Mainstream Media to Women: Lost your job? Get naked!

8 Mar

I don’t normally expect penetrating feminist analysis from the mainstream media, nor even that they’ll pay any serious attention to issues that affect women, but an article from last year (I really get on shit as it happens because I’m living in the age of the Information Superhighway and everything I do is in real time, dude) on MSNBC’s website highlights just how far off the mark the media can get when it comes to reporting on women’s lives. The AP article, entitled “More women going from jobless to topless,” explains that with the recent economic downturn, more and more women are turning to stripping, posing for pornographic magazines, or performing in pornographic films.

One would expect that such a trend would be considered worrisome, that the reporter responsible for writing the story might touch upon what it means that the economic crisis has resulted in such a reduction in options for women that many have resorted to stripping or pornography. Instead, the tone of the article borders on celebratory, and the author elides discussing the gender, class, and race issues that saturate every facet of the story in favor of presenting jobs in the sex industry as an opportunity for enterprising women facing hard economic times, claiming that these women are “attracted by the promise of flexible schedules and fast cash” and that “[m]any have college degrees and held white-collar jobs until the economy soured.”

That rosy view rests upon interviews with two strippers, Eva Stone and Rebecca Brown, both of whom work at the Pink Monkey in Chicago. Stone considers her foray into the world of stripping a temporary one and plans to enter a master’s program as soon as she pays off her student loans, whereas Brown plans to stick with stripping as she makes more money at it than she did as a bartender. This could just be a case of lazy reporting; both women featured in the article work at the same club, and both were willing to discuss their motivations with the reporter. However, careless journalistic method or not, the lack of analysis in articles like this one is incredibly irresponsible, as well as indicative of some pretty wack cultural assumptions.

A casual reader is likely to walk away after reading this article with several grave misconceptions. The foremost of those misconceptions is that all women who participate in the sex industry are doing so by choice. Sure, the article starts out by blaming the larger numbers of women turning to stripping and porn on the sour economy, but it presents stripping as some kind of opportunity that women are lucky to have. No mention is made of the women who resort to stripping or porn out of desperation. In the world of AP reporters, apparently, there’s no such thing as a stripper or porn performer who turns to the industry when she finds herself broke with kids to feed but lacking viable job skills, or who resorts to stripping or porn to support a drug habit. They’re all supposedly there because, presented with a wide variety of attractive options, they’ve decided the sex industry has the most to offer.

The reporter, in a hurry to convince us that strippers and porn performers are nearly all “empowered” middle class cubicle escapees, misses some of the very obvious implications of this story. First, economic downturns hit women harder than men because women are usually among the last people hired and the first fired. And as such, porn producers and strip club managers are able to take advantage of women’s economic oppression during times of economic crisis to an even greater extent than they normally do. Second, and related, the most vulnerable women in our society are hit the hardest by economic crises, and that means that poor women, poor women of color, and women with few job skills are more likely to find themselves in situations in which stripping or working in porn are their only options than women with college degrees or white collar jobs are. Third, the author, in explaining that strip club managers and porn producers are getting a bevy of responses to their want ads, makes no attempt at analyzing what that might mean for the women who come to these places seeking employment, and makes no mention of the exploitive working conditions and the obvious potentials for abuse. The article even goes so far as to quote Brown preempting those who might question the desirability of stripping for a living, saying, “I have job security.” What kind of job security does she really have when the second she gets too old or stops resembling the customers’ idea of fuckable she’ll be out of a job with no resume and no real skills? And since when is having to endure constant sexual harassment from one’s customers and, quite often, one’s employer a good trade-off for job security?

Which leads to my final point, that the author failed to ask the most important question of all: why do we even have a “sex” industry? Why are women’s bodies and sexuality being so aggressively commodified and exploited? Why is there a demand for a never-ceasing parade of women willing to take their clothes off and allow men to use them sexually? Could there possibly be a fundamental problem in a system in which this phenomenon can occur?

It appears that the aggressive marketing of women’s sexual exploitation and the cultural mainstreaming of pornography and the other sectors of the “sex” industry in recent years have reached the point at which the news media now feel it appropriate to present women’s economic and sexual exploitation as innocuous, unavoidable, and fun as fuck. Critical thinking, when it might stand in the way of the carefree use and abuse of women, gets jettisoned once again.

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248 Responses to “Mainstream Media to Women: Lost your job? Get naked!”

  1. rox March 8, 2010 at 2:05 PM #

    I have thought all of this same stuff. I’ve wanted to research the actual psychological effects on women, but when you type the words “porn” or “sex” into the google reader I don’t have it in me to sort through all the porn. It makes me really sad for some reason. I know that some hetero women watch regular porn, but whether it’s imagined or not I just feel like I can feel the women in the porn world empty inside.

    It hurts me just to look at that. So no research from me until I suddenly figure out how to use simple internet features and block the from my google.

    I tried researching teen sexuality (OH GOD!) What a fool I am. Here I am thinking of the exploitation that it seemed happened for a larger portion of us who started having sex before late teens and then thousands (millions?) of pages pop up of teen porn. An industry that you KNOW is isn’t being supported by the dollars of other teens. This is a grown man thing.

    It makes me literally want to vomit. I mean really… oh… it’s coming….

  2. VictoryRed March 8, 2010 at 2:43 PM #

    I think this actually ties in with a lot of the mainstreaming of prostitution I have been noticing lately. It’s often presented now as a high class, adventurous activity, usually without any depiction of the mental and emotional detriment that often results from selling sex.

    The question for me is should women have a right to sell their bodies? I don’t think there is any legitimate argument one could make against their autonomy to do so, but this act would have to be balanced against the interest of society, like the ones you state above.

    If the answer is yes, I think prostitution should be legalized, but I don’t know how far this would go in addressing your main concerns about the nature of the industry itself.

    If the answer is no, the upside will be that society is (might be?) recognizing that this level of coercion and exploitation should not be tolerated anywhere human rights are valued. The downside is that prostitution will be forced underground and the women in these industries will have a harder life as a result.

    • Nine Deuce March 8, 2010 at 3:40 PM #

      Women should not be punished for resorting to the last thing they have to sell. Men should be punished for buying it.

  3. Jennifer Drew March 8, 2010 at 8:58 PM #

    Yet more propaganda from the male-dominated and male controlled media. Question – why aren’t men flocking in drove to work as lapdancers or male strippers. After all the pay is good, the work isn’t hard and there must surely be a market for men to turn themselves into submissive sexualised disposable commodities. But I forget – the so-called sex industry and its brother porn industry was set up by men for men and so it is natural women must be the ones who have to remove all their clothes for men’s sexual titilation. Men can never have too much naked female bodies can they?

    Women working as lap dancers and strippers experiencing male sexual harassment? No, the US have laws criminalising male sexual harassment of females within the workplace – but I forget women working as lap dancers and strippers are not employees are they so sexual harassment laws do not apply. How convenient for the male Johns visiting such establishments.

    Anyway the media is supposedly objective and neutral they are just reporting the facts – namely women of whatever age can always enter the porn industry because who cares about women’s rights? Mainstream male owned media clearly doesn’t.

  4. stonefawx March 9, 2010 at 12:30 AM #

    good point. I agree that it’s not so much about having “the right” or having something “to fall back on” in hard economic times as it is about what the fallback is, and does to women, and who has the right to take advantage of that commodification in fair or foul economic weather.

  5. Geoffrey Greer March 9, 2010 at 12:55 AM #

    Well-written article, ND, and all your points about glorifying women’s desperation are valid, but I am curious to hear from you and your readers on this point:

    Is pornography inherently wrong or immoral?

    Premise 1: If we remove from the equation the gross numbers of women who enter the industry out of desperation, there must surely remain a faction who truly take pleasure in the profession. (I suppose if you think this premise is false, and that there isn’t a single woman in existence who joins this industry happily, then we should stop right here.)

    Premise 2: Add to this the volume of “alternative sexuality” pornography (with two caveats: 1) no child porn, and 2) granting that heterosexual male pornography constitutes the majority of all pornographic media).

    Given both premises, it seems that (some) pornography caters to a demand that does not necessarily nor invariably rest upon the sheer exploitation of women. Do you think this is true, and do you think there is anything immoral about it?

    …And now I will prepare to have my throat ripped out. Thank you.

    • Nine Deuce March 9, 2010 at 1:22 AM #

      See my 9-part series on porn for my take on that issue, as well as almost any of the posts under the Wide World of Porn category. The deal is that we can never answer Premise 1 because we don’t yet live in a world in which women are treated as equally human to men rather than as if their entire existence resides in sex. “Alternative sexuality” porn? Like BDSM? Or just non-heterosexual?

  6. Grafton March 9, 2010 at 4:36 AM #

    I’ve wanted to research the actual psychological effects on women, but when you type the words “porn” or “sex” into the google reader I don’t have it in me to sort through all the porn.

    Use Google Scholar.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=stripper+women&hl=en&btnG=Search&as_sdt=4001 is the sort of result set you want, I believe.

  7. Rachael March 9, 2010 at 8:12 AM #

    Geoffrey, you don’t need to post a cute disclaimer every time you share your opinion here. Yes, some of us will disagree with you, and some of us might be damn angry, but we’re not going to murder you. We may not be “nice,” but we are civilized human beings.

    ND – Well said. I didn’t get to see the article, but I can imagine the kind of smug, satisfactory smirk it was probably written with.

    I hear people, often other women, say about those who choose sex work, “There’s always another choice,” or “I would never do that.” I’ve also noticed that people hardly ever condemn men who pay for these women’s exploitation. It’s just accepted as something that men do.

    I had a friend who told me that I shouldn’t care if my partner goes to a strip club, because the one he comes home to at the end of the day is me. Bullshit. He comes home to me because that woman on stage is never going to fuck him. Am I supposed to be grateful that he sees me as his wife and not his whore (how I hate that word)? Am I supposed to be happy that he sees those women not as human beings, but as fantasy objects? That he enjoys watching them and throwing dollar bills at them, but if it were his sister or his daughter up there, he’d have a fit?

    If he sees those women as lesser beings than the woman he loves, then he is their enemy. And if he is an enemy of those women, he is an enemy of all women–including me.

    And I couldn’t care less even if she did have a million other options and chose to strip, or even if she enjoys stripping. She’s not to blame. She doesn’t know he has a girlfriend or a wife. She’s not coming to complain about her partner tying her down, or escape from the old “ball and chain.” She’s trying to make a buck in the way that is the most empowering to her, and while I may disagree, I have no reason to hate her.

    There seems to be a sentiment that stripping is the easiest way for a young woman to make oodles of cash, as well as the most enjoyable. Of course, this is only if said women are deemed “fuckable.” I suppose it would feel empowering, to know that you possess the only asset that society values in a woman.

    Sex work is a difficult issue for me. On the one hand, I agree with ND and other radfems that the commodity of sex and women’s bodies is damaging to women and society, and that many women who don’t want to engage in it do so out of necessity. I don’t think it’s a simple matter of “She chose it, so it’s not degrading.” On the other hand, it’s very easy to stray into the “Women who work in the sex industry are either victims, or they don’t know any better” argument if you don’t watch yourself. I don’t want to make any woman my enemy, whether I agree with her personal choice or not.

    I don’t know if this makes sense or not. I’m still trying to untangle my own feelings about this issue.

    • Nine Deuce March 9, 2010 at 9:19 AM #

      Rachael – I’ve also been thinking about that, mainly because I’ve just read a theoretical article that might contain the seed of an idea that might break through the impasse between choice = subjectivity and patriarchy = no avenues for women’s agency. I need to think more about whether it makes sense, but I may post on it soon.

  8. Grafton March 9, 2010 at 10:19 AM #

    There seems to be a sentiment that stripping is the easiest way for a young woman to make oodles of cash, as well as the most enjoyable.

    Sounds like an attempt to excuse men’s behavior rather than an expression of any real truth about what that job is like for women.

    I’ve never been to a strip club. I’ve had two housemates who worked as strippers.

    One was a very unhappy and mentally unhealthy person who indulged in a number of rather creative criminal activities. She did, in fact, claim to like stripping, but she also lacked experience with decent work of any sort.

    The other was a stripper for all of two weeks, having answered an advert telling her how it was fun and easy money. She said it was actually really hot and uncomfortable in the physical sense and humiliating and scary otherwise, and they wouldn’t let her dance the way she wanted to dance.

    Neither made oodles of cash. People who make oodles of cash did not sublet rooms in the big shabby house I rented. The second woman, the sane one, got a job as a clerk in a health-food store and made more money at that than stripping, though she is very beautiful and there was much wailing and gnashing of club-owner’s teeth (and a couple of unwanted phone calls from him) when she quit.

  9. joy -- formerly kristyn March 9, 2010 at 3:55 PM #

    I think it’s definitely possible to have a nuanced and sophisticated view on women’s agency and lack thereof, without distilling the issue to ”victim” versus ”empowerful.”

    It’s pretty much just simple thinkers who boil it down to that, and then make us choose.

    Any binary is never going to encapsulate every aspect of human experience — man or woman. gay or straight (or bisexual, so this is a trinary). etc etc. Making someone ”pick one”, each option meaning a specific and limited thing or number of things and being utterly inflexible, is extremely shortsighted and probably why so many people are unhappy.

    Also, agreed about the cute little disclaimer. I always read those as passive-aggressive and mildly to majorly infuriating. ”Rip [his] throat out” … right.
    Although it would be nice if he, like all other men who bumble in here trying to ”educate” the womenfolk, ACTUALLY READ ND’S POSTS before commenting.
    Perhaps they are really just too thick.

  10. wiggles March 9, 2010 at 6:01 PM #

    If sex work is such a great way to make easy money, I wonder why we don’t see more dudes out there hawking BJs for $20 a pop.

  11. Grafton March 9, 2010 at 6:49 PM #

    Also, agreed about the cute little disclaimer. I always read those as passive-aggressive and mildly to majorly infuriating. ”Rip [his] throat out” … right.

    It’s that thing where if a person who is not supposed to speak or have a strong opinion (ie, a woman) does so, it’s characterized as an aggressive act. Because any sound that’s coming from a place that’s supposed to be silent is loud. If I tell another guy, “You are wrong and here is why,” I actually have to act aggressively to be characterized that way, but all a woman has to do is disagree in a straightforward manner and she’s “attacking.” I remember this phenomenon (complete with the cute little disclaimer, which is supposed to, and often does, make people laugh) from undergrad women’s studies classes.

  12. Rian March 9, 2010 at 8:11 PM #

    @Geoffrey Greer:

    Remove the politics of sex, and pornography becomes about as interesting as four straight hours of blurry slides from someone else’s vacation.

    • Nine Deuce March 9, 2010 at 8:28 PM #

      Rian wins comment of the week with that one.

  13. wiggles March 9, 2010 at 8:13 PM #

    Yeah if I went to an MRA blog and offered a challenge to anything said there, or even if I went to a regular mainstream “liberal” blog like HuffPo or Daily Kos and mentioned that sexism is a real thing that fucks up the world we live in, there’d be a shitload more throat-ripping going on.

  14. geoffreygreer March 10, 2010 at 1:47 AM #

    Rian, thank you for the straight-forward answer.

    Rachael, I will mind the cute disclaimers. But you mustn’t take me so literally, and please bear in mind that last time I braved to contribute to the dialogue, I was quite ferociously criticized by Kristyn, who seems now to prefer Joy.

    Joy (formerly Kristyn): again with the hostility? When I saw your name change, I had felt a glimmer of hope that your pursuit of happiness had gone well since our last conversation, but I see you are still angry with me. I really enjoyed reading your comments about oversimplifying issues into a “binary,” and I strongly agree with that. How saddened I was to read on and find you accusing me of “bumbling in here” and “not reading ND’s posts.” It’s true: I have not read ALL of her posts. I’m new to the blog. That does not disqualify me from asking questions, and you will see above that she had no problem redirecting me to the appropriate reference. I did not “bumble in here.” I have been invited to read and participate on account of being privy to ND’s announcements and on account that she has not told me otherwise. Until she does, I will continue to hope that you are happy.

    • Nine Deuce March 10, 2010 at 2:33 AM #

      Joy – I can actually personally vouch for Geoff’s not being a patronizing asshole (though I do see how the comments could be read that way), so I hope you two can discuss without hating each other unnecessarily.

      Geoff – Joy’s not being a dick, she’s just probably assuming you’re being patronizing, as many, many of my commenters are. There are a lot of dudes that show up here and flounce around trying to show how rational and above it all they are by condescending to female commenters who express any kind of anger, and it’s hard to tell through text when that is or isn’t happening. Since it usually is, a lot of people just make that assumption, myself often included. As for the thing about not reading the posts, feminists on feminist blogs often get irritated being asked the same questions over and over by dudes who are unwilling to go find the answers themselves or who are just coming in assuming they know more than all the broads on the board do and taking up time and space. I know you aren’t doing that, which is why I sent you to the posts that I thought would contain the answers to your questions. I used to try to answer every question I got since I was trying to get fence sitters on my side, but this blog gets too many hits/comments for me to do that now, so I do often get pissed off and assume I’m dealing with people who, presented with 220 posts organized by topic, feel entitled to ask me to explain something to them that they could easily look up if they felt like it just so they can counter with some banal opinion. But then, when I’m confronted with 50 people asking me questions, it’s hard to tell who actually wants the answer and who is being a little asshole, so I usually ignore the questions because I’m too busy. Maybe I ought to start pointing people who aren’t acting like buttfaces to the posts they might want to read.

  15. Andrew March 10, 2010 at 2:28 AM #

    I am not entirely comfortable with not punishing women for sex work if such is, in fact, illegal. There are undoubtedly elements of coercion in sex work, but it is not pure, as there are also elements of choice as well.

    What if last thing a woman could do to feed herself and her children is rob a convenience store?

    Many perpetrators of different crimes are victims of some sort or another. They are often disadvantaged in ways that many people are not, and are also not capable of really understanding. This should not provide a total excuse for that crime though, as that crime is still harmful to society.

    If women are going to engage in behavior that hurts other women, I don’t understand why they should not be held partially accountable, at least in proportion to their culpability.

    In short, economic duress is a slippery slope. If someone is without means, what exactly are they entitled to and what laws may they break to achieve it?

    • Nine Deuce March 10, 2010 at 2:37 AM #

      Uh, duh. It shouldn’t be illegal. You aren’t exercising free choice under coercion, you are choosing the least shitty shit sandwich.

      We can hold women accountable for hurting other women as soon as we deal with the men. Men do the most damage and hence take priority.

      I’m OK with stealing in cases of actual economic duress. I’m a radical, remember?

  16. Andrew March 10, 2010 at 4:41 AM #

    ND,

    I agree that it shouldn’t be illegal, but the problem then is that the state is condoning the purchase of women by men.

    As for the penalty, I appreciate your consistency, but even a radical must acknowledge that robbery can “cross the line” under certain circumstances. Even in cases involving actual duress.

    I think this “line” has to be identified in crimes of prostitution as well. What I mean is we have to ask ourselves at what point we have moved beyond a helpless women making the most of a poor situation (presumably zero culpability) to a situation in which there is no real economic duress, and the woman is knowingly exploiting, as well as contributing to, the problem (presumably high culpability). Madams, among other types of prostitutes, come to mind as fitting the latter example.

    In other words, the woman as inherent and perpetual victim and man as de facto rapists is to black and white for me. When I see escorts advertising their M.B.A. degree, along with their body, for upwards of $ 1,000 an hour I think we are definitely past the economic duress end of the scale.

    • Nine Deuce March 10, 2010 at 4:59 AM #

      No, you make it illegal for men to do the purchasing, not for women to do the selling.

      I didn’t say robbery, I said stealing.

      Will you please give up the quest to find a way to blame women for their own oppression? We all know choice sex workers exist, and we aren’t talking about them.

  17. isme March 10, 2010 at 1:31 PM #

    “What I mean is we have to ask ourselves at what point we have moved beyond a helpless women making the most of a poor situation (presumably zero culpability) to a situation in which there is no real economic duress, and the woman is knowingly exploiting, as well as contributing to, the problem (presumably high culpability). ”

    Um, what? How does a woman selling sexual favours cause enough damage to society for it to be worthy of legal action? Given that there’s massive amounts of actual problems that are yet to be legislated against.

  18. Rachael March 10, 2010 at 5:59 PM #

    Geoffrey – I knew you didn’t mean it literally. It’s just that those disclaimers are fairly common. And it’s not even just on feminist blogs–disclaimers that make an assumption about the audience often do more harm than good, no matter how “joking” they may be.

    It’s also difficult to ascertain someone’s mood or intentions on the Internet, since gesture and facial expression are lost. This can lead to misunderstandings and arguments. And honestly, with so many willfully ignorant jerks coming on here and refusing to look at things from any point of view but their own (as you may have already discovered, we have veteran commenters here who still don’t get it), it makes sense that we might be cynical, and quick to call someone out when we feel they’re being patronizing.

    And just to clarify, I wasn’t being hostile when I said that bit about a “cute disclaimer,” nor am I being hostile now. Really, you don’t need to worry about that.

    I’ve had to learn this when reading blogs on racism and transphobia: If you’re in a privileged position, the best thing you can do is listen. Read past posts. Lurk a while. Be honest when commenting, but try not to make assumptions about how the readers of your comment will react. Finally, if someone calls you out on something, apologize (and avoid things like “I’m sorry if you took it that way”), thank them for pointing it out to you (because if they thought you were a lost cause, they wouldn’t even bother), and maybe bow out of the discussion for a while.

    Speaking as someone who loves to talk (as you can probably tell from reading my comments), I know this can often be difficult. But I assure you that following these guidelines will make these discussions smoother in the long run.

  19. buttersisonlymyname March 10, 2010 at 6:30 PM #

    Good analysis, as usual.

    I wish the rest of society (by which I mean men, for the most part) woke up to this aspect of social reality.

    Temporal knowledge is limited, but it’s better to have more of it than less.

  20. joy March 10, 2010 at 7:31 PM #

    Geoffrey — I had forgotten that was you.

    I have two first names — Kristyn Joy. It is not a first name-middle name thing, they’re both my first name, and I’ve decided professionally to go by the second — so to simplify my internet presence I go by only one all the time now.

    Please, read what Grafton says. I’m not an unhappy person. In fact, most people in real life claim that I bring them great peace and that they like being around me. But whenever I speak up, I get castigated as a terrible vicious attacking harpy, when I’m really not doing anything that would get a man labeled as such.

    ND says you’re all right, and I’m sure you are. Your comments, however, really read like those of an MRA rape-apologist, and you seem to think that whenever a woman expresses anger that she is a bitter, shriveled bitch.
    That is why I don’t like you very much, as of yet. But I definitely don’t hate you.

  21. joy March 10, 2010 at 7:40 PM #

    Also, thanks, ND! That’s exactly what’s up over here, and I’m glad you read it that way.
    I’m genuinely sorry if I’m misreading Geoffrey, but that being said … well, everything that you already said.

    And Rachael too makes an excellent and concise summarization of this reaction. I’m not trying to be hostile either, I’m just tired of being condescended and forced to explain and rationalize — not just to Geoffrey, and I understand that is not his intention, but to any man in the whole wide world — every damn thing I say or do.

    Even down to my use of name, which is the actual name my mother used to describe me when I was born. If I had made it up, it would be no less legitimate either, but it is MY NAME. Both of my first names are my name. I can use whichever one I want, thank you, for whatever reason I choose. That is not hostility, that is a fact, and I didn’t think I would have to even bring it up.

  22. bluecat March 10, 2010 at 7:49 PM #

    Decriminalizing the sale of sex while criminalizing the purchase of sex is, to date, the most efficacious model of prostitution legislation in the world. There is no better argument than it works.

    “In just five years Sweden has dramatically reduced the number of its women in prostitution. In the capital city of Stockholm the number of women in street prostitution has been reduced by two thirds, and the number of johns has been reduced by 80%. There are other major Swedish cities where street prostitution has all but disappeared. Gone too, for the most part, are the renowned Swedish brothels and massage parlors which proliferated during the last three decades of the twentieth century when prostitution in Sweden was legal.

    In addition, the number of foreign women now being trafficked into Sweden for sex is nil. The Swedish government estimates that in the last few years only 200 to 400 women and girls have been annually sex trafficked into Sweden, a figure that’s negligible compared to the 15,000 to 17,000 females yearly sex trafficked into neighboring Finland. No other country, nor any other social experiment, has come anywhere near Sweden’s promising results.”

    http://www.justicewomen.com/cj_sweden.html

    I love how the author of this article doesn’t mince words when it comes to exploring the reasons why the rest of the world hasn’t followed suit. The problem in a nutshell is, and has always been, patriarchy.

  23. bluecat March 10, 2010 at 7:56 PM #

    I’d just assumed that men everywhere were slavering with excitement over the prospect of women being “forced” into sex work because, as everyone knows, “The lap dance is always better when the stripper’s crying.”

    The humiliation factor is half the appeal, for Maud’s sake. It always has been.

  24. Saurs March 10, 2010 at 8:34 PM #

    Geoffrey, Rachael has given you some excellent advice above about writing in and reading a feminist weblog. You may be interested in reading this post, as well, which explains some of the reasons why men adopting defensive language or exaggerating their fear of potential violence when speaking about feminism is problematic and distracting.

  25. Saurs March 10, 2010 at 8:38 PM #

    Also, Geoffrey? Deeming joy hostile and “wishing” her “happiness” is a derailing tactic. I’m sure you’ve seen this recently before, but they’ve got <a href="http://www.derailingfordummies.com/#hostilea whole manual on the subject.

  26. Saurs March 10, 2010 at 8:52 PM #

    Whoops. Derailing link here.

  27. Nine Deuce March 10, 2010 at 11:16 PM #

    I’d like to get back to wiggles’s question about why men aren’t out blowing people for cash when they lose their jobs. You’d think, after reading this article, that it’s just that they don’t have the opportunity to, but something tells me there’s more to it than that, snarf.

  28. joy March 10, 2010 at 11:20 PM #

    Saurs — HUGE internet hug. That piece is great, especially the [TM]s and [R]s. So much snark!

    Like I’ve said, I’m an incredibly happy person. One of my first names is Joy and I go by it professionally for a reason — because it works perfectly.
    I’m just also a very, very hurt person, because, like all other women, I am a Marginalized Person. I’m marginalized a whole lot by my physical sex, and also marginalized a tiny bit by my ethnicity (I’m light-skinned but not 100 percent ‘white’ and people notice this), a reasonable bit by my sexuality (not gay, straight, trans, questioning, intersex, asexual, OR bi, but not a straight-up queer either), and a considerable bit by my social class (I am a blue-collar artist living below the poverty line).

    I see the same things that happen to me, happening to all women, to people I consider my sisters in this, and happening worse … and some pretty bad things have happened to me. So of course I’m sad. Hurt. Often angry.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that I see beauty or the potential for beauty in almost everything.
    Telling that to a man who’s already decided I am a castigating harpy for being sad and hurt and for telling him not to talk down to me, however, winds up in a sick Freudian ”thou dost protest too much” landscape and THAT makes me even sadder. More hurt. Angrier.
    Which winds up serving his purpose all too well.

    Thanks for saying what I couldn’t seem to get across.

  29. joy March 10, 2010 at 11:24 PM #

    ND — re, men blowing people for money.

    I know some who do. Dudes who are starting a film production company in NYC and want extra money for rent (after they spend a lot of their other money on booze and cocaine, but still).

    However, they see it as a sexually-liberated thing, much like funfeminists do, and they also know they can stop at any time.
    In other words, they are completely off-the-cuff and avant garde about selling themselves.

    I could probably explain why, but it makes me want to smack myself in the face and is probably really, equally obvious to other students of feminism/defenders of truth and justice/challengers of the patriarchy.

  30. geoffreygreer March 10, 2010 at 11:59 PM #

    ND, Rachael, Joy, and Saurs.

    Thank you for the posts today. I rather enjoyed reading them, and I hope you don’t take this as sarcasm, because it is not meant that way.

    Rachael’s advice for comment dialogue is well-received. Saurs’ links, especially the one to “de-railing” tactics, were both informative and entertaining. I want you to know that it is never my intent to “de-rail” people; I prefer staying on topic and carrying the conversation out to its truest conclusion. However, I will stay aware that “de-railing” nonetheless remains a tactic for inadequate discussion and will avoid making the mistake.

    And to Joy, who wrote: “That is why I don’t like you very much, as of yet. But I definitely don’t hate you.” Please take this in the best possible way: This is the best thing you have written to me so far. It made me laugh — cordially, you understand; not as though I were laughing AT you or mocking you, etc. I appreciate the honesty. It’s fair. All I want is for us to be fair to each other. Thanks for that.

  31. Andrew March 11, 2010 at 2:12 AM #

    ND,

    If you aren’t talking about choice sex workers then I am on-board. Nobody should be forced to perform sex acts on other people, even if the other person is a paying customer.

    However, I am not sure you would be OK with a defense of “But she is a choice sex worker, not a victim of economic duress!” against a charge of soliciting prostitution.

    Women shouldn’t be responsible for their own oppression, except in cases where they actually are responsible for their own oppression.

  32. Miss Andrist March 11, 2010 at 8:30 AM #

    Geoffrey,

    If you want hostility, or your throat ripped out, I suppose I can take time out to oblige. The problem with pornography is it’s rape on camera. If you jack off to porn, you are masturbating to somebody who actively wishes she would just die. She is there, wishing for death, because somebody else knows you will pay to watch her be hurt. Do you feel like a good person?

