Dominant Culture, Feminism, Drowning out the voices of sex workers

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remind remind's picture

... must wear safety glasses, take certification courses, wear steel toed boots,  have your hair back when serving or preparing food,  have a degree for certain professions, and all sorts of other things.

but I am not sure what point this has, other than deflecting away from male's wanting to keep their rights to exploit women intrinsic, and away from some  women's support of said endeavour, who will never face prostitution, while believing they are doing something to create safety for women and alliviate their poverty and feel comfort from their "progressive stance",  and all will get to congratualate themselves on a job well done. that is until what other countries who have decriminalized or legalized it have found out, happens here too. But then it will be too late for many and no real anti-poverty strategies have happened, and men will still believe they have special rights.

This is serious, whatever decision is made is going to impact WOMEN  universally the most, NOT men, either way. And if someone tries to say it will impact men too, it will be more pukeable than it already is. men belittling people who show concern about this topic and its impactas upon women, says much. None of it good.

As you can see, I have pretty much decided what side I come down on now with this.

Too many men showing a vested interest in having the right to exploit women, who are in no position to do other for themselves, because of the racist and sexist society we live in. They do not have a choice most often. The men IMV, are merely advocating for status quo, or enhanced rights to abuse and exploit.

And too many personal attacks against those who have made a huge difference in the lives of  1000's of exploited and abused women, for me to take them seriously now, when they put forth their vision of how prostitution would benefit women.

Then, when people like Ghislaine, who advocates chastity until marriage comes down in support of prostitution, and thereby "others", other women, I cannot in good conscience support what they support.

 

remind remind's picture

Oh ya snert, there are no 12 year old girls on the stroll, being picked up by john's, It is all consenting adults doing it. FFS

 

Lee Lakeman

Regarding whether or not we should promote the idea of a "personal right" to sell our bodies in prostitution:  You might find it helpful, I did, to think why we in Canadian law and social policy ban people from selling their body parts or even their own blood and whether that is a good thing.  Residents and governments of Canada have taken a fairly interesting position in banning both sales for profit even though that sale may benefit an individual, even a desperately poor individual.  As a result we don't see the squalor of the poor lining up to sell their blood, the squalor of people selling kidneys and the viciousness of the rich offereing money to the desperate to save their own interests.  The absence of that market pushes us all to assist collective availablility of blood and transplant services.  We don't see the squalor and viciousness as often as domains where that law is not in place or not enforced. 

As this discussion is meant to focus on the advancement of women and feminist theories of how to achieve that advance, we might consider what happens with the sale of embryos and stem cells and so on too.  My colleague is at the hopital this week to give to a stranger a bone marrow donation (now possible through blood) which she would not be allowed to sell as such selling or more importantly the buying of such body material is condsidered not in the interest of the community.  Importantly we refuse to allow people to buy such things.  Rather we agree that to give it is noble and contributes to the common good to receive it is a pivelege and gift and not a right and to buy it is unethical and deminishes the common good.

 

Ghislaine

remind wrote:

 

Then, when people like Ghislaine, who advocates chastity until marriage comes down in support of prostitution, and thereby "others", other women, I cannot in good conscience support what they support.

 

remind, I would never use the word "chaste" or advocate this to my daughters or sons. btw - I would advocate the same thing for both of them, which is to wait until it is with someone you really care about and someone who respects you - marriage or no marriage, gay or strait. 

That does not mean that I think casual sex should be illegal. I also would not want them to become exotic dancers, or phone sex operators, or porn stars - all of which are legal. This is not hypocritical. I also believe drugs should be legalized, but would not advocate my children doing this. Ultimately, it is their own choice though and I want them to live in a free society. 

I still cannot understand how one can say porn is fine, but prostitution isn't? And we are not talking about children engaged in prostitution. Obviously a lot more resources should be put towards investigation and prosecution. I am one of those people that would like to see child sex traffickers "rot in jail" for an extremely long time. I am assuming from some of your posts previously that you do not share this position. 

remind remind's picture

Excellent points lee.

Going back to my position on 12 year olds on the stroll, has anyone thought of the implications of this? I mean really thought about it?

If it does become legal and gains "job" status, we could, and most likely, will have anyone from the ages of 12 on up working in such a field. Afterall they can legally work at those ages now.

Sex laws against minors, by adult exploitation, will not apply, as anyone can say said child is willfully working on the job and asked me for 20 bucks.

 

Ghislaine

remind - do you see 12 year old porn stars or exotic dancers?  or bartenders? There are varying age limits depending on the job! 

Sheesh! Also, there are no 12 year olds allowed to work in my province - is this a BC thing?

Ghislaine

Lee Lakeman wrote:

Regarding whether or not we should promote the idea of a "personal right" to sell our bodies in prostitution:  You might find it helpful, I did, to think why we in Canadian law and social policy ban people from selling their body parts or even their own blood and whether that is a good thing.  Residents and governments of Canada have taken a fairly interesting position in banning both sales for profit even though that sale may benefit an individual, even a desperately poor individual.  As a result we don't see the squalor of the poor lining up to sell their blood, the squalor of people selling kidneys and the viciousness of the rich offereing money to the desperate to save their own interests.  The absence of that market pushes us all to assist collective availablility of blood and transplant services.  We don't see the squalor and viciousness as often as domains where that law is not in place or not enforced. 

