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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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Why some sexist jokes cause harm and some don’t

Just because I’m a feminist doesn’t mean I believe that ALL sexist jokes cause harm to women.

 

I’m guessing that some feminists left after reading that. For everyone who has stayed on this page, I thank you, and here is why:

Some sexist jokes are too full of hyperbole and carry such controversial or very generalized messages that they have little effect on attitudes to women. For example, “Why did the woman cross the road? Never mind that, what’s she doing out of the kitchen!” is unlikely to significantly affect attitudes because our society does not believe in making all women housewives, and we know that doing so would affect the economy and create many other problems. Also, there is no real threat of men suddenly making all women housewives.

However, “Why do women have boobs? So you’ve got something to look at when you’re talking to them!” is more harmful because women are being objectified by men more than they are being forced by men to be housewives. There is a real threat of such objectification increasing (I blame lad culture, media and advertising more than pornography for reasons I’ll discuss in another post). Also, the message here is more specific and also more subtle: that women are meant to be objectified or that breasts exist for male pleasure.

Lastly, “What did her right leg say to her left leg? Nothing, because they never met!” is even more harmful because slutshaming is rampant and this joke is not only encouraging slutshaming, it itself is a form of slutshaming material. There is a real threat of slutshaming increasing due to the speech and rhetoric of certain politicians, radfems, prolife NGOs and anti-sexwork NGOs. The message is also subtle – that women are not supposed to express their sexuality, and that doing so is deviant and worthy of mockery. Who knows, perhaps this “joke” or something similar was used to bully Amanda Todd in any of the schools she moved away from. It’s a popular joke and has been used to shame and bully girls and women for years now. I dream of a slutopia where this joke would make no sense.

The most dangerous and offensive jokes are the ones that help perpetuate rape culture. Jokes about rape – of either men or women. The only way a rape joke could ever be funny was if the joke was about the rapist and portrayed the rapist as evil, inept, cowardly, etc. The joke should make the audience laugh at the rapist. Sadly I don’t know of any jokes like this. We don’t joke about murder or serious assault, so why do we even joke about rape? That’s a disturbing question right there. I also find objectionable jokes about accidental sex or jokes which do not make clear if it was consensual (“she said ‘that’s not my [object]’. And he said, ‘well that’s not my [object]’.”)

On a personal note, I don’t believe my tolerance of some sexist jokes to be that surprising, given that as someone who’s half Asian I like Asian jokes and the way L;u Kim is drawn in South Park. It’s hilarious to me and my Asian relatives. If racist jokes don’t inspire racial hatred and aren’t used in a hateful way, they’re fine by me; perhaps if South Park didn’t mock white males the most I wouldn’t approve. Family Guy is similar: “I’m standing outside the Park Barrington Hotel because they don’t allow Asians inside.” “When [an Asian guy] comes in I’m going to blindfold him with this dental floss. Nah nah nah nah nah nah, racial slur.” And I think this is absolutely hilarious, because these two shows mock every other race, so why should Asians be exempted? That would just be treating them differently.

And it’s the same with sexism. If we joke about men, gays, alcoholics, vegetarians, Jews, nationalities, race, rich people, poor people, politicians etc, why exempt women? Wouldn’t that be treating women differently?

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Kat: You are not my leader

We have a problem. Being feminist in Britain now means you’re anti-sex work and anti-porn. The sex-negative feminists (heirs of the 1970’s radical feminists) have hijacked these debates and the word “feminism” itself. Women (and men) are afraid to call themselves feminists if they don’t share these ideas. They may feel, as I did, that because they are okay with sex work or pornography that they are not feminists.

This creates a vicious circle: when only anti-sex work, anti-pornography women call themselves ‘feminists’, they create a sex-negative public image of feminism. And so when the media portrays feminists and feminism, it is forced to portray sex-negative anti-porn women, because that’s the pool it has to choose from. So now Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista and ally of Object (an anti-sex work, anti-porn NGO aiming to make sex work a crime) is “Britain’s leading young feminist” according to The Guardian. This title implies that all feminists share her beliefs. But as we know, many feminists do not agree. Some feminists are sex workers or work in the sex industry. Some do not want to ban pornography or sex work. Yet others feel that different issues are more important and more to blame for gender inequality.

Yet, can we blame the Guardian? With only antis labelling themselves feminist, who else could they choose? If it wasn’t Banyard, it would be another with exactly the same views. Sex-positive public figures such as Dr Brooke Magnanti could never be labelled as our leading young feminist, because they reject the label of ‘feminist’.

Many sex-positive bloggers and sex activists already call themselves feminists or gender-equalists ‘in their heads’ but not publically.

So, this is a call to all sex-positive people – female, male, trans, genderqueer, whatever: CALL YOURSELF A FEMINIST! Then strippers, models, women who watch porn and sex workers can no longer be stigmatised or subjected to laws that harm them in the name of ‘feminism’, because it’ll be obvious that many feminists are against these measures. Showing publically that you are a feminist could be as simple as putting the word “feminist” in your Twitter, Facebook or blog/site profiles, or creating social media groups about sex-positive feminism, or social media groups to encourage others to adopt the label. As my lecturer said,” if you believe women should be equal to men then you are a feminist” – so millions of people are feminists but don’t accept the label because they associate feminism with people like Banyard.

