Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Fall 2021


Allison, Gillian. "Addressing the Harms of Pornography." Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln. 2021.


Copyright Gillian Allison 2021.


Within this paper I look at the existing philosophical work on pornography, from scholars like Catherine MacKinnon, Ronald Dworkin, and Rae Langton to show the current state of the pornography debate that I intend to enter by presenting my own argument about the morality of pornography. I argue that while pornography is harmful, these harms are best resolved through increased sexual education and the popularization and production of more inclusive pornography. The harms pornography causes are so great because pornography is where a lot of people learn about sex. Pornography was never designed to depict an average sexual experience. If we increase sexual education pornography will lose some of its power to cause harm as it it will no longer be an authority on what sex is, and can remain a depiction of a fantasy that viewers can watch for sexual stimulation. Pornography also seems to exclusively feature white, cis-gender, attractive, thin, able-bodied, straight couples. Allowing people from marginalized communities to produce and star in pornography will also reduce the harms of pornography because increasing diversity within pornography will help make sure that members of those marginalized communities are not being exploited by pornography.