Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement, 1976-1986

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 27, 2011 - History - 374 pages
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Pornography catapulted to the forefront of the American women's movement in the 1980s, singled out by some leading feminists as a key agent of female oppression and celebrated by others as an essential ingredient of sexual liberation. In Battling Pornography, Carolyn Bronstein locates the origins of anti-pornography sentiment in the turbulent social and cultural history of the late 1960s and 1970s, including women's mixed responses to the sexual revolution, and explains the gradual emergence of a controversial anti-pornography movement. Based on extensive original archival research, the book reveals that that the seeds of the movement were planted by groups who protested the proliferation of advertisements, Hollywood films, and other mainstream media that glorified sexual violence. Over time, feminist leaders redirected the emphasis from violence to pornography to leverage rhetorical power, unwittingly attracting right-wing supporters who opposed sexual freedom and igniting a forceful feminist counter-movement in defense of sexuality and free speech. Battling Pornography presents a fascinating account of the rise and fall of this significant American social movement and documents the contributions of influential activists on both sides of the pornography debate, including some of the best-known American feminists.

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The author examines how second wave feminism's initial efforts to battle portrayals of violence against women in the media slowly morphed into an alliance with the religious right to battle ... Read full review

About the author (2011)

Carolyn Bronstein is Associate Professor of Media Studies in the College of Communication at DePaul University. Her research investigates questions of media representation and social responsibility, with an emphasis on gender, and her work has been published in such journals as Violence Against Women, Camera Obscura and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. She is co-editor of Responsible Advocacy: Ethics in Public Relations (2006).

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