The Salt Lake Tribune ran a profile recently of a Utah group that calls itself Women for Decency. Formed earlier this year, the group campaigns against pornography, which its director, Janalyn Holt, seriously compared to the 9/11 terrorist attack. According to Holt,
The parallels between [smut and terror] are uncanny. Pornography destroys families. It’s not a one-time shot like an airplane flying into the World Trade Center. But little by little, blow by blow, it can be just as destructive. We are getting bombarded on all sides.
High on the list of pornographic publications that are terrorizing the United States are Better Homes & Gardens, which ran a Spiegel ad showing a woman leaning against a naked man, and, of course, women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan and In Style which are typically displayed at supermarket checkout counters. Women for Decency is participating in a nationwide campaign to persuade supermarkets to put covers in front of Cosmopolitan, Glamour and other magazines.
Women for Decency recently met with Utah’s porn czar, Paula Houston, who herself has been on the job for eight months now. What’s she been up to while drawing her $80,000 salary?
Aside from viewing a lot of pornography, Houston told the Associated Press that she’s fielded about 1,500 complaints about pornography. Most of the complaints, however, stem from advertisements and magazine covers. As an example, over 1,000 Utah residents signed an Internet petition against a Victoria’s Secret ad which featured a nude women strategically covering her breasts with her hands.
Legally, of course, Houston can’t do much about such vile filth, but like Women for Decency, she thinks that pornography kills families by spreading the idea that sex might occur outside of marriage,
It portrays a mindset that people buy into — of objectification, of not having a primary relationship. Pornography promotes free sex and that’s not good for marriages or families. I absolutely believe the only way to stem the tide is through grass roots efforts and understanding the law.
Meanwhile, Andrew McCullough, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, made the astute observation that, “She’s harmless enough, but it’s a terrible waste of taxpayer’s money. She is not doing anything important for society. She is making people feel good.”
Or, at least, trying to prevent people from feeling good.
Women uniting for war on porn. Mark Eddington, The Salt Lake Tribune, October 14, 2001.
After eight months, Utah’s ‘porn czar’ handles 1,500 complaints, instructs others on laws. Catherine S. Blake, The Associated Press, October 15, 2001.
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