Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance

Affirming Sexual Freedom as a Fundamental Human Right

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Sex and Sensibility: Reflections on Forbidden Mirrors and th Will to Censor

Marcia Pally, a social scientist at New York University, examines the hypothesis that government censorhip of offensive books and images will reduce anti-social behavior, including delinquency, violence, and rape. After extensive review of the sociological, psychological, criminological, and cross-cultural research, Pally finds that the causes of anti-social conduct lie in the life experiences of perpetrators, which are unfortunately not likely to be addressed by merely removing images from the public sphere. Moreover, government censhorship in one area may open the door to censoship in other arenas and thus threaten democracy. Pally notes that those in favor of censorship and those opposed share the goal of reducing violence and abuse, and so both might use their energies to further substantive solutions to anti-social conduct. This, Pally suggests, will require a deep look at our values, family structures, parenting, educational systems, and other of our basic institutions.