"We need to face up to hatred of prostitutes – among feminists, too "

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susan davis
"We need to face up to hatred of prostitutes – among feminists, too "

this article came to me in the mail......and expresses what have been talking about here for years.....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/05/hatred-prostitutes-feminists-brutality

"We need to face up to hatred of prostitutes – among feminists, too

Prostitutes are often the target for cultural anxieties about sex: a kind of kneejerk brutality against them has become acceptable

Writer and former call girl Brooke Magnanti has been accused of ‘being responsible for rape, sexual slavery and prostitution itself'. Photograph: Richard Saker

Sunday was International Sex Worker Rights Day. This year it provided an occasion for sex workers and erstwhile colleagues including Brooke Magnanti (Belle de Jour) to highlight the vicious abuse they have received under the Twitter hashtag #whenantisattack.

Writer and former call girl Magnanti is forced to live in secrecy, her number taken to the top of any 999 summons list because of the innumerable threats she has received. One recent example proposed that she should be gang-raped and then executed. She has been accused of being responsible for rape, sexual slavery, and prostitution itself. Her family's privacy has been invaded to find the "causes" of her choice and her personal appearance derided, not least within what might otherwise be called the sisterhood.

Magnanti reminded us of Julie Burchill's observation in her 1987 essay "Born Again Cows" in the book Damaged Gods: "When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women." This would seem crazed were it not for MSP Rhoda Grant, who is sponsoring an "end demand for sex trafficking" bill in the Scottish parliament, declaring violence against sex workers a price worth paying to secure her proposals. As Magnanti tweeted: "Let that sink in. Politician thinks it's OK if people die b/c of who desire to determine their sexual existences. "

cut- to comply with babble policy- not to post entire articles;

"These obviously stigmatised targets allow a kind of thin-end-of-the-wedge, sanctioned misogyny. It is a small step from being able to dismiss some women as stupid sluts to dismissing all women as stupid sluts, the former operating as some sort of entry level for the latter. As Magnanti noted: "Ladies wearing shiny things, high heels, and makeup also Very Suspect". That's me guilty as charged, then, and my eight-year-old niece."

 

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
jas

susan davis wrote:

Magnanti reminded us of Julie Burchill's observation in her 1987 essay "Born Again Cows" in the book Damaged Gods: "When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women." This would seem crazed were it not for MSP Rhoda Grant, who is sponsoring an "end demand for sex trafficking" bill in the Scottish parliament, declaring violence against sex workers a price worth paying to secure her proposals. As Magnanti tweeted: "Let that sink in. Politician thinks it's OK if people die b/c of who desire to determine their sexual existences. "

This description misrepresents the context of that comment. From the Bryce article:

Quote:
And whilst Rhoda Grant pledged to fight poverty she was not prepared to recognise that her proposals would plunge sex workers into even deeper financial straits. Indeed, when asked about her justification for the collateral damage her legislative changes would cause, she suggested that damage to individual sex workers was a price worth paying for the settlement to be established.

Bacchus

Still a horrid person for such a stand

jas

Why?

susan davis

it seems to be a perfect description to me.....damage to individual sex workers is a price worth paying? how is that any different?

susie

susan davis

because it places the harm of some women as ok in order to "save" other women or to establish some idealogical position....

i find it hard to believe you don't understnad what is wrong with that position.....

susie

jas

susan davis wrote:

it seems to be a perfect description to me.....damage to individual sex workers is a price worth paying? how is that any different?

Temporary economic hardship seems to have equated, in Magnanti's mind, to an acceptance, even endorsement, of violence against and death of sex workers. Where is she getting this from? Who is doing the violence and killing? 

 

Bacchus

Not caring about the financial cnsequences means women in ned will have to take greater and greater risks to earn the money to survive \which means more violence upon them as they have to go to darker places..

 

I hope that MP finds herself in such places somedays

susan davis

jas wrote:

Temporary economic hardship seems to have equated, in Magnanti's mind, to an acceptance, even endorsement, of violence against and death of sex workers. Where is she getting this from? Who is doing the violence and killing? 

in part the people who force women/ sex workers into desperate situations....they throw us to the wolves to save the herd.... should we do the same for the elderly and infirmed? or perhaps we should throw some children to the wolves....

and where does it say "temporary economic hardship"? how to they know its temporary? name one more professions which pays an unskilled/ untrainder person a comparable wage.....

what the hell jas?  this is a bit rough....

susie

 

ennir

Our society is misogynistic, every woman suffers it, some know it, some do not, and some seek to distance themselves by aligning themselves with those who hate women, such as the woman above prepared to see women die and the women who wrote that nasty screed on why women choose sex work.  For me, those women are the real traitors to their sex.

 

jas

ennir wrote:

Our society is misogynistic, every woman suffers it, some know it, some do not, and some seek to distance themselves by aligning themselves with those who hate women,

I agree with this part. I think it's really easy for the sex industry to target feminism and feminists. They have done so since the beginning of so-called second wave feminism. That there are some feminists who have spoken out from a personal history of harm or abuse makes it all the more easy to target.

