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

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Loretta

skdadl wrote:

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.

Yes, for now. If it became fully legalized and regulated, what's to stop that from happening? If some can legally sell it, what would stop the rest from having to? I see this move as perhaps improving life for some women in the short term at the cost of diminishing it for all - it's a green light to those who wish to commodify our bodies for their own interests, not ours.

ETA: I just re-read the thread on industry standards, etc, and realize that the discussion is about complete decriminalization not legalization at all. To me, this means that "the industry" is looking toward doing whatever they determine is OK without input from those outside it -- can someone clarify this for me? If that's the case, what are we talking about here? Full on, do whatever in terms of work hours, pay scales, public health, safety standards...I don't really see reference to this at all in terms of what it means for the rest of us outside that industry in the linked thread. What I see is a proposal for the industry to be self-regulated, period. I'm not sure if there are any other industries that have this degree of freedom but I highly doubt it. And, I doubt most of us would want that.

remind remind's picture

Loretta wrote:
What I see is a proposal for the industry to be self-regulated, period. I'm not sure if there are any other industries that have this degree of freedom but I highly doubt it. And, I doubt most of us would want that.

Yep....beneath all the spin and rhetoric that is exactly what they are saying...too secret, too much to demand that men be accountable for their actions and body excretions as if somehow  it is, and they are special. and above all things......in a normal work place scenario.

 

and denying that it would set up a "he said she said" situation for sexual assaults to boot...is mind boggling

 

there is a reason why feminists have succeeded in getting prostitution recognized as violence against women....

fortunate

Loretta wrote:

skdadl wrote:

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.

Yes, for now. If it became fully legalized and regulated, what's to stop that from happening? If some can legally sell it, what would stop the rest from having to? I see this move as perhaps improving life for some women in the short term at the cost of diminishing it for all - it's a green light to those who wish to commodify our bodies for their own interests, not ours.

ETA: I just re-read the thread on industry standards, etc, and realize that the discussion is about complete decriminalization not legalization at all. To me, this means that "the industry" is looking toward doing whatever they determine is OK without input from those outside it -- can someone clarify this for me? If that's the case, what are we talking about here? Full on, do whatever in terms of work hours, pay scales, public health, safety standards...I don't really see reference to this at all in terms of what it means for the rest of us outside that industry in the linked thread. What I see is a proposal for the industry to be self-regulated, period. I'm not sure if there are any other industries that have this degree of freedom but I highly doubt it. And, I doubt most of us would want that.

What's to stop what from happening, exactly?  Are you implying that decriminalizing the activities around the legal activity of prostitution is somehow going to legalize non-consensual sex?   I don't get how you make connections between things that have no connection at all.  This is typical of some of the "research" I have seen referenced here.  These things have been discussed and debunked elsewhere.

The regulations and policies have been clearly examined, explored and presented by susi elsewhere.  Refusing to read them doesn't mean that nothing has been done, or that there is going to be some sort of free for all.  The links to the rules and regulations set up by the New Zealand government on this topic have also been provided.  I am not going to hold people's hands and lead them to it, since it is clear that some would prefer not to read the comments and posts that surround these links for fear they might learn something that contradicts their strongly held beliefs. 

I realize that it might be awkward to be challenged constantly and directly with facts and statements and corrections, but is that not debate?  Let us assume, for a moment, that the definition of sex worker is one who does "genital contact work" shall we, since it seems so confusing although it has been discussed.  There is another category, sex industry worker, that  includes sex worker, dancer, films, etc.   Altho, can you separate actors in films (genital contact) from sex workers?.    Are you able to deal with the female clients of male sex workers at all?  I am finding it difficult to see them being defended, and who, in the end, is going to be defended and protected:  the male worker or the female client??   Have you thought about whether or not their is a victim in the case of male sex workers who have male clients?  Are they both aggressors in this legal activity?  Can't be victims, since they are men?   I am failing to see any of this included in the concerns and comments.   Does anyone care that the indoor sex worker is by definition forced to be a criminal by working from home?

rework

Loretta wrote:

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.

How does one discuss (negotiate) with another that cannot  ???
Is this not restraint of trade ?
One minus one equals zero, that is the intent, correct ?

Refering to the title of this thread,
I am a feminist.

 

remind remind's picture

One doesn't because that is not the way work in the real world is undertaken and it is not a restraint of trade...

 

and this is the statement of the truth of that from above

Quote:
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?

 

so should we just chuck 100's of years of worker's rights fights away, so some men can have on demand leisure time ejaculation responses?

rework

Last job I applied for, We discussed wages, hours etc. I CHOSE to accept.

ennir

remind wrote:

.........

