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erinjane
Here's an interesting article I came across via feministing.

http://www.alternet.org/sex/51408/
skinwithoutscars
hey, i disappeared for a couple of days.

when it comes to teaching our kids about sex, porn is way down my list of things we need to change about the culture - like, number 37 or so. numbers 1-36 on the list have to do with a complete overhaul of how we talk about sex (as a power trip), what we accept as part of the discourse about sex (like, men who just don't wanna wear condoms - why is that even an acceptable question? use condoms, dude!), what are considered acceptable sexual behaviors (uh, date rape) . . . and while these things may swirl around in the same stewpot with porn, i hesitate to blame porn for their existence. i think the simple ways men and women interact - which grow out of a power differential - that a kid sees every single day has a much bigger impact on how the kid will view sex than a couple of forbidden glimpses of porn.
girlbomb
Well, my early exposure to pornography taught me a lot more about sexual politics than I ever learned from a teacher or parent. It was obvious to me that porn told the truth about sex that adults tried to gloss over in front of kids -- it was adult currency. And I think it still has a tremendous influence on young people. Why do so many eleven-year-olds know what a donkey punch is? And, while we're on the topic, what does punching a woman in the face during orgasm have to do with sex?
greenbean
Just poppin to say that I liked the article Erinjane. I particularly find statements like these worth talking about: "There is nothing more objectifying than poverty." and "I find it interesting that the very people who complain about the objectification of women's bodies are the ones who have little to say about the objectification of poor people's bodies, of all genders." I'm always intrigued by the discussion about money and feminism, and is wanting to make money at any cost unfeminist.

Since my mom grew-up poor and Mexican, yet I grew-up half-white and middle class, I feel like I a unique perspective. Throughout the years I've always asked her variants of the question, "do you feel more disenfranchised being born a woman or being born brown?" and everytime she has always answered Mexican. Her dad and brothers were in construction, as are some of my male cousins, and I tell ya, I would rather be a stripper. Luckily I don't have to resort to either because my mom's mission in life was to make enough money to get out of the barrio (she did it by waiting tables non-stop) and then make enough to put me through college.

She considers herself a feminist but her brand of feminism would closer to the author's mentality, that money is power and women with power is feminist. In fact, when I was having woes about taking my current job, for fear that it wasn't feminist, she said to me, "It would be nice if all women were bonded by sisterhood and were always looking out for each other. But this is reality, and you've got to survive."

Not that she would want me to strip or do porn, but thats cuz I'm her daughter. She doesnt give two shits if anyone else want to make their living that way.
nickclick
erinjane, yes thanks. and greenb, thanks for sharing too. your mom's cool! my parents both grew up working-class, and worked hard to move up and always valued education. i'm lucky to have grown up white, middle class, never hungry, and always knowing i'd be going to college. so yes, my perspective is skewed to think nobody needs to make political choices about work. but i'm not so sheltered to not know that's not always the case.

in an ideal world, where women are paid fairly for all work, and work that's done predominately by women would be paid equally well as men's work, and where a woman's skills would have just as much monetary worth (if not more) as her body, then i could more easily argue that sex work is unfeminist. but facts as they are, sex and money buy the most power. so when a woman doesn't have money, sometimes sex buys her autonomy. and i guess women's autonomy is what we value the most as feminists.
dj-bizmonkey
**delurks**

has anyone seen the louis theroux series on either porn or the brothel in nevada? they're worth checking out, and i'd be interested to see what y'all's reactions were (do i sound like a 'neck or what?!) i don't have a link to the episodes themselves, but i watched them on this website:
http://www.tv-links.co.uk/show.do/1/1376

**and the dj goes back into a thread where she might have the foggiest about what to say**

p.s. i enjoyed the article as well
girlbomb
So then sweatshops are "feminist," because they allow women in poverty-stricken countries to earn income? Just trying to follow this line of argument. I didn't think the author of the article was saying that sex work is an inherently feminist act, just that it was more empowering to have money than to starve. Which begs the question, is all paid labor "feminist," if it allows a woman to make an income?

The author acknowledges that she's participating in a sexist system in order to support herself. Nobody's condemning her for doing what she has to or wants to do in order to eat food and live indoors. But if supporting yourself by any means necessary is a "feminist" act, then every single woman who earns a paycheck is a feminist -- and I know quite a few wage-earning women who would reject that title. Maybe earning money in and of itself IS still a feminist act, in which case, we're further behind men than I thought.

