warnings eschew broad and d eeply political conceptions of the harm brought about through sexually explicit or violent depictions (e.g. objectification, subordination, silencing and the like) , opting to speak instead in narrower, more i ndividualized terms of harms such as emotional distress , physical discomfort, and psychological t rauma . Such language is, of course, virtually identical to the language employed i n the liberal antipornography feminist propos al offered up by Dorchen Leidholdt at the University of Chicago School of Law in 1993 . Pornography in the workplace, Leidholdt argued , has the capacity to cause so severe that it ( Lederer 1995, 217; 218). T he harm trigge r warning advocates hope trigger wa rnings will obviate debilitating psychic pain brought about through unwanted exposure to sexually explicit or violent depictions is virtually identical to the harm that Leidholdt attempted to address through sexual harassment law . While trigger warning advocates employ descriptions of h arm that are virtually identical to those employed by liberal antipornography feminists like Leidholdt , the parallels between the trigger warning phenomenon and liberal antipornography feminism should not be overstated. F or instance, despite their insistence that depictions of sex and violence have the power, in certain circumstances, to inflict acute and debilitating psychic pain, trigger warning advocates do not
159 hi tch this figuration of harm to policy prescription s that seek to eliminate or curtail the availability of sexually explicit or violent depictions . Unlike liberal antipornography feminists , who sought to regulate pornography as extensively as their various understandings of liberal principles would allow, t rigger warning advocates do not seek to eliminate or restrain at all . Rather, what they call for is the adoption of voluntary 4 system s of content labels that enable individuals to make informed decisions about what to look at, listen to, or participate in . As trigger warning advocate and editor in chief of Bitch magazine Kjerstin Johnston choice. word announcement for people to choose to read on or pa ss over depending on Such warnings are a far cry even from the attenuated version of the Dworkin MacKinnon antipornography civil rights ordinance advocated by Sunstein, the criminal ban on materials whose production invol ved coercion or viol ence advocated by Kagan, and the sexual harassment approach to pornography in the workplace advocated by Leidholdt. In fact, at l east insofar as they take unreconstructed liberal notions of choice, privacy, and expressive freedom as ind ispensable feminist value s , trigge r warning advocates appear to be the descendants not of liberal antipornography feminism , but a nti censorship/pro sex feminism . An op ed written in support of trigger warnings by members of the Multicultural Affairs Advis ory Board (MAAB) at Columbia University conveys th e anti censorship/pro sex feminist dimension of the trigger warning phenomenon quite plainly . After describing the experience of a student and sexual assault survivor ing in a mandatory general education course , the MAAB members urge the Center for the Core Curriculum, the body that oversees the general education program at Columbia, to act on three recommendations. First, t hey call on the Center to issue a letter to f aculty about potential trigger warnings and
160 (Johnson et. al. 2015). Second, they call for the creation of as well as diation mechanism for students who hav e identity based disagreements with professors . Fi nally, the MAAB members suggest that constructively facilita te con v ers ations that embrace all identities, share best practices, and think (Johnson et. al. 2015). is not to infringe upo n the to engage with potential conflicts and confrontations in the classroom, whether they are between et. al. 2015). As a Washington Post report on the Columbia trigger warning controversy observed, the g oal of the students advocating trigger warnings is A more consummately liberal response to the problem of all egedly harmful expression is difficult to imagine. In fact, apart from their concern about the potential harmfulness of sexually explicit or violent representations and their vaguely feminist interest in accommodating survivors of sexual assault c[ing] all identities , MAAB members defend a position that is very much akin to the liberal position on sexual ly explicit or otherwise offensive expression that predominated prior to the curious couplings of liberalism and feminism during the sex wars . Co nsider, for example, the following bit of cold comfort Herald Price Fahringer , defense attorney for Al Goldstein and Larry Flynt , offered antipornography feminists at the New York University School of Law in 1978 : ad what is repulsive to him or her.
