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Battling Pornography
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Book description

Pornography catapulted to the forefront of the American women's movement in the 1980s. 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. Based on extensive original archival research, the book reveals 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. 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.

Reviews

‘Bronstein corrects the assumption that the American anti-pornography movement focused exclusively on state regulation and censorship. Bronstein restores historical texture and detail to our understanding of the feminist responses to media violence as part of a larger movement to expand women’s equality. She offers a richly detailed portrait of a multifaceted movement concerned with protecting free speech and women’s sexual freedoms while still holding media corporations, pornographers, and consumers responsible for distributing and consuming images of violence against women. This lesser known history casts new light on the more infamous sex wars of the 1980s and adds archival heft to our histories of women’s activism in the 1980s, including the entrance of conservative religious women into the ranks of Women Against Pornography in the mid-1980s.’

Jane Gerhard - Mount Holyoke College

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