If one's definition of a "feminist" act is "anything that a woman chooses to do," then by that definition, voluntary sex work is feminist. If one's definition of a "feminist" act has to do with acknowledging and challenging sexism, then I don't think voluntary sex work automatically qualifies. It might, depending on the circumstances, but not automatically.
erinjane
I didn't really get that tone from the article. I understand that what she was saying is that she's empowered by the fact that she was making money, not empowered because she felt making money/stripping was feminist. There's a woman who writes a blog (that I can't find the link for right now) and she models nude. Every post she makes has one of her nude shots included, and she's made some really great posts on how she doesn't find nude modelling empowering a feminist way, but it is something she enjoys doing. If I can dig up the post I'll link to it.
greenbean
QUOTE
So then sweatshops are "feminist," because they allow women in poverty-stricken countries to earn income?


I don't think that is the arguement of the author, and I'm certainly not making the arguement. I just think that if a stripper is honestly happy with what that job has afforded her then its no skin off my back. I'm more concerned with making sure women have access to enough affordable education so they don't feel like they have to sell their bodies to get ahead.

As far as making money inherently being a feminist act: *I* think its more than that, but to some women (like my mom) feminism isn't about saving all womenkind, but trying to raise a level above for herself and her children, and not relying on a man to do it.

Yes, if we do base feminism gains on how much money we make, we still have a ways to go. Somehow we need to fix things where traditional "women's jobs" are valued more,..but I'm not sure how we acheive that exactly. A greater society would pay teachers and nurses more than strippers get paid, but I don't know how we can devalue nude entertainment to the point where it was no longer "easy money". The disapointing trend is to just shame women out of stripping by either religious morals or feminist obligations to society. Its not the way I'd like to go.
ohsweetie
QUOTE(greenbean @ May 21 2007, 02:41 AM) *
As far as making money inherently being a feminist act: *I* think its more than that, but to some women (like my mom) feminism isn't about saving all womenkind, but trying to raise a level above for herself and her children, and not relying on a man to do it.


i love the entirety of this statement but want to focus on the "as far as making money inherently being a feminist act" idea without perhaps heading into some economic discussion, as we are here to talk about pornography!!

so, the short thing that i want to say about these things above is that while CREATING access to and UTILIZING one's access to the opportunity to make money IS a feminist act, the simple act of making money is not feminist. when considering the sex industry, simply selling one's body to make money is not feminism nor feminist engagement with the sex industry. i think that a feminist engagement with the sex industry would involve someone entering into the industry (or perhaps utilizing aspects of it, ie. porn) KNOWING about market economies, the lack of space for women in market economies (and the fact that women have historically been relegated to roles lower than men in the sex industry), and the history of the subjection of the feminine body AND THEN using the outcome to further personal and hopefully feminist goals (ie. taking pictures of oneself and selling them on the internet to buy blow would not be a feminist activity, because all one is doing is further reaffirming domination and hegemony), such as putting oneself through school, taking care of one's children, buying sustainable items and local products, etc.

i'm a big proponent of feminist engagement with the sex industry and agree that there is often blurriness and conflation when we begin to simply consider "women's engagement". those who do not identify as women could also use the sex industry to further feminist means.

i guess i just want to end by saying that i'm on a pornography/sexuality + feminism kick: i'm taking gender studies at UNBC and we're doing a pornography course this coming september and i'm excited to see what it'll look like).

xoxo
greenbean
Wow! O magazine's recent issue promotes porn, and hires Violet Blue to recommend some! I've been looking for an article on conservative backlash but haven't found anything so far...
http://www.comstockfilms.com/news.html
Gotta say I'm a bit surprised!
faerietails2
Alternet posted an article called "Is Pornography Really Harmful?" It's lonnnnnnng, but interesting.
nickclick
QUOTE(faerietails2 @ Nov 7 2007, 06:54 PM) *
Alternet posted an article called "Is Pornography Really Harmful?" It's lonnnnnnng, but interesting.

i like that the author of the book referenced blames mainstream porn on patriarchy (all the other terms can be filed under 'patriarchy,' IMO.)

