Defense of the Nordic Model for dealing with Prostitution (and the right to defend it)

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Timebandit Timebandit's picture

susan davis wrote:

an interesting article comparing migrant farm workers and migrant sex workers

http://www.7dvt.com/2013tale-two-migrants

Tightening the borders — which is part of the antitrafficking regime — only increases the price and risk to the migrant, and also her potential exploitation. “The laws meant to prevent trafficking make trafficking more likely,” Peters says.

Similarly, criminalizing sex work fosters violence from police and clients, legitimizes discrimination and stymies demands for better working conditions, including safer-sex practices. This is why the United Nations Development Programme, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization call for decriminalization, including the repeal of laws prohibiting brothel keeping — like those used to shutter Vermont’s massage parlors.

And, declares the UNDP’s Global Commission on HIV and the Law, “Anti-human-trafficking laws must be used to prohibit sexual exploitation and they must not be used against adults involved in consensual sex work.”

No work is intrinsically degrading. Migrant Justice was founded in 2009 after a Mexican farmworker was strangled when his clothes got caught in the gutter cleaner. He died sluicing cow shit from a barn. The organization’s first act was to bring his body home for a dignified funeral.

Vermont has shown reason and compassion in upholding the rights of men like Danilo Lopez. The same cannot be said for sex workers, unless they are designated as victims. Until proven otherwise, we should assume that Lopez and Rose are adults who’ve made choices under tough conditions. Both are workers. They should be treated the same.

This still ignores the commodification aspect of the argument.  Pretending it isn't there and comparing it to something where it isn't a component does not an argument make.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Kaitlin McNabb wrote:

So we have established that I and some others think there can be positive sex work and other think there cant be. That's fine.

An example of sex work I think is positive is this, which i copied from Catchfire in another forum:

As many of them will testify, being a person with a disability makes acquiring sexual and romantic fulfilment difficult. Denise Beckwith, a medal-winner in the Sydney Paralympics, told ABC News that her interaction with a sex worker helped her develop in ways she otherwise may not have. “I have a disability (cerebral palsy) and my first sexual experience was with a sex worker, and I really value that experience because it gave me confidence to then pursue other relationships.” When she was 16, her father helped her acquire time with a male sex worker. ‘Brad’ from South Australia told Touching Base (another organisation helping people with disabilities reach sex workers):

“I would not argue for a minute, that the services of a sex worker can replace a loving intimate partnership. It cannot. I married a few years later, in my early 40’s, for the first time.

However, anyone with a few grams of practicality and common sense can see that disabled people are not as freely able to access forms of erotic touch, as every other person. It is disturbing, heart rending, when it is stated that disabled people are not as readily chosen as sexual partners as those without disabilities and many people rush to deny this fact.”

Indeed, even he acknowledges one of the problems that reverberates into making such interaction harder for people like him is “a lack of respect of the role of the sex worker”.

Sex workers are able to cater to those needs, allowing for these persons to fulfil their fantasies in a consensual relation with another adult. As sex worker and campaigner Rachel Wooton said: “I treat them as human beings. And they all have different needs and desires…it’s just about changing my service delivery slightly.”

 

Again, sexual contact is not a right, and as Smith pointed out in another thread, this is an issue that is experienced by some able bodied people and at the same time is not experienced by all disabled people. Having the means to "fulfill a fantasy" = privelege.

With rare exceptions, I'm willing to bet that privelege is overwhelmingly male. It's also a vanishingly small subset of what we're talking about, and a bit of a distraction. Seriously, what percentage of sex work actually applies here? It's not a big enough "need" (as opposed to want) to mitigate the overall harms.

FWIW, I consider myself sex positive - I believe that sex is good and healthy and that we have no business regulating people's personal lives - but not sex *work* positive. I think we should be free to have sex with however many people we like. In or outside the confines of a relationship. Whatever floats your boat, as long as consent and age constraints apply.

 The problem comes in when you commercialize sex. I still don't see any argument that speaks to the problem of commodification in any substantial way. Ultimately, I don't think you can entirely get past it.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Forgive the lack of paragraph spacing - apparently this board hates quote function on iPad.

ETA:  There, could fix it on the regulare computer.  Much better.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Timebandit wrote:
 The problem comes in when you commercialize sex. I still don't see any argument that speaks to the problem of commodification in any substantial way. Ultimately, I don't think you can entirely get past it.

As someone who supports the Nordic model, I'd like to ask what is it about sex work that makes commodification of the human body unacceptable? Or is it a "you have to start somewhere"/walking-and-chewing-gum sort of thing? Is sex work on a continuum with Cosmo magazine covers in this way? It's hard for me to see what is it about sex that (should) make the anti-commodification argument (seemingly) extra urgent when it comes to sex work.

I find it really hard to settle on a position when it comes to sex work -- to negotiate a solution that both accomodates harm reduction strategies and addresses the fact that sex work is predicated on men's erotic and violent entitlement to the female body. Instances like disability and sex work are, on the contrary, valuable, because they offer potential (if still problematic) alternatives to the dominant dynamic of sex work rooted in patriarchal heterosexual desire. In my head, I liken sex work to polygamy: it doesn't necessarily have to involve the exploitation of women -- but it always has done. This is one of the reasons why I dislike the "oldest profession" truism: for one thing, it's just not true -- and second, it normalizes sex work in the form of men's ownership of women's bodies. We should object to it on both counts, then.

But I can never get past the idea that sex is really the reason why this occupies such a big part of public discussion. And it really skews arguments of choice, autonomy, commodification, erotic entitlement, etc because we really don't know what to make of it. Sex is both the thing repressed more than anything else, and endlessly talked about in culture, medicine, education, and politics. How the hell are we supposed to approach something that confuses everyone at the first instance?

susan davis

in your "opinion" time bandit, in your opinion. the united nations and the WHO disagree with you.

susan davis

i just want to say that in the john's voice research, sex buyers are for the most part who people here think they are in terms of demographics. they are white hetro sexual males with high incomes, high education and privledge.

there are alot of interesting things in that research. things perhaps people here could use to better describe their position.

http://www.johnsvoice.ca/

the study sample group was largely gathered from online venues, excluding non english speaking or computer illiterate sex buyers out. the methodology is explained there however and it does provide an interesting snap shot of who sex buyers are.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

susan davis wrote:

in your "opinion" time bandit, in your opinion. the united nations and the WHO disagree with you.

Perhaps.  So what?  Do you have a point to make?

susan davis

yes that the united nations and the WHO disagree with you. these are fairly reputable orgs whose policies have people's respect.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

And this addresses the reason for my opinion how?