 

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

 

There is something about describing women in this way that is disturbing to me, disturbing because it is a stereo-type and I don't think any of the women here presenting themselves as sex workers in any way reflect that, rather I find intelliigent women who are stating clearly that they are making a free choice.

I wonder why that is so difficult to accept, certainly as society we are twisted regarding initmacy thanks to a lot of negative conditioning but  I don't think it is that.  I think it is because when we buy into the idea that we are powerless, that we have been victimized then we don't acknowledge our own power and responsibility.

I found some years ago that I diverged from what seems to have become dogma in some feminist circles when I realized that the most powerful people in my life were women and that men were equally imprisoned and in a way that seemed to limit them far more than I found women to be limited.

I began to ask myself why women were so determined to demonstrate their equality by proving they could do what men could do rather than celebrating the fact that women give birth which no man is capable of.  It seemed to me that by referencing our success in regards to the definitions men had made we were trading our true power for well, for what, for what men have made of the world, not for me.

I wonder that any woman who calls herself a feminist can tell another that she is not, that seems the very antithesis of respecting of women.

remind remind's picture

and you did so in the framework of having the whole of the labour code supporting your actions, as well as health and worker's comp...

 

obviously you chose to accept an amount over min wage...aren't you fortunate in your class position....millions are not....

 

blue collar union workers are even forced  to make the same wage as everyone else in their job description, no individual bargaining allowed...

 

 

remind remind's picture

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

There is something about describing women in this way that is disturbing to me, disturbing because it is a stereo-type

Good, and thank you for the affirmation, as I used it to be disturbing, and it is not a sterotype

 

you got daughters?

You got a daughter that could be tipped into marginalization  and exploitation because of her heritage quite easily, as we live in a racist and classist society?

 

Quote:
and I don't think any of the women here presenting themselves as sex workers in any way reflect that, rather I find intelliigent women who are stating clearly that they are making a free choice.

 

Which women?

The 2 that declared they were choosing it,  or the 5 prostitutes that stated they were forced into it?

Which is pretty much representative of real life, a handful choose, the rest are forced into the personification of a blow up doll...

 

women and young girls have been objectified for a reason after all....once we believe ourelves to be objects commodification of genital sex comes shortly thereafter...

 

Quote:
men were equally imprisoned and in a way that seemed to limit them far more than I found women to be limited.

 

Well.... if men are equally as imprisoned, as women, then I want some of that prison.....sorry the poor men meme wore off on me long ago...

 

Quote:
I began to ask myself why women were so determined to demonstrate their equality by proving they could do what men could do rather than celebrating the fact that women give birth which no man is capable of.

Odd thinking, given a woman cannot give birth without the male component, to say the least...look let's not make all this giving birth all mystical, or romance novelish, it is biological functioning contained in all species...it is just as bad as thinking every sperm is sacred.

 

i choose to celebrate whatever i can do well, at any given point in time and believe it me it varies, and beyond that appreciate what my partner of 30+ years can do better than i at any given time,

we have taught each other much over the decades....sexually and otherwise...

 

Quote:
I wonder that any woman who calls herself a feminist can tell another that she is not, that seems the very antithesis of respecting of women.

Well....shall we start calling sarah palin a feminist then? or Ann Coulter? or Rachel Mardsden? how about REAL women? how about Barbra Kay, or Kate McMillian?

Shall i call Harper a progressive too while i am being all fair and  respecting?

 

another example would be:

being tolerant does not mean tolerating intolerance

G. Muffin

ennir wrote:

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

There is something about describing women in this way that is disturbing to me, disturbing because it is a stereo-type and I don't think any of the women here presenting themselves as sex workers in any way reflect that, rather I find intelliigent women who are stating clearly that they are making a free choice.

I think it speaks to men's approach to sex workers rather than being any comment on sex workers themselves.  And I think it's an accurate analogy.  Sex you purchase, like drunken sex with someone you don't even care about, is pretty much the same as finding a convenient receptacle. 

ennir

Women are not receptacles.

Remind, I found your response predictable.  I don't think you actually understood much of what I was saying and I have little confidence that whatever I say will find any receptivity with you.  Generally I have found your behavior on these threads horrifying and you are one of the main reasons I am even bothering to speak up, I felt ashamed that my silence could be taken in any way as support for your views.

G. Muffin

ennir wrote:
Women are not receptacles.

