Theory and Practice: Pornography and Rape  

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"Pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice" --Robin Morgan

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"Theory and Practice: Pornography and Rape" (1974) is an essay by Robin Morgan, collected in Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist (1977), best-known for its dictum :"Pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice".


"Pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice. And what a practice. The violation of an individual woman is the metaphor for man's forcing himself on whole nations (rape as the crux of war), on nonhuman creatures (rape as the lust behind hunting and related carnage), and on the planet itself (reflected even in our language—carving up “virgin territory,” with strip-mining often referred to as "rape of the land"."
“…Rape exists any time sexual intercourse occurs when it has not been initiated by the woman out of her own genuine affection and desire… Anything short of that is, in a radical feminist definition, rape. Because the pressure is there, and it need not be a knife blade against the throat; it’s in his body language, his threat of sulking, his clenched or trembling hands, his self-deprecating humor or angry put–down or silent self–pity at being rejected. How many millions of times have women had sex "willingly" with men they didn't want to have sex with? Even men they loved? How many times have women wished just to sleep instead or read or watch "The Late Show"? It must be clear that, under this definition, most of the decently married bedrooms across America are settings for nightly rape.”
"Elaine Morgan, in her book The Descent of Woman posits that rape was the initial crime, not murder, as the Bible would have it. She builds an interesting scientific argument for her theory. In The Mothers, Robert Briffault puts forward much the same hypothesis for an evolutionary “fall” from the comparable grace of the ..."

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