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Archive for June, 2007

I have found the writing of this article very hard. I have had to reassess my image of my past. I had to live in a household where the viewing of hard-core porn was the norm. This did me great damage. Part of the damage is that I have lost a great deal of my memory.

I get memories through my body. I can see my past in nightmares. I can remember when watching TV. Watching good acting forces back buried memories. I can feel fear – only it has no name. Then, I choose to be invisible. From the age of eight to twenty-seven I chose not to live.

I had lived with hard-porn from the time I was eight. Hustler entered my life when I was eleven. I found that it suffocated me with fear. Now, I wish to face Hustler in the eye, and to stand tall.

There was a time when I was a happy child. A time I thought that I was free. A time when the adults around me were trustworthy. There was a time when I could wander ’round naked. There was a time when I was a child. Nothing more — nothing less. I see that time as a dream. Sometimes, I stare at photos of me then. I wonder if any of it was true.

My stepdad enter my life when I was eight. He adored porn, the more violent the better. He came with images from sex-murders. Images of children doing things I didn’t want to know. He was a member of PIE [Paedophile Information Exchange, UK].

When he came, I changed. He made me look at the images. It burnt through my brain. When I closed my eyes, it rotted in my body. When Hustler came, I lost hope. All I knew was despair. All I saw was pain, only now it was with a smile. It made no sense. I got headaches. I lost my sight. I was closing down. All I heard was my stepdad’s laughter. He was laughing — as I shook with terror.

Larry Flynt's Hustler cartoon where child abductor is about to put two brownies in the oven.

Then, I saw “Chester the Molester”. Then I knew I could not fight. In those cartoons, I saw my fate. I looked and I wanted to die. In those images, I saw my fear, my humiliation and my pain. Only, they were just a joke. I felt sick. I had forgotten how to laugh. I was learning to freeze my emotions.

Looking back, I see those cartoons for what they are. I had entered a world where children were property. They were always available for sex. They would never complain. Like the women in the hard-core porn, the children knew their place. They would learn to smile when in pain. When I saw “Chester the Molester” I was taught that sex was pain and fear. I learnt that it was inevitable I would be raped, beaten and threaten. For, after I learnt that the world belong to the rapist. I knew resistance was futile.

I survived by closing down my visual imagination. I thought it was a short-term solution, but it lasted for the rest of my life. Even when I relax I cannot escape into places that I have loved. Hard-core pornography has taken away my dreams.

My stepdad begun abusing me when I twelve. His abuse was gentle and calm. It was not as I had expected, it felt as if it was an accident. I thought that I was lucky since I was not dead or being tortured. I thought I had done something to make him touch me.

Hustler had taught how to be abused. I was now obeying my stepdad. I had stopped thinking that I could say no. As the abuse became more and more painful, as I became more and more degraded it all became clearer. I know the rules now.

Only, it made no sense. For, I could not understand why he keep saying that he loved me. How that be true, when he threw me into hell. Now, I see he spoke the language of hard-core porn. Always linking pain with pleasure. Speaking of how it was fine to have sex with kids. Telling me that it was only society’s conventions that say that it is wrong.

He made me believe that I received pain because I had moved. Every time he made me cum, he would say that I was a whore. I see now that I was his live porn.

Larry Flynt's Hustler cartoon where a little girl is portrayed being sexually assaulted by an old man.

When I was fourteen I had given up. I had decided that all I deserved was pain. I knew I was just a whore. I had been brainwashed by hard-core porn. I went blindly into the world of paid sex. At the time, I felt it was my decision — only I knew nothing.

I went towards men that used extreme sexual and physical violence. In that world, I found my place. The familiar place that I had seen in Hustler‘s photo-shoots. I thought I was hardened. I had forgotten that I was still a child. I thought I understood the rules of the game. But I was so wrong.

I did not know that each time that they hit me that I would go into shock. I did not know that each time that they raped me, I would feel pain. And I had no idea that men could hate women with such intensity. I thought I was street-wise. I was a child screaming to be rescued.

In their beds, I was an object. My eyes were dead. I had become just holes to be filled. Now, I had reached the beginning of my pain. Now, I was part of porn. I had no feelings left. My safety was not relevant.

Seeing me then, I can see the dead eyes in the Hustler‘s photo-shoots. I can understand that look. It is the look where hope is forgotten. For hope will only bring pain.

To believe in hope, will only mean facing the reality of the violence that i was living through. Then I may kill myself.

That time, was a different life to the one I live now. I know it is part of me, but I see it through a haze. My past made me strong and gave me a great deal of compassion. Now I feel some contentment for my life is low-key.

I was changed by having hard-core porn forced into my life. I can never regain the open trust I had before I was eight. I am still wary of my own sexuality. Hard-core porn placed an underlying depression in me. I still fight the desire to go back to violence when I am depressed. After all, violence was my norm. I am building a non-violent world around myself, but I find it very hard. For I cannot understand the rules of a safe life.

