Women’s Studies International Forum, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 187–195, 2000 Copyright © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in the USA. All rights reserved 0277-5395/00/$–see front matter

PII S0277-5395(00)00077-7

Karen Boyle
University of Wolverhampton, Dudley Campus, Castle View, Dudley, DY1 3HR, UK

Synopsis — This article examines the limitations of the effects model for feminist anti-pornography work. As a contribution to the on-going debate about the nature of pornography and its relationship to violence against women, this article aims firstly to identify why traditional effects research, which attempts to establish a causal relationship between pornography and violent behaviour, is a dubious ally for anti-pornography feminism. Secondly, the enduring implications of the effects model for feminist anti-pornography politics are explored. It is argued that anti-pornography feminists need to reject the effects model and return to the crucial question of how some pornographies are produced and consumed in ways that are abusive to women. © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Concerns about media ‘effects’—and about the effects of violent and pornographic media in particular—have led to a massive research industry which has attracted considerable quantities of both funding and publicity over some 60 years. Yet, as has been well documented elsewhere, the results of this vast body of empirical work are both inconclusive and hotly contested.1 As David Gauntlett (1997) notes in a recent article, there are two potential conclusions that can be drawn from any detailed analysis of this research. Firstly, if, despite this plethora of research, direct effects of the media upon behaviour have not been identified, we may conclude that they are simply not there to be found.2 Secondly, it can be argued that media effects research has consistently taken the wrong approach to the mass media, its audiences and society in general (p. 120). It is this latter argument which should be of particular concern to feminists and will be the focus of this article. Feminist involvement in the effects debate has, not surprisingly, focused on the relationship between men’s consumption of pornography and subsequent likelihood of violence against women. Although the scientific effects discourse is not a true reflection of anti-pornography feminists’ theory or epistemology, the findings of experimental studies have been used in feminist campaigns to convince policy-

makers about the harm of pornography (Hardy, 1998, pp. 10–13).3 However, as I will demonstrate, linking the feminist case against pornography to flawed media effects research has significantly damaged the feminist antipornography movement. Notably, this strategy has been the focus of much justified criticism from anti-anti-pornography feminists (e.g., Henry, 1988; King, 1993; Segal, 1993).4 More worryingly, however, the effects discourse has also provided opponents of feminist anti-pornography work with a means of ‘dodging’ the compelling evidence of pornography related harm, evidence which has been—and is—central to anti-pornography feminists’ teaching, research and activism (e.g., Everywoman, 1988; Lederer, 1980; rhodes & McNeill, 1985; Russell, 1993a). As Robert Jensen (1998b) writes:
. . . the search for causation demands “science” while a concern for pornography’s role in rape leaves us more open to listening to stories. Because science has no way to answer the question, predictably the search for causation and the use of science leads most everyone to conclude that we just don’t know enough to say for sure. But a shift in emphasis and method offers a way to state not The Truth (or conclude that we don’t yet know The Truth), but a way to tell true sto-



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ries and begin to make trustworthy moral and political decisions. (p. 101)

While anti-pornography feminists have listened to women’s stories and made women’s accounts central to their analysis of pornography, these stories are often placed alongside the scientific literature or re-presented as the ‘effects’ of pornography. This was brought home to me when I presented an earlier version of this paper at an interdisciplinary women’s conference (Boyle, 1999). The debate that ensued demonstrated the extent to which the effects discourse still permeates anti-pornography feminism while—as teachers, researchers and activists—many of us are simultaneously struggling to make our audiences understand the very real harm involved in the production and consumption of pornography. As a contribution to this on-going debate, this article aims firstly to identify why traditional effects research, which attempts to establish a causal relationship between pornography and violent behaviour, is a dubious ally for anti-pornography feminism. Critical analysis of the complex and contradictory findings of effects research is beyond the scope of the current study and, in any case, has been thoroughly dealt with elsewhere.5 Rather, in building on Gauntlett’s (1997) claim that effects research has consistently taken the wrong approach to media, audiences and society, the neglected issue of gender in effects research will be a central concern. This shall be explored with reference to the body of effects research rather than with specific reference to individual studies. Thus, the methodological complexities of different approaches to the question are contracted to enable an analysis of what I will call—following Gauntlett (1997)—the ‘effects model’ (p. 120). Secondly, and developing out of this critique, I will explore the enduring implications of the effects model for feminist anti-pornography politics.