That's right, they're not.  And this is what I hate about the sex trade -- that their clients treat them as if they were.

ennir

I think what we are hearing from some women is that they do not feel this way, I don't dispute that many women feel that men treat them that way.

As to Remind's question of which women do I find intelligent? All of them.

Lee Lakeman

ennir I find that insulting post to Remind completly unacceptable and ceratinly does not meet any definition of feminism that I know.  I regret that are being initiatied to this level of discourse and intolerance for civil discussion.  I hope you will apologize and try to exchange views with more care and respect for yourself and others.  Remind has been a major contributor to this conversation and as such should have your ear and your consideration for her thoughts but whetherr or not you agree with her posts or her points there is no need nor tolerance on my part for expressions of anti-feminist contempt

remind remind's picture

ennir, as for my  behaviour it is not like i have been making personal attacks, like yours, with your falsely accusing  me of behaving badly, when i haven't been.  and even trying to ascribe "shame" to me.

 

how many prostitutes have you known in your real life?

 

not expecting an answer back, as i take it you have no daughter's, seeing as you did not answer my honest question and chose to be attacking and snide instead.

 

Of course i "understood" every thing you said, so apparently you do not find all women intelligent, and  moreover i have heard it ad naseum over the years...

 

ennir

ennir wrote:

I think what we are hearing from some women is that they do not feel this way, I don't dispute that many women feel that men treat them that way.

As to Remind's question of which women do I find intelligent? All of them.

What part of this didn't you understand?

ennir

remind wrote:

ennir, as for my  behaviour it is not like i have been making personal attacks, like yours, with your falsely accusing  me of behaving badly, when i haven't been.  and even trying to ascribe "shame" to me.

 

how many prostitutes have you known in your real life?

 

not expecting an answer back, as i take it you have no daughter's, seeing as you did not answer my honest question and chose to be attacking and snide instead.

 

Of course i "understood" every thing you said, so apparently you do not find all women intelligent, and  moreover i have heard it ad naseum over the years...

 

You can be intelligent without understanding another's point of view.

You don't think that you have behaved badly towards Susan?

And do you seriously think a woman has to have a daughter to feel for young women and want to see them respected and cared for?  No Remind I am not going to answer that question, I think the question is offensive.

ennir

Hey Remind that is a real leap to my ascribing shame to you, I said I felt ashamed that if I did not speak up my silence could be taken as support for your words.  You are the one that leaped to that, I have no interest in whether you feel shame or not.

remind remind's picture

please stop making personal attacks ennir, it is discomforting, in the feminist forum especially

ennir

Lee Lakeman wrote:

ennir I find that insulting post to Remind completly unacceptable and ceratinly does not meet any definition of feminism that I know.  I regret that are being initiatied to this level of discourse and intolerance for civil discussion.  I hope you will apologize and try to exchange views with more care and respect for yourself and others.  Remind has been a major contributor to this conversation and as such should have your ear and your consideration for her thoughts but whetherr or not you agree with her posts or her points there is no need nor tolerance on my part for expressions of anti-feminist contempt

Anti-feminist contempt, please show me examples?

Again, who defines feminism? 

 

Unionist

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 parked at the mall), but have the john arrested if he participated in the conversation?

One step further: Would you be ok with the john having that conversation with her over the phone? Or in her home?

 

 

ennir

remind wrote:

please stop making personal attacks ennir, it is discomforting, in the feminist forum especially

I guess we disagree on this, I don't feel I am attacking you, I am telling you how I feel, you are free to do whatever you want, I am not calling you names, I am saying I don't think you listen to me.  I said that I found you behavior horrifying, I am not telling you what you should do I am telling you how I feel.

Loretta

rework wrote:

Loretta wrote:

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.

How does one discuss (negotiate) with another that cannot  ???
Is this not restraint of trade ?
One minus one equals zero, that is the intent, correct ?

Restraint of trade happens all the time -- the most vocally opposed among them are free traders.

rework wrote:

Refering to the title of this thread,
I am a feminist.

As I am, despite the fact that I'm not convinced that full decriminalization of selling genital contact is a good thing for women.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Wow.  Been staying out of these threads for a variety of reasons, one being not enough time...

I see sex workers saying that no one should have the right to tell them what to do with their bodies.  I agree, no one has that right.  You can have sex with whomever you like, in any number and with any variety of acts.  None of our business.  However, that's not the part I am concerned about.  What concerns me is the commodification of the sex act and what repercussions that has on the world and social order that I live in and that I will send my daughters out into as young women sooner than I'd like.  And I don't see any positive effects from a feminist perspective.  I also find the dismissal of progressive concerns for the most vulnerable of the sex worker cohort intensely disturbing from both a feminist and humanist point of view.