    If you choose to interpret this as hostility, that pretty much sucks for you. (I have yet to be hostile to anyone here. I have far too much respect for ND.) According to the comments so far, you’ve solidly demonstrated that when females fail to nurture and coddle you, you perceive it as an attack. Hmm, kind of a hard landing you’re set up for there, but congratulations on acheiving regular d00dism.

    Does that answer your question, Greg? Pornography is rape on camera. That’s why it’s wrong. I hope we don’t need to go over what’s wrong about rape. The problem with sex-based work is that the person engaging in it is not there for the sake of having sex. They are there to get paid, and they wouldn’t be there if they weren’t getting paid. In other words, they don’t actively want to do this. Would you want to partner with somebody who was only doing this because they had to and secretly wanted nothing more than for you to finish so you would go away and leave them alone?

    There, your question is answered. Now it’s my turn to ask a question. Why do males have so much difficulty grasping these simple, tiny concepts?

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  33. Grafton March 11, 2010 at 9:05 AM #

    Women shouldn’t be responsible for their own oppression, except in cases where they actually are responsible for their own oppression.

    Does the above make any sense?

  34. OutsideLookingOver March 11, 2010 at 10:15 AM #

    “Which leads to my final point, that the author failed to ask the most important question of all: why do we even have a “sex” industry? Why are women’s bodies and sexuality being so aggressively commodified and exploited? Why is there a demand for a never ceasing parade of women willing to take their clothes off and allow men to use them sexually? Could there possibly be a fundamental flaw in a system in which this phenomenon can occur?”

    This is a profound statement. It is this pandering to the male sub-group’s “need” – a need that I find as objectionable as any uncontrolled vice – that should be examined more closely, instead of being excused and even legitimised with a “normal sex drive” label.
    It’s embarrassing and humiliating to be part of a gender that behaves in such barbaric, unenlightened way. I prefer to be ridiculed – which I do regularly by the machismos – than to stoop to that mindset.

    But, oh well. Perhaps I’m throwing out the baby with the bathwater when I try to rip masculinity from my being in total abhorrence. Perhaps there is something attractive about it. My (female) workmates appear to be convinced there is. I fail to see it.

    The most difficult aspect of being male to identify and purposely discard is entitlement. It comes cloaked in so many disguises that even mothers (and some wives) seem to buy into it and train their male offspring to take advantage of it early on.

  35. Faith March 11, 2010 at 2:04 PM #

    “Does the above make any sense?”

    No. It’s utter nonsense. Reading Andrew’s comments is like being repeatedly stabbed in the eye with something red-hot and pointy.

    Women participate in our own oppression all the time. Most of us participate in our own oppression in some regard. It’s pretty much a given that we have to do so in some capacity just to make it from point A to point b on any given day.

    But willingly participating in our own oppression – whether it’s through sex work, marriage, or wearing ridiculously high, pointy high-heels and cosmetics that will give us cancer in order to make ourselves attractive to men who have little to no respect for us – does not make us responsible for our oppression. People can not be responsible for their own oppression. The people and societies that oppress groups of individuals are the ones responsible for the oppression regardless of whether or not the members of the oppressed group participates. Andrew is just determined to make it women’s fault so he can keep denying his responsibility in the matter. That way he can keep acting like a misogynist jackass without feeling any guilt.

  36. Saurs March 11, 2010 at 4:24 PM #

    Cheers, joy, I’m glad you like the link. Personally, I can’t imagine how one could react to being told – “I thought I told you to be happy and stop worrying about things you want to worry about but that I don’t find that important!” or words to that effect – when women are consistently expected to be stalwart, stoic, and unselfish, mommies or bandaids to dudes the world over. It’s an insult, really. Keep up the good fight; I love all your comments here (in whatever guise you adopt) and I admire your strength. If you’re angry, you’re supposed to be, and anger is incredibly productive. It’s very easy for people who aren’t, as you say, marginalized to demand that discussions about other people’s marginalization should be conducted on “fair” terms. The world’s their oyster, anyway, and their privilege leads them to believe that things should always be fair on them.

  37. Ren March 11, 2010 at 7:39 PM #

    ND:

    Something else they missed in that article is that once one has been a sex worker, even merely a stripper (rather than porn or prostitution) is that…well, it can and does affect one’s future career options- no matter how big one’s degree might be. Which is also all about sexism and slut shaming, but sure enough- it is reality. I mean, if one has been a sex worker, and that is known, it will absolutely narrow the scope of future career choices- and that is something that is rarely talked about.

  38. wiggles March 11, 2010 at 8:44 PM #

    joy
    March 10, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    ND — re, men blowing people for money…

    Yeah I’ve known some gay guys who solicit other gay guys (or at least work gay neighborhoods). That’s not quite what I had in mind though. The guys who recommend sex work to women in need of cash are almost always hetero dudes, your typical women’s sex work consumers. And I’ve seen some hetero dudes very down on their luck who, as far as I know, have never resorted to sex work. There’s always something else. Day labor, pan handling, stealing. I wouldn’t think begging or stealing would be any more dignified or less honest or time-consuming than blowing somebody, but the latter’s so rarely the option taken. Yet it’s recommended to women just to make ends meet or put a little extra cash in their pockets. How about hetero guys put their asses out there to save up for that new PS3 it they think it’s such an easy way to make a buck?

    • Nine Deuce March 11, 2010 at 8:57 PM #

      Yeah, I was thinking of the average sports bar patron huffing dong for extra cash on the side.

  39. OutsideLookingOver March 11, 2010 at 9:15 PM #

    “There, your question is answered. Now it’s my turn to ask a question. Why do males have so much difficulty grasping these simple, tiny concepts?”
    Entitlement blinds. You’re told (as a guy) guys are visual, your sex drive is normal, your needs are normal, porn is an outlet for those needs, and like idiots we fall into it.

    Until something cataclysmal happens, like losing one’s sex drive. Then reason takes over and you realise the emperor has no clothes, that there is nothing valid about entitlement, nothing redeemable about porn. And you feel this profound embarrassment and also realise no one is listening, because you are no longer a “real man”. You had to be chemically castrated in order to “grasping these simple, tiny concepts”.

  40. joy March 11, 2010 at 11:37 PM #

    The guys I mentioned in my comment are, in fact, straight dudes.

    Fauxgressive jackass MRA-lite rape apologist straight white dudes who think they’re sensitive because they wear skinny jeans, do art, and used to listen to Conor Oberst before he ”sold out.” So not frat-boy sports-bar patrons, but straight dudes with regressive ideas no less.

    They can’t understand why I live below the poverty level when sex work can be so empowering and my ”beauty” and ”sexuality” give me ”power.” Of course, they know damn well how much THEY hate it and how bad THEY feel when they’re sucking dick for cash … but they turn it into a jealousy thing. Like if they were women, they would be fine with it.

    They know what is going on. They have to. They just choose not to see it.

  41. Miss Andrist March 12, 2010 at 1:04 AM #

    Outsider:

    If that’s true, if you’re right and males have to be deprived of a major part of human existence in order to stop oppressing everything that lives and inflicting non-stop misery on non-males…

    …I guess Solanas was right. Why AREN’T we just killing them? I don’t want to hear jack shit about flimsy moralism, this is self-defense. I’m seriously wondering why I should hesistate to gun down everything with a peen under the age of eighty or so before it can rape me… again.

    Seriously. Males are just as capable of being human with sexual urge as females are. Somehow, magically, WE manage to control ourselves. Why are males exempt from having to control themselves, or does genitalia also make them physically incapable of doing so? Or presumed incapable? So how do “Some D00ds” manage it where 99.9% fail? Genitalia doesn’t determine THAT much, d00d. Or perhaps the whiny crybabyism that males “can’t” without being castrated is really just another cheap flimsy excuse why it’s too hard for all the supposed “good guys,” the self-identified I-don’t-do-that-so-I’m-okay males to actually actively interfere with the great patriarchal machine. So you’re castrated and not a real man, but I’ll bet you could still break most non-male’s faces if you felt like it, regardless of the vitality of your peen. I’ll further bet that the most you have to fear from confronting other males is their ridicule. And that’s much scarier and harmful than all of us continuing to be raped and beaten constantly and having to live our lives around that threat and likelihood, and that’s why you should be let off the hook. You have ALL my sympathy, seriously.

    Once again, the answer to my question – “Why are males apparently incapable of understanding these simple tiny concepts” – forces me to wonder why I, or any of us, who suffer from the willful ignorance and narcissistic selfishness of males, permit them live. Seriously, because it’s easier to shoot a d00d than to get him to hold still while I castrate him and frankly I don’t see why I should care if he lives or dies since he sure as shit doesn’t care if I live or die. And since the point is to render him harmless, either way is fine with me and better yet, if I just shoot them, I don’t have to listen to them whining about it hurting. (Pain in your nethers? Quit crying and take it like a woman.) Ha ha. Ideas?

    “Have you ever wondered why we are not just in armed combat against you? It’s not because there’s a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.” – Andrea Dworkin

    Try again.

  42. Andrew March 12, 2010 at 2:12 AM #

    Faith,

    The point that I was making is that “women” are not an oppressed sex anymore than “black” is an oppressed group. There are many blacks who are not oppressed, there are also many blacks who oppress others. The same is true of women, and also sex workers.

    I wanted to be clear who we we’re talking about. If we are talking about groups other than female sex workers who operate in or near economic duress, it becomes really hard to justify things like punishing only male “johns,” etc.

  43. joy March 12, 2010 at 2:14 AM #

    Miss Andrist — that was amazing, and entirely spot on.

  44. Faith March 12, 2010 at 2:31 AM #

    “The point that I was making is that “women” are not an oppressed sex anymore than “black” is an oppressed group. There are many blacks who are not oppressed, there are also many blacks who oppress others. The same is true of women, and also sex workers”

    Whatever helps you live with yourself and your exploitation of people more vulnerable than yourself, Andrew. Rationalize away. I know you will. At least until you ever decide to develop something that resembles humanity.

  45. one angry girl March 12, 2010 at 2:43 AM #

    nothing constructive to add, but as usual i’m going to prod you to go a step further and forward your post to the reporter. except that i cannot find the original article and hence cannot proceed.

  46. rox March 12, 2010 at 2:55 AM #

    Grafton- thanks! I just totally lost heart for reading about the subject after my -shouldn’t have been surprise yet was- screen filled with teen porn.

    Ugh.

    I haven’t read all the comments here yet, but I just know that it makes me sad. I dated a guy who went to a foreign country and hired prostitutes and it makes me want to throw up finding out about it. Then there’s the teen porn he was into, grand total of -making me want to vomit. Did I say it all makes me nauseous? Because I’m not sure if I got that point across…

    I didn’t realize how deeply I felt about it until walking into my sons fathers living room (read-masturbation cave) and seeing the screen with teen porn and pubes all over the living room floor. God. Masturbation doesn’t bother me, neither does fantasy, but porn is real people.

    If you’re participating in something that is harming others EVEN IF THEY LET YOU, I just still don’t think it’s cool. I am all about people making healthy choices for themselves. A crack dealer can’t heal crackheads, they have to do it themselves. That doesn’t make crack dealers less crappy for profiting of a usually painful addiction that is *almost always ruining lives.

    I can’t help but wonder, why leave this stuff up on your computer like I’m not going to notice naked ladies, even if I’m TRYING not to look? Jeez man.

    In order for me formulate an arguable opinion I would need to read more and quote statistics. But I think I know enough for me. I know it makes me feel empty inside when I think of people in the sex industry. I can just hope that each person knows what they’re doing and aren’t being harmed, but since I feel that it COULD be harmful even if only for some, I just could never participate in purchasing or watching it.

    Ok so here’s another thing, some people aren’t good at much other than crap jobs. Can we afford to make sure that crap jobs pay a living wage? No matter what, there will always be people of a lower intellect (both male and female) who are more: forgetful, absent from work, slower performing, unable to do math, etc etc.

    I do think that sex workers often feel like they aren’t good at any thing else and this is their way to earn money and contribute.

    That’s totally a wild guess as I have only known a few sex workers and they were all prostitutes to get drugs and were just… well trying to get drugs. I’ve never known any sex workers who were really into it. Not saying they don’t exist and wouldn’t chew me up for feeling a deep compassion for my fellow human beings who ARE choosing it, but just for really… really really sad reasons.

    I have no respect for the rich guys I met who were taking advantage of these women (family members of mine). They were yucky people and would have been happy to invite me into their “club”. Of course, not having a drug addiction the idea of being groped up (and having sex with) old freaky men had ZERO appeal. (Or rather it had infinite negative appeal?)

    My family member who was in this life is now dying of a terminal illness. Her son will have to watch that. Obviously her choices were part of all this. All the same, the guys who were RICH and giving her drugs and getting laid… I have zero forgiveness.

    There is no justification. Whatever bad choices she has made, she’s a human being. I’m damn well going to sob my eyes out for the hundreth time when she goes, despite the fact that I have anger for her in this mess as well. Ultimately, she’s the one who fucking dies. The rich guys just buy another one.

  47. rox March 12, 2010 at 2:56 AM #

    (Ok, I spoke out of anger. I actually have forgiveness for everyone. I do have an expectation that a person realize they want forgiveness before I’m willing to offer it though.)

  48. Grafton March 12, 2010 at 3:04 AM #

    Thank you, Faith.

    Andrew, if you think black Americans are not an oppressed group, your head is deeply buried in your rectum.

    Re: Men blowing people for money. I used to not be homeless, in the sense that the reason I wasn’t homeless is that I used all the money I had for rent and ate out of dumpsters and stuff. I didn’t blow anybody for money. But people did suggest that I might like to blow them for heroin. I wonder what the consequences of saying “no thank you,” would have been if I was a woman.

    We had a social community of homeless/near-homeless people. Aside from sharing information, keeping the craziest of us out of the cold when they couldn’t do for themselves, we spent a certain amount of energy keeping newly-homeless young women out of the paths of pimps. Pimps are the enemy. I’m not very aggressive and wasn’t all that sane myself at the time, so my participation was limited and somewhat indirect, but I’ve no doubt it was necessary. I know in larger cities homeless young men are also targeted by pimps, but I was not approached by them and I was, oh, twenty-two and am nice enough to look at.

  49. joy March 12, 2010 at 6:43 AM #

    Ding ding ding! Grafton gets it.

    Yes, the straight men I know who blow people for money do not really seem to have that same ability to think outside of their own headspace. They can’t imagine what it would be like as a woman to do the things they are doing, so they assume that the experience is the same for a woman as it is for them.

    Or they get jealous of women because when they blow men, they feel like they have caught Teh Gay or something, and since ”women like men” then in female sex workers’ cases ”it’s natural”, ”not gay”, and ”something they’d do anyway.”
    I don’t even need to talk about all the things that are wrong with this picture. But I’d say the main thing is too much Nietzsche, and go from there.

    Also, Grafton, I wish you or someone like you had been there when I ”wasn’t homeless” and ”wasn’t being domestically abused by the other not-homeless person who was supposedly ‘keeping me safe.”’
    You’re probably going to know exactly what I mean.

  50. berryblade March 12, 2010 at 7:41 AM #

    Once again it’s a fucking bullshit case of having to fit womyn into an already existing fucked up capitalist, racist & sexist system.

    I just wish people weren’t as easily fooled by it’s glossy exterior. Underneath it is the most pungent and festering pile of shit.

  51. Grafton March 12, 2010 at 8:42 AM #

    rox — you are welcome. Good luck with your research. If you find stuff you cannot get the full-text for, I may be able to help.

    Your comment about harming others even if they let you is interesting. I think the porn and prostitution arguments get muddied up by people who do not make a distinction between, “Free people in a free society are free to take themselves to hell,” vs. “Free people in a free society are free to build elevators to hell and make their fortunes by conning other people into paying for a ride there.”

    People who would willingly condemn a spray-on tan producer for selling it as ‘safe and effective’ when it really caused skin cancer will say that it was a woman’s ‘choice’ to become involved in sex work that was advertised to her as being safe, enjoyable and lucrative, and in spite of the fact that the choice to have a fake tan does not closely resemble the ‘choice’ to not be completely fucking penniless on the street.

    I do think that sex workers often feel like they aren’t good at any thing else and this is their way to earn money and contribute.

    I think you’re right. The stripper I had in my house a while didn’t seem to think she could do anything else. You might want to look at Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends, this documentary television show. There’s a 1998 episode about porn. Theroux’s dick is in it, but it’s not really graphic. You won’t see any porn, though you hear them making it while the camera is focused on Theroux’s expression of horrified, revolted amazement. Anyway, there’s this bit of this porn actor, young guy, who drives Theroux around a bit and keeps repeating, over and over, that “It’s better than the army.” It’s hilarious. And tragic. It’s clear that this poor little fucker is really stuck in this idea that there are only two jobs he can have, porn and the army.

    joy, I wish the same thing. And I do know exactly what you mean.

  52. OutsideLookingOver March 12, 2010 at 10:05 AM #

    Miss Andrist:
    “So you’re castrated and not a real man, but I’ll bet you could still break most non-male’s faces if you felt like it, regardless of the vitality of your peen. I’ll further bet that the most you have to fear from confronting other males is their ridicule. And that’s much scarier and harmful than all of us continuing to be raped and beaten constantly and having to live our lives around that threat and likelihood, and that’s why you should be let off the hook. You have ALL my sympathy, seriously.”

    Thank you, but I’m not after anyone’s sympathy. Even delivered tongue-in-cheek. I took it upon myself to change my hormone levels firstly to be more in line with who I saw myself as, but ultimately to clarify social thought. That sounds a bit crack-pot, I know. I have few friends, male or female. It matters very little to me.

    I have never prevailed in any physical contests, which I have come to carefully avoid, because I always lose. I would provide no resistance to being culled: not because I don’t have a survival instinct, but because the capacity to resist does not exist.

    Pain relief and protecting airways: that is what I do. I am a nurse… it’s about quality nurturing with total disregard for personal needs. I could go into great depth as to why I prefer caring for female patients vs male patients, but I’ll summarise it this way: female patients always say thank you. Need I say more?

    So what was my point in agreeing with you? I was hoping to add perspective to this discussion by sharing the experiences of someone who lives outside of the male entitlement mindset. We talk about it like it’s a disease that is just there in the male social fabric, but we leave the etiology undefined.

    How about prevention? Why not have a look what causes this mindset? This site has numerous examples of why boys turn into men who feel it is their right to behave/think/take no responsibility for the evil things they do to women.

    There is a beginning point to this despicable social structure, and it begins at home.

  53. isme March 12, 2010 at 1:24 PM #

    “The point that I was making is that “women” are not an oppressed sex anymore than “black” is an oppressed group.”

    Was the double meaning in that intentional?

    “There are many blacks who are not oppressed, there are also many blacks who oppress others. The same is true of women, and also sex workers.”

    That’s true. About a year ago, I say a woman that wasn’t oppressed, so obviously feminism is unneccesary.

    “I wanted to be clear who we we’re talking about. If we are talking about groups other than female sex workers who operate in or near economic duress, it becomes really hard to justify things like punishing only male “johns,” etc.”

    Ok, enough snide comments from me, as you’ve reached an actual point. IMHO, you’ve done that a number of times on this blog, but you tend to bury them in all sorts of (presumably unintentionally) offensive and triggering material so few people go looking for them.

    Yes, generalisations have been made, but the legal system works in generalisations. No legal system or any other social apparatus is perfect, there will always be exceptions that it doesn’t cope for. The question is how many, how badly, and how well it deals with what it is designed to deal with.

    The ideas raised should not be held against some hypothetical perfection, they should be held against the situation as it stands (or, alternatively, other suggestions). It is whether or not they would improve the situation that is important, not whether or not they would make all problems disappear.

  54. Rian March 12, 2010 at 9:05 PM #

    @Andrew:

    The fact that some women have class privilege that helps offset some of the nastiest effects of women’s subjugation does not mean that women are not oppressed. Are not the women with the MBAs and the $1000+/hour fee hired by men of superior wealth and consequence to themselves?

  55. Andrew March 12, 2010 at 10:46 PM #

    Isme,

    I’m not sure what double meaning you’re referring to, but I was not trying to say that blacks or women were not oppressed in the abstract. I was also not saying feminism wasn’t necessary. I was trying to say that while some women are oppressed, some are not, and so sweeping generalizations regarding women, like blacks, are not warranted.

    No legal system may be perfect, but generalizations should be narrowed as far as possible, at least theoretically, in order to maximize justice. In this particular case, I don’t think it would be to hard for a “john” to demonstrate the woman he attempted to pay for sex wasn’t acting under any sort of duress.

    It could even be a strict liability offense to solicit sex from a woman acting under duress or coercion, and some countries have made it so.

    At it’s core, this is an issue about one party (privilege men) taking advantage of another party (disadvantaged women). Taking advantage of people is always immoral, and usually problematic.

    However, there are transactions in the sex work industry that do not involve coercion or duress. This whole arena could/should arguably be legalized, but in the event that it isn’t there is no reason the culpability should differ based on the gender of the actor, as they are both effecting the same harm under their own free will.

  56. bluecat March 12, 2010 at 11:44 PM #

    Andrew’s argument continues to be full of fail because society doesn’t collude in promoting the glorification of drug pushing, theft, or any other crime committed while under “economic duress”. Society does, however, train women to embrace the art of sexual servitude to men and prize their ability to give men boners above all else from the second we’re popped from the womb.

    I can’t even begin to count the number of TV shows and movies that promote a glamorous image of sex work and, on the other hand, can’t think of one that portrays pushers and burglars as anything other than villains. If I were to watch MTV and E! for any length of time, I’m sure even I would start thinking that sex work is a natural, enviable career option for women.

  57. Andrew March 13, 2010 at 2:09 AM #

    Bluecat,

    My argument isn’t that the glorification of sex work is OK.

    The glorification of sex work has effects on men as well as women. While such glorification may “train women to embrace the art of sexual servitude to men and prize their ability to give men boners above all else from the second [they’re] popped from the womb” it also trains men to accept this dynamic as natural and beneficial. [Both sexes should really blame their corporate overlords for inbreeding sex and marketing to the point where they are synonymous.]

    I am really only concerned about who gets punished in a system where prostitution remains illegal. Even under your reading, Bluecat, the men who use prostitutes are just as maladjusted as the women who willfully engage in prostitution. The result is that both are still equally culpable for whatever the broader negative effects of prostitution might be.

    But really, if we aren’t talking about “choice prostitution”, I don’t have a problem with men being solely responsible for forcing indigent persons or human slaves into sexual acts.

  58. joy March 13, 2010 at 2:54 AM #

    Outsider, what makes you think we AREN’T already considering the causes of this behavior?

    Some women DO think men are born with innate bonerism and bred-in hatred/inferiority/stupidity … and many of these women do not identify as feminists, either. In fact, many of these women are conservative and/or religious.

    However, lot of radical feminists identify the unacceptable male behaviors as socially programmed instead of innate. The solution at the root of this problem is to start training children to respect all other living human beings equally from the time of birth — in other words, to do away with gender roles and constructs.

    But how do we get there from where we are now? How do we mitigate the damage being done to us every single day in between now and ”somewhere”?
    It can seem pretty fucking hopeless, and that’s when some of us start talking about cracking out the guns and mowing down everything that has a peen to preempt those people from hurting us first.

    Like I often say, the cause doesn’t matter if the effect is the same. Of course, that’s a flippancy – in order to reach a better place for all of us, obviously we all must consider the cause and come to consensus … but again, in between now and then, how do we women stay safe?

    The answer may be assault-weapon training. Or, as was once discussed over on IBTP, somnambulatory rapist-killing/man-castrating.
    Which has an additional layer of badassery. As long as sleepwalking is an acceptable defense for raping a woman, it should be considered the same for killing or at least maiming a rapist.

  59. joy March 13, 2010 at 3:09 AM #

    Also, and this is belated —

    Thank you, Saurs. I’ve been well-seasoned in discourse and taken to task a few times by the ladies (of course, I mean this both in a tongue-in-cheek fashion — I’ve taken too much irony in my lifetime — and in the sense that I’m certain they’re all women) over at Jill’s blog and that accounts for a lot of it … but I do appreciate knowing that I can contribute!

    In terms of bravery — we’re all brave. Women who wake up every day, experience the things that we do, filter it through the lens of radical feminist thought to understand the mechanisms behind them even when those mechanisms are complex and difficult, speak up about it even if only on the internet, and then DON’T shoot ourselves at the end of the day … all brave. Every last one.
    I don’t know if you’re ”a woman”, in any sense of the word, or not — and you can take that as a high compliment. But logically and regardlessly, by virtue of the same principle you are brave as well.

    We hafta be brave out here. Either that or kill ourselves, like I said, and that can in itself be an act of bravery. Hell, even when a woman ”sells out”, a concept I don’t even much believe in, it can still be an act of bravery.

    It all depends on the circumstance, of course.

    But it takes a lot to keep on keepin’ on in a world that so openly and desperately wants you silent and preferably dead … so you do what you gotta do sometimes.

  60. Miss Andrist March 13, 2010 at 3:22 AM #

    “Thank you, but I’m not after anyone’s sympathy.”

    THANK GOODNESS. I am so sick of being expected to nurture and coddle needy males I could puke. Seriously.

    “Even delivered tongue-in-cheek. I took it upon myself to change my hormone levels firstly to be more in line with who I saw myself as, but ultimately to clarify social thought. That sounds a bit crack-pot, I know. I have few friends, male or female. It matters very little to me.”

    *GIGANTIC SIGH* Yes. You are An Individual. You are, by virtue of your existence, a unique creature unlike any other. That stated, you are part of a group of other creatures with whom you share similar characteristics. Your uniqueness is valid. The group is also valid. Your uniqueness does not trump the validity of the group nor does it exempt you from being included on basis of similar characteristics. You’re not That Special. Nobody is.

    “I have never prevailed in any physical contests, which I have come to carefully avoid, because I always lose. I would provide no resistance to being culled: not because I don’t have a survival instinct, but because the capacity to resist does not exist.”

    So? Why do you think this is about how YOU perceive society? Because, it’s not. It’s about how SOCIETY perceives you. It’s about how women perceive you and how men perceive you and how a man will react to you versus how a woman will react to you.

    Because you have a peen, you are identified by other males as a potential threat and can expect the respect afforded any potentially dangerous entity. If you were a non-male, males would treat you as benign to the point of inert. Because males are socialized to be incapable of seeing a non-male as potentially threatening. Non-males are defined as passive so that males can be defined as assertive, after all. All females are socialized to respond to you as a threat from the perspective of being helpless against you, regardless of your self-image. All males are socialized to respond to you as a potential threat from the perspective of themselves as potentially capable of confronting you if needed and winning, regardless of your self-image. Females will react to you as having power you only think you don’t have.

    Oi vey.

    It’s not about YOU, how YOU are, YOUR individual characteristics change NOTHING about the way males will respond to you versus how they will respond to a non-male. And for somebody who thinks he’s checked his male privilege, be advised: you’re attempting to introduce your personal characteristics as exceptionalizing and differentiating yourself, and you’re insisting that your uniqueness is -so special- and -so important- that SOCIETY AS A WHOLE responds to you as it does no one else, because SOCIETY recognizes that your uniqueness trumps any potential membership from being grouped.

    I’m afraid the perspective you’re standing on is the D00dly Free-Throw Line.

    Analogy: trying to assert that because Barack Obama is the President of the United States, people do not perceive him as having a race at all (black, white, both.) Case in point: Is your specialness more special than Barack Obama’s specialness? Doubtful. Not saying you are any less unique, but frankly, society does not exempt him from its perception of his racial category, are you really insisting that society exempts you in its perception of your sex category?

    “Pain relief and protecting airways: that is what I do. I am a nurse… it’s about quality nurturing with total disregard for personal needs. I could go into great depth as to why I prefer caring for female patients vs male patients, but I’ll summarise it this way: female patients always say thank you. Need I say more?”

    And I prefer dealing with male programmers, because there are so few alternatives that I’d be really really lonely if I preferred dealing with female programmers, or making my life a living hell if I disliked dealing with male programmers. So? My personal preferences are as trivial as yours and change absolutely nothing about the unequal and unfair ways society favors you and hinders me.

    By the way, I’d venture that women say “thank you” for your care-giving because women don’t internalize the idea that being cared for by anyone is their entitlement. Men, on the other hand, are powerfully socialized to believe that they are owed them nurturing. (For proof of mens’ steadfast insistence that men and men only are entitled to being nurtured, Google “male ego.”)

    “So what was my point in agreeing with you? I was hoping to add perspective to this discussion by sharing the experiences of someone who lives outside of the male entitlement mindset.”

    Interjection: don’t flatter yourself. You are as outside your male privilege as I am outside my white privilege. Neither of us can be, because our respective privilege exists in the vacuum created by the infringement of the rights of those who just don’t get it as good as we do.

    When I am outraged because pretty white girls do not get arrested for traffic violations, my white privilege is rearing its ugly head and needs to be checked.

    When you assume that your male perspective is even relevant to a feminist dialogue, let alone so central that you can just inject it without so much as lip service to feminism being about women, your male privilege? Might need a check. Just saying.

