Group Activity on Pornography

For a session on “pornography” as part of a media literacy class, I have previously assigned the following two readings (see attached files)

Dworkin, Andrea.  Selections from Pornography: Men Possessing Women. New York: Plume, 1979.

McElroy, Wendy. Selections from XXX: A Woman’s Right to Pornography. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 1995.

During  class, students are split up into groups of 3-4 people and work through an assignment sheet (see attached pdf) to discern the authors’ differing views on porn, i.e. pro-sex/porn vs. anti-porn feminists. After they worked through the questions, we all reconvene and discuss the different definitions/takes on porn. I also encourage students to share their own opinions or provide examples, which has in the past sometimes revealed interesting gender dynamics in the classroom.

I also like to show excerpts from both authors being interviewed to clarify their standpoint:

Dworkin Pornography Documentary

Wendy McElroy Interview on XXX

Since these readings are somewhat “dated”, I’ve also found these more recent publications on porn to be useful in generating class room discussion:

Caputi, Jennifer (2011) “The Pornography of Everyday Life” (Chapter 34, pp. 311-320) in Gender, Race, and Class in Media. A Critical Reader 3rd Edition. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Fahy, Thomas (2011) “One Night in Paris (Hilton). Wealth, Celebrity, and the Politics of Humiliation” (Chapter 33, pp. 301-309) in Gender, Race, and Class in Media. A Critical Reader 3rd Edition. Thousand Oakes: Sage Publications.

Clark-Flory, Tracy (2011, August) “When Porn meets Real Motherhood”

McElroy (1995) XXX A Woman’s Right to Pornography

Dworkin (1979) Pornography Men Possessing Women

Group Activity Pornography



This entry was posted in Group Projects, Readings for Undergraduates and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply