Throughout time, cultures have looked at human sexuality in many different ways. In certain religions, women cannot expose their skin in public. In other religions, doctrines encourage men to have multiple wives. Sex has saved lives, destroyed lives, produced countless movies, books, and songs, saved countries and started wars. One war over sex that you won’t find in your textbook occurred this past summer in our picturesque town of West Chester. Jill McDevitt chose West Chester to open her shop, Feminique Boutique, because she thought it was a hip and trendy town full of bars and college students. Little did she know that her sex shop would produce more controversy than West Chester has seen in a long time. Located on N. Church Street across from Fennario’s, her store offers products, seminars and private sessions aimed at enhancing the sex lives of women and couples.
McDevitt faced opposition from the start. She was told by the borough her store would violate the business regulations and fit the definition of an adult entertainment store. There are many types of adult entertainment stores, book stores, strip clubs, sex shops, etc. Book stores and strip clubs are the only two kinds not allowed in West Chester, so with a lawyer’s help, McDevitt got her permit and opened the store.
Shortly after opening she began to receive cat calls and comments through her store front door. She even received emails from professors from surrounding universities. She was accused of destroying morals, ruining families, and promoting masturbation.
In June, a borough meeting was held reminiscent of the Salem witch trials. The meeting was packed to the capacity with the congregation of Saint Agnes parish and other citizens concerned over the store. It was here they tried to remove McDevitt’s store, but because it had been past the 30 days for an appeal, the attempts failed. However, the borough did change the zoning for adult entertainment stores, but because McDevitt had already obtained her permit her business is safe. Saint Agnes still appealed the permit and took McDevitt and Feminique Boutique to court.
It was then that McDevitt learned the town was on her side and the attempts by Saint Agnes to destroy the store had backfired. A petition to support the store had been started and acquired over 300 signatures.
Since being taken to court, McDevitt has doubled her business. The attendance of her sex workshops has quadrupled in the past two months. Her store has become a symbol worldwide of sexual freedom and the right to express human sexuality. A “Google” of her name produces tens of thousands of websites, news articles, and blogs in many languages. She has saved money in advertising due to her store being onthe front pages of the Inquirer and Daily Local.
McDevitt graduated with an undergraduate degree in Sexuality, Marriage, and Family from, ironically enough, a catholic school known as St. Jeromes University in Canada. She then obtained her Masters degree in Human Sexuality from Widener University in 2007. Currently, she is in the process of writing a book called Crusade on Christ that should be due out within a year. She offers a variety of free or private sexuality workshops and seminars. A full list of her workshops can be found on her website at www.Feminiqueboutique.com. The store is located at 104 N. Church Street.
Patrick Gardner is a fourth-year student majoring in communications studies. He can be reached at PG606594@wcupa.edu.