Each day, I am learning that I am more than a whore. I see now, that was never true. It was just the lies that hard-core porn placed in my brain. I live in the hope that one day, somehow, all women and children will be safe from the hated of hard-core porn.

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Larry Flynt's Hustler Taboo and what he was really doing the night of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival opening of his film

What Larry Flynt was really doing the night
of the opening of Larry Flynt: The Right to Be Left Alone.

On Friday the 13th in April 2007 The Right To Be Left Alone, the latest documentary on Larry Flynt had its world premiere as the “center frame” film at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, sponsored by Duke University, The New York Times and HBO. Flynt was even invited as an honored guest, however his brother showed up instead, because Flynt said he was ill. At the opening, his brother said the reason Flynt was not present was not because he was sick. Maybe he was too busy satisfying his fetish for bondage pornography and not leaving women alone by violating their privacy in every way imaginable on his blog.

There were over 2,000 films entered in the Full Frame Festival, and apparently the Flynt documentary was among only one of two films that escaped the critical review process in an otherwise scholarly environment. Full Frame appears to have given Larry Flynt special protection where it could be assured that his critics were kept silent in order to protect Flynt from criticism. Free Speech, anyone?

Full Frame’s motto is “How much reality can you handle?”, but the filmmakers have produced a manipulative and superficial examination of Flynt, one that uses propaganda tactics and takes their audience for a ride. It is indeed a very unreal portrayal of Flynt which includes even “very little nudity” and hypocritically did not mention any of the massive amounts of racist, homophobic and misogynist materials he produced.

For decades Hustler, his hate magazine, has been on sale in almost every convenience store in the country. During that time, with each new issue every month he has declared war on women, feminists, people of color, animals, Jews, the disabled, children, and animal rights activists, as well as other groups or individual who disagreed with him. Flynt has aimed hate speech and harassment against every mistreated or oppressed groups you can think of. A full generation of males have now been raised on contempt like his and he loves it.

Dwayne Tinsley, close personal friend to Flynt, and the creator of the Hustler cartoon “Chester the Molester,” which depicted pre-teen girls of all races being molested, was convicted in 1990 of sexually abusing his daughter. When he was released from prison, after serving his time, Flynt hired him back on at Huster. In February 1996, Hustler publisher Joe Theron was arrested in Britain with 400 videos imported from South Africa, many of them depicting child pornography.

For all this Flynt is being promoted as a free speech hero instead of the greedy, exploitive, racist misogynist he really is. The right to be left alone? The right to be left alone? In his whole life Larry Flynt has never left anyone alone. Flynt has aimed hate speech and harassment against every oppressed groups you can think of. Big man. Big hero. Thanks Duke University, HBO, New York Times and Full Frame Documentary Festival!

Most people who have seen the Larry Flynt movie think they know who Larry Flynt is. A leading figure in the struggle for free speech, who published, according to our modern eyes, quite innocent nudie-photos and some jokes against the right wing conservatives and Jerry Falwell. Sounds cool but it’s a lie.


Larry Flynt's Hustler Taboo and what he was really doing the night of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival opening of his film

The real Flynt has little in common with the martyr that he finances people to describe him as. According to his own autobiography Flynt’s first sexual experience was raping a chicken. He killed the chicken to “avoid suspicion”. He has also gone to tremendous degrees in his attempts to silence his daughter from talking about how she was raped by him. He has used his power in the media to attempt to instill intimidation in any who spoke out against pornography. He used his magazine to vilify activist Aura Bogado with hateful, violent and threatening cartoons and articles. In his column called “Asshole of the Month” he has included Barack Obama, Diana Russell, Andrea Dworkin, Dorchen Liedholdt, Gloria Allred, Catharine MacKinnon and hundreds of others. In the 1970s he put out “Wanted Posters” for Gloria Steinem and Susan Brownmiller because they were antipornography. He has offered a bounty on feminists who have been critical against him and done whatever he could to silence whoever would be critical against the racist and misogynic material in his magazines.

The only free speech Larry Flynt really wants is his own and what he wants said, which makes him as much of a defender of free speech as say for example Stalin or Hitler.


Larry Flynt's Hustler Taboo and what he was really doing the night of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival opening of his film

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Hustler Child Pornography

by Linnea W. Smith, MD, 2003

When the media refers to Larry Flynt and his gubernatorial candidacy in California, they tend to mention his advocacy for freedom of the press, but they censor more important information regarding his assault on women and children. Flynt, a self-proclaimed champion of the First Amendment, is a description parroted by media sources uncritically. The legitimization of the publisher of Hustler magazine is alarming, but the distortions and omissions of mainstream media, while unfortunately not uncommon, are even more alarming. I’m not an expert at all on Flynt, and I intentionally limit my exposure to his publications because they are so brutally dehumanizing and degrading, but I can make a few general points why any socially responsible citizen would challenge Flynt’s candidacy for any office.

