I am a 19-year-old feminist
from Austin, Texas. I have recently
been reading the works of Andrea
Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon,
Diana Russell, and Gail Dines.
I have been truly inspired by
their passion and insight into
the issue of pornography and
the harms being done to women
within the industry and as a
result of the consumption of
this terrible form of degradation.
I have been so inspired, in
fact, that my goal is to form
an anti-pornography organization
in my home town. This has been
difficult for several reasons.
First, Austin is a very "liberal"
town with a really laid-back
attitude about sexual politics.
"Anything goes" is the predominant
attitude about the already enormous
and ever-growing local sex-industry,
including the strip clubs, adult
video stores, lingerie modeling
booths, massage parlors, etc.
Also, I am having trouble finding
support from others who view
pornography as a women's rights
issue, as an issue of human
dignity. It seems that either
people oppose it because they
side with the Moral Majority
who view any type of sexually
explicit material as wrong,
or they are all for it as just
another "freedom of speech."
you have any advice on how to
educate others and bring awareness
to the abuse and exploitation
that is inherent in pornography?
Do you know of any organization
from whom I could order flyers
or something with statistics
and info. exposing the harm
done within and as a result
of this powerful industry? I
would like to pass them out
on campus or even on the street....
I have always wanted to do something
for the women's movement and
I feel as though it is my calling
to do something about this issue,
especially in my city, which
is in great need of some awareness
and activism. Thank you so much!
for your note to FEMINIST.COM
and for your interest in educating
others about the negative that
pornography can produce. I,
too, am glad that you have respect
for the work of Andrea Dworkin
and Catherine MacKinnon, Diana
Russell, and Gail Dines. I feel
that too often their work gets
either overlooked or terribly
misrepresented. I'm sorry that
your efforts thus far have been
met with some resistance. Unfortunately,
this doesn't surprise me. Too
often people are scared of things
"feminist" because it implies
accountability and responsibility
and most people would rather
remain "uninvolved." However,
as you know, until we involve
ourselves and know that it is
something that effects our communitities--we
can't begin to curb the problem.
My most immediate suggestion
is for you to connect with anti-pornography
groups--as they are likely to
have experienced the same resistance
that you are experiencing. They
will have suggestions on tactics
and also the appropriate statistical
information. Do you have Diana
Russell's book Against Pornography? In the back it has a list of such resourcs/organizations.
If you don't have it, let me
know and I will send it to you.
I have extra copies. (Also,
look at the V-Day
Resource Guide --this includes
some resources specific to the
issue of pornography.)
would just add to this suggestion
that you should do local information
on Austin's own pornography.
The more local the issue, the
more likely people are to get
involved. They are more likely
to feel that it is impacting
them. Also, because people are
more sympathetic to children
-- and girls -- perhaps you
want to do research specifically
on this angle. People are more
likely to want to "protect"
children from the evils of society
than grown women.
hope that helps--and thank you
for helping the women's movement.
It probably doesn't feel like
it now, but eventually, you
community will be thankful.
Good luck -- and let me know
if you need/want that book.