search, even a brief synopsis of the most commonly used research designs should be enough to set alarm bells ringing. The experimental work of U.S.-based effects researchers Edward Donnerstein, Daniel Linz, Neil Malamuth and Dolf Zillman is the most frequently cited by anti-pornography feminists (e.g., Dworkin & MacKinnon, 1988; Russell, 1993b, 1993c), yet this work has primarily been conducted in the artificial world of the laboratory. The basic procedure in such experiments is to perform an initial assessment on a selected sample of individuals, expose them, under laboratory conditions, to a specified category of ‘pornography’ (e.g., nudity, non-violent sexual behaviour, violent sexual behaviour) and then conduct another assessment to measure the effects of the exposure. A number of controlled variables arise at each stage. At the first assessment, the sample may be classified by gender and/or predisposition to aggression, for example. The experimental stage may vary the category of pornography used, the degree of exposure, the gender and interactive behaviour of the experimenter (Hardy, 1998, p. 32). The behavioural effects of exposure may be measured by asking respondents to administer electric shocks or aversive noise stimuli to one of the research team in the guise of a learning experiment. Attitudinal effects may be assessed through responses to a rape trial or to other reported sexual violence against women. Participants are not generally told the nature and purpose of the experiment, raising ethical concerns rarely considered in the literature. There are a number of further problems with these studies that can be usefully summarised here. Firstly, as Gauntlett (1997) notes, the effects model tackles social problems backwards:
To explain the problem of violence in society, researchers should begin with that social violence and seek to explain it with reference, quite obviously, to those who engage in it: their identity, background, character and so on. The ‘media effects’ approach, in this sense, comes at the problem backwards, by starting with the media and then trying to lasso connections from there on to social beings, rather than the other way around . . . the ‘backwards’ approach involves the mistake of looking at individuals, rather than society, in relation to the mass media. (pp. 120–121)

EFFECTS RESEARCH: A DUBIOUS ALLY The problems with positivistic media effects research should be immediately obvious to feminists who have long criticised patriarchal ‘science’ for its inherent misogyny (King, 1993, p. 57). For readers unfamiliar with effects re-

Beyond Cause and Effect


This should raise a number of concerns for feminists. To see pornography as the ‘cause’ of yet-to-be-determined effects, is to position pornography as the active agent and deny the agency, choice and, crucially, the responsibility, of the individual men who use pornography in ways that are abusive to women. The effects model sees the media in isolation, divorced from society and as uniquely powerful. Further, theories of causality, by definition, cannot account for the cycle of abuse on which much audio-visual pornography depends and which, as I have suggested, has been central to anti-pornography feminists’ analyses of pornography (Cole, 1989, p. 37). Thus the terms of the effects debate preclude a consideration of the harm done to women, men and children in the production of pornography. If a woman is raped in order for a particular artefact to exist, then her reality is obscured if we ask simply whether the artefact is the cause of further violence. However, although effects research begins with the artefact rather than the violence or its perpetrator, these studies have betrayed a startling lack of concern over those very artefacts. For example, effects studies have assumed that definitions of media material as, ‘violent’, ‘sexually explicit’ or ‘sexually violent’ reflect commonly held understandings. As a result, published accounts of such studies frequently provide little detailed information about the material shown to viewers in any of these categories. This makes replication of individual studies as well as cumulative analyses of the field difficult (Allen, D’Alessio, & Brezgel, 1995). More seriously for feminists, this also masks the ideological assumptions of the researcher. In relation to violence, for example, my own review of this literature found that effects research has been predominately concerned with acts of male-on-male physical violence as both on-screen cause and off-screen effect (Boyle, 1999). In this way, researchers perpetuate the ‘normality’ of male violence whilst making much violence against women invisible. In terms of the experimental research used in the pornography debate, the terms pornographic, erotic, obscene, sexually arousing and sexually explicit are used interchangeably to refer to a diverse range of materials, from nude photographs to sexual activity between consenting adults and scenes of sexualised mutilation (Senn, 1993, p. 180). Whether