Since Larry Flynt began publishing Hustler in 1974, the intent of the naked female pictorials has been to bring the “accessible” girl-off-the-street to working class males. The depictions are less glossy, more explicit, gynecological, violent, and degrading than many of those featured in Playboy and Penthouse. These three euphemistically-termed men’s magazines are the three top-grossing in this genre.

Hustler targets juvenile consumers. In Reisman’s content analysis “An unforeseen finding may be the estimated 27 percent of Playboy, 33 percent of Penthouse, and 47 percent of Hustler cartoons and illustrations identified as ‘child magnets.’ Briefly child magnets are features which are generally unique to the children’s world of entertainment (e.g., books and television) and known to attract child readers/viewers. …Since evidence confirms the large juvenile readership of these magazines, the unique quality of Child Magnets may be viewed as a technique both catering to, and attracting a juvenile audience. Therefore the depictions presented in ‘Child Magnets’ may be presumed to be of special public interest and concern.” (Reisman, 1989)

Of these three magazines published between 1954 and 1984, Hustler had the most depictions of children in its cartoons and visuals. In Reisman’s content analysis there were 14 child images per issue or 12% of the total imagery. Hustler was also the magazine most likely to depict the children as nude or partially nude in its visuals. (Playboy had 8 images per magazine or 5% of the total imagery while Penthouse had 6 images per magazine or 4% – all unacceptable numbers!) (Reisman, 1994)

Dwaine Tinsley was a featured cartoonist in Hustler as well as the humor editor for many years. He wrote the “Chester the Molester” monthly cartoon feature until spring of 1989 when he was convicted on multiple accounts of child molestation. He had drugged his daughter, put her on birth control pills when she was 13 years old and sexually abused her until she was l8 years old. She described the cartoon series as depicting much of her experience as a sex abuse and incest victim. After two years in jail, Tinsley was released by an appeals court when it ruled that the prosecution should not have shown the molester cartoons to the jury and “inflamed the passions” of the jurors. What do the cartoons do to the vulnerable juvenile and adult consumers of the magazine? Tinsley returned as an employee of Hustler magazine after his release from prison.

One of Larry Flynt’s daughters, Tonya, accused her father of child sexual abuse. She wrote a book about her experiences and her concerns about pornography. Flynt denied the charges and viciously attacked her in the media, a strategy more common among perpetrators. Another daughter did not support the charges by Tonya, and she reportedly was not disinherited as was Tonya

Hustler MagazineLarry Flynt is best known for publishing Hustler magazine, but his company, LFP, Inc. puts out about 29 other magazines. He is responsible for Barely Legal, the very popular magazine and video series. The magazine features naked and pornographic pictorials of female models, who are usually described as having just celebrated their 18th birthday.
They more commonly look 12 to 14 years old, and wear pigtails, hair bows, saddle shoes, and younger childish clothing and props. The text usually describes them as “sluts,” etc., with years of sexual activity by the girls or they are virgins who urgently need their condition remedied. This is newsstand pseudo-child pornography. Thsi is a technique to circumvent the letter of the law, while breaking the essence of the law to protect underage youth.

There is a Hustler make-up and accessories line targeted to adolescent girls. More information on these branded products and their marketing is needed..

Big Brother magazine is published by Flynt and is targeted to adolescent and younger skateboarders. The covers are often child magnets and not explicit. Dave Carnie, the editor in 1999 admitted the magazine covers are intentionally deceptive so parents won’t suspect the content, and children can be deceived into purchasing a magazine with a pornographic mindset There are no typical pornography photos, but the raunchy sex talk, etc., is embedded in the text. Interviews with 14 year old boys include questions like, “would you f**k your mother to be as good as so and so skateboarder?” Tips for girls for attention at parties include to “show their boobies,” and to find one, two or three other girls to engage in pseudo-lesbian activities while drinking alcohol, etc. When asked why there was no parental discretion warning labels the editor stated that Flynt wouldn’t allow it because it may affect circulation numbers. (Pettineo, 1999)

Gail Dines addresses the racist content in Hustler magazine. Black males are portrayed in the cartoons and visuals as violent and dangerous, and sexual monsters with oversized penises raping white women. This chapter may be accessed at:

http://www.hustlingtheleft.com/CRAPP_E_LIB/dines.html

A disturbing reference to Hustler occurred in A & F Quarterly, Spring, 2002. This catalog and lifestyle magazine combination targets adolescents while promoting their Abercrombie & Fitch casual clothing line popular with preadolescents and early adolescents anxious to be like cool college kids. Scattered throughout the sexually explicit publication are interviews with various celebrities popular with youth. The following includes a portion of an interview with MC Paul Barman, a hip-hop performer:

