Feminist Action Mobilization Holds First Demonstration at 135 King Street

Members of Feminist Action Mobilization (FAM) rallied today at 135 King Street to show their opposition to a Capital Video porn shop there. Signs and banners greeted afternoon rush-hour commuters at the busy corner of King and North Streets. Many drivers signaled their support with vigorous horn honking.

More rallies are scheduled for every Wednesday in September at 135 King Street. Please join in during the hours of 4:30-6:30pm. For more information, email FAM at feminist_activists@yahoo.com.

FAM has collected a great deal of information on the harm of porn. Here is a selection:

The link between pornography use and subsequent aggression was proven so successfully by Zillmann and Bryant that their studies cannot be replicated for fear of further harming possible research subjects (Paul, 2005).

The 25% to 30% of male students who admit there there is some likelihood that they would rape a woman if they could be assured of getting away with it, increases to 57% after exposure to sexually violent images, particularly sexually violent images depicting women enjoying rape (Donnerstein, 1983, p. 7). This means that as a result of one brief exposure to pornography, the number of males who are willing to consider rape as a plausible act for them to commit actually doubles….

In another important study, Mary Koss conducted a large national survey of over 6,000 college students selected by a probability sample of institutions of higher education (Koss, Gidycz, and Wisniewski, 1987). She found that college males who reported behavior that meets common legal definitions of rape were significantly more likely than college males who denied such behavior to be frequent readers of at least one of the following magazines: Playboy, Penthouse, Chic, Club, Forum, Gallery, Genesis, Oui and Hustler (Koss and Dinero, 1989)….

The exposure of sex offenders to pornography is another area of research that is relevant to the causal connections between pornography and rape. It is well known that many sex offenders claim that viewing pornography affects their criminal behavior. Ted Bundy is perhaps the most notorious of these males. For example, in one study of 89 non-incarcerated sex offenders conducted by William Marshall, “slightly more than one-third of the child molesters and rapists reported at least occasionally being incited to commit an offense by exposure to forced or consenting pornography” (Einsiedel, 1986, p. 62). Exactly a third of the rapists who reported being incited by pornography to commit an offense said that they deliberately used pornography in their preparation for committing the rape. The comparable figure for child molesters was much higher–53% versus 33% (Einsiedel, 1986, p. 62).

11 thoughts on “Feminist Action Mobilization Holds First Demonstration at 135 King Street

  1. Pornography that depicts or encourages mistreatment of women (or men) concerns us no matter where it is sold. We highly doubt that Pride and Joy or Oh My stock such material to nearly the degree that Capital Video does. However, should they wish to review their merchandise in light of the arguments made by us, Feminist Action Mobilization or others, we would encourage them.

    In conversations with Mark Carmien at Pride and Joy during July, he encouraged NoPornNorthampton to research and publicize the harm that porn does to women.

  2. To what degree would those stores have to stock the pornography you object to to rate a protest? As it stands now, you’re protesting a store that doesn’t even exist, so it has no stock. To not protest these other stores–and to not know what these other stores actually do stock, smacks of selective enforcement. And what about the Cumberland Farms across the street? Have you verified that the magazines they sell conform to your vision of what constitutes acceptable pornography?

  3. Yes, pornography is unfortunately pervasive in our society. Capital Video’s plans for 135 King Street called our attention to how misogynistic and anti-social much of porn has become.

    Capital Video’s proposed location, the size of their store, their track record, and their apparent focus on especially harmful forms of porn appear to merit an especially vigorous reaction from the community. We hope our actions will make people more mindful of the products they sell and the products they consume. We can’t–and don’t want to–police every person and every store.

    I recall reading somewhere that democracy is a voluntary exercise. If people can’t govern themselves, our society will work poorly. Self-restraint is what we hope to see.

  4. Maybe you should read the latest article on the effect of porn on social violence, it can be found here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=913013#PaperDownload
    which basically says that as porn has become more available, rape incidents have decreased dramatically, over 85% in the past 25 years, citing that pornography may actually help reduce social violence.

    I’m not sure I follow some of your protest signs, “women are not for sale” and “women’s bodies are not for profit” By doing just the slightest research on the porn industry you find that it is incredibly profitable for women, and they often make 10 to 100 times more than the average man. So, are you protesting a woman’s ability to profit from her own body?

    And, can you please cite Capital Video’s “apparent focus on especially harmful forms of porn.” That’s a strong statement to make without having anything to back it up.