Fundamentally, commodification of the female body and sexuality exists in sex work.  As long as that is the case, I consider that counter to the aims of feminism. People I might otherwise admire may feel that that's okay, I don't.  I don't give a damn how reputable they are or who else respects them.  Until the commodification can be addressed, I'd be happy to see the sex industry gone.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Catchfire wrote:

Timebandit wrote:
 The problem comes in when you commercialize sex. I still don't see any argument that speaks to the problem of commodification in any substantial way. Ultimately, I don't think you can entirely get past it.

As someone who supports the Nordic model, I'd like to ask what is it about sex work that makes commodification of the human body unacceptable? Or is it a "you have to start somewhere"/walking-and-chewing-gum sort of thing? Is sex work on a continuum with Cosmo magazine covers in this way? It's hard for me to see what is it about sex that (should) make the anti-commodification argument (seemingly) extra urgent when it comes to sex work.

I think there are a variety of differences, one being (at least for me) that nobody dies or is assaulted for being in Cosmo. So the potential for direct harm is there in sex work in a different way. 

There's also a difference in approach within feminism between sex work and media objectification.  Most feminists aren't in favour of Cosmo, emaciated fashion models, bras for six year olds, etc. and so forth, but many are willing to condone sex work, which to me is even more extreme.  In the meantime, many feminists are putting a tremendous amount of effort into changing women's representation in media (Anita Sarkesian is leaping to mind as a newer voice in her take on the gaming industry, for example), so you know, we're already working on that front even though progress is slow.

So, short answer, I don't know a lot of feminists who think that the objectification and commodification of the female form in Cosmo is acceptable - which makes me wonder why it is acceptable in sex work.

Quote:
I find it really hard to settle on a position when it comes to sex work -- to negotiate a solution that both accomodates harm reduction strategies and addresses the fact that sex work is predicated on men's erotic and violent entitlement to the female body. Instances like disability and sex work are, on the contrary, valuable, because they offer potential (if still problematic) alternatives to the dominant dynamic of sex work rooted in patriarchal heterosexual desire. In my head, I liken sex work to polygamy: it doesn't necessarily have to involve the exploitation of women -- but it always has done. This is one of the reasons why I dislike the "oldest profession" truism: for one thing, it's just not true -- and second, it normalizes sex work in the form of men's ownership of women's bodies. We should object to it on both counts, then.

Yes, we should.

I don't see what you describe as potential alternatives as sufficiently different from the mainstream to justify them.  I recognize this is a matter of opinion, but if one of the fundamental bases of feminism is that it is wrong to commodify female bodies/sexuality, then I don't see how to work that knot out of the argument.

Quote:
But I can never get past the idea that sex is really the reason why this occupies such a big part of public discussion. And it really skews arguments of choice, autonomy, commodification, erotic entitlement, etc because we really don't know what to make of it. Sex is both the thing repressed more than anything else, and endlessly talked about in culture, medicine, education, and politics. How the hell are we supposed to approach something that confuses everyone at the first instance?

Sure.  Sex is different.  Why?  I can't claim to authoritatively know, I don't think anyone can.  Could be biological, could be cultural.  Probably both in varying degrees.  But unless we're going to do a complete cultural reset - and we know how likely that is - it's always going to be problematic, especially to feminism. 

susan davis

does the commidification of women's bodies in fashion draw the same reaction? or how about reproductive surrogates? women's bodies are commidified in a broader sense than simply in the sex industry.

for me, because so many of my friends have been hurt or have died, it should be about the safety of sex workers first.

its fine to fight to objectification or commodification of women, but at what expense when it comes to certain decisions, like supporting the nordic model. it makes no sense to say that women are are objectified or treated as commodities so we must put some women at further risk to stop it.

i understand while people feel this way about commodification over all, but why should sex workers be the place where these statements or ideals or objectives are tried? there is a price for the kinds of arguements being made here especially since the problem being discussed is not limited to the sex industry.

sure, work towards changing these things in the world but we need something more pragmatic now. we need help now. some of us will not survive to see the dream realized as it were.

why can't we agree to protect sex workers and respect that they know what they need better than anyone but still fight for an end to commodification/ objectification?

does it have to be all or nothing? no matter the cost? i know people think i am being too "dramatic" when i speak of violence and death faced by sex workers but i am not. it is a crisis. it is happening now.

quizzical

 

susan davis wrote:
it makes no sense to say that women are are objectified or treated as commodities so we must put some women at further risk to stop it.

it makes no sense believing  further commodifcation of us and our bodies is going to halt violence against women or exploitation by those rich white men who you noted above were the main johns or any men reall. putting more women at risk in an effort to stop violence against prostitutes makes no sense at all.

commodification of us has never worked to stop violence against us. history clearly shows this is so. and ya could say the current elevated commodification has increased violence against us.  new reports show violence against women and girls is rapidly increasing again in Canada.

Quote:
i understand while people feel this way about commodification over all, but why should sex workers be the place where these statements or ideals or objectives are tried?

i don't think it is where it is being "tried". even i know efforts by women and feminists all over the world have been and are trying to change men's perceptions of what women and girls are as opposed to the commodity they seem to think we are. i don't identify as a feminist but even i won't listen to chris brown and applauded Canadians this morning for putting pressure on sponsors to have sponsorship pulled for his tour. and yep they did. he was deprived of making money and societal influencing 'cause his violent actions are deemed harmful to women and girls at large

Quote:
sure, work towards changing these things in the world but we need something more pragmatic now. we need help now. some of us will not survive to see the dream realized as it were.

decriminlizing prostitution isn't too pragmatic. and those who are frightened need to ask for help to get out. just the way others workers in other dangerous work fields have. not all dreams have validity ya know! maybe dreaming of a guarenteed basic annual income would be a better

Quote:
why can't we agree to protect sex workers and respect that they know what they need better than anyone but still fight for an end to commodification/ objectification?

'cause decriminalizing prostitution is completely in the opposite direction to ending commodification and objectification. it's really the penultimate expression of commodification. how do you end something by marketing it further? you don't

Quote:
does it have to be all or nothing? no matter the cost? i know people think i am being too "dramatic" when i speak of violence and death faced by sex workers but i am not. it is a crisis. it is happening now.

violence and death face women and girls around the world at the hands of men. legalizing ownership transient or not of us or even rape isn't going to save our lives.

