Bad Attitude/s on Trial

Bad Attitude/s on Trial: Pornography, Feminism, and the Butler Decision

BRENDA COSSMAN
SHANNON BELL
LISE GOTELL
BECKI L. ROSS
Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 274
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442671157
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  • Book Info
    Bad Attitude/s on Trial
    Book Description:

    Mainstream, or straight, pornography still flourishes, while those centering on gay and lesbian sex and s/m sex, are the focus of censorship. A critical analysis of pornography after the Supreme Court?s Butler (1992) decision.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7115-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-47)
    BRENDA COSSMAN and SHANNON BELL

    Bad Attitude/s on Trialis a critical analysis of pornography in the context of contemporary Canada. We examine conflicts around pornography within Canadian feminism, the growing public and legal influence of anti-pornography feminism, as well as the current climate of intensified state censorship. The regulation and censorship of sexual materials has intensified since the mid-1980s, as have campaigns by anti-pornography feminists. During the last decade, anti-pornography feminism has enjoyed remarkable success in the courts, in the legislatures, and in the realm of public opinion. Previously, debates about public representations of sexuality were polarized between civil-libertarian advocates of free expression and...

  5. 2 Shaping Butler: The New Politics of Anti-Pornography
    (pp. 48-106)
    LISE GOTELL

    In a context marked by repressive legal interpretations of ʹobscenity,ʹ the continued targeting of marginal sexual voices by police, courts, and customs officials, and an ongoing debate about the ʹtrueʹ meaning of theButlercase, interpretations and reinterpretations of this so-called landmark legal ruling proliferate. This book as a whole represents an intervention in this debate, an attempt to disentangle the complexities of the post-Butlerlegal and political landscape. This chapter, however, takes a step backwards into the pre-Butlercontext, the necessary beginning point in any effort to tell the emerging story of pornography, law, feminism, and censorship in Canada...

  6. 3 Feminist Fashion or Morality in Drag? The Sexual Subtext of the Butler Decision
    (pp. 107-151)
    BRENDA COSSMAN

    InR. v. Butler(1992), the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the constitutionality of the criminal prohibition of obscenity under section 163 of the Criminal Code of Canada (R.S.C., 1985, c. c-46). The Court held that although this provision violated free speech as guaranteed by section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it was a reasonable limit under section 1. In so doing, the Supreme Court tries to tell us that the obscenity laws are no longer concerned with corrupting morals, or with courts as the guardians of public morality. Rather, in the courtʹs view, the obscenity...

  7. 4 ʹItʹs Merely Designed for Sexual Arousalʹ: Interrogating the Indefensibility of Lesbian Smut
    (pp. 152-198)
    BECKI L. ROSS

    On 2 April 1992, Constable Patricia McVicar, a female member of Project P, the joint OPP/Metro Toronto Police anti-pornography squad, seizedBad Attitude(1991) – a ʹlesbian erotic fictionʹ magazine (published bimonthly in Cambridge, Massachusetts) from Torontoʹs Glad Day Bookshop. Outfitted in plain clothes, undercover officer McVicar targetedBad Attitudebecause ʹthe magazine contained sexually explicit materials with bondage and violence ... that were degrading and obscene and not what Canadians would abide other Canadians seeing.ʹ¹ Almost a month later, on 30 April 1992, McVicar charged John Scythes, owner of Glad Day Bookshop – the cityʹs lesbian and gay bookstore...

  8. 5 On ne peut pas voir lʹimage [The image cannot be seen]
    (pp. 199-242)
    SHANNON BELL

    When truth-telling is important, I write autofiction. Through a glory whole to eternity: Should I go to jail for sucking a fifteen and three quarter year oldʹs cock and giving her money? Am I already in jail in the shared fate of the men rounded up in the most recent of recurrent sexual/moral panics? Have all the great concerns of humanity – truth, beauty, equality, eros – been reduced to the age of a sphincter muscle? ʹThe description and activities are degrading and without any human dimension. The dominant characteristic is the undue exploitation of sex. I find it to...

  9. References
    (pp. 243-260)
  10. Index
    (pp. 261-273)