Barely Legal“…I’d like to predict a fashion. …Okay. Have you seen Playboy T-shirts around? When a girl wore a Playboy shirt when I was a teenager, it was the hottest thing ever. Now, you know how it is ultimately, whatever is amazing becomes preppie. They sell ’em in a mall. However, anytime you have something trendy, a branch of it, which is a little bit more obscure and has a little bit more flavor, is the new cool thing. So I once saw a cute girl wearing a Hustler shirt, and I once saw a cute girl wearing a Barely Legal shirt. I’ve seen one of each. And I’m telling you, there are going to be a lot more of them. If we started a company bootlegging T-shirts with the logos for Hustler, Barely Legal, High Society-Black Tail, I think, would be huge-this is how you make money. Twenty-five dollars, plus shipping and handling, on porno****.com. Have you ever seen a flat-chested girl who looks like the stepdaughter of a business executive wearing a shirt that says “PORN STAR’? These chicks are not porn stars. They probably don’t even go down. But they will wear a Nugget T-shirt. And I want to be the person that sells it to them.” (Collins, 2002)

Sean T. Collins, “Mc Paul Barman: The Crown Prince of Rhyme” in A & F Quarterly, Spring, 2002, Abercrombie and Fitch, Columbus, OH.

Dines, Gail, 2002, “King Kong and the White Woman: Hustler Magazine and the Demonization of Black Masculinity” in Gail Dines and Jean Humez, Gender, Race and Class in Media, CA: Sage

Pettineo, David, “Sex and the Modern Skateboarder: Talkshow Host Exposes Larry Flynt Kiddy Porn Scam” accessed March 19, 1999, WorldNetDaily.com

Reisman, Judith A., 1994, “Child Pornography in Erotic Magazines, Social Awareness and Self-Censorship” in Zillmann, Dolf, Bryant, Jennings, Huston, Aletha C., eds.  Media, Children, and the Family: Social Scientific, Psychodynamic, and Clinical Perspectives. Hillsdale, New Jersey; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., pp. 313-325

Reisman, PhD., Judith A., 1989,  Images of Children, Crime, and Violence in Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler Magazines,  Lafayette, LA: Huntington House.

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FEMINISTS THREATEN LARRY FLYNT: MY PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION
Diana E. H. Russell, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita of Sociology
Mills College
December 2005

Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler and numerous other pornography magazines, has finally honored my decades of anti-pornography activism by naming me “Asshole of the Month” in Hustler, February 20051. Several other feminists have achieved this accolade, including Andrea Dworkin, Dorchen Liedholdt, Gloria Allred and Catharine MacKinnon. Gloria Steinem appeared on a “Most Wanted” poster in Hustler accompanied by Flynt’s accusation that she “should be considered armed with false propaganda and dangerous to the rights of all Americans” for her anti-pornography views. 

diana russell hustler magazineIn every issue of Hustler, Flynt names one of his enemies “Asshole of the Month.” Along with a photograph of his adversary’s face emerging from a donkey’s rectum2, Flynt provides three quarters of a page of crude, mostly defamatory, text. I believe Flynt may have finally decided to target me in this way because he seems to have been particularly riled by two public statements that I made, i.e., “I wish that Flynt’s would-be murderer had been a better shot,” and, “I wish Larry Flynt had never survived his mother’s womb.” One or both of these pronouncements are referred to in three articles in the February issue of Hustler. Missing from two of them, however, is my rationale for making these inflammatory assertions, i.e., that Flynt’s many pornographic enterprises that have made him perhaps the most notorious pornographer in the world today, have been responsible for an immeasurable amount of sexual violence against women and girls. Had Flynt been aborted or miscarried by his mother or murdered in 1978, a great deal of suffering would have been avoided.

Following are a few examples of Flynt’s slanderous statements about me in the “Asshole” article in which he describes me as “a bitter shrew”:

“So poisonous is Russell’s vile rhetoric that it begs the question: Where did this Ms. Pol Pot come from? …

“By the end of the turbulent decade [the 1960s], Russell was teaching at California’s Mills College, helping build its women’s-studies department — an accomplishment akin to Joseph Goebbels launching a communications department at Berlin University.

“Russell’s personal history of relationships with men seems shrouded at best, although the educator has made passing references to a brief marriage that she bemoans as a ‘crash course in sexism.’ This is likely code for ‘Hubby wanted a hummer when he got home from work,’ which to Russell is the moral equivalent of Dachau’s ovens.” ….

“Diana Russell is a sick and dangerous woman, one who peddles her diseased philosophy of men-hating as a template for resistance to the Patriarchy.”3.