Aristotleded24

[url=http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/we-want-our-corner-back-214868691... John: get lost[/url]

Quote:
Russell Jackson took action. He put up a large white sign at the intersection about a month ago threatening to post the licence plates of johns who frequent the North End neighborhood rife with sex-trade workers.

"That's what made me put them up," said Jackson, leaning on the fence of his property Tuesday. "No kids need to put up with that. Enough is enough.

"The johns doing what they're doing and the girls doing what they're doing, it just defeats the purpose of parents trying to teach their kids that they're not an object."

Nearby signs read "Stop 4 a Date, YouTube UR Plate" and "Stop 4 a Date, Report UR Plate." So far, between 40 and 60 neighborhood residents have begun to post licence-plate numbers on the Facebook page "stop4adate."

Bärlüer

Catchfire wrote:
As someone who supports the Nordic model, I'd like to ask what is it about sex work that makes commodification of the human body unacceptable?

Right there. I find it heartening to see someone who supports an abolitionist position reflect seriously on this question, which for me is one of the central questions in this debate.

As a proponent of decriminalization, I do try to consider in good faith and reflect on the points advanced by people who favor an abolitionist position.

I'll try to explain where I depart from your conclusions below and add a few points of discussion. Apologies in advance for the long-windedness.

Catchfire wrote:
Or is it a "you have to start somewhere"/walking-and-chewing-gum sort of thing? Is sex work on a continuum with Cosmo magazine covers in this way? It's hard for me to see what is it about sex that (should) make the anti-commodification argument (seemingly) extra urgent when it comes to sex work.

There has been a lot of talk about "commodification of the human (or female) body" in this thread. I'd like to get more precise about this notion, unpack it a little bit if possible.

Before addressing this directly, let me make a slight detour (sorry).

What is it about slavery that makes it almost universally condemned? Let's look at some of its defining characteristics: 1) people are literally treated as property; 2) work is compulsory; 3) they receive no compensation; 4) they cannot of their own volition leave the state that they are in.

People who are familiar with the history of employment law might know that the modern employment relationship was once referred to (and until not at all long ago...) as a "master-servant relationship". Legally speaking, the central feature of the employment relationship, as opposed to entrepreneurs, is the existence of subordination. There can be various degrees of subordination, but the notion always involves some form of control by the employer over the work that is to be accomplished by the employee.

The point I'm slowly getting at here — and I'm sure it will be an uncontroversial one, at least in these parts — is that even in modern employment relationships, the agency of the employee can be extremely minimal. The control over the employee can be extremely extensive and can reduce his or her autonomy to very little. "External" forces (say, market forces in capitalist economies [or, I guess, bureaucratic directives in planned economies]) can further restrain the sphere of autonomy of the worker (they can also "expand" it, or, more appropriately, provide for a bare minimum [various labour standards legislation and regulations]).

And yet, despite this potentially minimal agency, we find and agree that there is a gulf, legally and morally speaking, between slavery and minimal-agency employment. The employee is not literally owned by the employer — although the employer can exert tremendous control over him or her. The employee receives compensation — in return for executing whatever the employer directs him or her to do, provided it is within the confines of the law. The employee can leave — but in some circumstances, doing so might entail a breach of contract/penalties... and of course, it entails deprivation of means of subsistence.

Let's go back to commodification, now.

I understand commodification to mean the assignment of economic value to something (not previously considered in economic terms). (That's what Wikipedia says, anyway.)

It seems appropriate to speak of commodification of a human being in the case of slavery because the person as a whole is literally owned by someone, and its work potential is under the complete control of the slave-owner.

We don't speak of commodification of a human being in the case of modern employment relationships. Or do we? If we do, then there wouldn't remain any fundamental difference, commodification-wise, between employment relationships in general and sex work. So let's say we don't apply this phrase to employment relationships.

Now, what to make of the focus on the "body"? I've already spoken a little bit about this in another thread in the Sex Work forum, so forgive me if I repeat myself slightly, but I feel this is an important aspect to think about.

So, if I understand the argument correctly, sex work is said to entail (or even consist in) "commodification of the human body". In what sense is that the case for sex work and not the case in other types of work? (Annnnnnd we're back to the question from the beginning.)

All work "involves" the human body. Some more than others. Some way more than others.

The work of a miner exerts tremendous demands on the human body. Massage therapists (let's say ones who don't do sex work) not only work with their body but are in physical contact with other bodies in their line of work. As are nurses. And think of athletes! Etc.

Does the work performed by these workers entail or consist in "commodification of the human body"? If it does, again, we'd lose the basis of differentiation that would allow us to treat sex work differently. If it doesn't, well, um, why? What is the difference?

I've seen advanced the idea that sex work is akin to or entails "ownership" of the human body. I can't agree with this proposition. First of all, there is obviously not any "literal" ownership involved as in slavery.

Since "literal ownership" cannot be established, the remaining proposition is that there is something akin to ownership in sex work. I guess the argument would be to the effect that the control over the body of the sex worker is so direct and extensive that it can only amount to ownership.

This proposition too cannot be sustained.

First, sex work is the provision of a service, not the sale of a good. But in case one feels the distinction between goods and services might be unduly formalistic (I think it's rather relevant and useful in this case, but let's carry on), let's continue the analysis. Some of the definining features of ownership are the exclusiveness of control over property (to the detriment of everyone else) and the ability to alienate (sell) it. These elements are not present in sex work — the client does not acquire the sex worker, barring anyone from even touching him or her, but rather pays for the provision of a service (I'll touch on the terms of the service in just a few moments). Neither does the client acquire the right to sell the sex worker to someone else. If those elements are present, then the sex worker is no longer a sex worker, but rather a sex slave, which attracts condemnation as virulent as slavery does.

What about pimps, one might ask? Couldn't they be characterized as owners? Again, not unless they exert their control in the manner of a slave-owner. The scenario in the above paragraph, in which a sex worker works on her own and concludes a transaction with a client is that of a contract for services in which the sex worker is an autonomous worker (that is, not an employee, per employment law terms). In the case of sex workers working through an organization directed by a procurer, the shift is from an autonomous worker situation to an employment relationship one, where the procurer is the employer. (That is basically how the laws on employment would be applied were they to be applied, an hypothesis that is not that far fetched if all aspects of sex work were to be made legal.) If however the pimp prohibits the sex worker to quit, does not compensate her, etc., then the situation veers into sex slavery, or at the very least exploitation — both of which are morally condemnable and subject to criminal prosecution.