161 251). complete subsumption into liberalism, feminists w ho are concerned by the negative effects of sexually explicit or violent representations are demanding little more than the tools necessar y to The Promise and Poverty of Liberalism The sex wars have been credited wi th (and blamed for) many things , from inaugurating the field of queer studies to instigating to aiding and abetting projection of military power abroad . For instance, in her introduction to a recent GLQ spec ial issue reflecting on the w analytic separation between sexual eme rgence of lesbian, gay, and que er studies as a field separate out of lesbian S/M, butch/femme, and sex work activism radical position staked out by feminists in the late 1970s and early 1980s was crucial t In another vein, Clare Snyder ve and nonjudgmental approach w der ee major many imp n yder sexuality once s hattered the feminist Hall explain third wave feminism
162 completely embraces non judgmentalism and choice (Snyder Hall 2008, 190). ncluding a diversity of views on sexuality and not judging any of them, third wave feminists hope to avoid like those that marked the sex wars era (Snyder Hall 2008, 189). ional law after its defeat on the domestic front in the U.S. have also been widely not ed and critiqued ( Chapkis 2005; Bernstein 2007; Bernstein 2008; Cheng 2008; Brennan 2008; Shah 2008; AugstÃn 2008; Vance 2010; Rubin 2010; Rubin 2011 b ; Bernstein 2012). S ince the early 1990s, antipornography feminists like Catharine MacKinnon, Dorchen Leidholdt , and Laura Lederer have brought their dominance to bear in the interna tional arena, leading controversial efforts to combat international sex trafficking and to have rape, forced prostitution, and forced impregnation recognized by American and international courts as acts of genocide and crimes of war (Stiglmayer 1994; M acKi nnon 2006). As MacKinnon has explained in a collection of her writings on international (MacKinnon 2006, 12; 2). Scholars such as Gayle Rubi n and Elizabeth Bernstein have called attention to and criticized various aspects of this an tipornography feminist international agenda (Rubin 2011 b ; Bernst ein 2012). According to Rubin, former antipornography feminist leaders government and internation b , 35). According to Bernstein, femini st
163 trapped in a commitment to carceral paradigms of social , and in particular gender, justice to the global stage (Bernstein 2010, 47 ; 61 ). While all of these legacies are important and deserving of more thorough elaboration, m y goal here has been to foreground legacies of the sex wars that my analysis ro le in and contribution to these events helps bring to light . As I have shown, the liberal antipornography feminist and anti censorship/pro sex feminist position s that emerged in the course of the sex wars have contributed in various ways eral turn. As I have also shown, insofar as they combine a belief that depictions of sex and violence can cause severe psychological harm with a belief that expressive freedom entails an absol ute liberty to express any idea no matter how violent or sexuall y explicit, cal ls for trigger warnings are unmistakably descended from liberal antipornography feminist and anti censorship/pro sex feminist positions. In effect more recent calls for trigger w arning s are both the products of one larger and more fundamental bequest that the sex wars have left to the present: a feminism and a liberalism that are much more closely aligned than they were prior to the improbable alliances and appropriations for whic h the sex wars proved an occasion . For example, when antipornography feminists occupied the executive offices of Grove Press and the earliest rumblings of the sex wars became audible, fundamental liberal principles were seen by liberals and feminists alike as incommensurable with feminist claims regarding the harmfulness of sexually explicit or violent representations. Now, in the wake of the sex wars, many feminists voicing concerns about the potential harmfulness of sexually explicit or violent representa tions are also espousing liberal principles and advocating
