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Rape victims get 50% of compensation cut for doing sex work

At the Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) event in Glasgow, the ECP revealed that after police failed to deal with a serial rapist, they funded a successful private prosecution. But the two women had their Criminal Injuries Compensation cut by 50% – because they sex workers.

Para 25 p11 of the Ministry of Justice’s Guidelines state that compensation can be cut for “conduct”:

An award may be withheld or reduced where the conduct of the applicant before,during or after the incident giving rise to the criminal injury makes it inappropriate to make an award or a full award.

Sex work was considered “conduct” which provoked the rape. No other job could be so willfully and openly punished, and no other rape victim would have been victim-blamed so much. If anyone was in doubt that sex workers are stigmatised, this is the final proof.

Happily, the problem is easy to remedy. Para 25 goes on to say “For this purpose, conduct does not include intoxication through alcohol or drugs to the extent that such intoxication made the applicant morevulnerable to becoming a victim of a crime of violence.” So all that is needed is for the words “choice of career”, “work”, “sex work” or similar before or after the line about intoxication.

As Irish Law student  @belowcontempt noted, the Irish Criminal Compensation laws are even more far-reaching, though they also do not specify rape or sex work.

Compensation was witheld – for both rape and murder – in Australia in 2006. The judge reportedly made shocking comments like “this wasn’t a woman waiting at home for her husband.”

Women are being reduced to their job – sex work. They aren’t human beings, they’re commodities. This is also insulying to men because it imples that rape is simply a risk of the job, that all clients are potential rapists.

The targetting of sex workers raises a number of philosophical conundrums: would compensation be cut if a sex worker is raped while not doing sex work, for example if she is raped by her husband? What if a man is raped one hour before exiting the sex industry? Or if, an hour after being raped, a woman joins becomes a sex worker (and how would the start time be calculated, anyway? Her first phone call to the escort agency, or when she sees her first client?) Gaye Dalton (@mechanima) raised an interesting question: where would I fit? How would they see my conduct? Are all sex workers equally culpable in their own rapes, or are VirginWhores less fallen so maybe should only have their compensation cut by a third instead of by half? Or is selling virginity even more reprehensible to men who literally reward (with compensation) sexual inexperience in women and punish experience?

This is disgusting. A century ago, rape wasn’t recognised as rape if the victim was not a virgin. And it looks like nowadays, rape isn’t really rape if the victim is not a non-sex worker. The Criminal Compensation Scheme is literally ascribing more value to ‘good women’ than to sex workers.

And even in its misogyny, it fails. Because non-sexworkers can be “sluts” and they won’t even require payment for doing it. At least sex workers only do it for work. And as I pointed out above, it seems to be a lottery of when you get raped – if you haven’t stopped or started sex work yet, you get double the compensation.

Government incentives to keep the women of Britain pure and under control.

Ministry of Justice Criminal Injuries Compensation Guidelines: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/victims-and-witnesses/cic-a/am-i-eligible/criminal-injuries-comp-scheme-2012.pdf

The Irish Department of Justice’s guidelines: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Criminal_Injuries_Compensation_Scheme

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Sex work

 

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PHALLACY: The myth that prostitutes are ‘used’ by men

The idea that sex workers are ‘used’ or that their bodies are commodities is a fallacy. But many feminists use this argument to claim that sex work is degrading, anti feminist, commodifies women or is harmful to them. Moralists (who are sometimes indistinguishable from the radical feminists) use the argument to justify looking down on sex workers or pitying them because they’re “degraded”. The radfem myths of ‘false consciousness’ and sexworkers’ lack of agency are also  heavily dependent on seeing them as used bodies, as sex slaves.

But if you think that sex workers are used by clients, that idea is actually made up of several patriarchal ideas about gender and gender rules.