So there has to be input from the rest of the people.  Even if we're not connected to sex work, because you're changing our social landscape via the business of sex, not sex itself.  We expect a level of input on other industries as well.  We don't get enough, but we do get some.

Loretta

Timebandit wrote:

So there has to be input from the rest of the people.  Even if we're not connected to sex work, because you're changing our social landscape via the business of sex, not sex itself.  We expect a level of input on other industries as well.  We don't get enough, but we do get some.

That's an excellent way of putting how I feel, Timebandit.

susan davis

selling genital contact-

fuck you guys are insulting. this so diminised my work and the life i live...i am not a fuck doll or a receptacle.....any more than you are a baby factory remind. this type of discourse s disgusting. i do not remember any sex workers or former sex workers saying that was appropriate language for describing my life and work.

i have heard rape, prostituted, sex work......

i just love how youall uselanguage to belittle, diminish and oppress us.its pretty sad.

susan davis

Timebandit wrote:

Wow.  Been staying out of these threads for a variety of reasons, one being not enough time...

I see sex workers saying that no one should have the right to tell them what to do with their bodies.  I agree, no one has that right.  You can have sex with whomever you like, in any number and with any variety of acts.  None of our business.  However, that's not the part I am concerned about.  What concerns me is the commodification of the sex act and what repercussions that has on the world and social order that I live in and that I will send my daughters out into as young women sooner than I'd like.  And I don't see any positive effects from a feminist perspective.  I also find the dismissal of progressive concerns for the most vulnerable of the sex worker cohort intensely disturbing from both a feminist and humanist point of view.

So there has to be input from the rest of the people.  Even if we're not connected to sex work, because you're changing our social landscape via the business of sex, not sex itself.  We expect a level of input on other industries as well.  We don't get enough, but we do get some.

i totally understnad.if you read our plans for sex industry review boards or working groups, we do include mainsteam society as a stakeholder and respect that they must have input. please, add anything you like to those plans or state any concerns.

it's in the sex worker rights forum......

susan davis

i would also like to say that sex work has been around a long time, in the oldest piece of writing on the planet- "the whore of babylon story" from 6000 years ago- has a sex worker in it...this is hardly new or some kind of addition to our "social landscape". we are here. we are part of the human experience and we will claim our rights as human beings.

Kaspar Hauser

susan davis wrote:

selling genital contact-

fuck you guys are insulting. this so diminised my work and the life i live...i am not a fuck doll or a receptacle.....any more than you are a baby factory remind. this type of discourse s disgusting. i do not remember any sex workers or former sex workers saying that was appropriate language for describing my life and work.

i have heard rape, prostituted, sex work......

i just love how youall uselanguage to belittle, diminish and oppress us.its pretty sad.

And, irony of ironies, it's the abolitionist side that's complaining of being silenced.

Michelle

Susan, I agree that people have to be more sensitive about the words they use to describe sex workers.

My feeling, though, is that they're talking from a feminist point of view about the way male society (not all males) view sex work and sex workers.  I think that the feminism forum has to be open to this kind of analysis of the sex trade - that many men DO see buying sex as "buying genital contact".  Many feminists believe that the sex trade doesn't just commodotize sex trade workers, but also all women when they can buy sex either in person or on a screen. 

Just as many people believe that the capitalist class does not see the humanity of the workers, and considers them cogs, or widgets in their machinery, there are a lot of feminists who believe that the patriarchy uses prostitution and other trade in sex as a way of reducing women to mere sex objects, simply in place to satisfy men.

That said, I also think it's extremely disrespectful to call sex workers "receptacles" or "blow up dolls" or to even imply that they act like it.  It may be true that this is how some men see sex workers (and perhaps other women as a result of the sex trade which some feminists believe encourage this view of women), but I think we have to be really clear that we are talking about patriarchal attitudes towards sex workers and women, instead of ascribing that status to sex workers ourselves, when we use inflammatory terms like that.

Michelle

Regarding the diminishment of your work, Susan: feminists do not have to agree with you that sex work has positive value.  There are a lot of feminists who believe that the sex trade is not good for women overall, and they have to be free to express that viewpoint here as well.

remind remind's picture

Quote:
but I think we have to be really clear that we are talking about patriarchal attitudes towards sex workers and women, instead of ascribing that status to sex workers ourselves, when we use inflammatory terms like that.

