WHAT IS FAC'S POSITION ON CENSORSHIP?
- WHO ARE FAC?
- Feminists Against Censorship was formed in 1989 by a group of
long-time feminist academics and campaigners who wished to fight
censorship from a feminist perspective. In the intervening years, we
have been joined by younger women, including those in other professions,
such as computer programming, photography, secretarial work, law, and
the sex industry.
- BUT WOULDN'T MOST FEMINISTS DISAGREE WITH YOU?
- No. Feminists have traditionally been anti-censorship, and the major
women's anti-censorship groups in the US and UK are made up of feminists
ranging from Betty Friedan and Kate Millett to the members of the old
Red Rag collective and the Feminist Review collective.
Feminists Against Censorship recognizes that:
- Censorship is a dangerous tool that is primarily used to suppress
dissent from those who would challenge oppression by society and the
state, and particularly victimizes minorities.
- Censorship is used by those in power as a way to avoid dealing with
serious, intractable problems in society that require real, imaginative
action, and are not solved by banning words and images.
- Women must have recourse to free expression in order to explore the
truth of our own experience and sexuality that has been forcibly hidden
from us for millennia, and the state must no longer be permitted to
interfere with this discourse.
- Censorship can never eliminate evil ideas, and so the best answer to
bad speech is more speech.
- Censorship gives unacceptable powers to the police to invade our
privacy and harass individuals who they find threatening although they
pose no threat to others.
- Research attempting to demonstrate a causal link between images and
violence has not been able to show such a link.
- Research on offenders demonstrates that poverty, actual violence,
and abuse in the personal lives of offenders - and not media
images - are the crucial factors in creating a tendency toward violence
and criminal behaviour.
- Research on serious sex offenders demonstrates that rapists and
abusers have been taught repressive messages about sex, masturbation,
and pornography, and that anti-pornography activism actually exacerbates
the problems that lead to sexual assault and abuse.
Therefore, Feminists Against Censorship demands:
- a truly feminist agenda to address the specific problems of the
family that lead to reduced economic circumstances and physical danger
- the elimination of de jure and de facto prior restraint in the
production and distribution of media images;
- the removal of the powers of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise to
confiscate magazines, videos, films and other media;
- elimination of the powers of the police to enter a person's home to
search for entertainment materials;
- abolition of the Obscene Publications Acts, the Video Recordings
Act, and the Clubs and Vice Squad (formerly the Obscene Publications
Squad and, separately, the Club Squad);
- an accessible public forum for the discussion of vital issues such
as sexism and racism in a fuller, more realistic context that
acknowledges the alienating and divisive forces in society -
not media - that create increased tensions between the races,
the sexes, and classes; and
- positive and accurate sex education for young people, starting as
early as possible.
- WHAT DOES FAC DO?
- We write books, leaflets, letters and articles to try to get
information out. We also send out newsletters to supporters to keep them
updated on censorship news and FAC activities. We hold public meetings
and sometimes other events to which everyone is welcome. We send
speakers to universities, groups, and the media in exchange for expenses
(and fees where possible, of course). We advise students who are working
on related projects and provide reading lists and other references.
FAC has leaflets available to those who write and send a
self-addressed, stamped envelope, and 50p for each copy (stamps are
accepted as currency).
We also have several books
available from bookshops and libraries (FAC does not take orders for
- HOW MUCH FUNDING DOES FAC HAVE?
- None. We raise funds largely from some of our publications, selling
badges, and charging admission at public events. We have a number of
supporters who give us five pounds a year, and a very small number who
have given us a little more. We ask members to cover their own expenses.
It is rare, however, to receive even 20 pounds in donations from any
individual source. FAC's supporters do not have the kind of money that
our opposition has, so donations are always very welcome.
- HOW ARE FAC MEMBERS PAID?
- We aren't. We do this because we believe in it. We keep our expenses
low out of necessity - we have no offices, and everyone contributes what
they can do. Members simply don't charge FAC for the work they do for
us; that's how we can survive.
- HOW DO YOU JOIN FAC?
- Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a donation of at least
five pounds to our BM Box, telling us a little about yourself and how
you heard about FAC.
- WILL FAC HELP ME GET INFORMATION EVEN IF I DON'T JOIN?
- Sure, if you send a stamped, self-addressed envelope and a letter
explaining what you need, we will be happy to help if we can. But
remember, our resources are limited, and most of the time the best we
can do is recommend that you look at the articles we already have on the
web and read our books. (We will also answer questions via e-mail,
- CAN MEN JOIN?
- FAC is not separatist and welcomes supporters of all sexes and
sexualities. However, since we were formed to give a voice to the
anti-censorship women who were being silenced by the pro-censorship
faction, only women can represent FAC and make policy for FAC; thus, our
collective meetings are open only to women, although everyone is welcome
at our larger events and can be on our mailing list in exchange for a
donation of five pounds or more.
- WHAT ELSE CAN I DO FOR FAC?
- You can educate yourself on the issues (reading our books helps -
and ordering from the library or buying them puts a little more money
into our coffers), so when the subject comes up, you won't be caught
off-guard. Tell universities, groups or media people you have contacts
with about FAC. If you are a member of any group that brings in
speakers, talk them into inviting one or more FAC members to speak.
Write to the media when they have shows or articles about censorship,
and tell them what you think. And, of course, write to your MP at:
House of Commons
LONDON SW1A 0AA