"The logic of domination and subordination that is central to patriarchy, hyperpatriotic nationalism, white supremacy and a predatory corporate capitalism."

and i like the 2nd writer's quote:

"the area where porn concerns me most deeply -- its potential to encourage the dehumanizing of women in consensual, or quasi-consensual, sexual encounters."
knorl05
bumpity bump
sexysandee
Porn makes me feel all warm and fuzzy tongue.gif
faerietails2
Great article courtesy of alternet.
auralpoison
I thought this was interesting.

http://www.offourbacks.org/fleshnbones.html

This one, too.

http://www.xbiz.com/news/92236

ETA: What is sexy about a woman taking a milk enema & shooting it out of her ass & into another woman's face? Seriously. Milk.
auralpoison
This, too. It's a little corny, but . . .

http://www.marieclaire.com/life/sex/advice...n-star?src=digg
auralpoison
Thread killah!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7364475.stm
culturehandy
AP I read the maria claire article, interesting stuff. The article about banning porn which "appears" to hurt people. This really is moralizing behaviour. I've always thought that what occurs between consenting adults is no one's business. As for the man who raped and murdered the woman, how is banning that kind of porn going help? The man is a sociopath. he liked the power from the rape, not from the rape himself, but then again, that's what rape is. It's about power and hate.

I couldn't access one of the articles at work, admin blocks. I'll check it out when I get at home.

Why is it anyone business if I want to be spanked? I'm consenting. Maybe this should go in the bdsm thread...
mornington
I was just going to come in and post that, AP...

the legislation strikes me as a knee-jerk reaction that links A to B without taking in factor C (him being wacko). My thought is that instead of making porn/kinky sex "safer", it will have the opposite effect, by driving it underground, less regulated (although tbh the bdsm scene seems fairly self-regulated, at least from the pov of an interested outsider) and hence more dangerous in itself. I also have to wonder where the line is drawn - is porn that shows bondage illegal? or asphyxiation? Who is judging what is "an act which threatens or appears to threaten a person's life" (to quote the bill itself)? Will this mean ann summers will no longer be able to sell floggers? Are we going to have raids on people's houses a la before homosexuality was legalised?

and culture... exactly. it's nobody's but mine and the person doing the spanking as long as we're consensual.
anarch
Don't know if this has been posted before, but I just found this & it's entertaining reading: Ali Davis's True Porn Clerk Stories
auralpoison
I HATE this guy. I mean, I really hate him. He's scum. I've seen some of his work & it's the most humilating garbage produced. The bit I saw had a girl showing that she had just turned eighteen that day. He slapped her around & forced his penis into her throat so violently that she threw up on them both. He made her keep going. By the end of the scene her makeup is a mess & she's even more thoroughy degraded when he asks her to say hi to her dad because she's a whore now.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/may/29/ju...core-porn-case/

This was interesting, too.

http://www.kutv.com/content/news/watercool...e4-2cd6e1c31b37
auralpoison
So he's guilty of distribution.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jun/06/na...-in-obscenity-/

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. I'm glad he got nailed, but they basically pissed on, vomited on, & slapped around the First Amendment to do it.

I know that the women in his films are willing participants, if not he'd have been sued by scores of women long ago. I know they're getting *paid* to act humiliated & that there are rumours that they are given ipecac to make them hurl because that's his "gonzo" schtick of female humilation. I still think it's heinous, but they are consenting.

This brings up some questions about the generation of kiddie porn without actual kids.

http://www.10zenmonkeys.com/2008/06/05/is-...r-illegal-porn/
missjuliet
\
missjuliet

Hey BUSTies.

I created the thread Porn and Boys, and all I can say is wow. I can't believe this discussion has kept going for so long! I'm happy it has though, because it is a touchy subject, and something that isn't addressed nearly enough.

It's been two years since my first post and my views have changed immensely. I educated myself much more, and mainly I've concluded that the subject and questions cannot be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no' or 'good' or bad.' It is much much more complicated than that, which I'm sure many of you can agree with considering all of the discussions/arguments that have risen concerning it.

I think mainly what it should come down to on the other hand, is what each kind of porn or act acts as at its core. The physical or emotional repercussions that may arise, or the damage to the individual are what should be assessed, not the porn or act itself.

The fact that the government is getting more involved doesn't really surprise me. It's happened throughout history. Maybe we're just hitting another landmark, reaching a new level of what we're comfortable with. This new comfort will always be daunting to some, but it's most likely just a matter of time before it's more widely accepted.

