Pornography and the social implication of women in pornography is a controversial issue. Its publication, production, distribution and use are criticized by its opponents as, among other things, exploitive of women. Its advocates argue that the imposition of limits upon women would constitute a restriction of the fundamental rights of free speech and freedom of expression.
Feminist's factions populate different sides of the argument. Second wave feminists of the 1950s and 1960s vocally rejected the categories and stereotypes of women reinforced by men and the then male-dominated media. This generation of feminists voiced strong opposition to the proliferation of pornography and its depiction of women solely as sexual creatures. The 3rd wave of feminists which followed are more tolerant of pornography, being of the view that women can participate in pornography as a tool of leverage and sexual power over men and exploit men's' demand for it to their economic advantage. By financially capitalizing on the strong and growing market for pornography, women gain power and enhanced self-determination.
Opponents have, with mixed success, tried to identify pornography with a wide range of social evils. Some have tried to demonstrate a link between consumption of pornographic depictions of sexual acts that are violent or fetish in nature (i.e. bondage, sadism and masochism) and domestic violence and other acts of sexual violence towards women. The results of research on this thesis, including those published in a report of the U.S. Surgeon General, are inconclusive. Certain research has concluded that the exposure to such material does not cause people to become aggressive or violent or even to materially alter their real-life sexual appetites. Heinous crimes such as rape and child abuse have never been linked to pornographic use. Such crimes tend to be more power... [continues]
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