1) It means you think there aren’t male sex workers and that there aren’t female clients. So it’s a world where there are no LGBTQ people to sell sex or buy sex. It’s also a world where only men like sex and therefore pay for it; women are chaste so would never buy sex. They only provide it. They don’t have sex for pleasure. They only have sex for money, just like housewives or women who marry for money. The word “patriarchal” doesn’t quite cover it; words like heterosexist and double standard could be applied here, too. And of course it’s all about rigid gender norms and a non-fluid gender identity – as well as other things. So, this idea is clearly flawed because male sex workers and female buyers do exist. In the Irish Justice committee’s sex work hearing, Quinlan gave evidence that in Sweden twice as many men as women sell sex (to both women and men).

2) It means you believe in the economic model of sex. The economic model is the idea of sex which is the most misogynistic and the most harmful to women. The economic model says that women “give” sex for other things like money/financial security (i.e. housewives and prostitutes) or love. This also means that sex is something women ‘have’ that men “get”. So, a woman will always lose something (an unknown entity) through sex and the man will always gain something (sex) from the woman. This is exactly what radfems believe – that only men by sex, and they buy it from women; and that no woman would really ever choose to be a sexworker. Again, the double standard and rigid gender identities and gender norms are all connected with this, and again LGBTQ people are conspicuosly absent. Other models of sex are less misogynistic. For example the performance model would view women and men as equals, and focus on the act as “doing” rather than as one person “getting” something from the other (which makes absolutely no logical sense, anyway.) The economic model is flawed.

3) It means that you don’t believe women enjoy sex. Radfems think that no woman would choose to be a sex worker and so all sex workers are either trafficked or only doing it because they’ve got no other choice. Not some sex workers – all of them. But if women get pleasure from it, it would follow that some women would choose a job in the sex industry, or at least wouldn’t need rescuing by feminists.

4) It means you believe that women should be pure and that the sanctity of the female body isa real thing, and is precious. Or why else would uneducated women doing sex work to avoid being on benefits be such a tragedy? “Little girls don’t dream about being a prostitute,” they say. But little girls don’t dream about working in Tesco’s or Poundland or McDonald’s. They also don’t dream about doing boring jobs like being a wages clerk or hman resources personnel, but the reality of life is that many jobs are administrative and nonexciting. Most people don’t get to be princesses or astronauts or cowboys or pirates. But radfems act like women working in the sex industry is a tragedy, and seem to prefer women to be on the dole, barely able to eat and stigmatised as unemployed. Wouldn’t you rather be unreasonably stigmatised for working as a sex worker than be unreasonably stigmatised for not being able to work and being the poorest of the poor, while being harassed and bullied by the Jobcentre? Because that’s what Jobseeker’s Allowance amounts to. Radfems also only focuus on sex trafficking and talk about it as if it’s separate from all other labour trafficking/human trafficking, despite labour trafficking being a much bigger problem. So it seems that, for radfems,  if it involves sex – whether it’s a job or a crime – it’s infinitely worse.

5) You think sex is degrading. Or why would radfems think sex work is degrading, but give other jobs where you have to touch peoples’ bodies (doctor, masseuse, carer, midwife, gynecologist etc) a free pass? And lots of people are degraded and dehumanized while working as waitresses, shop assistants or in any kind of employment. Casual workers and low-wage workers are particularly vulnerable. I knew a school girl who worked part-time as a shop assistant who was forced to clean toilets by the boss who hated her. I had to tell my boss whenever I went to the toilet as a waitress; my boss frequently swore and shouted at me and once docked my pay.for telling a customer the wrong price. These stories aren’t unique; my co-workers were paid £3 per hour at one job, and knew a waiter who was only allowed noodles for lunch (he had to eat on the premises). I could tell more stories, and they’re all stuff that happened to me, my friends,acquaintances and co-workers. This was clearly exploitation, but we were too young to know it or too desperate for money to care. Some employers don’t register employees, especially students and pupils, which means that these teens and young people have no rights. You can be fired on a whim, which means you’ll do anything to keep your job, like changing the bins in the toilets or sitting through 20 minutes of yelling and criticism (both of which I have done at two different jobs). Yet radfems think that if it’s not sex, it’s not as bad – even though a sex worker earns £100-£200 per hour and we were paid the minimum wage or under it. So even if sexwork is degrading, at least you’re being paid a lot to be degraded; it’s better than being paid peanuts to be degraded. But again, without sex, it’s just ordinary exploitation and the radfems don’t care.

