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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Why reporting on an Olympian’s sexwork is unethical and bad for society

 

The media should never have published the story about US Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton working as a high-end escort. Reporting on it sends the message that sexwork is somehow “different” from all other work; if Suzy had been working as a teacher, cleaner or data entry clerk, it would not have been worth reporting on. More disturbingly, the message of sexwork being ‘different’ is more often than not a negative one, with connotations of misogyny and associated judgements of being ‘dirty’, ‘slutty’ or (traditionally) ‘immoral’.

And this holier-than-thou thing has got to stop. Even if sexwork is in some way different, and Suzy is ‘dirty’ or ‘immoral’, what are we to say about the morality of the client who outed her for money, or the news corporation who also outed her and exploited her for money? The client who goes to a ‘dirty’ person and contributes to the ‘dirty’ business of sexwork is himself dirty; yet he is not criticised because he’s not a public figure. This whole thing is just disgusting; a tale of money-grabbing at any cost and not caring who is hurt in the process, while pretending to be somehow better than an Olympian who owns a business and works as a sexworker. Like, yeah, I can see how we’re all totally better and more successful and hardworking than Suzy.

At least this article may change people’s perceptions of escorts and show how ridiculous criminalizing sexwork (it is criminalised in America) is. The original and subsequent article state that Suzy is a separated mother who owns a business, thereby debunking the stereotype of drug-addicted sexworkers and showing people that sexworkers can have other jobs too. The Madonna-whore dichotomy is debunked here, too: Suzy is wife, mother and whore. Also, her statement that she contacted the agency to “fulfil a fantasy” and got “hooked” proves that sexworkers are not unhappy  ‘sex slaves’ as abolitionists would have us believe; neither was Suzy forced into sexwork. The subsequent article states that Suzy may, against her will, be forced to tell the FBI details about the agency who made her work possible – proving how criminalization can have upsetting consequences for sexworkers and ruin agencies’ businesses.

And hopefully Suzy will be able to put her prices up now.  Here’s to you, Suzy, and may we all have the courage to fulfil our fantasies as you have done.

 

 

 

 

http://www.inquisitr.com/447951/former-olympian-has-been-working-as-a-600-an-hour-escort/?obref=obinsite

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2012 in Sex work

 

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“Generation Sex” – when our daughters become our sexual rivals and it’s easier to slutshame them than fight the patriarchy

The recent controversy over ‘Generation Sex’ was quite amusing – but also frustrating. Hypocrites in the news media and blogosphere put on a prim face as they lecture parents on controlling their teens, or throw their hands up in despair at how we’ll never be able to control them. But whether they’re scaremongering parents or shaming teens, they are united in their message: we should abhor the sluttiness of the young.

As for the young themselves, they are quite invisible in the national conversation. Being a marginalised, disenfranchised group, they haven’t been able to defend their actions, repudiate the report’s claims, or set the terms of the debate. 12-16 year olds – and even those who are older – are less socially adept, less intellectually developed and less educated. Hardly fair game, wouldn’t you agree? And as if what anyone does at age 12 or 14 is any indication of the kind of adult they’ll grow up to be. (At this age, young Kalika hated sluts and despised sexworkers; what kids think and do about sex at this age is absolutely unimportant). This is especially true of sex; many individuals don’t come out as gay or begin transitioning until their later teen years; we take time to explore our sexuality and build on our sexual skills. Sure, there must be 12 year olds enacting rape scenes with a St. Andrew’s Cross in a makeshift torture chamber, and props to them; but if you’re such a prude that you can’t bear this scenario, you haven’t got a whole lot to worry about in a society so sexually conservative that we think Fifty Shades is porn. Or kinky.

Historically, people have always been paranoid about the sexuality of the young; from the Can-Can dance of the Victorian era to “heavy petting” in the 1960s to 1990s “bumping and grinding”, young peoples’ bits and where they put them have never ceased to be of interest to the older generations.