respondents share the researchers’ perceptions of the material as ‘pornographic’, ‘erotic’, ‘obscene’, ‘sexually’ arousing’ and/or ‘sexually explicit’ is certainly debatable. The ideological implications of these terms—both for researchers and their respondents—is largely ignored. The problem of defining pornography is one I will return to. However, it is useful to note here that the materials used in effects research are not necessarily ‘pornography’ as the term is widely understood in Anglo-American culture (i.e., ‘material sold in pornography shops for the purposes of producing sexual arousal for mostly male consumers’, Dines & Jensen, 1998, p. 65). Nor is this material necessarily ‘pornography’ as anti-pornography feminists have defined it, namely as material which combines sex with violence, degradation or humiliation (e.g., Dworkin & MacKinnon, 1988, T2c). There is a further problem here in that effects research rarely differentiates between media. So, for example, evaluating the research evidence on the relationship between exposure to sexually explicit materials and acceptance of rape myths, both Linz (1989) and Allen, Emmers, Gebhardt, and Giery (1995) conflate the findings of studies using audio, written, visual and audio-visual material. While the messages of these texts may be similar, are viewing, listening and reading really equivalent experiences? The failure to differentiate between media tells us little about consumers’ relationships to different forms of pornographic media and also serves to further obscure the varying conditions of production. In short, for filmed pornography to exist real women, men and children have to perform sexual acts in front of a camera. In mainstream media, the sex and violence is simulated. In written pornography, the sex is only fantasy. This is not to say that filmed pornographic fiction mirrors actors’ reality, but it is important to stress that such material is not only fantasy, but also a re-presentation of sexual acts, authenticated by the signature shots of genitalia, penetration and ejaculation. This is significant not only in view of the varying conditions of production, but also in relation to the conventions of mainstream and pornographic sex and how these position consumers.6 With this in mind, do we really know what effects researchers are investigating the effects of? If their definitions of the ‘violent’, ‘pornographic’, ‘erotic’, ‘sexually arousing’ or ‘sexu-


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ally explicit’ are neither internally consistent nor compatible with a feminist politics, then to what extent are their findings, individually or cumulatively, useful to feminists? Effects research is, by definition, interested in a limited range of individual physiological, behavioural and attitudinal responses to media texts. Given that, as suggested above, pornography is widely defined by its on-screen act (sex) and off-screen reaction (arousal—masturbation—orgasm), this emphasis may not initially appear to be particularly problematic. Dyer (1985), for example, argues that the pornographic film is
. . . based on the effect that both producers and audiences know the film is supposed to have. It is not defined . . . like the Western, gangster film or musical, by such aesthetic, textual elements as iconography, structure, style and so on, but by what it produces in the spectator. It is like genres such as the weepie and the thriller, and also low or vulgar comedy. Like all of these, it is supposed to have an effect that is registered in the spectator’s body—s/he weeps, gets goose bumps, rolls about laughing, comes. (p. 27)