Eventually, prominent feminists won’t only be sex-negative, we will have sex-positive prominent feminists! More famous people will adopt the label of feminist, and stigmatising all models/lapdancers/sexworkers as ‘slaves’, and women who like porn as ‘brainwashed’, -or even trying to criminalise prostitution in Scotland -will no longer be done in the name of feminism.

IIf all sex-positives call ourselves feminists, we remind everyone that Object, SCASE and the ever-lingering voice of 1970’s radfem Andrea Dworkin do not speak for us. And Banyard is not our leader.

Please RT, reblog etc or spread the word in your own words 🙂

Thanks, ‘Lika

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Feminism, Media

 

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Leniency to female sex offenders harms feminism

WHAT HAPPENED

A couple of days ago, Claire Roundhill, a woman who knowingly had sex with a 15 year old and his overage brother – and supplied them with cannabis as well as sending them explicit images of herself – was spared jail: http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/10/10/mum-of-three-had-affairs-with-brothers-aged-15-and-17-and-became-pregnant/

She was given a 9-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and will be on the Sex Offender’s Register for 10 years.

For a man in this situation, the defence that he didn’t know the girl was under 16 is not valid; he must have good reason to believe she was over 16. And this woman admitted to knowing the boy was underage the second time she had sex with him.

The astonishingly lenient sentence may or may not set a precedent for Forrest, though in my estimation his crime was worse as he was in a position of trust and he took Stammers abroad without her parents’ consent. But at least he loves her, instead of using the child for sex like Roundhill did.

WHY IT IS HARMFUL TO BOYS

Sentences like this hurt boys. All children deserve protection – EQUAL protection. We cannot discriminate on gender any more than we can discriminate on race or religion. Yet some commenters on the story seem to think that boys are so slutty that they cannot be abused as they’d go with anyone, or that a boy would enjoy being sexually abused. This issue is quite obvious, and I won’t dissect it here, except to quote the article on the effect Roundhill’s predating had on the boy:

The 15-year-old boy said Roundill bombarded him with hundreds of text messages and photographs every day. He said: “She would be in sexy outfits or topless. I now know she took advantage of me. I just want to put it behind me.” …there has been a victim personal statement from the boy which says he wants to put all this behind him and he is relieved that he does not have to give evidence in this case.”

The father of the two teenage boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has said Roundhill’s sentence was too lenient.

He said: “If it had been the other way around and this was a man having sex with a 15-year-old girl, he would have been locked up, without a shadow of a doubt. But, because she is a woman, she has walked free. She took advantage of both my sons. When my elder son dumped her, she targeted the younger. She planned it. I hope she now realises exactly what she has done. If she had gone to prison, I would have been happy but she has just got a slap on the wrist. We are disappointed. This doesn’t send out a message. Before this, he was a lovely boy and now it has changed him. He has gone off the rails. He has been in trouble with the police and this has never happened before. It was disgusting what she did. She has taken advantage of my family. If we had known what was going on, we would have put a stop to it straight away.”

Indeed, the court accepted the excuse that she was having a troubling time and a bad marriage – as if that somehow excuses child abuse!

The reporting of this case is full of the sexism that used to – and still does – categorise tabloid reports of women being raped. The headline uses the word “affair” instead of “child abuse” and the facts that the abuser is married, is a parent and that the victim had an older sibling who lawfully had sex with the abuser is totally irrelevant.

 

IT HARMS WOMEN AND FEMINISM

So far, so obvious – especially to parents of young boys. But let’s go on to the less obvious stuff, about how leniency towards female sex offenders, far from granting women superiority, actually harms feminism and women in general.

Firstly, women are harmed because female relatives, friends and carers of boys are harmed. How would a mother of 15 year old twins feel, knowing the female twin was protected but that the male twin was not protected? How does the mother of the boy in the article feel now that she has to live with the knowledge that her son was abused and violated, perhaps running all the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘if-onlys’ daily through her mind? Constantly wishing she’d realised what was going on, or talked to her son more about women and sex so he wouldn’t fall for her lies and promises, or had been there to protect her son. Similar thoughts might be racing through the minds of the boy’s older sister (if he has one) or his aunts.

Secondly, and here is the more complex bit: When female sex offending is not taken seriously and male minors can’t get justice, it perpetuates the view that only women can be hurt by sex while men – even boys – always enjoy sex or are at least immune to emotional pain from sex. So we start to see women as vulnerable and in need of protecting. We monitor daughters’ sex lives more than sons’, ‘for their own good’. Males are seen as sexually aggressive and females as sexually passive – great conditions for the sexual double standard, paternalism and male control of female sexuality to flourish. If sex is seen as dangerous to women then confusion or derision will be directed against women who do enjoy and seek sex. If sex as seen as harmful to teenage girls and young women then it justifies parental control over daughters’ sexuality.