But there is no getting away from the fact that, before sexting – which, by the way, has been going on since 2001, so it’s a bit late to be getting bothered about it – there were cameras. Before flashing on webcam, there was groping behind the bike sheds. Before weed, there was LSD. Before alcopops, there was beer. Before bralets there were miniskirts. All this unhealthy interest in our childrens’ privates is just classic moral panicking over the wider range of adolescent behaviour as documented by Stanley Cohen in 1970. But it’s not hip to be on about violence any more (at least, without mentioning video gaming) or drinking (because we aren’t even debating it any more – we’ve moved on to debating if minimum alcohol pricing is the right ‘solution’ to this ‘problem’ of people drinking) so teen sex – titillating, worrying, tabloid-selling teen sex – is the Next Big National Distraction.

As ‘teen pregnancy’ has been falling since the 1970s, people who write with shock about our nation’s slutty youth need to admit they are hypocrites. They weren’t wearing chastity belts when they were in high school, so what gives them any right to tut-tut when it’s the turn of the young ‘uns? Perhaps it is envy, especially now that in the developed world, people are living longer. With Britain’s retirement age now 68, people who would once have been in old age homes are now still working. They’re parents to forty-somethings and grandparents to high school pupils and students. Whereas in previous generations our descendants would help out on our farm or carry on the family business, now they carve out their own careers, subscribe to their own religious and political beliefs, and even (especially in a recession) compete with us for jobs. We are no longer raising our successors, but our competitors.

In addition, it is now more acceptable for mothers and middle-aged women to openly have a sex life, even one that is non-monogamous. More than ever, forty and fifty year olds are using beauty products, exercise and visits to salons to look after their appearance and remain attractive. As a mother’s appearance wrinkles and her body sags, she watches her 15-year-old daughter growing up and getting her pick of the lads; if her daughter is older – perhaps a student or graduate –  she sees her daughter dating the men she can only dream of dating.

Why do I say “mother” and “daughter” without mentioning fathers and sons? Because the photos associated with such articles usually only feature teenage girls. It is girls’ sexting, not boys’, that is controversial. (Double standard again).

Instead of bitterly airing our envy in a paternalistic ‘concern’ to protect our kids from themselves, why not accept that no consequencs arise from sexting in a society without the double standard? For one thing, photos of body parts cannot be identified; also, even if your face is in the photo, photos don’t always look like the real person. And for another, there are so many naked photos on the internet that it hardly matters if yours ends up there too; if it’s seen, it will be seen amid many others.

The only consequences come from slut-shaming and bullying. We shouldn’t be telling girls not to sext, we should be telling all kids not to slutshame. Amanda Todd didn’t commit suicide because she sexted and the image was sent to others; she killed herself because she was slutshamed by other girls. If the double standard didn’t exist, then no matter how many people saw the photo she wouldn’t have been slutshamed and would still be alive today. Sexting shouldn’t have an “aftermath” or any “consequences”, and in a healthy, non-misogynistic society, it wouldn’t.

Kids shouldn’t be discouraged from sexting any more than they should be discouraged from expressing themselves in any other way such as through art, sport or creative writing. If you want kids to stop sexting, adults must first stop sexting and provide an example. As long as adults sext, we are hypocrites for being ‘concerned’ over teens doing it. They should in fact be just as concerned for us. At least if a teen’s photo ends up on the internet, they would look effin’ good, instead of an older adult who might look droopy or balding [goes off to vomit]. And we can’t call teens ‘Generation Sex’ as long as we sext and have sex. We’re as slutty as they are. and it is morally wrong to slutshame a marginalised, disenfranchised and still generally voiceless generation.

Boys and girls sext in equal measure, but people seem less concerned about boys. Is it because only girls should be chaste and hide their sinful-but-precious bodies, or because only females get slutshamed? I don’t know; but we have to stop and focus on telling our kids not to slutshame, rape, or coerce and to report molesters instead of what we currently are telling them.

