10 Major Unresolved Issues Within the Anti-Pornography Struggle

A challenge to the feminist anti-pornography movement has been a lack of consensus about key issues and goals.  The NOMAS National Task Group on Pornography & Prostitution has developed a list of ten such unresolved issues (see below).  We seek to encourage more thinking and constructive discussion about them.

1.  The anti-pornography movement was large and making headlines, in the late 1980's and early 90's.  Today, it has largely disappeared from public awareness and debate.  Is it possible to reverse this, and how?

2.  Is “pornography” essentially one phenomenon, as the single word implies, or,  a combination of several different factors, with different effects?

 3.  Should “pornography” refer only to depictions that are “sexually explicit”?

4.  Should the categories of “Sex Education Materials” and “Equalitarian-Respectful Erotica” be excluded or included from harmful “pornography”?

5.  Harm:  How is a woman “harmed” by pornography, if she is (personally) never the victim of a sexual assault or coercion?   How are men “harmed” by pornography at all?

6.  Is gay male pornography fundamentally similar in harmful effects to straight male pornography, or fundamentally different?

7.  The argument that pornography is “Speech” and thus protected by the First Amendment, has won repeatedly in the US courts, and defeated all efforts to limit the scope of pornography.  How can we ever beat this argument?

8. Despite denials, the Anti-Pornography movement is still widely viewed as prudish, uptight, old-fashioned, anti-erotic, and even anti-sexual. Is there any truth to this?

9.  Should anti-pornography feminists communicate, or cooperate, with Church-based groups that are working against pornography?

10.  As to future legislation:  should we advocate the Dworkin-MacKinnon Anti-Pornography Ordinance or civil rights approach, or look for a different legal approach?

 NOMAS welcomes information, statements, citations, etc. about any these issues, and will consider all information that we receive.   (We cannot in most cases reply individually.)   Many of the issues identified above are complex.   We plan in the future to add to this page pro-and-con discussion of the issues above.