When talking about freedom of speech and censorship, it is important to look at them within the discourses of power: the power to impose views, opinions and ideologies, the power to speak, and the power to silence. When socially privileged individuals are challenged about their right to speak, they vehemently defend freedom of speech. Power differences are ignored, who has power and who doesn’t. In regards to this matter, I will argue that pornography should be censored and socially and legally controlled, due to its immoral content which harms women and violates their right to free speech.
To qualify pornography as moral/immoral, one must first define morality. What is moral and immoral is highly diverse between different people, so there is no universal meaning of what morality is. However, an acceptable interpretation of morality could be used to define it as a behavior that does not harm or violate another person or people. Harm could be taken in any form, whether physical, emotional, psychological, social, or economic.
Having defined what is moral/immoral, it becomes necessary to formulate a definition of pornography. To say pornography is sexually explicit material is a premature definition, where the term “sexually explicit” has a diverse meaning and a large variety in content: postures of sexual display, sexually non-violent acts (homosexual and heterosexual), sexually violent acts which include ‘mutilating, torturing, raping and even killing,’ sexually degrading acts that are non-violent (positions of servility to others), material including children, etc. To keep the normative force (that pornography ...
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... we abandon the least standards of morality and political responsibility, we become accountable for the harm and injustice done to women.
Langton, R., 1993, “Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 22(4): 293–330.
Longino, H., 1980, “Pornography, Oppression, and Freedom: A Closer Look” in Laura Lederer (ed.), Take Back The Night, New York: William Morrow.
MacKinnon, C., 1995, Only Words, London: Harper Collins.
Jensen, R. (2004, July). Pornography and Sexual Violence. Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence/Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
West, Caroline, "Pornography and Censorship", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =
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