Who's a feminist? the old question with new angles...

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Loretta
Who's a feminist? the old question with new angles...

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Loretta

From a closed thread:

Loretta wrote:

Is babble a place where, like with other "givens" (no sexism, no racism, etc,), it is now a given that we must accept the paradigm that susan davis purports around sex work/prostitution? I can get behind respecting her point of view but disagreeing with it, that seems fair. It seems very inappropriate that rabble/babble would take the position to support that paradigm for a number of reasons. Those reasons include the inherent sexism in sex work/prostitution, the fact that the poor are without true choices, the fact that many of those involved in the sex trade were abused as children and the fact that to do so would be to support a "business owner" financial model.

Giving someone a safe place to discuss their point of view in this matter is one thing, it's another to ban those who don't agree and challenge it.

 

to which Stargazer responded:

Quote:

 

Loretta, control over our own bodies is also a feminist issue. Feminists also support decriminalizing women and men who do sex work. There is no consensus among feminists outside of babble, why would we expect one here?

You can't label someone in the criminalize/abolutionist movement feminist and completely ignore all of the other aspects surrounding sex work or prostitution. That would be discounting the many feminist voices who do not believe the way to a healthier society is to make women criminals or to take the choice away from women who participate in this work.

There are two camps on the left - one who wishes to see women retain control over their bodies, and those who wish to have them criminalized, as they are now.  The people posting from both sides are feminists, and believe in feminism.

It is also not fair to suggest that any of the abolutionist voices have been silenced. Have a look at the threads and you'll find many many posts by these people. Babble is a progressive forum and the fact is, some progressives believe in choice and maintaining control over our own bodies. We are still feminists.I believe in this Charter Challenge. I am a feminist.

What is puzzling to me though are the many voices here that suggest that the decrim or legalize it side are not feminist. Or that we do not understand the dynamics. We do. Both sides agree that exploitation, trafficking, child prostitution etc. should be stamped out. But we also believe in a woman's right to chose how she uses her body. Why can we not come up with something that protects those who are forced into prostitution and also maintain the right to control our bodies? I think we can.

 

I did not say anything about people who hold that view as not being feminist -- I said that those who disagreed that the position is pro-feminist seem to be getting silenced on this issue. There is quite a difference, in my opinion. Having said that, I do find it somewhat objectionable that a whole forum as been devoted to "sex worker rights" as if this discussion has reached it conclusion and that we all agree that it is feminist to support full decriminalization or legalization. What other way of supporting oneself has a whole forum? And, if there is a whole forum in support of "sex worker rights and their allies", where is the room to safely object to that point of view?

 

I joined this board many years ago and have posted in fits and starts. I find it interesting and have learned a lot. However, I often lurk because there are certain unwritten rules that have been fostered here and it would seem as though if one violates them, there is grief. This issue strikes me as being among them -- it's coming across as though the truly enlightened support "sex worker rights" as being fully feminist and any arguments to the contrary are coming from those who either don't get it or don't get "real" feminism. Yet, you've heard from those who have been hurt badly by being in that work and from others who have been wounded sexually, including myself. But never mind that, it's just our woundedness talking, not really an accurate portrayal of how those with power wield in the lives of those who don't, particularly women.

 

Frankly, it's interesting but sort like driving by a car wreck to see how this discussion has shaped up in favour of one side of the discussion and those who are on the wrong side are misinterpreted and maligned.

 

Michelle

The only person we've "silenced" is one person who kept attacking another poster after being told to stop.  She was not the only voice here critical of prostitution, and no other voices have been silenced or told they can't put forth the arguments you outlined in this or the other thread.

Stargazer

Clearly the discussion has reached zero conclusions. The reason the forum was created was because women in sex work were getting drowned out by those against it. Doesn't that indicate a lack of debate, discussion and understanding?

I'm not sure why you ask, "who is a feminist?" when I've clearly stated that feminists don't agree on this issue, or in fact on many issues.

Loretta, my post was not directed AT you it was directed towards everyone who would read it. I apologize if it came across as being directed at you.

Anyways, I think enough has been said regarding voices and whose are being heard and it is more than clear that both sides of this debate, and those who can easily meet in the middle, have all had their say in the at least 10 - 15 threads now on this topic.

I am not sure what your goal is. Do yoiu wish to shut down the voices of those who do not follow the abolutionist view? I don't think that is healthy as feminists see this issue very differently. Why is it so hard to accept that there is room for debate? Read the threads here and you'll see that the abolutionist group has had a whole lot to say and started a lot of threads on this topic.

There are also those who prefer full legalization as well. Should that not be allowed?

I think this thread will end badly.

remind remind's picture

How stark of contrast you make Michelle, as  you well know there are differeing types of silencing used here all the time....it does rabble a disservice to deny that silencing occurs here in many forms other than banning, or suspending.

 

most here, and reading, are way too intelligent to accept that kind of propaganda...

 

In fact, Loretta herself indicated such in her post, which you  over looked in your assurances that it was not happening..

 

...arbitrarily closing threads is one form...starting biased forums is another...or even your post was closed and silencing with its brooking no contest kinda talk...

 

and then there is this truthful observation of Loretta's

Quote:
those who are on the wrong side are misinterpreted and maligned.

 

because of course we all know I am in favour of having women's rights stripped from them afterall...just because of my stance

 

so..... someone can attack me by slandering me like that, and it is all good...but let me tell you if I said that to those wanting decrim with no regulations, I would  have been warned and/or suspended, or attacked for attacking....

RosaL

I have to give it some thought but I think this may have been the final straw for me. Yes, she may have crossed some lines. But she's not the only one to have crossed lines. Just the only one to be banned - not suspended but banned.

martin dufresne

Yes, why was this supension (a first-time one, too) turned into a permanent ban, despite no additional offense and without explanation? And why does Infosaturated go on being smeared here, in absentia? That used to be beyond the pale, too.

