Desiree Bradshaw English 1010, 1A

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Desiree Bradshaw

English 1010, 1A

A Response to Margaret Atwood’s Pornography

A wiry cold breeze filled the Halloween night air. We skipped up the long, winding driveway trying to keep our minds off of the lurking shadows. The moon hid behind the trees as we approached the cracked and abandoned home. A dull, gold light filled a single window. Ready to catch anyone who dared trip at its edge, an empty fountain crouched in front of a fractured door. Ted Bundy had lived here; the murder and mutilator of over thirty women. What would cause a man to do such awful things?

In Margaret Atwood’s essay, titled Pornography, she addresses the effects that people, such as Ted Bundy, experience after viewing violent pornography. She argues that pornography not only disturbs the women and children making the film, but it also advertises and glorifies rape. As boys see these grotesque images, she says, they learn that rape is normal and that women like aggressive sex. After one viewing, Atwood claims that pornography addicts its victims to a point of no return. She then argues that increases in society’s rape and murder cases trace back to these using men. To close, Atwood begs society to make sensory changes to diminish and control the violence of pornography.[Mar88] Although I agree that pornography is addictive and contributes to the violent behavior of some, I do not believe that laws should step in and sensor it.

Just as Margaret Atwood claims, pornography catches men in the same way that alcohol or meth controls its prey.[Mar88] Like the need to take a swig of tequila from the bottle on the table, every time an ad comes up on the computer for an “adult website,” an addict cannot resist the one click. Whether it’s compulsion or addiction, the result is the same.[Mar11] However, the need for that sexual high will not disappear. That same high that the boy or man feels cannot be recreated anywhere else, thus, the films must replay. The effects then set in.

The effects of pornography make it a dangerous product. Not only does it affect the women and children making the film, but also the men and boys who watch. Seeing real people doing what seems like real harm suddenly makes rape, violence, and aggressiveness seem common. By being so common, these boys see them as socially acceptable. With the acceptance of such behavior, comes the increase of raped women and beaten wives. Ted Bundy is a great example of someone whose actions began with pornography. Once addicted, the films became real to him. This led him to rape and kill women over thirty women and children. It all started with just one film.

Although law enforcers should imprison people like Ted Bundy, I do not agree with Margaret Atwood’s censorship idea. The law should not step in and force society away from pornography. Censorship is a moral issue, not a political one. A religion, on one hand, can preach abstinence. My bishop once said to the congregation, “Do not look at pornography even once. If you do, it will ruin any chance of a normal relationship.” Religion can order its people to follow that rule but a law, being less important to the general public, cannot. If it were to try, pornography would simply become a black market item, just like marijuana or meth. Society would not change. In order for pornography to disappear, the people must say no, not a law making body.

To convince her audience of the needed censorship, Margaret Atwood stereotypes her opposition, gives a biased report, and leaves out one critical point. When she first introduces her opinion, Atwood presents both the pro-sensory opinions and the anti-sensory side. However, she stereotypes the anti-sensory group into an expressionist group who believes in the right to “drive when drunk”. Atwood displays these as illogical and exaggerated. Then, she lights her own view as rational and perfect. This convinces her audience to shy away from their humiliated views and hide under her wing. While exhibiting her opinion, Atwood also leaves out the fact that violent pornography is not the only available kind. She never addresses the effects of the more common form of pornography; including naked bodies and sex. She embellishes the horror of pornography to further convince her readers to support the change.

Overall an effective and persuading piece, Margaret Atwood convinced me to believe that pornography has many pitfalls. Its addictive qualities will lead to an increase in rape and violence. However, despite her accusations, Atwood failed to push me in favor of censorship. The law has no reason to force changes that a society’s conscience should make.

Works Cited

Mar88: , (Atwood),

Mar88: , (Atwood 34),

Mar11: , (Downs),

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