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Houston Breakthrough, November 1979
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Houston Breakthrough, November 1979 - Page 11. November 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 26, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1660/show/1638.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(November 1979). Houston Breakthrough, November 1979 - Page 11. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1660/show/1638

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, November 1979 - Page 11, November 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 26, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1660/show/1638.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, November 1979
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date November 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
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Title Page 11
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File Name femin_201109_555aj.jpg
Transcript would be a working definition of pornography. I don't have any bad connotations that it is something dirty or anything like that. Pornography and Violence. Absolutely no connection. The surveys that have been done show that if you see enough pornography, long enough, it becomes boring to you. It doesn't create any antisocial behavior, so the way women are portrayed in it, although it might not be exactly the way some women would like to see women portrayed, doesn't excite men to go out and commit rape. Rapes are acts of violence, not acts of a sexual nature. I'm talking about adults. Showing violence or sexually oriented material to children is not something that I would recommend. I think by the time an adult is old enough to see a motion picture with violence or a sexually explicit scene, he should be able to handle it. If a person's not stable enough to handle it, then he has other problems and the movie isn't going to have a major effect on him. What I'm saying is that there might be one tenth of one percent that might see The Godfather and go out and shoot somebody, or see an X-rated movie and rape somebody. But those types of people are not normal, and that's not the people that are going to motion pictures today or buying Playboy magazine or Hustler or whatever. You can't restrict society to protect it from everything because if you do that, virtually nothing would be legal. Some guy might have seen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and gone out and killed somebody and decapitated them, but you can't just outlaw all movies on violence because one person might do the extreme. The same goes for sexually explicit movies. JUNE ARNOLD, Novelist and founder of Daughters, Inc., a feminist press. Pornography and Violence. I definitely think there's a connection. In fact, I think that's the central point. The problem of pornography for feminists is how pornography affects all women, not just the ones who submit to the movie or stage show for salary. I think there are two primary effects. The first one is that women in early adolescence learn to see their sexuality as something to be exhibited and cut off the possibility of integrating their sexuality into a total human life—in order to use sexual energy for love, adventure and creativity. They learn to see their body as an object and either detach themselves from it as something that's ugly or dangerous, or capitalize on it to manipulate what they want. I think adolescent males learn to view women as objects in the same way and cut themselves off from their sexuality. So the first major point is that pornography encourages women to see themselves as objects. I think there should be a law right this minute that porn establishments can't advertise in public with pictures of naked women and signs saying "totally nude girls." They're on public streets and I really feel deeply insulted as a woman every time I pass one. The second point is that porn's main function is to stimulate the viewer. As the viewer becomes jaded, porn ups the ante. We've seen that violence plus sex is twice as stimulating. We know from reading Laurel Holliday's The Violent Sex that males experience violence sexually. While we're passing laws that tavern owners can be held responsible if a customer leaves his place drunk and kills someone driving home, we might consider a law that holds porn establishments responsible if a man leaves a movie or bar and commits rape on the way home. The women who've been working on the social effects of pornography have amply demonstrated that rape and sexual mutilation and murder increase as porn becomes more widespread and more violent. The problem is that the liberals who are afraid of the infringement upon the freedom of speech are frightened of laws against porn. Liberals are now beginning to focus on the violence that results from the fact that a class of people are objects to be used. What is Pornography ? I think what we should do is redefine pornography. I looked at a dictionary definition, and my dictionary says it's that which is obscene or offends modesty. With a general definition like that, every case is going to the Supreme Court because nobody knows what that means. But what if we redefine it to mean "that sexual material which can be shown to lead to direct violence against a segment of the community." In the same way that we're insisting that rape is not a sexual act but a crime of assault, this definition would take the obscenity laws out of the totally nebulous area of sexual morality. We still wouldn't solve the problem of the woman