RSS

Category Archives: Feminism

Padraig MacLochlainn makes political decision based on tweets, bullies public, and doesn’t deny pimp with 5 aliases gave evidence to Irish prostitution hearing

On 25/02/13, elected Irish politician Padraig MacLochlainn started hurling insults at the sex workers he is claiming to help. Padraig is the TD for Donegal North East and Sinn Féin’s 26 County Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Defence. After insulting various members of the public including sex workers, bloggers, an Irish Law student and a parody account and ‘blocking’ most of them, MacLochlainn frther demonstrated his contempt for political debate and evidence-based policy by tweeting that he will now advise Sinn Fein to support Turn Off the Red Light – not because of evidence, but because he was feeling annoyed with the people he’d just mocked and blocked.

Turn Off the Red Light is an anti-prostitution organisation.

padraigtorlfull

Padraig openly claimed that in “24 hours” he had made his decision (if not actually immediately due to tweets). This doesn’t sound like the thoghtful, evidence based conduct we would expect from politicians.

When tweeted a link to an article exposing the fact that one of anti-prostitution organisation Ruhama Agency’s witnesses, a prostitution “survivor”, is actually a convicted pimp with several aliases, Padraig did not deny this. He only said that other witnesses had used aliases – which entirely misses the point. Using aliases is normal within the sex worker community, because our sex-negative society forces sex workers to remain pseudonymous. But using multiple alias on different TV shows, at hearings and other public forums is creating a false impression to the electorate that many more “survivors” support the Swedish/Nordic model than is in fact the case. And if a sex worker is also a pimp, they need to admit this at the Irish prostituution hearing, because there could be a conflict of interest. There isn’t necessarily a conflict of interest, but there might be, because the fewer rights sex workers have, the more money pimps could make, just like any other labour relationship.

padraigdoesntdenyaliases

There’s no denial. Does Padraig MacLochlainn not care about the integrity of the Irish prostitution hearing? Or did he already know? I guess we’ll never know. Article here: http://sexwork.ie/2013/02/24/false-witness/

Padraig MacLochlainn also showed incredible disdain for sex workers (and everyone else who attempted to engage him in debate). He blocked people for sending him a single, polite, reasonable tweet. He replied to tweets with “zzz” a few tiimes, then called people  “arrogant” and “very sinister” simply for engaging in political debate. Padraig MacLoclainn also appeares to take issue with the fact that “many” of the random people who happened to tweet at him at that particular time were “from overseas” (i.e. Scotland – where the same attempt to force the Swedish model is being made right now -and England). Despite his public image of helping women in the sex industry, MacLochlainn insisted on calling sex workers “prostitutes”. Padraig MacLoclainn also called someone “pathetic” for “hiding behind a false name” despite his earlier  fierce defence of  using 5 aliases in public debate and hearings. The person in question was actually a parody account rather than a “fake persona” or “false name” as MacLochlainn alleged.

But don’t take my word for it:

padraigbbwmelody

Stand-up comic @BBWMelody’s plea for MacLochlainn not to keep blocking people and replying with “zzz” is seen by MacLochlainn as another opportunity to insult the general public.

MacLochlainn's Twitter timeline becomes a catalogue of his derision for anyone disagreeing with the Swedish model

MacLochlainn’s Twitter timeline becomes a catalogue of his derision for anyone disagreeing with the Swedish model

padraigmaggie

padraigturnoffrl

What a shining example of the Irish political process – if Sinn Fein really dies endorse Turn Off the Red Light, we’ll all know it was because one Padraig MacLochlainn decided to bully members of the public – including an Irish Law student and an Irish sex worker – then got in a bit of a huff after his blockfest.

Update: Sinn Fein has endorsed Turn Off The Red Light.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Feminism, Media, Sex work

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Anti prostitution rhetoric is an agenda for mass irresponsibility (especially you, Stella Marr)

This post is not going to deal primarily with the harm that is being caused by criminalization (arrests of sexworkers, which occur even with the Swedish ‘end demand model’, state sexual assault framed as ‘evidence gathering’, civil liberties and police surveillance. I’ve written about this before. Instead, I’m going to focus on the irresponsibility of abolitionist logic and what they’re doing.

Stella Marr

Firstly, abolitionists do not accept responsibility for their own mistakes. Stella Marr is a wonderful example. She chose to enter the sex industry, but instead of admitting it was her own choice, she blames men/the patriarchy/the sex industry. Stella was a high-class escort in Manhattan, who eventually went to cohabit with one of her clients, a British professor, for two years. He gave her “a beautiful condominium across from the Lincoln center” which she sold and then went off to university where she met her life partner, the ‘beloved’ she’d been waiting for. (All this information is from Stella’s own blog).

