Sweden may subject women to the draft

Yesterday the Christian Science Monitor reported (“Equality may mean Army service in Sweden“) that Sweden is considering extending its military draft to women. Israel is currently the only nation in the world that drafts women as well a men (although women are not drafted into combat positions).

Rather than maintain a standing professional army, as nations such as the United States does, Sweden tests all 18-year old men for military aptitude and then requires about 40 percent of them to undergo military training. After the training the men are part of the nation’s military reserve until age 47. Women can choose to join the military as well, but it is not required.

According to the Monitor, men in countries with military drafts are beginning to file lawsuits against military drafts that exclude women. In Germany, for example, men have filed a sex discrimination suit against that nation’s military policy. As a National Organization for Women spokesperson tells the newspaper, the United States’ male-only draft registration requirement would almost certainly be found unconstitutional by today’s Supreme Court.

Ironically, although Sweden is probably at the vanguard of governments creating programs to enforce sexual equality, many of them not very well thought out, most women are definitely not in favor of a gender-neutral draft. According to the Monitor, 70 percent of Swedish women oppose the measure. Apparently many women in Sweden share the view that military service is a uniquely masculine role.

I believe military drafts are immoral, in general, but military drafts that do exist should be gender neutral. Morever, gender should not be used to exclude women from combat positions. If a person meet the objective qualifications to fulfill a military position, whether or not that person is male or female should never enter into the equation. The military should set a single standard that have to be met for positions and ignore irrelevant characteristics such as race and sex when making personnel decisions. Unfortunately, this is a position even too radical for NOW which, like many feminist thinkers and organizations, maintains that men and women need to have “separate but equal standards” for physical fitness and other criteria used to evaluate a soldier’s fitness.

Violence Within Lesbian Couples

One of the recurring claims in much radical feminist literature is that violence is an inherently male problem, as opposed to a general human problem. The radical feminist critique of the family, for example, often simplistically postulates that it is solely the presence of males within the family structure which leads to interpersonal violence in families (in other words, even where a woman assaults a man, it is still the man’s fault).

The idea that women may perpetuate violence on their own is one usually ridiculed as a part of the “backlash” by “right-wing forces.” Studies which show that, in violent relationships, men and women on average participate in acts of violence at similar rates, are dismissed as propaganda and researchers who produce such data often subjected to campaigns of protest.

It is interesting, then to consider a study done a couple years ago at the University of Florida which found domestic violence within lesbian couples to be just as prevalent as domestic violence within married heterosexual couples.

Sociologist Janis Weber interviewed 168 lesbians and found that 14 percent of those in committed relationships experienced some form of domestic violence within the previous month — very close to the number of women in heterosexual relationships who report experiencing some form of domestic violence in surveys.

A press release from the University of Florida summarizing the study noted that:

The study of 84 lesbian couples found that lesbians who beat their
partners fit the profile of heterosexuals who did so because they also abused their authority and tried to control their partners. The victims resembled their heterosexual counterparts in making excuses for the abuse or the abusive partner.

There was one important difference, though — the feminist ideology that men are the root cause of violence makes it difficult for lesbian victims of domestic violence to be taken seriously by authorities.

“The only difference between these women and their heterosexual counterparts is they feel completely ostracized from normal channels of help,” Weber said. “If they call the police, the officer would likely laugh and say ‘Oh right, your girlfriend beat you up.’ And they’re persona non grata at shelters because these are usually battered spouse shelters.”

Girls don’t ‘get’ computers? Give me a break

Wired is running an article (Why Girls Don’t Compute) on a new report by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation which claims girls are being ghettoized by the current computer culture. The report, “Tech Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age,” makes a number of claims about girls and computer education that ironically rely on some rather silly steretoypes of girls and women.

For example, according to Wired’s story:

Girls are also turned off to technology at an early age through computer
games that are mass-marketed toward boys.

Girls dislike violent video games aimed at boys and want games that are
personalized and creative, where they can develop relationships with
characters, [Pamela] Haage [AAUW director of research] said.

“They definitely want high-skill, not high-kill,” Haage said.

What a silly stereotype. I never beat “Quake,” for example, but my wife, Lisa did, and from what I saw she thoroughly enjoyed the violent hack and slash of “Diablo.” (And don’t even get me started about her use of nuclear weapons against the Aztecs in Civilization II).

