knows that's not the sort of thing that
stimulates a woman sexually. There's obviously nothing we can do to stop pornography because it's big business. But I
hope that through educating people about
the violence involved in it and the damage
it does to us on the street and in our own
homes, we can educate some of the folks
who are so adamant against censorship.
For example, the reason we don't have
Ku Klux Klan material on display in our
supermarkets is that it's offensive to us.
Pornography is offensive to us too. Until
we begin to appreciate that offensiveness
and demand that it be eliminated, it will
continue to flourish.
RON WATERS, State Representative for
Montrose - Heights - Fourth Ward.
What is Pornography ?
I see the feminist concern about pornography and I share it, but I am first
motivated by the First Amendment rights
of freedom from censorship. I understand
the concern women have over sexploitation, but I think there's a difference
between it and what some people call
pornography. Most pornography is sexploitation of both males and females
because it continues stereotypes and
simplistic attitudes. Some pornography is
eroticism and some of it is just junk, but
all of it is protected by the Constitution.
Even if it weren't, it should be in a free
I think the same people who are anti-
pornography, with the exception of
feminists who are coming from a different
angle, for the most part are the people
who would also censor discussions of
birth control, abortion and anything else
they consider immoral. My whole perspective is that discussion or depiction of
that kind of thing can have redeeming
social value if it raises people's consciousness or their ire, as it obviously does to
some people, and makes them think
about the current roles between men and
This anti-pornography bill that was
passed outlaws the movie Pretty Baby,
about a 12-year-old prostitute. Though it
may be sexploitation, I found it a worthwhile movie because it helps people un-
derstand whtt goes on in that strata, and
to outlaw that film is dangerous to feminists because it means we don't want to
discuss the subject, and we want to pretend it doesn't exist. But it does exist,
and ignoring a problem has never made it
go away. I don't think censorship will
ever solve the problem of our attitudes
about sex. In fact, censorship is oppression and oppression makes the problem
worse. Pornography is just a negative
word for what might be considered eroticism by other people. You can't do it by
censorship because one person's art is another's pornography.
Pornography and Violence
Violence bothers me more than nudity or
sexuality on the screen. In fact, I think
our whole censorship system is geared
toward the wrong issue. It should be directed more towards violence than nudity
or explicit sex. I would be more supportive of that, and I think that's what feminists are talking about. An X-rated movie
ought to be one that shows extreme violence, like Halloween, or some I've seen
in which the violence level is sustained all
the way through with hacking and horrible stuff. I'm not sure kids should see
these films or at least they or their parents
should know what they're going to see.
The rating system should be based on the
violent quotient rather than the sexual
quotient, but Halloween, which is one of
the most offensive movies that I can
think of recently, is a PG-rated movie. If
it is true, if studies do show that seeing
violent behavior causes aggressive behavior, then that movie would certainly contribute to it. You have to distinguish
between sex and violence.
B. D. DEAN, Owner of B. D. & Daughter,
What is Pornography?
To me, pornography results any time the
media exploits and degrades women's
bodies for profit. This is increasingly associated with violence. There seem to be
about three different camps within the
women's movement on the subject of
pornography. There are what we might
call the individualist feminists—where I
would put myself. Within that camp exists a double standard. Although I don't
want some man taking pictures of me and
profiting from it, I might look at a
women-loving-women book or something
At the music festivals, for example,
you see women running around in underwear labeled with women's symbols and
people like that and think that's neat.
But, on the other hand, they don't want
some man coming in there taking pictures
of it. So you have a double standard, I
think. What is art to one person might
make another one extremely sexually
aroused and, at the same time, disgust
Another point to consider is a person's
right to make money. If a person wants
to pose for certain pictures or be in certain films, things like that, most of us
don't want to interfere with that right.
Another camp within the movement
seems to be the civil libertarian feminists
who talk about freedom of the press and
consenting adults. Then there's the third
camp—the [radical] feminists who object
to showing women's bodies for profit. I
think all women within the movement
would be opposed to the use of minors,
violence or bondage of any kind in magazines or films. I think those topics would
unite all three camps.
Pornography and Violence.
That's the way they're selling sex. It's becoming almost synonymous with violence.
I think the main danger is to the young
people who are growing up with these
kinds of tapes going on in their heads all
the time. Of course, the most immediate
danger is to women because it takes from
us. I think we have to take a stand.