Exactly why, I first used  it in relation to how male society would/will/does see my daughter and granddaughter. To make the clear point I was speaking about ALL women, and even  to the point of personalizing it down to my family, so people would get what I meant by its use...

 

When something is commodified, it no longer remains what it was.....and it becomes disposable...just like all other gadgets, toys, and games...for leisure time activities...

Stargazer

Lee Lakeman wrote:

ennir I find that insulting post to Remind completly unacceptable and ceratinly does not meet any definition of feminism that I know.  I regret that are being initiatied to this level of discourse and intolerance for civil discussion.  I hope you will apologize and try to exchange views with more care and respect for yourself and others.  Remind has been a major contributor to this conversation and as such should have your ear and your consideration for her thoughts but whetherr or not you agree with her posts or her points there is no need nor tolerance on my part for expressions of anti-feminist contempt

 

You have got to be kidding me. If anything remind has been nasty, disrepectful and horid to the sex workers here. Apologies should come from her. No one owes her an aoplogy.

Michelle

Okay, Lee and Stargazer - unless you'd like to apply for the volunteer mod positions ;) then how about leaving it up to the moderators to determine who needs to apologize to whom.

Thanks.

remind remind's picture

Michelle wrote:
Regarding the diminishment of your work, Susan: feminists do not have to agree with you that sex work has positive value.  There are a lot of feminists who believe that the sex trade is not good for women overall, and they have to be free to express that viewpoint here as well.

 

This isn't even  just a reality for the sex trade, it has long been my contention as an eco-feminist, that if people refused to work at toxic jobs,  then the people using toxins for commercial purposes would be forced to design and use environmenbally friendly products and approaches.

 

No one has to agree with people's job choices that they believe will be destructive, or of no worth,  to society, the environment, or indeed people....

Indeed... I called my stepfather a company hack,  and told him he was a traitor to his grandchildren, because he chose to work at a pulp mill, and accept the nasty environmental practises they used, instead of fighting from within to use better technology and environmentaly safe practises, for himself and the population at large.

 

Did not mean I did not love him as a person, or would not hang out with him, just meant that I was not accepting of his job choices, and that he wasn't fighting for the environment, and he was getting paid to destroy it. He was not his "job".

 

He finally came around, saw what I meant, and worked with his union brethern and the community to make changes that were needed....

 

 

 

 

martin dufresne

selling genital contact-

fuck you guys are insulting. this so diminised my work and the life i live

Abolitionists are clear that prostitution is an institution. Critiques of that institution should not be painted as persoanal attacks on people. Are we diminishing prostitution itself? I wish... it's a thriving, billion-dollar industry.
As for Babble, if a member of the Canadian Armed Forces were here as such and telling us that we are diminishing his work lifestyle by criticizing Canada's war on Afghanistan, if he or she were to attempt to control our words to speak of it, e.g. "fuck, it's a peace effort!", would we let that silence us?

susan davis

i would just like to add re: selling genital contact.

i understnad that both perspectives can be represented here but this statement is so un representative of sex workers or prostituted people.

i use condoms and never have "genital contact". the entire point of safe sex is not to have genital contact. this statements narrows the definition of "valid voices" to desperate or mentally ill workers who offer bare back full service and is hardly representative of our community. prostituted person or sex worker are accpeted terms and i take exception to the underlying tones of this definition of our work.

all of us use condoms.onstreet- off street- in very few circumstances- ie- the most extreme situation on street- do sex workers sell genital contact. it plays into the tired old crap of sex workers or prostituted people as the vector of disease and i find it incredibly offensive. remind is not as sex worker and neither is loretta. why are they allowed to define our reality for us?

we use codoms, no sex worker sells genital contact. these assertions are hateful and oppressive.

remind remind's picture

Nonsense.... you are selling access to your vagina, it is genitalia,  as is a man's penis, covered or not, and condoms break....

 

Your vagina is a commodity...that you are choosing to sell...

 

spanks a prostitute had a lot to say to you in another thread about trying to dress up fancy what prostitutes do.