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the myth that sex workers are used by clients does not hold together. It’s based on untrue facts (that sex workers are women and clients are men) and all the other component parts of the myth are flawed or illogical.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Sex work

 

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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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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.***

 

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Why radical feminism is itself anti-feminist

This post is not going to name names or tackle particular books, academic articles or blog posts. I am tackling the entirety of radical feminism, which for the purposes of this post I am going to define as a political agenda or set of beliefs which is anti-porn, anti-sexwork, anti-PIV [penis-in-vagina] sex (or considers all sex to be rape), and identifies itself as “feminism”. Basically, the agenda that Andrea Dworkin started and that Kat Banyard inherited.

First, let’s look at what the goals of feminism are: gender equality, in all aspects of life from family life to career prospects to salary, media portrayals, political power, education, healthcare, quality of life, freedom to make choices, opportunities…the list goes on. The important thing is gender equality, and on that all feminists can agree. So let’s look at what the radfems are doing and how this achieves (or destroys) gender equality.

Anti-porn

I’ve already covered this in more detail in my post on the No More Page 3 campaign: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/how-no-more-page-3-harms-feminism/  so suffice it to say that the anti-porn stance:

Assumes women do not consume porn; is harmful to women whose careers involve creating porn – either by being porn actors or porn directors, producers, scriptwriters, marketers etc (there are a LOT of roles involved in the porn industry – who do you think designs porn websites, manages sales teams and negotiates advertising deals, for instance?). The anti-porn stance also assumes that pornography causes rape, something which has never been proved and, as I said in my Page 3 post, is debunked by this blog, in which I have posted pornographic fiction about an underage boy being raped twice yet simultaneously posted criticism of a lenient sentence given to a woman who had sex with an underage boy. Inconclusion, the anti-porn stance just digs out the tired old stereotype of the pure woman who would never consume porn, and ultimately brands women who work in the porn industry as traitors to women (at worst) or misguided and exploited (at best). All this achieves is the bolstering of the sexual double standard and the silencing of womens’ lived experiences – both of women working in the industry and of female porn consumers and female amateur pornographers (women who regularly write or draw porn and put it online, or who post their sex videos or nude photos online).

I feel like adding this little anecdote in here: A few weeks ago I came across a blog that supported No More Page 3. It was badly argued, drawing a cause-and-effect between pornography and rape. I made some sort of short, on-the-fence sort of comment, to which the author replied; it was not exactly an interesting debate, owing to my reticence about arguing with people on the internet. However, despite not remembering any of what was said, I do remember this: the blogger edited my comments, changing “porn” to “p()rn” to “avoid my blog coming up in any creepy dude searches”. Obviously, she thought porn itself was ‘creepy’ not natural or titillating or entertaining. Secondly, she couldn’t concieve of the idea that half of those creepy dude searches could be creepy chick searches; that women consume pornography. I had asked her whether she thought my BDSM rape fiction about males was as bad as male-created porn about females. No wonder she didn’t respond to this question – the idea of a woman creating porn had never entered her worldview. This worldview smacks very much of the double standard and concepts of chaste women versus predatory men. It is a dichotomy that insults womens’ autonomy and sexuality and also mens’ autonomy and morality. But it harms women more, because of course such a view inevitably means that female porn consumers and creators are deviants and forces chastity on women. And it’s only a small step from this dichotomy to the “all men are rapists, all sex is rape” line of thinking.

The anti-porn stance does not promote gender equality; it promotes the old Victorian stereotypes. Therefore it is antifeminist.