It's good to point out where feminist analyses are ignoring certain women's realities and choices, but to me the real battle is not with feminism. That's a distraction. The real battle is with an economic system that systemically marginalizes women - a reality that feminism has been working many decades to have recognized. 

susan davis

that's the point! we are feminists! we do not target feminism, we have always acknowledged the harms all women face. some feminists however feel its their job/duty to target other women/the sex industry ....

abolitionists need to understnad we are on the same side and that acting against us or to "save" us with out adequate consultation with /consideration for us and in fact in spite of some of us with horrible results.

you can say all you want about being feminist meaning abolitionist and how harmed feminists are by the sex industry. its so transparent. who has ever made a survivor a target? other than of course people targeting me ....i am a survivor.....never have i diminished another workers experiences.

its interesting to me to see this turned around to mean sex workers are abusing feminists, its pretty horrific considering the nature of the first post....

i was involved in rescusing a kidnapping victim/ sex worker recently and while i won't go into specifics i will say it took police 7 hrs to come and take my report. the patrolman said, it was not "high on the priority list"....this sort of casual dismissal of violence faced by sex workers is the same as what is being described and perpetuated here.

the fact that some people can't see it is insult to injury...

susie 

ennir

I don't feel that way susie, I hope that was not what I conveyed.

I have never been involved in sex work although I have been invited, I support the right to choose what one does with one's body and I object to women or men in sex work being criminalized.

As a young woman I experienced the hatred of other women and it was clearly related to my sexuality, my point was more that that hatred is not limited to sex workers although it seems there is a societal permission to express that hatred towards sex workers.  In this war you are on the front lines.

As for feminism, I tend to think we took a wrong turn somewhere way back when it became a movement to demonstrate our equality to men rather than a revolution to celebrate what it is to woman, but that is another topic.

Edited for spelling mistake.

susan davis

no enir, you didn't come off that way. jas however is having a bad day or something....

cheers enir!

susie

nina76

jas wrote:

susan davis wrote:

it seems to be a perfect description to me.....damage to individual sex workers is a price worth paying? how is that any different?

Temporary economic hardship seems to have equated, in Magnanti's mind, to an acceptance, even endorsement, of violence against and death of sex workers. Where is she getting this from? Who is doing the violence and killing? 

 

 

curious to know what type of damage maganti meant? stereotypically the most common damage sex workers suffer is physical and sexual abuse/violence. anything from being beaten by a john, raped by a john, abused by police, murdered, etc... what other damage could she be referring to?

if she meant economic damage, what does she expect sex workers to do? take more risks by working more hours with more potentially dangerous clients? or does she mean they should starve and not be able to afford medical care? or feed their children? or pay rent?

neither of those options, physical or financial damage seem like good ideas, and they certainly don't suggest respect for sex workers. i wonder how this would play out if it were about race? sex? or  another group? there would undoubtedly be more backlash if she has said

 "damage to individual people of color/women/homosexuals/people below the poverty line is a price worth paying"

why is that so different? why isn't it wrong to talk about sex workers like that as well?

jas

Perhaps if the focus of discussion here was on the problems with what you call the "rescue industry" - how it has harmed your life or person - rather than on how evil some feminists are, an actual dialogue and understanding, which is what you seem to be seeking, could ensue. I'm sorry, but the tone and rhetoric of these discussions so far reminds me very much of those of a few former Babble transgender posters who felt a need to pick at feminism at every opportunity, including, as the article writer has done here, dredging up articles from radical or militant voices - also speaking from personal experience - from over 25 years ago. 

Here's a thread that was started here not too long ago, that I think began a good discussion. My position has not changed since:

How Abolitionist Feminists Hurt Sex Workers- the rescue industry

I'm not sure why this, which is also an anti-abolitionist thread, could not serve your purposes here.

 

Slumberjack

With the example you provided Susan, I suppose it ultimately makes little sense to go through the trouble of abolishing the patriarchal, only to have it replaced by matriarchy.

nina76

jas wrote:

Perhaps if the focus of discussion here was on the problems with what you call the "rescue industry" - how it has harmed your life or person -

 

1.  mocking/insulting sex workers, while expecting their trust? and it's from a professional? shameful. thinking of farley's piece that i linked, but nobody wants to talk about.

 2. i also know many sex workers have had rape, beatings, and murder wished upon them by some feminists/anti sex work people. (myself included)

3. citing work from questionable sources and using it as undisputed fact to demonize the sex work industry.

4. accusing sex workers of aiding the patriarchy by choosing sex work/ calling women who want to choose sex work traitors

5. not wanting to offer resources to women who want to reamin in the sex industry. (it seems resources/help are more aimed at women trying to leave the industry)

6. refusal of some feminists to acknowledge there is a difference between human trafficking and choosing sex work as a job.

7. using stories that are of questionable reliability such as stella marr's story, to paint an incorrect picture of what sex work is really like.

that's the top of the list, and a good starting point, imo. but nobody seems to want to address these things.

jas

nina76 wrote:
1.  mocking/insulting sex workers, while expecting their trust? and it's from a professional? shameful. thinking of farley's piece that i linked, but nobody wants to talk about.

Agreed. If this is happening, this does not help anyone. I wonder what the context is though; what dialogue or event had taken place to prompt the writing of that piece that you refer to. Not that it excuses it, but it might explain the tone.

nina76 wrote:
 2. i also know many sex workers have had rape, beatings, and murder wished upon them by some feminists/anti sex work people. (myself included)

I don't believe this for a second. I would guess someone has exaggerated or taken some comments out of context, as we have seen happen with the above cited article.

nina76 wrote:
3. citing work from questionable sources and using it as undisputed fact to demonize the sex work industry.