There is a huge distinction between selling a body part and selling a service. A lap dance, a pornagraphic scene, a sexual act are all services. There are no body parts involved. The sex worker does not sell her body, she has sold a service using her body for a defined and limited amount of time. The client does not own any part of her body after the transaction. Just as a masseuse (some who offer a "happy ending") has not sold his or her body after they have finished performing a service. 

By the way, laws enacted in 2004 making the commercialization of surrogacy, eggs, sperms and embryos illegal are not [url=http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/women/impotency+Canada+fertility+law... being enforced [/url]. Quebec's Supreme Court has actually ruled against these laws, based on jurisdiction. 

skdadl

martin dufresne wrote:

And they reflect the privilege of who defines the field of engagement, the divide between libertarian theorizing and anti-oppression politics. 

 

Ah, martin? I thought we had agreed that that use of "libertarian" was, to put it politely, imprecise? Libertarians are batshit-crazy right-wingers who keep semi-automatics handy beside their beds, eh? People who work on civil liberties (ie, the foundations of democracy) are hardly that, yes?

 

Back to your post on Rose Dufour @ 40. I'm not a member of whatever "lobby" it is you're imagining, but I am an editor of scholarly writing, and I hope you aren't meaning to argue that that testimony from Dufour answers Susan Davis's request above that someone provide evidence of the claim that 80 per cent of sex workers were abused as children.

 

From Dufour's own description of her work, which I'm sure is admirable in its own terms, those are ethnographic (ie: case) studies -- very small samples, done over a very sort time-period, and selected according to ... well, I can't tell how the sampling was disciplined, but it sounds idiosyncratic.

 

In other words, that starts out as a pretty loaded set of studies. There may be nothing wrong with that. Ethnography has both political and aesthetic merit when done well. But it is both of those things, political and aestheticized, and it does not come close to answering Susan Davis's question, which would require a much more controlled statistical study.

 

 

remind remind's picture

yep...all legal in BC for them to work, even though on the job accidents is spiraling out of control, for young workers.

 

ghislaine wrote:
I am one of those people that would like to see child sex traffickers "rot in jail" for an extremely long time. I am assuming from some of your posts previously that you do not share this position.

Awww ghislaine...how wonderful you are now stating that I believe child sex traffickers should not be punished. Please do slap up a quote.

You do not really think legalization will stop "the stroll" do you ghislaine? It hasn't in any country so far, so why would Canada be different?

ghislaine wrote:
...would advocate the same thing for both of them, which is to wait until it is with someone you really care about and someone who respects you - marriage or no marriage, gay or strait.

But yet you advocate that women who do not have too much choice in life, unlike your children will have, should give themselves sexually to someone they do not care about, in order to have food to eat?

As I said, the hyporcrisy and othering astounding.

remind remind's picture

ghislaine wrote:
There are no body parts involved.

Surely you jest?

skdadl

remind, do you really feel that the only choices that other people should have are the choices you make for yourself?

Ghislaine

remind wrote:

yep...all legal in BC for them to work, even though on the job accidents is spiraling out of control, for young workers.

Well - they still would not be able to work as sex workers at that age! It would be similar to bartenders, exotic dancers, phone sex workers, porn stars etc. Please show me the 12 year olds working in these industries. 

remind wrote:
 

Awww ghislaine...how wonderful you are now stating that I believe child sex traffickers should not be punished. Please do slap up a quote.

I was referring to [url=http://www.rabble.ca/comment/1020321/Ghislaine-wroteCueball] this post [/url] and [url=http://www.rabble.ca/comment/1020363/yes-unioist-retributional] this post [/url]. I apologize if I misinterpreted your position on jail time and punishment.

 

remind wrote:
But yet you advocate that women who do not have too much choice in life, unlike your children will have, should give themselves sexually to someone they do not care about, in order to have food to eat?

As I said, the hyporcrisy and othering astounding.

Please show me where I said this? I would advocate for better welfare, EI, job training, and a million other benefits including major reforming of post-secondary funding and the student loan system. Major reforms to the child welfare system are also required, as the current mess does not help those most in need who are sexually abused from ending up on the street. There also needs to be better funding for shelters, for investigation and for helping those who are too young and don't want to be sex workers choose a different course. I don't see how keeping the status quo will accomplish any of those things or how my position on the legality of prostitution affects the many other ways the the complex issues involved need to be addressed. You are putting words in my mouth that I did not say. My position is based on women like susan, who say that they want to consent to do this type of work. Who the hell are we to deny them that right? 

Ghislaine

remind wrote:

ghislaine wrote:
There are no body parts involved.

Surely you jest?

There is so sale of body parts involved. Body parts are used to sell a service. The client does not own anyone's body or body part. 

RosaL

Ghislaine wrote:

remind wrote:

ghislaine wrote:
There are no body parts involved.