Anti-Sexwork

Criminalising sexwork takes away womens’ freedom to choose their occupation and it takes away their careers. The anti-sexwork NGOs’ lies about the exploitation of all or most sexworkers silences sexworkers’ real, lived experiences. I have been on the recieving end of this – albeit only for about two hours – and no, it is not fun to be told you’re a helpless victim in denial, that your entire blog is nothing but the heartbreaking documentary of your imminent descent into drugs and trauma, that you didn’t really choose to sell sex/virginity and you need help urgently. I put a lot of hours into this blog and a lot of thought into choosing Roland (my client) – including going to a modelling shoot and being paid for spanking just to scope him out as a potential buyer. And sending that message (an ‘invitation to treat’, they call it in Contract Law). So to be told that this is all fake – I’m a tragic victim with no agency, he’s a cardboard-cutout predator with no backstory who simply dropped conveniently into my life to prey on me – well, as I said, it’s not fun. Even for two hours. I mean, I wanted a man who I vaguely know, who has a degree, lives in the Lothians area, likes spanking, doesn’t mind knives/enemas/bondage etc, is a switch, isn’t a rapist, and is rich enough to pay me what I want. And I freaking got it. (Oh, and he likes art and is polyamorous, which are my preferences.) How do I not have agency??

Anyway, the anti-sexwork stance puts sex workers in danger of rape, jail, having their children taken away and having their identities revealed. Criminal records also make it harder for them to exit the sex industry if they want to. Under criminalization, the sex industry goes from cottage industry to criminal underworld where sexworkers are controlled by pimps instead of working independently or with escort agencies. (More details and references in my post on decriminalization here: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/why-decriminalization-is-best-for-sex-workers-and-society/ ).  Criminalization also leads to increased sex trafficking; there has been increased trafficking in Sweden since clients were criminalized. Criminalizing sexwork might mean criminalizing the creation of pornographic films also.

Putting women at risk like this and enabling clients to rape them without fear of it being reported is not helping women. This isn’t feminism – it is anti-feminism. The Ruhama Agency ran the Magdalene laundries and uses false statistics to push for criminalization; so does Rhoda Grant MSP who is also attempting to criminalize sexwork with her consultation paper. The anti-sexwork NGOs frequently confuse sex trafficking with sexwork (which annoys the real anti-human trafficking groups). Other less disturbing consequences of the anti-sexwork stance is, again, the silencing of womens’ lived experiences and stigmatising them as exploited victims (if they’re “sex slaves”) and gender traitors (if they’re “happy hookers”). Yet again, patriarchal norms of the “good”, “pure” woman and whorephobia are the only gems that emerge triumphant from this mess of an ideology. On that note, it has been proven that most anti-sexwork NGOs receive huge amounts of funding from a single Christian organization (The Sex Myth by Dr Magnanti…I can’t pimp this book enough. I reckon I should put an ad banner on this blog; I might as well get paid for advertising it in just about every non-Diary post. Seriously, though, read it). So being anti-sexwork harms women, leaves them vulnerable to rape and violence (two big issues for any feminist) limits their choices, is conducive to whorephobia and therefore also slutshaming (something feminists want to eradicate) and is therefore antifeminist.

Anti-PIV/All sex is rape

Aside from being an absolutely insane idea, this is contrary to the nature of our species. Let me explain: homosexuality/bisexuality/BDSM/being genderqueer is natural because it’s so common and is found in other species (many species exhibit homosexual or bisexual behaviour, change their gender at will, and exhibit ‘masochistic’ sexual behaviours). However, rape isn’t natural because if our species was meant to reproduce by rape then women would not need to have any sexual desire, arousal or ability to love or form committed relationships with men. And not doing PIV while being heterosexual is very rare, so it is unnatural.

More relevantly, the idea that PIV sex is degrading or that all sex is rape depends on the assumption that the man (or the party who penetrates) is dominant and active, while the other is submissive and passive. This only bolsters the idea that sex is something that men do to women – the hallowed ‘subject verb object’ of ‘man fucks woman’.

My pet peeve with the active/passive duality is that it is the reason behind rape-as-a-weapon (the most famous instance of this was Muammar Gaddafi’s use of rape against the rebels (and anyone who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time). Although rape was used against men as well as women, its “justification” as a weapon comes from the belief that sex/rape is not equal; the active person is forcing submission or humiliation on the passive person. If this duality was not believed, rape could not be used as a weapon because both sides would be equally dominating and equally submitting. Similarly, this duality enables rapists to believe that they caused humiliation to their victim by committing the rape. Sometimes rapists will show photos or videos of their crimes to boast about the “humiliation” they think they caused.