This would be a good topic for discussion. What information is being bandied about, what is its source, and what evidence do you have that counters it?

nina76 wrote:
4. accusing sex workers of aiding the patriarchy by choosing sex work/ calling women who want to choose sex work traitors

I agree it probably doesn't help the discussion. But again wonder how much of this kind of rhetoric is being provoked by and from both sides.

nina76 wrote:
5. not wanting to offer resources to women who want to reamin in the sex industry. (it seems resources/help are more aimed at women trying to leave the industry)

I don't know enough to know whether this is true or not. It seems to me there is activism within the sex worker community that is addressing some needs. Why would you be expecting it from the "abolitionist" community?

nina76 wrote:
6. refusal of some feminists to acknowledge there is a difference between human trafficking and choosing sex work as a job.

I would like to know more about this perspective and hope I can learn something from discussion like the "Sex workers sharing experiences..." thread.

nina76 wrote:
7. using stories that are of questionable reliability such as stella marr's story, to paint an incorrect picture of what sex work is really like.

Is there some backgournd or discussion on this already? If so, please point me in the right direction. 

nina76 wrote:
that's the top of the list, and a good starting point, imo. but nobody seems to want to address these things.

Thanks for itemizing these. I don't know how much you and your colleagues want to spend educating people like me about these issues, or if you prefer to use the forums to advance discussion from your own levels of understanding, but I would like to learn more about what particularly is irking you and what you see the solutions being. 

Maysie Maysie's picture

Susan, thank you so much for continuing to bring these issues to babble. I"ve been reading, lurking and applauding you for days. Smile

Bacchus wrote:
 Not caring about the financial cnsequences means women in ned will have to take greater and greater risks to earn the money to survive \which means more violence upon them as they have to go to darker places..

I hope that MP finds herself in such places somedays

Bacchus did you just hope for violence to happen to a woman, clueless and horrid though her perspective may be? Are you fucking kidding me?

ryanw

Babble never seems to say are you fucking kidding me? for "sex workers are irked at temporary financial hardship"

jas

My comment about temporary economic hardship was, first of all, a guess at what the writer of the Huffpo article, and his vaguely reported response from the MP was actually referring to, in contrast to Magnanti's inflammatory interpretation of it, quoted in the OP. Second, we don't know what the Scottish MP actually said, because neither the article writer nor the blogger bothered to look it up or report on that. Third, how shocking is it to hear a politician dismissing temporary economic hardship for anybody but themselves? So why is it so much more outrageous when we are talking about sex workers? Fourth, when an industry changes, for better or for worse, temporary economic hardship does occur. Why would you expect it to be different in this case? We don't know what other measures the bill proponents might have in mind and were not given time to elaborate on. Or whether they've now had time to reconsider their plan that will take this into account. Five, how many of us have never suffered bouts of economic hardship? Even several times in our lives. How do we cope? Why are sex workers any different?

ETA: before anyone jumps on that last comment, I'm referring to times when we do not have social or economic supports like EI or other forms of income assistance. You've all experienced this, right? If not, what do you know about it?

Bacchus

NO I meant the financial hardship Maysie, never violence.

 

Prob worded that wrong bu her words disgusted me so

susan davis

so jas, by your calculation or assertion is guess, am i to assume you feel the same way about other minorities who experience racism/discrimination? do you not believe in the challenges faced by first nations people for example? should we say, "why is it different for first nations people?"

i am sorry but your post says to me that you feel that the world is equal and that sex workers are treated no differently than others...

as an example, you mention having to access social assistance or EI;

how many non sex working people are refused social assistance based on their previous job? i'm sorry, you were a lawyer no you don't need social assistance, just go onto the street and find some clients, you don't need /deserve our help.

your statements assume alot and show your inherent prejudice,

do other people face the same mortality rate as as sex workers? do others endure the same discrimination that sex workers do when accessing supports? do other people face having a criminal record for trying to alliviate their "temporary economic hardship"?

you make it seem in one breath that sex workers are no different and then on the other hand that, if you support the abolitionist position which you seem to, are so victimized we don't know what's best for us so should bow to the greater wisdom of those who have our "best interests" at heart.....

you have definitly made it clear that no matter the cost and even in the face of all of the violence faced by sex working people, you support abolitishing my community. your flippant little statements of how we're no different and from what i gather how we should just suck it up for everyone's betterment are frankly unbelievably naiive, disrespective and dispicably dismissive of the price being paid be sex workers as a result of this kind of thinking....

susie

jas

Susan, in post #18 I have outlined where my areas of knowledge on this matter need improvement. If I come across as an abolitionist, it's not necessarily my intention. I don't yet know what my position on prostitution is, except that I find the traditional feminist analysis of it broadly convincing, although I know there are nuances. I am not yet convinced by your position on it, and confess I'm not clear on what it is since your focus here so far seems to be mostly on negative dialogue from other feminists.

susan davis

jas wrote:

Perhaps if the focus of discussion here was on the problems with what you call the "rescue industry" - how it has harmed your life or person - rather than on how evil some feminists are, an actual dialogue and understanding, which is what you seem to be seeking, could ensue. I'm sorry, but the tone and rhetoric of these discussions so far reminds me very much of those of a few former Babble transgender posters who felt a need to pick at feminism at every opportunity, including, as the article writer has done here, dredging up articles from radical or militant voices - also speaking from personal experience - from over 25 years ago. 