Surely you jest?

There is so sale of body parts involved. Body parts are used to sell a service. The client does not own anyone's body or body part. 

 

I suppose you could consider it "renting". 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Oh ya snert, there are no 12 year old girls on the stroll, being picked up by john's, It is all consenting adults doing it. FFS

 

I'm sorry, but who's advocating for 12 year olds to be legally able to do sex work? Can you please be specific? Maybe "slap up a quote."?

 

And no, there's no reason we'd slide down the slippery slope if sex work is recognized. Driving a taxi is also a recognized job, and 12 year olds are exempt from it.

 

Quote:
Regarding whether or not we should promote the idea of a "personal right" to sell our bodies in prostitution:  You might find it helpful, I did, to think why we in Canadian law and social policy ban people from selling their body parts or even their own blood and whether that is a good thing.

 

Is my employer breaking the law by renting my hands and my back? I get them back at the end of the day, just to be clear. But are you really telling me the law forbids me to rent my faculties to an employer?

 

That's a Yes or No question. Is this REALLY against the law, Lee?

 

 

martin dufresne

Liberals will hang you just a few inches from the ground...

 

RosaL

Snert wrote:

Quote:
Regarding whether or not we should promote the idea of a "personal right" to sell our bodies in prostitution:  You might find it helpful, I did, to think why we in Canadian law and social policy ban people from selling their body parts or even their own blood and whether that is a good thing.

 

Is my employer breaking the law by renting my hands and my back? I get them back at the end of the day, just to be clear. But are you really telling me the law forbids me to rent my faculties to an employer?

That's a Yes or No question. Is this REALLY against the law, Lee?

It's not against the law, of course. In fact, the law is largely built around the sacredness of this very "transaction". But socialists definitely have a problem with it!

And even where you have a continuum, there's better and worse. It's one thing for me to have to sell you two hours of my life; it's another thing for me to have to sell you my kidney. 

martin dufresne

Snert, much as I appreciate your interventions - they really cut through the liberal smokescreen - I would love it if you phrased your rhetorical queries in terms of what the dominant class is entitled to buy, rent, finagle, extort from the disadvantaged, not the other way around. Because that the direction in which transactions happen - and are being defended - in prostitution.

 

Ghislaine

martin dufresne wrote:

Snert, much as I appreciate your interventions - they really cut through the liberal smokescreen - I would love it if you phrased your rhetorical queries in terms of what the dominant class is entitled to buy, rent, finagle, extort from the disadvantaged, not the other way around. Because that the direction in which transactions happen - and are being defended - in prostitution.

 

Do you read susan davis' posts? She is defending sex work from her perspective. Her desire to have the right to consent to it. 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
 In fact, the law is largely built around the sacredness of this very "transaction". But socialists definitely have a problem with it!

 

I'm assuming that socialists would oppose the idea of a "boss" owning the means of production and all that, but do socialists all cut their own hair and do their own drycleaning? Even if I'm "self employed", unless I'm a subsistence farmer, I'm somehow renting my hands (or eyes, brain, etc.) to someone.

 

Quote:
Because that the direction in which transactions happen - and are being defended - in prostitution.

 

In contrast to other forms of work??

skdadl

martin dufresne wrote:

Snert, much as I appreciate your interventions - they really cut through the liberal smokescreen - I would love it if you phrased your rhetorical queries in terms of what the dominant class is entitled to buy, rent, finagle, extort from the disadvantaged, not the other way around. Because that the direction in which transactions happen - and are being defended - in prostitution.

 

Is there a thread somewhere on babble called "We must end capitalism yesterday"?

 

If there is, I would love to contribute to that. I thought this was a different sort of real-world discussion, about people who have to buy supper tonight, many of them probably single mothers.

 

And are the gloves off about name-calling and labelling? If so, I call dibs on McCarthyite and Stalinist.

Unionist

skdadl wrote:

And are the gloves off about name-calling and labelling?

[url=The">http://rabble.ca/babble/rabble-reactions/babble-vote-please-do-not-post-... jury's still out.[/url]

Quote:
If so, I call dibs on McCarthyite and Stalinist.

We've got a thread on [url=Stalin">http://rabble.ca/babble/rabble-reactions/please-ban-arguments-about-stal...'s crimes too!![/url]

Have I mentioned how pleased I am to see you posting here, skdadl?

 

skdadl

Unionist wrote:

Have I mentioned how pleased I am to see you posting here, skdadl?

 

Oh, I'm not really posting here, schweetheart. I wasn't even lurking until recently.

 

I am worried about McCarthyism, though -- all the "shared values" talk, on this as on some other issues. I saw Irwin Cotler's name pop up as a reference on another thread, and a chill went through my democrat's heart.Oh, let's police people's minds, shall we?

 

As far as I know, since the C17 there has been no effective cure for the oppressions consequent on moralizing of any kind but the basic principles and structures memorialized in the French Declaration, the U.S. Bill of Rights, our Charter, and many similar documents, more often honoured in the breach than the observance, but that's not the point.

