Lavender, menaced

Lesbianism, obscenity law, and the feminist antipornography movement

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

This article examines the means by which obscenity law, as an instrument of heteronormativity, operated against depictions of lesbianism in the post-World War II United States. As persistent obscenity charges served to reify the conflation of lesbianism and obscenity, bolstering an already operative antigay framework, judicial rulings repeatedly ratified this equation, holding depictions of lesbianism to arbitrary and anomalous legal standards that insured its continued stigmatization. After an analysis of case law and the legal targeting of lesbian imagery, the article goes on to argue that this hitherto unexamined story provides a crucial backdrop for understanding lesbian responses to the feminist antipornography movement that emerged in the 1970s, as lesbians often proved resistant to a movement whose discourse frequently resonated with earlier legal language utilized in the suppression of lesbian imagery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-107
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Women's History
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

Fingerprint

stigmatization
case law
suppression
World War II
Law
discourse
language
heteronormativity
Feminist Movement
Lesbian
Lesbianism
Obscenity
Imagery

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • History

Cite this

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abstract = "This article examines the means by which obscenity law, as an instrument of heteronormativity, operated against depictions of lesbianism in the post-World War II United States. As persistent obscenity charges served to reify the conflation of lesbianism and obscenity, bolstering an already operative antigay framework, judicial rulings repeatedly ratified this equation, holding depictions of lesbianism to arbitrary and anomalous legal standards that insured its continued stigmatization. After an analysis of case law and the legal targeting of lesbian imagery, the article goes on to argue that this hitherto unexamined story provides a crucial backdrop for understanding lesbian responses to the feminist antipornography movement that emerged in the 1970s, as lesbians often proved resistant to a movement whose discourse frequently resonated with earlier legal language utilized in the suppression of lesbian imagery.",
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Lavender, menaced : Lesbianism, obscenity law, and the feminist antipornography movement. / Strub, Whitney.

In: Journal of Women's History, Vol. 22, No. 2, 01.06.2010, p. 83-107.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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