Although this is by no means a universal experience of pornography, it is a severe limitation of effects research that the very effect by which pornography is defined—masturbation to orgasm—is necessarily absent from analysis. While arousal can be physiologically measured in a laboratory, this tells us nothing about individual affective responses to that arousal (e.g., pleasure, fear, shame, guilt). Outside of the effects tradition, recent Swedish research has, for example, demonstrated that young women’s experiences of being ‘turned on’ by heterosexual pornography can be accompanied by a variety of contradictory emotions related to their perceptions of heterosexuality and genderroles (Berg, 1999). Men’s accounts of their pornography consumption also reveal ambivalence and anxiety about sexuality, gender and their relationships with partners and peers (Hardy, 1998; Jensen, 1998b). The effects model ignores affective responses and the artificiality—and formality—of the setting limits the ability to measure and evaluate effective responses. This criticism applies not only to arousal and masturbation but equally to expressions of

violence in the laboratory which bear a tangential relationship to real-world behaviours. For example, violent behaviour following exposure to sexually violent stimuli may be measured by administering electric shocks or aversive noise stimuli, hitting a doll or being unflattering about the experimenter. Notably, respondents do not freely chose this behaviour from a range of possible options, and sexual aggression is, inevitably, excluded. This gives us little understanding of the processes whereby men may actively decide to use pornography in ways abusive to women and negates differences between sexual aggression and ‘general aggression’ (Allen, D’Alessio, & Brezgel, 1995, p. 276). The emphasis on the violent or sexual act, both on- and off-screen, is also problematic. As Suzanne Kappeler (1995) argues, ‘if we detach the act from the person acting and regard its consequences as an effect, personal responsibility is no longer an issue’ (p. 17). Blaming pornography or the movies for real-world violence thus becomes a convenient means of dodging broader questions about society, culture and individual responsibility. Finally, effects research has been very limited in its populations of study, although this work is often used to make unfounded generalisations about all viewers. Unsurprisingly, male subjects have been the focus of a vast majority of the research in this field, although gender-bias is frequently hidden behind gender-neutral terms like ‘college students’ or ‘viewers’.7 This reflects the concern with behavioural effects, suggesting that men act, and are therefore worthy of study, while women are acted upon. An early review of literature on television violence, for example, found that of 67 studies, there was only one which dealt solely with females, while many studies dealt exclusively with males (Andison, 1977). More recently, a meta-analysis of some 217 studies found that 40% of research considered male viewers only, while 2% focused solely on female viewers. In addition, in 60% of those studies where both male and female viewers were included, the results were not even broken down by gender (Paik & Comstock, 1994, p. 524). Although equivalent figures for research on pornography are not available, a review of the literature suggests a similar pattern. In summary, there are five key areas of concern with effects research which make this work extremely problematic for feminist teachers,

Beyond Cause and Effect


researchers and activists. Firstly, the key terms of the debate are poorly defined and the conservative ideological implications hidden behind the mask of scientific objectivity. The lack of information about the materials used in these studies and the failure to differentiate between media further mystifies the research process and makes the cumulation of findings difficult. More importantly, there is no consideration of how individual consumers use and understand pornographic media or an acknowledgement of their choice, responsibility and accountability for their behaviours. The research is further limited by the focus on a limited range of behavioural effects with little consideration of how and why those behaviours are chosen by respondents in particular circumstances. Finally, the focus on men as the population worthy of study not only marginalises the experiences of women but also assumes an active/ passive dynamic where men act and women are acted upon. Given these limitations, traditional effects research is, at best, a dubious ally for anti-pornography feminism. More seriously, perhaps, the effects discourse appears to have permeated and distorted feminist debate so that whether pornography causes violence against women or not has arguably become the most contested issue and the starting point for any consideration of what can or should be done about pornography. In the remainder of this article I want to highlight why I believe this shift in emphasis has been damaging for antipornography feminism.