What about the terms of the transaction between the sex worker and the client? They are usually negotiated, as in many other contracts for services. The room for negotiation will certainly vary from one situation to the other, and it may be slight in some cases, which is a serious cause for concern. (Note however, as mentioned earlier, that in so many fields of economic activity today, workers have very little control over the terms under which they will perform work. I also acknowledge that "external forces" [such as market forces, see above...] can exert pressure on what terms can possibly be negotiated.) It seems to me that one of the most important goals of decriminalization, of taking sex work out of the shadows, is to shine a light on these transactions, such that abuses can more easily be redressed. And, why not, sex workers could also eventually leverage the tools of collective bargaining to have better control on their work conditions. (I seem to recall the case of a Californian strip club where sex workers attempted [succeded?] to unionize.)

I'd also like to briefly address your (Catchfire's) comment on the notion that "sex work is predicated on men's erotic and violent entitlement to the female body." What exactly is meant by "entitlement", here? I'll proceed under the assumption that this is an idea distinct from that of "ownership", which I've already tried to address. Surely a transaction, that is, the negotiated provision of a service, cannot be referred to as an entitlement.

I'll thus read "entitlement" as pointing toward the more general "availability" of the service itself, that is, the fact that sex work exists, both in fact and as a legal activity. Under such an acception, again, I have trouble seeing why the term ought to be applied to sex work and not other situations. Do we speak of "entitlement" to, I don't know, fiscal planning services because such a service is available and legal? Do we speak of "entitlement" to (non-sex-work) massage therapy because such a service is available and legal? Why then would such a term be applied to sex work?

So, to recap, I've tried to explain why I think that the notion of "commodification of the human body" cannot be applied to sex work as a marker that would differentiate it from other types of work, especially other physically-intensive types of work. I've tried to explain why I think that sex work cannot be characterized as consisting in the acquisition of property, but that it rather should properly be characterized as the payment of money to obtain the performance of services. I've tried to explain that the agency of workers will vary from one situation to another, as it does for other types of work, and that decriminalization ought to have as one of its prime objectives the amelioration of sex workers' agency, be it through general increased transparency, visibility to the institutions of the state, application of regulatory mechanisms, and availability of collective bargaining.

I've not addressed here another issue which I think is crucial, which is the difference between the ("moral") desirability of an activity and its criminalization. By this I open the door to the possibility that even if you reject what I've argued above and still consider sex work to be repugnant on a moral basis, you might agree that it is not a good idea to criminalize it. Perhaps another time.

Bacchus

Athletes=commodification of the body

susan davis

Interesting post B, alot to think about....

quizzical wrote:

it makes no sense believing  further commodifcation of us and our bodies is going to halt violence against women or exploitation by those rich white men who you noted above were the main johns or any men reall. putting more women at risk in an effort to stop violence against prostitutes makes no sense at all.

commodification of us has never worked to stop violence against us. history clearly shows this is so. and ya could say the current elevated commodification has increased violence against us.  new reports show violence against women and girls is rapidly increasing again in Canada.

what elevated commodification? how do you know violence against women in canada isn't increasing because of increased reporting ?

Quote:

i don't think it is where it is being "tried". even i know efforts by women and feminists all over the world have been and are trying to change men's perceptions of what women and girls are as opposed to the commodity they seem to think we are. i don't identify as a feminist but even i won't listen to chris brown and applauded Canadians this morning for putting pressure on sponsors to have sponsorship pulled for his tour. and yep they did. he was deprived of making money and societal influencing 'cause his violent actions are deemed harmful to women and girls at large

how does criminalizing sex work further this goal? the noridc model of criminalization is new and it is being proposed that it be "tried" here....

Quote:

decriminlizing prostitution isn't too pragmatic. and those who are frightened need to ask for help to get out. just the way others workers in other dangerous work fields have. not all dreams have validity ya know! maybe dreaming of a guarenteed basic annual income would be a better

you make it sound easy to get out, like its easy for sex workers to report violence they experience. its not like other workers, we face extreme bias, discrimination and stigma. your comment on this is dismissive and naiive. its common knowledge that sex workers are treated extremely poorly when attempting to access supports. this was one of the contributing factors to the disaster in the case of the missing women.

Quote:

'cause decriminalizing prostitution is completely in the opposite direction to ending commodification and objectification. it's really the penultimate expression of commodification. how do you end something by marketing it further? you don't

  

again, there is no consideration for the people affected. your position is to seek an ideaolgical goal. not to help people. it seems like you don't care about the people affected as long as you further the goal.

 

Quote:

violence and death face women and girls around the world at the hands of men. legalizing ownership transient or not of us or even rape isn't going to save our lives.

transient ownership? where do you come up with these terms.....whatever...the transient ownership as you've described it is already legal. its been said here more than once. we are not looking for legalization, we already have that. we are seeking to be decriminalized, to not be considered a criminal. do you consider workers, even the most marginalized and racilaized women, to be criminals? and how is legalizing "rape" related at all to decriminalizing sex work?

sex work does not equal rape

why not fight for stiffer sentencing of predators? or livable wages and welfare rates? or removal of discriminatory policies and practices entrenched in victims services...?biased policing? ministry of child and family development reforms? why not join in defending sex workers as mothers, sisters and lovers? why not fight to show sex workers are human beings and valued by their families? wouldn't raising the status and value of the most marginalized women and girls, raise the status of women and girls over all? this all ignores the male and trans individuals who also work in the sex industry.

its like you are saying if they want help, they can ask, if the don't help or don't ask, they get what they deserve in the greater goal to end the commodification of women and girls....

i just don't understand this arguement at all

susan davis

on a lighter note...i would just like to say Cool "unregulated ejaculation responses profiteer" my favorite name i was ever called!! i still talk about it when i lecture!!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Nice post, Bärlüer.

Bärlüer wrote:
I find it heartening to see someone who supports an abolitionist position reflect seriously on this question, which for me is one of the central questions in this debate.

Yes. I agree with Timebandit's explanation re: feminists objecting to any form of objectification or commodification (not the same thing, but close enough) in media, labour, politics and so on -- and while it does make the argument for why some feminists might want to take up the abolitionist battle regarding sex work, it doesn't completely answer the question for me as to why, say, an anti-capitalist (because it sounds like an anti-capitalist argument) would object to sex work on economic grounds.

The only way I can get to an answer to this question (and I'm not there yet) is to look not at what sex work is, but how it works -- which is why I brought up entitlement. You're right that it's related to availability, but availability is evidence of entitlement, not a synonym (availability can also contribute to entitlement's persistance and growth, but it's best not to look at them in a cause and effect relationship, I think).