164 measures that are carefully tailor ed to accord with them such as trigger warnings . Similarly, prior to the advent of the Feminist Anti Censorship Taskforce and its strategic attempt to translate se x radical feminist vindications of sexual freedom into a liberal idiom of civil liberties and free speech, liberal principles were only rarely and with the great est reluctance invoked to defend sex wa rs , liberals are so eager to defend any and all sexual expression that they are willing to support the increased criminalization of pornography , prostitution , and sex trafficking) so long as it means that speech will remain sacrosanct. What these various transformations show is that the complex and contentious relationships between antipornography feminism, sex radical feminism, and liberalism that played out over the course of t he sex wars have yielded ambiguous results. On the one hand , critical feminist engagements with liberal ism during the sex wars spurred liberals to grapple with sexuality and its political implications in ways they never had before . While sex radical femini sts pressed liberals beyond their grudging defenses of sexual expression as a shameful indulgence that must be tolerated (so long as it is kept private, of course) for the sake of more valuable ends, antipornography feminists goaded liberals into criticall y evaluating their tendency to consign sexual violence and oppression to an apoli could persist unabated . Thus, it seems that o ne legacy of the sex wars is a liberalism that is more attentive to the political dimensions of sex uality and more inclined to defend a traditional liberal slate of rights for women and certain sexual minorities . However, on the other hand, another legacy of the engagements between liberals and feminists during the sex wars is a more restrained and caut ious feminism , a feminism too timid and unimaginative to deviate from liberal convention . Prior to the strange and unexpected
165 admixture s of feminism and liberalism during the sex wars, feminists pursued a variety of projects . Antipornography feminists soug ht to counter the eroticization of violence against women in pornography and media through boycotts, occupations, protests, and an ingenious deployment of civil rights law that, if it had proved successful, would have radically transformed the meaning of t he C onstitution liberty and equality guarantees . At the same time, sex radical feminists sought to resist sexual oppression in all its forms by blurring the boundary between the sexual minorities, i ncluding the most stigmatized, and vindicating a vision of sexual freedom so expansive that it seems as scandalous and utopian today as it must have seemed in the mid 1970s . While these feminist projects were, in many respects, contradictory and often embr oiled in bitter conflict , at their core, they shared a fundamental commonality: their politics were not bound by the strictures of liberal ism. In fact, at their boldest, both antiporn o graphy and sex radical feminism showed an audacious disregard , even cont empt, for liberal principles and conventions. In stark contrast, in the wake of the sex wars, minist s pursuing gender justice through means as punitive as criminalization and incarceration and as fee ble as trigger warnings both swear allegiance to liberalism and the public/private distinction it valorizes. Thus, while the sex wars may have, to some extent, expand ed the liberal political imagination , they have also, to an even greater extent, impoveris hed feminism , reducing it to a fundamentally carceral project on the one hand and an unreconstructed civil libertarianism on the other. Nowhere is the impoverishment of contemporary feminism by an uncritical embrace of liberal convention more apparent tha n in the ideological formation that today travels under the positive feminism presents itself as a feminism that , unlike its matronly, inhibited , judgmental, and predece ssor , a ffir ms, embraces, and
