Monday, June 25, 2012

Report-Back from Feminist Anti-Pornography Conference, June 16th-19th
Pornography has hijacked our sexuality and makes billions of dollars each year by debasing and dehumanizing women. This was the reason that radical feminists from around the world gathered in San Diego, California from June 16th-19th for a conference and training put on by the activist group, Stop Porn Culture (SPC). I was honored to attend and left with a renewed sense of rage and determination to stop this ongoing war on women; and also a renewed sense of humanity after being welcomed into this struggle with such brave and wonderful people.

The first half of the conference was training in how to present a slideshow that SPC has made about the pornography industry, titled “Who Wants to Be a Porn Star?”, including how to answer common questions and challenges that anti-porn activists often receive.

Also in this time-span were various presentations about the history of radical feminism, screenings of related films, and a panel with men speaking on masculinity and pornography.

The last half of the conference felt more like a seminar, and was titled Contemporary Radical Feminism in the Age of Porn.”

As put by SPC, the goal of this section was “to rebuild a vibrant, radical, unapologetic feminist movement that energizes and mobilizes women and pro-feminist men into fighting the porn industry, and fighting for real liberation. Presentations will explore how to make radical feminism timely and relevant in the lives of young women, and how to build activist movements on the local, national and global level.” In my opinion, it was very much a success.

Dr. Gail Dines, author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, delivered a notable presentation with a title that speaks for itself: “From ‘the personal is political’ to ‘the personal is personal’: Neoliberalism and the Defanging of Feminism.” Gail spoke with eloquence and force about the necessity to move past the myth of individualism to real political movement that can fight for justice, and win.

In addition, conference attendees were honored to hear from two women who are survivors of prostitution speaking on a support network that they have created for other survivors. Another activist showed how the economic system of porn is all intertwined and essentially an empire. There was also a discussion of “Queer/Alternative porn” and how, in all its proclaimed uniqueness, it rests on the same eroticizing of domination and woman-hating that are the hallmarks of industrial pornography.

To end the conference, a panel of anti-porn feminist activists from various countries—Norway, Australia, U.K., U.S.—spoke to the various approaches that have been taken in combating sexual exploitation. Activists from Norway, who were part of a 30-year campaign that eventually led to the abolishing of prostitution in their country, led a brainstorming session on the next steps for action.

The horrors exposed throughout the conference were staggering: Over half of the women in the porn industry have been victims of incest; the most cruel, body-punishing, degrading pornography is the fastest growing genre; pornography is often used as a blueprint for rapists. The list could go on.

All of this is why pornography to me looks like the end of the world. The way ahead will involve many facets of struggle, including legal action, writing, and organizing. Feminists have been combating this industry for decades, and we must pick up the torch until our sisters are free and it’s impossible for the pornographers and pimps to exploit any longer.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this. It *does* look like the end of the world, and it feels like it, too -- I say as a survivor of porn-using abusers. And mine is among the mildest cases I know of .... Yes, we need to end pornography's reign over western sexuality (males' and also internalized by females), so that it doesn't go forward, through any bottleneck of collapse .... Future generations deserve authenticity.