This hyperbolic vitriol reveals how threatened Flynt is feeling — a sentiment he cops to in his editorial titled, “The Feminist Threat.” This phrase is also on this issue of Hustler’s cover under a logo stating “HUSTLER GOES TO WAR.” Implicit is the fact that Flynt’s war is against anti-pornography feminists. He has singled out Aura Bogado, a producer and anchor of KPFK Radio News in Los Angeles, and me as his targets in this particular month. Following are excerpts from Flynt’s editorial:

“Recent events have caused me to once again focus attention on my lifelong opponents on the feminist fringe, those who — however they cloak their rhetoric — are antisex, antiporn and antimale. For too long I have tended to dismiss them on the grounds that they do not represent the majority of the women in this country. However, I can now see that, while this is true, these women have been making inroads into positions of power, especially within those institutions generally recognized as being on the Progressive Left….

“… (M)ilitant feminists seem intent on instituting a new fascism based on their notions of what is right and what is wrong …. This is a particular shame because the fringe feminists’ vicious attacks against healthy male sexuality tend to drive most men out of the Progressive tent….

“Given the foregoing, I have instructed my editors to take an in-depth look at the women of the Left — the good, the bad and the ugly. In this issue our extensive overview includes a look at recent attacks against HUSTLER from the militant feminists,… and a follow-up article about a California women’s college with a troubling agenda [Mills College].

“It is our hope and intention that by putting the spotlight on these militant feminists — who got away with their vile attacks only because the voices of reason are afraid to stand up to them — we will reveal their bankrupt ideology.”4

Similarly slanderous statements are made about me and Bogado in Amy Alkon’s article in the same issue of Hustler. Flynt drafted this foul-mouthed lackey, “a syndicated columnist who has appeared in more than 100 newspapers throughout North America”5, into his war against anti-pornography feminists. She focuses her venom on Bogado and me, referring to us as “Femi-Fascists”. “As a free-expression absolutist,” she writes, 

“I even defend the rights of hate-spewing, jack-booted Femi-Fascists like Aura Bogado and Diana Russell. In fact, I encourage them to speak openly and frequently, if only so their philosophy can be exposed as a fraud, as a lie, as a wrongheaded, nasty-ass steaming pile of Stalinist shit.6

Quoting my statement about wishing that Flynt’s would-be murderer had been a better shot, Alkon accuses me of just stopping short “of putting out a feminist fatwa against Flynt”7. She then proceeds to quote me as accusing Flynt, “through his publications, of ‘causing thousands of rapes, thousands of cases of child sexual victimization, millions of cases of sexual harassment and, very likely, many cases of torturing women and some murders of women.'” Alkon declares my estimates of the suffering perpetrated by Flynt to be “sick, unsubstantiated and unjustifiable allegations”8. In contrast, she quotes Catherine Salmon approvingly for saying that “Pornography is about sex, and not about violence or the degradation of women”9

Despite Alkon’s arrogance, I’ll wager that she knows next to nothing about research on pornography, whereas I have been studying this form of misogynist oppression of women for over 30 years and I’ve written three books on the subject. Nevertheless, Alkon feels entitled to endorse the validity of Salmon’s conclusion that pornography has nothing to do with violence and is not degrading, while she dismisses as “Stalinist shit” my views that the women involved in its production are degraded, that the portrayals of women in pornography are degrading, and that pornography plays a significant role in causing sexual violence and abuse. [Footnote: This does not mean that pornography is the only cause of harm to women.] Perhaps this is not surprising given that Alkon [and Susie Bright] was hired to wage war against Bogado and I, not to seek the truth about the harmful effects of pornography.10

The picture illustrating Alkon’s article shows a bald tough-looking woman dressed in what appears to be a Nazi uniform with a lesbian symbol on her armband. Standing upright on a rock with a riding crop in one hand, she looks like a giant dominating a large army of docile-looking men all of whom wear armbands displaying a male symbol, and all with their hands chained together. Presumably the intimidating-looking lesbian is supposed to represent Bogado and/or me.

An unflattering photograph of me appears in a third article in the February issue of Hustler titled “Smear & Loathing at Mills College.” This same photograph of my face was used for the “Asshole” picture)

I was a professor of sociology at this private all-women’s liberal arts college in Oakland, California, for 22 years. The caption to the photograph of me reads, “Teaching and Preaching Hatred: Mills Professor Emerita Diana Russell boasts of her desire to see Larry Flynt murdered.” In the text, journalist author Thayer Walker repeats my two now oft-quoted statements about my wishing Flynt’s murderer were a better shot, and that he had never survived his mother’s womb. The context of these quotations was Walker’s claim that the few male students at Mills had experienced considerable anti-male sentiment from female students. In addition, Walker documented some of the many angry and threatening statements made by students following the publication in Hustler11 of a scandalous and salacious article by Sam Ospovat, a former male graduate student at Mills, about a Fetish Ball he had attended on the campus in 2002. My participation in this fracas was to write a harsh criticism of the Fetish Balls as “pornographied” events where pornography was shown and many of the students were partially naked and/or dressed like sluts). I also castigated the President of Mills for allowing such events on the Mills campus12.