Hugo Schwyzer’s take on sexting and girls: http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2012/10/28/one-mistake-wont-ruin-your-life-why-we-need-a-female-steve-jobs/

The same, but longer, article on Jezebel – it’s excellent! http://jezebel.com/5955277/one-mistake-wont-ruin-your-life-remember-that

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Liebster Award

Cassie over at justcassie.wordpress.com has nominated me for the Liebster Award – and I was all ‘really?!’ because it took ages for this blog even to get noticed, and I’m not the best of writers. So, thank you, Cassie!

liebster-award

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers. The word ” Liebster” comes from German and can mean the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, most beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

RULES –

  • Thank the person who nominated you. Thanks Cassie!
  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)
  • You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog!

You paste the award picture into your blog. (You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!)

11 Random Facts about me

1) I sincerely wish this sex-negative society didn’t force me to blog anonymously; I want to share everything with my readers.

2) My mother knows about my sexual attraction to violence and gore (when the recipient is male) and thus the uselessness of mainstream porn to me.

3) I love cars and driving, especially driving fast in the country at night.

4) I think I may have a crush on one of my Twitter followers. This person is out of my league, so it’s kinda sad that I like them so much.

5) My eczema got worse when I hit puberty, and it was on my legs mostly, and a bit on my arms and nipples. Sometimes my trousers and bras stuck to my skin. This didn’t bother me because my face was okay and the eczema was hidden. I had spots and dry skin on my face though. I got pleasure from scratching – especially ‘controlled’ scratching – of my nipples far, far more than my legs and arms, possibly because the nipples are an erogenous zone, and the nerves were stimulated.

6) 2012 has been the best year of my life so far; I have matured, developed – in reasoning, politics and writing-, and now I understand myself better.

I think I am hypocritical because previously I thought about maybe outing a misogynistic blogger even though I’ve always felt strongly about anonymity and privacy re the media since I was 12. I have learned that I’m hypocritical at times, and to avoid this.

7) The first time I masturbated, it was to a teen fiction book “Driver’s Ed” by horror writer Caroline B. Cooney, a book I very much hated, about teens who steal a ‘stop’ sign and accidentally (extremely indirectly) ’cause’ a death (because a truck didn’t stop and hit a car, killing its driver). I masturbated to the thought of myself influencing a friend to steal a stop sign, in order to deliberately cause death, and this plan succeeding. I continued to masturbate for around 7 hours, until 6am, using face cream, rough towels and body lotion to add sensation.

8) I nearly (unknowingly, because of changing laws) put myself at risk of being outed and sued, but was saved with (probably) just hours or a day to spare. I still remember this nearly every day, and if I hadn’t had a Twitter account, and if the person who told me hadn’t followed me just a couple of days beforehand, it is likely I would have done the action. I can’t say any more about this, but I just think that its amazing how a couple of tweets can change a life and how one person who cares can make a difference to someone’s life. If this person hadn’t told me – they even told me how to do it safely just in case I still did it, and told me something I’m not to tell anyone else to make sure I wouldn’t do it-, this blog might have been deleted and not be receiving this award, or it might be under my legal name if I’d been outed. I might be giving interviews and earning money that’s being sued off me as fast as I’m earning it.

9) At 8 years 11 months I was sexually awakened by a Calamity James strip in The Beano – the first Beano I ever read, in a supermarket. I was initially sexually attracted to boys getting hit on the head and getting lumps on their head, before progressing to boys getting spanked or bitten on their bottom in two weeks’ time.

