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Houston Breakthrough, November 1979
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Houston Breakthrough, November 1979 - Page 13. 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/1640.

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 13. 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/1640

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 13, 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/1640.

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 13
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File Name femin_201109_555al.jpg
Transcript sonal value judgment rather than some kind of legal definition, but the way I distinguish between pornography and sexually explicit material is (that) the thrust of pornography (is) exploitive, dehumanizing, an invasion of personal privacy and dignity. I'm glad that more feminists are getting interested in this issue because I don't think it's an issue that should be controlled by the prudes of the world versus people who say they're for sexual liberation and don't really care anything about women or the kind of world we live in. I think it's definitely a feminist issue and I think it's time that we realized 4t's a symptom of sexism and we have to contend with it on that level. I think, too, that feminists have too often gotten tricked into standing up for pornography because of First Amendment freedoms and the fact that we almost tend at times to be knee-jerk liberals. I think that we ought to study exactly what the legal issues are and be very clear in our own minds how the Supreme Court came to interpret different matters, we ought to remember that women haven't ever had representation on the Supreme Court. TWISS BUTLER, Member, Education Task Force, Texas NOW; League of Women Voters Representative, Bay Area Title IX Coalition. What is Pornography ? Pornography is communication that dehumanizes people. It's not a matter of something which could be called moral, or which has to do with people's sexual attitudes. It has to do only with treating human beings as objects for other people's purposes. Viewing women as something non-human means that they are viewed as different from men. It separates them from men and, therefore, makes it possible to treat them in ways that would not be considered civilized if human beings were being dealt with. Pornography and Violence. I think a great many people are basically opposed to censorship. At the same time, feminist thinkers are very conscious of the violent attitudes towards women and the amount of hatred and anger towards women that our whole social conditioning seems to engender. As children, boys and girls are encouraged to be lovers: "Johnny has a girlfriend, Judy has a boyfriend." And they're encouraged to be enemies: "No girls allowed." "I hate girls." There's no encouragement for boys and girls to be friends. So our generally approved social conditioning doesn't really allow for normal relationships between men and women as co-equals. It's against this background that we look at pornography. Pornography allows men to work out against women all the pathologically mixed feelings that seem to be trained into them. This is truly a matter of concern, truly a matter of fear to women, and feeds the conviction that pornography, because it dehumanizes women, facilitates violent actions against women. I've been very interested in what Susan Brown miller is doing. I think she's on the right track because she's not calling for censorship. She is insisting that people look at what pornography says and does. In other words, she is saying, if you truly educate yourself about what pornography is, you will certainly not be a consumer, and you will be actively hostile in any way that you can be within the law. VIRGINIA DAVIDSON, M.D., Psychiatrist. What is Pornography ? I think pornography is a value-laden term which refers to the depiction of unacceptable sexual behavior. Now, just what is unacceptable varies a lot from society to society and from period to period within a given society, but pornography's themes are always those of the sexual instincts: voyeurism, fetishism, exhibitionism, sa dism, masochism and all the perversions. In pornography the individual participants are dehumanized and degraded to the extent that they have no identity as people, but are merely actors engaged in gratifying sexual instincts. But pornography is barren of all themes which imply caring, mutuality and respect for the "other". Pornography and Violence. Depicting women as victims and/or participants in degrading forms of sexual behavior is a powerful comment on the status and roles of women in our culture. In addition to the explicit degradation is the message that, women enjoy this behavior in pornography and it seems to me only one step away from suggesting that women would also "enjoy" decapitation, maiming, and, of course, rape and battery. The attitudes about women expressed in pornography seem horribly consistent, even if more extreme, with those of the larger society in which women are victims of sexual harassment at work, violent crimes in the street, and rape in the marital bed. Exactly the same could be said for children, whose abuse in pornography parallels societal insensitivi- ty to a child's right to freedom from sexual abuse by his