    Because for the bearer of privilege, that’s the most basic step to not being a douchebag: be aware that you have privilege, accept that you are going to screw it up, and resolve yourself to become aware of it and remain aware of it, find it wherever it nests, and either reject it or use it to restore rights to the oppressed. Assuming you’re over your privilege or immune to it or whatever means you either don’t have the first foggiest idea how broken society really is, or you’re a feeble apologist who feels guilty about all this crap, but not quite guilty enough to make yourself stop.

    “We talk about it like it’s a disease that is just there in the male social fabric, but we leave the etiology undefined.”

    Btw: the male social fabric is THE social fabric. There is no other social fabric, just like there is no other sex – male, and everyone else.

    “How about prevention? Why not have a look what causes this mindset? This site has numerous examples of why boys turn into men who feel it is their right to behave/think/take no responsibility for the evil things they do to women.”

    That’s a great idea!! Incidentally, this site also has numerous articles referencing how the boy child becomes a man: specifically, he’s made a man by other men. Again not something women are doing, so not something women can STOP doing. So, I guess my question for you is, when were you planing to start?

    Furthermore, prevention is great for my daughter’s chances of growing up less harmed than me, but what about the rest of us for whom prevention comes too little too late? Tough titty for us? And will my daughter magically grow up without the poisonous thoughts of gender inferiority in spite of her mother’s lifelong example of degradation? And so forth? Why does every solution presented by a d00d still manage to leave us screwed over?

    “There is a beginning point to this despicable social structure, and it begins at home.”

    Of course it does. It begins with the men who enforce the terror on women that teaches boys that growing up to be a man means being the one who doesn’t get hurt and growing up to be a woman means being the one who does get hurt. It begins with releasing women from the prison of domestic terror men construct and inflict upon us. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but as a whole men sure as shit aren’t listening to women about this. Will do ANYTHING to avoid admitting that any woman could possibly ever have been right about the horrible things men do to women, let alone that those horrible things exist and happen and are done by men to women, to speak nothing of whether or not those horrible things should be stopped.

    I mean, this has been dragging over the course of however many thousands of years men have perpetuated it. So unless women only started to feel pain in the last generation or two, men have been willfully refusing to acknowledge women’s pain for thousands upon thousands of years. Obviously, if women could stop it, don’t you think we probably would have by now?

    So again, my question is this: when were you planning to start?

    If you get it, then you get that what we NEED – all of us, male and non-male – is for those of you males who get it to get in the faces of the ones that don’t. If you get it, then you know that what is needed is for you to go tell other men to knock it the fuck off.

    Please don’t tell me you just come here to try to niggle the finer points of feminism and explain why you are different and not like Those Other Men, and therefore Not As Bad, and get your cookie.

    radicalprofeminist.com – there’s a link to it over on the left. Enjoy. ^_^

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  61. Miss Andrist March 13, 2010 at 4:08 AM #

    Andrew,

    Failure. Abject, willful failure.

    First off, you are stating that the harms males suffer are somehow in any way equal to the harms females endure. Let me explain.

    Yeah, people of any sex can be commercially raped, aka “prostituted.” And commercialized rape is exactly like all other rape, meaning it’s rape, the end. And people who suffer that experience will suffer all the harms of having been raped. Etc.

    HOWEVER

    The burden of stigma as a social group affects WOMEN AS A WHOLE. All women feel the sting of the word “whore.” There is no male synonym. Women disproportionately bear the brunt of shame as a class, the stigma and the negative, discriminatory consequences. Women’s natural sexuality is stifled because society has created a way to be bad called slatternly that men just can’t be, women’s natural sexuality is warped and distorted because society has created a way to be bad called frigid that men just can’t be, women’s sexuality is coopted and rewritten and re-engineered in ways that dwarf what society does to men’s sexuality.

    Does that make society’s harms against men unimportant? Of course not.

    It doesn’t make them equal to the harms against women, either. Not even close. What’s next, racism affects white people too?

    Can we just once talk about the harms something does to WOMEN without having to stop and devote lengthy discourse to the harms it does to men? When will asserting that a thing is harmful to women stop being perceived by males as an assertion that it it NOT harmful to men?

    Instead of blathering on about men on a feminist board, which is supposed to be about women…

    Let’s talk about what prostitution is.

    Prostitution is rape. Why? Because rape is sex without consent. Sex does not have to be “forced” to be non-consensual, it only needs to happen in the absence of consent to have sex. Prostitution and all other forms of sex work are fundamentally non-consensual, because you are consenting to get paid to have sex. You are NOT consenting to have sex. You are consenting to not resist, struggle, cry, scream, or kill this monster who is raping you, but you are not there because you want to be there and you are not doing this because you want to be doing it. You are only there and doing this because he is paying you, and if he weren’t paying you, you wouldn’t be there. You are consenting to get paid and you are desperate enough, damaged enough, miserable enough, abused enough, hopeless enough to believe that this is for whatever reason your best possible option. Get it? Kind of like “consenting” to sex to avoid being beaten. My “consent” is coerced in both cases – threat of physical consequence or economic consequence, either way my consent is coerced from me with sufficient threat. Because I am a thinking creature, a human being with forethought, I choose the path I believe will garner the greatest advantage to myself with the least harm suffered. Pretty fucking monstrous that economic forces have eliminated reasonable, realistic alternatives until prostitution becomes my best bet, huh? Oh wait, all of a sudden when female sexuality is brought into the situation, we’re going to moralize?

    How is it possible to hold women culpable for all the opportunities men do not allow us to enjoy, the advantages men create for themselves by imposing artificial disadvantage on us arbitrarily, the choices and options men get and deny to women, and so on and so forth ad nauseum?

    By the way, women neither invented economics nor control them. I can’t see any conclusion other than men really are shitheads at every rung of the ladder from the beginning of civilization to today.

    No one “willfully” engages in prostitution any more than anyone “willfully” sells a kidney. (Sell, not donate.) People sell kidneys because that’s the economic reality they have been placed in. Hell, selling body parts is illegal in the United States partly because it invariably causes the creation of a class of people sufficiently desperate enough to sell their own body parts. Think of prostitution as the sale of renewable body parts and you’re a little more on track with what prostitution really is.

    And by the way, try to remember that you are talking about our lives. MY life. So I suggest you get your ass out there and find out what it’s like to get raped for three hundred dollars an hour, or a hundred a throw, or whatever you can demand based on what men are willing to pay, and then come back here and tell me you should be punished for it. Have some fucking respect. “Those women,” and “those prostitutes” are us.

    I find the attempt to cast prostitution under abstract macroeconomics concepts – the market, the buyer creates demand vs the seller produces goods chicken / egg crap – is just a cheap attempt to dodge the fact that prostitution is fundamentally different from every other “market” that exists, because prostitution is the market for rape. It is almost always a transaction between two men and it determines the sale of a woman’s body from the man who has co-opted her existence to the man who wishes to rent her body to rape.

    The person who buys prostitution engages in commercialized rape. That is why buyers should be punished. Regardless of the sex of the people involved, the rapist is still a rapist, and the victim is still a victim.

    Get it?

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  62. Valerie M March 13, 2010 at 5:34 AM #

    Andrew, it’s no surprise that you’re a vile racist as well as a vile pornsick misogynist.

    Nope, no surprise at all.

  63. OutsideLookingOver March 13, 2010 at 11:07 PM #

    Thank you Miss Andrist for bringing to my consciousness (and clarifying) some fundamental concepts, ones that someone deeply ensconced in the cocoon of male privilege / entitlement could not be aware of. You have to walk in the shoes and live it to know. Even at work, where I’m a nurse among nurses, there is a difference.

    If it were up to me, there wouldn’t be. In my previous job, we had a male orderly who, when bringing patients in from theatre used to pompously announce his arrival with “…ladies…” whilst looking directly at me. He thought he was hurting my feelings. The only thing that did hurt was the knowledge that I could never really be one. And I found the fact that he considered the term an insult insufferable and told him so.

    He did fit the male asshole description completely, and was inordinately proud of it. I was proud of the fact that my partner and I had developed a more balanced home life in terms of who did what, who was in charge (neither, except since she was so much better than I in money matters, she decided pretty much everything about finances – I was given an allowance).
    Of course he scoffed at that. My response to that was simply: “Which century are you from?”

    However enlightened I might consider myself, though, your comments have served to bring some serious misconceptions to light. And you’re right: it’s not about me. It’s about the male social structure. Self-protective, self-serving, and destructive to any non-males, it needs to be undone from within. Which seems as impossible to visualise without resorting to retaliative measures even to me, Joy.

    There are some wise minds in northern China who think that China’s current social structure will eventually be undone by the youth who are being trained in Western universities and who, dissatisfied with the existing social order upon returning to their homeland, will change things from within.
    I can’t see that sort of approach working to change this phallocratic society because of the adoration of the masses for institutions like organised sports. But I have already started doing what I can. Perhaps I am not militant enough, but that is not in my nature. I see my female colleagues as at least my equal and in some cases as my superior (because of their qualifications or their abilities or the way they practice). However, they do *not* see me as their equal: I can see that now.
    There is that constant perceived threat.
    Thinking back, I can see evidence of that now, despite the fact that my body is shaped differently to what it was and I deliberately speak more softly and have learned self-control in conversations and look at the person I am talking to and listen actively… so my approach to this issue is to voluntarily change *me* which has put me outside of the normal male group but in effect I have undermined my capacity for changing male society from within since I’m no longer considered a member. Indeed, even gay men consider me an outsider.

    There are things I do to change this. In another thread I wrote about some of the medical injustices women suffer (mislabelling / misinterpreting symptoms / ostracism because one is female) and what I am actively doing about it. So, I am not passively sitting by and letting atrocities happen.

    Thank you for your words, Miss Andrist: I have taken them on board. And if you truly feel my contributions to this site are inappropriate, I’m happy to leave.

  64. OutsideLookingOver March 13, 2010 at 11:11 PM #

    BTW, I’m not clear on what this meant:
    “I’m afraid the perspective you’re standing on is the D00dly Free-Throw Line.”

    What is a “free-throw” line?

  65. joy March 13, 2010 at 11:23 PM #

    Miss Andrist —

    Damn, I just fell in internet-love a little bit.

    That was brilliant. Covered all the bases perfectly and left no loopholes.

    Good luck getting the dudes to understand any of it, though. Like I said, I think it’s willful ignorance at this point, and nobody can cure that.

  66. OutsideLookingOver March 14, 2010 at 12:40 AM #

    Miss Andrist:

    The link you provided didn’t actually go anywhere… did you mean this one:

    http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/

    If so, thank you for that… very illuminating read. And thank you for taking the time to make the points you did.

    Kind regards,
    Robyn

  67. Andrew March 14, 2010 at 5:12 AM #

    Miss Andrist,

    I never said that men face the same harms that women do, either in general or in regards to prostitution.

    I was only making the point that when it comes to “choice” prostitution, the prostitute and the client are both are both equally willful, and therefore culpable.

    Your argument seems to be that choice prostitution doesn’t exist, but I can’t agree. It isn’t true that every single woman engaging in prostitution is not capable of earning a significant living doing something else. Some sex for money is just simply not coerced. Pornography is a similar beast, some enter the industry for money, others because it is something they would actually like to do.

    Also, I was not making this issue “about men”. But I don’t think it’s to far flung to believe that women who willfully sell their bodies and men who pay them too are cast in the same social construct. A construct that promotes hyper-sexuality and ties it to status, with monetary accumulation as a proxy.

    Again, I think there is a meaningful difference between choice sex work and sex work that takes place under economic duress. All the reasons you listed do make the latter repugnant, but they do not hold true for the former.

  68. berryblade March 14, 2010 at 7:05 AM #

    “I was only making the point that when it comes to “choice” prostitution, the prostitute and the client are both are both equally willful, and therefore culpable.”

    I smell bullshit. Either way, the john still feels like he has the right to purchase and consume another human being, he is still the more culpable AND guilty party. I love how you put “choice” in inverted commas [ / sarcasm ]

    “Pornography is a similar beast, some enter the industry for money, others because it is something they would actually like to do.”

    And of course these decisions are you know, WAY out of the whole spectrum of asking WHY you would want to do those things in the first place? It’s not all about the who, what, when and how Andrew, the WHY is always more important. The logic and reasoning behind the WHY is equally important, which is something you seem to just not get.

    “Again, I think there is a meaningful difference between choice sex work and sex work that takes place under economic duress. All the reasons you listed do make the latter repugnant, but they do not hold true for the former.”

    Holy shit, it fucking stinks like BULLSHIT around here.

  69. Immir March 14, 2010 at 7:08 AM #

    9D: “why do we even have a “sex” industry? Why are women’s bodies and sexuality being so aggressively commodified and exploited? Why is there a demand for a never-ceasing parade of women willing to take their clothes off and allow men to use them sexually? Could there possibly be a fundamental problem in a system in which this phenomenon can occur?”

    Excellent

    And excellent:

    “Women should not be punished for resorting to the last thing they have to sell. Men should be punished for buying it.”

    All I hear is blah blah blah “they chose to get up on the pole”… Well, what about the fuckers that CHOOSE to go into the stores?!

  70. Grafton March 14, 2010 at 8:02 AM #

    Outside — The ‘free throw line’ is where you stand to throw an unopposed shot in basketball, an opportunity awarded when the opponent commits a foul against you. In context I am guessing that Miss Andrist means that you want to privilege your point of view in the conversation (make a ‘free throw’) because you feel you are different enough from other men that complaints against men in general are unfair to you (the ‘foul.’)

    But I may be wrong. I like metaphors but am socially disabled.

  71. isme March 14, 2010 at 8:57 AM #

    “It isn’t true that every single woman engaging in prostitution is not capable of earning a significant living doing something else. Some sex for money is just simply not coerced.”

    Hmmm, good point. Why has nobody thought of this before? Quick, let’s retroactively stick this into every debate about the evils of the sex industry ever, because it proves the issue isn’t really there.

  72. Ren March 14, 2010 at 12:26 PM #

    “No one “willfully” engages in prostitution any more than anyone “willfully” sells a kidney…”

    Can we not say No One, please? “No One” can be disproven.

  73. Andrew March 14, 2010 at 7:42 PM #

    Berryblade,

    I talked about the why, it was the part of my post which you didn’t quote.

    Isme,

    My point informs the issue, it doesn’t nullify it.

    Ren,

    Yes. The fact that sex work and coercion are not necessarily linked means that there is not one “solution” that both protects women (individually and in the abstract) and also respects a right to choose a lifestyle outside of the existing gender and morality construct.

    The fundamental problem is that legalization is state approved access to women’s bodies. On the other hand, criminalization is state mandated sanction of work outside the existing gender and morality construct.

    We can all (probably) agree that coercion is simply immoral, and especially so for sex. How the issues above regarding “choice” sex work are balanced though is really the barometer for the status of women in a given society.

    I believe that the state is justified in criminalizing prostitution. The harmful effects of prostitution that justify its criminalization are foreseeable by both men and women, and in cases where the woman is not coerced there is no reason she should not be held blameworthy.

  74. Miss Andrist March 14, 2010 at 10:45 PM #

    For Ren:

    Hmm, I’m going to make some universal statements because they’re true, and because I can, partly to demonstrate that Ren doesn’t make the rules here.

    Pain hurts everyone.
    Nobody is perfect.
    Everyone deserves to live with dignity.

    Wow, that was easy. Three universals, all in a row. All true, all the time. Wow! No one. Everyone. MEGA EYE ROLL. Here’s a concept: there is a such thing as the marginal extreme. In this case, not even apotemnophilia or bodily integrity disorder (dymorphia) apply, as both by definition only involve body parts that can be SEEN, so unless you can find a case of selective invisibility, I doubt anybody anywhere suffers incessant cognitive dissonance until those lung lobes, corneas, colon, whatever is removed. Cool, moving on.

    Furthermore, my points remain consistently conceptually sound whether or not we divert energy to grammatical differentiation and address the existence of potentiality for each possible marginal extreme. Everything I said remains conceptually valid, with or without application of your requested semantic bullshit.

    See, usually at this point in feminist dialogue, everything careens off the tracks and we follow you down your little garden path, trying to get you to acknowledge realized net harm as sufficiently outweighing potentiality, or demanding to know at what standard we can exclude extremes as negligible, while you nimbly backtrack and dodge and derail again. Moving target. But this conversation is not about statistics, or probability, or mathematics, or the theoretical. This is about us and our lives, which are real, and it pisses me off to hear you dickfoot around the old “somebody, somewhere” track as if you are the arbiter who imposes the set standard, or as if you personally possess the first fucking clue about anybody, anywhere on this one.

    No, we are not going to have that conversation, because it changes nothing in any of my points.

    Judging from what I have seen of you, you can’t argue that what I said is wrong on any other terms, or you would have. Dare I to think that I hedged out all your other cheap cop outs and universality is the only one you had left? Is it really that difficult for you to admit that what I said is, or even might be true? Blah blah blah, can be disproven. My only question for you is: why is your only response an insipid attempt to discredit, cast aspersion on and devalue everything I just said by copping to my implied failure to address the minutiae of your implied theoretical probabilities?

    @Grafton:

    A. You are correct about the free-throw analogy.

    B. I’m autistic, too. ^_^

    @Outside:

    I know the link didn’t work. I did that very deliberately to encourage anyone reading my post to scroll the links and hopefully click on more than just that one. But Julian Real’s blog is the best example I have of males doing something helpful. Not everybody can be Robert Jensen or John Stoltenberg, but if you can read this blog, you could be Julian Real. If you have other examples of males helping, from your own actions or others, fabulous. Nothing pleases me more.

    This isn’t my blog, and I don’t decide who is and is not welcome here. This is 9/2’s blog, and obviously she thinks you have something worthwhile to contribute or she would have junked your comments. Additionally, if it was not obvious, I believe your contributions are worth spending my time and energy replying to, becase I’m doing it. Other people seem to think the same, because they didn’t have to put forth the effort to reply to you, but they did. I can’t speak for 9/2, but I can say this: if you interpret all this as evidence that your contributions are welcome, I’d support your conclusion. Reasoned response in feminist dialogue is the point of feminist dialogue, and since you don’t appear to swallow your brain much (if at all), you’re probably solid gold.

    • Nine Deuce March 14, 2010 at 11:26 PM #

      Dickfoot! I think that’s my new favorite verb.

  75. joy March 14, 2010 at 10:51 PM #

    Andrew, we can never convince you of this, but there IS no such thing as ”choice prostitution.”

    I know this is veering into some dangerous ”there is no free will” territory, but bear with me. If I choose to prostitute myself because ”I think it’s fun, and I’d love to fuck a whole bunch of men who don’t like me and get paid for it! I’m owning my sexuality!”

    … well, doesn’t that seem kind of weird to you? I’m pretty sure that’s kind of fucked up. Not to say that sex should always be about love, etc etc, but why not just have casual sex?

    It could be that someone raped me as a child. It could be that I grew up in a society that placed a dollar value on my body since birth. It could be that there is no other job I could get that would pay that well.

    That brings economics on board. A woman, regardless of whether she’s going to go broke if she doesn’t or not, might choose to go into prostitution because she can’t make that kind of money in any other field. A man, however, can.

    Which brings me to — you don’t really see men being ”choice prostitutes.” The straight dudes I know are only doing it to get money. They have a whole lot of casual sex, but have never once say, ”You know, I’d love to get paid for fucking strangers!” unless they’re hurting for cash. So you’d think, if some women really WANT to hook, then some men would too. They really don’t, at least not in any great number. What does that tell you?

    Personal anecdote time, because this serves a point. When I got paid for fucking people, I was not being forced with physical violence — in fact, my ex would have killed me if he’d found out. I was doing it to get cash, so we wouldn’t be homeless again and I wouldn’t get raped for free on the street.
    We lived all right on the surface, but there was no other job I could get that would pay me what I needed to support our survival, his alcoholism, his pack-a-day smoking habit …
    He could have got a job, but working made him more likely to snap and beat me once he came home — so it was in my better interest to make the cash myself, keep him at home doing art and reading the Beeb so he could maintain his ”sensitive progressive” image in public.
    Thus, I did the one thing that could keep me above water, but nobody -actively forced me.-

    Does this make me a former ”choice prostitute”? Because no one was actively holding an actual gun to my face?
    Does this mean I deserve to go to jail?

    Hey, I could have just started muling cocaine or cooking meth, right?

    You’re probably going to lecture me on legalese and conjecture. Whatever, dude. Go do what you do somewhere else and please stop bothering us.

  76. Rian March 15, 2010 at 1:16 AM #

    The fact that sex work and coercion are not necessarily linked means that there is not one “solution” that both protects women (individually and in the abstract) and also respects a right to choose a lifestyle outside of the existing gender and morality construct.

    How exactly is choosing prostitution choosing a lifestyle outside of the existing gender and morality construct? Prostitution is a product of that construct. Because of that construct, sex for men is about glorifying themselves through fucking women. Rich men hire expensive prostitutes so they can fuck their own bank accounts.

    Sex work is sometimes lucrative for women because sex derives its salience from its social and symbolic value, especially that related to the relatively tight controls on female sexuality. That is the basis of the existing gender and morality construct. Nothing transgressive about it.

  77. joy March 15, 2010 at 3:46 AM #

    ”Rich men hire expensive prostitutes so they can fuck their own bank accounts.”

    Oh, so true. When they throw their pathetic piece of cash on you at the end, it’s like, literally, ”the money shot” — a self-congratulatory pat on the back. ”I have enough money to make this sad little puppet dance on a string. I have so much money that I can make this nonentity do -whatever I want it to do.-”
    Not sexy. Not sex.

    ”Sex work is sometimes lucrative for women because sex derives its salience from its social and symbolic value, especially that related to the relatively tight controls on female sexuality. That is the basis of the existing gender and morality construct. Nothing transgressive about it.”

    Indeed. This is pretty much the exact mis-reasoning to explain why some women who have the means to do otherwise might ”choose” to go into prostitution instead of, say, going to med school or becoming an MBA. A frosting of pure and simple economics on top of a layer cake of misinformation.
    Men, meanwhile, typically do not traffic themselves, and for those dissenters on here I maintain the question, Why do you think that is?

    If you try to feed me some capitalistic bullshit about supply versus demand, that women simply do not buy sex from men — again, I ask, Why do you think THAT is?
    No evo-craptastic nonsense either.
    Also, this is more or less a rhetorical question to which I know the answer, and let me give you a hint, it starts with ”sex” and ends with ”ism”.

    Also, Miss Andrist, you get better and better with every comment. My nerdy, wordy internet heart is full of love for you.
    And you and Grafton may also be interested to know that I’m the first person many doctors know of who’s ”recovered” from Asperger’s Syndrome.
    Which can be taken to mean that either I was just a very abused and thus misdiagnosed child — which is true; or that ”social diseases” are only called such because society is fucked up — which I also feel is true.

  78. berryblade March 15, 2010 at 5:17 AM #

    @Andrew

    blah blah blah snore. also, liar liar, pants on FIRE.

    hah haha haa haha hahahaha

  79. Miss Andrist March 15, 2010 at 5:45 AM #

    @Andrew:

    Expletive intended to express my frustration: Holy Mother of God, dude.

    BE ADVISED: you seem to be aware that you aren’t grasping what I (and everyone else here) is telling you, yet you’re still insisting that you’re right and we’re wrong. Why? People are congratulating me for telling you these things, although I didn’t really introduce any new points, I just presented them with a less concern for your soft landing. At what point do you plan to allow yourself to consider that maybe all of us know what we’re talking about and the reason you’re the sole voice of opposition is because you’re way, way off? Consider this: one of us is right, Andrew. What if it’s me? What does that mean?

    Okay. First off, let’s cut all possibility for bullshit: I don’t -imply- jack. There is no roundabout, beating around the bush. It’s not an argument, either: I present as fact, and everybody (except you) accepts as fact.

    — Some Legalese Bullshit:

    First off, at least in the United States, everything not expressly prohibited by law is legal. The law illegalizes prostitution (and solicitation blah blah diddly fuck blah.) Rescinding the law which illegalizes prostitution does not “legalize” prostitution. It decriminalizes women’s vaginas. Let’s compare and contrast: See, right now, the law states that women can not do X activity with their own bodies. Similar: laws prohibit smoking pot. Removing the law against smoking pot does not necessarily mean an instant plethora of laws enabling and controlling it. It just means you can’t be prosecuted for it. Get it? Also, women are rarely nailed for prostitution (it’s hard to furnish evidence that’s admissable.) Women are hit with -solicitation- of prostitution far more frequently.

    Secondly, not to harsh your burn-the-witches argument except I’m about to harsh all over it… criminal law provides exceptions in defense that cover actions people would not normally engage in. Desperation is covered by crimes of necessity (shoplifting food, for example) and duress (imminent threat of harm to oneself or loved ones, both physical – example, the driver who’s speeding away from police because an armed robber has carjacked them and is holding a gun to their head; crimes committed at the direction of a kidnapper; crimes committed at the demand of a person threatening extortion, blackmail, etc.) So eliminating for desperation and duress – really, the only person your scenario could possibly hold accountable – who is neither acting out of desperation or duress – is the happy hooker. Guess what? Happy hookers are unicorns: they don’t exist. So who are you trying to hold accountable and for what?

    — Back in reality, What Is Consent?

    Here in Radical Feminist Land, we understand that consent means “to say yes.” And the only time sex is NOT rape is when sex is consensual, and in order for consent to validate as consent, the phrase “yes, I want to have sex with you” must be completely literal, with everyone involved being fully aware, competent, and informed, and everything is completely devoid of threat, intimidation, manipulation, consequence, duress, and so on and so forth. The definition of consensual sex, which you can find elsewhere on this blog, mandates the question: “Did she say yes?” What the hell is so hard about that?

    Let’s reiterate:

    Prostitution is rape.
    Pornography (thank you for asking!) is prostitution on camera, therefore, pornography is rape on camera.

    “Your argument seems to be that choice prostitution doesn’t exist, but I can’t agree”

    Darn, because Andrew, according to how WOMEN define rape (sex in absence of consent), the rape-ness of prostitution remains unchanged whether I garner your agreement or not.

    “Some sex for money is just simply not coerced.” (Really? How would YOU know? -I- know, the same way Joy knows. Maybe you’re just demanding we rewrite reality according to how you think it should be.)

    And here’s where you’re unclear on the concept, Andrew. Sex, without consent to sex, is rape. Sex for sex is consent to have sex. Sex for money is consent to get paid for sex.

    You can be paid to do something, but you cannot be paid to want to do something, Andrew.

    ANALOGY TIME! If this crappy economy means the only job you can get is flipping burgers at McMurder, I can pay you to flip burgers, but you won’t want to, whether you agree to do it anyway or not. You will flip those burgers and you will hate every second of it and you will stand there over the fryer vat daydreaming about what you will do when you’re out of this miserable hellhole, or planning what you’ll do to get out of this miserable hellhole, or agonizing over what you’ll do with the crappy wage I’m giving you that never seems to be enough. You can have a good day at work flipping burgers and still hate your job; you can have a boss who isn’t a dick and customers you don’t want to stab in the face, and still hate your job; the fact is, flipping burgers will never challenge or reward any part of you that enjoys being challenged or can be rewarded, you will not contribute anything meaningful to anyone anywhere during the time you spend flipping burgers, and your work will bear the social stigma of flipping burgers. Your mom might understand if flipping burgers is all you can get in this economy, but would your parents be proud of you? Would you brag to your friends about your fake promotions to “Days Cook” or your order window time? When you were a kid, did you dream of growing up to wear a paper hat and say “You want fries with that?” Maybe in high school, when you failed math tests, your teacher stapled McMurder applications to them – why? Because society says that failures flip burgers. How much money would you have to be offered to compensate for all of that, before you could go in and flip burgers without knowing you’d be out the door the second anything better came along?

    Is flipping burgers a choice? Sort of. When it’s the only choice available, or the best choice, and you choose it because you can’t not, what do you call that? Are you choosing anything, or are you resigning yourself to survive however you can? And is WANTING to flip burgers a choice? No, not really.

    NOW THE DIFFERENCE:

    Prostitution, like flipping burgers, means doing something you don’t want to do because someone is paying you to do it anyway.

    “Yes I am willing to shut up and flip burgers at the offered wage” does not mean “Yes I want to flip burgers.”

    “Yes I am willing to shut up and put out to you at the offered price” does not mean “Yes I want to have sex with you.”

    Pop quiz: having sex with someone who does not want to have sex is called ____. (Fill in the blank.)

    I’m willing to bet you jive with the difference between wanting to do and doing anyway when it’s you flipping burgers, but we need this huge elaborate discourse when it’s me getting raped. Why? Why the convenient, selective interpretation of these concepts as equated when it’s our human dignity that’s being shoved in the toilet, but never yours?

    Wanting to have sex doesn’t mean being willing to shut up and put out. Andrew, have you ever had someone touch you when you didn’t want to be touched, or in a way you didn’t like? Sure, most people have had that experience. Not a whole lot of fun, is it? No, it is fucking horrible. When you have been paid to flip burgers, you put on your hat and you pick up your spatula and you flip burgers. You don’t get to paint paintings or build birdhouses. You don’t get to say, “I hate this hat and I won’t wear it,” or “I don’t like grease splatters, they hurt, I’m going to run the register instead.” When you have been paid to shut up and put out, it’s the same thing. You don’t get to say “stop that” and you don’t get to say “that hurts” and you don’t get to say “let’s do this instead” and you don’t get to negotiate a god damn thing. Being placed in a position where you have to do something you don’t want to do to survive is bad enough, but the difference is that sex is INSIDE your BODY. It is using you as a masturbation meatsock. Flipping burgers tells you something about what the world thinks of your natural talents, abilities, potential. Being used as a meatsock for the exclusive pleasure of somebody else tells you something about what the world thinks of your natural talents, abilities, potential: that your only redeeming quality, your only useful trait, is the hole you were born with. That’s the only thing anybody wants from you, the best thing about you, and it doesn’t even feel good to you. Does that sound remotely consensual? Or does it sound pretty much like what you do when he wants to and you don’t and you’re afraid of what might happen if you try to stop him and he gets upset?