10)It’s so hard doing this while preserving anonymity, I keep having to delete. OK, here’s one: I have trichotillomania, which I have never sought “help” for or seen as a problem. I pluck out delicious, stiff little hairs from my legs and pubic area. Some are juicy with the translucent white sticky follicle, some don’t have it but are still sticky; others aren’t, and they are worthless. Pulling hairs out of a spot makes it go down immediately. With every hair pulled, it shrinks more. I love pulling hairs out of spots – no matter how tiny the supposed ‘spots’ are-, and bursting out ingrown hairs. I love the tiny, short hairs. Alternatively, when I feel an itch, I look for the hair that is causing it and I pull. The internet consensus on trich sites seems to be that trich is disgusting, abnormal, a medical problem or deviant. This confuses me as I would never want to stop. Sometimes I lick the hair, or fantasise about biting it or shearing off the follicle.

11)One time when I was around 17, I plucked out same-length sticky no-follicle hairs from my legs, and stuck them on a white A4 paper in the shape of the word ‘hair’, framed the paper, and hung it on the kitchen wall. When my mum woke up and came downstairs I showed it to her.

11 Questions I have to answer…

1) Why did you start writing a blog?

To give a documentary of this to society, and to document the attitudes to virginity and sexuality in the western world. It is a kind of experiment and lasting record.

Also, to (possibly) implement a detailed step-by-step plan to get this blog lots of hits and, in time, eventually become the next Belle de Jour, which I have long since abandoned because 1) I’ve discovered that I obviously can’t write well enough to make a well-known blog or be offered a book deal; 2) My identity may be revealed if I do; 3) The Belle fantasy is stupid because we are two different individuals; she is a real person and I’m not her; also, the real Brooke is a complex multifaceted individual of which Belle is a two-dimensional side of her, and, while the memoirs are fascinating, I’m far more impressed by Brooke’s political and science writing (and the fact she managed to work anti-criminalization politics into a Torygraph lifestyle column and get the anti-Rhoda battle-cry past the editors.) Anyway, at the time I started this blog I hadn’t heard of Tracy Quan or any other sexwork bloggers, so it is no exaggeration to say that if it weren’t for Belle de Jour this blog would not exist because I wouldn’t have the idea to blog about my adventure.

2) What is your favourite work of fiction?

The Last Vampire 5: Evil Thirst by Christopher Pike and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. And Juliette by the Marquis de Sade.

3) How would you describe your personal philosophy/spiritual path?

Sort of Christian but believe in reincarnation (family is vaguely sort-of Buddhist, so it rubbed off). For equality for everyone.

4) What has impressed you lately?

That there are so many people blogging and tweeting for justice, truth and equality.

5) What has depressed you lately?

That corporations not paying tax and are stealing all our money, paying wages not enough to live on while our taxes pay for benefits for people who work but can’t live on their wages. While the government and media demonise the unemployed.

Also, policing of the internet is disproportionate to policing real life, so I will no longer say anything on the internet under my legal name so I won’t be arrested.

6) What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back in time ten years?

I would tell my 12 year old self: Go out and fuck as many boys as you can. Don’t wait, because even thousands of pounds for selling virginity is not enough compensation for the dignity and humanity you will lose by not having lots of sex. You will regret it the whole of your life, so do not make that mistake.

7) What are your vices?

Coffee, getting aroused so much I sweat and have a high temperature if I see people mutilated/chopped into bits/squished in ‘South Park’.

8) What would you like to achieve in 2013?

More blog traffic, a greater internet presence, and a different job to the one I’m currently doing.

9) Describe your personal style.

Steampunk-inspired, Goth, Egyptian. These themes are subtle.

10)  What is your favourite city?

Edinburgh, because it gave me my most prized possession – this blog.

11) Name something that always makes you smile.

Seth MacFarlane, and Roland’s continuing (and seemingly vivid and constant) delusion that I’m obsessed with or in love with him.

Questions my nominees have to answer:

1)What is the purpose of your blog, or what do you hope to achieve by blogging?

2) What did you learn from, or what influenced you, most in your life?

3) What are your thoughts regarding blogging anonymously, pseudonymously, and under a real/legal name? What influenced your decision to blog anonymously/pseudonymously or under your real name?

4) What values, philosophy, constitutional/legal rights or principles do you think is most important to society or in living one’s life?

