Win for Porn Industry; Loss for Women; NOW Reverts to the Usual
For the past 20 years, New York State NOW has had an active Task Force, addressing the harms to women and girls from the Pornography industry, and the broader sex industry including the use of women and girls in Trafficking & Prostitution.
The NYS NOW Council has just voted (on 2/20/2010) that the Task Force should drop the word “Pornography” from its Title, and remove all reference to “pornography” from its work. In response, we have resigned as Task Force Leaders.
The following feminists are on record stating that Pornography issues SHOULD be discussed by feminists:
Carolyn Maloney, Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Catharine MacKinnon, Norma Ramos, Dorchen Leidholdt, Jane Manning, Phyllis Frank, Robin Morgan, Sonia Ossario, Carol Urban, Phyllis Chesler, Julie Kirshner, Audre Lorde, Shirley Ranz, Molly Yard, Ellie Smeal, Rachellle Suissa, Susan Brownmiller, Marge Piercy, Taina Bien-Amie, Letty Pogrebin, Lois Reckitt, Charlotte Watson, Judy Murphy, Sherry Rogers, Diana Russell, Ariel Levy, Maya Angelou, Rachel Lloyd, Laura Lederer, Meg Baldwin, Evelina Giobbe, Kathleen Barry, Pauline Bart, Gail Dines, Ann Jones, Melissa Farley, Janice Raymond, Twiss Butler, Charlotte Bunch, Peggy Reeves Sanday, Rose Garrity, Clarice Pollack, Kate Millet, Jennifer Robinson, Nancy Henley, Louise Armstrong, Donna Hughes, Christine Stark, Bob Jensen, Ann Simonton, Samantha Berg, Sandra Hunicutt, Susan Hunter, Robert Brannon, Rebecca Wisnant, Sally Roesch Wagner...
For your information, these are some of the statements/arguments, about why to drop use of the word “pornography, that were posted by State NOW Leaders just before the vote:
“We should not have a task force with porn in the title.” “I used to free-lance as the girl-singer in on of the last burlesque shows in Manhattan. Believe me the strippers, some of whom were also prostitutes, were far freer than the women whose husbands they entertained.” “All I’m asking is that we take the puritanical, limiting “pornography” header off our title.” “Objections to "pornography" can portray our organization as prudes, who are upset with the sight of a naked body.” “Our organization should not be in the business of endangering the First Amendment.” “The Right Wing considers lesbians and gays, abortion and birth control, along with AIDS education "pornographic." We need to not play into this.” “Even the courts cannot define pornography and we all define porn differently.” “the fundamentalists are burning Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as “kiddy-porn”
For the feminist - historical record, the following NYS leaders led this campaign to remove pornography as an issue that NOW’s is concerned with: Marilyn Fitterman, Sandy Rapp, Lori Gardner, Barbara Kirkpatrick, Gaby Moreno, & and NYS NOW President Marcia Pappas (NewYorkStateNOW@aol.com).
As the former leaders of the State Task Group, we will continue to study and discuss the harms that occur to women and girls from pornography, the sex industry, and being used in trafficking and prostitution, in conjunction with other feminist organizations that share this concern.
We regret that NYS NOW does not. For those interested, some of our work is attached. Phyllis B. Frank & Dr. Robert Brannon, former Co-Chairs, Task Force on Trafficking, Pornography, and Prostitution PBFrank@aol.com Rbran999@aol.com
Greenconsciousness Notes:People would understand if the Task Force (TF) would teach what the alternative to porn is actually. Meaning a deep discussion of the nature of the product (porn) which they do teach and the alternative (sex ed) which they do not teach.
Porn is the primary, sometimes the only sex educator. Porn cornered the market.
If life drawing of nude models were done in grade school starting with kindergarten, young children would not be so needy of porn to learn and understand what their own bodies look like, as well as the body of the opposite sex.
Dolls should be atomically correct and always used for sex education. No doll should be made without genitalia. NOW should sell such dolls while making the point that education is the alternative to porn. Young children should be taught the names of the parts of the body using the dolls and life pictures.
As they turn 7-12 years old children should be given sex ed complete with videos showing masturbation and intercourse in a straightforward way without the porn aspect. Such videos exist and can be shown in sex segregated classrooms. Parents can attend these lectures - mothers in their daughter’s classroom - fathers with their sons or in a separate class for single parents. But since there are so many sex offenders among the parents it is best not to mix adult genders with children in sex ed classes.
The answer to the porn lie is not repression which never works and not porn or sexual preference advocacy which is slyly done by some teachers. Both homo and heterosexual advocacy should be discouraged. Instead sex ed should consist of definitions and accurate, straightforward, honest information complete with a discussion of the hormonal changes, adolescent lack of impulse control and disease symptoms and consequences.
