'Mackinnon bristles at the old charge that anti-porn feminists were, in effect, in bed with the political right. ''I actually know who I'm in bed with,' she said in a recent interview. 'This was just something created by the pornographers to scare liberals off, which doesn't take much.'

But her language has been adopted by some on the right. Now, according to Janet LaRue of Concerned Women for America, 'It may be that we're not hearing as much from the traditional hardline feminist organizations, but when I write and speak on the topic of pornography, one of the aspects that I point out is that it certainly subjugates and degrades women and reduces us to the sum or our body parts.'

But perhaps it's porn's very ubiquity that has most weakened the anti-pornography case, feminist and conservative. Thanks to the growth of home-video pornography in the 1980s and the more recent shift to the Internet, far more people have access to X-rated material than ever before. As Williams puts it, 'In a way I think MacKinnon and Dworkin were able to invoke the kind of horror that they did at pornography at a time when not as many people had seen it. For better or for worse, now it has become part of the vernacular of our way of talking about picturing sex to ourselves.'

MacKinnon agrees, though she sees the shift as more insidious: 'The data just show that pornography sets community standards, so the more pornography there is, the less will be seen to be wrong with it. It's just its own intrinsic dynamic.'"

~ What happened to the anti-porn feminists? by Drake Bennett