5) What country, or what historical period, would you like to live in?

6) Why did you start blogging (or if you have several blogs, why did you start this particular blog?)

7) Describe something that changed your life, or changed the course of your life (big or small).

8) Who is your favourite author or poet?

9) What is your favourite book (fiction, nonfiction or anthology)?

10) What is your favourite film and why?

11) Name something you want to do but will probably never dare to do it or get round to it.

And my 11 Nominees in no particular order are…

1) http://www.glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com

2).http://itsjustahobby.wordpress.com/

3)http://dedicto.com/wordpress1/

4)http://unladylikemusings.wordpress.com/

5)http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/

6) theescortlover.wordpress.com/

7) mannsmoothe.wordpress.com/

8) lauraslifeandthoughts.blogspot.com/

9)https://maninchains.wordpress.com/

10) tps://feministire.wordpress.com/

11) http://www.edinburghjewel.co.uk/blog/

 

Dressing like sluts 2/2: Mutton dressed as Lamb

In part 1 I talked about women in general and how they’e stigmatised for “slutty” outfits. But older women are often laughed at even more than their younger sisters, as being “mutton dressed as lamb”. The arguments for and against shaming her are something like this:

 

Society: She’s immature.

Questioner: Why? You set the standard for immaturity versus maturity. There is no fixed human standard of dressing. You do not call tribespeople who are scantily clad “mutton dressed as lamb”.

Society: But she belongs to this society, so she must be more immature than other women to dress that way when other women of the same culture don’t.

Questioner:  Or maybe she is more mature, and has transcended you. Maybe she is free and not bound by your dictates.

Society: It’s worse when an older woman dresses slutty.

Questioner: Why? Why is it worse than a young woman? Because we see firm youg bodies as more sexy? Older men don’t always agree; they prefer women of their age. Or is it that you think older women aren’t entitled to a sex drive anymore?

Society: OK, I’m changing tack. It looks stupid. It looks cheap and tacky.

Questioner: Because that’s your opinion; you feel this way and dictate your preferred mode of dressing to your subjects. These are your prejudices. Next you’ll be telling us women shouldn’t be having too much sex or selling sexual services.

Society: Um, well…yes, that is how I feel about all women.

Questioner: I rest my case, and may your illogical dictates burn in hell when we finally overthrow them.

 

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Response to the Rhoda Grant Consultation on Criminalising sexwork

It’s not that good or very well cited, but I know people who are much better at this stuff than me are responding, so hopefully it’s a contribution at least. It took over one and a half hours to write, which is obv a long time but now I wish I’d spent two or three hours on it and made it better or included critique of Rhoda’s consultation paper “statistics”. Well, I can always do another response in my legal name I guess – and I think certain people will have critiqued the statistics, so maybe it doesn’t matter. Anyway, here it is:

Rhoda Grant MSP

Room M1.06

The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

Rhoda.Grant.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

Dear Rhoda Grant

I am writing to register my objection to your proposals to criminalise the purchase of sex in Scotland.

Criminalising buyers leads to more trafficking and scares off the educated and safe buyers who would have a lot to lose if they were caught. It just leaves the clients who already have criminal records and don’t care about being caught. This law wouldn’t affect the high-end escorts; they’d just stop sexwork and continue working their other jobs or studying. But it would affect the more vulnerable sexworkers who rely on their earnings, or are drug-addicted. As the safer clients are scared off, they’re forced to take the criminal clients – and put their lives in danger. Clients may also want street sexworkers to get into cars quickly, and may pick up street workers late at night or in remote spots to avoid being caught. This is very dangerous for sexworkers. If you care about vulnerable sexworkers, you cannot support criminalising sexwork.

Criminalising clients has turned out very badly in Sweden, leading to trafficking to Russia, police secretly filming sexworkers having sex (which is a kind of sexual assault), condoms being used as evidence in court, as well as forced evidence-taking from the genitals of any woman suspected of being a sexworker – which of course is state-sanctioned sexual assault.

