By Sofie Buckland
After refusing to debate at the Feminist Fightback conference organised by socialist feminist students last year , the feminist anti-porn group Object have continued their campaign of trying to silence anti-censorship feminist voices.
In a press release last week, Object claim that Ladyfest, the feminist non-profit DIY festival, is in fact more like a “porn fest” — the extremely thin evidence being a claim that Ladyfest Leeds held a pole-dancing benefit for the event, something that the organisers flatly deny.
Ladyfest Leeds, which took place over 14-15 April, also held a debate on “Feminism, Pornography and Censorship”, strongly objected to by Object on the grounds that even debating the violent porn ban could cause distress to victims of rape and sexual abuse. Quoting an organisation which appears to be entirely unheard of, (“Campaigners Against Pornography”) their press release condemns Ladyfest for being “disrespectful to victims of rape and sexual violence”.
And as if this Stalinist approach to political debate wasn’t bad enough, Object are perfectly happy to link not only to the Mothers’ Union (an organisation which exists to “strengthen and preserve” marriage and family life), but to MediaWatch UK, the rebranded version of Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers and Listeners Assocation.
The NVLA has distinguished itself since 1965 by rabidly opposing any media it perceives as blasphemous, including successfully suing the Gay Times for blasphemous libel, and generally opposing sex, sexuality and violence on TV from a Christian “family values” standpoint.
It seems this group of radical feminist campaigners refuse to have anything to do with feminists who disagree with them on pornography, but are happy to link up with religious reactionaries.