 

Slumberjack

Occasionally in rare instances, challenging situations must certainly present themselves, where commentary is provided in such a way as to understandably cause a fair degree of difficulty in terms of warnings or temporary suspensions, where no rational accommodation between the commentators and those subjected to the remarks can reasonably be expected going forward.  I can't imagine the decisions being altogether tough calls to make, just necessary ones where no other practical choice is available.

Michelle

Actually, you're right, Martin, normally we don't talk about people who have been banned.  But you guys keep bringing it up, so of course I'm going to answer.  But this will be the last time I answer about Infosaturated.  The moderators had to field many, many complaints about her behaviour over the past few weeks, and this was the final straw.  Beyond the behaviour, we just don't have the moderating time to deal with all the complaints she was constantly making about other people (many of which we felt were without merit, some of which were), and all the complaints others made about her (many of which we felt had merit, some without).  She was also clearly unhappy with the site anyhow, demanding changes that the moderators weren't and aren't willing to make.  It's a time suck.  And we don't have that kind of time.  The attacks on susan davis, which she continued after being warned to stop, were the final straw.  And it is a unanimous decision by all the moderators, backed by the publisher.

That's my last word on this issue.

Loretta

Stargazer wrote:

I am not sure what your goal is. Do yoiu wish to shut down the voices of those who do not follow the abolutionist view? I don't think that is healthy as feminists see this issue very differently. Why is it so hard to accept that there is room for debate? Read the threads here and you'll see that the abolutionist group has had a whole lot to say and started a lot of threads on this topic.

There is an entire forum for those who don't follow the "abolutionist" view. (I take it that you mean those who want to abolish prostitution.) Where is the place to discuss that view, for those of us who are feminist and hold it?

Stargazer wrote:
 

There are also those who prefer full legalization as well. Should that not be allowed?

Should what not be allowed? The discussion or full legalization? If the former, again, there is a whole forum devoted to that topic, with no place for those who don't agree.

Stargazer wrote:

I think this thread will end badly.

It doesn't need to but, in my view, it is appropriate to challenge the direction in which this whole topic is weighted.

Michelle

You are welcome to discuss the abolitionist viewpoint in the feminism forum.  You always were.  Please do!  In fact, I would be really interested in seeing you expand on this:

Quote:

Those reasons include the inherent sexism in sex work/prostitution, the fact that the poor are without true choices, the fact that many of those involved in the sex trade were abused as children and the fact that to do so would be to support a "business owner" financial model.

remind remind's picture

Michelle wrote:
You are welcome to discuss the abolitionist viewpoint in the feminism forum.  You always were.  Please do!  In fact, I would be really interested in seeing you expand on this:

Quote:

Those reasons include the inherent sexism in sex work/prostitution, the fact that the poor are without true choices, the fact that many of those involved in the sex trade were abused as children and the fact that to do so would be to support a "business owner" financial model.

 

Wll state what i see from those words:

 

1. the poor are without true choices; Absolute freaking fact and that is the main demographic in the sex trade

 

2. many of those involved in the sex trade were abused as childre: The stats show over 50% of those in  BC's sex trade are FN women, who have been abused by the Canadian system and white people, as children and as adults...

 

3. to do so would be to support a "business owner" financial model: Common sense dictates it as so, I have detailed at length what will have to happen once it is given an industry designation...

G. Muffin

Loretta wrote:
I joined this board many years ago and have posted in fits and starts. I find it interesting and have learned a lot. However, I often lurk because there are certain unwritten rules that have been fostered here and it would seem as though if one violates them, there is grief. This issue strikes me as being among them -- it's coming across as though the truly enlightened support "sex worker rights" as being fully feminist and any arguments to the contrary are coming from those who either don't get it or don't get "real" feminism.

Loretta, thank you for starting this thread.  I highlighted the words that particularly resonate. 

I have read all of the sex work threads but made a conscious decision not to post in any of them. 

I do not support the sex trade as a legitimate business.  I think it's repulsive and should be shut down.  I realize we've heard some articulate individuals who say they enjoy their work and I have no reason to disbelieve them.  The thing is that I just cannot believe such a point of view is a common one.  The people I see involved in the sex trade are slaves to their addictions.  I just don't see purchasing sexual services as being a legitimate need for anyone.  I haven't had a sexual partner for two years but that doesn't mean I'm interested in renting one. 

Loretta

I started out seeing this issue as one similar to the issue of decriminalization of marijuana -- that is, the majority of the harm comes out of the criminalization of possession and use. That's a simplistic view but captures the essence.

Having thought about it and done more reading, I no longer see this issue that way. This is not a victimless act and women who are in this work do so without much in the way of choices, or at least the majority do. In the same way that the vast majority of young pregnant women (who don't choose abortion) who have real supports don't lose their children to adoption, neither do women who have better options choose to support themselves through having sex with many men for money.

I also question this paradigm around the economic model that's being promoted here. I have read that susan davis desires to start some sort of a coop that would include sex workers, artists, and would also include a liaison kind of arrangement that would allow women who wanted out of that work other mechanisms to do so. That doesn't address the arguments related to Employment Standards, zoning issues, WCB or public health issues but let's put that aside for a minute.

Assuming that this is what susan davis wants, I highly doubt that most of those who are proponents of complete decrim or legalization have this vision for sex work and its workers. I have every reason to believe that we are looking at the corporate/capitialist economy taking this decriminalized/legalized industry and distorting the vision of these workers until it's a complete perversion of what it started out as...so why would we champion a cause of this nature?

We are talking about getting behind a business-oriented economic model, not a socialist or collectivist movement in reality. So, what's in it for us as women collectively? How does this advance the well-being of women, not only in the sex trade but around the world? How does it advance the cause of socialism? Why would we fight for the right to lower our collective well-being rather than fight for raising it in appropriate, caring, healthy ways?

Lest I be thought of as a prude, let me assure you that I fully support those ways including freedom of sexual expression, and celebration of our sexuality. Sexual freedom is not what we're talking about here, at least for most women in the sex trade.