From the USA to Norway and Sweden, carrying condoms or marijuana can get you suspected by police of being a sexworker. Schools and clinics handing out condoms is seen as encouraging prostitution – which makes it hard for governments, local authorities, universities and schools to fight HIV and promote safe sex.

Other results are increased whorephobia and stigmatisation of sex workers; a university student was thrown out of her uni when a lecturer discovered she was stripping and doing sexwork on the side. This increase in whorephobia can also lead to more similar misogyny, such as slut-shaming and stigmatisation of female lone parents.

Although I’m not a representative sexworker, I have been paid for sex twice in the last 7 months and criminalising my client would have upset me and made me feel guilty. Forcibly taking evidence from me, as mentioned above, would for me have been equivalent to sexual assault/rape. Being forced to attend a court hearing against this person would also have made me very unhappy. This law would have wasted the court’s/police’s time, taxpayer’s money, caused emotional damage to both of us, possibly resulted in our identities being made known in the press, possibly got me fired, possibly destroyed a company and therefore left many employees jobless – in a recession where they will wait some time before being able to find new jobs. My client’s family would also be affected; as he is in an open marriage his wife would not mind him seeing other women, as she has several lovers too. But jailing her husband would have brought misery to all the family. In short, no good thing and many, many bad things would have resulted.

Also, if I could choose, I’d rather be sexually assaulted by my client than by the police. At least that way I could get justice through the courts, but if the police sexually assaulted me it’d be sanctioned by the state as “evidence gathering”!

A few points on why decriminalization is good for sexworkers and other members of the community, much better than either criminalization or legalization:

Decriminalization (the current UK situation) is:

Less hypocritical

Health/control disease by voluntary checkups

Allows welfare provision and exiting strategies as well as allowing freedom to be a sex worker at the same time, thus allowing sex workers to choose their destiny

Avoids stigmatisation by the criminal justice system and social attitudes

Sex work is not harmful/is consensual so law has no right to intervene

Laws protect workers from exploitation, unlike legalization

Sex workers can report violence to police without fear, so they are more safe

Trafficking rates low as British people willing to do sex work as it’s not a crime, they can choose how they work and they don’t have to register their legal name

More detailed points

Yes, some sex workers are recipients of violence or use drugs, but they are in the minority and are usually streetwalkers; exiting strategies and training programmes are helping them quit sex work if they wish to. They are already recieving the help they need – or, if they’re not recieving enough, pehaps we should throw our money at creating more of these programmes instead of at police officers breaking down hotel room doors to arrest people for sex work and jail them. And foster carers to take in children whose parents are jailed for sex work. And prison guards…social services…police monitoring devices…prosecutors…

We live in a democracy, and any action we take on real or percieved problems must be proportionate.  There’s no need for a blanket ban when streamlining exiting programmes and  increasing agency and massage parlour inspections will do. What about a website where sex workers can anonymously name agencies/parlours they think need to be inspected? More clinics and health services solely for sex workers (there are some)? There – a couple of my on-the-spot, half-baked ideas; no doubt the experts and politicians can come up with more. So, maybe we should discuss these and other options before imprisoning consenting adults? Perhaps reasonable, informed debate is more appropriate than moralistic knee-jerk reactions from people who aren’t sex workers?

And what about the other consequences? The cost to the state when released prisoners can’t get jobs and use state benefits? Or perhaps an engineer or solicitor who paid for sex, went to jail and now can’t get a job they’re qualified for after a criminal record, so they work in a bakery or as a waitress/waiter. They won’t make much, so the state has to give them Work Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. And what about their children when they’re in jail? Couples pay sex workers too – as a gift to one of the partners or as a threesome if the sex worker and one of the partners is bisexual. Both male and female sex workers are paid by couples.

