Women Against Censorship

Coming soon – Reviews & Table of Contents


Early in the 1980s, a huge wave of mobilization over pornography swept society. From the “Moral Majority” (the first regroupment of the “New Right”) to the women’s movement, many analyses and strategies constituted points of difference for public policy platforms and moral stances. Issues of gender were pivotal, though in different ways, for these different actors. Varda Burstyn, serving in 1981 on the board of a progressive film festival that was busted and censored for showing explicit (though critical) films began to address the complex issues both in understanding and in taking action on sexual imagery, and continued to write about these issues as social concern grew throughout the decade. She wrote and spoke widely in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. Her commissioned anthology Women Against Censorship was the first collection of Canadian and American feminist writers expressing a feminist analysis of pornography while taking a non-censorious strategic stance. The debates that were had at that historical moment when highly capitalized film and video were moving sexual imagery into a new level of realism and pervasiveness are important and educational backdrops to urgent debates we are having today, which is why this book is still seen as a benchmark by scholars and activists in these times.