Which leads me to my question, do any of you feel as if this is the case? That as humans we are just becoming more sexual and are only going through a sexual evolution, if you will, of what is acceptable and what is not?

I can see trends already, with aggressive porn being viewed by younger and younger eyes. I've witnessed people getting so immune to certain types of porn that they need to reach higher (or lower may be more appropriate) for whatever will reach them sexually, and I'm not sure how to feel about it in relation to the attitudes toward women. I'm just curious as to how others feel, mainly about how and if it will affect our cultures. And whether the effect of this will be negative or positive, for all genders and sexes.

Thoughts?

- missjuliet
roquelaure
i was debating just where to post this, but i decided here is the best. it isn't exactly about feminism, but semi-related to the legality/illegality of porn.

has anyone heard about this?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.p...ft=1&f=1003

i'm dumbfounded.

i'm of the "porn = yay women" school of thought. i also think pornography and material artifacts of sex in general are some of the most valuable pieces of culture humans can save (i mean- the base point of civilization is to PRODUCE, right??). but even if i wasn't, this is one of the worst forms of the destruction of culture that i've seen in years. i'm a curator, so every time i read about, say, a place where something historical occurred being destroyed for mcmansions makes my blood boil, but when it comes to something that could have been easily been passed on to people who could treat them with respect and recognize their cultural worth being obliterated from the planet brings me to angry tears.

i mean, i happen to think the majority of television shows and movies from the 1950's, not to mention books and magazines, that enforce the whole a woman's place is in the home ideal, or even better all the shit that's tossed at me these days about how women in their thirties better be birthin' babies soon or their lives won't be complete, and i don't deserve my ovaries unless i own a minivan, is the most appalling and offensive media in the past 100 years. however, i also respect it as a reflection of and lesson on the times, so i'm not going to go out and... and... find all prints of Leave it to Beaver and destroy them.

UGH! sorry. end rant...

mad.gif
vixen_within
This seems to be the porn, prostitution, etc. discussion thread so I guess I'll post this question here.

Someone I was in conversation with said to me that she doesn't judge sex workers, but has a problem with the men who go to see them. In fact this seems to be a common thing. I feel like I must be too far gone or just seen too much to think of it this way, but I DO remember having this visceral negative reaction to the idea of men who will pay for sex or sexual entertainment from women when I was a teenager. I just don't remember why. I think it had something to do with how angry I felt in my daily interactions with men (I mean street harassment, the treatment from boys at school, the daily sexism that comes as a shock when you're young and just learning how the world at large sees you when you're female.) but I don't remember if there was a direct link in my consciousness between that and my feeling about men in strip clubs, massage parlours, etc.

I hope I'm not rambling..My question comes down to the fact that I know it's a common feeling among women, even though I lost that plot somewhere, or the way it felt like a truism to me before. What do you, anyone who's read this far, think (or feel) is the real difference between men who see sex workers and men who don't (or won't)? Thanks.
kittenb
Was it me who said that? It sounds like something I was saying awhile ago. wink.gif
I do get unnerved about the issue of he clients of sex-workers. I've just seen too much where it goes wrong. It is like the same feeling I have when I walk past a group of drunk men; I tense, I don't trust them.
My involvement w/in the sex worker's rights movement has expanded my views on clients but there is still a lot of work that need to be done. Too much of society views sex-workers as less than others (less deserving of respect, safety, life, etc.). I cannot believe that all clients of sex workers respect that what they are purchasing is the sex not the person! I hear too many people use words like "Dumb" or "Stupid" followed by "Whore" or "Slut." I know how most of society views sex-workers. How can I trust that my friends who do this work are being respected or treated well by everyone that they do business with?

As fot the difference b/w men who hire sex workers and men who don't...hmm, I don't know that there is one. After all, a man who is going to slap a woman or rape a woman or kill a woman will do so regardless of the woman's profession. I just know that society cares more when the slapped, raped, murdered woman isn't a sex worker. Well, as much as society as represented by the legal system cares, I suppose.

Did I just contradict what I said above?

