In Party of Porn (The Moral Fallout of Clintonism), Noemie Emery detailed with customary brilliance how a political party that once stood for so much had transformed itself into a party which stood for so little, influenced by a leader who did not hesitate to unite corrupt feminists and earnest porn kings to the happy defense of his personal and political failures. She showed how these "politics of smut" were in fact the only options left to the party to maintain viability. She was talking about the Democrats and how they became the party of porn.
The same applies to the National Organization for Women. Infested with Clintonized brown-shirt Democrats, the formerly independent and self-proclaimed non-partisan group dissolved into a powerless outgrowth of the Party, kowtowing to its needs to the point of servility. And, in imitation of its political masters, it too opted for the politics of smut when "S/M" was officially embraced as part of its women's rights agenda. In a complete about-face, the group went from fighting violence against women and girls to advocating it on the basis that violence was no longer a destructive force but the opposite of it, a healthy and sane manifestation of love. And, in further imitation of its political masters, an organization already seen as an organization of not much transformed itself into an organization of even less, another party of porn.
"S/M" stands for sadomasochism, the blending of two words, sadism and masochism. It describes the diametrically opposed urges some men and women feel in alternate succession and with equal intensity. Webster Dictionary classifies sadism as the "getting of pleasure of any sort from mistreating or hurting another or others", and masochism as the "getting of pleasure from being dominated, mistreated or hurt in some way."
The drive to incorporate sadomasochism as a bona fide feminist issue has been strong and unrelenting for decades. In 1980, NOW ratified a "Delineation of Lesbian Rights Issues" to clearly state the organization's position on the matter. It was unequivocal. Sadomasochism was an "issue of exploitation and violence" it said, not an " affectional/sexual preference/orientation" as advanced, and it was a dangerous diversion from the drive to further the genuine cause of lesbian and gay civil rights. In adopting the document, the group rejected "pederasty, pornography, sadomasochism and public sex" as lesbian rights issues, since, to accept, "would violate the feminist principles upon which this organization was founded.", refusing to buckle under the pressure to legitimize violence against women, that is to legitimize violence. The document was also seen as a determined effort to block the S/M lobby from taking the organization over, suspected as they were of fronting for the hardcore segment of the pornographic industry.
In those days, NOW viewed sexual relations between a man and a boy, pederasty, as exploitative of children and a violation of their civil rights. They rejected public sex too, but only after the pros and cons had been, incredibly enough, argued. Sadomasochists were associated with those who seek to "legitimize and provide a premeditated structure for violence" and NOW opposed all forms of violence. The idea that it ought to be a "feminist value" was unacceptable. Standing tall, they further warned that they would not be intimidated nor would they "submit to coercion by those who advocate pederasty, pornography, sadomasochism and public sex" The point was in response to the violent tactics S/M NOW squads deployed, from accusation of fascism and stupidity to personal insults to physical assaults such as the routine thrusting of breasts into one's face. In other words, NOW had told the hardcore porn industry to move on. The industry did not like it and the 1980 document became a source of a constant internal tug-of-war.
By the late nineties, however, the National Organization for Women was much different than what it was in 1980. From grudging respect for the hard work done to advance the rights of women, it had fallen into deserved disgrace for repeatedly siding with a White House that obviously abused them. The "principles upon which the organization was founded" were nowhere to be found. Internally, S/M lesbians had consolidated their hold, helped by the favorable political and cultural climate the Clinton-Gore years created. These changes were reflected when NOW created a S/M web site in March 1997. Done without consulting the membership or local NOW leaders, it prepared the way for the Los Angeles "1999 NOW Lesbian Summit" in California.
Those who participated were more than ready to reach the long-standing goal of eradicating the hated 1980 Delineation and did just that when the "S/M Policy Reform Statement", the "S/M Policy Reform Project", the "S/M Education Project" and the "S/M Plan of Action" were overwhelmingly approved. The program was laid out on the main NOW web site, complete with a "NOW SM" email address curiously connected outside of the organizational electronic mail system. Legitimate inquiries made by Dulles NOW to find out from the NOW leadership the identity and location of "NOW SM@" operators have remained unanswered.
Predictably enough, the new document was the exact opposite of the old one. NOW had been wrong when it determined that sadomasochists sought to legitimize violence, it thundered, wrong when it declared opposition to institutionalized violence, wrong when it insisted that S/M was not a feminist issue and wrong when it rejected it as an "affectional/sexual preference orientation". Sadomasochism was none of that. The expression of "gender loving", S/M was in fact of great benefit to women's "mental or physical well-being", a these a battery of psychiatrists, physicians, authors and experienced S/M NOW members were ready to "prove". More importantly, it was a universal "fundamental human and civil rights" not reserved for lesbians only, a "freedom" to conquer and cherish just like any other.