dehumanized as sexual objects, things or commodities; or (ii) women are presented as sexual objects who enjoy pain or humiliation; or (iii) women are presented as sexual objects who experience sexual pleasure in being raped; or (iv) women are presented as sexual objects tied up or cut up or mutilated or bruised or physically hurt; or (v) women are presented in postures or positions of sexual submission, servility or display; or (vi) women’s body parts—including but not limited to vaginas, breasts, or buttocks—are exhibited such that women are reduced to those parts; or (vii) women are presented as whores by nature; or (viii) women are presented being penetrated by objects or animals; or (ix) women are presented in scenarios of degradation, injury, torture, shown as filthy or inferior, bleeding, bruised, or hurt in a context that makes these conditions sexual. The use of men, children or transsexuals in the place of women above is also pornography. (Dworkin & McKinnon, 1988, T2c)

ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY FEMINISM AND THE EFFECTS DEBATE It has become something of a cliché in writing on pornography to note the difficulty of definition and I will not rehearse these arguments here. Within anti-pornography feminism the most commonly used definition is a variation on that used by Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon which emphasises the violent, dehumanising and subordinating nature of pornographic representation:
Pornography is the graphic sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures and/or words that also includes one or more of the following: (i) women are presented

Dworkin and MacKinnon (1988) argue that under this definition, ‘pornography is what pornography does’ (T2c). However, while the commonly understood definitions of pornography outlined in the previous section focus on what pornography does to male consumers, Dworkin and MacKinnon emphasise what pornography does to women. Women—not men—are placed at the centre of analysis. Or are they? As we have seen in relation to effects research, to begin with the artefact (here, pornography) and then make connections to the behaviour of social beings accords the artefact a unique power and negates the importance of individual agency. So, in this formulation, pornography—not individual behaviour—causes violence against women. It is important to distinguish here between ‘causality’ and ‘evidence of harm’ although, in attempts to influence policy-makers, these terms are often used interchangeably in feminist anti-pornography discourse. A ‘cause’ is ‘a person, thing, event, state or action that produces an effect.’ (Collins Concise Dictionary) As we have seen, a major problem with theories of causality, is that, by definition, they cannot account for the cycle of abuse on which much audio-visual pornography depends, an


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issue I will return to. We can, however, demonstrate that a woman, man or child was harmed in the production of pornography, through forced consumption of pornography, or by being forced to enact the scenarios of pornography (e.g., Everywoman, 1988; Lovelace [Marchiano] & McGrady, 1980). In addition, work both with male perpetrators and female victims of violence has documented how pornography is used to motivate and instruct men to commit sexual violence against women and then to justify that behaviour (e.g., Jensen, 1998b; MacKinnon, 1993; Wyre, 1992). MacKinnon (1993) further documents how in the former Yugoslavia, the filming of actual rape for mass-consumption makes the link between pornography and violence explicit—pornography becomes war-propaganda. In such cases, the making of the pornography is part of the abuse, the film a permanent record of the abuse which is, in turn, used as propaganda for future abuse. However, even in the cases documented by MacKinnon (1993), it is a mistake to see this as proof of a causal relationship rather than as evidence of how pornography is used by its producers and consumers in actual abuse. While pornography may be an influence it is not the abusive agent. The men who make and use pornography choose to accept its message and to the extent that they have access to a different understanding of women than that presented in pornography they must be held accountable (Price, 1999). To hold individual perpetrators accountable for their actions while nevertheless examining the broader social and cultural conditions in which that violence is possible, it is necessary to move beyond the effects discourse. Such an approach has to begin—not, as effects research and much anti-pornography work does—with the pornographic text, but with the existence of real-world violence. This is a key difference that makes it far more difficult to negate the experiences of real women, men and children and to dodge the issue of personal accountability. We are no longer asking whether pornography causes violence—or is, in all circumstances, a record of abuse—but examining how specific pornographic texts are made and used by producers and consumers in particular ways that are harmful to others. For this to be achieved, we also need to question how useful the term pornography actually is as a category for analysis. As we have