The message of this case is that only teenage girls’ innocence (or virginity) is valued enough to be protected. Boys’ innocence is worthless (or nonexistent)? This might actually harm girls even more than boys, as this sort of thinking is full of that antifeminist social conservatism which buoys up slutshaming and the sexual double standard.

Thirdly, and this is the controversial bit: In a way, it is a good thing for women to be seen as sex predators. (To be SEEN AS, not to actually DO child abuse. I AM NOT ADVOCATING THAT WOMEN MOLEST CHILDREN IN THE NAME OF FEMINISM. And I’m talking about women who are guilty of being sex predators being seen for what they are, not innocent women being seen as sex predators.) It is a good thing because when we accept that women are sexx predators, we can offer support and counselling to their victims. Men will be more confident about reporting sexual assaults by women and recieving support from rape centres. It will no longer be acceptable to joke about men being raped, as if somehow they’re incapable of feeling as bad as women, as if somehow they can’t be violated because they’re sluts anyway, so who cares? It’s not as if dignity and bodily integrity could actually mean something to anyone with a penis, right?

Also, when we accept that women can and do commit sex crimes, the double standard will crumble to dust. The double standard is based on a conservative view of female passivity, chastity and asexuality – women want love, marriage and children while men want sex. The acceptance of the existence of female sex offending will prove that this is nonsense – anyone can be sexually aggressive, romantic, or chaste and it’s got nothing to do with either gender or biological sex.

With the fall of the double standard, stigma against lone mothers, “sluts” and (female) sex workers would also start to lift.

The culture of telling women how not to get raped, holding women responsible for rape (victim blaming) and paternalism would also fall once men realise they could become the victim of rape by a woman. And if men fear rape by women, they might be happier to accept that rape is real (step forward Todd Akin) and not oppose abortion in such cases – after all, would men really want to pay child support towards a child concieved by rape? (Claire Roundhill got pregnant, by the way. She had an abortion. But if she hadn’t and it was the 15 year old’s baby, he would be paying child support as soon as he turns 16 or gets a full-time job.)

In conclusion, this sentence was very unjust, unfair and insulting to the 15 year old victim and his family. It may set a worrying precedent about how male children are protected from exploitation and abuse. The comments below it seem to mean that male victims of female sex offenders can expect to be ridiculed and shamed as “wimps” for showing distress, or at best have their abuse dismissed as “a great experience”. Angry parents seeking justice can expect to be ridiculed as overprotective and restricting their child’s sex life. And female sex offenders will be propositioned, praised, or shamed as “slut” instead of “sex offender” – (the second one is the WORSE title, people!). The victims and their families suffer with little of the sympathy, understanding or support given to female victims – all because the kid is the wrong gender. And feminism suffers alongside them, as the message given is “Only females’ innocence is important enough for the law to protect”.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Feminism, Media

 

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Rape the sluts: the ‘Men can’t control themselves’ excuse

The clothes that a woman happens to be wearing at the time of an assault are often used against her in court, in the media or in her own social circle. I remember as an 18 year old being told by a girl I knew about a newspaper article which reported that a rape victim’s underwear was shown in court to prove that she consented. This was because the underwear had been manufactured with the words “Little devil” printed on the fabric. More recently an article in the Daily Mail sparked outrage for claiming that rape laws were too harsh and were catching innocent men; an example used was that a 19 year old attacked by two footballers had been drinking and had the top three buttons on her blouse undone, so it could not possibly be rape.

Another tactic in using clothes to victim-blame is claiming that if a man sees a woman wearing revealing clothes, he cannot help not raping her, or that the clothes themselves confuse men or constitute consent (a dress is a ‘yes’).

However, the assertion that all men are filthy, sexualised animals who can’t see a bit of cleavage without attcking a woman makes no logical sense. Firstly, men (and women) tend not to commit sexual assaults when there are witnesses around. This is why most attacks on women happen in the victim’s own home, in a dark or secluded area (an empty classroom, a car, an ambulance, a quiet street), in the attacker’s home or are perpertrated by the woman’s partner or family member. So, if men are really beasts who can’t control themselves, why can they control themselves when they know they’re likely to be caught? Why don’t we see men committing rape in malls, busy classrooms or crowded streets? Even when they do abduct victims from crowded places, how are they able to control themselves long enough to get their victim into a secluded area (remember the 14 year old boy abducted from a mall and raped in a toilet in Marks and Spencer’s?) How can Daddy control himself in the street and when Mummy is around, but suddenly he can’t control himself if his wife leaves the house? The myth that men can’t control themselves is just a nonsensical excuse.

A disturbing fact is that we don’t accept the ‘I couldn’t control myself because of my gender’ for any other crime or for any other gender. Try telling a judge that you couldn’t help knifing that person or nicking that wallet because you’re a man. Try telling anyone that you couldn’t help sexually assaulting that man because you’re a woman. So why accept that excuse for men who rape? The excuse should either be valid for all crimes and all genders, or it should be invalid for all crimes and all genders.