Here's a thread that was started here not too long ago, that I think began a good discussion. My position has not changed since:

How Abolitionist Feminists Hurt Sex Workers- the rescue industry

I'm not sure why this, which is also an anti-abolitionist thread, could not serve your purposes here.

 

jas this issue is ongoing and i have gone into great detail of the personal harms caused to me by abolitionists.

not the least of which is them attacking me when i speak publically and sending the message to any sex workers present that they should shut up and take it, that it is not safe to share your experiences and that you will be attacked and photographed/outed if you try to speak out.

that was a panel with dr john lowman , janine benedet and a member of EVE at UBC.

the tone of this discussion is set by rhetoric found here on babble and elsewhere, again, if at any time there had been an actual respectful word from the abolitionist side i might pause and reflect on these articles in the way that you are but that's not the case.

why should we curb the way we speak on these issues when abolitionists have been doing the same for years to our detriment? why don't abolitionists say, maybe we're wrong attacking people fighting for their rights? why do we have to say" oh thankyou for your opinion on my life, i appreciate that you think i am a raped,victimized product of incest but can't we get along?

reap what you sow, as they say.

and lastly, we felt we needed a new thread, i posted many threads because of the numerous times it occurs. it is not for you to say, one thread is enough, or should suffice. if there are "too many threads" its becuase of the aggressive way in which this discrimination is ongoing and in my opinion new threads are required to demonstrate the continuous barrage sex workers face in this regard.

would you tell first nations people they had too many discussions going on their oppression by government? what exactly is too much discussion about these issues?

what would be a respectful way for abolitionists to discuss this issue? it would be to let sex working people lead the conversation and to be open to all sides rather than the all or nothing no matter the cost approach we've seen.

susie

lagatta

Well, that basically means agreeing with you, no?

All I can say here is that anyone who hates another woman because of the line of work she is in, UNLESS she is exploiting other people, killing them, enslaving them etc, well, that is disgusting. I've never heard that here. And Julie Burchill is no feminist, she is a born-again rightwinger.

I very much disagree that people who disagree with you about the harm done by the sex industry "hate" sex workers or hold them in contempt.

That is about all I can say here. I agree with having a forum as a safe space for people in the sex industry, but I think that it is highly unfair that you are using said safe space to attack feminists who disagree with your stance when we should not be intruding on your safe space. And that's all I'll say here.

susan davis

jas wrote:

nina76 wrote:
1.  mocking/insulting sex workers, while expecting their trust? and it's from a professional? shameful. thinking of farley's piece that i linked, but nobody wants to talk about.

Agreed. If this is happening, this does not help anyone. I wonder what the context is though; what dialogue or event had taken place to prompt the writing of that piece that you refer to. Not that it excuses it, but it might explain the tone.

why does there need to context for hatred of sex workers? the "event" is ongoing in the promotion of myth as fact and the perpetuation of misinformation in order to achieve destruction of our community. the context is as the thread states, about hatred of sex workers

nina76 wrote:
 2. i also know many sex workers have had rape, beatings, and murder wished upon them by some feminists/anti sex work people. (myself included)

I don't believe this for a second. I would guess someone has exaggerated or taken some comments out of context, as we have seen happen with the above cited article.

what part of belle du jour living in secrecy are you missing? there was an article quoted here some time ago in which i was the subject of such a threat and in which the author wanted to cut of my head and shit down my throat leaving me to die beside a dumpster, as dumpsters is what i deserve.... it was used as an abolitionist's proof in the context of me being a liar.

nina76 wrote:
3. citing work from questionable sources and using it as undisputed fact to demonize the sex work industry.

This would be a good topic for discussion. What information is being bandied about, what is its source, and what evidence do you have that counters it?

the information being bandied about is the abolitioist bible- melissa farely's research...have you read this thread?  there is the maka research, the AESHA data, tamara o'dorety's research, dr. lowman's research, fran shaver, cecelia benoit, lauren casey...and many more....never mind the research done by sex workers who, while not acedemics in this case, manage to adhere to ethical research practices unlike farely, and who produce relaible and unbiased results. like in the supreme court decision which gave NO WEIGHT to dr. farely's evidence as it did NOT CONFROM to canadian fedral policies regarding research involving human beings.

nina76 wrote:
4. accusing sex workers of aiding the patriarchy by choosing sex work/ calling women who want to choose sex work traitors

I agree it probably doesn't help the discussion. But again wonder how much of this kind of rhetoric is being provoked by and from both sides.

saying sex workers are provoking abolitionists totally dismisses the things being discussed here. we asked for it so deserve it? we provoked them by speaking out? so they can say what they want? even if it is myth presented as fact and adds to harms faced by sex workers?

nina76 wrote:
5. not wanting to offer resources to women who want to reamin in the sex industry. (it seems resources/help are more aimed at women trying to leave the industry)

I don't know enough to know whether this is true or not. It seems to me there is activism within the sex worker community that is addressing some needs. Why would you be expecting it from the "abolitionist" community?

we expect that abolitionists would at least consider what workers need and the harms caused by their seperation of us as unworthy, less deserving of help. it also doesn't help that one of the most abolitionist groups is a rape crisis center, well known for their bias and very vocal in their persuit of abolition.

its a conflict of interest for sure and the fact that they receive government funding which aids in their "political agenda" is dispicable. how comfortable to you think a sex worker who is in crisis feels trying to access support from abolitionists?

why wouldn't we expect it from the abolitionist community? they have all the answers...

nina76 wrote:
6. refusal of some feminists to acknowledge there is a difference between human trafficking and choosing sex work as a job.