Entitlements are also not inherently good or bad -- we'd all agree that we're entitled to food, shelter, water, health care, education -- maybe even employment, community, recreation, fitness and holidays. These aren't the same as what's available -- in fact, often these things are opposed. Rather, they are a set of expectations, norms and values created through various discursive forms -- legal systems, culture, social mores, schools, governments and other institutions.

Men's fulfillment of heterosexual desire is a pretty longstanding norm -- when Nick Bottom gets his head turned into a donkey's in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the beautiful Faerie queen Titania falls in love with him, Bottom just goes with it. If that's not masculine erotic entitlement I don't know what is. Put simply, entitlements means that "I deserve this," but we can already see it can take many different forms: a disourse of "rights," necessary to "happiness," part of human dignity and so on.

Timebandit asked this question upthread and I think it's an important one: why should anyone get their rocks off? You don't have to be sex negative to ask this question -- you just need to want an answer to it. I think the sex work/disability issue refracts this question in new ways -- because the world tells us every day that (heterosexual) men "deserve" to gaze at the female body, sexualize it, morselize it, and occasionally pay it to have sex with them. Feminists should and do fight this social norm every day -- but what if we also believe that sex enjoys some special relationship to the human condition? Even though a man living with disability might harbour harmful anti-feminists expectations about sex, does this discredit his "entitlement" to accessing what others take for granted? I don't know -- mostly because (in my limited experience) sex work has developed sociohistorically to service men's needs from a very narrow (and harmful) point of view.

Finally, this: 

"unregulated ejaculation responses profiteer"

is pretty funny.

Bärlüer

Thanks for your response.

Catchfire wrote:
Entitlements are also not inherently good or bad -- we'd all agree that we're entitled to food, shelter, water, health care, education -- maybe even employment, community, recreation, fitness and holidays. These aren't the same as what's available -- in fact, often these things are opposed. Rather, they are a set of expectations, norms and values created through various discursive forms -- legal systems, culture, social mores, schools, governments and other institutions.

OK, now we're going in a more specific direction (about the meaning of "entitlement"). The idea that "you should (and possibly even will, if you meet the qualifications) be provided with [x]".

Catchfire wrote:
Put simply, entitlements means that "I deserve this," but we can already see it can take many different forms: a disourse of "rights," necessary to "happiness," part of human dignity and so on.

Now, that's interesting. It seems to me that in the first part I've quoted, you're describing more of a social form of entitlement, whereas, in the second quote, you're evoking the notion of individual entitlement (as in the expression "a sense of entitlement", perhaps). These appear to be two very different notions, as the first implies a certain form of political determination (this is what we're going to provide as a society, or try to, anyway) whereas the second one doesn't. The satisfaction of social entitlements would depend on the efficiency of the distributive mechanisms in a given society, whereas the satisfaction of personal entitlement will depend on whether one can have someone's will meet his own, either by negotiation, payment, or through sheer force...

Bärlüer

I realize now I might have made this last sentence sound more nefarious than it is, what with the reference to "sheer force", but it isn't necessarily so, I would say. Life is rife with negotiations, commerce, etc., where one person tries to have the other's will meet its own.

But, going back to the notion that sex work is predicated on men's entitlement to the female body:

What if, for instance, you would like to taste this fancy and expensive chocolate or something. You think to yourself "Oohh... I deserve this." Or even just: "Oooh... I want this."

Clearly, most people wouldn't put "fancy and expensive chocolate" in the category of things that should be the object of a "social entitlement", let's say. (Just to evacuate the [admittedly very interesting] discussion of is/when/how/etc. sex a "need" that could be the object of what I call a "social entitlement")

Would you say that "Fancy and expensive chocolate is predicated on people's entitlement to delicious sweets"?

Unionist

Incredibly minute and legalistic conversations, without meaning to be disrespectful...

I think this is where I'm at right now:

Unionist wrote:
Some people - even among those who support decriminalization - genuinely believe that the very existence of prostitution is a byproduct and a symbol of the degradation and commodification of women - even when it is "consensual", which the vast majority of sex for money transactions in Canada no doubt are.

So, as I see it, sex work (which is almost always performed by women, in our society and every other one I've ever heard of - coincidence?) is in my view on a par (other than questions of degree) with: beauty pageants, striptease, scantily clad women in suggestive poses used to sell goods by pandering to male fantasies... And I'll throw in polygamy (it's almost always one man + many women, ain't it?), most pornography, and I'll stop there.

I'm talking about consensual activities. Non-consensual sex work is rape, isn't it? I don't think we need to debate whether rape should be abolished or not.

And I gather that "commodification" means different things to different people. I didn't mean it in the sense that a person (or their time) is bought and sold. That happens to all workers in our society. Sex work isn't "special" in that regard.

My concern is this: inequality, dehumanization, degradation, humiliation, subjugation, subordination. In a word: Patriarchy. Men lording it over women. Women having fewer political, social, and economic rights than men. Women being viewed primarily or solely through a prism of how they can be useful to men - in the bedroom, the kitchen, the feminine job ghetto, the magazine cover, the brothel...

In those respects, I find prostitution as demeaning and deplorable as the other phenomena I mentioned. It is a product, and an ongoing cause both, of the inequality of women.

And, like the other activities mentioned, I do not believe it should be "criminalized" - whether the provision or receipt of services - with the obvious exceptions of compulsion and exploitation. You'll have to criminalize the bankers and oil barons first.

So, I don't see "abolition" of prostitution (as I understand it) as a more immediate and urgent and worthy goal than any of the other mentioned phenomena. The urgent task (in my opinion as someone not involved in the trade) is to guarantee the health and safety of sex workers, and the vigorous prosecution compulsion and trafficking etc. where it exists.

What needs to be abolished is the inequality of women, in all its aspects. On the glorious day when that is achieved - then perhaps sex work too, as we now know it, will fade away - except perhaps for therapeutic purposes, as mentioned by some above, in which case it should be provided as part of the public health care system, free of charge to the recipient and single-payer.

 

 

 

susan davis

Aristotleded24 wrote:

[url=http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/we-want-our-corner-back-214868691... John: get lost[/url]

Quote:
Russell Jackson took action. He put up a large white sign at the intersection about a month ago threatening to post the licence plates of johns who frequent the North End neighborhood rife with sex-trade workers.

"That's what made me put them up," said Jackson, leaning on the fence of his property Tuesday. "No kids need to put up with that. Enough is enough.