    Another question for you:

    What is it about the concept of a woman just invoking her free will in determining whether or not she wants to have sex, that is so fucking difficult for d00ds to get with? Because that’s the great divide here. ONLY in the case of women’s sexuality does the definition of consent cease to mean “to agree to, to say yes” and transform into “absence of disagreement.” And ONLY in the case of women’s sexuality, men insist that women consent according to this convenient male alternative definition of consent. In reality, women aren’t consenting to jack shit, women are in some way or another restricted from expressing their desire to not… by men. The closest approximation to actual consent is best described as agreeing to cooperate. And you want to hold women accountable for failing to choose the option men did not allow women to have. Because whether or not a prostitute wants to have sex with the man paying her is as irrelevant as whether or not the person flipping the burgers wants to jockey that grill is to the person buying lunch. Whatever you think about the person who buys the burger, there is something SEVERELY wrong with the person who buys her sex.

    Let’s bring it home, Andrew. You are insisting that there is a such thing as consensual prostitution. According to men’s twisted, distorted re-engineered definition of consent as it applies to women’s sexuality, sure. By that definition, people can consent to absolutely anything, including imprisonment, slavery and their own disenfranchisement.

    Why are you so determined to construe agreeing to cooperate as equivalent to consent, Andrew? Can you honestly support the suggestion that anyone be punished for agreeing to cooperate with being raped?

  80. Ren March 15, 2010 at 6:00 AM #

    Miss:

    My problem with the “no one” attitude is simple: I know and work with a whole lot of these “no ones”. Women who are engaged in sex work, by choice, who are continually disregarded by a whole lot of folk, even those who claim that they want to help them or know what is best for them or are doing things in their best interest. These “no ones” are flesh and blood people, like everyone else, who do not deserve to be disregarded because, well, they are doing the very job everyone is talking about- and why yes, I am of the mind that their opinions count too- or at least they should.

    I know I don’t make the rules here, I’ve never claimed to, nor is it my place to do so- it’s Nine’s Blog, she makes the rules. But in discussions of sex work- all kinds of universal statements are often made which can and do impact the women doing the job. They are made by both sides, certainly, and I just do not see how that is helpful regardless of what side of the issue you are on.

  81. Andrew March 15, 2010 at 12:51 PM #

    Ren,

    Being a prostitute throws itself in the face of our ordered society by conflating the means usually employed to control women’s sexuality; namely, shaming. The attempt to control women’s sexuality separately from men’s belies a construct, and it is a not a construct which tolerates much very much in the real of sexual expression. Otherwise there would be little shame in undertaking prostitution as an occupation.

    While sex is salient, socially and symbolically, it is also very taboo but for a minute range of expression. Extra marital affairs, multiple partners at once, too many partners, sex work, sex tapes, fetishes, and public sex, for example, all fall outside the realm of “acceptable behavior” and will cause someone to be shamed by society at large. This is the result of the construct.

    In short, the construct, by not condoning it, might have a hand in compelling the kind of behavior above, but the point is that it certainly does not condone it.

    Joy,

    There is a significant amount of women out there, in porn, brothels, and on escort sites online, that “really WANT to” do it. In fact, I have heard some escorts give all of their proceeds to charity. What that tells me is that they aren’t being coerced, have a choice in the matter, and can be held accountable for that choice.

    As for your particular situation, if you were, in fact, doing the only thing in your situation that would keep you out of harms way, then you were acting under duress. Even in a similar situation though, I would be loathe to actually jail women simply for selling sex.

    This is problematic though. I do not believe that the indigent have the right to victimize others simply because they feel it is necessary. My personal decision whether or not to hold people acting under economic duress responsible for their crimes largely turns on how “victimless” I think their crime was.

    If you believe that the indigent have the right to victimize others, then this is a simple question for you. If you don’t, you have to decide how “victimless” the crime of prostitution really is. Personally, I think the state is justified in regulating it as it is (1) a commercial transaction and (2) has obvious negative impacts. But I do not think that its commercial nature or those negative impacts (how victimless/victimizing the crime is) are important enough to lock up a woman in your situation. For me, the merit behind your action “excuses” the criminal behavior.

    However, If one thinks prostitution includes a great degree of victimization somehow, then such actions should necessarily be “inexcusable” (Unless they believe in the right of the indigent to victimize others). This is akin to the distinction ND made above regarding theft vs. robbery. If one believes that prostitution is extremely harmful and problematic, I don’t see how a woman freely engaging in such can be held less accountable than if she was engaging in robbery, battery, murder, etc. This might be a small group depending on how broadly one reads the definition of duress, but it exists none the less.

    Lastly, the argument can be made that the extreme victimization occurring is of the prostitute by the male, and thus only the male should be held responsible. There may be victimization inherent in the transaction, but the victim’s freely given consent, in my opinion, absolves the victimizer of any liability. Any other result is either paternalistic or unfair. To think otherwise would be like holding a driver accountable for the injury of someone who willfully jumped in front of his car.

  82. OutsideLookingOver March 15, 2010 at 1:34 PM #

    If only men could listen. Actually listen actively. Read carefully what is being written. And try-try-TRY to see the perspective of the non-entitled.
    But that would imply interest. Interest in actually *learning* something, something that might threaten that entitlement… that would be like chewing your arm off, wouldn’t it?

    No, I can see Joy has a point. There’s no educating the omniscient, is there?

    Get off your ivory tower and into the trenches, boys. Put yourself in a position where you are marginalised. Gender dysphoria does that: makes you about as worthless as a human can be. Of course, no one chooses gender dysphoria, any more than one chooses to be left-handed or have an allergy to penicillin. But being allergic to everything about who I ostensibly *am*? Try and live with that.

    And yet, that outcast cloud has a silver lining, and that is: I’m actually more human because I’ve been rejected / despised by the elitist masculine society. Where I used to bemoan the fact that I wasn’t “normal”, now I’m grateful for it. I have treasures entitled men can’t, because the friendships I make with women are *real*. No games, no nothing. Friends.

    I do share the sense of hopelessness about the males who write on here “getting it”. Since I’m not female (and much to my eternal sadness never will be), I’ll probably not fully “get it” either. But I *am* non-male, so I do see in part. And that part is quite elucidating. Thank you for allowing me to share my observations with this group.

  83. Andrew March 15, 2010 at 7:38 PM #

    Rian,

    Sorry, the first part of my last comment was meant for you, not Ren.

    I also want to clarify what I wrote, as it was early and I was feeling sick.

    I didn’t mean to say that a man who victimizes a woman, even with her consent, should not be held liable for something. What I meant to say is that some victimization should clearly be forbidden, but when consent is freely given for this victimization, it becomes the fault of the victim as well as the victimizer, because nobody should have the power to bring these abuses about, whether on others or themselves.

  84. joy March 16, 2010 at 1:04 AM #

    Wait, Andrew, are you trying to say that -I- victimized -the men- who paid to fuck me?

    The men who spat on me, laughed at me, crushed my windpipe with their forearms, cursed at me, ejaculated onto me, gagged me with their cocks until I cried because they wanted to see the tears, threw me around by the hair, pushed me facedown until my nose actually broke and then got angry that I bled …

    -I- victimized -them-? By taking their money, or something?

    Wow.

    People like you are the reason people like me want to commit suicide. Hopefully that makes you feel very vindicated.

  85. Andrew March 16, 2010 at 3:55 AM #

    Joy,

    No, not at all. I am truly sorry you interpreted my statement that way.

    The harms that flow from prostitution are not unlike the harms that flow from pornography: objectification of women, reinforcing of gender stereotypes, etc. These harms are harms, but like I said, under the circumstances I think you would be excused (or even justified) in taking the action you took.

    The problem is that some people don’t feel these harms can be as easily set aside. The main argument against the legalization of prostitution is that it’s net impact would make the plight of women in society more severe, despite all of the protections it would confer to women who actually work in the that industry. For these critics, the damage done by the existence of prostitution is inexcusable.

    The point I was trying to make was that there are harms that flow outward from the sex work industry, and deciding whether or not to hold someone accountable for a crime includes balancing those harms against the pressures or goals a person was working under when they committed that crime. When I said victimization in that context, I meant the more general harms above. Victimization was a poor word choice in that regard. I did not mean to imply that you victimized these men in any way.

  86. Grafton March 16, 2010 at 6:24 AM #

    “consent freely given for victimization”?

    WTF. Andrew, you are confused about the definition of ‘victim’ and its related words.

    Also, DO YOU HAVE THUMBS?! SHOW ME YOUR FUCKING THUMBS.

  87. berryblade March 16, 2010 at 7:02 AM #

    I’m so sorry you had to receive that diatribe joy.

  88. Rachael March 16, 2010 at 9:12 AM #

    And how exactly would we enforce the prosecution of sex workers, but only if they didn’t do it out of desperation or economic need? When it comes down to it, they would have to prove they were raped. And we all know how well that works. Add to that the fact that society sees sex workers as “unrapeable,” and you have something that the state would deem “not worth it” to enforce.

    There is something inherently wrong with a system that punishes women who have done no wrong. Hell, even dragging prostitution and pornography out from under the carpet so people can see how ugly it can get would be a step in the right direction, although it would hardly be enough.

    I’m sick of higher-ups pretending it doesn’t even exist–or that it’s the fault of “those kind of girls” who are obviously just vile temptresses who want to lure good, upstanding, Christian family men into their dark, dingy, depraved dystopia.

  89. Miss Andrist March 16, 2010 at 10:33 AM #

    Andrew,

    One time, a client spanked me nonstop for almost an hour while fucking me. It hurt so much, I almost threw up. Another time, a man held me down by the back of my neck while I struggled and cried and raped me anally violently enough to tear my rectum. It left a scar that itches, tears easily and bleeds and every time it does, I feel that familiar skewer of white-hot pain and remember how it got there. I get to think about what he did to me because my body remembers. Sometimes I think about the ones who asked me “how much of this is yours?” Belated pang of conscience knowing that I have to split their pittance with the agency, that I have to pay another man for the agency’s “service.” Because they know that I have to be X amount of bad off just to be here. Sometimes these men tell the “agency” their fantasies in hopes of living them out, and any time a Lolita is required, I get called. I remember Marco flipping through six pages of lurid fantasy about his teenage daughter’s best friend with a slightly nauseated expression while telling me that he doesn’t know why men seem to think he wants to know any of this. (Because it never occurred to them that he might not want to know every graphic detail, that’s why. You have to be X amount of narcissistic to hire an escort.)

    See? The kindest ones were more monsters than the cruelest, Andrew. Do you know why? Because – like the men who asked me what I was -doing- with my life (going to school, of course! yeah, right) or wanted to make sure the agency wasn’t exploiting me past a certain point – they knew they were hurting me. They cared enough, and knowing that they were hurting me bothered them enough to ask questions like “what are you doing other than this?” and “how much of this is yours?” They just didn’t care enough to relinquish their self-serving fantasies and recognize just how bad they really were. In fact…

    …there used to be a national review board for comercial rapists to convene and compare notes about the “service level” of providers. For over a decade, that board was a foundation of American rape culture. Sometime between last summer and now, the website ceased to operate and the domain name lapsed. But until then, rapists could convene in an environment safe and free from women (no joke – since only clients were allowed to post reviews on most of the forums, women were expressly forbidden from posting on most of the discussion boards, because “woman” was synonymous with “service provider” except on the rare occaision “woman” meant “agency owner.”) Lengthy forum discussions took place in most major cities in the US every single day, chronicalling men’s exploits in excruciating detail. Every service provided could be ticked off in minutes using a handy list of standard acronyms – for example, CBJ (blow job with a condom) versus BJ (blow job, unprotected) versus BJC (blow job to completion.) Women’s bodies were critiqued. Women’s “service level” was critiqued. Men warned other men away from substandard goods. Men recommended favored providers to other men. They had a -standard template- to simplify critiquing all these women’s sexuality as each was consumed. To men who buy prostitutes, women’s sexuality is fundamentally generic. Yeah, from the perspective of these men, women’s sexuality is functionally identical and entirely interchangeable because it doesn’t have anything to do with any individual woman, or really women at all. Each of these men saw holes with maybe some peripherally interesting flesh between them, and these men used those holes the way he wanted to, regardless of who was attached to them. That a different person was attached to the holes wasn’t significant enough to impact how he masturbated himself in those holes. Same acts performed on those holes regardless of who was attached to those holes. The same list of acronyms covered all possible uses of a woman’s sexuality so exhaustively that, despite the thousands of different women described in the thousands of reviews on those boards, the list hadn’t been changed in at least seven years. That standard form is easily the best example of men’s inability to allow women to be fully human in action. That list was a perfect example of men’s contempt for women’s human uniqueness, as shown by their ability to reduce and simplify every woman’s individual sexuality to the intricacy and uniqueness of a McDonald’s Drive-Thru menu.

    Yeah, men are so victimized by women, they had to make a fucking scantron just to simplify the process of recording what was used and how.

    “There may be victimization inherent in the transaction, but the victim’s freely given consent, in my opinion, absolves the victimizer of any liability.”

    PLEASE EXPLAIN:

    How is is possible that consent can be freely given by a victim, to a victimizer? The concepts are mutually exclusive.

    …Tell me again what it was you insist women should be held at least a teensy bit responsible for? Other than existing, or having the hole men are so determined to access and use, I mean.

    And how the fuck can you absolve men of the crime of being okay with doing all this? With colluding with other men to do all this? With being okay with other men doing all this? Men think it’s okay to use women’s bodies as a meatsock, and you concur? How are you NOT towing your party’s line?

  90. DarkAdaptedEyes March 16, 2010 at 10:48 AM #

    just delurking to say that I am in love with Miss Andrist’s brilliance, and Joy, I am very sorry for what you have endured, and for people like Andrew who are just hopeless, and who make me want to go on a murderous rampage.

    Great blog btw!

  91. OutsideLookingOver March 16, 2010 at 11:14 AM #

    “Lastly, the argument can be made that the extreme victimization occurring is of the prostitute by the male, and thus only the male should be held responsible. There may be victimization inherent in the transaction, but the victim’s freely given consent, in my opinion, absolves the victimizer of any liability.”
    I must have read this fifteen times. It beggars belief. Seriously, is this a recreational-medication-induced statement? Is this designed to infuriate? What is your intent? Open wounds and rub salt in?

    I can’t believe how callous a (hu)man can be.

    I am deeply ashamed to be part of your gender.

  92. Faith March 16, 2010 at 12:03 PM #

    “Wait, Andrew, are you trying to say that -I- victimized -the men- who paid to fuck me?”

    I don’t think that’s quite what he’s saying. Although I can’t be sure because I don’t speak entitled misogynist asshole. What I think he’s saying is that it’s your own fault, and that you actually victimized yourself, when all of those things happened to you.

    Which is just as disgusting, especially since apparently he also believes you deserve to be charged with a crime for having all of that happen to you.

  93. isme March 16, 2010 at 1:26 PM #

    “but when consent is freely given for this victimization”

    Um…could you define both those terms please?

    Because it seems to me that the way they are used by more or less every higher anthropoid other than yourself renders them totally mutually exclusive.

    Classic MRA dogma holds that in order to blame a victim, you must first deny that the person is one. Now, while I’m all for challenging accepted ideas, victim blaming is something they are pretty good at. I don’t see your model of admitting the person is a victim, but claiming they wanted to be catching on at all.

  94. DarkAdaptedEyes March 16, 2010 at 8:06 PM #

    just wondering why Andrew isn’t banned….after lurking since last summer I am sick of seeing his hideous, stupid screeds, so long-timers must really be over it

    • Nine Deuce March 17, 2010 at 2:30 AM #

      I think I’m going to have to consider banning Andrew. Dude, you are so intent on figuring out how to place blame on women for their own oppression that you are seemingly incapable of moving past it, so what is the point of your participation in these discussions?

  95. Rian March 16, 2010 at 8:46 PM #

    Being a prostitute throws itself in the face of our ordered society by conflating the means usually employed to control women’s sexuality; namely, shaming.

    It’s all part of the social narrative. The “bad girl” has fun now, suffers later. The “good girl” suffers now but triumphs in the end. The counterpart to the wife (owned by one man) has always been the whore (for whom no man claims responsibility). Men insist on having both.

    The attempt to control women’s sexuality separately from men’s belies a construct, and it is a not a construct which tolerates much very much in the real of sexual expression.

    Especially for women.

    Extra marital affairs, multiple partners at once, too many partners, sex work, sex tapes, fetishes, and public sex, for example, all fall outside the realm of “acceptable behavior” and will cause someone to be shamed by society at large. This is the result of the construct.

    Name one heterosexual man who has been seriously shamed for having too many partners or for having multiple partners at once. Actually, everything you mentioned is regularly acceptable for men according to our society’s understanding of masculinity — with the exception of sex work (which men rarely do anyway). The entertainment industry (including news media) loves these “scandals” as they make excellent spectacles for an easily bored audience.

  96. joy March 16, 2010 at 10:00 PM #

    Gee, thanks for explaining the harms of prostitution to me, Andrew. I didn’t catch that.

    Having not only been a prostitute myself, but also being a radical feminist and posting here on a radical feminist blog.

    Glad we cleared that up. Jesus Christ on a fuckin’ crutch.

    Thanks, berryblade, Miss Andrist, et al. I feel reasonably well adjusted over the events, though. Whereas even two months ago I would have spiraled down into a week’s worth of self-mutilation and anorexia over comments such as Andrew’s, now I just shed a single tear over how friggin’ thick his head is, take a shot of whiskey, and move on with my existence.

  97. Chaos March 16, 2010 at 10:34 PM #

    I agree, that’s exactly what should be done about prostitution- prosecute the “johns” but not the prostitutes.

    I don’t know what could be done about live action porn, though. Would only the producers of porn- the ones paying- be criminalized? Would criminalizing it just make it go underground? Some people think educating people about the horrors of porn would help, but somehow that seems unrealistic to me. Every time I’ve tried to argue my stance against live action porn in a mainstream setting, I just get completely verbally attacked. I’ve had MANY people outright claim that there are NO women in the modern porn industry who were forced or coerced into being there. When I show them sources, they say that the sources aren’t valid and the women are all lying. How is it even possible to be that blind? Once, I got one guy to actually admit that he just didn’t care whether the woman in the porn was being raped. At least he was honest? Most others I’ve talked to are in some kind of insane denial.

    Though, the reason I keep saying “live action” is because I think hand-drawn pictures/comics/written porn is OK, I hope I can still call myself a radfem and think that.

  98. Andrew March 17, 2010 at 12:26 AM #

    I apologize, again, for my comment regarding absolving victimizers of liability. It was a poorly constructed comment that didn’t reflect what I was actually trying to say.

    Prostitution can be extremely traumatic. This is, of course, a main reason it remains illegal. But women who engage in it despite this fact share in extending this trauma, even if to no one but themselves. (But definitely not to their clients) This is culpability, because enabling and strengthening these men, whether they are simple misogynists or rapists, is a harm that is being willfully conferred on society.

    They may suffer in the process, and maybe that more than atones for the harm, but suffering does not make one innocent.

    There also seems to be a disconnect, and I am a little shocked by it. There have been many discussions regarding the culpability of women who star in pornography, how their “sex positive feminism” doesn’t cut it, and not least of which because of the negative repercussions porn has for women over all.

    When these things are said, I am sure nobody is talking about women forced into the industry, coerced, or acting acting under any sort of duress. We are talking about women who want to be there, like to be there, and defend their right to be there.

    Some escorts, their counter parts in the sex industry, have similar attitudes. I don’t think the ramifications of prostitution are much different than pornography, and I do not see why they would be any less culpable, since the only difference is whether or not there is a camera in the room; if even that.

    Lastly, I’d like to thank Miss Andrist and Joy and others for sharing your experiences with me. I am sure they weren’t easy to recount and I did not read them lightly. I apologize if any of my phrasing or points unduly triggered you, which in Joy’s case I am sure it did. I did not intend that. I am saying this not for my own benefit, but just because it needed to be said. It was brave and I appreciate it.

  99. Miss Andrist March 17, 2010 at 4:18 AM #

    Chaos:

    “Though, the reason I keep saying “live action” is because I think hand-drawn pictures/comics/written porn is OK, I hope I can still call myself a radfem and think that.”

    This gets a D- rather than a straight up F. The difference between “live action” porn and anything else is the presence of a primary victim, namely, the person being used for the eventual audience’s sexual gratification. The problem with drawn material is the depiction of non-males being degraded and used as things in all the same ways. It’s just not a depiction of it being done to a real live person. It will never be as bad as an actual person being raped, but it will be easier to internalize because it’s abstract and requires more active participation (you have to imagine it happening.) It leads to the same thing: men being okay with women being harmed in the almighty quest for men’s sexual gratification. Bad. But if you absolutely cannot get off to when women get to be human beings, if you absolutely must degrade and abuse a woman to get off, at least you’re not doing it to a REAL woman.

    …I wish that didn’t feel like a tiny victory to me. Rampage alert, murderous killing spree imminent, patience for bullshit dangerously low, warning, warning. Etc.

    Andrew, for the last time:

    “We are talking about women who want to be there, like to be there, and defend their right to be there.”

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING. Joy and I are the closest approximation. Neither of us were beaten by a pimp. We weren’t kidnapped, we weren’t blackmailed. We are as close to being there of our own free will and neither of us had much of a choice. Instead of insisting that women exist who choose this freely, consider that women have FAR LESS OPTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM than you need to believe. So, either there’s no such thing, or me and Joy are the women you want to hold responsible. PICK ONE. We were the sexual elite. (Do you know what “sexual elite” means? It means women who can leave whenever they want, and almost always refers to escorts and mistresses.) Since there is no such thing, you are talking about something entirely make-believe, that exists only in your own mind, and you are determined to make the real women, who had to cop to the fantasy world that you and all clients insist is real, pay for having to cop to your fantasy world just a little bit more than we already have.

    When I talk about these things, especially my experiences, I become VIOLENTLY angry. If I think about the things men have done to me, I become ENRAGED. The rage is normal – anger is a self-defense mechanism. And I am furiously angry, in the way of a person who has been harmed and craves justice. I won’t ever get justice, Andrew, and that’s the part where I become murderous. But really, I just want to fight back, I want to hunt down and kill the thing that hurts me so much before it comes back, before it hurts me again, before it kills me. That’s raw instinct, Andrew. Fight or flight. I fear for my life, because men have taught me that I need to fear for my life. I don’t act on it because I am a rational, thinking creature, but it’s very much so there. I deserve justice and I will never get it. And most of the anger is a cover for fear: because nothing really stops any of you from doing it again and again and again. No words that come out of your worthless faces actually bind your monstrous hands or pricks, so as long as I’m alive and you’re alive I have to be aware that any of you can just change your mind whenever you feel like it. Like Joy, I can become suicidal – because I would rather die than live in fear and pain, and if I am going to die it will happen MY way, on MY time, not yours. Because rape, be it commercial or otherwise, takes away that much from you: that you suicide becomes an act of self-actualization. Men really do take that much away from women, Andrew. But I realize these things, and then we’re right back to anger. I realize that my fear of men should not settle on myself as a target – it is men who deserve to be feared for their monstrosity, and I have the right to defend myself (fuck the law, the law is wrong) against harm. Andrew, I’m a perfectly normal human being reacting to being surrounded by MONSTERS.

    If I was in charge, every single d00d who’s ever these things to women and every d00d who hasn’t but defends other d00ds who do would be drug out into the street and shot. I wish I was kidding. Summarily fucking executed, not a matter of punishment, but strictly for RISK MANAGEMENT.
    I honestly would not waste the time I spend here trying to get through to you if another, easier option of eliminating the threat of you were available. Aren’t you glad I’m not in charge, Andrew?

    So do us all a favor. Recast your argument only this time, address me and Joy and explain to us why we should be held responsible, because we are the women you are talking about. Don’t blame women in the abstract, blame the two that are standing right in front of you. We both made choices. We chose to cooperate with men who paid to rape us. Blame us for being raped. Or acknowledge that you’re just trying to blame women and you can finally get started working on fixing that.

    Heh, a side note – remember waaaaaaay back in the thread when some d00d accused a commentor of being hostile? HA HA HA HA, males. Hostile? Please. I’m -practical.-

    Nine Deuce:

    Let him stay. This is one of the few venues where women like Joy and me (as well as everyone else) can actually identify any of our experiences without being shamed or have a big damn ruckus and have the opportunity to confront males about the reality of the harm they are inflicting on us through those experiences. We don’t even get to confront d00ds in real life and say “hey, doing this makes you a monster.” We can do that here. It has a certain therapeutic value (at least for me) that I can’t find anywhere else. It’s best when somebody like Andrew finally sees the goddamn light, but when we tell him he’s wrong, over and over again, we’re also telling ourselves that all those men were wrong, which are words we simply cannot hear too many times. See, both Joy and I earnestly believe that it is wrong for those men to do it to WOMEN or any woman on this board, but I have a very hard time internalizing the idea that it was actually WRONG for them to hurt ME, because when they hurt me and got away with it, they proved that what they believe – that it’s okay for them to do that to me – is what’s real, and what I think – that it is anything but okay – is totally worthless, as worthless as I am. Maybe I’m just projecting, but I bet Joy probably fights a similar battle. Getting rid of their poison means teaching myself that I have the right to not be hurt, too. So I come here, among the other women, and demand it as a right for you because that makes it a right for me. And I will shove that in Andrew’s face, and Ren’s face, and every man who comes here, until the day I die, and I won’t budge an inch. Even if we never get through to Andrew or Ren or any of these idiots, maybe d00ds who don’t post comments here but read what we write – something one of us says might sink in with one of those d00ds, and that’s one less monster. Maybe. Anyway, I’m arguing with Andrew for me, and for you and all the other women. Not for Andrew. He’s just another d00dly d00d and even if we finally got it through his head, another entitled, privileged penis with feet would appear saying exactly the same sad song and just as convinced that everything he’s saying is original and right.

    So, if you’re open to opinion about it, let Andrew stay. I kind of think of him as an opportunity to index all the horrible shit men do and say in support of their unsupportable infringements of women’s rights, and better yet, he manages to do so in a reasonable and relatively respectful fashion.

  100. Andrew March 17, 2010 at 4:40 AM #

    ND,

    Unless I am wrong that women are capable of reinforcing mysoginistic attitudes through harmful paradigms and constructs, I don’t see why the women who do so by choice should not be held accountable.

    For the most part, and at least from their own experiences, they can see that the sex work industry is not a pro-woman industry in any meaningful way.

    Once this becomes apparent, how can their continued participation in it be justified? Unless your position is that women are inherently incapable of making informed choices regarding the effect of the sex work they engage in, I don’t think it can be.

    Of course, not all women are in a position to see these problems or make these choices freely. That does not mean that all women aren’t.

    As for thinking that I want to hold all women responsible for their own oppression, I’ve stated numerous times that this isn’t the case.

  101. Ren March 17, 2010 at 5:22 AM #

    Miss:

    I want to clarify something real quick. I’m a woman. I was born a woman, and am still one today. I’m also a sex worker. I have been for close to two decades now. So I am not commenting on any of these things as a man, or as a person who has never done sex work.

    Andrew:

    I am truly starting to wonder about how deeply you are able to see anything at all. You speak about responsibility and what levels of that people have regarding their actions. I’ve read all the comments Miss Andrist and Joy have made on this thread, yours too, and while I’ve had run ins with and do not agree with Miss A’s use of universals….I do have to ask you something. After reading what they’ve said about their lives, how in the hell can you hold anyone responsible for actions, reflections made on women and society, any of that shit…other than the men who chose to buy sex from them. Neither of them were standing around with guns to the heads of those men. Neither of them forced any man to do anything, nor informed their attitudes about women, nor informed other women on their attitudes towards themselves. A great truth about the sex industry is that supply is filled to meet demand, and the demand is driven vastly and overwhelmingly by men. Period. Men also set the laws, religious, and social codes in most civilizations throughout the world- which means men in almost all ways are the ones with the responsibility. There is not an attitude out there regarding women, or sex, or any combination there of out there which was not popularized and cemented by men, and while I personally think individuals who are generally free of constraints that influence or force their choices do hold a degree of personal responsibility- suggesting that women are responsible for the harms done by the sex industry in pretty much any way? Absolute bullshit.

  102. Chaos March 17, 2010 at 5:36 AM #

    “if you absolutely must degrade and abuse a woman to get off, at least you’re not doing it to a REAL woman.”

    I’m curious as to why you think that drawn/written porn would automatically be degrading. I believe that live-action porn is always degrading because of the fact that the actors DON’T want to be there, and therefore it’s inherently degrading because of that fact.

    But if there are comics or erotic stories depicting people consensually having sex, I’m not sure why that’s automatically degrading to anyone.