already seen, effects research rarely differentiates between pornographic media, their modes of production and consumption, a pattern repeated in much feminist anti-pornography work. Tracing the etymology of ‘pornography’ in Pornography: Men Possessing Women, Andrea Dworkin (1981) notes that the word derives from the ancient Greek, porne, meaning whore (specifically the cheapest kind of whore), and graphos meaning writing, etching or drawing. Pornography is literally writing, etching or drawing about whores (pp. 199– 200). In a contemporary context, however, such a definition is hardly sufficient. Pornography is no longer restricted to writing, etching or drawing but includes photography, film, video, the Internet and cable television. Unlike written, etched, or drawn pornography, photography, film, television and, to a lesser extent, Internet pornography require real women to exist. This is not an insignificant difference. The production of photographic and filmed pornography of adults is not necessarily abusive,8 but the existence of such abuse is well documented (e.g., Everywoman, 1988; Lederer, 1980; Lovelace [Marchiano] & McGrady, 1980; MacKinnon, 1993; Russell, 1993a). Such claims cannot be made about written, etched or drawn pornographies. While feminists have provided useful analyses of pornography as a genre, this approach has serious limitations. Take, for example, the slide-shows, which are frequently used by feminist anti-pornography campaigners to educate women about the content of pornography. As with effects research which uses clips or images taken from longer narratives, the slide show presents pornographic images and text out of context. The extent to which these examples are ‘representative’ is questionable (Rubin, 1993), much of the material presented is very dated, and cartoons and written text are presented alongside pictorials (see Russell, 1993d). There is an implicit assumption here, as in the effects model, that the message of pornography transcends the medium of its representation, is ahistorical and never changing. Such generalisations are incredibly problematic and easily challenged. More seriously still, if cartoons, written text and photographs are seen as equivalent texts then the actual woman whose body is re-presented in the pictorial is displaced from the centre of feminist anti-pornography politics. If the effect of the undifferentiated pornographic text on the consumer becomes the cen-

Beyond Cause and Effect


tral issue, then it is perfectly possible to discuss the ‘promise of pornography’ as a genre, based on an analysis of written pornographic fiction alone (Ziv, 1999). Generalising about pornography based on an analysis of written texts (see also Hardy, 1998) avoids difficult questions about who the women in pornographic photographs and films actually are, how they got there, what our relationship to them is and who profits from their sale (Cole, 1989, p. 137). Asking such questions does not preclude an analysis of the promise and pleasure different pornographic media hold for many male and female consumers but it forces us to look beyond individualised responses to the broader context of pornographic production, representation and consumption. In contrast, talking about the ‘effects’ of pornography encourages a focus on the individual. Such an emphasis enables anti-antipornography feminists to challenge evidence of pornography related harm by presenting the stories of individual women who exercise desire and control not only in the production but also in the consumption of pornography (e.g., Assiter & Carol, 1993; Gibson & Gibson, 1993; Segal & McIntosh, 1992). Pleasure, arousal and sexual fantasy are emphasised in these accounts, factors which effects researchers and anti-pornography feminists alike have largely ignored. Thus, the pornography debate has been recast by some as a debate about sex in which anti-anti-pornography campaigners take up the pro-sex position while anti-pornography campaigners are labelled anti-sex (Assiter & Carol, 1993). Looking at actual consumption patterns and practices could tell us the extent to which different pornographic media are really about sex, violence and/or power for their consumers, whether and when they experience it as abuse, fantasy, inspiration, instruction or something else entirely. Thinking beyond effects we must ask how pornographies are used in contemporary society and by whom. CONCLUSION This article has highlighted the limitations of effects research for a feminist anti-pornography politics and demonstrated how the effects discourse, which has permeated feminist pornography debates and campaigns since the early 1980s, has shifted attention away from production practices, representational strategies and, even, consumption patterns. To

