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Feminists Fighting Pornography (FFP,pronounced /fip/ ) was a political activist organization against pornography. It advocated for United States Federal legislation to allow lawsuits against the porn industry by women whose attackers were inspired by pornography. FFP was based in New York, N.Y., was founded in 1983 or 1984, and dissolved in 1997.
Politics refers to a set of activities associated with the governance of a country, or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to members of a group.
Pornography is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal. Pornography may be presented in a variety of media, including books, magazines, postcards, photographs, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, phone calls, writing, film, video, and video games. The term applies to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself, and so does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and striptease. The primary subjects of present-day pornographic depictions are pornographic models, who pose for still photographs, and pornographic actors or "porn stars", who perform in pornographic films. If dramatic skills are not involved, a performer in pornographic media may also be called a model.
The Federal Government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the President, and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.
FFP opposed pornography. It is defined as the sexualized degrading, dominating, humiliating, objectifying, subjugating, violating, annihilating, exploiting, or violence and is distinguished from erotica, which is based on mutuality of power and pleasure.According to FFP founder Page Mellish, pornography provides the training for incest, assault, and rape, results in the objectification of women, affects women's ability to get equal rights and equal pay and encourages men associate sex with violence. Mellish ultimately claimed that all feminist issues were rooted in pornography. In a 1986 letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal , an FFP member asserted that the members are "not against love and not against sex."
Erotica is any artistic work that deals substantively with subject matter that is erotically stimulating or sexually arousing but is not pornographic. Erotic art may use any artistic form to depict erotic content, including painting, sculpture, drama, film or music. Erotic literature and erotic photography have become genres in their own right.
Incest is human sexual activity between family members or close relatives. This typically includes sexual activity between people in consanguinity, and sometimes those related by affinity, adoption, clan, or lineage.
An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal and/or civil liability. Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and tort law.
Mellish held all men and women who did not fight against pornography as accountable for violence against women, and claimed that women who enjoyed pornography or rough sex had "internalized the male definition of power".
Positions on pornography have been debated outside of FFP, including with respect to porn's effect on crime and feminist definitions of porn.
Feminist views on pornography range from condemnation of all of it as a form of violence against women, to an embracing of some forms as a medium of feminist expression. This debate reflects larger concerns surrounding feminist views on sexuality, and is closely related to those on prostitution, on BDSM, and other issues. Pornography has been one of the most divisive issues in feminism, particularly in anglophone (English-speaking) countries. This deep division was exemplified in the feminist sex wars of the 1980s, which pitted anti-pornography activists against sex-positive ones.
FFP's founder and organizer was Page Mellish,formerly of the staff of Women Against Pornography, and also formerly of Women Against Pornography and Violence in the Media and National Organization for Women, both of San Francisco, California.
Women Against Pornography (WAP) was a radical feminist activist group based out of New York City that had an influential force in the anti-pornography movement of the late 1970s and the 1980s.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is an American feminist organization founded in 1966. The organization consists of 550 chapters in all 50 U.S. states and in Washington, D.C.
San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a city in, and the cultural, commercial, and financial center of, Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, and the fourth-most populous in California, with 883,305 residents as of 2018. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is also part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.
Feminists Fighting Pornography supported the Pornography Victims Compensation Act of 1991.Though the bill had some support including from "many feminists", it was not supported by Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, and some other feminists. Supporting the bill, Mellish appeared on a Larry King show, where she credited executed serial killer of women Ted Bundy, who claimed pornography as an influence, with bringing attention to the issue. Under the bill, a person who was attacked after the attacker was substantially spurred by pornography could sue the pornography's producers, publishers, distributors, exhibitors, and sellers without needing a prior criminal charge for the pornography itself. To be pragmatic toward passage, the bill was limited to child pornography and obscene material. The bill has been criticized. FFP also supported an earlier bill, the Pornography Victims Protection Act of 1987, for which FFP listed as endorsers "many [other] women's and children's organizations" and had "signatures of thousands" of bill supporters.
The Pornography Victims Compensation Act of 1991 was a bill, S. 983, in the U.S. Congress. The sponsor in the Senate was Senator Mitch McConnell with eight cosponsors. A Senate committee held hearings on the bill. The bill was not voted on, did not pass, and did not become law.
Andrea Rita Dworkin was an American radical feminist and writer best known for her criticism of pornography, which she argued was linked to rape and other forms of violence against women. Her views were widely criticized by liberal feminists and others. At the same time, she maintained a dialogue with political conservatives, and wrote a topically related book, Right-Wing Women. After suffering abuse from her first husband, she was introduced to radical feminist literature, and began writing Woman Hating.