Such classes should include the reproductive system of sexes and birth control as well as trips to planned parenthood clinics.Parents can teach morality but all citizens in a secular society should be educated about their bodies and the bodies of the opposite sex.
Life drawing with discussions about the human body, pictures, videos, genitally correct dolls; everything available should be used to show the difference between actual sexuality and the commercialized versions sold by cable and films.Children should be educated about the exploitative aspects of sex role commercialization; in other words, what happens to the beauty queens of playboy and hustler?
From 13 to 17 children can learn about STDs and the state laws regarding age of consent and related statutes. I would suggest reading some sex registry cases. They might be taught how difficult a pardon is to obtain.
NOW's porn task force should be sure that it is made clear their objection is to commercialized actions with exploited adult survivors - not to free expression of uncommercialized sexuality.
But more than a lack of teaching alternative sexual self-sufficiency goals on the part of the porn TF is involved in the NY action to eliminate it.
The vote is a political decision reflecting the prevailing ethic in the straight/gay male and transgendered community of NY. The decision to eliminate work on pornography reflects a failure in the intersectional model of feminist expression.
The main criticism of intersectional feminism is that a desire to be accepting and accepted (that is, politically correct) overcomes the analysis of the issue in terms of what is good for women. Analysis should examine the roles assigned to the genders, the consequences of reinforcing childhood trauma by sexualizing the drama, the roots of the need for more; the need itself created by mass culture marketing, often in opposition to the body's natural inclination as we age, to let go of a diminishing desire for sexual contact.
The personal is political. How do women experience porn; what age do they start, how does porn reflect a deepening understanding of an individual's sexuality and what reality can be taught instead, when girls learn about their bodies and how; baby beauty pageants, etc. We look at the women in groups like SAGE to answer the loud voices of the ex strippers many of whom were not born female.
Feminist ask how can we expand freedom and equality, not how can we restrict other born women. First, it is necessary to expose the exploitation that fuels the industry. The victimized have their own definitions of free will and consent. Feminism is their voice. Porn is the voice of the user/exploiter. Feminism tries to express the reality of born women's actual experiences as opposed to the labels that others (users) put on female behavior. Who ultimately defines reality shapes the world in which all women must live.
The vote to eliminate the porn focus reflects an acceptance of a patriarchal model of sexuality based on dominance submission commercialized to sell sex as an addictive drug with chemically treated, altered, women and children as the commercialized sex fantasy objects for sale.
Here, in the vote's outcome, feminist analysis lost to the politically correct demands of left males. Feminism tells the other half of the story - the story of the acted upon objects of porn's fantasy world. Feminism exposes the roots of sexual fantasy in the merging of sexual identity with intense patterns of parental interactions.
This quest for the truth of the experience in the porn industry, will direct subsequent feminist political action. The best of these actions are global laws eliminating pimps and escort services.
UPDATE ..........UPDATE ............................UPDATE
Pro-Pornography Leader likes Prostitution Too
... Marilyn Fitterman (2/23/10): ... One way ( to end Trafficking ) would be to legalize prostitution, hence, no one other than responsible adults would profit and they would also stay healthy... I'd love to hear a discussion about legalizing prostitution ie: sex workers because many of my friends are sex workers, they are educated and intelligent adults who have made the choices in their lives without interference from us or the govt. Let's make them legal.
Marilyn Fitterman(2/23/10) ...there will always be a demand, it goes back thousands of years, so until we can end that maybe we should think about letting those women who chose to make money off of these men do so. I know women who have married men for the comfortable lives they can live, these are just legal prostitutes in my estimation, not much different that others.
We are not surprised that the leader of the campaign to drop pornography as an Issue for NYS NOW discussion, has moved on, very quickly, to glamorize the use of women in prostitution.
The different branches of the sex industry - internet pornography, sex tourism, mail-order brides, strip clubs, and use in prostitution and trafficking - are all inter-related. Those who are oblivious to the harm to women from one branch of the sex industry are likely to be equally unconcerned with harms to women from all the others.
The use of women and girls in prostitution was one on the major concerns of our former NYS NOW Task Group. About one month ago, we submitted our 2010 TF Plan - which was never voted on - and along with it, a paper that we said was for discussion within NYS NOW, Does Consensual Prostitution Exist? The discussion paper was somehow, not distributed. We include that paper below, to prompt a process which NYS NOW clearly needs to have... but we were not permitted to facilitate.
You may be unaware that the Trafficking Law which we worked with the NYSATC to pass two years ago does not require an over-seas origin for the young women, and is actually the strongest, most promising, and most feminist-crafted law in U.S. history against pimping and prostitution. It authorized (but there's still no $...) help and services, not jail, for the women being used, and instead targeted the pimps and johns.
Phyllis B. Frank & Dr. Robert Brannon, former Co-Chairs,
Task Force on Trafficking, Pornography, and Prostitution