 

 

susan davis

i just went for lunch and came home to .....holy crap.......i have another meeting with the coop advisory board and so can't stay long... sorry.

thank you everyone for your support.i am constantly amazed at the insight of members of this forum.

i would like to reiterate, i do not support exploitation of youth in anyway shape or form, and do not consider youth engaged in sex work to be sex workers, they are exploited and need protection.

i also do not agree with analagies of trading body parts, i do not need surgery to do my work, it is hardly comparable....unless people are really trying to comodify sexworkers....lord.....and i mean that in a new foundland way.......

i also noticed, no link posted by lee lakeman still to back her assertion of 80% of adult consentual sex workers being abused as children.....remind? any comment on the lack of link?

susan davis

martin dufresne wrote:

Quebec anthropologist Rose Dufour is one feminist that the pro-prostitution lobby will find itself hard-pressed to discredit. She will not allow prostitution apologists to drown out the voices of the street and escort agency-experienced women whose life stories she transcribed. Almost all of her respondents WERE sexually abused as youths, and they themselves point out the links that some are so intent to deny. After four years of intensive qualitative research with a number of women whose words she transcribed and ran past them in order to support their healing process and reflect their analysis accurately, she published the book Je vous salue... Marion, Carmen, Clémentine, Eddy, Jo-Annie: le point zéro de la prostitution (Éditions Multi-Mondes, Québec, 2004).

I now fully expect Davis to claim that Dufour's research probably hasn't been vetted by a front-line sex work organisation, as she does with that of Melissa Farley. She would be wrong if she did. Quebec's PIPQ (Projet d'intervention prostitution de Québec) has entrusted its advocacy work to Dufour, who represented them before the Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws of the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, on April 18, 2005:

Ms. Rose Dufour (Associate Researcher, Collectif de recherche sur l'itinérance, la pauvreté et l'exclusion sociale, Université du Québec à Montréal): Good evening, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen.

My position is rooted in field research that I have been doing for the past four years. The research report that I have brought with me has 646 pages. I will be tabling it at the same time as my brief.

It is difficult to make a presentation on the findings of this research in 10 minutes. Moreover, I believe that my position will without a doubt require an explanation of some of these findings.

First of all, I would like to say that I have been working with female prostitutes for the past four years. I help them take stock of their lives. This has enabled me to collect data to update the process leading these women into prostitution. I have looked at 20 life stories. I have reached what is referred to as the saturation point with respect to street prostitution and I have concluded that sexual abuse is the key factor explaining how someone becomes a prostitute. After working with these women for a year and a half, I then decided to investigate the johns. I examined 64 johns and, in doing so, I was the first person to conduct research in America on this subject. As a result of this research, I was able to define client types and update the systems categorizing prostitutes and prostitution. I will try to touch on this issue as well. After documenting the two main players in the prostitution system, I did a life history on two pimps to try and understand how others get into this line of work.

So there were three basic questions. First of all, how do women wind up turning to prostitution? My research budget was limited and therefore I was not able to work with male prostitutes. Secondly, why do men seek out prostitutes? Thirdly, how do people become pimps?

The answers to these three questions enabled me to define the ground zero for prostitution, namely the departure point of the systems producing prostitution.

How do women wind up turning to prostitution? My research showed that 17 times out of 20, namely in 85 per cent of all cases, the girls were repeatedly abused in their own family or in their immediate neighbourhood. In addition, I brought to light the fact that the little girl is abused, and since she does not define the conditions of sexual abuse, she is not able to say no to her abuser, generally someone she loves, who has earned her trust and is someone she wants to please. She does not give herself in this relationship: she makes her body available. That is exactly the type of relationship that exists between the prostitute and the john. She does not give herself, because to do so requires a sharing of intimacy, something that the child does not do and that the female prostitute does not do. She simply makes her body available.

In the prostitution relationship, the female prostitute goes through this same motion, namely making her body available. She has learned to be at the sexual service of someone else rather than at the service of her own needs. To be a prostitute means to have a public body, to no longer have a private body. In this sort of representation, the prostitute becomes, to some extent, the most abused of the abused.

I was also able to reveal how poverty is a part of the backdrop to prostitution. In examining the conditions of sexual abuse, I was also able to show that, in some instances, prostitution was the only option available to the abused person. This was because the individual internalized her identity as a prostitute, resulting from the words spoken during repeated sexual abuse and as a result of the exchange of money derived from the activities she was asked to perform.

In another group, there were four women who had no other choice but to become prostitutes, seven others for whom sexual abuse was the main reason leading to the prostitution and six others for whom the sexual abuse was related to the prostitution without however being the primary factor.

This is a very complex issue, and I cannot explain it to you in a few words. I can, however, tell you that the degree of relationship, the intensity of the relationships, the type of rapport established between the abuser and the abused does create a particular type of relationship.

» +-(1745)

Since the female prostitute is an abused person, I would recommend that this committee no longer view her as a criminal, but instead help her because she has been abused sexually. Most of these women are showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Source

More here.