Another fact: we don’t accept the excuse for men who molest children or have sex with underage girls. But it seems that if you’re over the age of consent, it’s all your fault for leading him on and he couldn’t help it. If he really can’t help it with girls over 16, why is he able to control himself with a 15 year old? Why is it all his fault if you’re 15 and consenting, and all your fault if you’re 16 and not consenting?

Yet another illogical aspect of this excuse is: If men can’t control themselves, wouldn’t that mean that women also can’t control themselves? So why are only men deemed to be animals, and not women?

The tactic of using clothes to victim-blame, or even just to slutshame women ordinarily, is a dirty trick. You see, that outfit that Jenny is wearing that seems slutty to you isn’t Jenny – it’s an outfit. You’re judging Jenny based on what she’s wearing. If you had met her two hurs earlier she would have been wearing a business suit. If you were to meet her two hours later she’ll be wearing a frumpy, mumsy cardigan and worn baggy jeans.Later, when Jenny’s wearing her fleecey PJ’s, you might be wearing a short see-through nightie. So if Jenny is attacked at 4pm, she will be wearing a suit and will be seen as a victim (unless she knows the attacker). But if her attacker decides to lie in wait for her until 5pm and stalk her, by the time he attacks her she might be wearing a ‘revealing’ outfit. So it’s her fault for being dressed that way. And if the rapist instead chooses to follow her home and then break in, she’ll be wearing her mumsy outfit and be seen as a victim. Women have no control and no choice over when they are attacked or what they’re wearing when they are attacked. We don’t dress in the mornings or change our outfits in the day thinking that we might be raped, any more than men dress to be raped. We don’t think that men are dangerous animals who will leap at the first chance to attack us; we’re not paranoid. Neither are men. Judging women and victim-blaming on the basis of dress puts victims under the power of their rapist. The attacker chose when to attack; he has that control. The victim doesn’t. By victim-blaming, you are giving the rapist the power to make his victim endure shaming and make her testimony less believable. You are giving him the power to negotiate and influence the wider disourse around rape, as well as the opportunity to escape prison if the victim isn’t believed. By assuming womens’ dress causes them to be raped, we might even end up with a society in which men try to attack women who are dressed a certain way, so that they will get away with it – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And if men are biologically compelled to rape if they catch a glimpse of cleavage, leg or belly button, how are they able not to rape when they see women in bikinis on the beach? Or naked women in nudist colonies? Or topless women on the beach? When I was 8 I once saw a naked woman at the beach, pulling her two young children in a rubber ring and covering herself with her other hand. Nobody tried to rape her or even noticed her or cared. In fact, I, an eight year old female, was the one who was staring the most.

This final argument comes with illustrations (yay!). In Britain, it is ILLEGAL to wear clothing in public that would display nipples or genitals. Strip clubs, nudist colonies and BDSM club nights may have different rules, but when you step out of these establishments onto the street, you will be charged with public indecency if you aren’t covering those areas. So how revealing can revealing clothes even be?

This woman is wearing a bralet and short skirt, but all she is revealing is a little of her belly.

This is the most revealing photo I could find of people who appeared on Snog, Marry Avoid. However, the two womens’ outfits, while being as revealing as possible without being illegal, are actually less revealing than a bikini. And neither of them are revealing their nipples or private parts, so the most sexual parts of their bodies are covered. So they aren’t revealing anything at all – the erogenous zones are covered up, leaving only the mundane non-sexy bits showing.

Really, anyone who believes that men are so weak, violent and bestial that they would attack these two women just because their tummies, legs and decolletage are revealed is an idiot.

A man wouldn’t be compelled to attack a woman walking down the street naked any more than a woman would be compelled to attack a naked man, or an adult of either sex would be compelled to attack a naked child.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Feminism

 

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“Slut!”: When your sex life is deemed more important than your career, achievements and dreams

This evening I was watching BBC4’s documentary on theories about what existed before the Big Bang (which, as the documentary reveals, may have been a slow inflation, a bouncing back of a shrunken universe, or the other end of a black hole.) A female scientist appeared on the documentary, expounding a theory which I barely understand. I had a sudden realisation that her career, theories, achievements, childhood, dreams, hobbies and relationships could be completely negated by the word “slut”.

Because that is what the word slut does. That is what it means – that no matter what you’ve achieved, no matter the nuances and complexities of your character and personality, what is really important is what you do in the bedroom. Your sex life trumps your work life, family life and social life. It trumps everything you’ve created, like essays, blogs, stories, art. You could have a black belt in karate or be a world champion gymnast, a published poet, or have got a First class degree. You could have hobbies that make you very unique, such as base jumping or knitting. You could volunteer in a charity or be a human rights activist. But none of that counts for anything. No skill you’ve learned, no qualification you’ve earned or sport you’ve mastered is as important as how many men and under what circumstances and in which time frame you’ve had sex with. What you’ve produced with your brain, your drive and your two hands are meaningless compared to the activity around your vagina. It is that little part of you, your genitals, that are key.

Not your mind. Not your faith, politics or experiences. Failing that, not even a body toned and fit from regular excercise, dance or sporting activity. Not even something as meaningless as a face that is beautiful or a hairstyle that is on trend. Nope. Just what goes in your vagina. Not even the appearance, health etc of the vagina itself – just what goes in it.