I would like to know more about this perspective and hope I can learn something from discussion like the "Sex workers sharing experiences..." thread.

it like equating being a housekeeper for pay and being a slave in domestic serivtude, as was the case in west vancouver, a wealthy community. a woman brought a housekeeper from a foreign country, seized her passport, paid her nothing, would not allow her out of the house and treated her like crap in general.

so, should we "end demand" for maids? make hiring a house keeper illegal? is it the same to hire a house keepr or keep a slave for domestic servitude?

the answer is obvious to anyone with half a brain that sex workers who choose and are empowered by their work are living different realities than those who are forced/cohersed/ unhappy/experiencing violence.

sex work does not = human trafficking.

nina76 wrote:
7. using stories that are of questionable reliability such as stella marr's story, to paint an incorrect picture of what sex work is really like.

Is there some backgournd or discussion on this already? If so, please point me in the right direction. 

no, but i can give a real life example of a woman who lied about being a sex worker to get a job, essentially stealing the job from an actual sex working woman.

or a woman who worked with sex workers, lied about being a sex worker and then coopting their experiences as her own. she went on to get jobs, sway policy and creat programs based on knowledge that was not hers but that she presented as hers in order to make money.

or how about the "raped by hundreds of men a day" assertions, the only stories promoted by abolitionists are the ones which play into mainstream fears about sex work. it is physically impossible to have sex with even 100 men a day, unless there were 3 or 4 gang rapes in there...i mean really?

its just the same old stereo type of sex buyers in that they are lined up to go, one after another, in droves, seething hairy palmed perverts with no control over their need to own and enslave a little girls vaginas....that was a refence to another babble discussion that took place sometime ago but yet lingers in my mind.... a particularly brutal conversation in which i believe the end result was i was named and "unregulated ejaculation responses profiteer"...as if men's sexuality should be regulated by society....i guess we are talking about regulating womens sexuality so why not eh?

when has an abolitionist ever said "she gave himm confort after his wife died" or "he allowed him to explore his sexuality without judgement " or "she helped them rediscover their passion as a married couple"....

again, the stories told by those people who experienced violence in the sex industry are important, we need to understnad ALL aspects of our industry to bring stability and safety to people but that means ALL, not JUST expierences of violence and exploitation

nina76 wrote:
that's the top of the list, and a good starting point, imo. but nobody seems to want to address these things.

Thanks for itemizing these. I don't know how much you and your colleagues want to spend educating people like me about these issues, or if you prefer to use the forums to advance discussion from your own levels of understanding, but I would like to learn more about what particularly is irking you and what you see the solutions being. 

jas, don't be offended by my responses, i get the sense that you may be open to hearing from all sides. your questions are a bit offensive though and you come off a little condesending. i am trying not to be emotional in my repsonses but this is very personal to me and affects my life everyday so please be patient.

regardless, i for one welcome them and love to excercise my brain this way. i hope we can help you to see our perspective and that in the future you may understnad why we feel so strongly about this one sided debate- i am refering to in mainstream media outlets and in government/policy making arenas.- and why we need to be included in actions moving forward to prevent the kinds of disasters we have seen in the past.

susie

jas

susan davis wrote:

the tone of this discussion is set by rhetoric found here on babble and elsewhere, again, if at any time there had been an actual respectful word from the abolitionist side i might pause and reflect on these articles in the way that you are but that's not the case.

why should we curb the way we speak on these issues when abolitionists have been doing the same for years to our detriment? why don't abolitionists say, maybe we're wrong attacking people fighting for their rights? why do we have to say" oh thankyou for your opinion on my life, i appreciate that you think i am a raped,victimized product of incest but can't we get along?

reap what you sow, as they say.

Except that if you want supporters, people who understand your position, then the information you provide needs to be about what you're doing or what you want to get done, what your vision is, not just about who's opposing you. If I've missed this information here, I apologize. 

jas

Re: your post #27: I will take a look. Thanks.

susan davis

lagatta wrote:

Well, that basically means agreeing with you, no?

All I can say here is that anyone who hates another woman because of the line of work she is in, UNLESS she is exploiting other people, killing them, enslaving them etc, well, that is disgusting. I've never heard that here. And Julie Burchill is no feminist, she is a born-again rightwinger.

I very much disagree that people who disagree with you about the harm done by the sex industry "hate" sex workers or hold them in contempt.

