(NB: information about the referenced conference is here)
Letter to the Editor Regarding Feminist Anti-Porn Conference
We read the agenda and overview for the”Pornography and Pop Culture: Reframing Theory, Re-Thinking Activism”Conference, which is scheduled from March 23-25, 2007 at Wheelock College in Boston. We are deeply concerned by the rigid ways in which the complex issues of feminism and pornography are portrayed. In the broader society as well as within academic and feminist frameworks, there is a lot of disagreement about the extent to which pornography reflects and promotes sexism and violence.
Though this conference is about pornography, none of the presenters on the agenda are performers in the pornography industry. Various important voices are excluded from the list of presenters, such as sex workers, feminists and scholars with opposing views about pornography, and advocates for the legitimization of consensual sex work.
Furthermore, the genre called”feminist pornography”is not included on the agenda. This genre of pornography is inspired by feminist principles, such as gender equality, bodily freedom, and mutual sexual pleasure. Women play a major role in producing this genre of pornography, so this genre is not produced just by men for a predominately male target audience.
We realize that various types of activism occurs on college campuses and encourage this, but there is a difference between a group using a college simply as a venue for activism and a college actually presenting a conference on a controversial issue, such as pornography, in a very biased manner. Because the website to this feminist anti-pornography conference has a Wheelock College domain name (http://www.wheelock.edu/ppc/index.asp) and no organization(s) is listed as the official presenter(s) of the conference, it seems like the College is presenting this conference rather than only serving as a venue for the conference. Since Wheelock College is a College rather than an anti-sex work organization, we contend that conferences such as this one must be more balanced in the name of academic integrity.
Though the organizers and presenters of this conference have the right to their perceptions, it is important to understand that their attitudes toward pornography do not reflect the views of all sex workers, feminists, and scholars.
Jill Brenneman, Sex Workers Outreach Project-East, Coordinator
Danielle L. Brodnick, M.A. Gender and Cultural Studies
Aster of San Francisco
Gennifer Hirano, Sex Workers Outreach Project-Los Angeles
Stacey Swimme, Desiree Alliance, Sex Workers Outreach Project-Arizona
Susan Lopez, MSC, Assistant Director-Desiree Alliance; Founder-Sin City Alternative Professionals Association
Kitten Infinite, Sex Workers Outreach Project-Chicago
Averen Ipsen, Ph.D., Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies, UC-Berkeley
Melissa Gira, St. James Infirmary
Holly Pottle, M.A. Sociology
Jessica Land, Sex Workers Outreach Project-East
Ricci J. Levy, Executive Director, The Woodhull Freedom Foundation
Priscilla Alexander, Director of Research and Evaluation-Frost’D
Beatriz Mercado, Clinical Pharmacist-Chile, South America, SWOP East Latin American Advisor
Katherine DePasquale, SWOP East Board of Directors
Carol Queen, Ph.D., Staff Sexologist-Good Vibrations
Aimee M. Patton, B.A. Sociology, SFSU
Carol Leigh, BAYSWAN/COYOTE
Vanessa A. Forro, LSW, Cleveland, Ohio
Crystal Jackson, Graduate Student-Sociology and Women’s Studies, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Desiree Alliance
Caitlin Ryerson, Pro Se Lawyer