Catharine Alice MacKinnon is an American radical feminist legal scholar. She is the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, where she has been tenured since 1990, and the James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. From 2008 to 2012, she was the special gender adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
In other legislative matters:
Page Mellish, testifying to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 as "a professional activist .... employed ... [by] Feminists Fighting Pornography", [ sic ] Day magazine ... reported being sexually abused as a direct result of pornographic materials[ ] .... [A] Yale University study ... found States with the highest pornography consumption had the highest rape rates, and lowest consumption, lowest rape rates." "Seventy-three percent [of "Americans in the Gallup poll in 1985"] affirmed sexual—note that there was no stipulation on violence—affirmed sexual magazines, movies, and books lead some people to commit sexual violence. In a Gallup poll of 1986, 76 percent mandated a ban of magazines containing sexual violence." In the balance of her testimony, she addressed the bill as noncensoring because it imposed "no prior restraint or State empowerment" and criticized the opposition.stating that the porn industry is large and that "a majority of ... [the] product" of the porn "industry ... either degrades or violates women", spoke on "the real harm of pornography—its proximate cause to violence against women. This causal link was a primary finding of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography upon examination of research[ ] which included a Michigan State Police study finding pornography was used or imitated just prior to or during 41 percent of the State's sexual assaults,[ ] a North Carolina State Police study that found 75 percent of the State's defendants in violent sexual assault cases had hardcore pornography in their homes or vehicles,[ ] and the FBI's finding that serial killers' most commonly shared trait was extreme pornography use." "The bill's proximate cause on incitement and influence is responsive to a Queen's University study in which 30 percent of sex offenders listed pornography as inciteful, preparatory, and instigative to the crime, and found rapists used pornography more than nonrapists." "[O]ne in four women respondents to Women's
Congress is required to have a rational basis for legislation that, without it, might violate a right of a person under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment but is not required to validate scientific conclusions to the same degree that may be required in academic science; rather, the legislative reasoning must not be arbitrary. This testimony stated the position in 1991 of Feminists Fighting Pornography and was noted by the American Bar Association's ABA Journal.
FFP did not advocate burning porn parlors down, as was done in England, but advocated for men not going to such places. Mellish preferred to organize marches instead, because she believed her ability to be grassroots organizing: "Even bombing porn houses only gets their attention; then we have to change men's view of women, change their idea of power."FFP performed some little crimes, like destroying the ads of the pornographic magazine Penthouse , which advertised in New York City Subway stations. FFP aimed to drive pornography out of stores and theaters, acknowledging that the effect would be to drive it into the underground economy, but not to destroy it completely. Role-reversal, having women view men as mere sex objects, was also not part of their ideology.
The FFP advocated in a variety of ways:
Its newsletter or magazine was The Backlash Times.It was being published by 1983 or 1984 and continued until at least 1989. The newsletter carried news reports related to pornography generally, such as on assaults, responses, finances, politics, and legislation. It also published images from pornography, for which the group was criticized ("ironically but perhaps necessarily disseminating it ["porn"] further"). In response, the group raised the need to make clear what it was opposing, such as violence against and degradation of women, and thereby distinguish it from what it was not opposing, especially erotica.
In 1992 and after recent favorable "'attention'", Ms. Mellish said, "'[t]he press has censored our movement because the press has a vested interest in the First Amendment'",referring to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and freedoms of speech and press.
Sex-positive feminism, also known as pro-sex feminism, sex-radical feminism, or sexually liberal feminism, is a movement that began in the early 1980s centering on the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women's freedom.
Reasons for opposition to pornography include religious objections, feminist concerns, and claims of harmful effects, such as pornography addiction. Anti-pornography movements have allied disparate social activists in opposition to pornography, from social conservatives to harm reduction advocates.
R v Glad Day Bookshops Inc, (2004) is a leading Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision on pornography and homosexuality. The court found that a statutory scheme requiring the approval of the Ontario Film Review Board before films can be distributed or shown in Ontario violated the guarantee of freedom of expression in section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Antipornography Civil Rights Ordinance is a name for several proposed local ordinances in the United States and that was closely associated with the anti-pornography radical feminists Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon. It proposed to treat pornography as a violation of women's civil rights and to allow women harmed by pornography to seek damages through lawsuits in civil courts. The approach was distinguished from traditional obscenity law, which attempts to suppress pornography through the use of prior restraint and criminal penalties.