And Lisa’s not alone — there is a rather large community of female gamers who play Quake, Unreal and other similar games online. A blanket statement that girls “definitely want high-skill, not high-kill” is extremely insulting (besides first person shooters require quite a bit of skill once you get passed the newbie level).

For some reason the same feminists who would scream bloody murder if anyone suggest girls want to play with dolls and boys want to play with trucks, have no problem stereotyping violent games as attractive only to males.

Similarly, I don’t understand what the report’s overall conclusions have to do with general computer usage. In my email and bulletin board conversations, the audience is usually close to 50-50 male/female, and a lot of the things the AAUW report complains about have more to do with women in programming rather than general computer literacy. For example, again from Wired’s story,

Statistics clearly indicate that women are under-represented in technology. For example, girls represent 17 percent of Computer Science AP test takers. Women make up only 20 percent of information-technology professionals, and receive fewer than 28 percent of computer science degrees — a number that is actually declining.

With the rise of technology-related jobs in the new economy, experts fear girls who lack computing skills might be left behind.

Huh? I consider myself to be extremely knowledgeable about computers, but never took the Computer Science AP test, much less wanted to go into an information-technology field. Simply because someone isn’t a programmer or an information technology expert doesn’t mean such women lack computing skills. What an absurd inference.

Andrea Dworkin: heterosexuality vs. bestiality and incest

Andrea Dworkin and her supporters
claim she has been a victim of a smear campaign from opponents who distort
and mischaracterize her claims about sex. The best way to get to the truth,
of course, is go to the source and examine what Dworkin actually wrote.
Unfortunately for Dworkin, once you sit down and read her work in depth
she comes across as far more bizarre than even the occasionally out-of-context
quotes from her writing makes her appear.

Androgynous sex

Consider her 1974 book Woman
Hating
, for example, which includes endorsement blurbs from Gloria
Steinem and Kate Millet. Although there are numerous problems with the
book, this essay will focus on chapter 9 of that volume, “Androgyny:
Androgyny, Fucking, and Community,” which incorporates many common
radical feminist ideas and tries to take them to their logical conclusion.

The fundamental concept which drives
Dworkin’s thinking here is that the sexes are a fiction, and an oppressive
fiction at that,

The discovery is, of course, that “man” and “woman”
are fictions, caricatures, cultural constructs. As models they are reductive
totalitarian, inappropriate to human becoming. As roles they are static,
demeaning to the female, dead-ended for the male and female both (Dworkin
1974, p. 174).

Now at some level this is an idea which many people might agree with.
Certainly roles and models of behavior can be restrictive; the role for
women which largely excluded them from working outside the home, for example,
was unnecessarily restrictive. But Dworkin is not attacking the specific
content of roles but of the very idea of roles themselves.

In its place she wants to substitute
what she calls an androgynous ethic. She tries to defend this androgynous
ethic by claiming that there are no biological differences between “men”
and “women” which would make any classification by sex possible,
and then conclude that therefore any sort of sex-based roles whatsoever
are unwarranted.

The Evidence

Before looking at the implications
of this idea, it might help the reader to consider the sort of evidence
(or lack thereof) that Dworkin tries to marshal for this claim that there
it is wrong to divided human beings into one sex or another.

First she notes that since there
are numerous similarities between men and women’s bodies, even in
the sex organs, and some religious texts talk about androgynous gods or
people, “there is no reason not to postulate that humans once were
androgynous — hermaphroditic and androgynous, created precisely in the
image of the constantly recurring androgynous godhead” (Dworkin 1974,
p.176).

This claim, that once all human
beings were hermaphroditic, is the sort of absurd nonsense claimed by
radical feminists. There is simply no physical evidence for this claim.
The oldest physical evidence of both homo sapiens and other primates clearly
indicates the presence of sexual dimorphism.

Second, Dworkin attempts to get
great mileage from marginal cases. Women on average are shorter than men,
but on the other hand there are some very tall women. Does this mean that
height is completely independent of sex? No, but in Dworkin’s book
it does.

Finally, Dworkin sites questionable
sources for all sorts of nonsense about human sexuality. She cites Robert
T. Francouer, for example, on the presence of hermaphroditic behavior
in animals which seems reasonable enough until Dworkin goes on to cite
and agree with Francouer’s claim that not only is parthenogenesis
(pregnancy resulting from an unfertilized egg) not only possible in human
beings but in fact common! In fact, although parthenogenesis does occur
naturally in some species of insects, reptiles and birds, it is all but
impossible for it to occur in mammals because, unlike other animals, genetic
contributions from both sperm and egg are required for fetal development
in mammals.