Michelle

Loretta wrote:

Lest I be thought of as a prude, let me assure you that I fully support those ways including freedom of sexual expression, and celebration of our sexuality. Sexual freedom is not what we're talking about here, at least for most women in the sex trade.

I definitely don't think that, and I know lots of women who aren't "prudes" but also have a huge problem with prostitution.

One of the arguments that hits home for me is that the sex trade in general creates an expectation that sex from women should always be available, and perhaps divides women into two categories - women who are willing to provide it on demand, and women who are not.

martin dufresne

Very good point. Indeed, the "What if you were offered (ENTER INORDINATE AMOUNT)?" tries to dismiss that resistance as insignificant.

skdadl

Hello, Loretta. Lovely to talk to you again.

 

I joined these conversations because I support the Charter challenge. It bothers me a lot to see how willing people are to conflate (no doubt important) social debates with the foundational principles and structures of democracy -- see, eg, the discussion going on in another thread about the CPCCA, aka the Commons Un-Canadian Activities Committee. I mean, that is the threat that looms if we begin to confuse our own moral and social convictions with more basic law that is necessary to protect everyone's liberty and equality. If we can enforce our politics through the Criminal Code, the day could well come when the tables will be turned on us by fascists using the same logic, and we will have opened the door to Atwood's vision in The Handmaid's Tale.

 

Every once in a while, Susan Davis gets a chance to ask why it is only her work that is hamstrung by the Criminal Code, and that's the argument I'm here to support. Like many people here, I wish we could end capitalism yesterday. In the interim, however, most of us have to earn a living, and we all know how compromised we've been in various ways, depending on the work we took up. We have other laws to address the real crimes that legitimately bother people as civil-liberties offences -- human trafficking, exploitation of minors, eg -- and it would be good to see some clearly focused attention to those crimes. 

 

But that's not what Susan or Stargazer is talking about, and that's not why people still object to what they're saying (and in fact doing). People still think that trade in sex should be criminalized somehow, even though, oh, I don't know, flipping real estate isn't. Susan is standing on section 2 of the Charter, which acknowledges her full humanity -- ie, she is as much a human being as anyone else, which means she should be free to make the full range of choices anyone else does. The Charter does not say "You're only free if you're perfect." It says you're free because you're a human bean, and that is where equality is rooted. There are lots of mediocre men around; the Charter freed women to be every bit as mediocre as men are.

 

I happen not to think that Susan or Stargazer is mediocre. I've been interested to read all the work that Susan and her group have done to address the need for regulation, if they can get the restrictions of the Criminal Code gone. That all sounds reasonable to me. And I empathize a lot with Stargazer's feeling that she's being condescended to, whether people intend that or not.

 

But it is exceptionally dangerous to have people confusing admirable social and political arguments and education with criminal law and basic constitutional guarantees of liberty and equality. I'm sure that's why Alan Young and his students took this challenge on pro bono, and that's why I hope they win.

 

 

 

 

Loretta

The Charter does not give unlimited freedoms when there are conflicting rights and freedoms. I hope that it fails since I believe that the right of women to live in freedom without legally sanctioning a practice that's harmful as well as reducing freedom for many involved in it. Decriminalizing the "sex worker" is reasonable, anything beyond that is a threat to the rights and freedoms of all women, especially those on the margins who are at risk through poverty.

Loretta

susan davis wrote:

ok, i tried not to post here but......i keep getting named so......

the employment standards WCB(which we already qualify for), occupational health and safety training( complete and funded by the health authority) working groups/ review boards (being discussed in vancouver- city staff are already working with sex workers)

did you not see our national industry association thread? 

http://rabble.ca/babble/labour-and-consumption/sex-industry-association

 

we are working on the aspects you mention. we do understnad the depth of what is required here. system wide reform

I will read that thread but I'm not convinced, at this point, that standards in your work can be raised to that of other workers.

susan davis wrote:

 

also, i take exception to you stating that 50 % of sex workers are first nations- where did you find that data? please post a link to that data- i have neverheard that number before and don't believe it is based in reality.

30% of on street sex workers , disproportionate representation in survival sex work, these things i have heard. street sex work comprises 10% 15 % of our industy

i am willing to discuss these things but please stick to the facts...

I would hope that you would do the same -- please show me where I quoted such figures. I deliberately didn't because I don't know what they might be and, at present, am doing some research through contact with a professor in the realm of women's studies. I am working with that person to dig into research on prostitution done through feminist analysis and will reflect upon it and bring it to this discussion when I get it.

susan davis

Loretta wrote:

I also question this paradigm around the economic model that's being promoted here. I have read that susan davis desires to start some sort of a coop that would include sex workers, artists, and would also include a liaison kind of arrangement that would allow women who wanted out of that work other mechanisms to do so. That doesn't address the arguments related to Employment Standards, zoning issues, WCB or public health issues but let's put that aside for a minute.

Assuming that this is what susan davis wants, I highly doubt that most of those who are proponents of complete decrim or legalization have this vision for sex work and its workers. I have every reason to believe that we are looking at the corporate/capitialist economy taking this decriminalized/legalized industry and distorting the vision of these workers until it's a complete perversion of what it started out as...so why would we champion a cause of this nature?

ok, i tried not to post here but......i keep getting named so......

the employment standards WCB(which we already qualify for), occupational health and safety training( complete and funded by the health authority) working groups/ review boards (being discussed in vancouver- city staff are already working with sex workers)

did you not see our national industry association thread? 

http://rabble.ca/babble/labour-and-consumption/sex-industry-association

 

we are working on the aspects you mention. we do understnad the depth of what is required here. system wide reform.

 

also, i take exception to you stating that 50 % of sex workers are first nations- where did you find that data? please post a link to that data- i have neverheard that number before and don't believe it is based in reality.

