An Open Letter On The Wheelock Anti-Porn Conference

I originally wanted to post this earlier this morning when I first discovered it –both over at Faith’s Feminist Nation blog and as a comment here over at the Robert Jensen post….but I had some technical difficulties with WordPress that I only recently — like a few minutes ago — was able to resolve by updating to the latest version (2.1.2). Oh, well…better late than never.

Jill Brenneman, who posted the original, can be reached at her Sex Workers’ Outreach Project-East website or through her email at jbrenneman at thestormproject dot org. Her outreach is deeply appreciated.

 

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.

In Solidarity,

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

Serena Toxicat

Crystal Jackson, Graduate Student-Sociology and Women’s Studies, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Desiree Alliance

Caitlin Ryerson, Pro Se Lawyer

 

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2 thoughts on “An Open Letter On The Wheelock Anti-Porn Conference

  1. Pingback: The SmackDog Chronicles » Blog Archive » A Riff on AntiPorn “Feminist” Fascism (or Brenneman vs. Lavigne, Redux)

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