Number one, women can go in and see
what [materials are for sale] and ask our
selves how this hurts women and what we
want to do about it. Another thing is to
join Women Against Violence Against
Women or Women Against Violence in
Pornography and Media. I think there's
an organization opposing violence against
children, too. At the very least we could
send our money in—the lowest level of
I do have another point. I think that
this issue of pornography is an excellent
opportunity for men who are interested
in becoming involved in the women's
movement. This would be one of the easiest issues for them to grab hold of. It involves their mothers, sisters, children,
wives, lovers. It would be an issue that
they might be comfortable working on,
and it's an issue that affects them, too,
because boys are receiving the same tapes
girls are. I consider a lot of commercials
on TV fringing on pornography, although
I realize that's a radical viewpoint.
They're using sex to sell a product, and to
me that's pornography.
MARJORIE RANDAL, Member, Education Task Force, Texas NOW; Anthropologist; Member, American Association of
What is Pornography?
Pornography is associated, I think, with
violence and submission and degradation
and turning people, particularly women,
into objects. It seems to enforce the association of sexual performance with
dominance, with objectification, and this
is an unfortunate tendency for human
There are some psychologists (and I
think they're all men) saying sado-masochism is necessary for eroticism; that it is
a part of eroticism; that as long as nobody gets hurt it's okay. But how are you
going to define "hurt?" It seems rather
odd that the people who are into sadomasochism seem to be male.
A powerless class that's nearby (some
members of which are in every man's life)
is very handy for men to project all their
MICKEY LELAND, United States Representative.
What is Pornography?
To me, pornography is the characterization of the obscene physical presence of
bodies that projects some kind of sexual
message. There's a thin line that I have to
recognize between art in a sanitary form
and pornography on the other hand
which, by my definition, elicits some
kind of arousal on the part of the people
who view that characterization. I'm not
sure that I can really make that distinction.
I can see the difference in my mind between something artful, something artistically erotic, and something that's totally
obscene. There's such a thin line between
what's good because that's determined by
one's values. It's determined by society's
overall view of what is decent and what is
obscene, and in those parameters you
have various points of view about what is
real art and what's pornography.
Pornography and Violence.
I'm struggling between my liberal views
about the presentation of the body by
the media and also my concern about
whether or not that does stimulate the
perverted person to sexually assault, not
only women, but also children and, to
some degree, men.
Without any real scientific analyses,
my feeling is that there is a vital connection there. I don't frequent pornographic
materials at all. But having seen pornographic materials, I can tell you that I
have been stimulated and aroused. My
own personal testimony is that in viewing
pornographic materials I have felt some
arousal, but at the same time, I have a
balanced feeling about it. I overcome
''Both pornography and prostition give men the
idea that they have a right to women's bodies, a
right to buy a prostitute. Anything that can be
bought can be stolen.
Females are encouraged to be maso-
chists. In fact they have been told now
for two generations, by the most eminent
psychologists, that they are masochists. It
is assumed that men are free to do whatever they wish, and often what they wish
is sadistic. I think it unfortunate that this
is being said because it reinforces the
power structure that already exists,
contending that women have to put up
with whatever men want to do.
I don't think it is very feminist to say
that sado-masochism is a necessary part
of eroticism, not as long as the present
power inequity exists. If this were a really
frees world and everyone were autonomous, then you might talk about it as a
free choice. Now, I think it's nothing but
Pornography and Violence.
If you define pornography very broadly
as the objectification of women as in
Playboy and Penthouse, then you would
have to say that a lot of men have been
encouraged to think that women are like
pieces of furniture; that they're just particularly nice things to have in your playboy pad. Therefore, I think that men are
being turned away from their own inner
needs; that this is a rip-off-a commercial
rip-off-that doesn't meet the deepest
erotic needs of anybody.
If women are objects, if you cannot
relate to them as people, obviously it
doesn't matter what happens to them, so
you can work out your aggressive fantas-
sies on these objects. I think that's what
some men are doing. It's easy to blame
somebody else for the bad things in life.
that arousal by taking a sane attitude.
Yet I can feel that people who are, for
lack of a better term, weaker than I am
psychologically, might be inspired to go
out and attack someone sexually. It's a
horrendous kind of acknowledgement,
but I just feel that people get so involved
in that feeling that it overcomes their objectivity and morality.
Action to limit or even prohibit some
of these things is a very complicated subject because it could involve a violation of
First Amendment rights. The whole enterprise system sometimes tends to overwhelm the moral thrust of what we
should be about. Therefore, people talk
about free commercialization, the freedom to project pornographic materials in
whatever form to the public, because it's
a means of making money. To me, that's
somewhat unconscionable, but I don't
want to sit as some kind of religious,
BEVERLY HEBERT, member of Steering Committee, St. Joan's Alliance; member of Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media.
Pornography and Violence.
I can answer (the second question more
easily) than the first. I think there is a
definite connection. I think that the underlying attitudes are similar; they're dehumanizing attitudes towards women and
Now to define pornography. I'm well
aware that what I'm telling you is a per-