Marching to the jeers of amused 14th Street regulars, about 70 persons -- Mostly feminists shouting "Free women! Stop rape!" -- picketed adult movie and book stores between H and I streets NW yesterday to protest pornography as a form of violence against women.
"Are you frustrated or something?" taunted one vocal onlooker in an expression that characterized the bystanders' reaction. "You women love to have sex. You know it, and I know it."
The demonstration, sponsored by D.C. Feminists Against Pornography, was one of six held yesterday by similar groups in various U.S. cities with the theme "Take Back the Night."
"Pornography is a message of domination of women by men," summed Clarisse Morgan, president of the group here. "We picked this spot (the Metro subway station near 14th and I streets NW) because women are most intimidated here. The first thing you see as you go up the escalator is Casino Royale -- adult theater."
The protest attracted pornography's supporters as well. Dressed as a prostitute, an owner of an adult novelty shop handed out a flyer called "Erotic Consumers Rights." The woman, who declined to identify herself, was accompanied by Don Horner, publisher of an adult personal advertisements magazine and self-proclaimed supporter of sado-masochism in pornography.
"I sympathize with (the protesters)," he said, "but they're misguided. Their husbands are probably sitting in a go-go bar right now."
The demonstrators, for the most part, ignored the taunts during the 1 1/4 hours they were along 14th street.
Fred Hufford, a 30-year-old Arlington man who was among the anti-pornography pickets said, "I'm protesting the view of women that hurts men and male-female relationships. Men shouldn't look at women as objects. Healthy sexuality requires two-way communication."
The demonstration ended at Lafayette Square where a member of the D.C. Coalition Against Registration and the Draft delivered an impassioned speech on how the military perpetuates male aggression.
The demonstration coordinators noted that they are not opposed to "erotica," or sensual literature or film.
"We feel that erotica based on mutuality is fine," one protestor said. "But you won't find any of that here."