Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights

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Nadine Strossen. Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights. New York: Scribner, 1996. Nadine Strossen explains that "pornography" is a vague term, which Webster's International Dictionary defines as "a depiction (as in writing or painting) ... of erotic behavior designed to cause sexual excitement." In essence, it is sexual expression that is meant to, or does, provoke sexual arousal and desire. The term has no legal definition or significance. The category of sexually oriented expression that the Supreme Court has held to be subject to restriction is labeled "obscenity." (This is another vague term that was once operationally defined by former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart as "I know it when I see it.")

In recent times the word "pornography" has assumed such negative connotations that it tends to be used as an epithet to describe, and condemn, whatever sexually oriented expression the person using it dislikes. Self-righteously speaking, "What turns me on is 'erotica,' but what turns you on is 'pornography'

In Defending Pornography Nadine Strossen, president of The American Civil Liberties Union and a professor of law at New York Law School, argues that the recent crusade against pornography has done profound damage to human rights in general and women's rights in particular. …

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