I believe Flynt was also enraged by my participation in a protest at the official opening of his new Hustler Club in the sleezy red-light district of San Francisco on February 20, 2002. Indeed, this is where I told reporters that I wished that Flynt’s would-be murderer had been a better shot. It is virtually certain that Flynt was aware of my presence that evening because a photograph of me behind a very large protest sign appears in an article about the opening of the Hustler Club.13

Not only was I protesting with other members of Women Against Pornography because we opposed the opening of Flynt’s new topless dancing club; we were also there to express our outrage over the blatant child pornography advertisement that was published in local newspapers and used to lure men to the opening of the Hustler Club14. Although spokesmen for the club maintained that the girls — who looked no older than 14 — were of legal age, the young women were obviously chosen to appeal to men who are turned on by underage girls. In addition to the sign showing a giant enlargement of this ad that we used for our protest, we displayed another equally large sign that read “HUSTLER CLUB: FOR MEN WHO NEED CHILD PORN & ABUSE TO GET IT UP!” Pictures of two flaccid penises appear on this sign. 

The second sign so enraged a man hanging around the entrance to the Hustler Club that he assaulted me while attempting to destroy the sign I stood behind. He failed to achieve his goal (the sign was made of vinyl), but succeeded in wrestling me to the ground. It took three male bystanders to break my assailant’s ferocious grip on me. Although I could have orchestrated his arrest had I thought fast enough before he hurriedly left the scene, I was appalled that none of the three journalists who quoted me in their coverage of this event saw fit to mention this assault. I guess they consider violence against women too trivial to warrant mentioning. Additionally, the fact that those of us from Women Against Pornography were the only ones to protest the use of what looked like child pornography to advertize the opening of the Hustler Club suggests that the use of increasingly young — and young-looking — girls is becoming more acceptable to the public. This is precisely the way pornography succeeds in transforming what used to be confined to pornography into mainstream images.

We need to mobilize increasing numbers of feminists to fight against pornography. The formation of a new organization tentatively called the National Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement in Boston in July 2005, is a promising sign15. This article shows how being attacked by our enemies is a sign that we are making progress in our struggle against the pornography warmongers who want to silence us.

Footnotes

1 p. 13
2 see illustration
3 Emphases added. Hustler, Feb. 2005, p. 13
4 p. 7
5 p. 36
6 Emphasis added. p. 34
7 p. 35
8 p. 35
9 p. 35
10 I have focused on Alkon’s attack on me because Aura Bogado has responded to the attacks on her made in this issue of Hustler [See www.HustlingtheLeft.com].
11 September 2004
12 Russell, 2004
13 the spectator website 
14 see photo
15 FeministAntipornographymovement.org

References

Amy Alkon. Fire in the hole. Hustler, February, 2005, pp. 34-36.

Asshole of the Month. Hustler, February, 2005, p. 13.

Aura Bogado. Hustling the Left. http://hustlingtheleft.com

Larry Flynt. The Feminist Threat. Hustler, February, 2005, p. 7.

National Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement website: …

Sam Ospovat. Hustler, September 2004.

Anthony Petkovich. Hustler Club opens with a touch of class: Flynt’s newest club comes to Babylon by the Bay. Issue 1226, April 4, 2002. http://www.spectator.net/1226_spot.html. Retrieved 12/5/2005. 

Diana E.H. Russell. Letter to the Editor

Diana E.H. Russell. San Francisco should say no to child porn: New Hustler Club opening reflects poorly on the city. San Francisco Examiner, March 28, 2002, p. A 11.

Thayer Walker. Smear and loathing at Mills College. Hustler, February, 2005, pp. 62-65.

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By Jackson Katz, Copyright 2003

The Friar’s Club of California is set to honor Larry Flynt with its Lifetime Achievement award in an “X-rated roast” in Los Angeles on July 13.

The Friars are famous for hosting raucous testimonial dinners, frolics and roasts in New York and Los Angeles. They used to be all-male events; the Friars first admitted women in 1988. Some of the biggest names in show biz have taken part in Friar festivities, starting with Irving Berlin and George M. Cohan in the early twentieth century, all the way up to Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Chevy Chase in the modern era.

It is well known that Friar’s events often push the boundaries of good taste and propriety. Many Friars revel in the “politically incorrect” nature of their entertainment. Over the past century the Friars have had other controversial moments, including the incident in 1993 when Ted Danson came out in blackface to introduce his then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg.

But honoring Hustler publisher Larry Flynt is a low point in the venerable institution’s colorful history. Why? The Friars take pride in their irreverent humor, and honor it in others. But like Holocaust “humor” and lynching “jokes,” what Larry Flynt has wrought is not funny. His achievements and personal triumphs have come at a huge cost to women and girls – and to the men who care about them.