The consultation begs these questions: Would you see women paying for sex from men as a problem, given that they’re concerned over men objectifying women? If a woman pays for sex, should she be jailed, or is it perfectly acceptable because she is a woman? What about if both she and her husband have sex with the sex worker? Is that bad, because the husband is objectifying the sex worker? Or is it okay, too, as long as the sex worker is male – because a man objectifying another man is fine?

I believe that you simply cannot formulate policy that covers educated prostitutes who earn hundreds or thousands off each client and may be sex activists and/or doing prostitution part time while studying or working other jobs and that also covers prostitutes earning £10-£30 off each client, who have no other job and use prostitution to pay for drug addictions, bills/rent or pay it to boyfriends or pimps. These women usually have a history of abuse and suffer from illness and sleep deprivation, and according to reports are often barely able to stand up as they negotiate with clients. Most were forced into it or started very young so their agency is doubtful, in contrast with sex activists who form coalitions such as PLAN, COYOTE or the UK Trade Union for sex workers. Streetwalkers usually fall into the second group, while those that work through agencies, from home or from massage parlours usually fall into the first. So you cannot have one policy to cover both situations. In the first category, the problem seems to be victimization by society and the criminal justice system itself; the solution is freedom/nonintervention. In the second category, a laissez-faire approach would be irresponsible.

And this is what we have; related streetwalking offences like soliciting and kerb-crawling are criminalised while buying sex isn’t.

Putting clients’ photos on billboards or jailing them is cruel and disproportionate. Putting them on a sex offenders’ register is only confusing rape and sex, which is a disaster as people will not feel that rape is a very serious crime, since other, harmless fun activities are confused with it. We need to be very, very clear on what is rape and what isn’t. We need to see rape as a big deal. Only then can we prevent it.

The focus on men objectifying women is very confusing and simplistic, as many men are sexworkers selling sex to men or women (sometimes both). And some female sexworkers sell sex to couples or to women.

If you want to criminalise sexwork, it would be more apt to criminalise other careers, as labour trafficking is far more prevalent than sex trafficking. The moral panic and junk stats over sex trafficking are just the lies of long-debunked junk science by Melissa Farley and NGOs such as the Ruhama Agency fuelling moral panics. These NGOs are well funded by Christian organisations – many anti-sexwork NGOS are funded by the same one (Magnanti 2012) and are run by radical feminists who are anti-pornography and anti-sexwork simply on principle, without studying the issues.

Ruhama was the organisation behind the abuse and torture of “fallen” women in the Magdalene laundries as recent as 1996.They shouldn’t be allowed to influence laws on young women or continue their obsession with nonvirginal or fallen women. Ruhama also previously claimed that women in lapdancing clubs were trafficked – this was found to be untrue by the huge Garda operation that followed.

Criminalising sexwork stigmatises it as somehow different from all other work and marginalises sexworkers. Also, if it is criminalised, sexworkers and clients will simply sign up to sexwork-disguised-as-dating sites such as seekarrangement.com (a site which pairs up female students and graduates with rich ‘sugar daddies’ who give a monthly allowance and expensive gifts in exchange for sex).

Criminalising consensual sex between adults is simply moralising and puritanism masquerading as “feminism”. REAL feminists would never ignore international evidence and deliberately endanger sexworkers – most of whom are women. It also creates a “women are pure so would never sell sex willingly; therefore they must be helpless trafficked victims” sort of view. This view only inflames sexual double standards and virgin/whore dichotomies – as well as silencing sexworkers’ own stories and lived experiences. This law leads to a sex-negative society – one even more sex-negative than the society in which we, unfortunately, currently live.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Kalika Gold a.k.a The VirginWhoreTM

 

 

 

References:

R. Matthews (1986) “Beyond Wolfenden? Prostitution, Politics and the Law” in R. Matthews and J. Young (eds) Confronting Crime, London: Sage

R. Matthews (2008) “Prostitution, vulnerability and victimisation” in Prostitution, Politics and Policy, Abingdon: Routledge-Cavendish

http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/close-reading-rhoda/ (the flaws and lies in Rhoda’s paper).

