From Library Journal
McElroy, the president of Feminists for Free Expression/Canada and the editor of Freedom, Feminism and the State (Cato Inst., 1991. 2d ed.), advocates pornography as part of a free, healthy flow of information about sex needed by society, including women. She posits a "value neutral definition" of pornography that some may find limited: "the explicit artistic depiction of men and/or women as sexual beings." While "radical feminists" (e.g., Dworkin, MacKinnon) oppose pornography as violence, McElroy defends the right of women to consume it and to be involved in its production. A survey of 41 COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) members is included. This work is useful in providing access to all aspects of a serious issue and should be read in conjunction with Diana E.H. Russell's Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm (Russell, 1994). For women's studies collections.?Helen Rippier Wheeler, formerly of UC-Berkeley, SLIS
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The insistence that all feminists call for a ban on pornography has received several cogent replies lately. Strossen's Defending Pornography
took a lively, thoroughly researched shot at lawyer Catherine MacKinnon and her followers' censorship demands. McElroy agrees with Strossen's legal arguments and takes the issue a few steps further. She asserts that elements of pornography can actually benefit women and cites historical precedent to show that an environment of greater freedom for all sexual expression better enables discussion of such important issues as birth control and venereal disease. At the level of the individual, pornography, McElroy says, "provides women with a real sense of what is sexually available to them" and "is how-to literature for those who lack real-world experience." McElroy supplements her well-researched opinions with insightful interviews with outspoken women who work in the porn industry, which may help make XXX
one of the more provocative books on this issue, albeit one that is ultimately more concerned with fomenting positive discussion than raising eyebrows. Aaron Cohen