 

sample group number....20 sex workers....and this justifies saying we are all survivors of incest or childhood sexual abuse?nice try....the friggin terms of reference for the CAEC were scrutinized by alot more workers than that....how can you base your opinion on the experiences of 20 street entrenched survival sex workers as interpreted by an academic with a highly politicized view? what about the 700+ workers calling for an industry association, decrim, protection under the charter?

 

martin dufresne

Moving the goal posts again, Ms. Davis?

Lee Lakeman's point was that "In the Lower Mainland of Vancouver for instance about 80% of the illegal indoor trade is of asian women from the poorest parts of asia."

You recast this as "80% if indoor sex work in canada is migrant/trafficked workers from south east asia....."

And you are also misrepresenting Dufour and abolitionists with the straw man argument "...this justifies saying we are all survivors of incest or childhood sexual abuse? nice try..." You know full well thatno one wrote anything of the kind.

I know you feel aggrieved by certain words to qualify your attacks, so I'll let you find a suitable handle to justify this kind of legerdemain. "Creative fighting?" Your moments of truthfulness to describe the violence experienced by most women in prostitution are much appreciated, but your constant misrepresentation of the feminists you disagree with is not.

 

susan davis

it is not true of the lower mainland either....i am on the friggin 2010 impacts committees fer christs sakes....i am allies with orchid and SWAN, sex worker support agencies who go into these so called asian massage parlours....just because they post the most ads on craigslist doesn't mean there are more of them....speak to the VPD...i did, these claims are completely inflated and unsubstantiated......

i notice still no links to back ay of these claims, where is the sex worker census conducted to assertain numbers of sex workers of asian descent> did i miss it?funny since i work with agencies directly related to that constitutency of workers....do you not remember me explaining how they were not trafficked and were deported because of raids, and mis information?

Lee Lakeman

I have not quoted the stats about incest or trafficked women that you keep asking me to find some scientific authority to prove.  They don't seem very far fetched to me but I did not say them.  I have reread all my posts on all the threads and find nowhere from which you have quoted

 

Lee Lakeman

The figure of 80% of the women in the illegal brothels of the Lower Mainland being asian came from a public speech by The Asian Women's Coaliton Ending Prostitution made at the forum called One is Too Many on trafficking in Vancouver held at the Simon Fraser University Wosk Center for Dialogue and was a quote from a police officer of the Vancouver Police with whom they had consulted. You might check with any of the two hundred people who were there including active members of thge NDP, Liberals and the Human Rights communitiies

Infosaturated

Thanks Lee and Martin, I copied your posts.  This thread is supposed to be more about theory and experiences rather than specific numbers.  It is safe to say there is an extremely high incidence of prostitutes who have been sexually abused as minors. A 15 year old that gets pimped out in my mind is a sexually abused minor. Boys who are gay and transgendered minors are over-represented as well.  Studies around the world show a high incidence of migrant labour in prostitution. In Amsterdam I believe the number is 70% and the women are being imported both willingly and unwillingly. Nevertheless, they are women from poor countries being imported to serve the needs of men from rich countries. Of the 30% who are not migrants, some are minors just like here and some were forced or tricked into prostitution. Others face economic coercion. So as far as I can figure, the percentage of Canadian women of the "pretty woman" variety can't be very big.

I'm interested in this notion of "sex positive". As far as I can tell prostitution is about as sex negative as it gets. I'm from the women's lib era.

Sex positive, is the notion that women enjoy sex just as much as men and have a right to seek sexual satisfaction as freely as men do.

Sex positive, is the notion that there is no such thing as "good" girls and "bad" girls, with the "bad" girls reserved for sex and the "good" girls reserved for marriage.

Sex positive, is the notion that virginity is not a measure of a girl's value.

The notion has been put forth that prostitution is "women's work".

Prostitution is pretty much a one way deal. It is something men purchase from women because they can't find partners to participate based on mutual pleasure.

The notion has been put forth that decriminalization will reduce the stigma over time. It will do nothing of the sort. It reinforces the good girl bad girl dichotomy. It formalizes the notion that there are decent women that you go out in public with, that meet your friends, your parents, the kind you have your children with, and there is the other kind you pay for services rendered. Never the twain shall meet. Men will not invite prostitutes to the parties they bring "decent" girls to.

In prostitution, virginity greatly increases the sale value and it certainly isn't because she is more skilled. It isn't because she is going to provide a service. It's about what the man will do to her, not what she will do for the man.

It used to be that you couldn't rape a wife unless there was some other form of assault involved.  I am sure most men didn't rape their wives, but the idea was that sex was something you did for your husband whether you liked it or not. Sex was part of a woman's marital duties. It was "woman's work."

The idea that women will be better able to call the police if they are raped by a client doesn't hold true. It becomes far more difficult than it already is to prove rape.  How can it be rape when it's what you are selling?  The idea used to be that you couldn't rape a wife, the new one would be that a prostitute can't be raped.

Two kinds of women, the good ones you take home to mother and the other kind that service your sexual needs.

That's today's idea of "sex positive".  Women don't like sex the way men do so men need extra women for the sex part.

remind remind's picture

Guess I kinda look at all  of this in a medical way, job safety.