30% of on street sex workers , disproportionate representation in survival sex work, these things i have heard. street sex work comprises 10% 15 % of our industy

i am willing to discuss these things but please stick to the facts. one of the greatest threats to sex workers and our safety and stability is mis information. if you are going to make assertions such as above, please provide a link to the data to back your assertion. same applies to all sex workers being abused as children. casting our families as pervert, rapist, incestuous creeps is completely insulting. it plays into the tired old assertion of us being too raped and abused to really know what we need. of course we think we choose our jobs, we're dillusional. that is oppressive and i will not stand quietly b while people cast us all as victims, damaged goods, unable to look after ourselves. this is the excuse always used to impose actions against our community and has had disastrous results all over canada.

are you trying to say that our plans will be taken over by orgainized crime, traffickers and pimps? well, that's nice. way to empower the workers trying to do this work. as if we are too stupid or easy to manipulate and will not be able to implement accountability. it seems as if you think we don't ave what it takes or perhaps it's because you think sex workers are too weak to make this happen. others have said the same thing. i think YOU underestimate us. we will gain control of our destinies and bring trasparency ad accountability to the sex industry.

meanwhile the criminalize the customers but decrim the workers crowd have done nothing to even begin to plan fro decriminalizing of workers. bith sides agree on that point i might point out...so what exactly is different? the swedish model will also require WCB, employment standards, occupational health and safety training and many other regulations....where arethe plans for that? oh right....no where. abolitionists are so busy trying to prove they are right, none of the work required to implement their plan has been done ...so you tell me, what exactly do you plan to do to design employment standards, etc for decrimed workers under the swedush.canadian model?

i hear alot of people slamming our plans and yet no one has any other plans to offer.

we are people, we will fight for inclusion, we will challenge people who perpetuate myths about our lives and hold responsible the systems intended to protect us.we are working on these plans every single day.

slamming canada's first sex worker cooperative as if t is some kind of art project is also very insulting. the workers from the DTES worked their asses of to meet the requiremnts for incorporataion and in light of cooperative business models success in stabilizing sex workers all over the world, you would think people would be a little more supportive. the potential f this action for stabilizing localized groups of workers all over canada is enormous as well as it's potnetial for creating alternative income sources.

you claim to want to help workers on the street yet you ignore what they have asked for and belittle their work. i'm sad to say, pretty typical. you know best right?

remind remind's picture

Loretta wrote:
Sexual freedom is not what we're talking about here, at least for most women in the sex trade.

No it isn't.

On many levels.

 

 

 

 

Unionist

[see below]

Unionist

Loretta wrote:

Decriminalizing the "sex worker" is reasonable, anything beyond that is a threat to the rights and freedoms of all women, especially those on the margins who are at risk through poverty.

Loretta, do you think it should be a criminal offence for a sex worker and a customer to discuss the terms of their contract in a car parked in the parking lot of a shopping mall? Would you answer this question differently for the sex worker than for the customer?

 

Loretta

susan davis, I didn't do that either. I said that there is a disproportionate number of those involved in exchanging sexual intercourse for money were abused as children and I didn't name it as sexual abuse. This is what I've read from numerous sources however, I will include that question with those I'm asking of my contact in the women's studies department.

peasant woman

I joined these debates because I think the charter challenges are dangerous for women. I'm all for freedom, but I think it's a mistake to conflate freedom with choice, and choice with autonomy. We are not yet on equal footing, women and men. Men still make more money than do women, men still hold public office, men still make the laws, and enforce them, men still hold the balance of power in the top-heavy beauraucracies of institutions of power, including business, medicine, education, and law...

and men are the ones who demand to buy sex from women. Many people who support the total decriminalization of prostitution insist on describing the abolition postiion as one that would have women in prostitution criminalized. Stargazer, for example,  has made this mistake in several threads, one of which was quoted at the beginning of this one. 

I do not see how allowing men unfettered access to women's bodies will secure 'safety' for women in prostitution. How will the repeal of the bawdy house law protect women who sell (or are sold) through avenues such as craigslist? How can dedcriminalizing men (or women) who offer women for sale protect those women? This is kind of a rhetorical question. We can look at what happened in Amsterdam, Australia, Germany, to see how well women are protected when prostitution is decriminalized or legalized and regulated. Sure we can find a few 'happy hookers', but there are many many more women who are not happy, not safe, not 'choosing'. and these women are in mortal danger.

I know there are women who say they are feminists, and they support tthe charter challenge, and the decriminalization of all aspects of prostitution. I don't think that supporting the continuation of the sex industry can be a feminist stance. I expect a wee shitstorm of invective hurled my way for that statement, but i will stand by it. Just because you say you are feminist doesn't make it so. And advocating for men to be able to buy sexual access to women's bodies is anti-feminist. Feminism is about figuring out a way to freedom. We want women, and men, to be FREE. not "available to the average consumer at a reasonable cost". We don't know what exactly freedom is yet, but it's different again from having the opportunity to choose between selling sex or pushing a broom, or lining up at the foodbank....

Freedom, it seems to me, and feminism both, depend upon working for the well-being of others. Not just having 'choice' but acting in the interests of those with fewer opportunities--working together to expand opportunities for all. I don't see the charter challenge as acting in the interests of those with fewer options for education, work, etcetera. rather it is doing the opposite. and it is anti-feminist.

Loretta

Unionist, it would depend on whether we're talking about now or if and when laws are changed.

susan davis

loretta wrote;

 

Is babble a place where, like with other "givens" (no sexism, no racism, etc,), it is now a given that we must accept the paradigm that susan davis purports around sex work/prostitution? I can get behind respecting her point of view but disagreeing with it, that seems fair. It seems very inappropriate that rabble/babble would take the position to support that paradigm for a number of reasons. Those reasons include the inherent sexism in sex work/prostitution, the fact that the poor are without true choices, the fact that many of those involved in the sex trade were abused as children and the fact that to do so would be to support a "business owner" financial model.