It is willfully naïve to dismiss Flynt’s pornography as harmless “adult” entertainment. How can it be considered harmless to consistently portray and talk about women and girls in a sexually demeaning and degrading manner? From the infamous Hustler cover portraying a woman’s body going through a meat grinder to countless racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic jokes and cartoons, Flynt has made his name (and fortune) by passing off old-fashioned misogyny and bigotry as somehow sexually liberating. Is this the “achievement” the Friars want to celebrate?

Larry Flynt’s defenders often argue that his porn is for “consenting adults,” and that therefore no one is hurt by it. But the effects of porn are more complicated than the phrase “consenting adults” implies. How?

Whenever we discuss the effects of pornography – and regardless of how we feel about people’s right to produce or consume it – we have a responsibility to acknowledge the social context in which it exists. Flynt hasn’t built his porn publishing empire in a vacuum. Our society has some of the highest rates of gender violence in the world. The numbers are staggering: one in four women will be raped or sexually assaulted. One in five teenage girls have been in a physically or sexually abusive relationship. Most women won’t even walk alone after dark.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of these crimes is how often children are the victims. 67% of all sexual assault victimizations reported to law enforcement are people under the age of 18. Child sexual abuse used to be shrouded in secrecy.

These days it’s in the news all the time. Consider last summer’s horrific series of abductions and rape-murders of young girls. Or the Catholic Church’s ongoing sexual abuse scandal. Are we supposed to believe that all of these incidents are “isolated,” that the broader culture within which they occur plays no role whatsoever?

When men are arrested for sexually abusing young girls (or boys), feverish media coverage of the crimes often includes reports that police have found an extensive collection of child porn videos, magazines, and downloaded pictures in the suspect’s apartment.

Most people are rightly outraged about such crimes and repulsed by the men who commit them. But here’s where it gets tricky. Realistically, at least some of the men who are genuinely outraged by sex crimes and would never purchase child pornography have likely purchased Hustler Magazine, or rented Hustler-produced porn videos. In other words, they have financially contributed to the Flynt empire.

This is an empire — let’s be clear — that actively participates in the crude sexualization of little girls. Among his many magazines, Flynt also publishes Barely Legal, an online porn magazine whose raison d’être is the commodification of young girls’ bodies. The male consumers of Barely Legal would likely insist that naked 18-year-old models with bows in their hair, spreading their legs wide for the camera, are technically “consenting adults.” But everyone knows that the intent is to create the illusion that they are much younger.

For years a popular feature in Flynt’s signature publication, Hustler, was a cartoon that followed the exploits of a fictional serial sexual abuser of young girls, Chester the Molester. The cartoon was discontinued only when the cartoonist, Dwayne Tinsley, was convicted of sexually abusing his real-life daughter – who claimed the art was a chronicle of her actual victimization.

Granted, it’s not possible to draw a linear causal chain from the purchase by hundreds of thousands of men of a magazine like Barely Legal to sexual molestation of eight-year-old girls by middle-aged men. Nonetheless, is it credible to maintain that there is no relationship whatsoever between our society’s pandemic of child sexual abuse and the widespread availability of products like Barely Legal, where adult men can purchase pictures of young girls’ bodies for their masturbatory pleasure?

You don’t need to argue that legal porn causes illegal activity in order to assert that it contributes significantly to a culture where younger and younger girls are made into sexual playthings, and hence set up to be the objects of adult men’s sexual desires and pathologies.

We can take comfort in the idea of child sex offenders as horrible aberrations. They’re monsters. We’re nothing like them. And in fairness, purchasing and masturbating to images of “consenting adults” posing as young girls is not criminal behavior. But one need not be a criminal accomplice to share some moral responsibility, or feel – if we’re honest with ourselves — a certain degree of moral complicity.

For years, Flynt’s apologists – in Hollywood and elsewhere — have sought to portray him as a First Amendment hero, courageously battling the likes of right-wing Christians like Jerry Falwell and other forces of puritanical hypocrisy. It’s a brilliant – if highly misleading – PR strategy. Framing Flynt not as someone to be shunned but as someone to be respected has effectively silenced many of his would-be feminist, progressive and liberal critics, who don’t want to be seen as being on the wrong side of a “free speech” issue.

It has also silenced a lot of men who detest Flynt but are uncomfortable criticizing him. But it’s time for us to break the silence. It’s time for more men to stand up and say “not in my name.” Tolerating Flynt’s misogyny in the name of free speech is one thing. But when our cherished institutions go so far as to honor such a man, we not only send an unmistakably sexist message to our sons and daughters. We also dishonor ourselves.

Jackson Katz directs the United States Marine Corps gender violence prevention program. He serves on the advisory board of the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women.

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by Gloria Steinem
New York Times Op-Ed
January 7th, 1997

Larry Flynt the Movie is even more cynical than Larry Flynt the Man. “The People vs. Larry Flynt” claims that the creator of Hustler magazine is a champion of the First Amendment, deserving our respect. That isn’t true.

