Feminist pornography as feminist propaganda, and ideological catch-22s

Aidan McGlynn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Philosophical discussions of pornography are often located within the philosophy of language, due to Rae Langton and Jennifer Hornsby’s pioneering speech-act theoretic treatments, offered with an eye towards issues concerning freedom of speech. An alternative (though not inconsistent) approach sees pornography as a topic for epistemologists; in particular, a number of philosophers have recently suggested a crucial part of what makes pornography troubling is that it acts as a kind of propaganda. However, while mainstream pornography tends to peddle a harmful, sexism sexual ideology, some feminists, including some feminist philosophers, have expressed the hope that feminist pornography could harness pornography’s persuasive force-its propagandic power to shape the attitudes, and perhaps the behaviour, of its consumers-but change the message. In this chapter, McGlynn critically examines this proposal and draws the disappointing conclusion that it is likely to fail, given the way that propaganda works.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApplied Epistemology
EditorsJennifer Lackey
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780191872082
ISBN (Print)9780198833659
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • feminist pornography
  • ideology
  • mainstream pornography
  • propaganda
  • sexism


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