Giving someone a safe place to discuss their point of view in this matter is one thing, it's another to ban those who don't agree and challenge it.

i thougt you had stated something about first nations but i guess i was wrong...sorry. the point remains about calling our parents child molesters......

i also have stated over and over that our plans a geared to empower workers with rights, not business owners and how in our culture older, more experienced workers become madames and share their knowledge with less experienced workers.

do you subscribe to the sink or swim model? all workers must be isolated from each other, have no mentoring or security on their first date with a customer and not be allowed access to critical information about their work in the form of an ex worker become madame?

this casting of all business owners is why we have no where to work, and are forced onto the street. WE NEED JOBS!!! and we need those jobs to be safe work environments. we will be inspected and scurtinized as other industries, no one is asking for carte blanche brothels. in my opinion this is a scare tactic by abolitionists to confuse the greater public as too what decrim  means.

decrim means i am not a criminal. labour law, employment standards act protect workers all over canada, why will it not work for us? why do we require seperate laws? it casts us as different, violence against us as different/unimportant/less, and allows enforcement agencies to apply the law in anyway they see fit including "getting rid of that prostitution problem". we know how well that is working....sex workers are gone. they're dead.

let's not do the typical "quick and dirty" that the canadian government is so famous for. let's do the hard work and do what is right creating a legacy of safety for canadian sex workers. abolitionists seem to think that the swedish model is some how some instant and perfect solution. don't kid yourselves, it will take as much work as full decrim, maybe more. in addition to creating labour standards  and all the other infrastructure required to decrim workers only, you will need to come up with laws and penalties for criminalized comsumers and business owners.

in sweden they get a fine.....or 6 months in jail.....do you think that's going to be an effective deterent? that's pretty much already the sentence in canada now under communication provisions, it doesn't seem to be working now.....

Unionist

Loretta wrote:

Unionist, it would depend on whether we're talking about now or if and when laws are changed.

Ok, let's talk about today. No change of laws - because I'm only aware of one court challenge, and you say you oppose it. Should discussion in a car in a parking lot be a criminal offence for the sex worker? for the customer?

susan davis

peasant woman, did you call my cohorts and i hookers? please refrain from using language we find offensive. we are sex workers or prostituted people as is prefered by some ex workers here on babble. no where did i see any current or former workers say, yes, call me  hooker, i find it empowering.....

try to be respectful.

peasant woman

I did not mean to be disrespectful. that's why i used the term in quotes. i also find it offensive, as it again puts the blame for male violence on women.

susan davis

Loretta wrote:

susan davis, I didn't do that either. I said that there is a disproportionate number of those involved in exchanging sexual intercourse for money were abused as children and I didn't name it as sexual abuse. This is what I've read from numerous sources however, I will include that question with those I'm asking of my contact in the women's studies department.


numerous sources such as ben perrin and melissa farely? becuase that data is skewed and biased. we know that those sources of data were never subject to research ethics review board scrutiny and only represent workers entrenched in the street level trade.
one cannot compare canadian conditions to cambodian conditions, or a war zone in africa to conditions in canada. the numbers will be skewed and misrepresentative of the true condtions existing within the canadian sex industry.
it has been proven that working conditions improve in indoor sex work venues and that indepent workers enjoy the safest working conditions off all- that's why we support worker owned and controlled, cooperatively run sex industry businessesbrothels.strip clubs,adult film companies.......not the coporate support the business owners enslave us all ..... i don't understand how people can ignore the potential of cooperative business models to adress many issues facing sex industry workers....
Contrary to popular perceptions about prostitution and violence, more than two-thirds of off-street sex workers who participated in a recent SFU study say they don't experience violence while working.
 
http://www.sfu.ca/sfunews/Stories/sfunews06280710.shtml
 
Sixty-three cent of the study participants-who work in massage parlours, for escort agencies or independently out of their homes-have never experienced violent behaviour.
Those who did said the majority of incidents were related to a client's refusal to pay or to wear a condom.
School of Criminology grad student Tamara O'Doherty, who conducted the study, says her findings suggest that the off-street sex trade is safer than it is for the 10-20 per cent of prostitutes who work at the street level.
"The lack of violence as shown in this study doesn't reflect what many people typically fear about prostitution in general-that it is a dangerous profession," says O'Doherty, who surveyed 39 off-street sex workers and conducted in-depth interviews with 10 women involved in the sex industry.
The women were mainly Caucasian, aged 22-45, and earned an average of $60,000 annually working four days a week. Ninety per cent had some post-secondary education and more than a third had a university degree.
O'Doherty says the findings suggest that potentially violent men target street prostitutes.
That "should be no surprise," she says. "Street sex workers, forced to work in isolation with little or no protection from police, are ideal prey for violent men."
http://lib-ir.lib.sfu.ca/handle/1892/9250

This thesis explores women's experiences working in off-street prostitution venues in Vancouver, BC. The victimization experienced by street-based sex workers has led many people to conclude that prostitution is inherently dangerous. However, street-based workers form the minority of sex workers in Canada. The question remains, can their experiences be generalized to other types of prostitution? Consequently, this thesis examines whether female off-street sex workers face the same degree of victimization as female street-based sex workers, and asks if the experience of prostitution always entails violence. The research contained two components: a) a victimization survey examining interpersonal violence and other forms of victimization of off-street sex workers (n=39); and b) in-depth interviews with ten off-street sex workers exploring their working conditions, safety, stereotypes of prostitution, and law reform (n=10). While violence and exploitation do occur in the off-street industry, this study indicates that some women sell sex without experiencing any violence.

 
 

susan davis

peasant woman wrote:

I did not mean to be disrespectful. that's why i used the term in quotes. i also find it offensive, as it again puts the blame for male violence on women.

quotes or not, the ends do not justify the means....i appreciate that it was unintential though. thankyou.

remind remind's picture

Quote:
30% of on street sex workers , disproportionate representation in survival sex work, these things i have heard. street sex work comprises 10% 15 % of our industy

30% in Vancouver.

We are not talking the whole sex trade here, we are talking genital contact sex.

 

Please do not obscure this by trying to merge all types of sex trade  activities together.

 

90% in PG, if not more, close to the same for Kamloops, Kelowna, Terrace, Smithers, FT St John,  and Prince Rupert, are of FN heritages.