A multi-sexed species?

From this “evidence” Dworkin
concludes Homo Sapiens is a “multi-sexed species, which has its sexuality
spread along a vast fluid continuum where the elements called male and
female are not discrete” (Dworkin 1974, p.183). As such, all sexual
relations must be redefined to break from this false man/woman dichotomy.
This has implications for a variety of sexual behaviors.

Heterosexuality – Out

Of course, heterosexuality has to
go. Dworkin defines heterosexuality to mean specifically “ritualized
behavior built on polar role definition” — i.e. almost all male/female
sexual behavior today — and writes,

Intercourse with men as we know them is increasingly impossible. It
requires an abortion of creativity and strength, a refusal of responsibility
and freedom: a bitter personal death. It means acting out the female
role, incorporating the masochism, self-hatred, and passivity which
are central to it. Unambiguous conventional heterosexual behavior is
the worst betrayal of our common humanity (Dworkin 1974, p.184).

This is not to say that “men” and “women” can’t
have sex, but that “androgynous [sex] … requires the destruction
of all conventional role-playing … of couple formations…”

What does this mean? As Dworkin notes, homosexual sexual relationships
are far closer to her version of androgyny because “it is by definition
antagonistic to two-sex polarity” (Dworkin 1974, p.185). But even
it is too polarizing for Dworkin because many homosexuals have sex only
with other homosexuals. Instead what Dworkin wants to see is some sort
of pansexuality,

An exclusive commitment to one sexual formation, whether homosexual
or heterosexual, generally means an exclusive commitment to one role.
An exclusive commitment to one sexual formation generally involves the
denial of many profound and compelling kinds of sensuality. An exclusive
commitment to one sexual formation generally means that one is, regardless
of the uniform one wears, a good soldier of the culture programmed effectively
to do its dirty work. It is by developing one’s pansexuality to
its limits (and no one knows where or what those are) that one does
the work of destroying culture to build community (Dworkin 1974, p.185).

Dworkin doesn’t explicitly say it, but monogamy is clearly one of
those “cultur[ally] programmed” views that would have to be
discarded to experience “many profound and compelling kinds of sensuality.”

Bestiality — In

One of the “pansexual” activities which Dworkin lauds is bestiality.
As Dworkin puts it,

Primary bestiality (fucking between people and other animals) is found
in all nonindustrial societies. Secondary bestiality (generalized erotic
relationships between people and other animals) is found everywhere
on the planet, on every city street, in every rural town. Bestiality
is an erotic reality, one which clearly place people in nature, not
above it (Dworkin 1974, p.187-8).

Of course many people might point out that is precisely what is wrong
with bestiality, but Dworkin is not to be deterred,

Needless to say, in androgynous community, human and other-animal relationships
would become more explicitly erotic, and that eroticism would not degenerate
into abuse. Animals would be part of the tribe and, with us, respected,
loved, and free (Dworkin 1974, p.188).

Incest — In

Another sexual practice which today
is condemned but would be celebrated in this pansexual utopia is incest.
Again it is best to simply quote from Dworkin,

The parent-child relationship is primarily erotic because all human
relationships are primarily erotic. The incest taboo is a particularized
form of repression, one which functions as the bulwark of all other
repressions. The incest taboo ensures that however free we become, we
never become genuinely free. The incest taboo, because it denies us
essential fulfillment with the parents whom we love with our primary
energy, forces us to internalize those parents and constantly seek them…

The incest taboo does the worst
work of the culture: it teaches us the mechanisms of repressing and
internalizing erotic feeling — it forces us to develop those mechanisms
in the first place; it forces us to particularize sexual feeling, so
that it congeals into a need for a particular sexual “object”;
it demands that we place the nuclear family above the human family.
The destruction of the incest taboo is essential to the development
of cooperative human community based on the free-flow of natural androgynous
eroticism (Dworkin 1974, p.189).

A few paragraphs later, Dworkin makes it explicitly that she seeks nothing
less than the destruction of “the nuclear family as the primary institution
of the culture” (Dworkin 1974, p.190).