    For the record I’m a straight female and for some reason really don’t have any interest in heterosexual porn, the drawn/written stuff I look at/read is all yaoi (that means guy on guy.)

    But I date guys who eschew live-action porn and only look at the drawn/written kind, and I don’t have a problem with them doing so. I’d be disturbed if I found out they were looking at the type that actually does depict women being abused and degraded (and it’s certainly out there) but there’s also a lot of it that depicts totally consensual sex, and even long stories in comic form about a couple falling in love and eventually showing them having sex. I guess I just don’t see why that’s degrading?

  103. Andrew March 17, 2010 at 7:03 AM #

    Miss Andrist,

    Sorry, I didn’t see your post before I posted above.

    First:

    You say you where sexual elite, meaning you could leave, but you did not. You say this is because you, as a woman, had far less options.

    If you didn’t have real options, technically, you weren’t free to leave. If you had real options to leave, and didn’t, I have to ask why?

    Regardless of your actual degree of choice and coercion, I already explained that I don’t want to personally hold women accountable for crimes of prostitution, especially when it was borne out of a hard choice. The problem though is that this is not the law, and I’m not even sure that legalization is the right answer for a lot of different reasons either.

    One thing I am sure of though is that a bright line rule that punishes men, but not women, when both have committed a crime that has broader effects than themselves, is ridiculous. It is one thing to look at an individuals circumstances and make an informed choice regarding their punishment, it is another to speak in broad strokes that can’t be based in real facts.

    Second,

    Also, you say that the women I am hypothesizing about do not exist, yet you acknowledge who Ren posts to this board all of the time, representing exactly the type of woman you say doesn’t exist.

    Ren’s “pro-sex” attitude might not be consistent with this vein of radical feminism, but it is certainly real, educated, and grounded in experience. Your argument only stands up to snuff if you dismiss her attitude as one that is not free, that is inherently coerced, and thus not grounded in any real choice. For obvious reasons I don’t think this is the case.

    Third,

    I think there are a few important questions that should be addressed, if only by women who most likely wont be banned for sharing their opinions.

    First, is prostitution inherently problematic for women as a whole?

    Second, assuming it is, can a woman ever be responsible for her role in it?

    Third, assuming that we were not living in a patriarchal society, what role should prostitution have in society? Would sex still be desirable? If so would it be desirable to the point that men would pay for it? If so would at least some women be willing to sell it to them? Would this transaction be inherently problematic or coercive? How would it then be regulated if it where?

    I think prostitution is problematic for women.

    I also think it is extremely paternalistic to believe a woman can never be responsible for her role in it either. If a woman can’t recognize and take control of her own behavior when it serves to objectify and marginalize the rest of her sex, what can she recognize and take control of?

    I also think that even a non-patriarchal society will have to decide what to do regarding it’s members who choose to prostitute themselves; How? I have no idea.

    I am done commenting about this. I appreciate the opportunity and the patience this blog shows me.

  104. joy March 17, 2010 at 9:04 AM #

    Miss Andrist, I too feel responsible for my own fucking suffering a lot of the time. I was involved, so to speak, with a classic domestic abuser for an entire year even though I was already a radfem … because it’s easy to oppose the entire system of behaviors, and not so easy to say it’s wrong when it’s ME and not ALL WOMEN. It’s easier to think, ”Well, I deserve it somehow” than to say, ”No, I don’t,” and live in suffering knowing it’s going to happen anyway.

    Right up until the time he went to jail, my choices were, Stay, or Die. If I left him, he would hunt me down and kill me, a point which he demonstrated multiple times. So I stayed, which nearly killed me. It was a choice between Die, or Die.

    The fact that I had to choose, makes me sad. The fact that WOMEN, as a GROUP, have to choose … makes me angry.

    Also, Andrew — same old shit, same old shit. Blah blah fuckin’ blame the victim blah.
    But Miss Andrist has a point, ND, he serves a semi-constructive purpose, and this may be self-defeating but if you ban him, someone else is always going to show up to take his place.

  105. Rachael March 17, 2010 at 9:14 AM #

    Because, Andrew, those women are not the reason prostitution exists. It is not for those women that prostitution exists. Prostitution is run for men, by men.

    Look at this another way. Let’s use the example of a dictatorship.

    With every dictatorship in history, there have been people who–while still oppressed–love their country, for whatever reason.

    Even if their love is real–even if they chose to move to this country–they are not the ones in charge. They are not the ones who have committed countless human rights abuses. Are we going to say, “Well, it’s their fault this is happening. They’re benefiting from their own oppression.”

    It doesn’t matter if they are benefiting. It doesn’t matter if they do enjoy it.

    They are not doing the victimizing. They are not committing the human rights abuses.

    I’m also wondering–why is prostitution even so “necessary”? I know that if I really wanted to get laid right now, I could. Why? Because even in this little hicktown, there are places where people can “hook up.”

    When you’re buying someone for sex, there’s really no guarantee that they’ll be disease free. You don’t know the person. They couldn’t care less about you, and you couldn’t care less about them. This is no different than a “hook up,” except you’re paying.

    Why on earth would anybody want to do that?

    I believe a couple of people said that it’s an ego thing–“Check it out, I can afford a prostitute/escort/lap dance.” But I think there’s another reason.

    One of the nigh-universal beliefs of service is that “the customer is always right.” The idea is that if you pay for something, then you have every right to demand your money’s worth.

    Now, when you buy an object, you can do whatever you want with it. You can use it, you can break it, you can do absolutely nothing with it. I think most, if not all people who pay for sex feel this way as well. Regardless of the fact that it is a human being they’re spending money on, they think that because they’re paying for the service, they are entitled to do whatever they want with her.

    If you’re getting a fuck for free, you have to abide by a few rules. But if you’re paying, hell, the gloves are off. You can do whatever you want, because it’s just another product, right? You are the customer. You are the one paying. The woman’s getting money, so she should be willing to work for it. (Ugh, I feel like throwing up just saying that, even sarcastically.)

    Now, in most jobs, there is some kind of protection against harassment. Some of it may be overlooked depending on how big of an asshole the company is. But there are some lines that are not to be crossed.

    In sex work, those lines are not there–or if they are, they’re very unstable. In most places, prostitution is illegal. In the eyes of the law, it doesn’t even exist, as long as it doesn’t make itself obvious. If things are all pretty and clean on top, who cares about what’s going on underneath? The law knows damn well they are allowing all of this to happen, and they aren’t going to do jack shit about it.

  106. isme March 17, 2010 at 10:56 AM #

    “Name one heterosexual man who has been seriously shamed for having too many partners or for having multiple partners at once. ”

    Bill Clinton? Ok, he’s not a man per se, he’s a president (in the same way that a woman coudln’t hold much power in Victorian England, but Victoria could, because she was a queen, not a woman).

  107. GXB March 17, 2010 at 12:39 PM #

    Unfortunately, Andrew, you’ve also made enough statements that everyone else who commented here has done a little reading comprehension on your comments!
    —————————
    [Warning: eyestabs]

    “If women are going to engage in behavior that hurts other women, I don’t understand why they should not be held partially accountable, at least in proportion to their culpability.”

    “What I mean is we have to ask ourselves at what point we have moved beyond a helpless women making the most of a poor situation (presumably zero culpability) to a situation in which there is no real economic duress, and the woman is knowingly exploiting, as well as contributing to, the problem (presumably high culpability). Madams, among other types of prostitutes, come to mind as fitting the latter example.”

    “Women shouldn’t be responsible for their own oppression, except in cases where they actually are responsible for their own oppression.”

    “The point that I was making is that “women” are not an oppressed sex anymore than “black” is an oppressed group. There are many blacks who are not oppressed, there are also many blacks who oppress others. The same is true of women, and also sex workers.”

    “Taking advantage of people is always immoral, and usually problematic.
    However, there are transactions in the sex work industry that do not involve coercion or duress. This whole arena could/should arguably be legalized, but in the event that it isn’t there is no reason the culpability should differ based on the gender of the actor, as they are both effecting the same harm under their own free will.”

    “There is a significant amount of women out there, in porn, brothels, and on escort sites online, that “really WANT to” do it. In fact, I have heard some escorts give all of their proceeds to charity. What that tells me is that they aren’t being coerced, have a choice in the matter, and can be held accountable for that choice.”
    ——————–
    The author of these comments is primarily of the opinion that
    a) Women are not responsible for their own oppression
    b) Women are not oppressed by men who pay them for sex
    c) Somewhere there is a woman who eagerly participates in prostitution and benefits, so she can be blamed for women’s oppression
    d) He himself is a knight from 14th-century Spain who traveled forward in time when he found the Holy Grail
    e) Answers b,c, and d

    I’m honestly not sure whether the correct answer is c) or e). It is most certainly not a), so since you claim it is, you could be suffering from all sorts of delusions. That said, I’m butting out again because the courageous women who are answering you have something real to say, and I admire them greatly for it.

  108. Miss Andrist March 17, 2010 at 1:11 PM #

    Andrew,

    Again, “they” is us, me and Joy. Talking about us in the abstract is talking over our heads and we’re right in front of you, dude.

    The “choice” to allow yourself to cooperate with being degraded and used as a meatsock should not even exist. Observe: a bad person offers you a choice. They are going to cut off one of your fingers, and you get to choose which one. So let’s say you choose your pinky finger on your left hand. Then you scream in agony and pain, and they tell you it’s your fault for choosing which finger. And they insist that it’s YOUR fault for choosing that finger, and refuse to acknowledge that whether or not you agreed to cooperate, THEY chose to cut it off.

    “Unless I am wrong that women are capable of reinforcing mysoginistic attitudes through harmful paradigms and constructs, I don’t see why the women who do so by choice should not be held accountable.”

    OH MY FUCKING GOD.

    For the sake of dialogue, you are painfully mistaken. Your understanding of dominance in class dynamics is non-existent. Don’t worry, I’ll save you. (*lol*)

    Since racism and sexism are pretty much exactly alike, I’ll make a racism-sexism analogy for you.

    Women aren’t capable of enforcing sexism. Black people can’t enforce racism, either. Neither men nor whites DON’T NEED the cooperation of women / blacks to oppress either, but cooperating with it sometimes yields rewards (meted out the discretion of men / whites, of course) – for example, black people who “act black” trade criminalization for intimidation, or women who prostitute trade being raped for economic gain. Society devalues the academic ability of a young black man to the point where he will at best realize a fraction of the respect or recognition he earns, and the thug stereotype is almost impossible for him to escape, so what has he really traded? Society describes women’s sexuality as somewhere between filthy, worthless and a commodity that sells everything anyway. When women are paid to cooperate with being raped, we are attempting to realize economic gain that we can’t reach any other way. When we cave and hang a price tag on something men and society insist was worthless and had no value in the first place and people pay it, one of our superficial reactions is to feel pretty goddamn smart – certainly smarter than the men who told us we were worthless, then paid us anyway. The fact that men paid us to prove how worthless we are is not lost on us, but the mindset becomes – hey, at least we got something for it.

    Shit only rolls downhill, Andrew. Not uphill, not sideways.

    Racism is something white people do to non-white people. It is not something non-white people do, to white people or to one another. Non-white people can be racist, and non-white people can discriminate in any direction, but they can’t oppress with that racism because they don’t have the power of the oppressor class. When white people insist that black culture reinforces racism and bigotry for whatever reason, what they are really objecting to is the existence of black culture. The idea that black people have a culture which does not involve them offends these people. For example, black culture doesn’t glorify violence any more or less than white culture, because culture doesn’t work like that. White people conveniently ignore this when they use black culture to shift the blame of racism. What they’re really doing is objecting to the existence of culture that isn’t made by them, for them and shifting onto black people blame for the systemic, institutional discrimination black people have to work around endure, as if white people didn’t start discriminating against black people until rap entered white (read, “mainstream”) consciousness. Not a whole lot of black kids going to college? It’s baggy pants. An entire generation and an era were defined by the artificial barriers that excluded them from opportunities and thereby their descendants, and white people can own the reality of all that, then reduce it to irrelevant (“victim mindset,” anyone?) to reaffirm that black people do indeed do it to themselves as if no evidence to the contrary even exists. Racism.

    Sexism is not something males to do non-males, Andrew. Can women hold sexist beliefs, etc? Sure. But the male class holds the power to oppress. Non-males can’t oppress other women or ourselves because our class doesn’t have the power of oppression. This means we don’t have the power to oppress anyone, ourselves included, which is why we don’t have to power to un-oppress ourselves, which is why we are not responsible for our own oppression. Because it doesn’t matter what we do, men oppress us whether we like it or not and only men can stop oppressing us, and that is men’s fault. Not ours. Get it?

    Cooperating with an oppressor is common to any conquered people does not shift any responsibility for oppression from oppressor to oppressed. The Celts were not to blame for Roman occupation, Tibet is not to blame for Chinese occupation, and women are not to blame when making the best out of what we are left to work with.

    Whether or not we choose to cooperate, Andrew, those men still choose to rape. The final actuality is, they could turn around and walk out of the room. They could choose to keep it in their pants and just talk for an hour. Men who buy prostitutes choose to rape those prostitutes, for whatever reason. Whether or not the prostitute agrees to cooperate, the choice to rape or not rape lies with him. He bought her cooperation, he doesn’t HAVE to rape her – he could just hang out with her, play cards, shoot pool, watch TV, do whatever. But he doesn’t. He pays for her to agree to cooperate with whatever he wants to do to her and invariably, what he wants to do is rape her. Holding a prostitute responsible for choosing to cooperate is blaming women for choosing to be raped / not be raped. No matter how high the risk of being raped, it is the rapist’s choice to rape. When men are poor and desperate, they don’t get sexually degraded. That option is reserved almost exclusively for women. The consequence for being poor and desperate should not be sexual degradation. Women in prostitution are still women, and rape is still rape. If prostitutes can be held accountable for failing to avoid being raped because prostitutes are supposed to expect to be raped, it means that you think rape is built-in and unavoidable and women are supposed to know this and adjust accordingly, and those who fail and are raped have failed to plan for the inevitable. And the overwhelming majority of men agree with you and that’s part of the reason why men can’t even admit what rape is.

    Do all people deserve to live free from all rape? Do all women have the right to expect to not be raped everywhere and at all times, with no exclusions, with no exceptions? So the entire premise of prostitution is wrong – because prostitution is rape. And rape is ONLY the fault of the rapist, right? It’s not my fault for getting drunk, walking alone, being pretty, believing what men tell me, saying what I think, being gay, being straight, existing, etc. It’s his fault for raping. Right? So whether or not I “choose” to accept money for cooperating, it’s his fault for raping. I mean, he could have just sat and talked to me. But he wouldn’t pay me $300 for my COMPANY, he wouldn’t pay $5 for my company. Why do you supposed that is? No woman chooses to sell sex to men who have no interest in any other characteristic of hers but will pay exorbitantly for the privilege of using her body, because she could have been an actress but this is more fulfilling.

    — WHEN IT’S NOT RAPE —

    Andrew, a man that I have sex with -> whether or not <- he gives me money, who provides financial support to me, is generally described as my boyfriend, husband, lover, etc. What's the difference between being a man's mistress and being his wife? If the relationship includes a man covering her financial needs, there's very little difference between being a mistress and a traditional wife in a traditional marriage. If I'm a mistress, I never refer to him as a client, a trick, a throw, a john. That he covers my financial needs says a lot more about the way the world is structured to keep women at the economic mercy of men than it does about my free will or moral certitude. And by the way, if I then married that man, I would instantly transform from his mistress to his traditional wife. What does that say about men?

    "For the most part, and at least from their own experiences, they can see that the sex work industry is not a pro-woman industry in any meaningful way."

    Guess what? No industry is pro-woman. In fact, our labor culture is pretty actively anti-woman. Sexism is systemic and institutional, meaning it's wormed its way into everything everywhere. We can't avoid being punished for being born without penises no matter where we go or what we do.

    But that's okay, I understand that it's too difficult to blame men for the way men treat women. Instead, we'll blame women for the way men treat women. We'll say women "allow" it, because we all know basic human needs are optional, and we also know that you can't be oppressed if you don't exist. How silly of me.

    "Once this becomes apparent, how can their continued participation in it be justified? Unless your position is that women are inherently incapable of making informed choices regarding the effect of the sex work they engage in, I don’t think it can be."

    Oh god, you're not serious, are you?

    Sexism is the patriarchy, and the patriarchy is society, and unless we can somehow stop participating in society, Andrew, we *gasp* don't have any choice whether we participate in sexist oppression. There's a shirt that's supposed to be funny: strippers – support single moms. The shirt mocks women's reality. A single mom can't exactly go to college while working to support her kid, and can't earn enough to support her kid without a college education. So, she strips.

    You're right, once we finally grasp that men are raping us for money, it becomes our fault if we don't quit and go work construction.

    My understanding of what is being done to me does not correspond with an introduction of entire vistas of economic options into my life. It solves none of my problems. In fact, as long as I can keep telling myself that I am -empowered- and unashamed and unrestricted and blah blah blah, it is easier to cope with the reality of my present. I should know, I used to harp ALL that stupid bullshit.

    "Of course, not all women are in a position to see these problems or make these choices freely. That does not mean that all women aren’t."

    Well, since our poor little heads can't possibly fathom the reality of our situations, I guess it's a good thing we've got you here to explain. We never could have figured out just how crapped on we are without you! Patronizing? Paternalistic? Jesus fuck, dude. Are you aware of how condescending you're being? Whether you meant to or not. And by the way, you seem to be comfortable expecting greater introspection and self-awareness than you yourself demonstrate, and you are expecting this from women enduring the most traumatic experiences human beings can live through. Just pointing that out.

    Andrew, before you tell us all YET AGAIN that women choose this freely, why don't you list out the alternatives you're imagining we could have chosen and didn't, for which you plan to hold us responsible?

  109. lizor March 17, 2010 at 6:35 PM #

    Rox –

    I relate very strongly to your feelings of sadness and fatigue. Facing these truths can be so draining and I have had to do some serious work around caring for my soul, fending of depression, etc in confronting what is going on with commodified sex these days. And all of it is of course a trigger that puts me back to the moment of being raped and the fierce lesson that is in one’s own “disposability”. When I read your posts, I really felt for you.

    Back in the 80’s I was a big fan of Annie Sprinkle. She seems to offer a choice that celebrated pleasure and sexual autonomy at a time when I was having regular panic attacks from any sort of sexual activity.

    I remember in one interview she discussed the high rate of emotional burn out in prostitutes and porn stars.

    She described one day when she simply started crying and couldn’t stop. She decided then to move on to other work. She also talked about the high need for counselling for sex workers due to the psychological hazards of the work.

    It was not a critique and I do wish that the interviewer had encouraged her to talk about that more.

    I saw her speak recently and she still talks about her porn days as if they were just one big garden of delight and discovery. When someone from the audience asked her about her opinion of porn now, she hedged a bit, expressed concern over content and said that, essentially, sexual representation is so ubiquitous now that love is the thing that is marginalized. “Love is the new porn” were her exact words.

    I am curious to know if any posters here have any thoughts on Annie and that movement that went so terribly fucking wrong.

    Er – except for Andrew.

    You know, it’s a bit of work to move past the space he takes up here and now I have got so that I skip a post if it is in response to Andrew. All part of caring for my mental/emotional hygiene.

  110. Level Best March 17, 2010 at 6:58 PM #

    I am utterly amazed at the brilliant, articulate women who have been commenting on this thread as well as gratified to see evidence both of a couple of decent males and of the possibility of seeing Andrew, at LAST, banned. I agree with every single thing Miss Andrist has said except her request that Andrew not be banned–please, for the love of women’s sanity and human decency, BAN-BANDITY-BAN-BAN him!

  111. bluecat March 17, 2010 at 8:27 PM #

    Hey, Andrew, Guinness called. They said you’re presently world record holder for Most Obstinately and Willfully Obtuse Arguments by a Misogynistic Poster on a Radical Feminism Blog. Congrats, man.

    I imagine that if Joy and Miss Andrist’s impassioned and insanely eloquent arguments couldn’t penetrate that obstinately obtuse skull of yours, whatever I contribute at this point will be rendered meaningless in the face of your awesome capacity for victim blaming. I’m going to say it anyway, however, because I was too busy to say it before and I’ve been itching to try it out on you.

    Going back to your argument about men being trained to sexually exploit women as a rebuttal to my argument about women being socially conditioned to sexually exploit themselves, I’d like to offer you an analogy. This may come as a complete shock to you, so brace yourself: abusers learn how to abuse. They aren’t born abusive, they generally acquire the skills in childhood through observation or direct experience as a victim. My point being, barring mental illness, experience molds them into the monsters they become as adults. According to your logic, the victim in an abusive relationship is equally as culpable as her abuser for whatever harm he inflicts on her because she chose to stay in the relationship after he hit her the first, second, fifteenth time.

    Let’s say a neighbor overhears a violent argument between abuser and victim and calls the police. The police arrive on the scene to discover the victim is a bloody mess, cowering on the floor with a gun held to her head by her abuser. You’re going to sit there with a straight face and easy conscience and tell me that both abuser and victim should be arrested and prosecuted because both are equally responsible for what has transpired between them? After all, he’s pulled a gun on her before, he’s beaten her before, and yet she opted to stay. You could say she chose to be a victim, she willfully allowed herself to be victimized. There was a pay-off there: financial security, some semblance, albeit a horribly distorted one, of love. She’s just as guilty as he is, then?

    I want you to tell me that she’s as deserving of punishment as her abuser. Go on, I dare you.

  112. Faith March 17, 2010 at 10:15 PM #

    “Third, assuming that we were not living in a patriarchal society, what role should prostitution have in society?”

    That is really quite simple: If we didn’t live in a patriarchal society, prostitution wouldn’t exist. Prostitution is a product of patriarchy. Prostitution can only exist when the demand exist. Guess what produces that demand? Gosh, that would be men who have been trained by patriarchal society to believe they are entitled to treat women like sex objects in exchange for cash. Ren has already given a good rundown on why your focus is on the WRONG place, so I’ll leave it at that.

    P.S. Capitalism is also patriarchal in nature. Capitalism is a fundamental part of patriarchal society. Obviously if you eliminate capitalism, you eliminate prostitution.

  113. Saurs March 17, 2010 at 10:16 PM #

    Without Andrew, we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of Miss Andrist above and countless other posters who have taken the trouble to write beautiful, well-reasoned responses to his bullshit over the course of many, many blogposts. On the other hand, Andrew is forever reiterating the same tired assertions about women’s culpability and men’s innocence, debating the basic and fundamental tenets of feminism, and feigning a kind of speculative quasi-objective voice that is supremely, thoroughly, insufferably grating. He poses ridiculous rhetorical questions and makes far too many lists (both reliable indicators that the author is an irredeemable mansplainin’ asshole). Finally, when things get too difficult, he bows out in a manner he probably believes to be gracious and then “thanks” the board for putting up with his derailing shenanigans. I say ban him.

  114. Rian March 17, 2010 at 11:22 PM #

    Bill Clinton?

    Not as I recall, although your memory of Bill Clinton may be different from mine. Basically, both supporters and detractors of Clinton gave more weight to masculine mythology than middle-class sexual morality. I remember a lot of historians explaining how nearly all presidents have cheated on their wives, and I remember psychologists theorizing that Clinton’s unfortunate relationship with his mother led to a compulsive need to please women. I remember a lot of jokes about blowjobs, about “chubby chasers” and about stains. There were, of course, several references to France, which is always necessary in a discussion of sexual fidelity, and there was the debate that continues to rage today of when exactly fooling around becomes sex (aka The Importance of Standardized Scoring).

  115. janis March 18, 2010 at 5:35 AM #

    wow, thanks for this… baby steps baby steps ……

  116. Grafton March 18, 2010 at 8:32 AM #

    I don’t think I get a say about Andrew, but he makes my head hurt.

    Chaos — I can certainly see why anime porn is hardly any better than live action, considering that what I have seen of it all seems very hateful. Animated drawings of rape and women being hurt. I think a lot of the short-stories are the same, though it’s been years since I tried to read any. I would suppose that some live-action or photographic porn is better. It is certainly possible to end up viewing a video of some people who are enjoying sex and want to tape it and want to show it to other people. Or I used to get this magazine that was by and for lesbians, it was photographs and very beautiful. Though maybe it didn’t count as porn but just as nudes, for it lacked ‘action’ shots. Considering its small print run local publication nature and the expressiveness in the images I am supposing everybody involved was happy with it, though perhaps not happy with me looking at it. Hopefully forgiving of that since my bi girlfriend of the time shared it with me.

    I don’t know. I’d like to look at photos and video of people having sex, but finding porn that doesn’t freak me out entails searching through a bunch of crap with violence and degradation, and this frightens and upsets me. Or there’s ambiguity about women’s desire and agency and that is unsettling. (Maybe she’s into it, maybe she’s faking it. Maybe she’s into it and doesn’t know there’s a camera. Maybe she’s supposed to be acting as a character who wants sex, or maybe one who doesn’t really and is just cooperating. I don’t know, I don’t read people well.) Thinking about sex with somebody who doesn’t want sex with me is uncomfortable (to understate the matter) so these materials end up being the opposite of an aid to fantasy, and actually finding something that’s sexy instead of upsetting isn’t worth seeing all the scary crap I’ll end up seeing in the course of the search. So I give up.

  117. Ren March 18, 2010 at 8:50 AM #

    “Also, you say that the women I am hypothesizing about do not exist, yet you acknowledge who Ren posts to this board all of the time, representing exactly the type of woman you say doesn’t exist.

    Ren’s “pro-sex” attitude might not be consistent with this vein of radical feminism, but it is certainly real, educated, and grounded in experience. Your argument only stands up to snuff if you dismiss her attitude as one that is not free, that is inherently coerced, and thus not grounded in any real choice. For obvious reasons I don’t think this is the case. ”

    Wait, hold up. Andrew…I am not proof of whatever agrument you are making…like a lot of folk, I speak from my own experiences. Sure enough, I could rant on all day about various BS any and all prostituted people/sex workers face- from rape to serious marginalization…thing is thou…I think it is the people who have been there, in good, bad or medium situations, to speak on it…which you know, isn’t you. I am not anyones poster girl, neither is any other woman-in any situation, in any job- period. We’re all our own people- and not some story or image or effigy to be trotted out by men as a “look, see!” example.

    And Pro Sex is a stupid ass term. I hate it like I hate Sex Positive and all those other stupid terms. They are misleading and inaccurate. Pro-Sex? Hell, I think MOST people like sex or a feeling of sexual pleasure, be they male, female, conservative, liberal, feminist, not feminist, whatever. How one gets that feeling? Well, that is important and often very personalized. If I am pro anything, it is pro people making informed choices about such things and doing what they truly enjoy so long as it is with truly consenting other informed adults. I say and will continue to say that I have chosen to be in the sex industry, and it was a choice that was not made under duress…but I’m one person. Sure, there are others who are like me, but there are also plenty of folk in the sex industry who are not…and that is not something that should be covered up and ignored. There are a lot of women out there in the sex industry who WOULD be doing other things if they could earn a living wage doing them, or had the opportunity, or had the support, or education, or a great many other things I am pretty sure folk like you take for granted.

    In short, don’t use me as your example. I’m not on your side at all. I am on the side of the sex workers- I will always work to help those who want out to get out and support those who choose to stay. That’s my side, right there.

  118. OutsideLookingOver March 18, 2010 at 11:13 PM #

    The only reason I haven’t added any more to this incredible thread is because you – Miss Andrist and Joy and Faith and Ren – have said it so much more eloquently and clearly and brought up so many points I would have never considered before. This experience is/was life-changing. This should be required reading for all males *before* they decide to become self-serving pricks.

    Mind you: your words fell on fertile ground. I was *looking* for this when I found this blog.

  119. joy March 19, 2010 at 1:39 AM #

    Ren,

    While often we do not agree, I now respect you so. much. more.

    Yeah, actually, like you said — I’m pro-sex too. I’m pro-people-including-myself-having-sex-that-truly-feels-good-to-them, without-getting-coerced-or-brainwashed-into-doing-otherwise.
    I think ”sex-negative” is a term made up to serve much the same purpose as the term ”pro-life”, and while I could explain this further I hopefully don’t have to.

    Also, often I feel guilty for getting out of sex work. Like I should have liked it. I didn’t, Ren. I hated it. Hopefully you don’t pity me or think I’m a prude for that, but if you do, you are a hypocrite, and there isn’t much I can do about it anyway.
    I hated sex work, and it’s not because I hate sex.

    Well, NOW I hate sex. Until I can find a partner who is definitely one hundred percent on board with all the finite workings of consent, I am going to dissociate every time I have sex from now on, and that’s honestly not something -I- can ”work on.” It happens because no matter how much I like the partner or desire the act, it feels like rape because I have had sex and rape conflated for me. In practice even if not in theory, the acts are now the same thing. That isn’t going to wash off or get better with therapy. That is there forever.

    Clearly Andrew has had these ideas intertwined since forever, though — evidenced simply by his usage of the term ”pro-sex” to describe a sex worker who isn’t miserable.