Let’s be clear: a pornographer is not a hero, no more than a publisher of Ku Klux Klan books or a Nazi on the Internet, no matter what constitutional protection he secures. And Mr. Flynt didn’t secure much.

The Reverend Jerry Falwell sued him over a Hustler parody that depicted Mr. Falwell in a drunken, incestuous encounter with his mother. Mr. Flynt’s victory only confirmed the right to parody public figures (if the result can’t be taken as fact) and prevented plaintiffs from doing an end run around the First Amendment by claiming they suffered “emotional distress.”

In fact, the Nazis who marched in Skokie, Ill., and the Klansman who advocated violence in Ohio achieved more substantive First Amendment victories than did Mr. Flynt. Yet no Hollywood movie would glamorize a Klansman or a Nazi as a champion of free speech, much less describe him in studio press releases as “the era’s last crusader,” which is how Columbia Pictures describes Mr. Flynt.

In this film, produced by Oliver Stone and directed by Milos Forman, Hustler is depicted as tacky at worst, and maybe even honest for showing full nudity. What’s left out are the magazine’s images of women being beaten, tortured and raped, women subject to degradations from bestiality to sexual slavery.

Filmgoers don’t see such Hustler features as “Dirty Pool,” which in January 1983 depicted a woman being gang-raped on a pool table. A few months after those pictures were published, a woman was gang-raped on a pool table in New Bedford, Mass. Mr. Flynt’s response to the crime was to publish a postcard of another nude woman on a pool table, this time with the inscription, “Greetings from New Bedford, Mass. The Portuguese Gang-Rape Capital of America.”

Nor do you see such typical Hustler photo stories as a naked woman in handcuffs who is shaved, raped, and apparently killed by guards in a concentration-camp-like setting (“The Naked and the Dead”). You won’t even meet “Chester the Molester,” the famous Hustler cartoon character who sexually stalks girls.

You certainly don’t see such Hustler illustrations as a charred expanse of what looks like human skin, with photos of dead and dismembered women pinned to it.

On the contrary, the Hollywood version of Larry Flynt, played by the charming Woody Harrelson is opposed to violence. At an anti-censorship rally, he stands against a backdrop of beautiful images of nude women that are intercut with scenes of Hiroshima, marching Nazis, and the My Lai Massacre. “Which is more obscene,” the Flynt character asks, “sex or war?” Viewers who know Hustler’s real content might ask, “Why can’t Larry Flynt tell the difference?”

Mr. Flynt’s daughter Tonya, 31, is so alarmed by this film’s dishonesty that she joined women who picketed its opening in San Francisco. She also publicly accused Mr. Flynt of having sexually abused her when she was a child, a charge he vehemently denies, and attributes to her “mental problems.”

“I’m upset about this film because it supports my dad’s argument that pornography does no harm,” she said. “If you want to see a victim of pornography, just look at me.”

Unlike his film character, the real Mr. Flynt is hardly an unwavering advocate of free speech. Indeed other feminists and I have been attacked in Hustler for using our First Amendment rights to protest pornography. In my case, that meant calling me dangerous and putting my picture on a “Most Wanted” poster. I was also depicted as the main character in a photo story that ended in my sexual mutilation. Given the number of crimes that seem to imitate pornography, this kind of attack does tend to get your attention.

So, no, I am not grateful to Mr. Flynt for protecting my freedom, as the film and its enthusiasts suggest I should be. No more than I would be to a racist or fascist publisher whose speech is protected by the Constitution.

My question is: Would men be portrayed as inviting, deserving, and even enjoying their own pain and degradation–as women are in Mr. Flynt’s life work?

Suppose Mr. Flynt specialized in such images as a young African American man trussed up like a deer, and tied to the luggage rack of a white hunter’s car. Or a nude white man fed into a meat grinder? (Those are some of the milder ways in which Hustler portrays women.)

Would Oliver Stone–who rarely lets powerful men emerge unscathed–bowdlerize and flatter that kind of man, too? Would Woody Harrelson–who supports animal rights and protests the cutting of trees–pose happily next to that Larry Flynt? Would Milos Forman defend that film by citing his memories of censorship under the Nazis?

What if the film praised an anti-Semitic publisher? Would it be nominated for five Golden Globes? Would there be cameos by Donna Hanover Giuliani, the wife of New York City’s Mayor; Burt Neuborne, a New York University law professor; Judge D’Army Bailey of the Memphis Circuit Court or James Carville, President Clinton’s former political consultant? I don’t think so.

The truth is, if Larry Flynt had published the same cruel images even of animals, this movie would never have been made. Fortunately, each of us has the First Amendment right to protest.

Gloria Steinem, a founder of Ms. Magazine, is a writer and activist against pornography and censorship. 

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