Our body parts, that are indwelling, as opposed to external appendages, are vastly more vulnerable to harm, and to cause further harm to us once harm is committed upon them, than said external appendages, or brain usage, that we "rent" out. For example, vaginal exams are considered an intrusive and invasive procedure, as the area is easily damaged and can cause further damage if damaged. Anything of an oral nature that goes wrong, requires a specialists attention, so too with the bowel.

They are mucous membranes, that absorb and transmitt foreign invaders into our inner body systems, if the mucosa capabilities are harmed. The more foreign invaders, and destruction of the mucosa, there is, the more negative the medical consequences can be. The threat cannot be compared to that of what a  union worker, or a editor of books, or a manufacturing job, would be under in their respective industries, nor indeed any industry.

Thus a "rental" compare cannot be considered to be an equal application from  which to build a personal opinion upon, in such a serious matter. Or at least not use it for the only reason for approval.

We know the life threatening diseases that front line sex workers face, even with condom use. HPV, the main cause of cervical cancer travels through the walls of a condom. And then of course condom breakage is a whole other matter, disease wise. One's safety glasses may shatter at work, and one becomes vision impaired, or perhaps in the extreme case brain damage and death occurs, but when a condom breaks, the possibility is great that a front line sex worker may lose their life, or their cervix, as a result. AIDs is not a walk in the park with an eye patch, or a missing finger.

And even though the result would be the same, when death occurs on, or from, the job, one is a very slow and painful death, while the other is almost instantaneous, on most occasions, The degree of suffering makes a difference to me, when I think about this. Asbestos is banned in Canada because workers died a slow painful death from cancer, after being exposed to it, as are other disease causing agents so banned from work places. But yet we would be saying it is okay for front line sex workers to put their lives on the line, several times a day, so that men can be serviced for pleasure and power desires.

Unless of course we make it mandatory that john's get tested for all diseases before engaging in said "rental work". Sounds good in theory perhaps, but of course will mean that safe "indoor", monitored  and regulated sex work would not be happening. It is all about instantaneous demand afterall, for the most part. Thus, it would be the same thing occuring, as now, anyway, as opposed developing safer job skills and ensure better hiring practises are being adhered to, with public money. As to set this up as an industry, it is going to cost society huge monetarily wise, money that I believe would be better spent on societal development, rather than building a public regulatory body for an industry geared to only pleasuring men, and thus only benefiting men..

Then let's look at the "job" compare, with other life threatening lines of work. Of course, almost all of those are blue collar jobs, so they would be in construction, producing, or manufacturing of some type, benefiting society at large, as well as themselves and their family.  And again I say, the only person who benefits from the "job" of sex, is basically the man "renting", as the industry is  only about benefiting men's pleasures and  power desires.

So...one has to weigh the worth of creating an industry benifiting only one demographic, with what harm it does to society at large and indeed to the person doing the renting of body parts.

We do not let people conduct themselves in a high risk manner on the job, construction workers have to follow safety codes, or sites are closed down, for example. Just as we have banned asbestos in buildings, because the risk to the workers themselves, even though they are, or may be, willing to take it, is unacceptable to society at large.

Spa workers and massage therapists are not a good compare either, they do not put their lives on the line, in each and every case of giving pleasure service to their cliental. Nor do other types of sex workers, who do not engage in invasive to body's integrity procedures to perform their work.

Thus, IMV, the only type of front line sex "rentals" which should be occuring and approved by society at large, is that which can be tightly regulated and safety controlled for the good of the worker, as it does not benefit society at large by its demographic specificness. Personally, I do not believe it can be done, let alone think public money should be wasted on creating the necessary regulatory bodies and fulfilling training needs, for workers and regulators alike, being  it is only for the purposes of  men's gratification pleasures.

The risk of personal safety is too great and to condone it, while disapproving other life threatening job positions and actions and having them banned, is hyprocritical, and othering.

I say "othering" because we know quite well what the demographics are for those who engage in front line sex work, in the majority, and it certainly isn't white women, especially not educated white women.

So we, the dominant society, would be accepting that it is okay for them, those others,  to put their lives on the line several times a day, as they can't get jobs, that we can, because we live in a racist, classist and sexist society, that won't educate and hire them, nor give them a guaranteed income, just  so we can allege to "progressively" allow men the pleasures and power that they want, and demand.

Sorry, but I cannot put my "yea" to that reality, neither as a human, nor a feminist..

remind remind's picture

Inforsaturated wrote:
It is something men purchase from women because they can't find partners to participate based on mutual pleasure.

I disagree with this notion.

I have sat and watched men/john's drop their wives off at bingo, in droves, and go driving around the stroll route, to get their "desires" fulfilled, while the wife is at bingo.

I have watched "suits" leave downtown Vancouver strip clubs, picking up girls on the stroll, on they way home, supposedly straight from work. Rush hour traffic covers well for their lateness.

I have sat outside a lawyer's house, while a friend went on a "date", while the wife was away on business. A friend of mine's, now ex-husband, who is a lawyer, spent 60k on a sex worker and coke in one weekend.

