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Houston Breakthrough, November 1979
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Houston Breakthrough, November 1979 - Page 12. 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/1639.

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 12. 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/1639

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 12, 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/1639.

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.
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Title Page 12
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File Name femin_201109_555ak.jpg
Transcript 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 society. 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 women. 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- NUDE club 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, feminist bookstore. 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 like that. 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. 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 participation. 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 University Women. 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 beings. 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 frustrations on. 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. —Gail Padgett 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 propaganda. 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, moral judge. 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 their sexuality. Now to define pornography. I'm well aware that what I'm telling you is a per- HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH 12 NOVEMBER 1979