    Studies show porn actually reduces social violence on women, women profit greatly from porn, and also call all the shots as to what they will and won’t do in each scene. These all sound like good things to me.

  5. Thanks for calling our attention to “Porn Up, Rape Down” by Anthony D’Amato, a professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law. If anyone has trouble downloading this paper, as we did at first, we would be happy to email them the PDF file on request to info@nopornnorthampton.org.

    D’Amato’s paper, all of six pages long, is a variant on a familiar myth, “Porn is an outlet or safety valve for men who might otherwise do Bad Things”. D’Amato suggests that since reported rape rates have declined from 2.5 per 1,000 population age 12 and over in 1973 to 0.4 per 1,000 in 2004, while access to pornography became widely available, pornography may actually reduce social violence. D’Amato speculates this is because porn may help some people get dangerous impulses “out of their system”, and that “internet porn has thoroughly de-mystified sex.”

    D’Amato’s other morsel of information come from his comparison of the per capita incidence of rape in the four US states with the least access to the Internet versus the four US states with the most access to the Internet. Between 1980 and 2000, he says the incidence of rape increased in the former and decreased in the latter. Internet access is a function of a complex set of variables, such as income, education, population density and other factors. A responsible analyst would want to control for these factors before drawing conclusions about Internet access and rape.

    It is convenient that the national rape statistics cited by D’Amato begin in 1973. If we widen our perspective a bit, we discover the following:

    “As in the European countries, if there is a link between pornography and sex crime, it is likely to show in the years after 1960 when American society was first flooded with porn. And this is precisely what is indicated. Between 1962 and 1972, there was an increase of 124% in ‘forcible rape’, with the annual rate of increase sharply rising in the last two years.” (“Some Myths about Denmark”)

    Measuring the link between porn and rates of reported rape is complicated by changing social opinions about what constitutes a crime, and the underreporting of sex crimes. Mediawatch continues…

    There is another matter which has to be taken into account when considering the Danish sex crime figures namely reporting rates. These are obviously influenced by the sexual and moral mores of a particular society as a senior Danish police officer said to me: “This country is now so permissive that behaviour which would previously have been considered criminal is no longer so considered and this is showing in our sex crime figures”. Talking about the figures for rape he said “Pre-marital sex is now so normal even in our thirteen and fourteen year olds that it would be a brave girl indeed who would confess that she had to be raped before she could claim to have had intercourse”. Even so the figures for criminal rape in Denmark have greatly increased over what they were before the repeal of the sex laws.

    How one is able to judge what percentage of criminal cases remain unreported is a valid question. Such information can only be obtained by social survey methods and research carried out in this field in Denmark by Kutchinsky himself shows a decrease in reporting readiness ranging from 10% to 40% over the last ten years. The actual percentage could well have been considerably higher since people surely would find it difficult to remember what they would have done ten years ago when the moral climate was so different to the completely new ‘norm’ of sexual behaviour which has been established. There is a further ‘sieve’ which lowers the official figures and it is one which is well enough known even in this country. For a report to be recorded it requires a policeman to take the report seriously and police attitudes can be as affected by changing social attitudes as everyone else’s. This is likely to be true even in the case of rape, which is universally considered undesirable and a proper basis for legal action though changes in the level of reporting may well less than in minor sex crime. However, ‘it must be noted that the absolute level of reporting is generally believed (in Denmark) to be low with perhaps one in four or five cases coming to the attention of the police’. Five years after the completion of legislative changes, Court claims that there are indications of not lesser but greater social problems. Those which suggest a reduction of problems are either highly questionable on scientific grounds or to be found in the area of minor offences. This must be interpreted as a Pyrrhic victory if the more serious problems advance unchecked.

    One might accept the Kutchinsky theory that freely available pornography reduces sex crime more readily if it could be cross-validated in other countries where a similar trend has been occurring in recent years. The United States does appear to have a slight decline in reported sex offences with a 17% decline in the period 1960-69 but the Justice Department indicates that this is a spurious misleading statistic. It is due to changes in law enforcement policy primarily involving homosexual acts between consenting adults (Victor B Cline, ‘Another View: Pornography Effects, the State of Art’). The upward trends for Australia and in particular South Australia are unusually steep by world standards and this is clearly related chronologically to the ‘liberalising’ of the law on books and films in 1970.

    By contrast, rather steady rates over a decade have been reported for Austria, Italy, France and Singapore, where pornography has not been legalised and is not widely available….