So I guess the work that I want to do is to "rehumanize" sex-workers in the eyes of those who would dismiss them and their rights. I hope that doens't sound condescending as I don't mean it to be.
vixen_within
Yeah, I was thinking about the short discussion we had at the conference but it's something I hear a lot from others too. It's a vibe that kind of permeates when many folks talk about sex workers.

This is really interesting, and it's helping me to clarify some of my reactions. I don't think you're contradicting yourself really. I'm getting that, because you don't trust men generally to see women as humans worthy of respect, you don't see any reason to trust the specific men who see sex workers either.

However I do get the sense that when someone says they don't trust the customers, it's because they assume the customers respect women in general and sex workers in specific even LESS than the average guy (this is nearly the exact opposite of my own experience by the way, depending on the setting).
kittenb
QUOTE(vixen_within @ Oct 28 2008, 08:15 PM) *
I'm getting that, because you don't trust men generally to see women as humans worthy of respect, you don't see any reason to trust the specific men who see sex workers either.


I think that most men do respect women. However, the men who don't tend to feel free to be even worse with women whom they feel that they have "bought." They know that society in general and the legal system will not care as much.

Hmm, I again feel that I am condradicting myself:

QUOTE
After all, a man who is going to slap a woman or rape a woman or kill a woman will do so regardless of the woman's profession.


This is clearly an issue that I go back and forth on. I'll let you know if I ever come to a clear conclusion. rolleyes.gif
ihateoly
Hi, I'm new but I was reading and I felt compelled to jump in here. No, sex workers who do not already know their clientel should distrust their clients because it is their right to protect themselves. In porn, though, it's different because everyone is screened for disease and the ladies have the ultimate say in what they will or will not do and they get paid accordingly. We shouldn't be telling women they can't make/watch porn because the men involved may or may not repsect women. We have to respect that these women have a choice and a right to express themselves sexually and not judge it. They are grown women who have thought it through and know what they want. This is the profession they have chosen and they are not victims of any sort. I have had the pleasure of meeting several porn stars through work (I used to peddle smut) and they've all been pretty well adjusted ladies with a mind for business who liked having sex and weren't all hung up about it. Most of them were actually taking complete control of their careers by starting their own porn production companies and branching off into directing movies, which is awesome. There are still some scumbags out there that make porn that, to me, is definately misogynistic (Max Hardcore, ewww!), but for the most part, the ladies have taken the wheel and are doing it for their own pleasure on their own terms and what's not feminist about that?
vixen_within
QUOTE(kittenb @ Oct 29 2008, 10:49 AM) *
I think that most men do respect women. However, the men who don't tend to feel free to be even worse with women whom they feel that they have "bought." They know that society in general and the legal system will not care as much.

Hmm, I again feel that I am condradicting myself:
This is clearly an issue that I go back and forth on. I'll let you know if I ever come to a clear conclusion. rolleyes.gif



Kitten I meant to say this before, but I think you rock for putting your honest thoughts about this topic out here, because it's not the easiest of topics to discuss openly and un-defensively, but you manage to be able to do it.
girl_logic
OMG who is this Donna Hughes asshole?
Projo opinion piece
Makes me embarrassed to call myself a feminist, honestly.
kittenb
It is judgemental harshness like that that makes so many of the sex-workers that I know distrustful of feminism and feminists.
girltrouble
did i miss something? does that woman even consider herself a feminist? i mean i know she's a prof of women's studies, but that doesn't mean she's a feminist. i have to say i love that she is so vitriolic, then tries to fig leaf her hatred by talking about "the victims" in the last para. she's so over the top it's difficult to take her serious without her titles.
prophecy_grrl
Wow that's really offensive. I looked her up at Univ of RI and she seems to be doing important work on issues of sexual exploitation and human trafficking - all the more reason she should know better than to make such reductive uninformed arguments.
angie_21
Apparently she's also a racist. Are Korean women somehow more likely to be prostitutes or pimps than caucasians, and less likely to give accurate testimony? Oh yeah, and you definitely can't trust a woman with a tattoo, or a man who smokes! and what on earth are "other odors?"

It's very sad that people like this take such an insanely complex, socially relevant issue, and turn it into gibberish. The whole article said nothing. She didn't even say what her own testimony was, or what they were trying to badger her into saying. Can't really feel too sorry for her.