 

Indeed, in another thread you felt it was okay for fortunate to obliquely call a woman a bitch, and yet here you are complaining about hateful words, when they are merely formal words describing exactly what is going on....

susan davis

you are so rude dude.....dang......

tryin to dress up fancy.....?you are showing your true colours now......

i do not sell gential contact and to describe it as such is misleading. i would prefer you say selling my vagina over genital contact, as i never sell genital contact.

also, remind you state above that 90% of sex workers in PG are FN? bull- please post a link proving such an assertion. i know african american, caucasian and first nations workers in PG and saw the same over representation in the dangerous street level trade of first natios wokers we see all over canada.- when combined with knowledge of PTSD this takes on a different context- not every suicide note is in writing- and we must work to protect these vulnerable people.

i went ot PG during the "trade Secrtes" occupational health and safety training- consultations and the group represented many backgrounds and gender identities. nowhere close to 90% FN

please back up your claim or withdraw your statement.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

susan davis wrote:

i would just like to add re: selling genital contact.

i understnad that both perspectives can be represented here but this statement is so un representative of sex workers or prostituted people.

i use condoms and never have "genital contact". the entire point of safe sex is not to have genital contact. this statements narrows the definition of "valid voices" to desperate or mentally ill workers who offer bare back full service and is hardly representative of our community. prostituted person or sex worker are accpeted terms and i take exception to the underlying tones of this definition of our work.

all of us use condoms.onstreet- off street- in very few circumstances- ie- the most extreme situation on street- do sex workers sell genital contact. it plays into the tired old crap of sex workers or prostituted people as the vector of disease and i find it incredibly offensive. remind is not as sex worker and neither is loretta. why are they allowed to define our reality for us?

we use codoms, no sex worker sells genital contact. these assertions are hateful and oppressive.

Sorry, Susan, but that's a dodge, and I'm pretty certain you know it is.  The assertion that you sell coitus is not hateful, it's a fact.  However, if you feel that fact is oppressive, we might just be getting somewhere.

ETA:  It's possible, Susan, that Vancouver is not the ROC.  remind's point was that the cultural and racial diversity in large centres probably isn't reflected in smaller centres and more outlying areas of the country.

Snert Snert's picture

I'm sure there exist men and women who think that sex workers are nothing more than a "receptacle" or a "dixie cup" or a "sex doll".

I'm also sure there exist plenty of men and women who think that FNs are nothing more than "unemployable, violent drunks" and that POC are just "promiscuous criminals and thugs".

Given that I'm not FN or a POC, nor one of the virulent racists who hold these views, how often should I parrot them in my posts?  Once?  Twice?  Regularly?  Never?  Am I doing any kind of service to FN or POC if I do?  Could there be some lurker out there who's never heard of racism, and will he be enlightened by this?

And what if a babbler who's FN or a POC finds my quoting of the virulent attitudes of others to be offensive?  Should I stop, out of courtesy?  Or is repeating these ugly attitudes too important to be "silenced" by their feelings? 

peasant woman

I'm looking here at this thread and seeing lots of straw men lurking about. I don't think  it matters whether there are 30% Aboriginal women in street-levle prostitution or 90%, we all agree they are over-represented and that this is a shameful indictment of our society. We all agree that many women are damaged by men, yes? men who use rape, physical assault, harrassment and economic sanction to maintain power over women. I don't understand why it is so difficult for some people to see the connections between women's inequality to men and the fact that it is men who buy women in prostitution. Granted, I don't really care to argue this point, I know you cannot convince me that prostitution is in any way good for anyone. Be that as it may, just because I think that prostitution as an institution is oppressive to women, it does not therefore follow that I do not have regard or respect for women who are in prostitution. Quite the opposite, and I see that respect and regard articulated by other people on this list who are critical of prostitution. Women (and men) deserve so much better than a life of prostitution (even a day of prostitution) can possibly offer.

questioning the wisdom of choosing prostitution, or saying that support for prostitution or pimping is anti-feminist, is not at all disrespectful or insulting. To call this stance that, is to refuse to engage with the ideas and the activities that might take us a little closer to freedom and equality. I don't think that agitating for women to be able to kill people in the military is a feminist fight, either, and women who are in the military cannot be feminists, far as I can figure. That doesn't mean I am rude or disrespectful to them, or that I don't have an understanding of the ways that the institution itself upholds male power at the expense of the women also in that institution (all women, in fact, as well). It means I am interested in working to end that institution. same as i am interested in rendering prostution unthinkable.

susan davis

i understand that perspective peasnt woman. and i respect that people want to work towards a society where prostitution is no longer necessary or seen as a choice. to see all people realize their dreams. for all people to be comfartable and happy and free to explore life.

but for, now since it does exist and we are living in it, does it not make sense to stabilize the safety of the people working in that field? people are dying, now. how can we protect people now?

we all agree that decriminalzing workers is paramount. opinions amy differ on how exactly that will look, but we do all agree.

terms being used by some posters are offensive and insulting and really do nothing except to stall the discussion on how we can move forward on what we all agree on, decriminalizing workers.