That’s pretty sick. And disgusting. And woman-hating.

And the word “slut” is static. It assumes you’ve always been a slut and always will be. But in reality, your 14 year old self might be very different from your 23 year old self, and at age 35 you’ll be different again. At age 60 you’ll be different yet again. It’s very unlikely that, even if everyone could agree on a definition of ‘slut’ that the same individual would remain slutty from puberty until her death.

When someone uses words like “slut”, they are denying the whole woman. They are reducing her to slut, whore, tart, a two-dimensional sliver of a multifaceted and complex person. Nobody is just a ‘slut’ and nothing else. You cannot be ‘just a slut’; you will be a daughter, student, colleague, schoolgirl, dreamer, amateur writer, artist, musician. There is a tendency to assume sexually active female adolescents are sluts. However, they might go swimming, have a group of friends, skateboard, paint, go to dance classes, any number of things. Nobody is just a slut or a whore. Nobody is just a sex worker. Nobody is just a single mum. Nobody is just single and pregnant.

And that’s why slutshaming is so harmful and misogynistic.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Feminism

 

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If you’re a happy hooker you must be in denial: my rambling thoughts

I just really need to post this before I get onto posting the next part of the Diary. And after that, I’ve got an ex-call girl’s blog to read. It’s important to me that I read it, as she regrets sex work and if I’m to regret it, at least this is a last-minute chance to stop it, though of course I doubt I will. But it does pain me to know there are others who regret it, it always did even when I studied prostitution at uni. And she sounds quite like me – formerly proud to be a prostitute and charging up to a thousand or two for a few hours.

Anyway, this post is not directed at anyone; that much will hopefully be obvious by the general/non-specific nature of the writing, but I just want to get that out of the way before some random person comes along and thinks the post was aimed at them (which has happened to me in real life, with talking). This post only contains my thoughts and is not meant to be factually-based, reasonably argued or carry a message unlike other posts on this blog, nor does it represent my views on anything.

The post

I’ve seen some shit in my time – stuff I can’t tell you guys, because you wouldn’t believe it. Professionals – teachers, social workers, police – I’ve seen them lie. I’ve seen them surveillance, make up horrible accusations behind peoples’ backs and write them down and tell other professionals, discriminate certain family forms, and nobody can stop them because there are no laws to stop them. It’s all council or department policy. The Ombudsman, MSPs, the General Teaching Council, the police complaints commission…you can complain but you can’t do much to stop it happening. I’ve seen them do it to others. And to me. My life wasn’t sad or tragic. It was happy and fun. But it was more unbelievable than the most tragic stories I’ve read. Speaking of tragic stories, read the wordpress blog ‘Bipolar for life’ if you’ve got a strong stomach and some tissues handy…and yes, it’s triggering.

So, yeah. I’ve seen stuff. I’m tough. Bad stuff is just normal to me. I grew up with it. I had a loving family and a wonderful childhood, but I knew there wre evil people out there – people I should’v been able to trust. But even with the constant monitoring, observation and lies, there was one thing that remained inviolate: my personality. My sense of self, my experiences, my emotions, was never touched. It was never cast into doubt. Oh, my intelligence was – I was autistic and had learning difficulties, they lied, even though I was top of the class. But they never said I was depressed or attacked my personality. And it was a unique personality. Yeah, I’m bragging, but I’m not asking anyone to read this. This is for me, written for me because I don’t know if anyone else understands or wants to know.

Anyway, it was a unique personality. I’ve never been like other people; people say I think outside the box, am quirky or crazy, and will do anything. And I know I don’t react to things in the usual way; I don’t feel sad or stressed very easily, for one thing, and I’m weirdly confident. I sometimes have to mimic emotions, because although I’m capable of more empathy than most people, I do not naturally show it in facial expressions. And I’m tough because Asians don’t have much emotions; they don’t feel as sad. I was raised by an Asian mother and taught not to cry or be cowardly. And I’m tough because of what was done to me by those professionals. Once you’ve been through the fire, the flames are powerless to burn.

They couldn’t harm me, because I had a family who loved me. But the last few hours, for me, have been stressful – something that does not happen to me often. Usually, things are just irritating. A few things are annoying. I am not my usual carefree happy self, and it was to be expected; I knew this journey might make me a bit weirded out or stressed. I thought it would be the sexual stuff, or my friends’ reactions, or religious people hating my blog, but it’s none of that. It’s people being so sure that I’m a victim, or in denial, or not doing this by choice (and these statements didn’t come from the same person, so please nobody comment claiming I’m talking about them. I’m not even going to say whether the statements were tweeted, texted, comments, Facebook messages, emails, whatever. Because, you see I’m not talking about these particulat individuals. Who they are doesn’t matter even 1%, and I’ll tell you why: it’s the whole attitude that’s damaging. When you think that just because some sex workers didn’t choose it, or regret it, and force that story into the mouths of all sex workers, you take away their personality. You devalue and eradicate their story. You make their job, blog, views, writing, sex activism, etc worthless and meaningless.