And calling it a "circus" is just so offensive to the sex workers who may have been risking a lot just to be there and testify in the first place.
girl_logic
I also find it interesting that she needs to mention the race of the women so many times and the fact that they use translators. I suspect her subtext is, if you're not white, and don't speak English you're probably a victim whether you know it or not (but she's there to save you whether you like it or not).

It all makes me wonder what kind of response she actually expected from that article and who her target audience is.
girl_logic
An update about this and also some full disclosure - asking who Donna Hughes is was disingenuous of me as I've recently had my memory jogged by a friend - this is Donna Hughes who has been using, for years, against her will my friend's story of brutal exploitation in order to put forward her abolishionist agenda (at the same time, my friend reflects on her own story as the most important reason why Donna Hughes's position is wrong, dangerous, harmful and even deadly to women and girls).
We have a woman like her in Canada too who runs a women's studies journal, but who views sex workers with utter contempt, going so far as to refuse them publication in her journal. It's really quite an ugly thing she's asking her letters and qualifications to do - to mute the voices of other women. It's wrong.

Anyhow it looks like that bill banning indoor prostitution was passed.. Making consensual sex work riskier and driving people being exploited even further underground and further from help by continuing to criminalize them. (yes I have a very strong view about this kind of thing)
kittenb
QUOTE
if you're not white, and don't speak English you're probably a victim whether you know it or not


Yes, yes, yes!

I hear this all the time although it took me awhile to figure out that was what was being said.
angie_21
That's too bad that it got passed. I have very strong feelings about this topic too, though actually I find it much more complex and confusing than the debate about abortion. I don't have much of a problem with the idea of prostitution in theory, but as it exists in reality, it is in almost all of its forms, even the consensual ones, exploitative and abusive of women. The thing I feel very strongly about is that fact that prohibition in general, whether of alcohol or drugs or prostitution, only causes more problems by driving things underground. When there could instead be government regulation of the business and protection of women from exposure to violence, drug addiction, and human trafficking, everything goes hidden and unregulated. What a joke.

Here in Alberta, solicitation is illegal while the act of prostitution is not, thereby making it impossible to run an legitimate business but harder to prosecute johns & pimps. Hooray. Of course the police turn a blind eye to the whole thing, including home based businesses, but also including abuse and murder of street prostitutes. You can drive down some busy streets in my city and see them any time of day, clearly completely cracked out and unaware of the rest of the worldm while the rest of the world pretends to be unaware of them. It's very sad.
girl_logic
QUOTE(angie_21 @ Jul 5 2009, 01:55 PM) *
That's too bad that it got passed. I have very strong feelings about this topic too, though actually I find it much more complex and confusing than the debate about abortion. I don't have much of a problem with the idea of prostitution in theory, but as it exists in reality, it is in almost all of its forms, even the consensual ones, exploitative and abusive of women. The thing I feel very strongly about is that fact that prohibition in general, whether of alcohol or drugs or prostitution, only causes more problems by driving things underground. When there could instead be government regulation of the business and protection of women from exposure to violence, drug addiction, and human trafficking, everything goes hidden and unregulated. What a joke.

Here in Alberta, solicitation is illegal while the act of prostitution is not, thereby making it impossible to run an legitimate business but harder to prosecute johns & pimps. Hooray. Of course the police turn a blind eye to the whole thing, including home based businesses, but also including abuse and murder of street prostitutes. You can drive down some busy streets in my city and see them any time of day, clearly completely cracked out and unaware of the rest of the worldm while the rest of the world pretends to be unaware of them. It's very sad.


Hey Angie, your post gave me a lot to consider, but before I say anything could I ask you some things?

"I don't have much of a problem with the idea of prostitution in theory, but as it exists in reality, it is in almost all of its forms, even the consensual ones, exploitative and abusive of women."

How do you come by that conclusion?

"The thing I feel very strongly about is that fact that prohibition in general, whether of alcohol or drugs or prostitution, only causes more problems by driving things underground. When there could instead be government regulation of the business..."

This is going to sound bad, I really don't mean to be crude, but do you really trust the government with regulation of your vagina? I sure don't.

Or are you talking about regulating against the labour violations etc. that happens in some brothels, is that what you mean?

"..and protection of women from exposure to violence, drug addiction, and human trafficking, everything goes hidden and unregulated."

Okay this also didn't totally compute for me. Do prostitutes need more protection from drug addiction than most people already have? Do they need that protection before they start working or during, or after?