    More recent figures for rape are difficult to gauge as the feminist movements are having some effect. The establishment of rape crises centres in some countries can be having two possible effects: on the one hand, there is more openness and therefore willingness in the public as a whole to report rape; on the other, women attending such centres are often counselled not to report to the police, so official statistics become artificially depressed….

    Mr Raymond White, head of the San Francisco Police Department, Sex Crimes Detail, was asked in 1972 whether ‘there is any relationship for the current upswing in rape to the filthy pictures being shown in porn shops’. He pointed to his ‘pin map’ on his office wall and showed that attacks on women cluster abundantly in the areas around the dirty cinemas and he said: ‘Rape attacks are becoming more brutal, bizarre and bestial in character, mirroring the way-out animalism shown in the nearby theatres. In at least four cases the methods of attack almost exactly followed the situation depicted in current shows. In another case a woman raped in a hotel across the street from one of the theatres was bound by a rope and attacked in precisely the manner shown in the film playing at the theatre. In still another instance a woman was taken to an apartment, forced to view a pornographic film then raped by each of the three men’….

    There is in America and increasingly so in Britain an astounding public apathy or scepticism which leads many citizens to refrain from reporting to the authorities when they have been the victim of criminal acts. A recent study covering 25,000 households and 10,000 businesses in metropolitan areas of American cities asked people whether they had been raped, robbed, burgled or assaulted during the year and whether they had reported to the police and 62% said they had not done so for one reason or another. This was particularly marked in the case of rape where ‘the least publicity can be ruinous to the reputation of the woman concerned”. One of the reasons given for not reporting was that “the police would not bother”…. (“Some Myths about Denmark”)

    While the precise nature of the link between porn and sex crimes can continue to be debated, it clearly merits more than a six-page paper and the light dusting of facts provided by Professor D’Amato.

    As for porn being a great career choice for women, the reality is that for the vast majority of women, the experience is nasty, brutish and short:

    U.S. News & World Report, 2/10/97:

    …Some women are drawn to the sex industry because they’re exhibitionists who love the sex and the stardom. Most are attracted by the money. One well-known porn star put herself through law school by acting in hard-core films; others have saved their earnings, invested well, and then quit. But many are drawn to the industry by drug habits and self-loathing. For these women, hard-core videos become a permanent record of the most degrading moments of their life.

    There is a constant demand for new talent, and few actresses last more than a year or two.

    …Sexually transmitted diseases are one of the industry’s occupational hazards. Performers are now required to undergo monthly HIV testing, and their test results serve as a passport for work. A number of producers insist upon the use of condoms during especially high-risk activity; the majority of producers don’t.

    …Verbal contracts are routinely made and broken, by producers and performers. Checks sometimes bounce. The borderline legal status of the industry makes performers reluctant to seek redress in court.

    The highest-paid performers, the actresses with exclusive contracts, earn between $80,000 and $100,000 a year for doing about 20 sex scenes and making a dozen or so personal appearances. Only a handful of actresses–perhaps 10 to 15–are signed to such contracts. Other leading stars are paid roughly $1,000 per scene. The vast majority of porn actresses are “B girls,” who earn about $300 a scene. They typically try to do two scenes a day, four or five times a week. At the moment, there is an oversupply of women in Southern California hoping to enter the porn industry. Overtime is a thing of the past, and some newcomers will work for $150 a scene.

    “Martin Amis: ‘A rough trade'”

    “Some girls are used in nine months or a year [says performer turned director Jonathan Morgan]. An 18-year-old, sweet young thing, signs with an agency, makes five films in her first week. Five directors, five actors, five times five: she gets phone calls. A hundred movies in four months. She’s not a fresh face any more. Her price slips and she stops getting phone calls. Then it’s, ‘Okay, will you do anal? Will you do gangbangs?’ Then they’re used up. They can’t even get a phone call. The market forces of this industry use them up….”

    Regan Starr who worked on the second film in this “line”, Rough Sex 2, [said], “I got the shit kicked out of me. I was told before the video–and they said this very proudly, mind you–that in this line most of the girls start crying because they’re hurting so bad…. I couldn’t breathe. I was being hit and choked. I was really upset, and they didn’t stop. They kept filming. You can hear me say, ‘Turn the fucking camera off’, and they kept going.”