The Scottish Executive (2004) Being Outside: A Response to Street Prostitution (about exiting strategies and small red light zones in non-residential areas of cities. Proves that there’s only about 2,000 prostitutes in all of Scotland who streetwalk or work out of flats. However, this isn’t counting call girls and those who work in massage parlours/saunas so is an underestimation.) Available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/30859/0024989.pdf)

J. Phoenix (2000) “Prostitute Identities: Men, Money and Violence” British Journal of Criminology 40 (1) 37-55  (There is violence, but it’s not as bad as some NGO’s make it seem, and it’s hard to see how criminalization would enable these sex workers to report violence to the police or leave violent boyfriends. Oh, and non-sexworkers also experience domestic abuse, even rape.)

R. Matthews (1993) Kerb-Crawling, Prostitution and Multi-Agency Policing”, Police Research Group Paper 43, London: Home Office

The Sex Myth by Dr Brooke Magnanti (proves human trafficking into the UK is almost nonexistent with ALL migrant sex workers legally classified as ‘trafficked’. Two massive operations to find trafficking victims found 0 and 2 cases respectively, if I remember correctly).

http://www.citypages.com/2011-03-23/news/women-s-funding-network-sex-trafficking-study-is-junk-science/

https://t.co/rcUYce34

https://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/our-bodies-our-selves/

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Feminism, Sex work

 

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Dressing like a slut: 1 of 2

We’ve all seen Snog, Marry Avoid or other similar shows where the “sluttily dressed” go to get help to dress more decently and flatteringly. And we’ve all seen women who we think are baring too much skin. What counts as “too much” varies from person to person and between different situations; often, the age of the “sluttily” dressed woman is a big factor: it’s okay for young girls to bare their bellybuttons or strut around in tube tops or short skirts, but older women had better beware of  being ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ – a shaming, ageist phrase. And other shaming phrases exist, such as the whorephobic “dressing like a prostitute” and  the personal attack of “she’s got no self esteem” among others. These attacks often perpetuate other types of misogyny (such as whorephobia) as well as the slutshaming itself.

But did these distinctions and the aversion to bare flesh come from our minds? Surely not. When we were born there was no gene inside us that revolted against a particular amount of material or the way a garment is cut.

This is all from society; from our society in this region of the globe, at this particular point in time. And no, I’m not going to say the patriarchy. It’s all of society; all of us. Actually, it seems like women do the judging, shaming and gossiping about “slutty” clothes far more than men do. Is there a word for the privileged, prudish, hetero white female force? The Matriarchy? Because I do not believe we are fighting men here. We are fighting ourselves. We are fighting that part of us that is afraid of slutshaming – so desperately afraid that we’ll shame another woman just to make ourselves feel better. “I’m not a slut, SHE’S the slut! I dress good!” Yet when did bitching, cattiness and slutshaming one-upmanship achieve anything for feminism? It just makes our gender look like bullies obsessed over looks, modesty and trivial crap. Worst of all, it makes our youger sisters and our daughters copy our harmful behaviours and perpetuate the cycle.

Accepting that we should allow women the right to wear whatever they want to wear doesn’t mean you have wear the same thing. You don’t have to wear a bralet and a miniskirt just because another woman is; feel free to wear a burqa instead. The main issue is that women are freely choosing what they wear. Even if what they wear supposedly encourages objectification – or, conversely, is a symbol of female oppression in the Middle East – as long as a woman freely chooses to wear it, what’s wrong? Not all women can freely choose, especially if they’ve been indoctrinated from childhood. However just as not every woman wearing a burqa was brought up a fundamentalist Muslim, not every woman baring her boobs was indoctrinated by the patriarchy.

And if shaming other women for what they wear is a big part of your conversations, so that you’re finding it hard to quit, why not  try more traditional healthy entertainments such as socialising and having fun? Or buy the Nintendo 3DS or something.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Feminism

 

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