And there are far too many people out there doing that. That’s why it doesn’t matter who these individuals are – one was going to come along someday. Brooke Magnanti got a lot of flak from the radical feminist and the anti-sex work crowd – and no, they’re not the same thing. I know that. It’s just that at the political level, their interests overlap. Like how in Sweden sex work is criminalized for feminist reasons (and recently a student sex worker was suspended from college for sex work even though it was legal as only clients are criminalised, not the sex workers.) (Story on the Harlot’s Parlour, WordPress.)

I guess I was prepared in a way by following other sex workers on Twitter – I realised that their lived experiences were often silenced by anti sex work NGOs and activists wanting to present all sex workers as trafficked sex slaves. And I have been reading Glasgow Sex Worker’s blog since before I started my own, and in it she does express a lot of frustration at this. But I didn’t realise how bad it makes you feel until tonight. Well, I guess I’m a real sex worker now – once you’ve had your story taken out from under you, all your vivid, precious experiences (good or bad) dismissed as denial, as future therapy fodder, sexual slavery, a short-term happiness that will later turn to regret – and (apparently) all for a deal that isn’t a good deal anyway because I’ll get £4k for virginity but other sex workers make £4k in a night – (not that I’ve ever spent the night with Roland or performed a sexual service lasting more than 20 mins, so getting £1,000 each time for a few hours of spanking and 20 minutes of oral seems good to me). And not that I was trying for the best deal (for reasons described in my posts ‘Kalika’s Q and A’ and ‘Selling Virginity: 25 tips’.)

I don’t see myself as a sex slave and even if I did in the future, it doesn’t make me feel good that people call me a sex slave now. Wait till I see myself as a slave before telling me that. When people put words in others’ mouths, they are attacking their personalities, lives and memories – not just the stories. It would be unthinkable to tell an unhappy drug addicted sex worker that they are really happy and enjoy sex work; that their unhappiness and desire to leave the industry is an illusion. You wouldn’t tell a rape victim they weren’t raped. Yet it’s totally normal and accepted for people to tell happy or neutral sex workers that they are really in a bad situation, that they’re victims, not happy or neutral at all.

I heard the other sex workers getting upset and raging over this but I didn’t know it feels so bad, worse than anything, than the professionals’ lies, than being bullied at school. Ironically, sex work made me happy – well, I’m always happy, so maybe it had a neutral effect – but it is their comments that make me feel sad. I felt fine and proud of it until they said their stuff, casting doubt on my emotions, that I’m not really proud, just in a bad place. That later on I’ll regret it and won’t be proud. Which isn’t true, as other ex-call girls don’t regret it, including two of my “favourites” who provide fascinating information – Maggie MacNeill and Dr Magnanti herself. They quit decades and years ago respectively, but they don’t regret it. And lots of other ex- sex workers on the web and Twitter don’t regret it either.

And there are lots of things to regret in life, anyway. Marrying the person you’re divorcing. That one night stand with the fat guy who now won’t stop following you around. Having an abortion or not having an abortion. Dumping your boyfriend. Cheating. And lots of other non-sex related things.

I do feel really bad for those who started streetwalking when underage, or who were pimped out by relatives as young children (it happens very occassionally in America) or do it to feed their drug habit, and all the other situations. But that doesn’t mean all sex workers have the same sad story. Some stories are happy, some sad, most neutral. The same sex worker can have good, bad and neutral experiences. The story of a 15 year old junkie streetwalker isn’t going to be the same as the story of a career woman who does sex work on the side from her house, or a student who works with an agency, or a graduate in a massage parlour. The happy hooker isn’t representative, but the sex slave is not representative either.

Where’s the blue WKD and chocolate when you need it??

Why is the world so complex anyway, and why does it happen? They blamed Brooke for telling her story – for ‘glorifying’ sex work, but all she was doing was telling her story. Freedom of speech. Then she was offered a book deal. And suddenly that was bad. It wasn’t just a book or a blog made into a book, it was an enemy of women. Where’s the line? If I’m just deluding myself, but she’s glorifying sex work, is it because my blog is obscure but her book was a bestseller? Is it how successful your writing is that determines if you’re a gender traitor or merely a sad sex slave?

And when a story about bad sex work experiences is told, it’s ‘raising awareness’ and ‘dispelling myths’. But if it’s a happy or neutral experience, it’s ‘playing the happy hooker’, ‘being a Belle de Jour’ or, in my case, being in the honeymoon phase of my descent into trauma and drug addiction.

I need chocolate. Chocolate makes everything go away. I think if Roland were here right now, he’d write ‘sex slave’ on my chest. I’ve been so horny all day, all the days since two weeks ago. I was going to check out kinky dating sites today. Sometimes I feel like banging my head against the wall out of sexual frustration. I wonder if it’s as bad for boys.