I have watched dozens of married pipeline workers line up for a single sex worker coming to town, when there were plenty of women who would have had a freebie with them. But the chance their wives would find out was higher so it was a no go.

A married judge I know, in Prince George, used to go out and take part in the evening stroll, until caught.

It is privilege and power based, and men who have disposable income enough to fulfill their immediate "wants" who are in the majoriity.

Quote:
The notion has been put forth that decriminalization will reduce the stigma over time. It will do nothing of the sort. It reinforces the good girl bad girl dichotomy

I believe this is accurate, and part of "othering".

Quote:
The idea that women will be better able to call the police if they are raped by a client doesn't hold true. It becomes far more difficult than it already is to prove rape.  How can it be rape when it's what you are selling?  The idea used to be that you couldn't rape a wife, the new one would be that a prostitute can't be raped.

I also agree with this.

JMartin

 

Quote:

they posted links to what amounts to the same organization over and over. explas=rape relief=awan=reed.....all the same people. and links to ben perrin and melissa farely...neither of whom's research was subjected to research ethics review board scrutiny as per canadian laws.  

It is true that many of the people from those groups coordinate with each other in order to form a more collective voice. I do want to mention that EXPALS, Rape Relief, AWAN, and REED are all very separate organizations. This aggregation of people stand in agreement on several strategies such as the Nordic Model of Law but all come with very different histories (or herstories depending on what terminology you prefer). Their views on prostitution would fall under the category of "Radical Feminism". 

I want to make it clear that Vancouver has a diverse selection of abolitionist groups and it is also not fair to claim that they lack in numbers based on who is or is not involved in the Vancouver Abolition Coalition. 

To say that these different groups of women are not credible or lack supporters because they coordinate with each other for a common goal would be to say that Vancouver's SIWSAG is also not a credible voice and lacks supporters (which I don't believe to be true) for the same reason. 

 

 

JMartin

The first paragraph in my last comment is a quote from Suzan Davis. Please forgive me for not properly quoting it. I'm new to Rabble. 

 

Going back to the original post, I agree that the voice of the sex industry is loud within this debate. However, I believe that this is the perfect forum for feminists who would consider themselves "sex-positive" and feminists who would consider themselves "anti-prostitution" to listen to and learn from each other. It also seems like a great place for people who are both sex-positive and anti-prostitution (like myself) to challenge the labels that limit them. 

I would like for someone to define the term "morality" and explain the relationship between this word and radical feminism. In patrolling the recent surge of prostitution-related articles and their responses, I've found that the term "moralist" freckles the page in reference to individuals or groups who do not support full decriminalization. I'd like to know how the word "morality" became a garbage can in which to dump legitimate concerns about full decriminalization of prostitution. 

I would hope that concerns such as the collective human rights of women to live free of sex-discrimination would have bearing on what people consider "right" and what people consider "wrong". 

 

Michelle

No worries, JMartin - I fixed it for you.

martin dufresne

I would hope that concerns such as the collective human rights of women to live free of sex-discrimination would have bearing on what people consider "right" and what people consider "wrong".

Hear hear, JMartin,Smile and welcome to Babble!

Infosaturated

 

I too am sex positive, and anti-prostitution.  I don't think you can be for prostitution and sex positive at the same time.

A sex positive woman claims her own body to use for her own sexual pleasure, just as men have always used their bodies for their sexual pleasure. 

In a thread on racism the following link was posted:

http://www.racialicious.com/2007/05/17/craigslist-personals-desperately-...

The criticism was about the racism inherent in the personal ads because they specified race.  I found it very funny because some of the same people support decriminalization. 

What do you think men consider when they shop for sex?  On average white women get paid more of course. Asians in the middle, blacks and indians at the bottom.

It's the ultimate commodification of women.

 

 

martin dufresne

"Sex-positive" is a label invented by batshit crazy libertarians during the 80s, in order to infer that people critical of violence or exploitation in sex were "sex-negative", puritans, hung up, opposed to sexuality itself. This essentialist position (All Sex Is Good And To Be Protected from State Intervention) survives to this day among self-employed pundits. It's a measure of how much ground-clearing has to happen before dialogue is reestablished - within the Left, at least - in terms of the common good. Untuil then, women and youths will go on being sacrificed to vested interests... in the name of the ultimate commodity.

 

 

Caissa

I haven't decided how I feel on this issue. I've asked a few questions whose answers might help me to ruminate on the issue. It would also be helpful to me as i think on this issue if there was more dialogue and debate on the issues. I can't help but feel that people are talking beyond each other even if they feel like they are engaging.

skdadl

martin dufresne wrote:

 batshit crazy libertarians

 

There it is again. martin is accusing me and some others here of being American right-wingers who revere the NRA, the Second Amendment, and Timothy McVeigh.

skdadl

martin, libertarian means something close to right-wing anarchism. It is an especially American phenomenon, although I'm sure we have some here.

 

People who work on civil liberties (ie: the foundations of democracy) are not, I repeat NOT, libertarians. They are defending liberty and equality.

 

That said: ohai, Tehanu. Cool

martin dufresne

martin is accusing me and some others here of being American right-wingers who revere the NRA, the Second Amendment, and Timothy McVeigh.