"You can drive down some busy streets in my city and see them any time of day, clearly completely cracked out and unaware of the rest of the worldm while the rest of the world pretends to be unaware of them."

Is the sad part the drug addiction or the prostitution or that they're women in a really tough situation all around?
angie_21
wow, those are some tough questions! It might take me a while to be able to answer all of them.

QUOTE
You can drive down some busy streets in my city and see them any time of day, clearly completely cracked out and unaware of the rest of the world while the rest of the world pretends to be unaware of them."

Is the sad part the drug addiction or the prostitution or that they're women in a really tough situation all around?


Well, just seeing them would be enough to answer your question. The sad part isn't a political idea or concept about society, the sad part is them, as humans, being in that situation at all. The fact that they're all screwed up on drugs whether they're there to feed the drug habit, or whether they developed the habit because they're there, or whatever, it's sad to think that this is the life a person is leading. It's sad and sickening to think that this is what sex is about to some people, this is what women are worth. It's sad that I've known men and women who just kind of laugh, as if these women somehow deserve it because they're just sluts or something.

QUOTE
"I don't have much of a problem with the idea of prostitution in theory, but as it exists in reality, it is in almost all of its forms, even the consensual ones, exploitative and abusive of women."

How do you come by that conclusion?


I did say most, not all! Like I said, I don't find the idea of sex for money immoral, provided everyone is on level ground, everyone consents, no one's getting hurt, and the women (or men) doing the work are actually receiving the money being paid. I know there are a lot of women working out of their homes in Alberta, they are even able to advertise in the weekly entertainment magazines without being shut down, and they seem to have control over what they do, and if they are happy and safe, then I certainly don't think that's an exploitative situation. But thanks (in part) to restrictive laws and societal judgement, that doesn't always happen. I think that a lot of consensual prostitution is still exploitative, though, based on who is making the decisions and the money for the women actually doing the work. Here's where I admit to lacking any details to back up my ideas, I don't know any statistics, but when there's mass volumes of human trafficking, sexual slavery and semi-consesual prostitution in the world, I don't see how that can't be exploitative. Look at Las Vegas. Men are out on the street basically hawking girls to anyone who passes by, handing out flyers with naked young girls all over them. And these flyers end up on the street with people's dirty fotoprints all over those girls bodies and faces. Billboards are up that say "Girls delivered to your door within one hour!" I don't care if those girls are consenting to be there, I don't see how mass marketing of women's bodies like that is not exploitative, of the girls who are working and of women in general. Its the attitude that women can be bought that is exploitative. There is a difference between buying sex, and buying women, and the idea that you are buying the whole woman is scary and promotes abuse. Even though it's consensual, I wonder what exactly leads these girls to be there, not individually (because there could be as many different reasons for being there as there are girls), but more generally, our society's attitudes towards sex and women's bodies that creates such a situation in the first place.

Whew.. that probably just raises more questions than answers!

QUOTE
The thing I feel very strongly about is that fact that prohibition in general, whether of alcohol or drugs or prostitution, only causes more problems by driving things underground. When there could instead be government regulation of the business..."

This is going to sound bad, I really don't mean to be crude, but do you really trust the government with regulation of your vagina? I sure don't.

No, I don't. It's not that I want the government to be in control of it, but prostitution needs to be recognized because the government does require businesses to adhere to health and safety codes, worker's rights, etc, and if it is an underground business, then that isn't regulated. If your job isn't recognized as existing, you don't have access to worker's compensation or employment insurance, and you can't complain to the government if you're fired unjustly or not paid for overtime (or not paid at all!), and you lose your right to refuse unsafe work. Again, I know that there are women who are in control of their own bodies and businesses, but that doesn't mean we can assume everyone has that power. I don't think it is disparaging to the sex trade workers who are successfully running a consensual business to recognize that there are a lot of women who are flat out exploited by brothels, pimps, and their customers, that there are prostitutes beaten, raped or murdered while the police look the other way. I don't think that recognizing that in many of these cases, drugs are used to control women, or used by women to numb themselves to their situation, is disparaging to the women who wouldn't need protection from drug addiction at all. Leading to:

QUOTE
"..and protection of women from exposure to violence, drug addiction, and human trafficking, everything goes hidden and unregulated."