 

Then we have all those who are the marginalized poor taking up  most of the rest of the spaces,  and they have been abused by our classist society too. And then they move along to being exploited and abused more, in order to serve the instant gratification needs of the classist society.

 

do refrain from trying to kid us that rich people's daughters, or even middle class ones, are choosing genital contact sex, in the majority of cases in the remaining percentile, as a career choice.

 

 no one said child molesters until you did susan, please also refrain from trying to build conceptual frameworks that were never there.

 

In respect to what is posted in the labour forum, thread by Ms Davis,  it is but a glossy overview of what  things on the surface should be done.

 

Reading that thread, and what was posted regarding the regulations and certifications they were allegedly advocating, made me delve into the reality applications of what those very very surface statements meant. As I have direct experience knowlege, it was easy to break it all down.

 

when that gloss was removed, by my detailing the reality facets under the gloss, it was stated that none of those things were feasible to do, and to impliment them would drive  prostitution back undergound and out into the streets.

 

Which lead me to realize the only thing really being advocated for was decriminalized and unregulated genital contact sex.

 

Trying to also gloss it up as a human rights issue is nonsensical, as Loretta clearly points out above, and I have detailed elsewhere.

 

But for those needing to have it repeated, I would be happy to do so.

susan davis

wow, .....yup....you nailed it on the head.....that's exactly what it is....a glossed over version of what is "really"happening and a remind....it's mrs.....i know you may find it hard to fathom but i am married.

if we were all abused as children, then it stands to reason our parents were either diddling us or were so bad of a parents that they allowed us to be abused....it is a very slanted perspective that dinishes us as all damaged goods.

how is the international carter of human rights non sensical? are you suggesting we don't qualify? are we not human beings and citizens of this country? you can not seriously believe your arguement about the rights of one group out weighing anothers rights...that is indefensible to use your own words. the charter specifically states that no provivions within are intended to superceed the rights of one group over another.

i am a middle/ upper class daughter......? what makes you think middle/upperclass daughters are not sex workers? just because you are upper/middle class does not make you imune to falling into poverty, facing challenges in your life....

your othering of sex workers as some seperate sub class that just somehow materialized from some other world is outrageous.until you all stop trying to paint us all with one brush, you will never truely accept us as human beings. why is it so hard to accept that sex industry workers are as diverse in back ground as any other community? were all women abused as children? i mean c'mon.

Loretta

Unionist, I would say arrest the prospective customer.

susan davis, sex worker is not what people are, it's what they do. We don't have the freedom to do anything we want in our society. We are a group of individuals who live in a larger community. Yes, we have rights and freedoms and those must be balanced with the rights and freedoms of the others in the larger community. Freedom around identity issues is about what people are, in terms of qualities that make them who they are, they are not about what people do.

You are all human beings and I have no problem believing that you come from diverse backgrounds. I have no idea what that has to do with anything. However, I still believe that this work is something that disproportionately is made up of people with limited choices, whether or not they come from a middle-class background. There's no shame in having limited choices and our larger community should be working toward supporting those in that position and expanding their options.

susan davis

i agree, we should be working towards better choices for all, but in the meantime while we try to eradicate  poverty does it not make sense to stabilize peoples safety? or are you subscribing to the idea that no matter the cost- in terms of human lives- we must move forward and pretend as if we WILL eradicate poverty and to hell with those caught in the middle?

no comments on the coop, or the links to data i provided you? or the idea of a sex workers first customer being a sink or swim situation?

my statement were ment to adress remind in the post you are referencing. i answered your post above. what about comments on our industry association and occupational health and safety training? policy procedure reforms for systems in charge of our protection? the fact that WCB recognizes us as workers?

what about the system wide reforms needed to adress barriers facing us that will be necessary no matter the outcome....sweden or decrim?

Loretta

susan davis wrote:

i agree, we should be working towards better choices for all, but in the meantime while we try to eradicate  poverty does it not make sense to stabilize peoples safety? or are you subscribing to the idea that no matter the cost- in terms of human lives- we must move forward and pretend as if we WILL eradicate poverty and to hell with those caught in the middle?

If we move in the direction of legalizing prostitution, we will never have a reason to work toward improvements overall. After all, how could someone apply for welfare when work is available in the field of legalized prostitution? You're an abused woman who needs work -- there it is. After all, it would seem as though the demand by men for the use of women's bodies is a never-ending demand/market to be tapped into by enterprising folks in the business and, while I appreciate the co-op concept, in reality, "the" business won't be made up of women's collectives who have the power in how their business is run.

Unionist

Loretta wrote:

Unionist, I would say arrest the prospective customer.

... because?

 

remind remind's picture

So what if you are married susan davis, it plays no part in this discussion. Nor do any of the other numerous, too numerous to count, let alone address, red herrings and misinterpretations in that last post of yours..

I detailed just a few of the  laws and regulations that would have to be made and put in place, as well as all the regulatory bodies needed to oversee, that you gave points on, as supposed things you and others  planned upon doing, in the linked thread to the labour forum above.

You, yourself, and others, immediately dismissed those required industry regulations, as nondoable, so making claims that the industry business people, such  as yourself, want to do those regulatory things and have looked into it all,  fall a bit short of being actual reality. In fact, they appear to be feel good fluff, without substance.

~

As a feminist my first priority is fostering the well being of women. My actions in life flow from that place. Why?

 

men have been fostering their own well being at our expense, for over 2000 years, they know how, and most are not willing to give up that 2000 year old history  in just a mere  80 short years.

 

Women have not even recovered from how our chattal stature for 2000 years has warped our sense of self yet. And it is going to be a few generations yet I suspect, before we do.

 

Meanwhile, this feminist understands that there are no human rights involved in decriminalizing john's, pimps and procurers, as a man's right to have leisure time ejaculations is not a human a right and is just another version of the old patriarchial propaganda  of "every sperm is sacred".

 

 

Loretta

Unionist, what remind said, "Meanwhile, this feminist understands that there are no human rights involved in decriminalizing john's, pimps and procurers, as a man's right to have leisure time ejaculations is not a human a right and is just another version of the old patriarchial propaganda  of 'every sperm is sacred'."