The feminist sex wars, also known as the lesbian sex wars, or simply the sex wars or porn wars, are terms used to refer to collective debates amongst feminists regarding a number of issues broadly relating to sexuality and sexual activity. Differences of opinion on matters of sexuality deeply polarized the feminist movement, particularly leading feminist thinkers, in the late 1970s and early 1980s and continue to influence debate amongst feminists to this day.
Sex workers' rights encompass a variety of aims being pursued globally by individuals and organizations that specifically involve the human, health, and labor rights of sex workers and their clients. The goals of these movements are diverse, but generally aim to decriminalize and destigmatize sex work, and ensure fair treatment before legal and cultural forces on a local and international level for all persons in the sex industry.
Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 is a law in the United Kingdom criminalising possession of what it refers to as "extreme pornographic images". The law was enacted from 26 January 2009. The legislation was brought in following the murder of Jane Longhurst by a man who was said at the time of his trial to have had "extreme pornography" in his possession at the time of the death. The law has been more widely used than originally predicted, raising concerns as to whether the legislation is being used for prosecutions beyond the scope originally envisaged by parliament.
The anti-pornography movement in the United Kingdom is a social movement that seeks to reduce the availability of pornography in the country. It is an umbrella term applied to various groups and individuals. The movement originates from two distinct perspectives: some feminists oppose pornography because they regard it as a means of degrading women, while some conservatives view it as immoral. The movement has had some influence over legislation, resulting in a number of laws intended to restrict the availability of certain genres of pornography which are legal in a number of other countries. Feminists Against Censorship have described the movement as more concerted and better organised than similar movements in other Western liberal democracies.
Feminism has affected culture in many ways, and has famously been theorized in relation to culture by Angela McRobbie, Laura Mulvey and others. Timothy Laurie and Jessica Kean have argued that "one of [feminism's] most important innovations has been to seriously examine the ways women receive popular culture, given that so much pop culture is made by and for men." This is reflected in a variety of forms, including literature, music, film and other screen cultures.
Only Words is a 1993 book by Catharine MacKinnon. In this work of feminist legal theory, MacKinnon contends that the U.S. legal system has used a First Amendment basis to protect intimidation, subordination, terrorism, and discrimination as enacted through pornography, violating the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Feminist pornography refers to a genre of film developed by and/or for those dedicated to gender equality. It was created for the purposes of encouraging women and their self-beliefs of freedom through sexuality, equality, and pleasure. Many third-wave feminists are open to seeking freedom and rights of sexual equality through entering the adult entertainment workforce. Second-wave feminists, contrarily, often have a solidified belief that the oppression and/or sexual objectification of women is inherent in all pornography involving them. The conflict between the two waves causes many struggles between these different feminist views.
Feminist views on sexuality widely vary. Many feminists, particularly radical feminists, are highly critical of what they see as sexual objectification and sexual exploitation in the media and society. Radical feminists are often opposed to the sex industry, including opposition to prostitution and pornography. Other feminists define themselves as sex-positive feminists and believe that a wide variety of expressions of female sexuality can be empowering to women when they are freely chosen. Some feminists support efforts to reform the sex industry to become less sexist, such as the feminist pornography movement.
Revenge porn or revenge pornography is the distribution of sexually explicit images or video of individuals without their permission. The sexually explicit images or video may be made by a partner of an intimate relationship with the knowledge and consent of the subject, or it may be made without his or her knowledge. The possession of the material may be used by the perpetrators to blackmail the subjects into performing other sex acts, to coerce them into continuing the relationship, or to punish them for ending the relationship.
Clare Mary Smith McGlynn(born 1970) is a Professor of Law at Durham University. She specialises in the legal regulation of pornography, image-based sexual abuse, violence against women, and gender equality in the legal profession. McGlynn regularly contributes to media debates about her areas of expertise, commenting in 2017 on whether pornography should be included on the school curriculum, whether it is ok to watch pornography in public, celebrity image-based sexual abuse, and on the proposed regulation of upskirting in England and Wales. She has submitted evidence to UK and Scottish Parliamentary committees. Her work with Erika Rackley on the cultural harm caused by rape pornography was instrumental in the Scottish Parliament's decision to criminalise possession of such material. McGlynn and Rackley were involved in Rape Crisis London's campaign to 'close the loophole' that makes possession of rape pornography lawful in England and Wales. The campaign was successful, and an amendment to include rape in the definition of 'extreme pornography' was incorporated into the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.