Feminists organised a cute Â protest on Â 23/9/11 outside XBIZ EU, an international pornography trade summit, at the Edwardian Radisson Hotel in Bloomsbury Street – dressed as butchers and businessmen trading in womenâ€™s body parts. Delegates – some of them already, obviously, having begun their happy hour early – came out to see the kerfuffle. Perma-tans and exotic coiffure were de rigueur. Â The gentleman above was very enthusiastic, as you can see.
Swiftly, however, the police and later Radisson staff, escorted the gentlemen back into the hotel so that the women could carry on, unharrassed, with their peaceful protest.
Speakers at XBIZ EU included porn baron Berth Milton, Chairman and CEO of Private Media Group, and Michael Klein, president of Hustler, founded in 1974 by Larry Flint, is now a major producer of pornographic DVDs and online content. In 1978 the Hustler magazine featured an infamous front cover image of a womanâ€™s body being mutilated by a meat grinder.
The global pornography industry is estimated to be worthÂ $97 (US) billion.
OBJECT has launched the STOP.PRESS.PORN campaign to call on the Government to end the sexual objectification of women in newspapers and to end the Page 3 phenomena – already been supported by the Lib Dem Party Conference.
Kat Banyard, Director of UK Feminista, said:
â€œThe pornography industry butchers women. Brutal, body punishing acts are now routine in mainstream porn and women are presented merely as a collection of body parts, deserving and desiring of pain. The pimps and porn moguls gathered at this are part of a global industry ruthlessly seeking new and profitable ways to carve up sexuality and trade away womenâ€™s equality. The Radisson Edwardian hotel is hosting a brutal meat market, not a lavish corporate conference.
â€œFor decades the pornography industry has enjoyed unchecked expansion. Itâ€™s time to wrestle power back from the pornographers. With a review into the culture and ethics of the press underway, the Government must ensure that pornographic imagery â€“ like â€˜Page 3â€™ – is a key part of this review.â€
Anna van Heeswijk, Campaigns Coordinator at OBJECT, said:
â€œThis is not the porn of yesteryear. Pornography today is increasingly violent, body punishing, degrading and woman hating. Hardcore porn is the norm and it is being accessed by boys as young as 11 on the internet and on mobile phones. The messages and images from porn are infiltrating every aspect of our popular culture and women and girls are bearing the brunt of increased levels of violence, sexual abuse and harassment that accompany pornification.
Our message is clear: â€˜women are human, stop treating us like objectsâ€™.â€
Julia Long from the London Feminist Network said:
â€œThis summitÂ is being presented as a lavish,Â respectableÂ corporate event, when in fact it is aÂ brazen opportunity for the porn industry toÂ plan new ways of profiting from the exploitation of women. No matter how slick and sophisticated the presentation, it is the still the same old meat market just below the surface. This protest is sending an important message that Xbiz is not welcome in London.â€
SabinraÂ Qureshi from Million Women Rise said:
“The public deserve to know the truth and reality behind the so called sex industry and the harm that underpins it, not the glamorised version the media and events like this tend to promote.”