"The johns doing what they're doing and the girls doing what they're doing, it just defeats the purpose of parents trying to teach their kids that they're not an object."

Nearby signs read "Stop 4 a Date, YouTube UR Plate" and "Stop 4 a Date, Report UR Plate." So far, between 40 and 60 neighborhood residents have begun to post licence-plate numbers on the Facebook page "stop4adate."

this tactic does nothing to stop sex work. it simply displaces people into neighboring communities and the affects with it. the only way to adress the nuisance related complaints in communities affected by the street level sex industry is to stop closing brothels.

Bärlüer

Unionist wrote:

Incredibly minute and legalistic conversations, without meaning to be disrespectful...

Probably; reflective of my frames of reference and analytical tics...

As notions such as degradation and humiliation are deeply tied to a sense of self-worth and as I am neither a women nor a self-worker, I'll simply refrain from passing moral judgment and note the many voices of sex workers expressing themselves on the subject and basically relating that they do not deem that their work has the inherent property of producing these effects (without meaning to be disrespectful... Wink)

Aside from this little bit of ping-pong snark... it really does seem to me that there is a whole lot of common ground in the perspectives that have been put forth lately in this thread.

Mórríghain

susan davis wrote:
this tactic does nothing to stop sex work. it simply displaces people into neighboring communities and the affects with it. the only way to adress the nuisance related complaints in communities affected by the street level sex industry is to stop closing brothels.

 

In the early 1990s every neighbourhood in Toronto that had a stroll also had one or more local residents associations which set up their own shame-the-john campaigns. The angry residents promised to photograph the cars of curb crawling men, record licence numbers, turn said information over to the police, even contact wives and/or girlfriends of accused 'johns'. The shaming campaigns lasted about as long as the media paid attention to the residents; once the media spotlight was directed elsewhere the campaigns, without fail, fizzled out. While the issue was hot the prostitutes just switched to working less-travelled nearby streets; once the issue died down and heads were levelled the biz returned to the usual stroll streets. I doubt the overall flow of street sex trade suffered much more than a hiccup. The 2013 variations of these shame campaigns are not new, they only employ better technology. One good lawsuit by someone falsely accused would likely end the practice.

In early 1990s Toronto the policing of brothels (or lack thereof) had no impact on the street trade and the accompanying vigilantism. There was a gap, a disconnect as it were, between houses and strolls; that may have changed by now, but I doubt it.

 

 

jas

Timebandit wrote:

Sure.  Sex is different.  Why?  I can't claim to authoritatively know, I don't think anyone can.  Could be biological, could be cultural.  Probably both in varying degrees.  But unless we're going to do a complete cultural reset - and we know how likely that is - it's always going to be problematic, especially to feminism. 

I'm wondering if it has something to do with women's vulnerability to rape, and living in what many people call a rape culture.

I'm having a hard time understanding how people can't see this. In a culture where men are privileged and women are rewarded for being subordinate, how can we say a woman's "choice" to commodify her body is an equal opportunity choice? Even Susan Davis has said that if she had the option to take on a different profession that pays as well or better, she would.

And can we drop the "but what about the poor disabled people" arguments?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Press Release from ICRSE

Press Release from the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE):

From Turkey to Sweden, recent murders and violent attacks on sex workers spark an unprecedented wave of international action calling for an end to stigma and criminalisation.

Last week, with one day apart, members of the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers (ICRSE) learned of the violent murders of two women. On Tuesday, Dora, a trans woman and sex worker in Kusadasi, Aydin in Turkey was stabbed by a client. On Thursday, Jasmine, a mother of two children and a sex worker, was also stabbed – by her ex-husband.

ICRSE and all its members are offering its condolences to all family members, friends and colleagues of Dora and Jasmine. But the sadness and grief that those murders provoke has also raised activist anger and revolt at the systems worldwide that fail to protect sex workers from discrimination, violence and murder....

https://jasmineanddora.wordpress.com/media/press-releases/press-release-...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

New York

Please check Facebook here

Friday 3pm Turkish Consulate
825 Third avenue, 28th Floor

“As the sex trade becomes an ever more important part of how neoliberal economies handle the poorest and most marginalized, violence against sex workers – particularly against transgender and immigrant women – has become a tragic epidemic. Please join us this Friday, where we will be rallying in solidarity with sex workers all over the world to commemorate two women, Dora Özer and Petite Jasmine, who brutally lost their lives last week in Turkey and Sweden.”

Francesca Allan

jas wrote:

Timebandit wrote:

Sure.  Sex is different.  Why?  I can't claim to authoritatively know, I don't think anyone can.  Could be biological, could be cultural.  Probably both in varying degrees.  But unless we're going to do a complete cultural reset - and we know how likely that is - it's always going to be problematic, especially to feminism. 

I'm wondering if it has something to do with women's vulnerability to rape, and living in what many people call a rape culture.

I'm having a hard time understanding how people can't see this. In a culture where men are privileged and women are rewarded for being subordinate, how can we say a woman's "choice" to commodify her body is an equal opportunity choice?

I totally agree with you both. I think it has something to do with men feeling entitled to sex which is something they take, rather than something that is shared. Of course, I'm certainly not referring to all men here. I'm 47 now and have been in a few relationships where I was made to feel that I "owed" my partner sex. Even if I didn't feel like it, I found myself feeling obliged to have sex; it's like it was part of the "deal." Come to think of it, having a man take you out to dinner and then expect sexual favours in return isn't much different from prostitution, is it?

ETA: Can't get rid of the tiny font, sorry.

susan davis

i just want to say that the conversation is really changing in tone. i appreciate that people are looking at the issue in a more broad sense. people's posts have been thoughtful and respectful.

i find myself pondering the greater underlying issues and how they relate to sex work in a new deeper way. i still feel the same way about the nordic model and decrim but feel like we're having a meaningful discussion.

susan davis

epaulo13 wrote:
Press Release from ICRSE

Press Release from the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE):

From Turkey to Sweden, recent murders and violent attacks on sex workers spark an unprecedented wave of international action calling for an end to stigma and criminalisation.

Last week, with one day apart, members of the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers (ICRSE) learned of the violent murders of two women. On Tuesday, Dora, a trans woman and sex worker in Kusadasi, Aydin in Turkey was stabbed by a client. On Thursday, Jasmine, a mother of two children and a sex worker, was also stabbed – by her ex-husband.