So, she was actually much more fortunate than the other students. They were living on a tight budget, still relatively inexperienced with the opposite sex, vulnerable to being hurt by breakups and knowing that they have a lot of uni debts to pay back. But Stella had lots of money and was much less vulnerable to being coerced by boys or being hurt by breakups or regretting casual sex. She didn’t have to figure out relationships or worry about debts or what would happen if she didn’t get her degree; she had money so didn’t need a degree. She was living a dream student life – well, actually the life she was living wasn’t a student’s life at all, it was the life a well-off person.

But Stella calls herself a “prostituted” woman as if she was trafficked, instead of choosing to go into sexwork. I feel genuinely bad for her that she regrets her choice of career. But we all make mistakes and we all have to own up to them. We can’t all blame men for that. It also seems ungrateful to her client to imply that he was bad for her. Women get beaten or raped by boyfriends and husbands, yet he was just her punter and he treated her better than many men treat their partners and lived with her like they were married. But no, Stella still thinks all this is legitimately something to whinge about. She should try being a battered wife, or a woman who is used by a man for sex and then dumped. Or me – Roland hasn’t given me a house. Huh.

Also, the fact that she tried to out a fellow sexworker, (@pastachips on Twitter who blogs over at glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com) on SCASE’s (an anti-sexwork group) very public Facebook page, is not very impressive. It is not very nice when the threat to your anonymity comes from a feminist, an ex-whore, who (in theory) should be one of your own. Not a journalist or a conservative, but someone who knows what it’s like to be you. I didn’t think about anonymity back then;  it was just more freeing writing such personal stuff under a pseudonym, and I’d actually thought about writing under my real identity. But I assumed people would respect your wish to remain anonymous unless you were trolling.

Stella Marr has 3 degrees; why can’t she think? She is now a well known abolitionist figure in some circles, and a public speaker; she gets fame and money to say this stuff. It’s incredible. And it looks like sexwork at least now has brought her a degree of fame, so it wasn’t all bad for her. At least she wasn’t outed like other sexworkers and sex bloggers;, or fired for previously being a call girl like American teacher Melissa Petro. She is accepted by society despite being an ex-sexworker because he is repentant; she bolsters the patriarchal ideas of women’s innate modesty by regretting sexwork and by claiming that no woman willingly sells sex. This soothes the fears of many a conservative.

Abolitionist rhetoric

The feminist orgs’ position that sexwork is violence against women is also promoting the refusal to accept responsibility for your own choices, but instead blame it on society and on men for demanding it. Yes, clients are part of the equation, but neither can the provider’s agency be denied. They are silencing sexworkers’ stories, confusing sex with rape and sexwork with trafficking, to the annoyance of real anti human trafficking organisations. They confuse the issue of human trafficking. This is also insulting to human trafficking and rape survivors, who did not consent and whose experiences were traumatic and violent, not just another day at work. They also bolster patriarchal norms of modest women, which promotes rigid gender norms and the sexual double standard.

Rhoda Grant MSP

If ignoring the existence of male sexworkers and female clients isn’t irresponsible, I don’t know what it. She’s a politician. She is prepared to drastically change the law while knowing nothing about the issue. She also presented misleading information in her consultation. Oh, and she’s pushing for a law that is very harmful to sexworkers.

In general

All of this is just holding back feminism. Men won’t take women seriously if we are seen not to admit our own mistakes. Teaching female children and young girls to be irresponsible and give others the blame for their mistakes is not a good example. Confusing sex and rape just plays into the hands of rape apologists and rape culture more generally.

Tackling human trafficking is very important, but by giving a separate designation to ‘sex trafficking’ instead of just leaving it in with human or labour trafficking, they are getting in the way of real human trafficking organisations. By vastly inflating sex trafficking figures, the abolitionist groups get funding which is not needed and which should be going to human trafficking groups who are struggling to raise awareness of labour trafficking which doesn’t involve the sex industry.

The rhetoric also begs the question whether sugar daddy relationships and sites like seekarrangement.com which pair up students with rich older men who give them a monthly allowance in exchange for a sexual relationship will be criminalized. This is clearly sexwork, but the radical feminists seem to define sexwork differently (though Grant’s consultation doesn’t define ‘sex’ or ‘money’, to stop people getting around it.) It also begs the question of whether pro dome, fetish and adult baby service providers are sexworkers and therefore whether their lients should be criminalised. (Grant’s consultation would probably catch all of these as well as anyone haing sex after dinner and a movie). Threatening so many of us with arrest, jail and a criminal record is clearly irresponsible.