166 celebr ates sex ual agency . As Jane Gerhard has persuasively argued in Desiring Revolution: Second wave feminism and the rewriting of American sexual thought, 1920 1982 (2001 ), the characterization of feminism s past against which sex positi ve feminism articulates itself Nevertheless , with its breezy post feminist ethos of sexual fun and freedom and its uncritical embrace of conventional femininity and heterosexuality, sex positive feminism has be come virtually ubiquitous in popular feminist forums such as Jezebel , Bitch , and Bust and has even made inroads into popular culture more broadly . For instance, in a 2013 interview with , pop singer Miley Cyrus met questions about her hyper sexualized image by declaring that she is one of the biggest feminists in the world becau se I tell women to not be scared of anything , including (Butterly 2013 for elaborated Model , actress, professional celebrity , and outspoken former stripper Amber Rose has also recently become something of a sex pos itive feminist icon . For example, i n the fall of 2015, Rose produced and starred in a video for the popular comedy website Funny or Die that presented early morning back to her place after a one night stand as an empowering and un recently published book, How to be a Bad Bitch (2015) , touts itself as a delivers a message to all women: work hard, love yourself, embrace your femininity and sexuali ty, and most importantly, chase the best vision of you possible (Rose 2015). Perhaps the most significant expression of sex positive feminism in recent years has been the transnational movement of protest marches known as SlutWalk. 5 Haile d by popular
167 fe minist author, blogger , and avowed sex positive feminist the SlutWalk movement exudes an unmistakably sex positive feminist ethos (Valenti 2011 ). 6 The SlutWalk movement began on April 3, 2011 in Toronto, Canada when some 1,500 people, mostly women , donned miniskirts, fishnets , go go boots , and other attire and marched to the downtown headquarters of the Toronto Police Service 7 B illed by organizers as the purpose of the march was to protest a Toronto Police Service remark at a public forum that w omen should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be raped. 8 By the spring of 2012, SlutWalk Toronto had inspired similar events in approximately 200 cities around the world, from New York to New Delhi, and a global grassroot s Slutwalk movement had emerged. challenge the widespread view that female victims of sexual assault are in some way responsible for their own the webs negative connotation. Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it to wh 2011). When the Toronto Police Service officer in order not to be raped, he organizers contend, contributed to an environment in which women are unable t o express themselves sexually for fear that, if they are sexually assaulted , they will be subject to ridicule, disbelief, and blame (Barnett 2011). "We want Polic e Services to truly get behind the idea that
168 victim blaming, slut shaming, and sexual profi Sonya Barnett explained in an inter view promoting the march (Szakowski 2011). Darshika Selvasivam, vice president of t he York Federation of Students and a SlutWalk sympathizer , that l inking provocative clothing to sexual assault "blame [s] the survivor of a sexual assault while taking the onus away from the perpetra tor" ( Rush 2011). Thus, by demanding a s proud, self and other authorities SlutWa lk To ronto hoped to resist the silencing effects of slut shaming and to secure justice for surviv ors of sexual assault by hold ing perpetrators accountable rather than victims (Barnett 2011). As even this brief description should make clear, i n a superficial se nse, at le ast, the SlutWalk movement share s certain affinities with the pre liberal variants of both antiporno graphy and sex radical feminism . For instance, its resemblance to the Take Back the Night marches pioneered in the late 1970s by the San Francisco based antipornography feminist organization Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media is undeniable . 9 Equally undeniable is t he SlutWalk movement at least some respects, with the audacious spirit of public sexual assertion character istic of many sex radical feminist undertakings , including hosted by the Lesbian Sex Mafia at the conclusion of the Barnard Conference . However, these affinities aside , the SlutWalk movement is no mere extension or combination of antipornography and sex radical feminism . In fact, the SlutWalk movement, like the sex positive feminism that pervades it, can be adequately grasped only by reference to the intermingling of these feminist p erspectives with liberalism that the exigencies of the sex wars occasioned.