  120. Ren March 19, 2010 at 4:37 AM #

    Joy:

    Why would I pity you or think you were a prude for not liking sex work? Hell, I can’t think of a reason. I know folk who were/are in the sex industry who did not/ do not like it, and you know, they have very valid and real reasons for feeling that way- no question. I also know some sex workers whose private sex lives have been ruined by being sex workers- and even I can see how that would happen. Shrug. No way in hell I would expect or be so stupid to think that everyone would, should, or could like it, nope, not at all. And I sure as hell wouldn’t judge them for it. If there’s one thing the world has, it’s too much judgment, especially of women involved -past and present- in the sex industry -no matter their view on or experiences in it.

    But yah, sex and the sex industry? Not the same thing. Can they be similar or linked or whatever with some folk- sure…but there is a difference- that word “Industry” should be a huge clue to the Andrews of the world. Just because someone is in the sex industry does not mean they are pro sex, and just because some one is not in it, or hates it, or had horrible experiences in it does not mean they are “anti-sex”…such thinking on the matter is truly narrow and misinformed. People who think like that? Those are the ones I pity.

  121. Miss Andrist March 19, 2010 at 7:11 AM #

    Ren,

    I am traumatized. I am aware of that. I have not yet responded to Chaos’s question because it will take more thinking. I do not have a ready answer.

    I am a separatist, because of this. I can have sex with approximately two people without wanting to kill them and myself. I am sex-neutral, because I understand that the act itself is only as moral or amoral as the people performing it and the context they perform it in. Whether or not I can have sex without dissociating is no different from whether or not I can sleep with strangers around: I pretty much can’t. But that doesn’t make it fundamentally bad, just ruined for me.

    That so many of us have these things ruined for us by the amorality of people and contexts is the focus of my opposition. The men who hurt me and Joy are the ones I want to stop. If you miraculously manage to avoid all those men, it is not my place to argue with you or try to redefine your experience, and I earnestly hope your lucky streak continues. If those men, and those contexts are not harmful to you or to all women, then they are not the men or situations I am describing or opposing. The likelihood is also far too small, and the harms far too great to too many people for me to refuse to act lest I cast my net over you and yours in the process. I’m sorry. My intention is to exempt but if I can’t, I would rather protect the three billion of us against rape than expose us so that you may be singularly self-determinate. Sorry.

    Joy – there are ways to make it okay, depending on how psychologically flexible you are. Mail me if you want, what is useful and helpful to me may be of some value to you but this thread is not the place for that discussion.

    Also, Joy – I would not be opposed to using my blog (Screaming Banshee) as some kind of group support. I would be happy to use my techie skillz to make it happen. So far I’ve counted up four of us from these blogs. And we all seem to desperately need some goddamn solidarity. Thoughts?

    Chaos – I’m not ignoring you. I am percolating a proper reply. ~_^

  122. Miss Andrist March 19, 2010 at 7:20 AM #

    Grafton –

    Did you know I used to be an administrator on the Autistic Liberation Front website? ;) You, like all of us, do not have difficulty reading people – what you see is the detailed nuance of patterns of behavior that tell you something contradictory. That is far more common, I find, especially among us Aspies – we are acutely sensitive to patterns, including behaviorally, and when body language and words do not match (I can usually tell when people are lying, for example) we become confused. Obviously. Like watching a helicopter but hearing a plane, or a duck that barks and fetches sticks. That’s one of the reasons we have trouble with faces – sensory / information overload. Check out http://www.autistics.org – the forum may have some of my old posts (satyrwilder.)

    I daresay what you are seeing is the same thing we see. That just serves as further evidence that men like Andrew are willfully deluding themselves.

    Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  123. Miss Andrist March 19, 2010 at 12:58 PM #

    Chaos,

    Sorry for the long delay. I had to stop and think about what you said. I had to stop and sort out whether my categorization of all sexually explicit material is a knee-jerk trauma response before I tried to reply.

    I avoid sexually explicit material knee-jerk, because I am traumatized. The very real fear of what I might and will probably see far outweighs any curiosity or hope of finding something anything that doesn’t require one person be subjugated by another.

    “I’m curious as to why you think that drawn/written porn would automatically be degrading. I believe that live-action porn is always degrading because of the fact that the actors DON’T want to be there, and therefore it’s inherently degrading because of that fact.”

    Porn is inherently degrading and consent is only part of why. Porn depicts degradation of people above and beyond consent pretty much without exception. Porn depicts women being subjected to degradation almost universally. Gay porn does not depict women, but degrades women because one man is portrayed as emasculated (see: feminized) and because he is emasculated, other men degrade him (often even more severely than women are degraded by men in het porn.)

    Consent is contrary to non-consent. Degradation is contrary to respect. And you cannot degrade something which you truly respect.

    The degradation depicted is not strictly limited to the lack of consent – porn finds ten million different ways to degrade women. A handful of examples:

    Depiction of acute vulnerability in contrast to men being depicted as not vulnerable – when women are shown naked, sprawling, exposed and men are shown mostly clothed, reserved. Camera angles show women beneath the camera, lying flat, kneeling, looking up at – women are posed and positioned for exposure to men, and filmed from a perspective implying helplessness, restriction of movement, in positions that cannot possibly be comfortable, etc – while being used for men’s sexual gratification regardless if not deliberately. Men’s sexual gratification is depicted as more important than any discomfort or displeasure the woman might experience. Persistent availability: porn implies that the women in question are superhumanly sexually vigorous and impossibly masochistic, a dangerous falsehood that when a penis is hard, a woman as being sexually aroused is just assumed and that anything he does to her, she enjoys. Passivity (being made to lay there), being used (being made to “take it”), and of course, objectifying – “I’m a cunt, fuck me” – I am not a cunt. I -have- a cunt, but I am not a cunt any more than I am an elbow, an earlobe, a nose. “I’m an elbow, bend me.” What? The fuck kind of sense does that make? None. It’s insulting to try to reduce me to a body part; to insist that the rest of me does not exist. A hole is insensate; I am not, no part of my body is. It insulting to me to insist that I don’t feel this, and it is insulting to tell me what I feel. If you’re hurting me, telling me I like it doesn’t make me like it or make it feel good. It just makes you a selfish monster who should be shot, and I’m gonna quit listing shit or I will quit writing this post and go load the shotgun and get cracking on a real tangible solution. Instead, I’m gonna hope you’ve got a solid idea of all the ways degradation happens and just move on.

    “But if there are comics or erotic stories depicting people consensually having sex, I’m not sure why that’s automatically degrading to anyone.”

    Lack of consent is only part of the disrespect that sexually explicit material typically depicts inflicting on women.

    The presence of power dynamics in these depictions is the problem. One person is depicted as having more power, the other as having less. Understand: rape is about power, not sex. Wherever the power imbalance comes from, its presence contaminates the depiction as one of mutual respect and equality.

    “For the record I’m a straight female and for some reason really don’t have any interest in heterosexual porn, the drawn/written stuff I look at/read is all yaoi (that means guy on guy.)”

    Let’s start by trotting out the ol’ statistics – what’s the number, some 94% of women do not watch het porn? Something like that. So, you and all the rest of us. Why is that? Of the females I know who looks at sexually explicit material, I don’t know a single one that finds het porn anything but utterly repulsive. Same for “lesbian porn,” which is also made for het men. For women, watching porn is about as equally sexually arousing as watching a slasher flick, watching America’s Funniest Home Videos, or watching somebody get run over by a truck depending on how overtly hateful it is.

    Why? People project and empathize with the person on the screen who’s most like us.

    As a woman, I can see what’s happening and know what that would feel like if it were happening to me, and it would bore the shit out of me if it didn’t straight hurt. I’ve faked, and I know why women fake, I know why SHE’S faking, and I know that it has everything to do with men and nothing to do with her or me or any woman anywhere. I can see lesbian porn depicting two women doing what men want to feel good to women, and I can tell that what isn’t working for the “lesbians” on screen wouldn’t work for me. Even the least degrading porn you can imagine – men’s so-called “amateur” – still means watching as some dude fails to get some chick off, and further fails to be able to tell that this only feels good to him. So yeah, pretty much as fun as watching bloopers of people falling down / getting nailed in the crotch with random objects followed by a car accident, and my best possible reaction is going to be annoyed confusion as to how this is all so fucking difficult for d00ds.

    ** Personal Experience Disclaimer ** The females of my personal experience look to male-on-male depictions, and I think part of this is an attempt to avoid having to subconsciously project onto the person without power. Men get to be human beings, women don’t; society has deleted women from being equal, so when women want to see respectful, consensual, sexual relationships, male-on-male relationships get to be free of the power dynamic or at least it’s not as acute. After all, nobody is placed at a physical advantage when everyone must be strong to be attractive, right? So women avoid having society thrust our supposed inferiority at us by looking at male-on-male material. I mean, where does slash come from? Chicks write slash. Hell, chicks collaborate with other chicks on slash. No big surprise.

    Yaoi is kind of like slash, as far as I know. A friend of mine, a Japanese major with a somewhat different attitude toward porn digs yaoi because it’s engaging enough to compel her to read Japanese, thus ostensibly practicing fluency. Heh, sure. Anyway, she translated a few sentences for the sake of hilarity (apparently, Asian culture does not find descriptive comparison between a man’s genitalia and a blossoming flower to be as emasculating and thereby ridiculously funny as Western culture does. And because I’m Western, I found it goddamn hilarious.) ** End Personal Experience **

    For the sake of illuminating by example, let’s grab what I’m given to understand is a reasonably common premise: one man becomes indebted to another man, and “has to” sexually serve him as a result. Naturally, these stories lead to the indebted man eventually wanting it, and the second man falling in love with the indebted man. Balanced relationship, or depiction of subversion of free will that is idiotically unrealistic? (As any victim of the Western Rape Myth can tell you.) In real life, sexual orientation can neither be raped into or out of anyone. In real life, forcing someone into to sexual servitude of anyone only traumatizes them. In real life, attempting to condition the responses of another human being is listed as a crime against humanity and the Nazis were big fans of it. Food for thought. Power dynamics in sexual relationship equates to degradation.

    I have virtually no personal experience with the shit, so if you say I’m wrong, you would know better than me. However, any artistic endeavor reflects the personal experience / proclivities of the artist; most sexually explicit material is produced by men; socialization distorts sexuality such that most men are groomed to fall on the long end of a power dynamic and see power imbalance as both sexually stimulating and not inherently wrong. Yaoi is just as likely as all other sexually explicit material to hinge on power dynamics as central to the introduction of sex into the relationship. And that’s the problem: power imbalance is inherently degrading.

    As far as consent is concerned, consent loses meaning as power imbalance is introduced. The greater the imbalance, the less meaningful the consent of the powerless becomes. Any time it is implied that a person “has to,” their free will is cheapened and the idea that no one ever “has to” loses strength. And that’s one of the ways rape myths are concocted.

    “But I date guys who eschew live-action porn and only look at the drawn/written kind, and I don’t have a problem with them doing so. I’d be disturbed if I found out they were looking at the type that actually does depict women being abused and degraded (and it’s certainly out there) but there’s also a lot of it that depicts totally consensual sex, and even long stories in comic form about a couple falling in love and eventually showing them having sex. I guess I just don’t see why that’s degrading?”

    Without the power dynamic, without the overemphasis on one person’s experience and agency and physical integrity at the expense of another, without failure to demonstrate respect for both or all people involved, without any inequality happening, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. So if that’s what’s going on, if that’s what these things are depicting, splendid.

    I personally doubt intensely that yaoi categorically depicts respect for the equality, agency, and humanity of all partners (please, this is the culture that brought us hentai for chrissakes), but maybe I’m wrong. I’d have to see it to believe it. So, you tell me – is it?

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  124. isme March 19, 2010 at 1:36 PM #

    “but finding porn that doesn’t freak me out entails searching through a bunch of crap with violence and degradation, and this frightens and upsets me.”

    Yeah, why don’t they see the need to differentiate between “naked people” “sick stuff” and “jesus christ WTF?”?

    Much more noticeable with cartoon/anime stuff, in which the “jesus christ WTF?” stuff seems to be the norm, and appears in ads on sites totally unrelated to porn. More than its fair share seems to be “BDSM artwork”, in which “safe, sane and consensual” NEVER applies…I suppose it’s so prevalent amongst porn drawings because when using real people, it’s good economic sense if all persons involved survive to be used another day.

  125. bluecat March 19, 2010 at 5:43 PM #

    If we didn’t live in a patriarchal society, prostitution wouldn’t exist. Prostitution is a product of patriarchy.

    It seems like an elementary concept, doesn’t it? It took me a while to figure out that it’s only an elementary concept to those of us who have courageously let go of the patriarchy denial mechanisms that allow us to exist and thrive in a society that routinely treats women like subhuman commodities. If you value a person’s humanity and agency, it matters to you if that person is genuinely interested in sexually engaging with you, if they’re enjoying themselves, if their sexual boundaries are being respected – the exact opposite of what transpires in the course of sex work. When men lose the ability to view women as subhuman commodities, the thought of renting out a woman’s body for an hour to do whatever he pleases with it will be far too repulsive for even the horniest man alive to consider.

    Elementary, right? It seems like it should be.

    • Nine Deuce March 19, 2010 at 8:57 PM #

      If you value a person’s humanity and agency, it matters to you if that person is genuinely interested in sexually engaging with you, if they’re enjoying themselves, if their sexual boundaries are being respected – the exact opposite of what transpires in the course of sex work.

      Exactly.

  126. joy March 19, 2010 at 5:57 PM #

    Miss Andrist — hell, yes. See ya over on your blog.

    Chaos — so the whole ”uke as vulnerable, feminized, often underaged waif and seme as super-aggressive, typically masculine, often much older man who very typically must go to lengths rather resembling rape to get the uke to ‘realize his love”’ dynamic doesn’t really look like traditional m/f porn to you?
    Why, because they both have dicks and neither has tits?
    In my opinion, yaoi is often even more misogynist than het porn. And it’s drawn for het women, as well; of the gay men that I know, every last one of them actually finds it offensive.

    Also, Ren, it may be that I’m just a bit traumatized, but I have a hard time believing you. I feel like you’d pat me on the head like a little dog and cluck to me if we ever met in real life. Perhaps it’s a projection — because you are the woman that a man is hoping to get when he hires a hooker, and instead he typically gets someone like me. And I can’t feel like the problem is with HIM and not ME, knowing there is in fact a chance that he could have got YOU.
    Not sure if that makes sense.

  127. joy March 19, 2010 at 6:00 PM #

    Oh, Miss Andrist — I just realized I don’t know how to contact you, and don’t feel comfortable with either of us putting our emails up on here.

  128. Ren March 19, 2010 at 6:50 PM #

    Miss:

    I don’t begrudge you or your experiences or any other such thing in the lease- at all. I believe you, I believe Joy. And yes, over all, I have been lucky. Why? I don’t know…but yes, I have been. But I do hope you believe me when I say I am all for and do actually work towards getting women who do not want to be in the sex industry out of it and seeing that those who are in it can work in safer conditions and hopefully have safer experiences while they are there. It’s not a hard line anti stance at all- I realize that- but I long ago decided that since the sex industry isn’t going anywhere, I would do what i could to make it better for the people in it. That really is important to me.

    I also think it is pretty dang cool that you are doing what you can to speak out for and help those who have been victimized by the sex industry- offering your blog up as a safe space/support zone is something you don’t have to do, and probably a good idea.

  129. Ren March 19, 2010 at 7:11 PM #

    I’ve see Yaoi that runs from what Miss was talking about to the kind which is much more “the two young beautiful men fall in love and explore their sexuality” kind. The kind Miss was talking about does seem more prevelant, but the other kind really does seem a lot like a (graphically drawn) romantic story about love and sexual discovery.

  130. Grafton March 19, 2010 at 10:52 PM #

    Miss Andrist — You, like all of us, do not have difficulty reading people – what you see is the detailed nuance of patterns of behavior that tell you something contradictory.

    Very likely. I do have real trouble with faces, but I read people’s stance and carriage well. I don’t trust myself to know what somebody having fun having sex moves like, though, since the only sure examples I have are ones where I was involved. Sensory overload can be fun, but my vision gets jumbled so I don’t know what that really looks like.

    That just serves as further evidence that men like Andrew are willfully deluding themselves.

    Yes. Though further evidence seems unnecessary in light of the fact that so much pornography is very clearly made to purposefully depict women degraded and hurt. Even if the women in the films are play-acting and in reality are having a grand old time, it leads me to the question, “What the living fuck is wrong with you that you want to see this shit at all, much less that you think it’s sexy?”

    isme: Yeah, why don’t they see the need to differentiate between “naked people” “sick stuff” and “jesus christ WTF?”?

    Yeah. I want to beat the living shit out of whoever came up with the classification scheme and did the subject-cataloging for porn sites. It’s just fucking bizarre. It’s all about what position and what hair colours women have and has no reflection of any actual aboutness quality. There is absolutely no way to search it to exclude returns that contain violence or women crying, or men calling women cruel names. It presupposes that everybody looking thinks that kind of thing is equally desirable to anything else. As if there was much else. Hell, get real lucky and find something with a smiling woman who really genuinely appears to be having a happy romp, and at the end of it the guy jacks off into her face. What the fuck is that supposed to mean? That was real fun until this twisted gesture of contempt shows up at the most inappropriate moment possible. For crying out loud.

    Er. Sorry. I know my problems with porn being unsatisfying are very petty in light of the real problems with porn, even though they are related. And like I said, I gave up on the shit. Hopefully for fucking good, because every time I look again, hoping for something better, I come away more confused and angry.

  131. Miss Andrist March 20, 2010 at 2:43 AM #

    Ren –

    We’re all here for the same reason: to improve the lot of women in this world. I blame men, universally and without reservation, for the things they did to me and Joy and the other 92% of us. I think I’ve made it excruciatingly clear that it is never the fault of the sex worker (male or non-male.) For the 8% of you, I would perch on a rooftop with a sniper rifle to protect you from what I believe to be eventual, inevitable harm, if I weren’t a crap shot from a distance. (I said “militant,” heh.) In my perfect world, there would be no sex work because it wouldn’t occur to anyone that sex could be purchased. Until I’m in charge, however, Sweden has the right idea: prostitution has been virtually eliminated. Even I have difficulty believing that those who remain don’t earnestly, sincerely desire to do so.

    Everybody cheer up!! Good news. Did you know Dallas, Texas of all places is currently trying the Swedish model? Unsurprisingly, success has been unprecedented. Texas being the ass-end of an armpit in terms of misogynistic theocratical gynophobic hysterical condemnation of and punishment for the vag. Maybe there’s hope yet? Meh. I’ll keep my shotgun, men cannot be trusted. But who knows.

    Andrew –

    I hate men, because hate is the weapon of fear.

    *shrug*

    Joy,

    I figured Rebecca got my email from Nine Deuce. Which is cool, but if not, I must have commented her at some point? Either way. Joy, my email is leah dot lasalla at satyrwilder dot com. Do me a favor when you get this – comment or email 9/2 so she knows you have my info. Then she can wipe this bit of my comment.

    All you crazy motherfuckers who want to come put a bitch in her place:

    It’s legal to blow an intruder away in Texas and I got a whole bucket fulla slugs. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, would delight me more than sawing you in half with my ten gauge. Quite frankly, all I’m waiting for is an excuse. Like I’d rather have an excuse than world peace AND a pony, so please, PLEASE give me one. Are we clear? Cool.

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  132. Ren March 20, 2010 at 4:40 AM #

    Joy:

    Chances are if we met if real life, I’d ask you if you wanted to drink beer and shoot pool- as that is what I really like to spend a whole lot of time doing, and if other people also like drinking beer and shooting pool, I’m a happy gal. If I patted you on the head like a dog I’d expect you to break my freakin’ arm and I woulda deserved it.

    As for what you said- it makes sense in a strange way, but I think a truth here is..well…I’m a weird cat. As in, very not like other people in a whole ton of ways- and by no stretch are all of them good ones. For whatever reason, I can do various things other people really loathe or miss things other folk would find to be really insulting and it sorta just does not rate the same on my radar. I think it is safe to say that there are probably more women out there who view sex work as you did than who would like I do. I don’t know if that means anything, but I think its true.

  133. Ani March 21, 2010 at 10:53 PM #

    I thought I’d de-lurk to give my perspective as a woman who got out of prostitution over 20 years ago. I was in street prostitution when I was a teenager. I was lucky enough to get out of it relatively quickly when I got pregnant and became eligible for crisis housing, drug counselling and other support. I eventually went back to school and worked as a cleaner as I got my degree and qualifications in a career where I’m required to use very precise technical skills, think quickly on my feet, multi-task and serve customers in a busy, often high pressure environment. My employment during that time was very insecure and low paid, because I had no other skills.

    The thing is, I suck at my current job and am on the verge of quitting and becoming unemployed again. The reason is that I suffer from chronic depression and severe anxiety directly related to my experiences as a prostitute. It effects my ability to think clearly, communicate and do my job effectively and is only getting worse to the point I feel it’s time for me to seek therapy again. I also have Hepatitis C which I contracted at the time from using drugs, and I’m looking down the barrel of a pretty harsh treatment regime sometime in the not too distant future, which will also interrupt my employment.

    My point is that even after women exit, prostitution can still have a serious impact on a woman’s economic stability and long term financial security. I understand it’s not the experience of every person in it, but from my personal experiences and observations the outcomes for a large proportion of women in it are not great as far as economic stability go, let alone physical and mental health and ‘empowerment’. To me prostitution has nothing to do with work or any of the good things that come from work or career. That notion is ludicrous to me actually, and I feel like I’m stating the blatantly obvious in saying it.

  134. Ren March 22, 2010 at 2:37 AM #

    Miss:

    You’re a gun owner? Okay, I offically now have an actual reason to like you.

  135. Grafton March 22, 2010 at 2:56 AM #

    Hrm. Don’t shoot me, please. I am not universal.

  136. isme March 22, 2010 at 4:46 AM #

    “Sweden has the right idea: prostitution has been virtually eliminated.”

    Well…according to some people, not according to others. That’s hardly unusual, of course, but it seems that governmenty types are over-represented in the first group, heartily congratuling themselves, and that actual sex workers are over-represented in the second.

  137. justin March 22, 2010 at 1:39 PM #

    great post. great questions. great analysis. i’m thankful that you’re writing the things you write. keep it up.

  138. Miss Andrist March 23, 2010 at 9:35 AM #

    Ren,

    And I really do live in Texas. ~_^

    Grafton:

    I’m not a man, so I actually need a REASON to shoot people. Don’t give me a reason, and I won’t shoot you. World peace is easy!

    Isme:

    Sweden punishes rapists, and does not punish victims. I don’t care who’s overrepresented, and if that statement is untrue, that sucks but it doesn’t mean aw shit time to go back to the old way where men rape women, then throw them in jail for being raped.

    9/2:

    Joy got my email. Anything you can do to blot that out of my post?

    -Miss Andrist

  139. joy March 23, 2010 at 4:02 PM #

    Ren — thank you, let’s symbolically/metaphorically shoot some pool some time.

    Miss Andrist — I emailed you and hope I got it right. I’ve got a back-up plan if I didn’t.

    Ani — you’re not alone, and you’re supported, even by this little group of internet feminists.

    The thing is, I ”want” to get back into selling myself, and by ”want” I mean ”would rather do anything but, except that I’m really broke and have no ability to do other things for money.”

    I’m pretty intelligent, but I couldn’t afford college and so I don’t have a piece of paper proving my worth. The economy is such that no place is hiring people without an advanced degree, if they’re hiring anyone at all. I’m on Social Security disability for my PTSD, so if I make a certain ridiculously low amount of money over the table I get my benefits cut and can’t afford to live anyway.

    Right now I am not really getting by. I’m affording rent and that’s about it. In other words, it’s not that I’m blowing all my cash — I’m not going out, not buying stuff, not socking away money for a vacation or my retirement. I legitimately have no money. If I didn’t have food stamps, I’d be in pretty deep shit.
    As it is, I just walk everywhere and coast off the generosity of friends — if they want me to come to the party, they have to accept that they’re buying me a beer and I’m going to have to do something other than give them money as a trade — but I’m kind of hoping I can afford the utility bills so our gas doesn’t get shut off before summer comes.
    Also, we live in the cheapest part of New York City that is still New York City but isn’t the Bronx, and my roommates are in similar situations in terms of getting a job/not having money, so telling me to ”move to a cheaper area” is not appreciated advice.

    But if I give two blow jobs and fuck two people for cash, I’ve got three hundred more dollars right there.

    I’m not going to, because it makes me want to unzip my skin and crawl out — but if it wasn’t already clear by now, after this anecdote it should be clear why most women ”want” to be in sex work.

  140. joy March 23, 2010 at 4:10 PM #

    Also, the straight dudes I mentioned who blow people for money, understand the disconnect between sex work and sex … when it comes to THEM.

    They know that ”blowing a stranger for cash” =/= ”sex.”
    For these straight men, ”blowing a stranger for cash” = ”blowing a stranger for cash.” Pure and simple.
    They do it because they are so ”avant-garde” and ”liberated” that their own bodies are meaningless to them, as is everything else, but they know they don’t enjoy it.

    But when it’s a woman, they blur the distinction.
    ”Don’t you love sex, though?” they’d say, before I stopped hanging out with them.
    ”Wouldn’t you blow someone anyway? It’s just a different person, and you’re getting paid for it.”
    ”You need to loosen up.”

    If you are ever in Williamsburg or Greenpoint, NYC, that is probably what the young white boys in Devendra Banhart facial hair and fashionable pants are thinking about themselves, and about you. Just food for thought.

    I think the existence and popularity of evo-psych is proof in the puddin’ that men see women as different kinds of human beings.
    Most men do not see women as human beings at all.

  141. Grafton March 24, 2010 at 12:39 AM #

    Miss Andrist — Ah. Thank you. I was under the impression that you meant wished to take a rifle to a high spot and just start blowing away men for happening to be male and in range. Which I am sure you will understand is objectionable to me, even as I acknowledge that the odds of hitting one who deserves are not unfavourable. Given that your odds of hitting one at all are not unfavourable, that is.

  142. Hecate March 24, 2010 at 3:55 AM #

    Thanks again, Nine Deuce, for shining a light on a yet another very overlooked (on purpose) problem. And to anyone who thinks the sex industry is ‘a breeze,’ I have no doubt you’ll mind sucking off a smelly old farty (hemorrhoidal) man eh? Have fun with that. Parrf. Pruuuuut.

    Girl, your blog is so fantastic. It actually gives me hope that there are a few sane individuals out there who can actually see straight. Your critique reminds me of lyrics from a particularly poignant song courtesy of the soulful dudes of ‘Tears for Fears':

    Woman in Chains

    You better love loving and you better behave
    You better love loving and you better behave
    Woman in chains, woman in chains

    Calls her man the great white hope
    Says she’s fine, she’ll always cope, ooh
    Woman in chains, woman in chains

    Well, I feel lying and waiting is a poor man’s deal (A poor man’s deal)
    And I feel hopelessly weighed down by your eyes of steel
    (Your eyes of steel)
    Well, It’s a world gone crazy keeps woman in chains, woh woh woh
    Woman in chains, woman in chains

    Trades her soul as skin and bones
    (You better love loving and you better behave)
    Sells the only thing she owns
    (You better love loving and you better behave) ooh ooh
    Woman in chains (the sun and the moon), woman in chains

    Men of stone, men of stone, hey baby, no no no, ooh

    Well, I feel deep in your heart there are wounds time can’t heal
    (The time can’t heal)
    And I feel somebody somewhere is trying to breathe
    Well, you know what I mean
    It’s a world gone crazy keeps woman in chains

    It’s under my skin but out of my hands
    I’ll tear it apart (somebody somewhere is trying)
    But I won’t understand (to breathe)
    I will not accept the greatness of man
    It’s a world gone crazy keeps woman in chains
    Gone crazy keeps woman in chains

    So free her, so free her, so free her
    So free her, so free her (the sun and the moon)
    So free (the wind and the rain) her, so free her
    So free her, so free her, so free her, so free her
    So free her, so free her (the sun and the moon)
    So free (the wind and the rain) her, so free her

    – Tears for Fears

  143. Hecate March 24, 2010 at 5:19 AM #

    Btw, I want to thank Miss Andrist and joy for bringing their brilliant intellects and spot-on bullshit radars to these comments :)

  144. EmilyBites March 25, 2010 at 11:52 AM #

    Woman: It’s horrendous that in times of economic depression women have to resort to selling their bodies.
    Man: Oh come on, they choose to do it. They could do another job.
    Woman: Well if it’s such a great career option, why aren’t there loads of men doing the same?
    Man: Because…there are different career options for women.
    Woman: Why?
    Man: Because women are different.
    Woman: Ah, now I see. You’re using ‘different’ in the sense of meaning ‘totally, totally fucked’?

    (Simplified version of a conversation I had with a male friend the other day when this came up in UK news.)

  145. rox March 26, 2010 at 4:10 AM #

    Lizor, thank you so much for the kind words. It was so strange, because I have experienced so many really sad and painful relationships with men, I can remember talking arguing with my boss about “What it’s like to be a prostitute”

    I was talking about being in an abusive relationship and in my head it came out the same way. It’s not the same thing and yet that’s how I processed it.

    I have had so much sad degrading sex and I wonder why I didn’t charge for it. That guy who said I was allowed to talk to him if I would…

    God.

    Miss Andrist, I am beyond proud, I don’t even have words for whatever it is, but that’s all I can think of… I am so proud of you and Joy for speaking so eloquently. I relate Joy to when you say you can speak about it when it’s “all women” but when it’s just you it’s different.

