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Radical Organization "Stop Patriarchy" to Protest Against Bushwick's NYC Porn Festival

Image of Stop Patriarchy protesting in Texas. Courtesy of David Thomas and BITCH magazine.

It turns out that NYC Porn Festival, to be held this weekend in the very liberal Bushwick will gain some controversy after all. And we're not talking about Miley Cyrus submitting and subsequently withdrawing from her short and very soft bondage film.

A group called Stop Patriarchy has announced a protest against NYC Porn Festival scheduled for Saturday 2-4PM right in front of its venue, Secret Project Robot.

Under a slogan: "End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women,”  Stop Patriarchy with its six chapters across the States prefers to take aggressive action instead of polite lobbying or posting on Twitter, according to their about page.

It seems that on Saturday, Stop Patriarchy will protest primarily against Pornhub, a "YouTube" for porn videos, and the main sponsor of the event. The group wrote on their website:

"Pornhub, the largest porn site in the world, will host its first ever Porn Film Festival in Bushwick, NY. This marks a further step in the mainstreaming of pornography, even as pornography becomes ever more violent, cruel, dehumanizing, degrading, and humiliating towards women."

"That this Festival includes LGBT and “feminist” porn does not make any of this “liberating.” No matter who promotes it, porn does nothing to challenge the basic divisions into slave and slavemaster, dominated and dominator, object and subject that mark our world – and which have everything to do with why LGBT people and women are oppressed in the first place! While we join actively in the fight to combat all forms of bigotry and discrimination against people based on their gender or sexual orientation, the idea that liberation for anyone can be found through eroticizing domination and degradation is a terrible illusion."

Stop Patriarchy encourages their followers to bring friends and protest signs.

The group's methods, campaigns and their involvement in reproductive rights movement  have been criticized in the past by organizations such as Texans For Reproductive Justice as being “racist, Islamophobic, anti-sex worker and anti-pornography.” The organization wrote: "Stop Patriarchy is not collaborating with any reputable Texas-based organizations, and in fact, many organizations [...] have actively and openly rejected Stop Patriarchy’s presence because of the group’s history of using disruption and intimidation to promote their own agenda above all others."

BITCH magazine wrote about the group's August appearance in front of the federal courthouse in Austin, Texas: "members of the group wore chains, flashed clothing hangers covered with fake blood, and screamed for the television cameras on site to cover the proceedings. As soon as the cameras were gone, they packed up and left."

It is important to note that NYC Porn Festival will feature a large amount of indie and DIY films made by women in approximately 70% of their programming; by LGBTQ filmmaker in 20% and only about 10% is traditionally heretosexual.

Furthermore, the festival will host several talks about pornograhy as academic category and will include speakers such as Marvin Taylor, Director of the Fales Library & Special Collections at NYU or Barbara Hammer, a central figure in experimental and queer film.

The festival's organizer, Simon Leahy declined to comment about the planned protests. Leahy who also co-organizes the annual drag festival Bushwig, is known in New York as drag queen Babes Trust. In an interview for Huffington Post, Leahy stressed how important it is to promote the discussion around sexuality and porn economics:

"NYC sometimes seems like such a white-washed, gentrified space. We live in a hyper-sexualized society but some have archaic Victorian values around sex. Porn is something we all take part in, whether it be jacking off behind closed doors or walking down the street consuming an image of Nicki Minaj's butt. To progress culture we need to have these conversions to challenge the older values around sex and sexuality. Homosex and Hetrosex need to find meeting points -- ideally, we want to spark the next sexual revolution. I want to live in a world in which these labels don't exist. I would like to point out that the festival isn't a "queer" festival or a "hetro" festival. We want to include the full range of sexualities, fetishes and genders."

Representatives of Pornhub declined to to comment about the protest as well.

We have reached out to Stop Patriarchy and are currently awaiting their comment.

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