    As for Capital Video’s focus on especially harmful forms of porn, consider these titles and film descriptions from websites affiliated with the company:

    “Use Em’ Abuse Em’ & Lose Em'”
    Now on Sale at Amazing.net

    I suppose there might be even more harmful forms of porn than “Mother Fuckers #03”, “Milf Bonanza 2”, “Transsexual Prostitutes #39”, “Gangbang Sluts”, “Man Whores #3” and “Office Slut Gangbang”, but these seem plenty harmful enough for me.

    Porn trains people to hurt women, and most porn workers burn out quickly. Pro-porn arguments are thin and easily countered by the sorry experience of the last 50 years. Perhaps that’s why there’s been complete silence this summer from Capital Video owner Kenneth Guarino and 135 King Street owners Barry and Annette Goldberg, despite persistent media attempts to reach them. They don’t have a leg to stand on, and they know it.

  6. Women workers in the porn film industry earm approximately 100 TIMES as much as men, according to an article in the New Yorker a couple of years ago. Maybe other women are jealous of these porn stars. It is true that some of them get into drugs and lead unhappy lives, but that is true of models or actresses or other lucrative occupations for women. There are some female porn stars who are multi-millionaires, who lead happy lives, who do what they want. Many of them give up the work after a few years and get happily married and have children. If you are a true feminist, you should not resent these women, you should applaud them for succeeding in a difficult and dangerous world.

  7. Welcome to the debate, Professor D’Amato. I have searched The New Yorker for the article you mention, but I’m not sure I’ve found it. Please give me the link or at least the title and author of the article if you can.

    It is true that Jenna Jameson exists and is wealthy, and there are a handful of other wealthy porn actresses. For most women in porn, however, their careers are nasty, brutal, short, not lucrative, and impose a high risk of contracting an STD. Here is the evidence:

    U.S. News (2/10/97):
    “There is a constant demand for new talent, and few actresses last more
    than a year or two… Checks sometimes bounce. The borderline legal
    status of the industry makes performers reluctant to seek redress in
    court… The highest-paid performers, the actresses with exclusive
    contracts, earn between $80,000 and $100,000 a year for doing about 20
    sex scenes and making a dozen or so personal appearances. Only a
    handful of actresses–perhaps 10 to 15–are signed to such contracts.
    Other leading stars are paid roughly $1,000 per scene. The vast
    majority of porn actresses are “B girls,” who earn about $300 a scene.
    They typically try to do two scenes a day, four or five times a week.
    At the moment, there is an oversupply of women in Southern California
    hoping to enter the porn industry. Overtime is a thing of the past, and
    some newcomers will work for $150 a scene.”

    Martin Amis, “A rough trade” (2001):
    “Some girls are used in nine months or a year [says performer turned
    director Jonathan Morgan]. An 18-year-old, sweet young thing, signs
    with an agency, makes five films in her first week. Five directors,
    five actors, five times five: she gets phone calls. A hundred movies in
    four months. She’s not a fresh face any more. Her price slips and she
    stops getting phone calls. Then it’s, ‘Okay, will you do anal? Will you
    do gangbangs?’ Then they’re used up. They can’t even get a phone call.
    The market forces of this industry use them up.”

    Sharon A. Abbott, “Motivations
    for Pursuing an Acting Career in Pornography”

    Popular beliefs maintain that the lure of “easy money” draws people,
    particularly the young, to the world of pornography. This belief is
    supported by trade and fan magazines that glamorize the industry by
    focusing on the lavish lifestyles of its members. While the industry
    cultivates the idea of porn as profitable, income varies greatly by
    individual. Furthermore, rather than “easy money”, respondents reported
    that most of the work is tiring, boring, and physically exhausting.
    Like prostitutes, a few make a great deal of money while most make a
    modest or meager living…
         The most common scene combines oral
    sex and penile-vaginal intercourse, and pays, on average, $500. Though
    the pay is high per hour, income is limited by the amount of work
    actresses are offered; this money must often stretch between extended
    periods of no work…
         In addition, particularly at the
    “professional level”, actresses must spend a major portion of their
    income on their appearance. Cosmetic surgeries…are the norm in the
    business… Appearances at industry parties…often require costumes…
    Even the HIV testing, required every 30 days in order to work, must be
    paid for out of pocket…
         [P]articipants in amateur productions are often paid little, if anything at all…