    When I think of men doing the things that have been done to me to someone else I feel so much anger and I feel so protective of others from having that happen.

    I allowed men to treat me really badly.

    It is. It is hard to live with yourself. I can not have sex without dissociating, but I can dissociate like THAT. So I don’t have to be afraid. I can disappear.

    It all blends in my head with the sex industry. And I don’t know why. I guess watching what my cousin has gone through. She put me at risk many times. I cared about her so much. She would take me around these guys who were not safe and say, “Don’t worry, he won’t do nothin to you. I’ll protect you.”

    (ha.)

    ND I want to really thank you for your blog. I am trying to work through a lot of stuff and it has warmed my heart to see so many intelligent people try to work through these issues as they pertain to women.

    I have a lot of confusion about “Fault” and who is to blame when men do really horrible things but women let them.

    It’s really hard to sort out.

  146. joy March 26, 2010 at 5:53 AM #

    Rox, it’s simple, don’t victim-blame.

    When I say it’s simple, of course I mean it’s wicked complicated and difficult, but here you have it.

    Men are raised to expect that they can degrade women and get away with it. Women are raised to expect that men are going to degrade them and get away with it, so they ”allow” men to degrade them. Take away the degrading behavior, and there is no more degradation.

    As I’ve written, it’s easier said than done, and I know personally it’s still hard for me to stop blaming myself. But I’ve stopped blaming other women and that’s a pretty good start.

    A little righteous anger helps. A LOT of righteous anger can cure what ails ya … well, so to speak. Keep fighting the good fight, and don’t get distracted — every time you blame another woman for her own oppression, the P has served its purpose.

  147. Faith March 26, 2010 at 11:52 AM #

    “I have a lot of confusion about “Fault” and who is to blame when men do really horrible things but women let them.”

    Rox,

    You did not allow anyone to do horrible things to you. Those -men- did horrible things to you. It was all entirely their fault.

    Women do not ever -allow- men to do horrible things to them. Even in situations where it might have conceivably been possible to do something to avoid whatever happened occurring, it is not women’s job to make sure that men do not hurt us. It is the job of men to make sure that they don’t hurt us.

    One of the most important things you can do for your own healing and for other women’s healing is to acknowledge that women are never, ever to blame for the horrible shit that men do.

    Ever.

  148. rox March 26, 2010 at 7:34 PM #

    It’s so weird because when I think of other people I know that I feel rage over anyone hurting anyone else, no matter if they let them. It’s harder when it’s me. I have definitely made some horrible choices. So that’s more where it gets confusing.

    No one should hurt anyone else. : (

    I’m sad my comment came out that I think it’s ok for people to hurt each other. That’s really far from what I meant to say! It’s more like, when you’re with people who are really good at being manipulative (or maybe just that I have really low self esteem) it has been really easy for me to feel like it was my fault.

    I don’t know, it’s not coming out right. I don’t have any of it figured out! But I’m thankful for all you guys writing so eloquently and truthfully. And ND you are really funny… : )

  149. Bill March 27, 2010 at 1:25 PM #

    Once upon a time, I liked looking at undressed women. Even went to strip clubs a few times.

    My goodness, what a pig I was.

    Now, as I am older and more aware, women are just people. Some of them I like, some of them I hate (as individuals, not as women), some I could care less about. Just like men.

    Unfortunately, when I try to communicate this, I am called either a faggot or a liar.

    Does ANYONE have ANY IDEA how I (and others) can help other males evolve in their attitudes without being beaten or disregarded?

    Or should I just be content to know that I am not propagating misogyny, but I am just too mild and quiet to influence anyone else?

  150. Bill March 27, 2010 at 1:58 PM #

    ND:

    “No, you make it illegal for men to do the purchasing, not for women to do the selling.”

    It’s already illegal. And I hear about “John” stings all the time. You get locked up, shamed in public, and lose your wheels.

    And, just like drugs are illegal, but still widely used, as long as there are horny men, they will be willing to pay for sex.

    I suppose the best women can hope for is that all men either “turn” gay or, like yours truly, develop health problems that kill their libido.

  151. isme March 28, 2010 at 12:04 AM #

    “Does ANYONE have ANY IDEA how I (and others) can help other males evolve in their attitudes without being beaten or disregarded?

    Or should I just be content to know that I am not propagating misogyny, but I am just too mild and quiet to influence anyone else?”

    Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? Say anything and you’re (at best) some mindless do-gooder looking for a bandwagon to jump on.

    You might try saying almost, but not quite, nothing, in the hope it sneaks by. Or just hope that when you say something, despite all evidence to the contrary, someone, somewhere might listen for once.

  152. Saurs March 28, 2010 at 12:26 AM #

    I suppose the best women can hope for is that all men either “turn” gay or, like yours truly, develop health problems that kill their libido.

    That’s only true if we’re presupposing, as you do, that the male libido is somehow innately dangerous, insatiable, and the primary root of misogyny. Horny men are not, by virtue of being male and horny, the reason why prostitution exists. Men can be sexually aroused without wanting to hurt women or purchase them for the purpose of rape.

  153. OutsideLookingOver March 28, 2010 at 12:31 AM #

    The problem with enlightening men, as I see it, is that those of us *who* are no longer governed by an urge that won’t be quieted are going to be seen by those who still are as lesser “something” – I know I’m not considered fully a man by my colleagues, like that’s a *bad* thing. As lesser “somethings” we have lost our place in that world of men who buy into that entitlement rubbish, and so our influence will be drastically diminished. “Ahhh, waddoo *you* know, faggot!”

    The key here is for someone influential – someone who is seen as whole by the entitled crowd – to become enlightened and act upon that enlightenment. The likelihood of that is pretty similar to raising the Titanic with tweezers.

    I’m not going to say there is no such thing as this sort of individual. But I have never seen one. Or heard of one.

    As I get closer to the middle road (androgyny – true womanhood will never happen) I learn so many beautiful things… so many hearts, so much hope and so much fear. And I see those entitled assholes driving their bulldozers through all this with no sense of what they are doing.

    This world is seriously messed up… and has been for thousands of years. There are serious crimes being committed daily, gut-wrenching, horrible crimes for which there is no law, no retribution, not even a sense of wrong-doing. All against women, and all done by men.

    Gee, does this perhaps explain my gender dysphoria? How can men live with the guilt? This is *our* gender doing this shit. Does anyone besides the chemically altered care?

  154. Bill March 28, 2010 at 5:38 AM #

    As I mentioned, “John-ing” is ALREADY illegal. So I can’t see where piling on laws can do anything other than zap the treasury to build more jails.

    ————————————————–

    Atlanta Braves pitcher suspended after Craigslist prostitution arrest

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-kissimmee-prostitution-sting-20100326,0,5068081.story

    The Atlanta Braves indefinitely suspended pitcher Deunte Heath on Friday after police arrested him in Kissimmee in a Craigslist prostitution sting.

    Braves spokesman Brad Hainje said officials Friday sent 24-year-old minor-league pitcher Heath back home to Decatur, Ga.

    – snip –

    ————————————————–

    The young man risked not only fines and a criminal record, but may have thrown away millions of dollars in order to get laid quick and easy.

    Think of it – he’s young, not necessarily handsome in that pic, but not totally disgusting, and a professional athlete. Just by merely existing he can get laid. And he threw it all away TRYING to get a prostitute.

    The change needs to come from the head and the heart, not the law books.

  155. joy March 28, 2010 at 4:27 PM #

    rox — your comment didn’t come across as bad in any way, and didn’t read to me anyway that you were saying it was okay for people to hurt each other.

    veganrampage wrote something on another blog recently, and it was thus —

    ”[…] living at large in the great unwashed patriarchy is tantamount to living in an insane asylum where everyone else is psychotic, yet screaming at you all day and all night how crazy you are. The P invalidates all your experiences, from the largest to the smallest, until you begin to doubt yourself.”

    Hopefully that gives you the same kind of glee that it did me.

    – Thanks, veganrampage.-

  156. joy March 28, 2010 at 5:12 PM #

    Also, Bill, what the fuck are you trying to say? Have you been reading what anybody wrote, or are you stuck on ”oh no, silly bitches want to outlaw prostitution!!! what about the poor men who get their cushy lives TAKEN AWAY!?!?”

    Because, news flash, dude. It’s way more complicated than that. Also, you’ve got actual, living former sex workers here to tell you it was MUCH, MUCH WORSE for the female person involved, so we don’t give a shit about some athlete losing his fucking career.

    And I’m so. sick. of explaining this that I’ll leave it to the rest of you today.

  157. wiggles March 28, 2010 at 6:46 PM #

    “Think of it – he’s young, not necessarily handsome in that pic, but not totally disgusting, and a professional athlete. Just by merely existing he can get laid. And he threw it all away TRYING to get a prostitute.”

    My heart. It bleeds.

  158. Saurs March 28, 2010 at 8:10 PM #

    Bill, you asked a question in your first post that several commenters here did not treat as rhetorical. They gave you interesting answers and engaged your question. Why don’t you show some courtesy and respond, instead of pulling this whiny bullshit about privileged doods and the infinite miseries they experience when they break the law?

  159. isme March 29, 2010 at 4:00 AM #

    “Think of it – he’s young, not necessarily handsome in that pic, but not totally disgusting, and a professional athlete. Just by merely existing he can get laid. And he threw it all away TRYING to get a prostitute.”

    Are you saying that we should feel sorry for him, or that sportspersons aren’t automatically wise and upstanding members of society, or that the desire for such things in strongly ingrained among male society?

    I’d imagine that the amount of agreement you’d get would increase the further down the list your point was.

  160. Faith March 29, 2010 at 6:00 AM #

    “I’m sad my comment came out that I think it’s ok for people to hurt each other.”

    I didn’t interpret your comment that way at all. I only interpreted it as you saying that victims are sometimes responsible for what is done to them, which is just never, ever true. Women in particular are trained to believe that if they do XYZ then they deserve to have XYZ done to them. This is utter nonsense. Nothing any woman can ever do can make them deserving of or at fault for being victimized by a man. For instance, I could go out right now, get drunk off my ass in a bar full of roughneck bikers, strip off all my clothes and start dancing on the bar, and still, I would not be in any way, shape, or form responsible if some asshole raped me. He’d be responsible for raping me, not the other way around.

    You and every other woman on the planet deserves to understand that you are in no way responsible for something someone else decided to do to you, no matter what you did beforehand. I don’t care if you hung out with a “bad” crowd. I don’t care if you got drunk. I don’t care if you used drugs. I don’t care if you wore a short skirt. I don’t care if you walked home alone after dark. I don’t care if you had sex for money. I don’t care if you had sex with strangers. I don’t care if you had sex with 2 or more men at the same time. I don’t care if you (fill in the blank with all the other victim blaming nonsense that gets thrown at women). It is not and never, ever was your fault if someone hurt you no matter what you did.

    (Note: I’m not saying you did any of those things. I don’t know what you did or did not do that you think is so awful. I’m just throwing out some of the different victim blaming crap that gets thrown at women and saying that if you did do any of those things, it’s not your fault if someone else victimized you.)

  161. Bill March 29, 2010 at 8:01 AM #

    I didn’t know I was defending the guy in any way! He made an idiotic choice to break the law while trying to get his rocks off by degrading another human being. I HOPE the guy hits the loser lottery, and can stand as a bad example!

    HE, like everyone else who screws up, is responsible for his actions and he should pay the consequences.

    Alas, my fear is that it is swept under the rug, and/or nobody learns anything more significant than “be more careful”.

    My whole point was to demonstrate how hard it is to change behavior merely through laws. The change has to come from the head and the heart. The CULTURE needs to respect honorable behavior and attitude in order for this never-ending tragedy to end.

    Saurs – Sorry. I just had not had the chance to process the info enough to formulate anything that impersonates an intelligent response. So let me try here.

    I am a lover of peace. Not only in the militaristic sense of not wanting guns, bombs, etc. being used, but in the sense of wanting harmony, tranquility, healing happiness in not only my own life, but in EVERYBODY’S life.

    The downside is that it can be hard for me to push my way into the dialog.

    So I end up here, trying to learn and grow while being entertained and, hopefully, add some useful data into the discussion of how to stop the male biological units and their power lust from destroying lives.

    Note: Male biological units are not MEN. That SHOULD be a term reserved for honorable individuals, not merely penis bearers. What can I say? I don’t want people hating men, I want them hating scum.

  162. Saurs March 29, 2010 at 11:27 AM #

    A couple of things, then, Bill: you’ll find few feminists here or elsewhere who disagree with you about the necessity of changing “culture.” However, the process of altering culture to make it more female-friendly necessarily includes affording women full legal protection, not just against male violence, but also to ensure them the full bodily autonomy such that men already possess (unequivocally full reproductive rights, for example) and to ensure that they can financially support themselves (equal wages, childcare for single mothers, full paternity rights and paternity leave) without having to enter domestic service / marriage to survive. Changing the “head and heart” of individuals is a worthy goal provided such change is buttressed by law.

    However, you wrote above that:

    I suppose the best women can hope for is that all men either “turn” gay or, like yours truly, develop health problems that kill their libido.

    Which doesn’t really sound all that optimistic about hope-y change-y goodness, so I’m confused about where you’re coming from.

    Secondly, no one here hates men. Can’t stress that enough. If you’re here to learn, listen, read, and contribute, you probably ought not to engage in stereotyping fellow commenters as man-haters.

  163. Faith March 29, 2010 at 2:32 PM #

    “I suppose the best women can hope for is that all men either “turn” gay or, like yours truly, develop health problems that kill their libido.”

    Well, that’s a really winning attitude there. It’s also nonsense. Men have the capacity to learn to treat women with respect and not view us as walking fuck toys. I know. I’ve met at least a few of them. If they can do it, the rest of them can do it too. They just have to make the choice to do the work necessary to evolve to a state of being where they do not view women as receptacles for their penis and general hatred.

    “That SHOULD be a term reserved for honorable individuals, not merely penis bearers.”

    No, it absolutely should not. A man is nothing more and nothing less than an adult individual with a penis and testicles (or some variation there of at least since I suppose it’s possible for a man to not have one or the other). Being a man has nothing to do with behavior. It is a biological state of being; it is not a social construct determined by actions or attitudes.

    A man’s behavior does not determine his worth as a man. A man’s behavior determines his worth as a -person-. Just as a woman’s behavior determines her worth as a -person-. The concepts of man and woman have no importance beyond the purely physical/biological. Beyond that they are pretty much meaningless.

  164. OutsideLookingOver March 29, 2010 at 3:40 PM #

    “Think of it – he’s young, not necessarily handsome in that pic, but not totally disgusting, and a professional athlete. Just by merely existing he can get laid. And he threw it all away TRYING to get a prostitute.”

    I guess it’s just me, but where is the concept of having a relationship in the term “get laid”? Doesn’t this statement smack of everything that is deplorable about male entitlement? Just by merely existing? women should normally be willing to have sex with this individual just because he exists? Is it that whole sexual spectrum thing – genitalwhole body – where men are more genitally-focused and women more whole body that prompts this sort of phrase “get laid”?

    Is it just me?

  165. wiggles March 29, 2010 at 4:09 PM #

    If women were lining up around the block to have enthusiastically consentual sex with this guy, why do you think he was trying to solicit a prostitute?
    Is there something about paying for a prostitute that might make a man feel, oh let’s say, more powerful than sex with a genuinely consenting partner?
    Is that sense of power a good, healthy thing?
    Might it have something to do with that particular athlete’s attitude toward women in general?
    Is he the only man with these attitudes about women and power?
    Let’s put on our thinking caps and really mull this one over a spell, shall we?

  166. isme March 30, 2010 at 4:31 AM #

    “the full bodily autonomy such that men already possess (unequivocally full reproductive rights, for example)”

    Not wanting to derail the topic, but how would that work exactly? The right to decide by one party negates the right to decide by the other. For example, I am, of course, in favour of a woman being able to choose to carry a child to term, or abort it. But I acknowledge that it totally excludes the father. Yes, he may speak to the mother about it, but it is ultimately her decision, not his. Unfair, but less unfair than the other way round, and there doesn’t seem to be a sensible compromise (though issues of child support come into it).

    Now, the only “solution” that comes to mind is to tell the father he shouldn’t have had sex if he wasnt prepared for the consequences, but I’d imagine that that (with genders reversed, naturally) is a slogan used by terrorists justifying attacks on abortion clinics.

  167. Saurs March 30, 2010 at 12:51 PM #

    The right to decide by one party negates the right to decide by the other.

    Men already possess full bodily autonomy with respect to their role in reproduction. That role ends with conception. Men do not constitute a physical “party” after fertilization, during pregnancy and childbirth. Women do not possess full bodily autonomy with respect to their role in reproduction as, in the United States, anyway, there is no universal system of health care, birth control is not affordable or accessible to all women, while access to abortion is limited.

    For example, I am, of course, in favour of a woman being able to choose to carry a child to term, or abort it. But I acknowledge that it totally excludes the father. Yes, he may speak to the mother about it, but it is ultimately her decision, not his.

    I don’t consider a pregnant woman a “mother” (or, indeed, a man who has conceived a fetus with a woman a “father”) until that fetus is brought to term and is born alive. Quite apart from that, a woman isn’t excluding anyone, anyway, when she decides to abort a fetus. There is no one to exclude. That’s sort of the philosophy behind supporting women’s full bodily autonomy, right? That they have a fundamental right, for example, to abstain from sex if they choose, to have sex if they choose, to never be raped or sexually assaulted, to be free from sexual exploitation, to make every and all decisions regarding their entire body without interference from the state, from their partners, from parties who perceive, incorrectly, to have a pressing “interest” in their bodies or bodily functions.

  168. Grafton March 30, 2010 at 2:29 PM #

    Isme: Now, the only “solution” that comes to mind is to tell the father he shouldn’t have had sex if he wasnt prepared for the consequences,

    That is what men are told, really. And our legal situation. If a woman should get pregnant by me and chose to have a baby, she can also quite possibly get the courts to order me to pay child support for the next two decades or so, even if I didn’t want a child and have no interest in it.

    However, the solution to this is just to allow men to relinquish all their parental rights and obligations early in a pregnancy, rather than use this as a flimsy but ever-so-dramatic bit of leverage to argue that men ought to control women’s reproductive rights.

  169. Bean March 30, 2010 at 2:35 PM #

    man is nothing more and nothing less than an adult individual with a penis and testicles (or some variation there of at least since I suppose it’s possible for a man to not have one or the other). Being a man has nothing to do with behavior. It is a biological state of being; it is not a social construct determined by actions or attitudes.

    On the contrary Faith, “man” is not a biological concept at all. “Male” is, yes, but “man” and “male” are not interchangeable.

    Further, while “male” and “female” are biological concepts, they are falsely constructed as an objective binary. In reality, biological sex is the result of the interplay of numerous factors, including chromosomes, genitals, hormones, and secondary sex characteristics and so on…ANY one (or more) of which may not “match” the others.

    “Man,” on the other hand, is a category of both self-identification and external social construction which is falsely coupled with the category “male.”

    (Which is not to say I actually agree with Bill.

    After all, notice that under his definition, all “honorable individuals” are men by default. HAR.)

  170. Faith March 30, 2010 at 4:02 PM #

    ““Man,” on the other hand, is a category of both self-identification and external social construction which is falsely coupled with the category “male.””

    Bean,

    No. Just no. Yes, “man” is not necessarily synonymous with “male”. Boys can also be male for one thing. But “man” is not a social construct. Man is a physical state of being. Just as woman is a physical state of being. It is true that within a patriarchal society that “man” is often a social construction and form of self-identification. But that is due to the patriarchal belief that being a man involves not only certain biological characteristics, but certain psychological traits, behaviors, activities, etc. Again, being a man is nothing other than being an adult male who has a male body.

  171. Faith March 30, 2010 at 4:17 PM #

    Err..what I actually meant to say was that man is not the only thing synonymous with being male. Not that man is not synonymous with male.

  172. Saurs March 30, 2010 at 4:30 PM #

    Isme: “Now, the only “solution” that comes to mind is to tell the father he shouldn’t have had sex if he wasnt prepared for the consequences

    Grafton: “That is what men are told, really.

    Are they? Are they, really? ‘Cos not only am I under the impression that most men are woefully indifferent to contraception and only very rarely are they actively encouraged to educate themselves about pregnancy prevention, since they see it as a singularly female task, male contraceptive devices are also ironically some of the easiest and most inexpensive to get. Free condoms at university and clinics, anyone?

    And our legal situation.

    It’s funny that babies can be pesky legal situations for men who don’t want them. For women who don’t want babies but have to have them and by virtue of being a woman are expected to raise them anyway, they are something a little more onerous, a burden that a weekly or bi-monthly custodial visits and a child support check probably don’t make significantly easier.

    If a woman should get pregnant by me and chose to have a baby, she can also quite possibly get the courts to order me to pay child support for the next two decades or so, even if I didn’t want a child and have no interest in it.

    However, the solution to this is just to allow men to relinquish all their parental rights and obligations early in a pregnancy…

    MRAs term this proposition “male abortion,” and while, in a perfect and gender-free world, in which abortion is freely available and women make the same wages as men, it’s fairly reasonable. Of course, women can’t always abort the fetuses they don’t want to bring to term and they certainly don’t make the same amount of dough as their male counterparts because women are generally seen as temporary employees who might, at any given moment, burst open with menstrual blood, babies, or irritating requests for maternity leave. Since child-rearin’ is a yucky female task in the patriarchy, it’s no surprise that it’s unpaid, unpleasant, and physically and emotionally draining for many. When women do not constitute an economic second class, then raising a child or children as a single parent might not be such a bleak proposition. As it stands, “male abortion” without universal “female abortion” would simply widen the gender gap and constitute an especially devastating blow for working class women and women of color.

  173. wiggles March 30, 2010 at 5:50 PM #

    You’d think if men were as worried as they say they are about getting women pregnant and being stuck with the consequences against their will, they wouldn’t leave women largely or wholly responsible for birth control in most cases.

    I wonder why men don’t lobby for a male birth control pill.

  174. Ren March 30, 2010 at 7:12 PM #

    “You’d think if men were as worried as they say they are about getting women pregnant and being stuck with the consequences against their will, they wouldn’t leave women largely or wholly responsible for birth control in most cases. ”

    Truer words have never been spoken.

  175. Grafton March 30, 2010 at 8:48 PM #

    Saurs,

    Told by some, anyway. Not exactly encouraged to listen, I guess.

    I do not suggest that child-support payments are anything like an equal obligation in comparison to the demands of raising a child.

    What is ‘universal female abortion’ ?

    Certainly I agree that abortion ought to be readily available to any woman who wants it, that women ought to have equal economic opportunities to men, and that nobody should have to consider abortion because she fears that a child will impoverish her. It is indecent to make a woman carry a pregnancy she doesn’t want, and it’s likewise indecent to make her terminate one she does want but cannot afford.

  176. Saurs March 30, 2010 at 10:58 PM #

    What is ‘universal female abortion’

    Universal access to, of course.

  177. Bill March 30, 2010 at 11:59 PM #

    Wiggles – I don’t know that they were “lining up around the block”, but I do know, from experience as a taxi driver primarily working a hotel where a lot of NBA and baseball teams stay, that athletes have very little trouble attracting female attention. I’m not going to pass any more judgement other than to say athletes, like Novi right-wing frat boy pinheads, can turn your stomach quicker than a bowl full of creamed corn with raw liver.

    As for my definition of “MAN”, perhaps it was lazy. What can I say? I am a solution-oriented person, and I saw that as a potentially effective strategy. The reality is, guys don’t like to be stripped of their “manhood”. So, in my perspective, I cannot think of a harsher penalty, even above prison, than confiscating it.

    As far as:

    ‘After all, notice that under his definition, all “honorable individuals” are men by default.’

    That is NOT what I meant. If it was perceived as such, I apologize. I will try to keep an eye on how what I say is perceived, but I refuse to put my every utterance under a microscope. I already have stress issues, so I’m not going to kill myself in search of perfection.

  178. GXB March 31, 2010 at 2:14 AM #

    Bill,
    It’s great that you’re here to learn, but stopping to listen to what others would say, especially when they correct one, is better than trying to be perfect oneself. If you find examining the biases in your words too stressful, or can’t take criticism, you could just not write them. (Speaking as someone who has just learned that lesson and is struggling with it–e.g. I keep wanting to write something to support Bean’s comment.) I think you don’t get it, since you apologized for being misunderstood rather than taking responsibility for your words (again I’m guilty of this).

    So really, look at what you said: you implied that some grown males did not deserve the title of “man” which should be exclusive to honorable people–um, what about women? It sounds like you’re harking back to an age of gentleman’s honor and/or male chivalry, not particularly a feminist way of looking at things. You haven’t implied that “woman” should be similarly reserved as a term of honor unless you have said so, and if you’ve read much of this blog, can’t you see why doing that would also be a huge problem?

  179. Faith March 31, 2010 at 5:51 AM #

    “I am a solution-oriented person, and I saw that as a potentially effective strategy. The reality is, guys don’t like to be stripped of their “manhood”.”

    Men’s attachment to their so-called “manhood” is a very large part of the problem, Bill. You can’t solve the problem by compounding it. Part of what men need to learn is that being a man is not some super-incredible state of being that’s so much more important and special than being a woman. Stripping -all- men of their perceived “manhood”, so to speak, it a very large part of the solution.

  180. rox March 31, 2010 at 7:18 AM #

    OK i can’t WAIT to finish reading all the comments in the thread because the direction the comments have gone has hit on one of the subjects I am most passionate about to see feminists become advocates of, which is EXACTLY what you guys are all talking to:

    Preventing women from feeling FORCED due to economic coercion or lack of resources and support into an abortion (or adoption which is horrific and I hope none of you have or will go through that)

    We have a lot of articulate, passionate amazing women (and even some men) arguing magnificently for the RIGHT to access birth control and abortion. I want to see my fellow sister fight as well for the RIGHT to have access to real familial support programs to help our children live enriched lives even if born in low income homes.

    No one should feel the lack of power to see their first choice become realized. I recognize that there are limits as to what we can make possible for everyone in a society, but I damn well want us to do everything we can.

    If anyone is interested on how awful adoption loss is (for me personally), you can check out my blog…

    I was adopted at birth and my mother was coerced and backed into a corner into have adoption be her only choice. She wanted to keep me once I was born, but the agency then told her she would have to pay them thousands of dollars for living there, she had been encouraged NOT to get on medicaid (since the agency pays for the healthcare IF the adoption goes through) she was encouraged not to work, not to have any relationships with the outside world. She had no where to go with me. She didn’t have a car, or a car seat. Then the agency sold me like millions of other “Gerber babies” for thousands of dollars to an adoptive couple.

    The exploitation is repulsive. Fast forward 17 years and I was pregnant also and pushed into placing by those same adoptive parents who profited from my biological mothers loss.

    (I’m sorry if this is totally derailing, I’ll read more when I get off work and post more on target! IF you want to go all “adoption coercion is anti-woman” with me check out my blog Holisting parenting on a dime)

  181. rox March 31, 2010 at 7:18 AM #

    I meant holistic (Is it ok if I post the link deuce?)

  182. isme March 31, 2010 at 10:35 AM #

    “I want to see my fellow sister fight as well for the RIGHT to have access to real familial support programs to help our children live enriched lives even if born in low income homes.”

    That cause is somewhat noticeable in its omission, yeah. I suppose it could be that it doesn’t seem to be a purely feminist cause, in which case I’d hope to see it argued for, not by other groups exactly (as it’s hardly mutually exclusive with the goals of feminism), but under different banners.

  183. Bean March 31, 2010 at 11:54 AM #

    Faith:

    Then several of the men I know – who are legally men, and who live as men – are not men. Because they were not born with a penis and testicles.

    Something for you to consider: do you think people who are born intersex have the right to declare their own gender? Or do you think that’s something that society gets to decide for them? If society decides, do you think that’s consistent with feminism?

    Bill:

    Faith is right on this, all men DO need to be “stripped of their manhood.” The protection of “manhood” revolves around the domination and subjugation of women in the first place. (Think of what “proving your manhood” comes down to every time.) You can’t have equality and still have “manhood.”

  184. Saurs March 31, 2010 at 12:25 PM #

    I’m confused as to why rox believes feminists are somehow publicly absent from this kind of discussion. NOW, for example, which is hardly radical, has drafted a Mothers and Caregivers Economic Bill of Rights that endorses medical and family leave for both parents, childcare and welfare support for low-income and single-parent families, tax credits for part- and full-time caregivers, and caps on overtime for working mothers. As long as the second-wave as existed, it’s been invested in supporting families and mothers. The first National Women’s Conference in ’75 had panels on the subject of universal, publicly-funded childcare. The European Women’s Lobby has endorsed re-defining what “feminization of poverty” means to reflect the fact that women and single mothers continue to be disproportionately impoverished worldwide.

  185. Faith March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM #

    “That cause is somewhat noticeable in its omission, yeah.”

    I don’t see where it has been omitted. It does tend to get pushed to the back burner, I think, because of the ever present fight for reproductive rights. Until those rights are secure, and women have access to them, it’s somewhat difficult to focus on implementing social support programs for mothers, or women who want to be mothers. But the effort is certainly there, just not as much as it needs to be because there aren’t enough people who care enough to make it a priority. And by that, I am not referring to feminists. I do think feminists believe that securing economic independence for women is certainly a priority. But if the fight for reproductive choice/services is lost, we really are going to totally screwed.

