Some sociologists have claimed that there is significant disagreement among feminists regarding pornography. There are disagreements among academics working in Women's Studies and Sociology, but certainly the authors aren't the only feminists on earth.

Is there any recent peer-reviewed literature, or proper surveys on how self-identified feminists regard pornography?


2 Answers 2


There is a pretty significant range of opinions on pornography between feminists. Many feminists cite anecdotes about people who have worked in the industry to support a claim that pornography is damaging to women. Somehow, though, they rarely, if ever, do the same for men. Some feminists, though, feel that consent is the major issue and they are comfortable with pornography. In fact, as pornography use seems to increase for women, the more the distance between the two sides seems to increase.

The anti-porn arguments can be pretty diverse, but it generally includes things like examples from individual people who have been in the industry, claims about porn increasing violence, discussion of sex addiction, the objectification of women and various other things. You can find out more by going over to One Angry Girl and seeing what she has to say. Be aware, though, the sources she cites are often quoted out of context or mis-quoted, so if you want real data, go straight to her sources and follow them through to the original paper. Also, she has some motive in keeping her cause going, as she makes money off of selling her feminist shirts.

The pro-porn side, which I have to admit to being biased for, has a lot more reliable data. Studies have actually shown that there's an inverse correlation between the availability of pornography and sexual violence (source). It is tough to really categorize feminists based on their opinions on porn, though, as most types of feminists might have a range of opinions and there are few subgroups of feminists that are completely pro-porn.

I've actually given presentations to groups who were more feminist-leaning and have found that I can never know what opinions I will hear from any single group of people. With porn being a current, heated, debate it is tough to say where the general opinion will land.

I also have to mention that the disagreement is not amongst academia and women who produce pornography (as mentioned before). The disagreement is spread throughout society. Many academics are pro-porn and many producers of porn do believe that what they do is harmful. Society, in general, is extremely divided on the issue and this reinforces countless myths about the industry.

  • 3
    Of course the wide variety of subgenres within the porn industry doesn't make things easier when deciding what is "harmful" or not. Porn depicting rape and violence may cause a completely different reaction from more domestic scenes.
    – jwenting
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 6:16
  • 3
    Your answer is just a petition for pornography and absolutely not an answer to the original question. The original question was: "Is there any recent peer-reviewed literature, or proper surveys on how self-identified feminists regard pornography?"
    – Einenlum
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 18:10
  • Hot damn this is a BAD question and an even worse answer. Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 14:57

Found a paper from 2009, peer reviewed, behind a paywall:

Since the 1970's the feminist movement has been bitterly divided over a number of issues related to women's sexuality. Some feminists which scholar Ann Ferguson (1984) terms "radical feminists" opposed a number of sexual relationships and activities including sadomasochism, prostitution, "promiscuous sex with strangers" and sexual role playing. "Libertarian feminists" on the other hand endorsed many forms of sexual expression granted that they are "consensual"

-- source

  • 3
    I agree that it's not surprising, but the unstated assumption that the only feminists are either academics or pornographers is troubling. Are Jane/John "I call myself a feminist" Doe as evenly split as the academic faff seems to indicate?
    – Nostrabar
    Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 23:14

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