Ghislaine

Loretta wrote:

Unionist, what remind said, "Meanwhile, this feminist understands that there are no human rights involved in decriminalizing john's, pimps and procurers, as a man's right to have leisure time ejaculations is not a human a right and is just another version of the old patriarchial propaganda  of 'every sperm is sacred'."

Doesn't it reinforce the notion that every sperm is not sacred? My take on the "every sperm is sacred notion" is that ejaculation should only occur with hetero, married sex with no birth control. 

Could you definite "leisure time ejaculations"? This does not even mention or imply that any commerce is involved? As long as there is CONSENT, the state has no business saying anything about what adults do sexually in their leisure time - male or female. 

There are human rights involved. It is the right of a an adult to make decisions about her own body with a consenting adult. As long as the adult she or he is hoping to consent to sexual acts with is criminalized - then she may as well be too. 

remind: 2,000 years? The human species is a lot older than that and I would say patriarchal control goes back to the beginning. 

fortunate

I do see a deliberate attempt to misunderstand what is sex work due to this rigid "definition" that it is meant to include all sex related work -- webcam, dancers, prostitution, etc, so then it can be used against the poster to say oh, my you are obviously talking about all sex work  so your stats (proven and peer reviewed) must be wrong, so I am going to "fix" them for you. 

You may not like it, but it is legal.  The laws that criminalize the activities around it (it being prostitution for the rigidly impaired) are only 25 years old.  The majority of sex workers work indoors, the overwhelming majority of 80+%.  This is a fact, please do not attempt to dismiss it.  The majority of all sexworkers therefore do not have tragic pasts, violent encounters, drug addictions, and forced entry to the business.  If by "poverty" you mean that many many people in Canada need too work to "escape" poverty, then sure go ahead and use it for the "main" reason for people choosing sex work.  It does seem that the fact that some people choose and enjoy it, in spite of what others think of them, seems to rub people the wrong way.  But get over it, people.  Prostitution is legal, therefore it is a legal option for work in Canada. 

The real world is out there, for anyone who can see beyond the ladies who work on the street.  Bringing up Craigslist of all things, lol.  The majority of high end indoor service providers do not advertise there.  They spend hundreds and thousands monthly on their business, which ultimately keeps them out of public view and away from censorship and social stigma.  They own and operate their own business, they have post secondary educations, often funded through this work.  They have an interest in communications and customer service, and they do not view sex and sexuality in that old style feminist view that all sexual acts are anti-female, or that no woman in their right mind could possibly enjoy sex and sexuality.   By stating that women are not capable of making this decision themselves, by themselves for themselves, you are effectively silencing them, marginalizing them, discounting their voices, infantalizing them.  In fact, no better than the judge who rules the 3 year old girl was "provocative" or the wife who acts in self defense was premeditative, or the teenager who was raped while walking home from school was "asking for it".

I really see no difference between those examples and the statements I have read that tell me what I am and what I think.

Loretta

Unionist wrote:

So you would change the law to allow a sex worker to discuss terms of a contract with a john (that's illegal right now in a "public place", including a car parking at the mall), but have the john arrested if he participated in the discussion?

I have stated this elsewhere that this would be the model I prefer, since I believe it best reflects the charter right of women's equality. There is no right to have sex nor is there a right to contract for it.

fortunate

Yes, I have a problem with people who think that they have the right to decide for me, a grown woman, and if I won't cooperate, they will make me do it their way. 

fortunate

Loretta wrote:

nor is there a right to contract for it.

I would have to disagree with this, since Prostitution is legal in this country, by definition people in this country over the age of 18 have a right to contract for it.

The swedish model of criminalizing the client has been proven elsewhere, by the Swedish government and police services themselves, to have failed in its intent.  Why not choose something that actually gets the results you desire, if what you desire is to make life easier for street workers with drug and past abuse histories?  I think, because those issues have little or nothing to do with prostitution per se, and the solutions are unrelated to that work.

Loretta

fortunate wrote:

I do see a deliberate attempt to misunderstand what is sex work due to this rigid "definition" that it is meant to include all sex related work -- webcam, dancers, prostitution, etc, so then it can be used against the poster to say oh, my you are obviously talking about all sex work  so your stats (proven and peer reviewed) must be wrong, so I am going to "fix" them for you. 

I haven't ever stated that this is what I'm talking about. I am talking about genital contact sex work.

fortunate wrote:

You may not like it, but it is legal.  The laws that criminalize the activities around it (it being prostitution for the rigidly impaired) are only 25 years old.  The majority of sex workers work indoors, the overwhelming majority of 80+%.  This is a fact, please do not attempt to dismiss it.  The majority of all sexworkers therefore do not have tragic pasts, violent encounters, drug addictions, and forced entry to the business.  If by "poverty" you mean that many many people in Canada need too work to "escape" poverty, then sure go ahead and use it for the "main" reason for people choosing sex work.  It does seem that the fact that some people choose and enjoy it, in spite of what others think of them, seems to rub people the wrong way.  But get over it, people.  Prostitution is legal, therefore it is a legal option for work in Canada. 

If that's the case, what's the fuss about challenging the solicitation laws? Sure, most people work to avoid support themselves and therefore avoid poverty. There is a difference in that most people don't aspire to being a prostitute, or sex worker, if you prefer. Most end up "choosing" it for lack of other options.

fortunate wrote:

The real world is out there, for anyone who can see beyond the ladies who work on the street.  Bringing up Craigslist of all things, lol.  The majority of high end indoor service providers do not advertise there.  They spend hundreds and thousands monthly on their business, which ultimately keeps them out of public view and away from censorship and social stigma.  They own and operate their own business, they have post secondary educations, often funded through this work.  They have an interest in communications and customer service, and they do not view sex and sexuality in that old style feminist view that all sexual acts are anti-female, or that no woman in their right mind could possibly enjoy sex and sexuality.   By stating that women are not capable of making this decision themselves, by themselves for themselves, you are effectively silencing them, marginalizing them, discounting their voices, infantalizing them.  In fact, no better than the judge who rules the 3 year old girl was "provocative" or the wife who acts in self defense was premeditative, or the teenager who was raped while walking home from school was "asking for it".

