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 being 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, both women and men are taught to regard sexual contact respectfully putting into consideration that satisfaction and fulfillment in sex require high levels of agency control.
Can Pornography be Feminist?
Pornography can never be feminist for several reasons and conditions that recur in these scenes. First, most feminist groups are anti-porn activists due to the obscenity that most pornographic contents exhibit. As such, many perceive it as dangerous and in need of dire regulation from government institutions. A statement from unit 6 agrees with this notion “According to anti-censorship feminists, both the “Moral Majority” conservatives and “anti-porn” feminists view particular aspects of sexuality as dangerous and in need of regulation” (Unit 6 Part I). Moreover, from the aspect of most writers, pornography is immoral, and it is actively attributed in diminishing the moral social fabric for both male and female. In addition, pornographic materials mostly degrade and dehumanize women, a tactic that is best perpetrated by their male counterparts as they are considered as an object for use during each session. However, anti-feminists argue that both genders are involved in these acts. The fact remains that most of the images are those of women who are degraded by pornographic acts.
On the other hand, arguments have continued that pornographic materials are some of the causal factors of consistent raping instances in today’s world. The violent elements in pornographic contents present women as pleasurable objects which motivate the male gender to be forceful on women as the components exhibited instill in them the need to demean a lady and treat her in a violent way (Unit 6 Part I). Despite Williams strongly displaying Anne Sprinkle’s act as educative and acceptable for postmodern feminism, she maintains that embracing pornographic acts is difficult since it is not possible to determine if her actions are just performed or reality. Her statement agrees with the argument “The point about these orgasms is never whether they are real or performed, showered with ejaculation or urine, parodic or sincere with Annie Sprinkle there is never an either/or but always this/and” (Williams 376).
Moreover, Williams continues to present that the obscenity in most acceptable pornographic acts is still politicized due to the issues encompassing sexual identities since distinct genders are no longer recognized (Williams 361). Consequently, Dworkin maintains that pornography cannot be feminist as the actions exhibited by the actors reflect on the entire women gender. Her statement clearly shows this depiction “Being her means being pornography” (Dworkin 299). In essence, producing pornographic materials indicates that the male dominated hierarchical system only recognize women as sex objects belonging to the entire men’s fraternity.
Further, Dworkin maintains that technological advancement significantly legitimizes and encourages the production of pornographic content, which makes it easy to access and find unacceptable obscene content that portrays women as vile whores. In addition, the violence involved in some of the hardcore scenes establishes that pornography can never be feminist as these materials show tied up women, hanged, gangbanged, beaten, whipped, stretched, and still begging for more action (Dworkin 298). It is through exposure of women to such conditions that it is impossible for pornography to be feminist as those acts are demeaning and show the difference in equity between males and females, while the brutality presented affects the entire female gender.
Dworkin, Andrea. Pornography: Men Possessing Women. Plume, 1989, pp. 279-299.
Rubin, Gayle. “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality.” Social
Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies; A Reader, 1984, pp. 100-133.
Williams, Linda. “A Provoking Agent: The Pornography and Performance Art of Annie Sprinkle.” Social Text, vol. 37, 1993, pp. 117-133.
WOMN 3405. Gender and Human violence. 2010. Routledge.