Not for Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography

By Rebecca Whisnant; Christine Stark | Go to book overview
Save to active project

John Stoltenberg

Pornography and
international human rights*

The country I come from has been profoundly and uniquely affected by its civil-rights movement. I am an activist in the radical-feminist antipornography movement there, but I also speak as one who came of age in the United States during a time of intense social upheaval and struggle, a time of radical change in human consciousness, as regards interpersonal ethics and racial identity. The US civil-rights movement occurred when descendants of slaves confronted those whose social status and very identity as 'whites' was dependent upon prejudice, discrimination, and political persecution—all backed up by entrenched economic policy and the law of the land that bound states together. Racial identity for 'whites' had necessarily meant oppression of 'blacks', and US law was written by eighteenth-century slaveholders in part to secure white rights.

From this historical perspective, the concept of civil rights, or human rights, cannot be abstracted away from identity politics—the domination done to have a dominant identity. Human rights are what identity politics must always deny. There can be no dominant identity apart from domination.

This legacy of the US civil rights movement has been inherited by the radical-feminist anti-pornography movement to which I proudly belong. This legacy is a keen, scalpel-like insight into the roots of identity politics—in this case oppression done to construct gender identity. The legacy of the US civil rights movement has prompted a comprehensive and liberatory political analysis that could potentially inspire real human freedom globally—freedom from being in any oppressed class, and freedom from belonging to any oppressor class. There is no greater freedom imaginable. There is no more important freedom to be fought for.

* Out of concern for the influx of pornography into Britain that seemed likely as Western
Europe became a unified economy, the Gracewell Institute—a registered charity for the
study and treatment of sex offenders—sponsored an international conference in
Birmingham, England, on November 12, 1992, entitled 'Pornography and Sexual
Crime (Implications for an Integrated Europe)'. The profeminist writer and activist John
Stoltenberg—cofounder of Men Against Pornography in New York and author of
Refusing to Be a Man—was among the invited speakers. This essay is based on his
conference address.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Not for Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 446

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?