A less disturbing aspect of the duality is that it reduces the woman to an object, to be pursued and enjoyed like a product. This is not the reality of human sexuality, where both genders equally desire the other.

And of course, if being passive/recieving is humiliating or, well, passive, then it means women who have sex with people who don’t love/value/cherish/insert-meaningless-word-here them are being used, are being objectified. While f penetrating symbolises dominance and power, men are dominating women every time they have sex, which means it is a good thing for them to have sex with lots of women. You can see where this heads in terms of the double standard, slutshaming and whorephobia.

Refusing to have PIV sex only legitimizes and encourages the duality. We should be trying to dissassociate dominance from penetration and passivity from receiving.

In conclusion, this just undermines feminist goals of equality.

 

Trans women

Excluding some women from the feminist movement isn’t very feminist, is it? Not a lot to say on this, because it’s so, well, simple.

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the radical feminist movement is itself antifeminist.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2012 in Feminism

 

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How No More Page 3 harms feminism

Yeah, NoMorePage3 hurts feminism and feminist goals, and here’s why:

Firstly, the campaign founder’s statement that sex is something “beautiful”, “blissful” and “loving” between “two people”. Now that’s a huge no-no right there. It excludes poly people, swingers, kinky people, etc. The word “loving” could exclude ALL sex outside of a committed relationship. In fact, there is nothing I can recognise in her description that would apply to my own few experiences and especially to my own desires, which are rarely limited to two people. As for “loving”, education and career often delay middle-class womens’ search for love. And of course I have found no use for love in my adventures.

This is just positing a static right way of doing sex. Which is what the patriarchy, the Catholic Church and certain UK and US politicians have done and are doing. This is not feminism. It is nothing but the repression and sexual restriction of these institutions masquerading under the name of “feminism”. The campaign and this statement is aimed at women, so it is telling women that there is a right way of doing sex which society and page 3 have “debased”. Telling women that there is a right way of excercising sexual expression is a very old patriarchal device used to control women. Along with it come strict gender roles, the virgin/whore dichotomy and the double standard.

And the implicit assumption is that women, like me, whose idea of sex doesn’t fit in the Christian-esque box, are debasing this beautiful thing called sex that was “given” to humankind (another little flashback to the Bible).

 

Secondly, the campaign and its discourse ultimately takes away the models’ agency and stigmatises them as victims or gender traitors. By stigmatising these womens’ jobs and choices, the campaign impinges on womens’ freedoms and creates an anti-modelling, anti-sex industry, anti-sexwork ethos that is just patriarchal sexual repression and Victorian prudery in a new guise. Women should feel free to model and work in pornography (whether as actors, scriptwriters, models or directors) without fear of shaming and judgement. This campaign is the antithesis of the fight against slutshaming, the fight for women to be equal to men and the fight for sexworkers’ rights.

Thirdly, the campaign assumes that only men objectify women and only men consume pornography. This view degrades female sexuality by assuming that women are inherently less sexual than men, or that they shouldn’t consume porn. Again, these are patriarchal ideals of the ‘good’ asexual woman.

If women consumed and created porn, this campaign would be hypocritical, right? So to support it, it is necessary to believe that women don’t create or consume porn, or at least that women shouldn’t do so.

Spreading this idea that women don’t like, consume or create porn is very damaging to attitudes towards womens’ sexual expression. This view only makes society feel that women naturally aren’t sexual – great fodder for slutshaming attitudes. And perhaps even increased objectification, because women will be seen as sexually passive, something to therefore be chased or approached, something to get sex from. Instead of the reality that women aren’t passive objects, they too pursue desired mates and are sexual; they are also out to get sex from men.

Fourthly, the campaign makes a very dubious connection between hardcore porn and softcore porn, and also between page 3 and violence against women. There is absolutely no evidence for this and no study has ever been done on the effects of softcore porn on behaviour or on rape. (For more details read The Sex Myth by Dr Brooke Magnanti).

