XXX by Wendy McElroy

XXX

A Woman's Right to Pornography

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A gutsy defense of pornography that goes beyond the argument that it is a lesser evil than censorship, claiming instead that it actually benefits women. McElroy, a freelance writer and president of Feminists for Free Expression/Canada, asserts that porn helps women to explore and enjoy new ways of thinking about sex. She also looks at the porn industry, finding that it is not nearly as barbaric and coercive as antipornography feminists maintain. Interviewing porn actresses, she discovers that many are witty, smart, self- determining women, not helpless victims of patriarchy. McElroy's enthusiasm about porn is catching and will resonate with other female consumers, who make up some 15 percent of the adult video market. Unfortunately, she sometimes resorts to dishonest rhetoric, repeatedly condemning ``those driven by ideology,'' as if her own free-speech, pro-sex, libertarian-inspired feminism were not also an ideology. McElroy's writing also occasionally lacks depth when she has done inadequate research; for instance, she feels at a disadvantage at the Adult Video News Awards (``the Oscars of porn'') because she is not familiar with the nominated videos and stars. Nor is she completely literate about the other side: She repeatedly cites sexist advertising in Ms. magazine, though Ms. has been ad-free for years. McElroy also devotes a chapter to a prostitutes' rights group and a survey of its members, arguing that since porn actresses and prostitutes are similarly stigmatized and often similarly motivated, a survey of one group can give us information about the other. But surely there are important differences, and this is a book on pornographywhy not survey porn actresses? A bold argument in favor of pornography is refreshing after so many liberal pleas for mere tolerance, but XXX is flawed by incomplete research and misleading rhetoric. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-13626-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1995




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