The above statements do not explicitly
talk about sex with children, and perhaps they could be construed as dealing
only with adults. Dworkin, unfortunately for her, does not end her chapter
on androgyny before making it explicit that this does indeed apply to
children as well. Exhorting women to take power and transform the world
to an androgynous system, Dworkin counsels that children too must be liberated.
What would children’s liberation look like,

As for children, they too are erotic beings, closer to androgyny than
the adults who oppress them. Children are fully capable of participating
in community, and have every right to live out their own erotic impulses
(Dworkin 1974, p.191-2).

Is Dworkin’s reputation deserved?

You can judge for yourself the answer
to that question, at least as it relates to her view of human sexuality.

Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth?: A Review of Cathy Young’s Ceasefire

Ceasefire:
Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality

By Cathy Young
Amazon.Com price: $17.50 (click on link above to buy)

At the end of the 20th century two versions of the same ages-old idea still dominate most public
discussion of the sexes — namely that men and women are radically different.
On the one side are conservative activists reacting against feminism’s
inroads who claim children are harmed if their mothers work outside the
home or that women are harmed by a lack of “modesty” in sexual
relations. On the other side are many feminists and their sympathizers
who have simply reversed antiquated sexual stereotypes about women and
applied them to men.

Whereas throughout much of
human history women were often viewed as less than human and relegated
to demeaning stereotypes, so much radical feminism and even mainstream
feminism has simply replaced those old stereotypes of women with new and
equally pernicious stereotypes about men. Some go so far as to reject
important advances such as the scientific method simply because men originally
created them and maintain that men and women even think differently. Whereas
once men used women’s alleged irrationality to pigeonhole and debase women,
today some feminists agree that women’s thinking is less rational than
men’s but instead view this as a positive thing.

Into this fray steps Cathy
Young whose book Ceasefire argues that men and women aren’t all
that different after all and that many of the problems often described
in the media as men’s or women’s problems are, in fact, problems common
to all humanity regardless of sex. As Young aptly puts it in the title
of her first chapter, “Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth.”
That in many circles this is still a fundamentally radical idea is testament
to how pervasive sexual stereotyping in all its varieties remains.

As Young points out, although
early feminism was committed to a more egalitarian view of the sexes,
radical feminism has come to “reject the principle of equal treatment,
either because legal standards are inherently ‘male’ or because one cannot
treat oppressor and oppressed as equals. All divide humanity along gender
lines.” Her book does an excellent job of illustrating just how widespread
this division along gender lines has become.

Violence, for example, is
an area where media and feminist treatment tends to differ radically depending
on the sex of the victim. Although data from the National Crime Victim
Study show men are the victims in about 15 percent of all assaults by
current or former partners (and men make up 25 percent of the victims
of aggravated assaults), rarely is violence by women against men described
in terms of domestic violence. Young points to the coverage of the murder
of actor and comedian Phil Hartman by his wife. Unlike the coverage of
OJ Simpson’s assaults and alleged murder of his wife, Nicole, nobody described
Hartman’s murder or evidence of earlier abusive incidents as “domestic
violence.” Much of the media coverage focused on how despondent and
depressed Hartman’s wife was and focused on her problems with drugs and
alcohol.

Of course to support this
sort of gender bias, both the media and feminists try to claim there are
fundamental differences between men and women, and in the process often
end up producing a series of bogus statistics. Ceasefire excels
at debunking more feminist fictoids that you can shake a stick at. Young’s
analysis of Susan Faludi’s Backlash is simply devastating. Young
shows Faludi’s book to rely almost from top to bottom on extremely poor
scholarly standards, egregious misquoting of primary sources and a whole
host of other questionable procedures. She even catches Faludi making
a claim in Backlash that Faludi herself had debunked in an earlier
newspaper profile! Ceasefire takes the process of demythologizing
feminist claims that Christina Hoff Sommers began in Who Stole Feminism? and carries it to the next level. The level of detail is enormous here
– I have no idea how Young keeps track the huge amount information that
she brings to bear to cut through so much nonsense. Ceasefire would
be worth reading if this was all it did.

But Young aims higher and
doesn’t pick solely on feminists for their many miscues – she also picks
apart many of the claims made by some in the Men’s Movement and outright
conservatives such as Wendy Shallitt and F. Carolyn Graglia whose rejection
of feminism leads them to adopt views every bit as noxious as the radical
feminists (in fact Graglia approvingly cites radical feminist Andrea Dworkin’s
critique of heterosexuality).

