What Distinguishes the Dworkin’s Position From Williams?
In her article, Andrea Dworkin revolves around one presumption that women are considered as whores by the male fraternity, who believe that they are sexual objects who are there at their disposal (Dworkin 297). On the other hand, Linda Williams’ article presumes that women in the pornographic industry make it impossible to define the boundary between art and immorality as the act mainly encompasses the usage of women sexual reproductive parts (Williams 361). Dworkin maintains that pornography is an early obscene Greek practice that has evolved to take a different meaning in today’s times.
In addition, porn has changed and expanded from the traditional written form to a digital concept that many people can access. The meaning of this word has remained intact to date, where people still refer to whores in a very offensive language like sluts, sexual chattel, cunts, or cattle. As such, Dworkin regards pornography as a platform where the status of the female gender has remained stagnant while the men are changing and extensively gaining from the production of porn contents (Dworkin 298). In her article, Dworkin states, “Men have created the group, the type, the concept, the epithet, the insult, the industry, the trade, the commodity, the reality of woman as whore” (Dworkin 298). On the other hand, Linda Williams maintains that pornography has made it difficult to establish a clear line between erotic sexual artists and obscene pornographic performers since, in both instances, women use their bodies for acting (Williams 361). Additionally, Williams argues that though artistic pornography is a postmodernized way of feminism, the concept continues to be politicized, thus exposing them to vice squads and censorship of obscene materials. Further, this confusion is propagated by the fact that political feminists no longer seriously fight for the politicized sexual ideology, which is crucial in disguising between what is acceptable and what is obscene (Williams 361).
The two writers differ in several aspects. Dworkin believes that indecent acts, whether acceptable or unacceptable, will always expose women as sexual objects to the whole world and their male counterparts (Dworkin 298). On the other hand, Williams acknowledges that lewd acts like those of Annie Sprinkle are feministic agencies in a postmodern world (Williams 363). It is clearly stated in her article, “Rather her sexual performances, firmly rooted within the particular conventions of pornography and the personal of a whore, are provocative instances of the agency that draw upon the performative traditions of the sexually saturated woman without simply duplicating them” (Williams 363). In this aspect, the singularity concept of “woman” that leads people into rejecting pornographic acts as feminist agencies associate them with self-righteous acts that are beyond the obscenity of erotic arts (Williams 362).
In addition, the two authors differ in that Dworkin takes pornographic acts as forceful, objective and debasing for women. She maintains that during pornographic sessions, the feelings of women actors are disregarded and presumed as dirty while the producers ensure to exploit them and continue to sell widely for profit (Dworkin 298). However, Williams disagrees with this ideology where she uses Annie Sprinkler to show that whores or pornographic women actors are not oppressed. Instead, due to the repetitiveness of their acts, these artists consistently satisfy, cultivate, and make pleasure, that is their fundamental reason for engaging in pornographic acts (Williams 369). They also differ in that Dworkin takes pornography in the Greek context that the women acting are disregarded but keep begging for more pleasure at the expense of the male gender that, is seen to have self-control and minimized desires (Dworkin 298). However, Williams refutes this ideology by presenting that in the modern world, the pornographic platform is an educational arena (Williams 376). In essence, women and men are taught to regard sexual contact respectfully, considering that satisfaction and fulfillment in sex require high levels of agency control.
Can Pornography be Feminist?
Pornography can be and will always be feminist. Feminism is constructed through designing a common goal where a consensus ensures that activists share it as they unite to empower the female gender socially, economically, personally, and politically (Shrage 1). While other ideologies concerning women have never been controversial, pornography continues to elicit different reactions from the feminist groups.
Anti-porn feminists maintain that pornography violates a woman’s rights and subjects her to violence and dehumanization. Apparently, one of the most memorable instances when pornography was greatly debated was during 1970-1980, when feminist sex wars became prevalent in the western society (Assiter, 1989). However, today’s feminist groups and ideologies agree that pornography is a channel through which women express themselves, as they are not forced or coerced into participating in sexually obscene activities (Unit 6, Part III).
Feminism thrives on the libertarianism theory, where individuals can have autonomous rights, liberty, diversity, and independence. With this ideology, women can explore their talents and pursue interests that satisfy their desires or their lives (Shrage 1). Liberal feminism thus wishes to uphold that women do not require to be reorganized by society. Instead, they should be left alone to seek their places within communities and find opportunities that best benefit them, including porn acting.
In Williams’ book, Annie Sprinkle is seen to have pleasure with both the male and female genders. She finds happiness in both of them. One of her stances clearly shows how she pleasures even men through this statement “What is different in this number is the fact that it begins in Annie’s verbal celebration of anal eroticism, in this case, her pleasure taken in a man’s ass” (Williams 370). Moreover, pro-porn activists maintain that pornography has become their last resort in progressively reducing violence against women (Shrage 1). Feminist agree that regularly using porn as a scapegoat for sexual discrimination will continue to bring up newer challenges where social abuse prevails, legal issues increases, and women will continue to face persecution in their societies (Rubin, 271). In Williams’ book, Sprinkle is seen to have become successful in her career, thus literally representing how women are becoming empowered through lewd acts without necessarily involving prostitution. In her opening statement, Williams openly applauds Annie, she states, “The career of Annie Sprinkle is a peculiarly American success story” (Williams 360). Annie Sprinkle is a good example of a woman who has broken the York of a subordinating wife material as she finds a niche in the erotic arts industry, thus acknowledging that the female gender can also be empowered through pornography.
Secondly, pornography is feminist as it embraces all women despite their sexual affiliations. In essence, feminism accommodates sex workers as they consider them as women who are fighting against inequality, the yorks of poverty, and exploitation due to the recognition that survival comes from empowerment.
However, the toughest battle today is decriminalizing prostitution and pornography as it is an opportunity where less earning women are allowed to match the economic well-being of their male counterparts who significantly dominate this field. Nonetheless, pro-sex feminism continues to thrive as their vision of eliminating censorship on a sexual basis as, by so doing, women are oppressed the more. In essence, Rubin’s statement agrees that feminists have always strived to free women sexually she states, “Sexual liberation has been and continues to be a feminist goal” (Rubin 302). For that reason, pro-sex feminists continually oppose obscenity laws as they restrict women from expressing their sexual desires and abilities.
Assiter, A. (1989). Pornography, Feminism and the Individual. Alison Assiter Pluto Press.
Dworkin, Andrea. Pornography: Men Possessing Women. Plume, 1989, pp. 279-299.
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