Gail Dines


Much has now been written about the divisive nature of the so called "porn wars" that ripped through the feminist movement in the 1980s and 1990s, What was previously a somewhat agreeable alliance between radical and liberal feminists turned into the full scale battle that continues today, albeit in a somewhat muted form. While there have been some new players added to this debate recently, specifically post-modem feminists, there are still clear divisions between those feminists who argue that pornography is, in its production and consumption, a form of violence against women, and those feminists who see pornography as having subversive and potentially liberatory consequences for women's sexuality. While I set my arguments within a broadly defined radical feminist paradigm, it is my contention that both sides have tended to assume a gender system which is race-neutral, an assumption that cannot be sustained in a country where "gender has proven to be a powerful means through which racial difference has historically been defined and coded." Although radical feminists such as Andrea Dworkin did talk about the sexualization of racism in pornography, there has been limited analysis of how pornography mobilizes and assimilates racial discourses in ways that speak to white male viewers, the "assumed spectators," according to the pornography trade journal Adult Video News (A VN).

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