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Flynt speaks on feminism

Mills College Weekly

Larry Flynt, the outspoken publisher of Hustler magazine, lived
up to his controversial persona when he gave a speech on Oct. 6 in
the U.C. Berkeley student union. Although his topics ranged from
the First Amendment to government regulation of the media, it was
his strong remarks about feminism that illicited the most response
from the audience members.

Flynt, whose views on most subjects were generally
well-received, was met with criticism from some listeners who felt
he made unnecessary, offensive remarks about the second wave
women’s movement. Flynt, who felt unjustly criticized by radical
feminists such as Andrea Dworkin, made statements throughout the
night including, “(Feminists) claim to fame is the urge of a bunch
of ugly women to march,” and, “if you go into the archives and look
at the photos of the (feminist) marches in the 60’s and 70’s,
you’ll for sure see at least three 300 lbs bulldykes leading
it-you never see pretty women marching for women’s rights.”

Berkeley law student Glenna Francis said, “I think he made a lot
of great points, but the bulldyke reference was unfortunate.”

City College student Cat Stone echoed this reaction to Flynt. “I
thought he was very eloquent, except for that whole thing about

“I’m not sexist. I love, worship, and idolize women,” said
Flynt, in response to accusations of sexism.

In the same breath as his remarks on the women’s movement, Flynt
expressed his staunch support for reproductive freedoms and said
that he believes women should have the right to abortions and that
it’s easy for men to take issue with abortion because they will
never experience pregnancy.

The speech, which was sponsored by the ACLU, was held the day
before the California recall election in which Flynt ran for
governor. Flynt’s focus, however, was not on the election, but on
the power of the First Amendment and the place of government in
regulating media. Flynt said that he had no real hope of becoming
governor of the state, but said that he entered the race because
“the price was right.”

Flynt, who was taken to court, taken to jail, and has even taken
a bullet because of the obscenity charges against him for creating
Hustler, said that he is often asked whether America’s founding
fathers had his magazine in mind when they drafted the First
Amendment. While members of the audience nodded, Flynt said that he
believed they didn’t but that “the First Amendment is intended to
protect all speech and if your speech is not going to offend anyone
you don’t need the First Amendment.”

Geoff King, the co-president of the Berkeley ACLU student
chapter, said that, as illustrated by his speech, Flynt had many
opinions on a variety of subjects. Although there were some points
of contention between Flynt and his audience, he was pleased that
the audience remained civil and respectful because “free speech
isn’t always pretty.”

In addition, Flynt spoke harshly about the Bush administration
promotion of censorship, September 11, and the Patriot Act.

Flynt linked the country’s foreign policy with condoning
violence and said, “You can run a photograph of a mutilated,
decapitated body on the front page of a daily newspaper and you
might win a Pulitzer-but run a photograph of two people making love
and your ass might go to jail.”

Flynt said that he believes that September 11 was a direct
result of poor U.S. foreign policy and that he believes it is not
only each individual’s right, but duty to speak out against the

“We continue to tamper with [the Middle East’s] culture, like
we’re the schoolyard bully,” Flynt said. “For 40 years we’ve been
pokin’ them in the eye-that’s why 9/11 happened.”

Flynt also spoke against corporate media ownership and
government control of information.

“When the framers of the constitution got together, it was not
the have’s and the have not’s getting together to protect everyone,
it was the have’s and the have’s protecting themselves. Not much
has changed, it’s the same today,” Flynt said.

Flynt, who spoke about keeping the “government out of the
bedroom,” said that he fully supports same-sex marriage and
granting gays and lesbians the same rights as heterosexuals.

“I don’t give a damn if someone marries a tree,” Flynt said.
“It’s not going to affect my life, so I don’t see why the
government opposes it.”

In addressing the issue of morality and obscenity, Flynt said
that “the Church has had its hand on our crotch for 2,000 years and
now the government’s doing the same thing.”

Flynt said he hopes that if he has left any legacy, it is that
he has worked to expand the parameters of free speech and encourage
others to do the same.