That is about all I can say here. I agree with having a forum as a safe space for people in the sex industry, but I think that it is highly unfair that you are using said safe space to attack feminists who disagree with your stance when we should not be intruding on your safe space. And that's all I'll say here.

i have no problem with you answering for your position lagatta. as feminists we need to grow as a community and better understnad each others experiences.

your statement is exactly what i am talking about, "the harm done by the sex industry"....what about all of the contributing factors? harm caused by residential schools, harms caused by no livable welfare rates, harms caused by violence against women? i mean we are women too after all.

why is it there is never any disucssion about the great work done by the sex industry? the comforting of dying men, fundraiser, when the community intervenes in exploitation?

i have never disagreed that there is harm in the sex industry, i guess you maybe refering to the "harm caused to society by the sex industry existing"....

older than any religion, the oldest piece of known writing on the planet has a sex worker in it...."the whore of babylon story" what makes you think that its the sex industry and not prohibition/abolitionism that is actually causing the harms you are witnessing? why is it your automatic assumtpion that its the sex industry casuing violence against women and ruining society?

if we were to say LGTB individuals are harming society, that would be considered hate speach. the same applies here. if you promote the idea that sex work is inherently bad and causes harm to society even when you know it contributes to bias/hatred then it is hate speech.

what if we said, we need to abolish the LGTB community to protect society,,,,,?

you may say well this is different. how?

in the DAC committee is asked the question, what is the difference between a truck full of good 'ol boys going out to linch someone and a car load of teenagers loading up their parents suv and going out to throw things at crack whores?

the answer is nothing, both are a hate crime and as such, the hate speech/promotion of hatred articles in the international charter of human rights apply. even in the face of murdered and missing women, still abolitionists hang onto debunked data and promote it knowing that is has been successfully challenged and does not represent the triuth....promotion of hatred...

so i disagree with you that people here don't hate us, yes, some of them do.

susie

jas

lagatta wrote:

All I can say here is that anyone who hates another woman because of the line of work she is in, ....

I thought you were going to say here "...isn't really a feminist" because that would be my thoughts on it.

Quote:
I've never heard that here. And Julie Burchill is no feminist, she is a born-again rightwinger.

Neither have I. And ditto about Julie Burchill. I hadn't heard of her before, although my not hearing of her wouldn't necessarily surprise me.

susan davis

jas wrote:

Except that if you want supporters, people who understand your position, then the information you provide needs to be about what you're doing or what you want to get done, what your vision is, not just about who's opposing you. If I've missed this information here, I apologize. 

there are a number of posts that i published in the beginning of this forum regarding exactly what we want. check out the last pages in this forum.

in a nutshell, we want complete removal of all criminal code provisions related to the sex industry. violence is violence and there are laws to protect people from rape, unlawful confinement, assault, robbery, fraud, slavery/trafficking.  2 sets of laws sets violence against us as different, less important, not a priority. we can all be protected as canadians and migrants as well, under one set of rules.

we want to be included in decisions and actions that affect our lives and safety as per the federal governments policy.

we want to be protected by  labout law and to enjoy equal protection of police.

we want the right to define and control access to our own bodies without state influence.

we want to be free from hate propoganda that contributes to our opporession and leads to discrimination, unability to access supports and in some cases violence or death.

we want the freedom to form and join trade unions to promote our industry and to bring standrs for workers....

any of this sound familiar? it should....

here's the blogs and coop website that contain our detailed plans for localized and nationalized organizing;

www.wccsip.ca

www.traesecretsguide.blogspot.com our occupational health and safety training for the sex industry

www.bccec.wordpress.com

susie

 

susan davis

what i personally am doing? is also a matter of public record here, i am most recently on the city of vancouver task force and finished the sex work policy project and am organizing the meeting of national delegates while doing support for sex workers, connecting them with resources, plice, etc and moredating a private workers only forum where we publish black listed clients information and share ideas about how to achieve our full status as canadians.

speaking at the police museum, the vancouver museum and UBC ....

what are you doing?

susie

Maysie Maysie's picture

[Apologies to Bacchus for misundestanding you.]

[Returning to lurking]

Bacchus

Hey I'm no stranger to misunderstanding. And I did phrase it wrong (not to metion lots of spellin errors) so don't sweat itLaughing

nina76

jas wrote:

nina76 wrote:
1.  mocking/insulting sex workers, while expecting their trust? and it's from a professional? shameful. thinking of farley's piece that i linked, but nobody wants to talk about.

Agreed. If this is happening, this does not help anyone. I wonder what the context is though; what dialogue or event had taken place to prompt the writing of that piece that you refer to. Not that it excuses it, but it might explain the tone.

there is no context given, so i assume this either her genuine feeling, suggesting sex workers are supposed to be made fun of, or it's a publicity ploy. and there really isn't any context that justifies it. especially from a professional researcher. that wasn't a personal blog, it was a research site.

nina76 wrote:
 2. i also know many sex workers have had rape, beatings, and murder wished upon them by some feminists/anti sex work people. (myself included)

I don't believe this for a second. I would guess someone has exaggerated or taken some comments out of context, as we have seen happen with the above cited article.

i can only tell you what i have heard/seen. i was raped (not by a client) and the self proclaimed feminist who spoke to me told me i deserved it because i was a sex worker (she at first incorrectly assumed i had been raped while working). another feminist also told me she hoped my next client beat the shit out of me, because i had it coming. these are my only 2 personal experiences, and initially i thought of them as flukes, but the more i talk to other sex workers, it seems most of them have had similiar experiences. that makes me think the issue is more widepread than most people think. but it seems most people don't want to address it.

nina76 wrote:
3. citing work from questionable sources and using it as undisputed fact to demonize the sex work industry.

