Notes on Pornography - Notes on Pornography PHL 304 Michael...

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Notes on Pornography PHL 304 Michael Sevel Origin of the Word The word ‘pornography’ has an interesting history. (You guessed it: more Greek words!) It comes from two Greek words: graphē , meaning anything written (not just words, but also pictures), and pornē , a common feminine noun referring to what we might call now a (female) whore or, more specifically, a prostitute (a woman paid by a man for the sexual use of her body). Therefore, the word literally refers to any written or inscribed material relating to the business of a prostitute, i.e., the sexual use of her body by men in exchange for money. MacKinnon MacKinnon would probably agree that the history of the word is indicative of what pornography is today. To understand what she is getting at, it might be useful (if you have time) to re-read the piece by Warren on ecological feminism, in particular the discussion (on p. 120) of the ‘logic of domination’ that she says has traditionally been used to subordinate women. MacKinnon is a feminist who thinks that the logic of domination is very real, and that pornography is a very clear expression of it. Basics MacKinnon ascribes to a view of personal and political identity that has been popular since the 1960s in both philosophy and the social sciences: this is the idea that our very identity, and the identity of groups, is socially constructed . Through language, art, the media, political discourse, and many other social norms and practices, we construct conceptions of ourselves using ideas that are themselves socially constructed. For example, we use the concepts of gender, religion, race, politics, sexuality, and many others, to construct conceptions of others and ourselves. (Think of all the neatly defined social categories to choose from on Facebook, Myspace, on an application for admission to a university, or a job application.) And since how we think of ourselves and each other depend almost entirely on the shared social practices in our culture, those practices should be the primary objects of evaluation and study for a philosopher or social critic. Pornography
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Notes on Pornography - Notes on Pornography PHL 304 Michael...

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