At the very end of her book,
Young offers 12 suggestions to get past the gender wars, but her first
suggestion should be the only guiding principle anyone needs – “when making
judgments that involve gender, try a mental exercise reversing the sexes.” The beauty of this standard is that it asks people to treat others not
as stereotypical representatives of their respective gender but as individual
human beings. It is a call for a world where, except for a few exceptions,
gender is treated as a neutral matter that has no place in influencing
moral or legal judgments.

It is strange that today this
simple idea (really just a restatement of the liberal idea of the rule
of law) is despised by many of the intellectual leaders of both conservative
and feminist camps. Ceasefire is a plea to rescue humanity from
the narrow box of gender that both camps want to force it into. Young’s
book an impassioned and illuminating appeal for a true equality of the
sexes.

The Feminist Assault on Free Speech: A Review of Nadine Strossen’s Defending Pornography

Defending
Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights

By Nadine Strossen
Amazon.Com price: $11.96 (click on above link to purchase)

If it weren’t for the feminist war on pornography, this web site probably wouldn’t
exist. Several years ago, feminists at the university my wife and I attended
at the time decided to target the student newspaper demanding that it stop carrying
advertisements for local strip clubs. The feminists were joined by several local
leftist activists and an odd mix of Christian conservatives from the community
who had long been trying to pass laws to ban pornography in the area.

Perhaps the most surreal scene I ever witnessed in college was watching these
feminist students marching arm in arm with extreme conservatives chanting, “You
see free speech, I say free women.”

Fortunately the feminists were routed, in no small part due to our efforts
and a hilarious conflict among the anti-pornography crowd. I had previously
made a presentation to the paper’s board of directors pointing out that the
paper ran numerous controversial ads and articles and if it caved in to pressure
from the anti-pornography groups it would soon find itself besieged from all
sides.

The anti-porn group proved this point when they finally addressed the board.
With about 20 or 30 people showing up to support the anti-porn position, the
chairman of the paper’s board pointed out an ongoing controversy in the paper
over abortion and said he didn’t want to be besieged by “pro-abortion” activists
demanding an end to pro-life articles or ads or vice versa. One of the feminists
in the crowd immediately objected to the term “pro-abortion” saying she preferred
to be called “pro-life”. Before the chair could finish his apology, the feminist’s
erstwhile conservative allies corrected the feminist, saying it was “pro-abortion” and while they were supposed to be making their case for getting rid of the
ads, they sat and fought amongst themselves about proper nomenclature for those
on opposite sides of the abortion issue. Needless to say with that example fresh
in their minds, the board voted down the proposal to get rid of the ads.

At the time my wife and I were mystified as to how feminists ended up taking
an anti-pornography position. Weren’t they aware of the history of the state
using censorship against women? Didn’t they see how limits on men and women’s
free expression undercut the dignity of the individual, which surely was at
the heart of any feminist view of politics? Had either of us read Nadine Strossen’s
excellent book on the anti-porn wars, Defending Pornography: Free Speech,
Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights
, we would have better understood the
tragic and wrongheaded course that feminism, driven by its most radical elements,
has recently embarked on.

Solidly at the steering wheel are author Andrea Dworkin and University of
Michigan Law professor Catharine MacKinnon. As Strossen recognizes it is not
so much sexual speech that Dworkin and MacKinnon ultimately seek to banish,
though that is indeed one of their goals, but at a more basic level what Dworkin
and MacKinnon want to eradicate is heterosexuality itself.

This would seem absurd if they both hadn’t put themselves on record to this
effect on numbers occasions. As Dworkin puts it in one of her milder moments,
“It’s very hard to look at a picture of a woman’s body and not see it with the
perception that her body is being exploited.” Why? Because heterosexual sex
dehumanizes women and makes it all but impossible for anyone, man or woman,
to look at women as whole beings. As Dworkin sums up this view, “Physically
the woman in intercourse is a space invaded, a literal territory occupied literally;
occupied even if there has been no resistance; even if the occupied person said,
‘Yes, please, yes, hurry, yes, more.'”

Dworkin reels from the claims made by her opponents that she equates all heterosexual
sex with rape, but in doing so she is merely playing semantic games. Her work
is infused with the view that women are harmed by heterosexual sex, that they
can’t really consent to such sex and that heterosexual sex should be (must be)
transcended to move beyond the war against women — after all this is the same
Dworkin who once wrote that “unambiguous conventional heterosexual behavior
is the worst betrayal or our common humanity.”

