Pornhub has opened up a pop-up shop in New York City, where patrons can buy promotional merchandise and sex toys, or even put on a show for the site’s homepage. Running through Dec. 20, the store might appear to be all fun and games, but feminist Gloria Steinem has called the brick and mortar location a tactic to further promote sexual violence.
Speaking at a Pornhub pop-up shop protest on Friday morning, Steinem and tens of other activists called for New Yorkers to boycott the shop, arguing that Pornhub promotes racism, incest, sexual violence, and rape. Situated next to the shop at 70 Wooster St. in Soho, Steinem called the company a hub of violence and a danger to women.
“It is a hub that, in this moment of consciousness that is engulfing this country now, we must realize is the source of the poison that is in our system,” Steinem said, the New York Daily News reported.
Steinem said that erotica is healthy but that mainstream porn was not healthy erotica, arguing that Pornhub normalizes the degradation of girls and women.
According to Refinery29, Pornhub hopes its first pop-up helps to bring the brand into the mainstream and solidify it as a “normal” lifestyle brand. However, Sonia Ossorio, the National Organization for Women’s New York chapter president, says she wants to make sure it doesn’t become a permanent store, and she called on city leaders to prevent Pornhub pop-ups in the future.
“Pornhub sells the idea of sexual abuse of children, Pornhub sells racist slurs and stereotypes,” Ossorio said, according to CBS New York.
After the protest’s press conference, Steinem and others marched into the store chanting, “Pornhub sells sexual violence,” as the feminist icon asked a store worker why the store was selling handcuffs and how those handcuffs were related to free will, democracy, or independent equality.
In an opinion piece for HuffPost, Taina Bien-Aime, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, argued that a physical store for Pornhub will help groom a new generation of sexual predators, and she wrote that while Pornhub is selling toys and clothing, the company is only concerned with increasing viewership.
“Pornhub isn’t peddling fun sex or erotica. It is masterfully marketing itself in a corporate push to increase viewership on one of the vilest porn sites on the internet,” Bien-Aime wrote. “That Pornhub broadcasts its grotesque fare on the internet is for us to address as a global community. For it to hang a shingle on charming cobblestoned streets to groom the next generation of sexual predators is something New Yorkers must fight.”
Demonstrators against PornHub popup shop in Soho say the material promotes objectification, abuse, trafficking, violence and racial slurs degrading women, not erotica. #1010WINS pic.twitter.com/wktJS8ADrH
— Sonia Rincón (@SoniaRincon) December 8, 2017