Free Speech Law and the Pornography Debate

Free Speech Law and the Pornography Debate

A Gender-Based Approach to Regulating Inegalitarian Pornography

Lynn Mills Eckert


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By examining the highly contested legal debate about the regulation of pornography through an epistemic lens, this book analyzes competing claims about the proper role of speech in our society, pornography’s harm, the relationship between speech and equality, and whether law should regulate and, if so, upon what grounds. In maintaining that inegalitarian pornography generates discursive effects, the book contends that law cannot simply adopt a libertarian approach to free speech. While inegalitarian pornography may not be determinative of gender inequality, it does contribute, reinforce, reflect and help maintain such unfairness. As a result, we can place reasonable gender-based regulations on inegalitarian pornography while upholding our most treasured commitments to dissident speech just as other liberal democracies with strong free speech traditions have done.


Lynn Mills Eckert:
Lynn Mills Eckert is associate professor of political science at Marist College.