ICRSE and all its members are offering its condolences to all family members, friends and colleagues of Dora and Jasmine. But the sadness and grief that those murders provoke has also raised activist anger and revolt at the systems worldwide that fail to protect sex workers from discrimination, violence and murder....

https://jasmineanddora.wordpress.com/media/press-releases/press-release-...

vancouver held an event...

http://rabble.ca/babble/sex-worker-rights/memorial-swedish-sex-worker-activist-petite-jasmine

we are connected to sex workers all over the planet. i recently had an email from workers in mali ! we get regular messages from the rose alliance and the ICRSW.

Mórríghain

Francesca Allan wrote:
Come to think of it, having a man take you out to dinner and then expect sexual favours in return isn't much different from prostitution, is it?
Quote:

I think tis very different. The relationship between the prostitute and the customer is very straight forward—seller and buyer of (ideally) agreed upon service. There are no games, no subtle, sly messages, no footsies under the table. Tis just so simple, which is one of the aspects of prostitution that makes it appealing to many customers, often the kind of men who solicit comments like, "Why would he resort to a prostitute?" when they get caught, ie. Hugh Grant.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..about a month ago i attended a demo on the downtown east side re social housing/stopping evictions. more than once i overheard comments that they were pleased to see the increased participation of sex workers in the struggle over gentrification.

jas

epaulo13, not sure what your posts have to do with this thread. Maybe they belong in an activism thread in the sex workers rights forum? Just a suggestion.

susan davis

jas i am curious what it is about people with disabilities purchasing sex and being part of the discussion is so hard for you?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

jas wrote:

epaulo13, not sure what your posts have to do with this thread. Maybe they belong in an activism thread in the sex workers rights forum? Just a suggestion.

txs jas

..i meant no disrespect with my posts nor did i intend a thread drift. as i try to understand the various points of view in this tread i came across my 1st post re the world wide action over the failure of societies to protect sex workers. my new york post tied sex workers to behaviours of neoliberalism. and my 3rd post was a personal observation that seemed to me connected to my 2 previous posts.

..what i attempt to show is how this is perceived at a grassroots level. what are the priorities identified. and how this aspect of our society is integrating into the larger struggle today. it would have been better if i explained myself earlier. i apologize for not doing so. and if i have misunderstood in any way, and this is a drift away from topic i will redouble my efforts to understand. i'm very much aware that this is a feminist thread and i will respect that.

edited 1 word :)

Elle Fury

I know this thread is a bit old, but I thought I'd add a little bit to the conversation re: decriminalization.

For those who claim that New Zealand is a model for decrim, you should be aware that the problems inherent in prostution have not improved there. And if you want evidence, you can go straight to the government's own report, which claims that the model is a sucess, but if you read it closely, you will see that this is not the case. 

Feminist abolitionist activist, Sam Berg, provides an excellent take down of this report here:http://genderberg.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3567

Here are some highlights:

“The majority of sex workers felt that the law could do little about violence that occurred.” (page 14) 

35% reported in 2007 that they had been coerced to prostitute with a given john in the past 12 months. (page 46) 

A majority of respondents felt that decriminalization made no difference with respect to the violence of johns in prostitution – they felt that it was inevitably a part of the sex industry. (page 57) 

Street prostitution in Auckland more than doubled in just one year, 2006-7. (page 118).

The Report notes that “few” sex workers, regardless of whether they were prostituting indoors or outdoors, reported any of the incidents of violence or crimes against them to the police. (page 122) 

Many owners of brothels have the same exploitive contract arrangements that existed before prostitution was decriminalized. Often no written contracts or their questionable quality. (page 157) 

Now, brace yourself. I want to show you something that should cause great alarm but won't because it is a lie told in the service of cunt delivery and lies shoring up the male right to cunt are not considered lies at all.

Buried deep in Section 8 are details about increases in street prostitution since the law passed:

In 2006, Auckland counted 106 street prostitutes and Christchurch 100. By 2007, Auckland counted 230 street prostitutes and Christchurch 121. See the increases? The report states, ”Auckland outreach workers also reported an ‘influx of sex workers on the streets in the six to eight months prior to June 2007.'"

The report mentions, ”Streetreach is a non-governmental organisation that provides support for street-based sex workers in Auckland and Manukau cities. Streetreach believes there has been an overall increase in the number of street-based sex workers in the Auckland region since decriminalization.”

The report also mentions, “In Christchurch, some residents in and around the street prostitution area report an increase in the number of sex workers since the passage of the PRA (St Lukes Body Corporate, 2007). Information received from other residents from the same area indicates that sex workers are now seen working during daylight hours, as well as at night (Residents of Manchester, Peterborough and Salisbury Street corners, 2007).”

Clearly, lots of people who live next to and work directly with street populations have reported increased street prostitution in New Zealand.

So what conclusion does the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective draw from this and more evidence in their own fucking report that I left out for brevity’s sake?

“The numbers of street-based sex workers have remained stable since the enactment of the PRA, with comparable numbers on the streets to estimates done prior to decriminalization. The Committee endorses the findings of the CSOM that the enactment of the PRA has had little impact on the numbers of people working in the sex industry.”

Do you see that? Do you see what they did?

My favorite bit of pimp-cocksuckery can be found in the summary where the damning evidence of Christchurch’s street prostitution increase in 2007 is ignored in favor of pre-2006 numbers, “A comparison between the number of sex workers in Christchurch in 1999 and 2006 shows that the total has stayed approximately the same over that period.”

They had numbers for Christchurch in 2007. In 2006, Christchurch had 100 sex workers and by 2007 Christchurch had 121 sex workers. But the numbers didn’t support the sex industry agenda so they were intentionally omitted. Few people care enough to do more than just skim these reports for what suits their purposes, but as a member of the anti cunt-delivery camp I have learned to look beyond press releases for unconsidered evidence.

 

Elle Fury

Also, using the challenges faced by disabled people (one oppressed group) as a reason to justify the sexual exploitation of women (another oppressed group) is just GROSS. The following article written by a disabled women explains WHY:http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/aug/23/disabled-people-sex-lives-equality

From the article: 

"We don't need to exploit prostitutes to have sex – but we do need equality in society for the myths to be debunked."

"The debate around disability, sex and using prostitutes is nothing new. The initial rhetoric is always the same: "Those poor disabled people who can't get sex. It's tragic, really." From there, opinion usually splits between liberals who are happy for disabled people to frequent brothels, feminists who reluctantly disagree, and a few people who admit to finding the idea of disabled people having sex a bit icky. Everyone agrees, uncritically, that being disabled means sex is scarce. Those assumptions are loaded with prejudice and myth, and some debunking would be in order [...]"