Okay this also didn't totally compute for me. Do prostitutes need more protection from drug addiction than most people already have? Do they need that protection before they start working or during, or after?


I see what you're getting at. But I don't think I said, "protection of all prostitutes from drug addiction." If it sounded like that's what I meant, I apologize, because it certainly isn't. I should have maybe said, "protection of vulnerable women (because there are women in our society and every other society who ar more vulnerable) from exploitation through violence, drug addiction, and human trafficking." I'm not saying legalization of prostitution would solve these problems, either, but pretending they don't exist at all is much, much worse. I'm saying that these facets of prostitution exist, but if legalized, safe & accessible forms of protitution were allowed and socially sanctioned, then there would be far less demand to fuel the scary side of it.

OK, that took a long time to write, and I know I just opened up a huge can of worms. So please take into account - This is all my opinion, I know I'm not fully informed, and I know there are so many different possible viewpoints on an issue like this. And I would really like hear your opinion now, g_l!
girl_logic
The situation in Alberta (at least in Edmonton and Calgary) is that they pay the city for an Escort license or an agency license (and it's a lot of money compared to other business's and individuals), and then they're permitted to advertise as such - however technically under our federal law that would make the government pimps under the Living Under The Avails law. So it's a bit schizophrenic -while the city knows what the license is for when they sell it to women, the letter of the law claims that it's a license for dating and introductions only. The women can still be charged for prostitution related offenses, and now the city knows who they are and where they live! And they are fined by the city if they advertise as escorts without holding the license. In order to get the money for a license, women frequently go into debt to agencies or individuals, which makes sense - who starts working when they're flush with money?

So that's where I agree with you, sex work can happen under exploitative situations, but we part ways when it comes to assuming government control is the best way to eliminate that.

Even in places where there is legalization, the working conditions are oppressive, because sex work is still treated as a vice to be contained and controlled. In Amsterdam, notoriously, Dutch women who are able work illegally - it's women with less access, such as women from other parts of Europe without full-citizenship, who work legally there, which says a lot. Prostitutes believe it's healthier and safer to work illegally. And then there's another tier of workers who couldn't work legally even if they wanted to. As far as I'm concerned the only way to respect women who do this work and to improve the situation is decriminalization and acknowlegement of the laws that are already in place to protect everyone - from the laws against forcible confinement and other forms of abuse to the most humble workplace safety laws. Prostitutes have been taking care of their own and their customer's bodies for a long long time and will continue to do so.


"I wonder what exactly leads these girls to be there, not individually (because there could be as many different reasons for being there as there are girls), but more generally, our society's attitudes towards sex and women's bodies that creates such a situation in the first place. "

There are men out there too, but there sure is a "supply and demand" difference. Kind of funny response to someone's mail in question in our local paper's sex advice column - he was wondering what other services he could provide to be a successful sex worker serving women. The advice was basically nude housekeeping, domination, scantily clad massage, learn how to pamper, learn to do a pedicure, learn to do it well. Good advice imo - I would pay a hot man to give me spa treatment with benefits, if he were worth it.
anarch
QUOTE(girl_logic @ Jul 12 2009, 01:28 PM) *
There are men out there too, but there sure is a "supply and demand" difference.


Coincidentally, I was just reading this Daily Beast article on male sex workers and thinking about posting it here.
angie_21
I always wonder about the supply and demand difference. Mostly, how real it is - is it really because women care less about sex, or because it's easier for us to get laid when we want to, or because we just don't want to pay for it because it's a big hit to the ego (I've never understood why men don't feel that way)? Or is it as much about supply - if ads for male escorts were as prevalent as those for women, if it was all over TV and movies that way it is with women (and if everything weren't so clearly still aimed, as with everything else, at other men), wouldn't it seem a lot less weird to female customers to actually call up a male escort?
anarch
I bet it's all of those things. Except for women wanting less sex. The only women I know who don't want much sex are in relationships that already have serious problems.

anarch
Annie Sprinkle's Conversation with an Anti Porn Feminist
auralpoison
X-posted in OBOH

Okay, so this isn't for the more sensitive amongst us & it is NSFW. Labiaplasty Hungry Beast Ep 14. It's an Aussie news bit on labiaplasty/porn. Basically the Aussie porn boards not only do not like small breasts, they don't like pussies with any extra flesh: "it's too detailed".
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