    Los Angeles Times: “In California’s Unregulated Porn Film Industry, an Alarming Number of Performers Are Infected With HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases. And Nobody Seems to Care” (2003):
    [I]n studios in the San Fernando Valley…actors and actresses were
    working on movies. They put in long hours, commonly without meal
    breaks. They often worked without clean toilets, toilet paper, soap or
    water. More importantly, they were exposed to a host of infectious, and
    sometimes fatal, diseases…
         [A]ctors and actresses are
    discouraged from wearing prophylactics during filming because porn
    producers believe the public wants to see unprotected sex…
         The Adult Industry Medical HealthCare Foundation (AIM), an industry-
    backed clinic in Sherman Oaks, administered voluntary tests to a group
    consisting primarily of adult film workers. Of 483 people tested
    between October 2001 and March 2002, about 40% had at least one
    disease. Nearly 17% tested positive for chlamydia, 13% for gonorrhea
    and 10% for hepatitis B and C, according to Sharon Mitchell, a former
    adult actress who founded AIM…
         For chlamydia, 101,871 cases
    were reported for the year [in California as a whole], or about
    three-tenths of 1%–a rate health officials consider epidemic. The
    chlamydia rates in the porn world are about 57 times higher than those
    epidemic proportions…
         “If we had the numbers you’re seeing in California, our phones wouldn’t
    stop ringing,” says Rick Sowadsky, health program specialist for the
    Nevada State Health Division. He says the infection rates in
    California’s adult film business “are unreal. What a public health

    Dr. Mary Anne Layden, The Science Behind Pornography Addiction (2004):
    [Performers in the sex industry] have high rates of substance abuse,
    typically alcohol and cocaine, depression, borderline personality
    disorder which is a particularly serious disorder and dissociative
    identity disorder which used to be called multiple personality
    disorder. The experience I find most common among the performers is
    that they have to be drunk, high or dissociated in order to go to work.
    Their work environment is particularly toxic. One study on strippers
    indicated that they were likely to be punched, slapped, grabbed, called
    cunt and whore and to be followed home or stalked. Not surprisingly,
    these women often work with bodyguards. This live form of pornography
    causes violence and the customers receiving these Permission-Giving
    Beliefs become carriers of these beliefs back to their homes, onto
    their jobs, into the street, onto the school yard. There they encounter
    women and children who do not have bodyguards.
         The terrible work
    life of the pornography performer is often followed by an equally
    terrible home life. They have an increased risk of sexually transmitted
    disease including HIV, domestic violence and have about a 25% chance of
    making a marriage that lasts as long as 3 years.

    Porn work sounds like a bad gamble to me.

  8. Here is more data that contradicts Professor D’Amato’s claim about porn and rape:

    Researchers Murray Straus and Larry Baron found in a 1983 University of New Hampshire study that Alaska and Nevada have two things in common. One, they lead all state is in pornography use per capita. Two, they have higher rape rates than all other states. There was also “an unusually high correlation” between sex magazine readership and the rape rate in all states. Straus and Baron stated, “The fact that sex magazine readership is strongly and consistently correlated with rape supports the theory that porn endorses attitudes that increase the likelihood of rape.” (Power of One, PDF, p.4)

  9. Anthony D’Amoto is another typical sexist woman hating pornography influenced supporter! In 1998 a prison removed pornography so the imates couldn’t use it to prevent rape. And in Hawi rape increased a lot when pornography began to be openly sold in 1974. And Dr.John Court found that in Australia Queensland refused to allow easy distribution of pornography but South Australia relaxed their laws and allowed easy access to pornography. The rape rate increased 6 times over a 13 year period in South Australia but Queensland showed no increase during this same period.

    And to anyone who makes the sexist woman hating ludicrous comment that women porn “stars” make more money than the men,well yes thats because when women use their bodies to serve and please the male dominated sexist society’s populaton’s pleasure in stripping,prostitution,and pornography is the *only* time women get payed more than men! When women use their intelligence and abilities and have the same qualifications and education as men,they are payed *less* money for the same job for most jobs and careers! Men get payed more when use their minds not their bodies,so once again it shows how worthless women really are in the patriarchy and women get payed the most for what they are valued for the most! Pornography continues and increases this! And about most women in pornography are victims of incest or other childhood sex abuse, even woman hater Howard Stern who has promoted pornography by interviewing many porn “stars” on his TV and radio shows,says he never met a woman porn “star” who wasn’t sexually abused as a child! Jenna Jameson falls into this category too,having had her mother dies when she was just 3,being gang raped at 16 and then raped again at the same age by another man.

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