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FmP's logotype
mot Pornografi

The People's Organisation against Pornography

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To The Swedish Women's Front

Protest march outside a pornshop in Stockholm.
Against pornography

In 1971 the old "Violation of Discipline and Morality" Act was abolished in Sweden. Pornography fell within the range of that act. Sweden was thereby one of the first countries in the word to lift all restrictions on pornography. Because of this Sweden became a symbol of pornography, the perfect country for the porn industry, and all over the world proponents of pornography used the "liberated" Swedish people as an argument for the restrictions on pornography to be lifted in their countries as well.
     But people in Sweden didn't want this abolition.
Invisible square(You can read more about the debate in Sweden in these years – especially on Child Pornography – if you chose "The Politicians & the Legislation" beneath "Pamphlet" in the menu to the left, or by clicking HERE.)

Against Puritanism, Morality laws & Pornography
Although many people in Sweden wanted all legislation based on puritanism and morality to be abolished, the total abolition of the pornography laws was not what they wanted. Most people wanted some limits, and they definitely wanted at least child pornography to be prohibited.
     At this time, as well as now, women held the most negative attitudes towards pornography. But women's opposition to pornography was explained away by the authorities with comments to the effect that women are more "inhibited and puritanical". They thereby refused to see that pornography is another side of puritanism.
     With this "setting free" of pornography, as the sexual liberals called it, even child sexual abuse was sanctioned by society.

A broad opposition to Pornography
Many people saw how the porn industry expanded in the early 1970s and wanted to fight against it. Riksaktionen mot Pornografi och Prostitution (the National Action against Pornography and Prostitution) was built. It gathered people from the civil rights movement, the women's movement, political organizations and the church. They demanded laws against primarily child, animal and violent pornography.
     After several years of lobbying the law was changed and the making and spreading of Child Pornography was prohibited from 1980. But this also led to the end of the organization.

Photo from a demonstration against pornography

A feminist analysis on Pornography
During this period, the 1970s, women started to form groups for consciousness-raising, the women's shelter movement grew and so did support groups for incest survivors. The experiences they had gave women new knowledge on pornography and men's sexual abuse in all.
     The women's movement had already criticized Riksaktionen for the lack of analysis of pornography as oppression of women and for it's focus on law and justice. After some years when everyone tried to fight pornography within the limits of their own organizations, Kvinnofronten (The Women's Front) in 1985 took the initiative to build another broad organization, this time based on a feminist analysis of pornography. Folkaktionen mot Pornografi – FmP (The People's Organisation against Pornography).
     A year later FmP gathered more than 100 organizations and more than 40 local groups around the country.

Changing of the laws
The struggle against pornography now led to a another change in the law. From 1989 is is forbidden to make and spread pornography that involves violence or coercion. Unfortunately practically nothing is considered "violent" or "coercive" in the eyes of the justice, so the law is not used. (You can read more about this if you chose "Society" beneath "Pamphlet" in the menu to the left, or by clicking HERE.)
     In the beginning of the 1990s the police made some substantial confiscations of child pornography, which put the light on the fact that possession of Child Pornography was not prohibited in Sweden. This led to the forming of a governmental Child Pornography Committee that should present suggestions for alterations in the Child Pornography Act. In spite of the fact that the Committee did not suggest a great change of the Child Pornography Act, the politicians had to change it – or commit political suicide. So Child Pornography is now totally forbidden in Sweden.
     As more and more people began to see the consequences of men's sexual abuse against women and children in a patriarchal society, the laws has been changed on prostitution, rape and other sexual crimes. We now also have a debate on whether the making of commercial pornography, as well as the arranging of porn shows in porn clubs, should be considered crimes included in the law against pimping.

Photo from a demonstration against pornography

To make people see
Hopefully the changing of the laws will also change the way people around the world look upon Sweden. We're trying to rub out the image of our country as the symbol of pornography.
     But FmP did much more than only initiated a change in the laws: we made people see what was going on.

     Now one could think everything is going in the right direction, but that's not the whole truth. During the 1990s, at the same time as many people became aware of pornography as sexual abuse, the sexual liberals have increased in numbers. They either say pornography is only fantasy or that the women used in pornography want this to be done to them. We now have women who call themselves feminists advocating for pornography and prostitution. S/m is considered chic among many intellectuals and the common pornography is widespread. The porn industry keeps making its money.

The struggle goes on
At the end of the 1990s FmP came to work too much with rules and regulations, and the organization diminished and was ended in 1999. Once again everyone now tries to fight pornography within the limits of their own organizations.
     Time will show what's going to happen next.

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© Kvinnofronten 2001