Ok, I’m going to stop now. Diary time! The next installment coming up now…

 

 

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Kristen Stewart: the double standard in the media

I’m glad to see that Kristen Stewart has finally emerged from hiding and is facing the world. Hopefully the media will wander off to find some other non-story of pointless celeb gossip to spin into international headlines, and we can all stop tutting and pretending we are saints, criticizing some 22 year old cheating on her boyfriend like it doesn’t happen every day in our towns – even to our friends. Actually, how many people criticizing Kristen have slept with someone they shouldn’t have? (assuming Rupert and Kristen even did go all the way, which they may have since both their partners left them, but there isn’t any evidence of this).

It is very odd that Kristen, who is not married and young, is being blamed more than Rupert who is a married 41-year-old with two kids. This is obviously just the double standard rearing its ugly head again.

Before we go into that, there are of course other possible reasons than the double standard:

Kristen is more famous than Sanders, therefore the stories will revolve around her more. This point is supported by the fact that the stories seem to revolve around her (ex?soon to be ex?) Robert Pattinson more than Rupert Sanders.

Kristen being dumped from the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman could be explained by necessity; obviously, having her, Rupert and Rupert’s (now ex?) wife Liberty Ross working together on set wouldn’t be good for the film; actors must have good chemistry and work together well. However, Kristen is playing Snow White, so it would make more sense to drop Sanders or Ross.

These two points aren’t enough to convince anyone or to explain away all of the hatred directed towards Kristen – being called a ‘trampire’ by the New York City Times, Will Ferrell, and now people wearing t-shirts saying it. ‘Tramp’ – an American shame-word equivalent to our “slut” or “whore” is not being used against Rupert Sanders – even though he’s the one who is married! So, it is obvious that once again, it’s one rule for men – even if they’re married – and another for women – even if they’re young and single.

…And since when does having two men make you a whore? I know girls younger than Kristen who have slept with over 20 guys, they are not called whores. Or is everyone who cheats a whore? That would make Sanders (and a lot of the general public) a whore.

Twihards

As for the Twilight fans (“Twihards”), how can they hate their heroine – the woman who’s played Bella for four years and given her adolescence to the films they love – because of something she did in private, in the bedroom? Whatever she – or anyone – does behind that bedroom door is nobody’s business but her and Rupert’s own. This whole “scandal” thing is just a family problem between four – that’s right, FOUR – people: Rupert, Liberty, Kristen and Robert. Not everyone in the entire world.

And if Kristen hadn’t done Twilight she wouldn’t have met Rupert and kissed/slept with him (?) anyway. If she’d had a normal entry into adulthood she might even be a totally different person – for better or for worse.

And I’m betting some of her haters cheated on their boyfriends…probably with a lot more than kissing!

I haven’t read or seen any of the Twilight franchise, I don’t even know what character Rob Pattinson plays. Actually, before the so-called “scandal” I had heard of Kristen, but I didn’t know she played Bella; I just knew she was a famous young up-and-coming actress. So, I don’t understand at all how Twilight fans can be “shocked” or “heartbroken” that she kissed Rupert; I mean, so what? Maybe Rob played Edward and they were imagining Bella and Edward existed in real life? They need to grow up. How many of them cheated? That being said, a lot of Twilight fans support Kristen, too.

Why this sucks more than the Twilight franchise

This has been an everlasting, hyped-up bullying of one young actress that has gone on for exactly a month today and forced a talented girl to go into hiding for having a kiss. In this day and age, this is ridiculous. Especially in Hollywood, where marriages never last, cheating happens all the time and even the older people are jumping into each others’ beds – or cheating on their wives with much younger actresses. Even in America and the west more generally, this stuff happens all the time. But god forbid it happens when you played the lead in a major franchise, because obviously that makes you the spawn of Satan. If I’d done this, I wouldn’t be on the news, would I? The media only hounds you when you’re famous.

I’m sick of seeing public apologies for what two people do in bed. Both Kristen and Rupert apologised publically, and though their apologies were aimed at their respective partners, they were phrased as if apologising to the nation, and were posted online instead of told to the people that they hurt. Come on, seriously? Year 2012, we all have the right to have sex, everybody (especially in Hollywood) is fucking everybody else, and they’re apologising to the public? For the “embarrassment” she caused? To who? Who would possibly have the right to be embarrassed over what anyone else does?

Perhaps the saddest thing of all was that this wasn’t done deliberately; the media corporations didn’t sit down between 17 August and 24 August to decide how big they were going to make this thing on a scale of 1 to 10. They didn’t script in Will Ferrell or plot to make T-shirts, or decide to leave Sanders in peace. This month-long shaming of a talented girl was done – not accidentally, but in a non-planned way. And it couldn’t have been pulled off with more success, vitriol and emotional damage to Kristen (and her friends and family) if it had been a planned operation by her worst enemy. This shows just how much the double standard still rules us and how constrained female sexual behaviour still is – even in Hollywood.

Hopefully, the media will get bored now that she’s come out of hiding. It has been confirmed that in a week she’ll be promoting her film On the Road, so things will probably go back to normal soon. Reportedly, she and Rob have been speaking again. But things aren’t all rosy; while Liberty isn’t speaking to Rupert, Kristen’s name has been smeared a lot more than his has (if at all). According to TMZ, she “fears that her career has been irreparably damaged” (source below) and doesn’t think she deserves that for a one-off mistake. She also knows that she is being blamed much more than Rupert, instead of taking a half share of the blame like what normally would happen – actually, in a case like this, usually Rupert, the older married man, would’ve been given more of the blame.) Kristen is reportedly very angry and upset about this.