169 For example, i nsofar as it is centered almost exclusively on a highly individualist conception of expressive if one so chooses , the SlutWalk movement is unabashedly liberal . Similarly, insofar as it adopts a largely uncritical posture toward the concept of consent and takes it as its ideal model of free sexual agreement, the SlutWalk movement remains firmly locked within the ambit of liberalism . Moreover, the zing, as opposed to subverting, conventional and widely accepted form s of femininity and (hetero)sexuality signals its allegiance to a politics of sex and gender that are more consistent with ant i censorship/pro sex feminism and liberal antipornography feminism than either of the feminist projects that preceded them. 10 Finally, the eager embrace of a carceral paradigm of gender justice, as evidenced in its figuration of the slut as a supplicant before the law pleading with police, prosecutors, and judges for solicitude and respect , is more continuous with liberal antipornography feminism and anti censorship/pro sex feminism than either antipornography feminism or sex rad ical feminism . 11 It seems, then , that both t h e SlutWalk movement and the sex positive feminism animating it are as much creature s of liberalism as they are of feminism , a fact that vividly reflects the extent to which liberal concepts and concerns have com e to govern the contemporary feminist political imagination . Thus, w hile critical feminist engagements with liberalism during the sex wars may have prompted liberals to come more readily to the defense of sexual expression and to admit violen ce against wom en as a properly p olitical concern, the influence liberalism managed to exert on feminism during the sex wars appears to have been far more powerful and thoroughgoing. Antipornography feminist concerns with the subordination of women broadly conceived and the deeply patriarchal character of the liberal state and its
170 concomitant notions of liberty, equality, and the public and the private have been almost entirely supplanted by concerns with sexual violence and how existing concepts, frameworks, and institut ions might be mobilized to punish it . Similarly, sex radical feminist visions of a robust sexual freedom that encompasses all those exiled sexuality have been shamin and expressive freedom . The view of contemporary feminism from beyond Barnard is, thus, far from inspiring. Recovering and r eflecting on the history of how, in part, feminism has come to be what it is at present will, I hope, fire feminist imaginatio ns and revivify something of the radical impulses that animated antipornography and sex radical feminism in their pre liberal variants. Notes 1 See, for instance, Gottschalk, The Prison and the Gallows , 2006; Simon, Governing through Crime , 2007; Bernstein, 2007, 2010 2012 ; Bumiller, In an Abusive State , 2008; Lancaster, Sex Panic , 2011. 2 conse rvative entanglements, entanglements that Elizabeth feminist movement veterans , cannot help but bring to mind. As chronicler of the antiporno graphy feminist movement Carolyn Bronstein has noted, in the mid 1980s the period during which I have argued liberal antipornography feminism was first coming into its own pornography feminists and religious forming and tightening (Bronstein 2011; 278). Without denying the accuracy of rhetoric, it seems to me that, in the case of the antipornography feminist movement, the turn toward carcerality was propelled by the confluence of liberal and antipornography feminist commitments, not simply the pragmatic regulating speech, liberal antipornography feminists explicitly called for increased regulation of conduct through criminal law. I expand on this below. 3 Jarv . 4 While some trigger warning advocat es have demanded that their use be mandatory, most express a preference for policies that simply encourage, advise, or recommend their use. The guidelines for the use of trigger warnings laid ample of one such voluntary trigger warning policy (Falherty 2014). 5 On October 3, 2015, Amber Rose led her own SlutWalk through the streets of downtown Los Angeles (Rose 2015).
171 6 Noor Al (Al Sibai 2013). 7 My description of the original SlutWalk demonstration is based on accounts that appeared in Excalibur , York , and The Toronto Star . 8 SlutWalk co founder Sonya Barnett a the original SlutWalk (Szakowski 2011). 9 This resemblance has rec ently been noted by legal scholar Deborah Tuerkheimer in an article published in the Minnesota Law Review Slutwalking in the Shadow of the Law ness to women who have been raped and to others heimer observes, (Tuerkheimer 2014, 1461). 10 Whenever I reflect on the SlutWalk movement and the sex positive feminism animating it, I cannot he lp but be reminded of the passage from The History of Sexuality : An Introduction day people will be surprised at the eagerness with which we went about pretending to rouse from its slumber a sexuality which everythin g our discourses, our customs, our institutions, our regulations, our knowledges was wing project of sexual liberation Foucault was so keen to take to task in this work, sex positive feminism is 11 The carceral thrust of the Slut Walk movement is conveyed quite vividly in a chant reportedly em ployed by A remark made by one of Slut Wheelock College, Gayle Dines , also conveys the carceral vision of gender justice animating the SlutWalk movement she agrees inal acts (Dines and Mur phy 2011).
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188 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lorna Bracewell received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in the fall of 2015. She studied political science with specialization s in political theory and sexuality studies . Her research interests include feminist theory, history, and the politics of sex and sexuality. She currently lives in Gainesville, Florida with her wife, Paola, and their baby boy, a feisty miniature schnauzer named Rafferty.