British abolitionist groups are funded by right-wing American Christians, giving Americans too much influence over British politics and laws, now culminating in Rhoda Grant’s consultation.

All this leads to increased policing and moralizing attitudes which push sexworkers, especislly street workers, out into dark, secluded areas where they might experience violence. Some died because policing forced them away from well lit areas. In other countries where criminalization holds sway, rape by clients and abuse by police as well as trafficking has increased. It’s very ironic and sad that people are being murdered and raped because of criminalization which is supposed to ‘help’ them – a ‘help’ they never asked for and are doing their best to fight.

Rhoda – misleading information in Consultation: http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/close-reading-rhoda/

Feminists’ tactics to silence sexworkers, by Nine on the Feminist Ire blog. (She’s @supernowescna on Twitter):  http://feministire.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/just-dont-call-it-slut-shaming-a-feminist-guide-to-silencing-sex-workers/

Letter from an Irish sexworker about feminist organizations oppressing sexworkers and lack of representation of sexworkes at a hearing about criminalization: http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/letter-from-an-irish-sex-worker/

A woman died when increased policing forced her to do street sexwork away from the city: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/9750059/Current-laws-do-not-prevent-violence-against-sex-workers.html

These links are sources for what I’ve said in this post, but I’ve left out all the sources about criminalization etc because they are in my other posts here:

Why I think sex trafficking should be  lumped in with labour trafficking, and more sources: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/sex-trafficking-is-labour-trafficking-and-thats-what-we-should-call-it/

My response to Rhoda Grant’s consultation: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/response-to-the-rhoda-grant-consultation-on-criminalising-sexwork/

UPDATE: Stella Marr links (wasn’t going to post these, but understandably you might appreciate some evidence that I’m not just making stuff up):

The Stella Marr v Glasgow Sex Worker fiasco:

They disagreed and had a simple and civil debate —-> http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/dear-stella/ possibly to do with/escalated by this stuff:  http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/further-scase-study/

Then Stella doxed GSW and attempted to out GSW on SCASE’S Facebook page —> http://glasgowsexworker.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/so-that-was-weird/

Stella Marr’s blog: http://secretlifeofamanhattancallgirl.wordpress.com/

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Feminism, Sex work

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

“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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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/

 
6 Comments

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How not to get raped

Don’t dress like a slut. Whether you’re going to work, walking the dog, nipping out to Tesco’s, jogging, going out for a walk, to a friend’s house, a night out, your boyfriend’s house, the cinema, the gym, the doctor’s, make sure you aren’t dressing like a slut, you slut. (Even though there’s no evidence that seeing an inch of cleavage turns a normal dude into a rabid monster who will attack you.)

However, research has shown that attackers go for women whose clothes can be easily removed (like loose, baggy clothes or clothes with zips.) So, don’t wear loose clothes either – wear tight clothes. Which may look slutty. You slut.

Don’t walk alone at night – are you an idiot as well as a slut? Get a man to walk you home because women aren’t able to fend for themselves and should rely on men.

However, most rape victims are raped by friends, acquaintances, family and partners. So don’t ask your friend or date to walk you home, or they might rape you. Which would be your fault, you brazen whore.

As we’ve already learned, you are in danger from family, friends and acquaintances. You can protect yourself by:

Being born to a lone mother with no male relatives or other male children. This takes care of possible paedophilia or incest from your family.

Not talking to any of your fellow male pupils, students or coworkers so they don’t become friends or acquaintances and rape you. You might get referred to psychiatric services, lose all your friends or get fired, but it’s a small price to pay for being safe

Another risk comes in the form of date-rape. You should avoid this by not dating, and instead having one-night stands with strangers.

An important thing to remember is that although most victims are attacked by someone they know, you can still be attacked by a stranger. So don’t go out anywhere, because anywhere you go, you could meet a stranger.

However, if a rapist breaks into your house they could attack you there. Living with your partner or parents is no help either, as it is common for women to be attacked in their own homes by friends or family. So, really, you shouldn’t have been born female.

Though transitioning to being a man isn’t any help, because men get raped too – by women and by men.

So there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to prevent rape. Everything you do to avoid it brings its own risks.

Above all: be ready to shag absolutely anyone, because if you’re consenting then it isn’t rape so you can’t be raped. May the sluttiest woman win.

And remember, if you do get raped, it’s your fault for being a slut and you shouldn’t be ruining the rapist’s life by daring to out him or report him to the police. Because it was all your fault, slut.

***There is nothing you can do to avoid it, and why should you even try? It’s the rapist’s responsibility to ensure he doesn’t rape.***

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 30, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,