Kristen is being punished (several promotional appearances and a role in the SWATH sequel cancelled) while Rupert is not. She’s being punished for kissing a man. And here I was thinking these were “freer times” compared with the old Victorian double standard and restrictive morality…

:Links:

Articles defending her:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/kristen-stewart-cheating-robert-pattinson-rupert-sanders-364538

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2181116/Kristen-Stewart-did-type-sex-Rupert-Sanders.html

The emotional damage caused to Kristen by the media’s hounding and invasion of her private life:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/20/kristen-stewart-refusing-to-eat-robert-pattinson_n_1809763.html

Kristen knows that she is being unfairly targeted by the public and media while Rupert isn’t criticized much:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/kristen-stewart-emotional-break-down-depressed-angry_n_1822451.html

The “trampire” shirts that Kristen’s “fans” are wearing:

http://www.stylelist.com/2012/08/19/kristen-stewart-trampire-shirt-skreened-robert-pattinson_n_1808339.html

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Feminism, Media

 

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Bristol Palin: Mock the woman, not the teen mom

OK, Bristol Palin and her mother are not exactly my favourite people in all the world. If you’ve read some of my other posts, – or even the title of this blog – you might deduce that, in fact, we are natural enemies. And you would be correct.

Bristol’s recent claim that Obama was just listening to his daughters on the issue of same-sex marriage was idiotic. (So too is the fact that she earns hundreds of thousands preaching abstinence when she herself wasn’t abstinent. And the fact that she isn’t in college when she has the grades to go to college.) I do not defend her claim, nor pretend to have an in-depth knowledge of that issue; I am simply uninterested in the whole thing, as I’m not American and neither Bristol nor Obama are as interesting to read about as Santorum, who is still my favourite lunatic devilspawn idiot. He will always have a place in my heart.

So, while I am opposed to Sarah and Bristol’s existence on the planet, I feel that we should not stoop to their level. There are some things that are off-limits, for our own good and the good of society and feminist principles. I’m talking about the comments below the stories of Bristol’s rant that shame and deride her for being a young mother. The comments include “she can’t keep her legs closed for 15 minutes” “shut your mouth and your legs” “Bristhoe Palin” “I bet Obama’s daughters wouldn’t end up preggers at 17” “where’s your baby-daddy?” “She’s a whore” and many others, depending which article you read.

Now, I understand that Americans – unsurprisingly – want to call her a slut because of the moral high ground she and her mother take, the money she earns indoctrinating innocent children with abstinence and repression, her mother’s abstinence education stance, and the threat to their freedom that they genuinely fear from her mother. If I was American, maybe I would see it diffeently; I don’t know.I don’t claim to know the entire catalogue of Sarah Palin’s ridiculousness.

However, these shame-words and offensive insults are saying that teen mothers are promiscuous whores, a very narrow-minded and untrue belief. Adults are more promiscuous than teens, and nobody knows how many men Bristol has slept with so we cannot call her a whore. They are shaming her just for being a mother, which is one of life’s great joys and, ironically, the traditional role for a woman.

Now, whether or not you are a good mother ot good father does not depend on your age. Women have the right to make a choice about when they want to start a family. And no, it doesn’t mean it’ll somehow, magically, ‘ruin your life’ – Bristol is choosing not to go on to further education, she isn’t unable to because of Tripp. Because of her earnings from preaching abstinence in schools, Bristol is rich enough to hire a team of au pairs to look after Tripp and her own chaffeur to take her to college.Bristol made a choice not to have an abortion and to start her family at age 18 – the age of majority and the second-last year of being a teenager, so it’s a bit of a stretch to even call it “teenage pregnancy”. She started her family with her boyfriend of 4 years, so calling her a “whore” also doesn’t seem to fit. Shaming women for starting families ‘too young’ and de-validating their choices, opinions and freedom to start families is only going to impact negatively on women’s reproductive freedoms and life choices.

So, let’s leave Bristol in peace – not for her sake, but for ours. Or her side – which aims to take away sexual, religious and reproductive freedom from everyone – will win.

 

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Slut-shaming YouTube vid

I love, love LOVE those “shit …guys/girls say” YouTube vids. I have ever since my friend showed me the “Shit Asian Moms say” video, asking me if my mother is like that (no).

But some guys and girls actually took the time to dress a guy up in drag and make a “Shit slutty girls say” video that says, basically, that if you visit Ann Summers or act like a guy (boasting about how much sex you’ve had, and admitting you enjoy sex) then you’re a slut.

Take off the guy’s wig and the video would be called “Shit studs/ladies’ men/Casanovas/legend boys/Frat boys say”. Double standard much? A great example of the virgin/whore dichotomy that this blog is named after.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNbas4h4w-8&feature=related

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Feminism, Film

 

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