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To what extent do you agree with radical feminists' notion of "pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice"?

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Introduction

To what extent do you agree with radical feminists' notion of "pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice"? "Radical Feminism creates a new political and social theory of women's oppression, and strategies for the end of that oppression, which comes from women's lived experiences." (Rowland and Klein, 1990) Radical feminism is a branch of feminism which is popular in 1970s. "Radical" refers "to the root". Radical feminists look at the root of women's oppression. Their discourses on gender inequality and sexuality have arisen great debate within the feminist circle. In the following, I will discuss why some radical feminists see pornography and rape as ways that perpetuate men's oppression of women and the relations of them in the process. Pornography has been under great attacks by radical feminists. Andrea Dworkin (1994) argues that, "pornography is a prime means by which men assert their power over women.... porn is more about domination and violence than about sex." Some radical feminists even argue that pornography is the root of virtually all forms of exploitation and discrimination against women. Pornography is violent and promotes violence against women.1 Dworkin also argues that, "the major theme of pornography as a genre is male power, its nature, its magnitude, its use, its meanings." ...read more.

Middle

Dominance, principally by men, and submission, principally by women, will be the ruling code through which sexual pleasure is experienced. However, I would only agree to a very small extent to the notion that "pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice." I would agree with the argument that pornography objectified women's body and it denies women as an individual. In pornography, the only useful or valuable thing of women seems to be their sexual organs only. It seems that women's value is defined by the size or shape of their sexual organs. Also, it seems that women have nothing else to do but desire to have sex with men and waiting for penetration by men. If a woman does not want to have sex or do not enjoy to have sex with men, she must be something wrong and attack by other "normal" men and women. From these stand points, I agree that pornography dehumanized women into second class citizens and neglect women as human and have their own individuality. On the other hand, I do not agree with the other arguments concerning pornography suggested by radical feminists. ...read more.

Conclusion

Women need new and more ways to liberate their sexual oppression. The final problem of radical feminists is the theory they argued. Are women a class that shares the same subordination and mean as their common enemy? They do not notice that women are very diverse. Would the oppression of a black working class woman be the same as the oppression facing a white middle class woman? Radical feminists see the oppression of women from men as universal, crossing race, class and cultural boundaries.6 They neglect the diversity of women and their differences in daily experiences. The viewing of men as a class that oppresses women would only polarize men and women. Radical feminists do not see that men are also victims under patriarchy and heterosexuality. Both men and women live under the existing gender system. The problem of women's oppression and subordination cannot be solved if we continue to blame men as the enemy. I would rather believe that the enemy is not men but the gender system as a whole. Lastly, I would say it is too simple to argue "pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice." If we want to study sexuality we need more information about individual responses to symbol and image. We must look beyond easy generalization to find out the explanation of gender inequality and oppression. ...read more.

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