MacKinnon has made similar statements, likening women who dare to disagree
with her to “house niggers who side with masters.”

Strossen thoroughly documents this anti-sex presumption throughout Defending
Pornography
, though her presentation lacks a systematic look at Dworkin
and MacKinnon’s philosophy, which is one of the biggest general problems with
her book — she tends toward quick, scattershot effects with fact after fact
and quote after quote often without much to unify her efforts. Defending
Pornography
could have benefited from another rewrite or two.

But Strossen does se through the current anti-porn effort. As she sums it
up, “We are in the midst of a full-fledged ‘sex panic’ in which seemingly all
descriptions and depictions of human sexuality are becoming embattled.”

The anti-liberal basis of radical feminism

Although she never delves very deep into it, Strossen also lays out the
case that radical feminism is fundamentally anti-liberal. By liberalism here
I mean a basic respect for the dignity and autonomy of the individual. To MacKinnon
and Dworkin liberalism is anathema — it is sleeping with the enemy.

This explains why the anti-porn feminists arrive at what seems to Strossen
and other observers a bald contradiction. On the one hand, radical feminists
maintain that American institutions are extremely patriarchal. On the other
hand, MacKinnon and Dworkin would grant that patriarchal state even more power
to censor women. Can these two views be reconciled? Strossen doesn’t seem to
think so, but in fact her own analysis reveals these two ideas are perfectly
compatible.

First, it must be kept in mind that Dworkin and MacKinnon both reject liberalism
as itself patriarchal. Women who disagree with them are nothing more than brainwashed
collaborators who are acting against their own best interests. As Strossen documents,
MacKinnon has no problem arguing the legal system should treat women in the
same way that it treats children. Strossen thinks this view “presuppose[s] an
infantilized woman incapable of knowing what is in her own best interests, and
needing the protection of the state…,” which is a pretty good summation.

In fact co-opting the state is the only way Dworkin and MacKinnon will ever
be able to get very far in their war on heterosexuality. As they both recognize
there are too many female collaborators who claim they enjoy being heterosexual
for heterosexuality to simply disappear by itself. To really get anywhere will
require harnessing the state (most radical feminists nominally oppose “power” as a patriarchal male concept except when it can be used to further their
own political goals.)

Sometimes Strossen seems to get it and other times she seems to ignore this
possibility. She wonders, for example, why pro-censorship feminists focus on
pornography when there are plenty of examples of extremely sexist speech that
is not pornographic. But of course this is how radicals always get their ideas
accepted by the greater society — first they conceptualize some extreme version
of what they seek to abolish. Once they get wide agreement on that, they gradually
expand their definition of the social ill as far as they possibly can. Strossen
is incorrect to think that MacKinnon and Dworkin exempt non-pornographic sexist
speech — they simply are smart enough to know that the most likely way to get
their views embedded in laws is through an attack on pornography. Once erotic
images that show women in a “subordinate” position (which is how the duo define
pornography) are banned, the effort to go after non-erotic images that “subordinate” women would be the logical next step.

Strossen devotes a chapter to the area where, to date, the pro-censorship
feminists have been most successful — sexual harassment law. MacKinnon pioneered
sexual harassment law, of course, so it’s not surprising that it has begun to
incorporate her particular view of heterosexuality and sexual expression. As
Strossen writes, sexual harassment now includes a “misguided emphasis on sexually
oriented expression [that] has diverted the attention of policy makers from
sexist conduct to sexual speech, and has shifted their focus from gender-based
discrimination to sexual expression.”

Many sexual harassment policies, especially those used in academic institutions,
are quite clear that as Strossen puts it, “the mere presence of sexual words
or pictures in the workplace or on campus is somehow inherently incompatible
with women’s’ full and equal participation in those areas.”

Strossen includes an excellent chapter surveying the lack of evidence for
the claim that pornography causes or contributes to violence against women.
Of course as she also points out, most of the procensorship feminists aren’t
really concerned with empirical niceties. MacKinnon, for example, has retreated
to the position that no one has proven that pornography doesn’t cause
harm and so one can assume it is dangerous until proven otherwise, which is
a standard that could be used to ban just about anything.

Defending Pornography is an excellent, comprehensive look at the many
facets of the debate over pornography. Anyone who wants to find out how radical
feminists are trying to undermine the principle of free speech and inquiry through
their attack on pornography will find Strossen’s book a great place to start.