or her elders. Pornography, it seems to me, is a part of our culture and its themes and views about women are consistent with the most sinister and hideous violent crimes committed a- gainst women. CILIA TERESA, Board Member, Ms. Foundation for Women; Board Member, Houston Council on Human Relations. What is Pornography? Personally, I define pornography as depersonalization of human sexuality. From the pornographic material that I have seen (and I'm referring particularly to visual material) I think that the emphasis is definitely not on the erotic, which takes in sensuality as well as sexuality. Pornography focuses only on the aspect of sexuality that is mainly concerned with genitalia of both males and females, for the most part depicting the female as a total object with which anything goes, any form of violence, anything that the mind can imagine doing to an object. When you depersonalize a human being, there's no concern for their dignity, and this is what I find in pornography. I find it offensive, even though liberals have said that its okay because of freedom of the press and freedom of expression. For me it isn't. I think it would if you were male and you didn't think about how it affects the female. By the same token, pornography extends itself to children. Once you have objectified the female body it's the next logical step to seek other outlets. Then it has to be what the male considers the ultimate victim, which is children. I'm surprised that people think it's terrible to show pornographic material with children, and yet they feel it's okay when two adults are involved, even though one is really not portrayed as a human being. Seeing children as objects of sexuality is an extension of objectifying a female. Children in our society are seen as the extension of women, and men have never really related to children as human beings. Pornography and Violence. I do see a definite connection. It has been denied by various reports, but I think lately there have been conflicting ideas on it. In the beginning, if we take it back to the sixties or early seventies when Deep Throat came into the picture, the liberals were saying that there was absolutely no connection between pornography and rape and other crimes of violence against women. Now I have read other reports that testify to the contrary. Persons arrested for violent crimes against women, sexual crimes, had pornographic material in their possession or were addicted to porno graphy. I think it's a form of addiction rather than something that is done casually. I think it is an addiction that implies very violent feelings against the female. The connection with violence is due to the total objectification of sexuality in pornography. And not only women are objectified. Men objectify their own organ, as well. They don't objectify their sexuality per se, they objectify their organ, and the human being becomes removed from his instrument of sexuality and he sees it as a weapon. I've always wondered how a man can view his sexual organ as both a weapon and an instrument of love. I think it's because they divorce sensuality so much, or try to separate it, from sexuality. Sensuality has a lot to do with emotion and feeling, with all the senses, and is not concentrated on the genital organ. DASSIA PORPER, Co-Director, Houston Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. What is Pornography? I have no answer because I don't believe there is such a thing. The Supreme Court came down with a very vague answer which would mean that it is defined differently in every area of the country. So I think it's a question that cannot be answered. People think different things are pornographic. I think violence is pornographic; other people think sex is pornographic. I don't know what it means actually. I don't go by Geneva Kirk Brooks' definition. I have no definition for it. Pornography and Violence. I can't answer that. I think the way women are depicted is degrading, but whether this leads to violence, I have no way of knowing. I understand that when the Supreme Court was dealing with this issue of pornography, they said, as part of their decision, that they could find no direct correlation between pornography and violence. I have not seen any of these studies. I understand that a lot of women are claiming this correlation. But I think that you must actually prove there is a correlation. And in some cases, if it can be proved, it might be considered a criminal act to print something that will cause violence. I do not ever want a governmental agency telling people in this country what they can and cannot read, what they can and cannot write, what they can and cannot listen to. Because once the government tells you one thing is pornographic, that opens up the gate to have them tell you almost anything that disagrees with them is pornographic, obscene, whatever. Censorship at any level by government sanction is a violation of the Constitution's Bill of Rights. Feminists have always been censored. Look what's happened to Judy Chicago. That is censorship. I think that the fact that no establishment here in town would invite Judy Chicago's Dinner Party down here is a form of censorship of women's art, and I don't want anybody making that decision ever. I want an open marketplace. NOVEMBER 1979 13 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH