Battling Pornography (Paperback)
The American Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement, 1976-1986
Cambridge University Press, 9781107400399, 360pp.
Publication Date: January 9, 2011
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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.