what can we do to remove systematic barriers for sex workers/prostituted people?

what can we do to educate the systems in charge of our protection?

how can we hold accountable those within the systems ment to protect us who use that power to harm us?

how can we find meangful ways for sex workers/ prostituted people to exit the sex industry?

how can we support licensing for decrimed workers? or do abolitionists support no regulation at all for workers after they are decriminalized under the swedish model?

so far we have heard suggestions of;

  • mandatory STI tesing
  • occupational health and safety training
  • an inclusive licensing and complaints process
  • mandatory STI testing for customers who would then "be allowed access to" sex workers in what i guess must be a government institution type building where sex workers are held and then customers can access them....?
  • by law revisions that move towards inclusion and protection
  • designing/ including sex industry workers in employee benefits programs that already exist
  • including sex industry workers as workers and giving them rights under labour law.
  • policy procedure mannual revisions for all areas of the government who engage with sex industry workers.

 

anyone else care to add anything?

remind remind's picture

Okay, apparently we must again go back to the actualities of body parts and functioning so that we can get on the same page....

 

Genital = of, relating to, or being a sexual organ

The reason why genitals  are referred to as  sexual organs is because they are an organ in the body physiology sense, which is what I have been stating....repeatedly

Genitals are not feet, backs, hands,  or  minds, they are actual "organs" in the sense that livers, hearts, and kidneys are vital organs. They are muscous membranes that absorb and secrete, and provide  distinct and important body functions beyond that of the sexual act, coitus they can be used to engage in.

susan davis

time bandit...i don't understnad what ROC means....?can you clarify?

i understnad i am selling sex, but describing it as genital contact is inaccurate, as i stated before, i prefer it when reminds says selling my vagina...although renting is probable a better description....

it is the insinuation of naked genital contact that upsets me. i use condoms and accept no gential contact.

remind remind's picture

Rest of Canada Susan.....

 

regardless of condom use, it is genital contact.

 

For instance, if a man uses a glove to hold his genitals, he is still holding his genitals...

Lee Lakeman

The name of this thread and the first post held out the hope of discussing things like what social policy and what personal behaviour and what political movements and political tactics might lead us to "women's liberation" (to use a fine old phrase)  And within that context what reforms we might demand/create/imagine as part of that transformative struggle to protect the most  vulnerable among us like the involuntary migrant women trafficked for sexual slavery, and the children and youth raped and seduced into prostitution and the dispossessed mostly racialized women of the ghettos in our major cities. 

There are two reasons to focus on the most disadvantaged: one is compassionate and one is strategic.  If we fight for all with the criteria that we try to satisfy the needs of the most dispossessed we are more likley to get the best most effective tactics and the most principled as well.  In this situation the plight of women, the migrant, ghettoized, racialized, colonized and the young of those prostituted should guide us in our search for the reforms that will best suit women as a whole.  The desires of those prostituted who are not in those conditions matter to me but are are simply not as weighty in my political discussion of which reforms to demand

Obviously the solidarity of men to simply stop demanding prostitution would be the best outcome and we should never stop working for it.  But voluntary self control by individual men in the name of women's liberty does not seem to be a big hit with men so far.    They have not stopped beating wives or raping wives or committing incest or harassing women on the street in vast numbers. 

Silly discussion like how much time it takes us to stand by the side of a car and determine who are the dangerous men before getting in and spreading our legs or before having them bury our heads in their laps ignores that we cannot tell and neither can anyone else which are the dangerous ones: we cannot tell even after long courtships before we marry them.  That's because they are fairly normal men behaving badly.  No one can predetermine the choices men make of how to use and abuse privileges and power over women that they simply should not have. 

And dreams of voluntary control of the multibillion dollar sex industry are mindless.

Those not as steeped in anti-violence work as I am on a daily basis, may not realize that the occurences of violence against women go up in each situation whenever the status of women in relation to men changes: in the micro women get battered in the family when he looses a job but also when she finds one, when the last kid starts school and she is less trapped or when a new baby is born and she is more trapped, on the macro level when, as at l'ecole polytechic many more women than usual got into engineering or when one woman breaks thru a glass ceiling, when either feminists or women as a group are treated contemptuously by their government or bosses, religious leaders or cultural figures and when women get a step forward like pay equity or childcare or new law that offers some substantive shift in inequality.  So we need to be very clear where we are going what constitutes a victory and what changes we want.