Just because a man views porn doesn’t mean he will then rape. This is just making excuses for rapists and abusers. It’s their fault, no one else’s – not the director, producer, actors, models or scriptwriters. It’s just porn – a film or a photo. It’s not a gun to your head and a person saying “Rape or I will kill you.”

Let me illustrate this with examples from my real life and this blog. In the Fiction section of this blog, you will find a story that depicts a 15 year old boy being raped by a same-age girl and an adult man. Yet, writing this story doesn’t mean I want to rape underage boys, and I can prove it: under the Feminism section, you’ll find a post about a woman who had sex with a 15 year old boy. In that post, I do nothing but express anger and disgust that her sentence was far too lenient and that the article and comments were insensitive and victim-blaming. I also have a story on here about the government torturing and spanking everybody for protesting and a rapid descent into a dictatorship. Yet surely you don’t all think that I want to live in a dictatorship, or be tortured by David Cameron? I have several notebooks filled with stories, some of them about myself being raped. But being raped is actually my biggest fear – or one of them – and surely it is clear to anyone who reads this blog that I am against rape.

Fifthly, given the fact that women do watch and make porn, this campaign makes no sense. It’s unfair and hypocritical to not want men to look at porn when women are free to do it. Also, if models lose work then how do those models benefit from the campaign (which has goals beyond just page 3)? It is just taking their income and careers.

Sixthly, the campaign is sex-negative, and sex-negativity usually does far more harm than good.

Seventhly, without challenging the attitudes of misogyny, sexism and objectification, even if page 3 was stopped forever, nothing would change because the attitudes would still be there. Just like criminalising drug use or sex work doesn’t stop it happening. The cause, not the effect, should be targeted. The campaign is trying to target what it sees as an effect of sexism – page 3. It fails to target the attitudes which caused page 3 and allow it to flourish. Also, the fact that other, much more hardcore porn would still exist would make the eradication of page 3 quite pointless.

 

In conclusion, the NoMorePage3 campaign takes away womens’ rights to choose their careers, ultimately shames women for their choices, prescribes a narrow Biblical model of sex, is not evidence-based and makes no logical sense. It is against feminist goals of women being allowed to express their sexuality as equals.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Struggles with sexism: why we must be specific

Eradicating sexism is difficult because when men and women do the same things, they are interpreted differently – often to the detriment of women. Changing attitudes or portraying women as similar to men doesn’t always solve things. Here are a few examples:

When men are portrayed as dominating, that traditionally meant that women were passive and submissive. But getting more dominant women on TV might not make things much better because when women are dominant they’re seen as bitchy, crazy, mean and agressive.

When men are seen as having an insatiable sex drive, women are meant to be the civilizing influence on them, turning men to the family by witholding sex until marriage. Yet, for some regions the answer may not lie in portraying women as having equal sexual desire – because when female sex drive is acknowledged, it’s used as yet another excuse to control women (not allowing them free movement/driving) and seen as another inherent weakness in women (unable to resist temptation).

When women are percieved as more capable than men, this usually only extends to being better at parenting, organising, personal hygiene and tidiness. This portrayal of womens’ strength only serves to perpetuate the strict gender roles of women’s domesticity and motherhood-as-destiny. It further marginalizes women who are messy, disorganized or uncertain about being mothers. It’s fine for a man to be worried about loss of freedom when the baby arrives or worry about his capability as a father. Likewise, men are expected to be messy and oblivious to skin/hair products, even those for their gender. Thus, portraying women as superior to men may, in some instances, backfire completely as we inadvertently unearth the tired old Victorian ideal.

Therefore, solutions to sexism aren’t always as clear-cut as they seem. I am not advocating that we refrain from certain courses of action, nor that we do certain actions; I am just pointing out that the politics surrounding sexism are complex and that solutions cannot be too generalised. Solutions which work well in the west may backfire in other regions if the message is not more specific and tailored. Marketing images of women as superior to men may also backfire.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2012 in Feminism

 

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