Today’s Gazette has a fine photo on page A3 of last Wednesday’s Feminist Action Mobilization protest at 135 King Street:
“A local group calling itself the Feminist Action Mobilization has launched a protest against a proposed porn shop under consideration for a building at the corner of King and North streets. The demonstrators say they will appear with posters and leaflets every Wednesday in September from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Capital Video is considering opening an adult-themed video and magazine shop in the former car dealership.”
There will be a fresh protest tomorrow, so join in or give us a honk as you pass by.
Also in today’s Gazette, Aaron Archambeault of Easthampton writes about “Being fair with the facts in debate over porn store”. Mr. Archambeault refers to our post from yesterday where Dr. Victor Cline discusses pornography’s effects on adults and children. Dr. Cline has treated approximately 350 sex addicts, sex offenders, or other individuals with sexual illnesses. In a long article documenting the harm of pornography, Dr. Cline mentions the case of Gary Bishop, a “convicted homosexual pedophile who murdered five young boys in Salt Lake City, Utah, in order to conceal his sexual abuse of them. [Bishop] wrote in a letter after his conviction:
‘Pornography was a determining factor in my downfall. Somehow I became sexually attracted to young boys and I would fantasize about them naked. Certain bookstores offered sex education, photographic, or art books which occasionally contained pictures of nude boys. I purchased such books and used them to enhance my masturbatory fantasies.Although Mr. Bishop appears to be confessing to a plausible result of porn consumption, Mr. Archambeault dismisses it as “obviously a case of someone who knows they have carried through a heinous crime, yet cannot place the blame on himself.” I guess Mr. Archambeault (who gives no credentials) just has superior insight into these matters than Dr. Cline, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who has treated hundreds of sex addicts, sex offenders, and other individuals with sexual illnesses. Never mind that Dr. Cline’s findings concur with those of other researchers and those who work with sex offenders, such as Judith Reisman, psychologists at The University of British Columbia, Rory Reid, Robert Jensen and others.
‘Finding and procuring sexually arousing materials became an obsession. For me, seeing pornography was lighting a fuse on a stick of dynamite. I became stimulated and had to gratify my urges or explode. All boys became mere sexual objects. My conscience was desensitized and my sexual appetite entirely controlled my actions.'”
Mr. Archambeault says our distinction between Oh My and Capital Video is not valid, because Oh My is located downtown, accessible to teenagers, and sells “the same products” as Capital Video. While there may be some overlap, there are still important distinctions to be made. Chief among these is attitude. Oh My is interested in enhancing and healing relationships. Capital Video, by contrast, features movies like “Use Em’ Abuse Em’ and Lose Em’ #9”, and movies that portray infidelity as natural, rampant, even therapeutic.
The principals of Oh My work here in their store. The public can talk to them, as we did earlier this summer. The owner of Capital Video, by contrast, is headquartered in Cranston, Rhode Island. He has declined numerous media requests for comment. We get the feeling he just doesn’t care to address community concerns. We also believe that the owners of Oh My have not paid huge sums of cash to a capo in the Gambino family, nor have they battled a small town to keep from improving the health and safety of porn viewing booths.
Finally, Mr. Archambeault asserts that “there are many women who are making a fortune from pornography in clean environments who are there [sic] own bosses, and love their job.” The reality is that the number of Jenna Jamesons in the industry are few. Quoting from our FAQ,
We would argue that many women who enter the porn industry do so without appreciating their slim chances of a positive outcome. Others have their judgment clouded by drugs, sexual abuse and our pornified culture. STDs are endemic to the industry, and most porn actresses certainly exit the business quickly enough. As for the supposed rich pay, this is enjoyed only by a few. U.S. News reports (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.”
Defenders of the porn shop like to dismiss objectors as “moral police”, but the evidence of the harm of porn to porn workers, consumers and communities is strong and growing.
A condensed version of our rebuttal to Mr. Archambeault is published as a letter to the editor in the September 15 Gazette (may require a paid subscription).