"There are all manner of factors that make it more difficult for disabled people to meet prospective sexual partners, not least poor physical access to social venues – but the biggest obstacle is other people's attitudes...This has as much to do with ignorance as it does with our culture's obsession with perfect bodies."

"And yet, I've heard feminists generally opposed to the sex industry saying "but what about disabled people who need sex?" They are not only buying into the myth of the undesired, undesirable disabled person, they are also denying us a voice when we are quite capable of speaking for ourselves. If sexism in society can be challenged, so can this prejudice."

"It's also rarely explicitly said that this debate is about disabled men. There are few stories of disabled women using sex services – the concern seems to be about men's need for sex: the representation of a sex-starved man and desexualised disabled person in the same body. This is a confusing and unfair image of disabled men, who are just as capable of making respectful choices towards women as their non-disabled counterparts."

"Otto Baxter, the subject of a recent BBC documentary whose mother wanted to pay for a prostitute for him, reportedly decided he would rather make his own independent choices around sex. While that may not be what every disabled person decides, given the way many people see us, he chose not to accept the myth that no one would ever be attracted to him."

"When we are seen as equal people,equally sexual people, we will be empowered to move on from the idea that we can only have sex by exploiting others."

 

Sorr, I ended up quoting almost the article, but I couldn't help it! It's SO good. 

susan davis

really? "cunt delivery service? this shit is your arguement?

personally i am so offended to be known as a cunt deliverer....how is it within reason to call us cunt deliverers or to reduce us to merely the vessel delivering the cunt?

ella, cock suckery and other terms used by the author highlight his hatred of sex workers. it is blatant hatred and is not the foundation of an arguement.

it certainly is not feminist to use these kinds of terms in a serious discussion about the future of my community.

Elle Fury

@susan davis

You are a sneaky one, aren't you?!  Don't address the arguments made, but pick out a few words from the post and attempt to twist their intended use. The author of the post was referring to PIMPS not prostituted women when SHE used the term cock suckery. But susan davis (*cough* deliberately) forgot to include this. And not sure where you got the "cunt delivery" term. But whatever. Most people can see through you, and your shallow non-arguments. 

Bacchus

Or your Puritan ones

quizzical

Bacchus wrote:
Or your Puritan ones

Uh....i guess you feel it's all good to attack a woman in the feminist forum for her perceptions 'bout the attempts to continue to make women objects of exploitation  through what other countries have called decrim or legalization of prostitution.

what a crock!!!!!!!!

MegB

Elle Fury wrote:

@susan davis

You are a sneaky one, aren't you?!  Don't address the arguments made, but pick out a few words from the post and attempt to twist their intended use. The author of the post was referring to PIMPS not prostituted women when SHE used the term cock suckery. But susan davis (*cough* deliberately) forgot to include this. And not sure where you got the "cunt delivery" term. But whatever. Most people can see through you, and your shallow non-arguments. 

Actually, cunt-delivery is in the last line of your quote. I won't comment on whether it's an offensive term or not, but I do think that its hyperbolic, sensationalist use does a disservice to the statistics used to support the position of the writer.

Bacchus

quizzical wrote:

Bacchus wrote:
Or your Puritan ones

uh......i guess you feel it's all good to attack a woman in the feminist forum for her perceptions 'bout the attempts to continue to make women objects of exploitation  through what other countries have called decrim or legalization of prostitution.

what a crock!!!!!!!!

 

Actually I thought this was in the sex workers forum in which attacking them is not allowed

quizzical

Bacchus wrote:
quizzical wrote:
Bacchus wrote:
Or your Puritan ones
uh......i guess you feel it's all good to attack a woman in the feminist forum for her perceptions 'bout the attempts to continue to make women objects of exploitation  through what other countries have called decrim or legalization of prostitution.

what a crock!!!!!!!!

Actually I thought this was in the sex workers forum in which attacking them is not allowed

i'm not sure what exactly you're sayin here. sounds like you're sayin you think it's okay to attack a poster 'cause they were posting something you felt was an attack on "them" sex workers. are you?

is the sex worker's rights forum only got "them" there sex workers posting in it?

 

Bacchus

No but in that forum it is supposed to be from a pro sex worker outlook only, just like the First Nations or Feminist or Labour forum.

 

So yes I spoke up for what I saw as an attack

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Bacchus - the thread was opened in the feminist forum because the subject, when broached in the sex workers' forum, was clearly not welcome.  And yet, eliminating sex work still is a position that many feminists hold and would perhaps like to talk about.

Personally, I do my best to stay out of the sex workers' forum, even though sex work and its intersection with feminism is something of concern to me.  I appreciate that my views are not welcome in that forum and am doing my best to respect that. 

Much as I dislike the way some of the positions in Elle's links and quotes were expressed, she may have some valid points - certainly about the "what about the poor disabled people" gambit (don't you find that patronising?) and I'm interested in how things have panned out (or not) in New Zealand. 

It's also true that susan has a habit of taking a phrase and focusing in on it with great drama while ignoring the vast majority of the substance of the post.

I've seen nothing posted in the sex workers' forum or anywhere else to dissuade me from the position that as long as the sex industry exists, the continued objectification and commodification of the female body will continue and affect our culture, making it a much worse place for women than it needs to be.  You can't get away from that fundamental - without commodification, you don't have industry.  As long as you have commodification, you have misogyny.  Will eliminating the sex industry result in eliminating misogyny?  Probably not.  But I contend that it will give it less reinforcement as a cultural norm.

quizzical

no....ya didn't speak up.... :( you attacked by labelling someone a "puritan". given what they did to women creates nasty undertones against women esp. those who believe for good reasons decrim or legalized prostitution holds nothing good for women. it's a nasty nasty silencing attack beyond its labelling quotient.

Bacchus

*shrugs*  Not meant to be silencing. Condemning but not silencing

 

I have no dog in this race quizz, but I tend to believe those with experience about it instead of the theologians or moralizers about it.  Just like I have no dog in gay marriage but I believe in live and let live and do what thou wilt an it hurt none

 

Exploitation? To be stamped out. Mere prostitution? Regulated and policed and otherwise left alone

Bacchus

And thanks TB, Im not positive where I stand definitively but I know too many who have done it and liked the benefits while bemoaning the pitfalls (like many jobs I guess)

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I can understand that on an individual level, Bacchus - It's the big picture that I can't get past, the aggregate of what acceptance of a level of commodification means in terms of how our culture views and treats women.  I just can't find the positive in it.

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