The bolded statement is entirely inappropriate and not at all what's being said. Please do not get into personal attacks. Neither is this about my sex life and what I enjoy or don't enjoy -- that comment is not worth responding to since no-one has said that women are to be denied freedom as sexual beings.

Let's look at this another way -- why don't we just assume that all workers can decide for themselves what wage they need and in what conditions they will work? Why do we need laws of any kind to restrict business of any kind? Hell, those miners can look after themselves -- labour laws infantalize them, let's get rid of them. In supporting labour laws, you are discounting the voices of those who say they don't want a union so why don't we let them decide what's going to happen?

skdadl

Quote:
After all, how could someone apply for welfare when work is available in the field of legalized prostitution? You're an abused woman who needs work -- there it is.

 

Loretta, this question has been addressed several times elsewhere. Non-consensual sex is assault, and we have other laws that can prevent the state from pressuring anyone into sex work. We don't even need to mention sex work: no one is required to volunteer for assault.

 

Quote:
There is no right to have sex nor is there a right to contract for it.

 

I can hardly believe you wrote that. The Charter doesn't say you have a right to eat or take a pee either.

 

No one bestows rights upon anyone else. We have rights by virtue of being human beings. The Charter is there to make sure that no one attempts to take those away from us.

 

If you are a human being, you eat, excrete, and like all other animals associate freely with other human beings. You need food, clothing, and shelter. The Charter doesn't single out most of those basic functions, although it does guarantee freedom of association, which, again, is a basic animal function, and it would be a pretty horrific society that denied it. (There have been such societies, unfortunately.)

 

Our animal life precedes all law, and all democratic codifications begin with a recognition of that fact. One of the great glories of animal life is to curl up with another living body of one's choice, and it would be an ugly tyranny that presumed to interfere with that choice and that joy.

 

Och, Rousseau -- where are you now that we really need you? *cue chorus of "Born Free"*

 

 

 

Ghislaine

great post, skadl - it definitely bears repeating. I have been trying to formulate an adequate response to the assertion that "no one has  right to have sex". 

fortunate

Loretta wrote:

 

If that's the case, what's the fuss about challenging the solicitation laws? Sure, most people work to avoid support themselves and therefore avoid poverty. There is a difference in that most people don't aspire to being a prostitute, or sex worker, if you prefer. Most end up "choosing" it for lack of other options.

 

These have been discussed ad nauseum as to why they harm the sex worker and no one else by preventing her from working specifically in ways that are safer (like from home, which is considered a "bawdy house" or with security which is considered "living off the avails" or with family (also "living off the avails").  How anyone can think that the solicitation laws do not affect the sex worker, particularly the street sex worker, in a negative and harmful way is ludicrous.   How can it be better to jump into a car and drive away from the street to discuss rates and services (which, by the way is perfectly legal to do unless you are standing on the street).   So instead, you would have her get into the car with someone she has no opportunity to talk to with for a bit, to judge his character or seriousness, to find out even if he is prepared to spend what she is charging. 

Let us suppose that your miner goes to work, uncertain as to whether or not he will actually get sent into the mine today, and when he does, only then does he get a chance to tell them what kind of a wage he had in mind, then they tell him, well, since you are here anyway, why don't we pay you half of what you want and see what happens?  

And, btw, ignoring the fact that susi's organization has spent a lot of time, energy and thought into coming up with regulations and work standards is pretty insulting.  Just proves my point.  Posting without actually reading enough to make a direct comment on the post being commented on   Frown   Essentially, you are saying sex workers do not deserve or merit regulations and unions, etc, due solely to the nature of their choice to work in this legal occupation.  Well, many, as I say, are self employed so unions would not apply, but on the other hand when the absolute minimum fee for this sort of work is at least 50/hr, you might have a hard time lobbying for high wages.  Working conditions in massage parlours, or through agencies, yes.  There would be a lot of support for that, because currently there is no real regulation and an agency can dip into a workers earnings through the intial percentage of the call, then charge extra for drivers, advertising, and fine the worker for being late, not showing up, and so on.  Such fees could be more reasonable than what they are, for sure.  Perhaps you should be working for this, instead of trying to increase unemployment stats.

I do appreciate however that you said used "most" rather than "all" when referring to those who aspire to be prostitutes.  You would be surprised at how many actually did aspire to these, when younger or choosing it at a later age after serious consideration.  Yes, some people do aspire to this.  It can be glamorous, it can allow people the freedom to pursue other interests, it can simply be that they enjoy men and sex.  Last time I checked, there was nothing sinister about being in touch with one's own sexuality, as an adult.

remind remind's picture

absolutely not true. ghislaine have a browse through the  isles of history, but patriarchy would have you believe so...and not even really true for everywhere in the last 2000 years either.

Egalitarian societies certainly were not....and early celtic (simplistic term) most definitely not.

and what I meant was Ghislaine, it is always supposed to be about a man's dick, the new version of the focus is the selling of  leisure sex as a commodity, as opposed to the former one of male sperms needing release because they are sacred.

 

this is the end result of the objectification of women and girls, commodifying our vaginas as a conmmodity work place product, and convincing some it is human rights....

 

yep always wanted  my daughter and granddaughter to be a live version of a blow up doll....ffs

 

 

 

 

 

remind remind's picture

Loretta wrote:
Let's look at this another way -- why don't we just assume that all workers can decide for themselves what wage they need and in what conditions they will work? Why do we need laws of any kind to restrict business of any kind? Hell, those miners can look after themselves -- labour laws infantalize them, let's get rid of them. In supporting labour laws, you are discounting the voices of those who say they don't want a union so why don't we let them decide what's going to happen?

Exactly Loretta...

 

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