growing up to see herself as an object, but we would at least solve the second problem. I suppose that the second problem is the more immediate problem—the increasing rape and mutilation of women. GAIL PADGETT, Representative of the Houston Rape Crisis Coalition. What is Pornography ? Usually I think of pornography as any kind of graphic display that is degrading to women. Obviously that leaves a lot of room for subjectivity. I usually think of it as involving nudity or near nudity, but not always. I'm thinking particularly of advertisments. For instance, women's clothes. I've seen some really masochistic displays of women modelling raincoats, with an umbrella pointed at one model's stomach or head, suggesting violence. The raincoats are worn with nothing underneath so you have the idea of exhibitionism. The women are glaring at each other in a threatening way. Even though that doesn't involve nudity, I think of it as pornography because it's using the woman's body to merchandise the clothes, and it's degrading to the women because it's violent. So many people, particularly women, don't know anything about pornography. They think of it as the Playboy centerfold, the frontal view of an unclothed woman. They find that somewhat objectionable because they object to public nudity. But this kind of thing doesn't include the violence or degradation that we protest as so terribly destructive—violence against women in the media, the use of chains and whips, women who are bound. Susan Brownmiller is leading tours of New York City's red light districts, not only to confront the people who frequent the shops, but also to let women know just how damaging and dangerous this stuff is, how much of it involves children, how much involves animals, and how much of it is not just distasteful but clearly violent. The Rape Crisis Coalition wants to begin these tours here so that we can educate ourselves. A lot of people join the Rape Crisis Coalition because they want to help the survivors of rape attacks. They're coming to us for varied reasons with the idea of doing good and they're not usually feeling anger at what caused the rape or understanding the dynamics of rape. Many of them, expecially the men, have defended pornography saying that it has no connection with rape and sexual abuse. Again, they're not focusing on the violent pornography or kiddie porn, but the Playboy centerfold. We have the Bellaire Newsstand right here where they sell plastic vaginas in the back room. I think it would be a good consciousness-raising technique to see how much hostility a group of us—particularly if we're all women—arouse in the customers and pro prietors of these shops by simply going in and looking at some of the stuff. Pornography and Violence. There is obviously a connection between pornography and any kind of pictorial display of women being abused and dominated by men, particularly sexually. One large city found that 72 percent of the rapists and sex offenders apprehended had pornography in their possession. In Houston, our police have so little money that data collection is a joke, so I have no idea what kind of statistics might be generated locally. Proponents of First Amendment rights say all you have to do is look at the Scandinavian countries, where porn is legal and freely available, to see that sex crimes have decreased. What actually happened is that immediately after the legalization, sex crimes did decrease, but since then sexual crimes against women have been following the same spiralling pattern of increase we've seen all over the world, particularly here in the United States. One thing that I see as really damaging about pornography is that both pornography and prostitution give men the idea that they have a right to women's bodies; that they have a right to buy pictures of women involved in sexual activities; that they have a right to buy a prostitute. Anything that can be bought can be stolen. More and more often we're seeing men raping women and living out their sexual fantasies as they do with paid-for prostitutes. It doesn't take a very active imagination to realize that they're picking these ideas up from pornography. The stories we hear from the survivors who call us at the Rape Hotline are right out of the porn magazines: women tied up in fetal positions with dogs set upon them to rape them anally or vaginally; women raped by two men at once, one vaginally and one anally; and one woman who was raped vaginally simultaneously by two men. Many of the rapists spend hours with the victim, having sex with her in dozens of different ways, pushing, pulling, and tearing her body into different positions, and constantly asking her how she likes it . . . They are acting out masochistic, violent fantasies on rape victims, often using mirrors in the victim's bedroom to make her watch what they're doing to her, or to watch themselves. They need so much visual feedback, that you can see these crimes coming from the pages of pornography. For so long, we've been saying that rape is not an act of sex but violence. What we've done is educate a lot of women to the notion that there's a big difference between being raped and making love. What we've obscured, however, is the fact that for the rapist this is sex, and it's very violent sex. Many times the rapist's sexual impulse is turned on by violence and by forcing a woman to do something against her will. That's exactly what pornography is all about—having the woman tied up unable to move, her body contorted into positions that are not pleasant or stimulating to her sexually. Any woman looking at those pictures NOVEM3ER1979 11 HbUSTON BREAKYHRtot/CiH