Iconic Dell Williams Passes at 92 – Believed Women had Right to Sexual Expression

Holy Hormones Journal:  We are entering an era where our great feminist mothers who changed the course of women’s history in the 1970’s will be passing. Many of you may not be aware of the contributions these women made – but they are the cornerstone of our ‘Herstory’ – as are the women who fought for out right to vote, hold property, have an education, have a choice over whether or not to have a child – have a right to birth control.  Women have had to fight for our human rights. In understanding that you will understand why we cannot afford to forget; to educate our daughters…. because as soon as we turn our heads – stop remembering – those rights will be taken away.

Even now, the headline defines Dell as the founder of a sex store – not the iconic feminist who believed that women should have to right to sexual expression.

I remember this woman and the headlines she made in the 1970’s when she opened Eve’s Garden – “Where we grow pleasurable things for women.”
If you have a vibrator or sex paraphernalia in your drawer you have Dell Williams to thank.

I would like to thank Leonore Tiefer with the New View Campaign for sharing this information.

Dell Williams, Founder of Sex Boutique, Dies at 92

03.13.15 OBITWILLIAMS1-blog427Dell Williams, who in 1974, after being humiliated by a department-store clerk when she tried to buy a vibrator, was moved to start Eve’s Garden, the New York boutique widely described as the nation’s first sex shop catering specifically to women, died on Wednesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 92.

Her death was confirmed by a friend, Mary Elizabeth Greene-Cohen.

A former actress, advertising executive and Army Wac, Ms. Williams was for four decades a nationally known advocate of women’s liberation, sexuality and sexual health — a stance founded on the premise, as she often put it, that “women have a right to sexual expression.”

She was consulted frequently by the news media on subjects including Valentine’s Day (“Using sex toys is fun, sensual and can bring a couple closer”); vibrators (“Even if it collects dust in your drawer, I say hold on to it”); and the furor around Britney Spears’ 2003 song “Touch of My Hand,” which celebrates female masturbation.

“In the past 50 years or so, even as the medicinal and moral fears of masturbation have ebbed, the stigma still remains — and that’s what is shameful,” Ms. Williams said at the time. “Hopefully, Britney’s honesty and her song can help women overcome feelings of embarrassment and instead embrace something so natural.”

When Ms. Williams founded Eve’s Garden at her kitchen table, discussions of female sexuality in general, and female orgasm in particular, had long been taboo. What sex shops there were — mostly seamy red-light-district affairs — were owned by, and catered to, men.

Today, thanks partly to Ms. Williams’ work, the women’s sex-product industry is a multimillion-dollar concern nationwide.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.