This would be a good topic for discussion. What information is being bandied about, what is its source, and what evidence do you have that counters it?

i can make a list of points if you like, but i would recommend you first look at some of susan's threads that already have links and data cited.

nina76 wrote:
4. accusing sex workers of aiding the patriarchy by choosing sex work/ calling women who want to choose sex work traitors

I agree it probably doesn't help the discussion. But again wonder how much of this kind of rhetoric is being provoked by and from both sides.

i imagine a lot of it comes from both sides after the debate has started. but if someone goes into the discussion assuming sex workers are traitors, how polite and receptive do you think they will be? from the beginning of most conversations, sex workers are demonized because we allegedly help continue rape culture/objectification of women.  

nina76 wrote:
5. not wanting to offer resources to women who want to reamin in the sex industry. (it seems resources/help are more aimed at women trying to leave the industry)

I don't know enough to know whether this is true or not. It seems to me there is activism within the sex worker community that is addressing some needs. Why would you be expecting it from the "abolitionist" community?

i am referring to resources such at medical treatment. some abolitionists use their stance as a type of blackmail. have you ever seen a church that runs a food pantry, but only for members of their faith? that is what some outreach programs do. if a sex worker doesnt' want to leave the indsutry she is denied help. and frankly, refusing resources to someone who needs them, but have a different belief than you is an asshole thing to do.

nina76 wrote:
6. refusal of some feminists to acknowledge there is a difference between human trafficking and choosing sex work as a job.

I would like to know more about this perspective and hope I can learn something from discussion like the "Sex workers sharing experiences..." thread.

nina76 wrote:
7. using stories that are of questionable reliability such as stella marr's story, to paint an incorrect picture of what sex work is really like.

Is there some backgournd or discussion on this already? If so, please point me in the right direction. 

nina76 wrote:
that's the top of the list, and a good starting point, imo. but nobody seems to want to address these things.

Thanks for itemizing these. I don't know how much you and your colleagues want to spend educating people like me about these issues, or if you prefer to use the forums to advance discussion from your own levels of understanding, but I would like to learn more about what particularly is irking you and what you see the solutions being. 

nina76

blah. sorry i messed up the format in my previous post, hopefully it can still be read without difficulty.

i wanted to add some links about stella marr: http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/tangled-web/

this is an interview she did: http://ruthjacobs.co.uk/2013/01/29/stella-marr-sex-trafficking-survivor-anti-sex-trafficking-activist-advocate-executive-director-founding-member-sex-trafficking-survivors-united-survivors-connect-interview/

this bit caught my attention: "The public needs to understand that prostitution is sex trafficking. The term ‘sex trafficking’ reflects an awakening to the truth about the realities of prostitution – that it is sexually violent, coercive, degrading, and involves fraud, deception and the abuse of power. In other words, the circumstances of prostitution are those of sex trafficking."  odd sentiment from a sex worker, a sex worker would know there is a world of difference between those forced and those who choose the job.

 

http://sensiablue.blogspot.com/p/a-fake-and-fraud-you-decide.html

http://stellamarrisamyponomarev.wordpress.com/tag/swaay/

 

ennir

I came across this quote and it seemed relevent to the thread, it is Nina Hartley being interviewed by Brad Warner.

"Actually the initial ‘70s feminism was very pro-porn. They were very pro-decriminalization of prostitution. The NOW conference of 1973 has an amazing poster by Betty Dodson of a nude woman sitting in lotus position with one hand on her vulva. That was when they were working for sex workers rights. Back when the mainstream feminist movement thought women could think for themselves. In the porn wars of the mid-80s created the current split in feminism between the pro and anti censorship forces. I’m a sex positive feminist. The so-called Left in this country has been completely hijacked by the anti-sex fanatics. There was a group trying to stop the war in Iraq. Larry Flynt offered them 30 thousand dollars and they took it. Then the anti-sex folks got so loud they ended up giving it back. That organization is, of course, now defunct."    http://suicidegirls.com/interviews/Nina+Hartley/

I really liked what Nina had to say, she has a unique voice in the midst of all sorts of rhetoric about sex work.  I think there is something very powerful that a woman may bring to sexual intimacy and yet over and over the woman is portrayed as the victim, not only by those who would keep her a victim but supposedly by those who would assist.  Clearly we are to believe that the man is the more powerful.

I have come to see feminism as yet another grassroots movement co-opted by the larger society. Co-opted willingly I would add and look at the rewards, now Barbara Amiel can speak for us. lol

jas

I find the contrived dichotomy of "sex-positive" vs. "anti-sex" pretty tiresome. Sorry, but how does getting paid for sex make you "sex positive"? It's a stupid term designed to make critics of porn culture look prudish or conservative in antithesis. I'm not interested in a debate based on false dichotomies like this.

As for sexual intimacy, imo, commercial transactions by definition cannot offer true intimacy, and those who suggest otherwise are kidding themselves.

ennir

jas wrote:

I find the contrived dichotomy of "sex-positive" vs. "anti-sex" pretty tiresome. Sorry, but how does getting paid for sex make you "sex positive"? It's a stupid term designed to make critics of porn culture look prudish or conservative in antithesis. I'm not interested in a debate based on false dichotomies like this.

As for sexual intimacy, imo, commercial transactions by definition cannot offer true intimacy, and those who suggest otherwise are kidding themselves.

I am thinking you didn't read the interview, I am thinking that if you did you might be more respectful of Nina Hartley, but then maybe not. lol

ennir

Here is another quote by Nina from the article.

"I take compassionate awareness and acceptance as far as I can take it without being an actual temple living, Zazen-sitting, observant Buddhist. But it is a primary philosophy that I grew up with. Zen, in terms of my daily life, in terms of compassion, infuses all of my work especially my interaction with my fans because a lot of people look at people who consume pornography as losers, wankers, just completely pathetic."

lagatta

Disagreeing with a person does not necessarily imply disrespect for him or her. Nina is the one calling people "anti-sex".