There are some who argue that feminists have no right to demand that the state respond to violence agaisnt women by criminalizing it.  Some of those are pregressive on other matters but they object to feminists demanding the use of police and courts to intervene on the side of women overpowered by violence.  This battle is not won.  We are still fighitng the state including the Canadian state for an adequate response to violence against women.  Cops and courts, laws and administrations of law are inadequate and as yet are not guided much less driven by a substative charter based equality analysis.  But feminists in anti-violence work on the whole demand that we move in that direction for the sake of women and for the sake of transformation of the state appparatus and control.

Most of our energey goes into direct action to save women and organize women but we demand the rule of law be accessable to women so each women is not forced to fight each mn on her own.

So far the few men who work for voluntary cooperation from other men are still having only minimal effect although this last few years there has been a plethora of excellent contributions from men like Victor Mallorek, Robert Jensen, the men who support Vancouver Rape Relief and Womens Shelter and men are organizing in Montreal to support the new burst of energy against sexist violence.  The men I met yesterday at the BC Association of Social Workers raised their hands with the majority of the women in the room when asked if they supported the decriminalization of the women and few men prostituted and if they supported the more effective criminalization of the johns who use and profit from the use of those folks. There were in agreement with the Human Rights perspective and equality arguments put forward by Shelagh Day and I.  And of course they were impressed by the exprostitutes and parents of girls and youth workers who spoke up in the room to support what we had said.  They asked pointed questions later about why the NDP has no position and why it appears to have a pro legalization/total decrim position and why the media refuses to cover the feminist opposition to decriminalizaiton of the trade.  There was absolutely no disagreement expressed that we need to criminalize the procurers, the pimps and the bawdy house owners except from BC Civil Liberties speaker on the panel to represent their position

That thread title is still what interests me not so much in the form of who is a feminist but in the form of what constitutes a feminist response to this form of our oppression.  I am less interested in who cannot/should not be heard than in what gives an argument weight.  A bevy of reforms that accomodate that oppression of women and have nothing to do with the substantive equality of women may interest others but are not only not my focus but they distract (by accident?) from the question of getting to a better world for women including a world without prostitution.  When the suggestions for reform entrench acceptance of prostitution it seems to me they entrench the oppression of those most vulenrable and sacrifice and compromise the meaning of freedom and liberty for all

martin dufresne

Awesome, Lee. Exactly on target as far as I am concerned and committed to those precise values. Thank you! It is a significant step forward that social workers - who don't put much truck in rhetoric but do help impoverished and abused people day in and day out - came to see it your way. We are on the way to beating back the "business model" of human rights.

peasant woman

The point of decriminalizing the workers, and offering comprehensive and varied exiting services is to dismantle and end systems of prostiution. So, no, actually, licensing and sti testing and any other thing that would regulate the trade in women's bodies is not helpful to anyone but the fellas buying, or renting those women's bodies. the best way to reduce the harms of prostitution is to interfere with the source of the harm, that's the men who buy and sell and rent women's bodies. Arrest the men. Even the "good guys". Even the guys who call the escorts, or who go to massage parlours, or who reply to the craigslist ads, or whatever. Stop them. If you are a 'good guy', who thinks it's terrible what some men do to women in prostitution, then stop it. Even, in fact, if you think that some women 'choose sex work' and they should be able to make a living that way, stop it. just give her the money maybe, but then, tell your friends to not buy women. in prostitution or in pornography. Not regulate, or set standards, or develop criteria for respectful relations with sex workers or whathaveyou, but stop buying or renting women's vaginas, mouths, anuses, etc for your use. that would be very pro-feminist and humane of you.

peasant woman

The point of decriminalizing the workers, and offering comprehensive and varied exiting services is to dismantle and end systems of prostiution. So, no, actually, licensing and sti testing and any other thing that would regulate the trade in women's bodies is not helpful to anyone but the fellas buying, or renting those women's bodies. the best way to reduce the harms of prostitution is to interfere with the source of the harm, that's the men who buy and sell and rent women's bodies. Arrest the men. Even the "good guys". Even the guys who call the escorts, or who go to massage parlours, or who reply to the craigslist ads, or whatever. Stop them. If you are a 'good guy', who thinks it's terrible what some men do to women in prostitution, then stop it. Even, in fact, if you think that some women 'choose sex work' and they should be able to make a living that way, stop it. just give her the money maybe, but then, tell your friends to not buy women. in prostitution or in pornography. Not regulate, or set standards, or develop criteria for respectful relations with sex workers or whathaveyou, but stop buying or renting women's vaginas, mouths, anuses, etc for your use. that would be very pro-feminist and humane of you.

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