The Distinction between Pornography and Obscenity

The Distinction between Pornography and Obscenity Essay example
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The Distinction Between Pornography and Obscenity This paper will examine Catharine MacKinnon’s views on pornography and whether or not her views adequately illuminate the issues. Based on MacKinnon’s discussion, as well as other research on the subject, this paper will also address the question or whether or not the United States government or certain citizen groups should mount a concerted effort to clean up the internet by attempting to ban pornography.


MacKinnon, a feminist and an attorney, believes that society in the US applied different legal rights, lesser rights, to women as compared to men. Obscene speech is not protected under the First Amendment according to the U.S. Supreme Court, but there is much debate over the distinction between pornography and obscenity. Perhaps one of the most remembered Supreme Court Justice quotes is that of Potter Stewart, who said, I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that. (Jacobellis) Linda Susan Boreman MacKinnon rose to fame when she represented Linda Susan Boreman, the actress known as Linda Lovelace, in a lawsuit that claimed that Boreman had been forced at gunpoint to perform in pornographic films by her husband. ...
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