I was around in the period Ennir mentions in his post, and yep, we were very "sex-positive" (and a lot of us got screwed over by the need to "smash monogamy" and other imperatives) but also made rather utopian attempts to build relationships (not just sexual) that were outside the realm of capitalist social relationships governed by the exchange of money.

NOW was not particularly radical, and certainly not anticapitalist. And socialist feminism developed to a far greater extent in Québec and in Canada than in the US.

ennir

jas wrote:

I find the contrived dichotomy of "sex-positive" vs. "anti-sex" pretty tiresome. Sorry, but how does getting paid for sex make you "sex positive"? It's a stupid term designed to make critics of porn culture look prudish or conservative in antithesis. I'm not interested in a debate based on false dichotomies like this.

As for sexual intimacy, imo, commercial transactions by definition cannot offer true intimacy, and those who suggest otherwise are kidding themselves.

I found this post dismissive, it appeared to me that Jas responded only to the quote and didn't read the full interview, my hope would be that if someone took the time to actually listen to what someone had to say then they would not be so dismissive,  it is the dismissiveness I see as an indication of disrespect. 

 

susan davis

thanks for posting that ennir, awesome!

i would just like express that i am friends with some of my clients some for over 20 years. just because we are enagaing in commercial activity does not automatically eliminate the chances of real intimacy.

human contact, skin on skin, we all need it, its good for you, for your health, for emotional stability/peace.

some of my friends only have human contact with me, they have no one else. i am intimate with them. i love and embrace them.

i don't think that simply because there's money involved we can so quickly dismiss the importance or intimate nature of sex with a sex worker. in my belief, intimacy is at the core of what i do...people need touch...

susie

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

ennir wrote:

Here is another quote by Nina from the article.

"I take compassionate awareness and acceptance as far as I can take it without being an actual temple living, Zazen-sitting, observant Buddhist. But it is a primary philosophy that I grew up with. Zen, in terms of my daily life, in terms of compassion, infuses all of my work especially my interaction with my fans because a lot of people look at people who consume pornography as losers, wankers, just completely pathetic."

I thought wanking was the point of porn.

6079_Smith_W

Timebandit wrote:

I thought wanking was the point of porn.

Yes, that one made me snicker too; I let it pass.

 

susan davis

very mature people...

and how would your life be affected if the government tried to regulate wanking or if for some reason you weren't allowed too...?

everyone wanks and for different reasons, there is nothing wrong with it.

its nice to see how some people view these issues through such a childish lense especially considering the serious outcomes created by the subject of this thread...

susie

ennir

Timebandit wrote:
ennir wrote:

Here is another quote by Nina from the article.

"I take compassionate awareness and acceptance as far as I can take it without being an actual temple living, Zazen-sitting, observant Buddhist. But it is a primary philosophy that I grew up with. Zen, in terms of my daily life, in terms of compassion, infuses all of my work especially my interaction with my fans because a lot of people look at people who consume pornography as losers, wankers, just completely pathetic."

I thought wanking was the point of porn.

Really?  You ignore Nina speaking to compassionate awareness and acceptance of people often considered to be "losers, wankers, just completely pathetic" and you pull wanking from that to make a comment for snickerers. 

For those reluctant to follow a link, here is a blurb from Wikipedia:

"Hartley considers herself a liberal and an outspoken sex-positive feminist,[11] although for a time she was a socialist activist.[12] Addressing other women, she said "Sex isn't something men do to you. It isn't something men get out of you. Sex is something you dive into with gusto and like it every bit as much as he does." Hartley has been an advocate for the adult film industry's right to exist, and, before the rise to stardom of Jenna Jameson, had often been called on when television news programs and talk shows required an articulate, leading adult film actress to support the pro side. She appeared most notably on The Oprah Winfrey Show with fellow porn actress Ona Zee. The two came under hard scrutiny from the mostly female audience, but refused to back down and were outspoken in their support of the industry. She and Ona Zee also spoke out strongly against illegal drugs in the industry."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Hartley

I will admit that I once tended to see sex work primarily as victimization and I don't know what the true statistics are now but I am certain victimization is true for some, even perhaps many but these threads have educated me to another reality.  I realize that those directly involved in sex work and are not victimized by it have something important to say.  I thank you Susie and others who have contributed even though to do so cannot be pleasant.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It's possible to be "sex positive" and still be skeptical of the value of prostitution and pornography. From my perspective, neither are actually "sex positive". They commodify, they commercialize, and in the case of pornography in particular, give women, especially young women, a whole new category of unrealistic expectations to feel bad about. How does that tie in with "diving in and liking it as much as he does"?

So all estimations of Hartley's awesomeness aside, none of the arguments she poses make me any less worried about the sexual culture I'm sending my daughters out into.

6079_Smith_W

@ Susan #47

No one is ridiculing masturbation. but it is pretty ironic use of the word.

And while there are plenty of examples in this world of people trying to suppress desire and orgasm, I don't think the pornography industry, mainstream or alternative, is under any serious threat. I think far more of that is directed at women, non-straights, and others whom some want to control.

And yes, I did hear what she said, and give it some weight, even though I have serious concerns about some aspects of the industry she is in. I don't think any of it is black and white.

 

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