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The Negative Side Effects of Censorship In his article entitled Feminism Pornography and Censorship Mark Wicclair argues that even if pornography as defined by Helen Longino exists censoring pornographic material may cause more harm than good In this paper I will examine Wicclairs arguments and explain why I agree with him Helen Longino defines pornography as sexually explicit material that depicts and condones the acts of exploitation dehumanization subordination abuse or denigration of women382 Wicclair argues that Longino uses very vague and obscure terms to describe what specifically pornography is and states that those who call for the censorship of pornography on the grounds that it is sexist and misogynistic fail to recognize the difficulty of formulating laws which would have an acceptable degree of clarity and specificity384 Wicclair states that different people have different criteria for deciding when something is degrading or humiliating and therefore it may be difficult to censor pornography without a clear-cut definition of what exactly it is that should be censored Wicclair concedes that even if pornography in this definition does exist censoring it would infringe upon our right to freedom of expression The ability to express ones ideas without the threat of being penalized by the law or fear of government control is an essential principle in our free society 382 Wicclair suggests that censoring pornography hinders an environment that promotes the expression of differing views about politics art and religion an environment that encourages progress and aids in the search for truth and justice 382 Another reason Wicclair gives for why we should not censor pornographic material is one that counters the feminist argument that by censoring pornography you are preventing harm to women There is no conclusive evidence that establishes a causal relationship between the distribution of pornography and the acts of violence that have been committed against women so the argument is invalidated Wicclair goes on to say that if there is a connection
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