No, I am not. Do you identify as "libertarian"? If no, then what is the problem? From my perspective, some are trying to forbid references to libertarianism, when it is a substantive political reference in this struggle.

skdadl

Correct. And the right-wing nature of all those positions should be self-evident to any socialist. It certainly becomes self-evident when we see it played out irl.

 

Ppeople who work on civil liberties -- who are demanding equality under the Charter and the constitution -- clearly have nothing to do with those positions.

Tehanu

skdadl wrote:

That said: ohai, Tehanu. Cool

Heya, skdadl, lovely to see you, and fancy meeting you here! :P

Tehanu

martin dufresne wrote:

"Sex-positive" is a label invented by batshit crazy libertarians during the 80s, in order to infer that people critical of violence or exploitation in sex were "sex-negative", puritans, hung up, opposed to sexuality itself. 

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The term "sex-positive" has been around for decades in psychology. It was also used by FEMINISTS in the seventies to counter what they saw as an increasingly puritannical trend among other feminists against many aspects of sex and sexuality, which sex positive feminists felt bolstered patriarchal attitudes which asserted control over women. The most hotly contested was (heterosexual) pornography, but it also included (heterosexual) prostitution, lesbianism/bisexuality and (what a surprise) gender identity. Many sex positive feminists argue, with some justification, that having the patriarchy control women's sexuality, including making laws to "protect" women around sex, is harmful ... even if the intent is benevolent. They talk of the danger of moral puritans, particularly people who are religiously fundamentalist, who have a vested interest in controlling women's sexuality as a means of social control.

Many sex-positive feminists assert that when women and men can develop an open, healthy and embracing relationship of their own and each others' sexuality, that society will measurably improve in terms of women's status. Some argue that issues such as violent pornography and prostitution, homophobia, and child sexual abuse, are symptoms of an unhealthy and repressive attitude towards sex.

It's a big topic, with a lot of fascinating and complex discussion of issues, many of which I personally agree with, some of which I don't. It's a pity to see it dismissed as "batshit crazy libertarian."

martin dufresne

According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Libertarians are committed to the belief that individuals, and not states or groups of any other kind, are both ontologically and normatively primary; that individuals have rights against certain kinds of forcible interference on the part of others; that liberty, understood as non-interference, is the only thing that can be legitimately demanded of others as a matter of legal or political right; that robust property rights and the economic liberty that follows from their consistent recognition are of central importance in respecting individual liberty; that social order is not at odds with but develops out of individual liberty; that the only proper use of coercion is defensive or to rectify an error; that governments are bound by essentially the same moral principles as individuals; and that most existing and historical governments have acted improperly insofar as they have utilized coercion for plunder, aggression, redistribution, and other purposes beyond the protection of individual liberty.[5]

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states "libertarianism holds that agents initially fully own themselves and have moral powers to acquire property rights in external things under certain conditions." It notes that libertarianism is not a "right-wing" doctrine because of its opposition to laws restricting adult consensual sexual relationships and drug use, and its opposition to imposing religious views or practices and compulsory military service. However, it notes that there is a version known as "left-libertarianism" which also endorses full self-ownership, but "differs on unappropriated natural resources (land, air, water, etc.)." "Right-libertarianism" holds that such resources may be appropriated by individuals. "Left-libertarianism" holds that they belong to everyone and must be distributed in some egalitarian manner.[1]
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism)

 

remind remind's picture

Oh yes, creating an industry, on public monies, geared only to satisfy the sexual demand desires of white privileged men, is very sex positive and supportive of women's plights of poverty, inequality and marginalization.

We all know, there are no other women, youth at risk,  men and marginalized people's, programs and initiatives that would be better served by said  100's of millions of tax payer's dollars, that it would take to set up such an industry,  just for the sexual pleasuring of white men...

Nope...the public can't get a better bang for their buck, than they would by setting up public infrastructure, to help white men deal with their "repressions" that are causing sex crimes.

 

 

Bacchus

Considering I know several woman, loving their job and making a killing off of it, I agree with Skdadl in that we are arguing in circles around 2 different types of women. There are the ones that clearly know what they are doing and prefer it and need no help (which apparently remind and martin prefer to pretend don't exist) and the downtrodden who are essentially forced into it either by pimps or stricken circumstances in which its the only possibility.

 

I would prefer to see it deciminalized and the money put into poverty reduction strategies and other social work since if you take the sex out of this, its no different from someone poor essentially forced into drug selling by a dealer or poverty or any other crappy job because they have no skills and no way to better themselves.

remind remind's picture

Who is the greater majority bacchus?

Oh sure, it may soothe the "progressive" mind to believe that most come fom a "good" family,  are articulate, like our Susn here, and making the "choice" freely for themselves, but the reality is far far different.

But hey, if some people want to appease their class guilt by believing such, and supporting "progressive" measures to asssure themseleves they are supportive of women's equity rights, they are "free" to do so.

 

 

Michelle

I get the hundredth post.  Closing for length. :)

Let's continue this here.

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