The "S/M Education Project" provided the educational material for a smorgasbord of issues related to hardcore pornography, "erotic roleplay", public sex and sex workers of all kinds, and answers to questions about "B&D"(bondage and dominance or bondage and discipline), "D&S (dominance and submission), "SMBDLMNOP", self-identity (slave or master? daddy or boy? harem girl or sultan?), activities (controlling or controlled) and equipment (whips, canes, ropes, straps and clamps of all sorts). It also dispensed medical advice about tying, gagging and tight body-wrapping so that brain damage or death be avoided, the latter oddly disregarded as what would have to be the ultimate manifestation of sadomasochistic "gender loving" beliefs.
Finally, the Plan outlined the duties of S/M NOW teams in charge of demonstrating to local and state NOW chapters how tying, gagging, blindfolding and beating up an immobilized woman hooked to something is not violence and certainly not degrading. Once that accomplished, the teams were to school the general NOW membership in the same way, then the public-at-large, future consumers of S/M paraphernalia. Instructed to raise consciousness, they were to expose at the same time the "discrimination", "harassment" and "persecution" sadomasochists endure, a well-known tactic many American feminists use to stifle objection and eliminate opposition through phony political correctness.
The transformation of Democrat-controlled NOW into a S/M advocacy group is one more reflection of the cozy relationship between pornographers, media-made feminists and the Party since Clinton and Gore took office in 1992 The two men are known to be the "best friends the hardcore, illegal porn industry ever had" stated the president of Morality in Media, a testimonial seconded by David Schlesinger of Vivid Video who said : "President Clinton is a total supporter…and he's always been on our side". Illegal hardcore porn exploded mostly on the Internet, the new and nearly unregulated communication system the notoriously self-aggrandizing Gore claimed he invented, bringing the suppliers $ 1.5 billion in 1999 alone, a questionably low figure. In the process, it reached such noxious levels of degeneration that even Larry Flynt, the man well-remembered for running a picture of a naked woman fed headfirst into a meat grinder on the cover of his magazine Hustler and also for saving the Clinton presidency, showed unexpected distaste when he declared that he, of all people, "wouldn't even publish it" on paper. It led kindred souls to conclude that the man had some sort of inner moral boundaries after all.
But Internet pornography is only one aspect of the industry's portfolio of investments. Another booming segment under its control is the international trafficking of women, the legalization of which has the public support of the Clintons, the Gores, and of Secretaries Shalala and Albright. It was therefore refreshingly honest to hear porn moguls exhort their Internet clients to get-out-the-vote on behalf of Moral Al (Gore) and Integrity Joe (Lieberman) next November (1). Already generous contributors to the 1996 Democratic ticket, albeit through questionable means indulgently overlooked by the understanding Janet Reno Justice Department, their financial contribution to Elections 2000 seems bottomless. Miss Reno is the first female Attorney General, a known feminist and a good friend of Patricia Ireland from Dade County, Florida.
An unusually knowledgeable and shrewd group, there is no reason to doubt the porn industrialists when they say that a Gore-Lieberman ticket in the White House would prove even more supportive of their trade than Clinton and Gore ever were. By "more supportive", they meant that the non-enforcing of existing criminal laws, which is the essential ingredient of their success, was expected to continue and even increase. This judicial oversight, dubbed "benevolent neglect" by Adult Entertainment Monthly, the industry's own business magazine, has roots in the same tolerance Miss Reno demonstrated toward the Clinton-Gore fund-raising techniques. There is no question, therefore, that the election of Gore and Lieberman would ensure greater and greater profits from the flesh merchants who cannot be faulted for safeguarding their interests. The same can hardly be said of the women's movement.
Serious civil rights advocates now regard the National Organization for Women as a national embarrassment. Still, NOW's S/M enthusiasts will lead the United States section of the October 15th March of Women 2000, a word wide event organized to denounce, among other ills,… violence against women. Coinciding with the November elections, NOW fervently hopes that it will bring in the process the votes from women that Our Man Al needs in order for him to replace Our Man Bill.
(1) reuters 24 Sep 2000
This portion of the report was prepared with the cooperation of several former NOW officials closely involved in the 1980 Lesbian Rights Conference who spoke on condition of anonymity.