state—as I have done here—that the effects model has damaged the feminist campaign against pornography is not to suggest that there is no link between pornography and violence against women. The testimonies of women who have been harmed in the production and consumption of pornography demonstrate a strong link between pornography and violence. These testimonies are the foundation of feminist anti-pornography politics, they are, quite literally, about life and death (Dworkin, 1997). Yet, as I have argued, to talk about the relationship between pornography and violence as causal demands ‘science’ (Jensen, 1998b, p. 101) which obscures these stories and negates the individual abuser’s agency and accountability. While policy-makers may be impressed by this pseudo-science, this cannot be a price that is worth paying for any feminist committed to challenging male violence. In rethinking the terms of debate, we also need to ask to what extent ‘pornography’ remains a meaningful category. This is not simply a question of the difficulty of defining pornography with any precision and, hence, of doing anything about it—what Jensen (1998a) dubs the ‘definitional dodge’ (p. 3)—but, more fundamentally, about whether the term ‘pornography’ is politically or practically useful. Certainly, when feminists first broke women’s silence on pornography in the late 1970s and early 1980s, demonstrating the pervasiveness of the pornographic imagination was an important political strategy. Effects researchers were, and continue to be, similarly interested in the message—and not the medium—pornography. However, for feminists thinking beyond representation to the harm of pornography, failure to differentiate between media can obscure women’s experiences. A Playboy pictorial, a Black Lace novel and the filmed pornography made of women in Serbian rape camps may have much in common, but they are different in crucial and obvious respects. To call all three ‘pornography’ may help us to understand these similarities but it obscures the fundamental differences. It is impossible to prove that pornography— in any form—causes violence against women. As we enter the fourth decade of feminist teaching, research and activism on pornography, we need to move beyond cause and effect to make new generations of students, pornography consumers and policy makers aware of the very real harm in which some pornography


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is implicated. Moving beyond cause and effect will mean moving beyond the absolutes which have characterised much feminist anti-pornography work but this also opens up new opportunities for influencing policy and practice. ENDNOTES
1. Literally hundreds of studies have been published in this field with an emphasis on the effects of violent or sexually explicit media. Useful overviews of the field which give some sense of the diversity of opinion include Cumberbatch and Howitt (1989); Gauntlett (1995, 1997) and Miller and Philo (1998). For an introduction to the effects literature on pornography, see Allen, Emmers, et al. (1995); Allen, D’Alessio, and Brezgel (1995); Donnerstein, Linz, and Penrod (1987); Linz (1989); Malamuth and Donnerstein (1984); Zillman and Bryant, (1989). Critical perspectives of this work are provided by Henry (1988); Howitt (1989); King (1993); Russell (1993b, 1993c); Segal (1993); Senn (1993). 2. This is, broadly speaking, the position Gauntlett (1995) takes in Moving Experiences: Understanding Television’s Influences and Effects. 3. Examples are too numerous to mention, but one might note the selective use of effects studies in writings by Dworkin and MacKinnon (1988) and the use of effects researchers as ‘expert’ witnesses in the Minneapolis Public Hearings on pornography and discrimination against women (Everywoman, 1988). Summaries of effects research have also been included in a number of feminist anti-pornography anthologies (Einsiedel, 1992; Russell, 1993b; Weaver, 1992.) 4. In this article, I will use the term anti-anti-pornography—rather than anti-censorship, pro-pornography or pro-sex—to refer to those feminists who have opposed the anti-pornography position. While, I accept that this term does not reflect the full scope of concerns about sexuality which have characterised this debate (Vance, 1989, pp. xxii-xxiii), as this article focuses specifically on pornography, and only tangentially on the related areas of censorship and sex, the term is most accurate for my purposes. 5. See note 1. 6. See Williams (1990) for an extended analysis of the conventions of hard-core pornographic film. 7. The abstracts collected in Signorielli and Gerbner’s (1988) annotated bibliography of research on the effects of media violence provide ample evidence of this point. 8. Pornography involving children in its production is, by definition, abusive and illegal, a fact which can also become obscured in debates which generalise about all pornography.

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Beyond Cause and Effect


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