  186. wiggles March 31, 2010 at 1:46 PM #

    Bill – I know professional and college athletes get a lot of female attention. A lot of men who have active consensual sex lives still employ prostitutes. Hugh Grant’s one famous example. My point was that that’s just further evidence that men employ prostitutes because they get off on the power disparity. And if the enforcement of that power disparity defines masculinity, that’s even more telling, really.

  187. Hecate March 31, 2010 at 1:58 PM #

    Thank you wiggles, for bringing up this point. The power imbalance in such a transaction is almost never talked about. And it is indeed an overwhelming disparity. You have some loser with all the time, money and privilege in the world on his hands, purchasing a woman who is barely making it, and who, even if she gets out of that line of work, will have a tough time finding a solid regular gig. What is even more pathetic, is that johns have sick fantasies about being personally involved with these women (the ‘gfe’ fantasy). Very sad. Yeah, I’m sure it’s a woman’s ultimate fantasy to be intimately involved with her oppressor. The one and only case I know of where a sex worker got involved with a john, was one in which a poor trafficked Korean girl in San Francisco looked to some pasty idiot to save her. Even if he really did help her, I can’t see the relationship having a happy ending.

  188. Grafton March 31, 2010 at 6:32 PM #

    Well, one of the strippers I rented a room to ‘dated’ a strip-club-viewer-guy-thing. Long enough to get him to lend her his car, which she drove off in, never to return. I’m not sure that this really counts as ‘involved’ though it was sort of satisfying.

  189. Mistress Rage April 2, 2010 at 1:49 PM #

    I wonder what’s going to happen to the adult market when it becomes supersaturated with all of these ladies (if that is even possible in the adult industry lol).

    In addition, I really hope these women invest their earnings into something with long term viability like a college education or starting their own business.

  190. isme April 3, 2010 at 6:41 AM #

    I’ve have expected the market to already have been oversaturated.

    I mean, yes, people are forever moving towards ever more strange/extreme, but there’s still massive amounts of fairly standard “people get nekkid and have sex” stuff being made, isn’t there?

    I don’t see how there’s a market for that, given that people have been producing tons of that stuff for years.

  191. Grafton April 3, 2010 at 8:55 PM #

    isme: there’s still massive amounts of fairly standard “people get nekkid and have sex” stuff being made, isn’t there?

    Massive amounts, I’m sure. But — Well, my last venture into the realm of porn involved visiting a popular free site whose URL was written on the men’s room wall. It did not seem significantly different from the other two I looked at just to see if the WTF was for real. Anyway, it was actually quite difficult to find ‘people get nekkid and have sex’ stuff on them that did not include other elements, like anal sex, or men taking turns, or men slapping women and calling them ‘bitch.’ And one that doesn’t end with a guy jacking off in a woman’s face is a rarity.

    Not that my study went on long enough to be really reliable, but images of ordinary, gentle, consentual sex were outnumbered by creepy crap. Not that anal sex is necessarily creepy, but it is in those videos.

    Don’t look.

  192. Bill April 4, 2010 at 6:14 AM #

    Bean wrote:

    ))
    Faith is right on this, all men DO need to be “stripped of their manhood.” The protection of “manhood” revolves around the domination and subjugation of women in the first place. (Think of what “proving your manhood” comes down to every time.) You can’t have equality and still have “manhood.”
    ((

    Going to work every day, and doing that job to the best of my ability proves my “manhood”.

    Sincerely smiling and saying “Hello!” to everyone I meet proves my “manhood”.

    Giving people a break when they are having a bad day, as opposed to verbally harassing them if things don’t go my way proves my “manhood”.

    Not EXPECTING or DEMANDING (but definitely appreciating) the amourous attention and affections of a woman proves my “manhood”.

    I hope we are dealing with two different definitions here. -MY- idea (ideal?) of “manhood” is of someone who respects their community, their fellow humans, and themselves. They have both pride and humility in proper proportions. They add to their community through their works and their attitude.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but the (so-called) “manhood” you are referring to is based on aggression and power lust. Yes, THAT has to go. But crushing people in the idea that an egalitarian ideal is realized through universal despair is destructive.

    How about if we keep the concept of honor and dignity (while throwing out the idea that bringing another down elevates someone else), and just make all language more gender neutral – being that personal and societal evolution should be an important goal for EVERYONE.

  193. Faith April 4, 2010 at 1:10 PM #

    “Going to work every day, and doing that job to the best of my ability proves my “manhood””

    No. That proves that you are a -person- who is responsible enough to do your job. No one ever says that a woman going to work and doing her job every day is proving her “womanhood”.

    “Sincerely smiling and saying “Hello!” to everyone I meet proves my “manhood”.”

    No. That proves that you are a polite -person-.

    “Giving people a break when they are having a bad day, as opposed to verbally harassing them if things don’t go my way proves my “manhood”.”

    Again, not true. You’re doing nothing other than showing what type of -person- you are.

    “-MY- idea (ideal?) of “manhood” is of someone who respects their community, their fellow humans, and themselves. They have both pride and humility in proper proportions. They add to their community through their works and their attitude.”

    No. A thousand times no. Those are all attributes of a well-balanced -human-. They have nothing to do with “manhood”. All humans need to show those characteristics to some degree or another to fit in with society and be a well-adjusted citizen. Gender has nothing to do with it.

    “How about if we keep the concept of honor and dignity (while throwing out the idea that bringing another down elevates someone else), and just make all language more gender neutral – being that personal and societal evolution should be an important goal for EVERYONE.”

    Damn! What an idea! Damn shame I never thought of it.

  194. OutsideLookingOver April 4, 2010 at 10:24 PM #

    I can’t say it as eloquently as Faith can, but I see all those attributes that you consider define your manhood as ones that all humans should wish to aspire to. Because you say that these define your manhood, you are implying that women subscribing to the same goals are also defining their manhood?
    It doesn’t make sense.
    That said: I see *nothing* that *DOES* define manhood (exclusive of womanhood) that I as a genetic XY can comfortably subscribe to. Seriously not a thing.

    I defy *ANY* man to present any purely masculine attribute that I should subscribe to. I’ve sought this all my life and see nothing.

  195. isme April 4, 2010 at 10:58 PM #

    “I defy *ANY* man to present any purely masculine attribute that I should subscribe to. I’ve sought this all my life and see nothing.”

    Producing semen, so as to be able to reproduce with someone that ovulates? Imagine how much simpler things would be if everyone was a hermaphrodite.

    Bill, if that proves your “manhood”, what proves a person’s “womanhood”?

    Apart from being unemployed, kicking people when they are down, refraining from smiling and rejecting female affection, that is? I mean, obvisouly woman must do this, otherwise they’d be men.

  196. Marc April 5, 2010 at 8:54 AM #

    For men it is just “Lost your job? Go live on the street.”

    Nobody is making a woman get naked, but most attrictive women are given the choice; Live on the streets or go and sell yourself. (which can barely be called a choice) Yes it sucks, and only a tiny percentage of women who do porn, strip, or become prostitutes actually like it. This shouldn’t be made to look like something that isn’t bad, but it should be noted that forcing a woman to do something she doesn’t want is a crime.

    Yes it sucks, but it sucks for pretty much everybody. Though the strippers still have food on their table… and an apartment to put that table in.

  197. Grafton April 5, 2010 at 2:13 PM #

    Well, actually, if you lose your job you can work day-labor on construction clean-up crews and landscaping.

  198. joy April 5, 2010 at 6:16 PM #

    Also, Marc-y Marc, I’m so glad you assume that all these strippers do, in fact, have apartments and food.
    Since that’s a given and everything, right?

    They are all just making SO MUCH CASH that everything must be ever so easy for them.

  199. Hecate April 5, 2010 at 7:00 PM #

    Thanks joy,

    I think misconceptions about sex work are without a doubt the biggest problem standing in the way of anyone being able to improve the situation. It’s a bit like corporate worship really. The more ‘glamorous’ we all think it is, the less likely we are to really question it. Of course, Hollywood portrayals are a major disaster when it comes to the image of the sex industry and its workers. I’m sure they all feel exactly like Julia Roberts or Demi Moore when they’re servicing the johns. Oh yeah baby! You make me feel sooo very pretty and desirable! Though I suppose a film like Monster at least tried to get slightly closer to the brutal reality of it.

    It’s all so sad. Why is it that the last people we look to for confirmation about these experiences are the actual women involved? Are women considered that mentally incompetent that they cannot comment on their own narrative? Or is that that men stubbornly insist that they have the ultimate take on reality, and use that to justify exploitation? Or both? I would like to see a giant reality check happening where the sex industry is concerned, but wonder when that will happen.

  200. Faith April 5, 2010 at 7:45 PM #

    “For men it is just “Lost your job? Go live on the street.””

    Actually, Marc, attractive men can sell themselves on the street to other men just as well as women can. They just refuse to do it because, by golly, wouldn’t that be demeaning…

    “but it should be noted that forcing a woman to do something she doesn’t want is a crime.”

    Uh, yes, actually forcing someone to do something they do not want to do is very often a crime. This is why rape is a crime. This is also why it is considered rape when a woman is forced into prostitution. If a woman is forced into prostitution, she isn’t really giving real consent. Sex without consent is rape. Rape is a crime.

    And, yes, before someone jumps in screaming that people are forced into other jobs as well, I do realize that the same thing could be said about a lot of different types of work for profit. This would be why I’m anti-capitalist.

  201. Marc April 6, 2010 at 4:23 AM #

    (for this post I will only be talking about women willingly becoming strippers or prostitutes)

    “They are all just making SO MUCH CASH that everything must be ever so easy for them.”

    I’m not saying that stripping is a good thing. I said repeatedly that it is something bad. I am not deluded, and I do not think these women have a great life.

    This whole ordeal sucks. In a perfect world there would be no need for strip clubs, and everybody would always have a job that they enjoy. It sucks that the media isn’t taking this problem seriously and that it glamorizes stripping/whoring. But what do you suggest we do? We can blame the media for being irresponsible, but that would be it.

    Should we force women to live on the streets instead, saying “No, you can’t sell your body, now go and live on the streets”
    This kind of thinking just makes it worse. This is an invitation for people to abuse these women.

    “Well, actually, if you lose your job you can work day-labor on construction clean-up crews and landscaping.”

    Of course a woman couldn’t do these jobs, right? A woman on a construction site? No, unthinkable! Naturally, only men could do these jobs, and there is no stereotypical counterpart to these men only jobs. Who ever heard of a female maid or cleaning lady.

    (Just to be clear, the last paragraph was sarcastic. Women can do what men do, and women also have their own society approved stereotypical job waiting for them)

  202. rox April 6, 2010 at 3:49 PM #

    It is true that there is no day labor equivalent for women. At least in my town. Maybe they have day labor maids in your town. I think the risk of rape/sexual assault or prostitution is feared when considering offering a “day labor” maid/cleaning service.

    It would certainly be something I would be afraid of if I was supposed to ride in a car to some unknown persons house to do some sort of work…

    Sounds rather scary.

    While it CAN happen to men, the ratio is hugely in favor of it not happening to men.

    Just saying it’s not so easy to just “go be a maid” and I have a lot of friends who have done day labor, and none of them have ever been sexually harassed on the job. (Although they have worked plenty of full days and then not been paid at the end of it.)

  203. Grafton April 6, 2010 at 5:07 PM #

    Marc, it’s clear you have never worked day labor.

    Let me explain.

    You go to this office at five thirty in the morning, see, and you sit there until a job manager who wants some laborers comes with a truck and picks you up. He picks the people he wants. I had trouble getting jobs at day-labor offices because I am 5’5″ and they will pick guys who look strong first. A small person, such as most women, will not get much work at day labor until fruit harvesting time, if she’s lucky enough to live in a region where that is done.

  204. Mistress Rage April 7, 2010 at 12:48 AM #

    Day labor, really? Panhandling, seriously?

    Some of these dancers make THOUSANDS of dollars every day. They drive better cars than doctors. I’ve known PLENTY of them. Why the hell would they rather scrub someone’s toilet and perhaps not even get paid at the end of the day?

    Had it ever occurred to anyone that some women don’t mind dancing around nude or topless? A lot of girls have a very good time doing it too. I think we’d see a ton more if there wasn’t such a shitty stigma attached to it.

    Yes, there are plenty of women in the adult industry who are messed up. But according to what I see every day there are plenty of screwed up housewives too.

    The women I know in the adult industry enjoy the cash, the scheduling freedom and many other perks. Not every stripper and escort is some downtrodden abused junkie with no where else to turn but hooking, day labor or being some lazy asshole’s maid.

    Is it worrisome that this job pays better than something “legit” like a teacher? Yep it sure is sad but I am also sick when some jerk can make millions of dollars running up and down the field with a little ball too .

    So if men are going to be stupid pigs then why not benefit from it?

    And women ARE lucky to have the opportunity to make money using only what God gave them. Do you know how many men would be male dancers if they thought they could make good money? Do you know how many male escorts there would be if the guys knew they would make great money?

    There are plenty of “regular” people who HAVE to work at a job they hate. What about the CEO who is now a greeter at Wal-Mart because the company he worked for folded? What about the poor kid who’s going to owe over $100,000 in student loans but can only get work at McDonalds even though he has a degree? Are these people more fortunate than the lady who strips to pay rent? At least the stripper can afford her bills with her salary.

    I have been a full-time Dominatrix for over a decade. I have had the time of My life and every woman I have ever known in the adult industry is there because she wants to be. Most enjoy what they do. The ones who didn’t like their job didn’t seem to like it any less than your average American worker.

    How many of you can say that you honestly would go back to work tomorrow if you won several million dollars today?

    I’m not saying there aren’t people who are forced or are victims of human trafficking. What I’m saying is that the condescending “poor little stripper” charity routine is tired.

    The excuse about poor women having no other opportunities but “sex work” is a slap in the face to the women who came from nothing and made it big. You are only held back by your own ignorance and laziness. Where there is a will, there is absolutely a way.

    If you have zero opportunities it’s your own fault for not making them. Look up Oprah Winfrey’s life story- she was a poor kid from Mississippi. She had to overcome racism, sexism AND poverty in the Deep South of all places. Now look at her.

    Americans are lazy and they love blaming others for their misfortunes and problems. People aren’t helpless and if they don’t like the situation they are in they can always choose to change their circumstances.

    • Nine Deuce April 7, 2010 at 12:55 AM #

      They can always choose to change their circumstances, huh? Always? If people would just get off their asses they’d all be billionaire television personalities?

  205. isme April 7, 2010 at 8:46 AM #

    ‘What I’m saying is that the condescending “poor little stripper” charity routine is tired.’

    I’d agree with that, in general. However, this thread was about women who had become strippers who didn’t want to. The proportion of those to strippers who like their job, or were ambivalent is irrelevant to the subject as it was being discussed. Admittedly, it does tend to branch out into larger generalisations, though.

  206. Faith April 7, 2010 at 11:01 AM #

    “Of course a woman couldn’t do these jobs, right? A woman on a construction site? No, unthinkable! ”

    Marc,

    In order for a woman to do construction work, she must get hired to do construction work. It is a well known fact that construction work is still male-dominated due to the high level of discrimination in the industry. It’s incredibly difficult for a woman to find someone willing to hire her to do construction work. You can’t do the work if no one will even give you a chance to do it.

  207. Hecate April 7, 2010 at 11:18 AM #

    Yes true Faith. Also, has anyone ever heard of a john helping a sex worker find a regular gig? Of course not! It’s his interest that she always be available to service and feed his pathetic neediness and slimy ego.

    When men hear that a woman who was laid off has had to resort to selling herself, the response is never ‘poor thing,’ but ‘wow, that’s hot!’ Thus proving that none of them ever achieve emotional maturity beyond that of a five-year-old. I wish I could say that men could be capable of a quality as advanced as empathy, but their behavior shows me that’s probably never going to be the case.

  208. wiggles April 8, 2010 at 2:02 PM #

    Marc (or who ever is still reading), the average age of “women” entering prostitution is about 12.

  209. Hecate May 18, 2010 at 9:07 PM #

    An article on Alternet some of you might like to comment on. To me, it smells suspiciously like another attempt to glamorize prostitution, but have a look and see what you think.

    http://www.alternet.org/books/146898/tales_of_sex_and_insight%3A_how_a_smart_girl_from_the_%27burbs_ended_up_in_a_harem_in_faraway%2C_wealthy_brunei/

  210. Shane October 16, 2010 at 6:02 PM #

    I’m one of these women. I’ve made a “choice” to turn to escorting at various times in my life and every time it was because my options were very slim. For the past two years I have not been able to find a job. I have a B.A. degree and work experience in various industries but cannot even get hired as a secretary for $10/hour, which I am willing to take! Meanwhile I”m in my late 30s and have to put myself into the “mature” (i.e. OLD) categories on the escort classified sites and my phone hardly rings with so many other women out here trying to get their bills paid, doing things that aren’t safe (like not using condoms) for very low prices. I have a friend in her mid 50s and it’s even worse for her. She has resorted to trying to pick up dates in the hotel bars and getting kicked out and other humiliating situations. The whole situation sucks! I’m also tired of this idea that “sex work” is an option. In fact, it is a last resort for those of us who need money fast, and once you get started it’s very hard to get out. And the older you get, the harder it is to make money. I know some older ladies working who are still trying to convince themselves that the business is “good to me” and that it’s just this economy as the reason they aren’t getting dates anymore. In fact, the Internet has made it easier for more women to work, and younger women will ALWAYS, no matter what, get more calls then those over 25, let alone 35. True, middle-aged escorts can make a living, but they have to really work a lot harder, spending more money on high-end clothes and spending longer dates with the men and putting out more risky activity. I wanna smack the next “mature” escort who tells me things are going great, because they are deluding themselves. It is a dead end and I am trying so hard to find other ways to make money so I can quit already.

  211. polly October 17, 2010 at 9:09 AM #

    Like every public sector worker (and a lot of private sector workers as well) in the UK, I am currently wondering how long I can hold onto my job. I don’t really rate my chances in the sex industry being a middle aged somewhat overweight butchish lesbian. I am wondering if this journo can offer me any handy hints in my situation? Do you think I should write to her?

  212. polly October 17, 2010 at 9:16 AM #

    I wonder what’s going to happen to the adult market when it becomes supersaturated with all of these ladies

    The same as in any other bit of a capitalist market. Supply increases, price drops.

  213. Hecate October 17, 2010 at 3:58 PM #

    Sorry to hear that Shane. True, it’s still rough out there. And I do believe that one of the reasons qualified women like you have a hard time finding ‘straight’ gigs is that men still hate the idea of women working alongside them. I’m sure they are fine with the ‘coffee, tea or me?’ type secretary 50s style, but anything else is regarded as a terrifying threat. If we could have something other than men with the emotional maturity of 5-year-olds running things, you betcha the economy would be more robust, as well as being supported and represented by workers all across the spectrum. But of course we’re all aware of the myriad ways men block social progress… What those egos of theirs need is some Drano.

  214. skeptifem October 17, 2010 at 11:39 PM #

    Shane- maybe you could try being a phone sex operator? Its less dangerous and it doesn’t matter if you are older. Some people make good money, I bet your escort experience would be invaluable because you know what dudes want to hear. I am so sorry things have been hard for you. Its so fucked that experience means nothing in sex work- it is the exact opposite of all other employment. It shows that women are considered consumables in the sex industry instead of workers.

  215. Sameer January 10, 2011 at 6:00 PM #

    Wow! And I thought no one was bothered about these things anymore. I stopped going to strip-clubs more than a year ago, although I have been there only a couple of times to see how it is like. The women there are required to pay a certain amount of money to the club, and thus, will do anything they can to get enough cash to both pay their club manager and feed themselves. It “sounds” lucrative, and it might even be for a little while, but it certainly isn’t a career option. And its just sad to see more and more girls seeing this as a cool thing to do. Its a sad thing to have to sell your body to earn money, and I’m not saying this because I’m some conservative prick who wants women to just stay at home.

    I remember an experience a (guy)friend was telling us from a strip-club, where a guy coaxed his girlfriend to climb on the stage, strip naked and make out with the stripper, while the guys sitting around threw $1 bills at them. Listening to this story, everybody got excited hearing how “hot” that girl was while I was sitting there revolted at this whole picture. Isn’t this completely trivializing the whole concept of selling sex for money and making it a more mainstream and acceptable thing.

    Pardon my poor writing and the lack of skill to convey my opinions, just thought this was a place where I could speak my mind.

  216. Fede January 11, 2011 at 5:32 AM #

    I feel so very sorry for the person whose boyfriend brought her to a strip club in the first place, not to mention that he then persuaded her to humiliate herself along with the woman on stage in front of him and his friends. She is not his love; she is his trophy. With this little number in the strip club, he demonstrates to his friends how well and truly she is subservient to him. What a despicable swine he is.

    It is indeed a sign of the times – when sex-for-money is mainstream – that such behaviour is even conceivable. I’m not longing back to the “good old days” because earlier misogyny just had a different face. But the face of misogyny today is this:

    The old dichotomy between madonna and whore is disintegrating, but that does not mean women are finally getting to be considered human – now we are just all considered whores. We are even expected to see whoredom as somehow empowering, so help me.

    With the increasing tendency to see all sex as transaction, women are always understood to be selling themselves, it’s only a question of where and for how much. Hence, our worth/succes is measured in the currency we can make off our sexual attractiveness on males, period.

    We have no worth as human beings and no desire (sexual or otherwise) of our own. Our sexuality is erased or never develops. We end up stunted, obsessed with being sexually desired because we think that’s all we’re good for.

    The indignity of having to whore ourselves to appeal to men who truly and unequivocally hate us is drowned out in the competition amongst ourselves.

    Any woman who questions this way of constructing the relation between the sexes is ‘just jealous’ that someone else is sexier and/or has fewer inhibitions as to what she’ll do to turn guys on. That is what it is to grow up female today. And I haven’t even touched upon the kind of monsters males are brought up to be. What a sad, sad species we are.

  217. Hecate January 11, 2011 at 1:49 PM #

    Wonderful commentary Fede. Thank you :) If I hear one more ‘third wave’ feminist tell me that whoredom is empowering, God help me! Jail would be better than having to agree with someone like that.

    Something I’ve always been grateful for, is that nature seems to look after women, even when they can’t, or won’t look after themselves. I think the fact that nature saw to it that human females have their ovulation concealed is a wonderful protective measure. So men can say whatever they want, but they can never truly define us or know what state we’re in physically. They refuse to understand our mental or emotional states, so it certainly seems like poetic justice to me. Sad that when men get frustrated, they just revert to ‘ape mode’ rather than learn and evolve.

  218. sneeky bunny January 11, 2011 at 2:52 PM #

    Ah what a bleak assessment, but one that cannot be entirely refuted.

  219. lizor January 12, 2011 at 7:50 AM #

    Fede, what a truthful accurate comment. Thanks.

  220. Sameer January 12, 2011 at 12:49 PM #

    @Hecate : I don’t understand what you meant by “ape-mode”. Are you suggesting that men are somehow less evolved than women? In that case, would you point out particular cases when this is true? Also, isn’t that what men thought of women, before the 1800s?

  221. Sameer January 12, 2011 at 2:55 PM #

    Yes, sad but true. With the advent of a culture obsessed with hardcore porn and the sex industry, its more and more common amongst guys to think of ALL women as being sexually liberated ONLY IF they are ever ready to have sex with every other guy they see, all the time. So yes, maybe the old dichotomy of Madonna/whore is on the decline, only to be replaced by looking at female sexuality through the male lens. As a guy, I try to fight it all the time, because this perception is everywhere in the popular culture, and sadly, many guys think like this. Now I don’t want to sound preachy and/or chauvinistic in any way, but I think it would be great if women just stand up and say “f*ck off” to any such shitty treatment by men. There is no need to conform to any such standard because it is clearly disrespectful and demeaning.

  222. isme January 12, 2011 at 7:19 PM #

    Sameer, a word of warning. Alot of presumably well-meaning men end up on quite a steep and slippery slope soon after they start posting here, and you look like you’re on your way to following the trend.

  223. Aileen Wuornos January 12, 2011 at 9:04 PM #

    Sameer

    Why would you blame womyn for what men do to them?

  224. gracemargaret January 13, 2011 at 8:25 AM #

    “I think it would be great if women just stand up and say “f*ck off” to any such shitty treatment by men.”

    If only it were that simple, Sameer. Telling men who are being shitty/abusive to “f*ck off” can have very serious repercussions and every woman knows that on some level. And to add to that, there are many who would say a woman who does stand up for herself is ‘just asking’ for more abuse.

  225. OutsideLookingOver January 13, 2011 at 8:25 AM #

    Fede, you have your finger firmly on the pulse. Wish I could be as clear in what I say as you are.

    As I see it, it is a male-ego-driven, socially endorsed mind-fuck that is being perpetrated against half the human race. This “sex as transaction” mindset is one spoke of that: I am seeing evidence of another one because of what is happening to one of the most wonderful women in the world: the one who decided I’d be okay to spend her life with. She is being bullied at work. All that she is putting up with is unthinkably horrible, and I am doing what I can to support her in realistic, tangible ways (helping her collect evidence and marshal her documentation so we can nail the bastard) but the most dreadful thing to deal with is this: she and her workmates seem to be under the impression (*subconsciously*? where the heck does this come from?) that somehow this whole bullying mess is their fault.
    This is like a rape victim assuming blame for what happened to her. Why does this happen? How do I deal with it? Is there something *I* can change in my own behaviour to take this feeling away?
    She is cross-examining the bully’s accusations against her for validity. I explain that by bullying his accusations are dumped into a no-go zone: he is committing a _crime_ with bullying, which renders whatever “reason” he might have completely invalid.
    He has stated in front of her and his manager that he “needed to bully” her in order to get the desired performance. My blood boils at the thought of such audacity. Be rest assured, this is coming to an end. The laws of this land prohibit this behaviour in the workplace.

    Yet, one sees it all too often.

    Bullying comes in many forms. Is it possible that women who feel they have to subscribe to the “whore ideal” mentioned above might have been bullied by society/their husbands/combination of both/peer pressure? Common sense and the innate sense of right to privacy and modesty clash with this push to so-called “sexual freedom”.

  226. Fede January 13, 2011 at 8:26 AM #

    Thank you so much, Hecate, sneaky bunny, and lizor, for your kind words.

    Sameer, I could not agree more that the standards women are trying to live up to in order to please men are, as you say, clearly direspectful and demeaning.

    And we wish for the same thing: for women to stand up and refuse to pander to men in that way.

    However, as Aileen Wuornos has pointed out, it will not do to blame women for the mistreatment they fail to avert. We must look to those who dish it out instead.

    Sameer, you said that “There is no need to conform to any such standard” – I wish that were true, but it isn’t. Women would not demean themselves if the repercussions for refusing to play along with men were not frequently so very brutal.

  227. Fede January 13, 2011 at 8:26 AM #

    If I may put in a comment in the “ape mode” discussion, I am personally quite convinced that humans are apes. We are a highly intelligent species of ape (although other ape species may disagree).

    What “ape mode” means to me, however, is the kind of behaviour that is unintelligent and governed solely by negative emotions such as fear, aggression, the will to dominate, and of course hate. This may actually be a little unfair to the other apes, because they don’t always act that way, but hey, maybe that’s a discussion for another time.

    At any rate, I don’t believe males and females are at different evolutionary stages. What I do believe is that patriarchy makes male humans revert to ape mode more often than human females. Or, as Robert Jensen puts it, patriarchy makes men crazy and stupid. This is not to say that men are inherently crazier or stupider than women. But their power and privilege over women unfortunately for all parties brings out their apey side.

  228. gracemargaret January 13, 2011 at 7:39 PM #

    When people try to interpret animal behavior it is rarely an objective observation: people will tend to see the things that support their pre-existing beliefs and block out everything else. I don’t understand why the shitty behavior of some animals is used against their entire species. Human beings can be wonderful and they can be total assholes, why can’t we accept that this is true in the animal kingdom as well? People who benefit from the idea that violence and oppression of others is natural will tend to ignore when animals are cooperative and behave altruistically.

    We are related to apes, of course, but we can’t look to ape behavior to explain human behavior. If you want to understand humans, I say, study HUMANS. I have human first cousins and if you examined their behavior you would learn absolutely nothing about me, our values and behavior are *completely* different.

    Power makes people crazy and stupid, it corrupts even those who may start out as decent people. The problem is that we have an entire culture that tries to turn the corrupting influence power into ‘natural’ or inherent male behavior, therefore excusing it. Which is total B.S.

    “Pardon my poor writing and the lack of skill to convey my opinions, just thought this was a place where I could speak my mind.” Sameer, you sound fine. I have a fear that everything I write comes off that way too.
    I may be right, but people have been nice enough not to call me on it. :)

  229. Hecate January 13, 2011 at 8:03 PM #

    That’s a nice clarification Fede, re: apey men. Perhaps I am insulting apes to put them in the same category as men :D Suffice it to say, there are few males I know who can be categorized as human, being as they are always doing the ‘crazy and stupid’ entitled ape dance. They can dance the hell away from me, that’s for sure!

  230. isme January 14, 2011 at 2:32 AM #

    “When people try to interpret animal behavior it is rarely an objective observation: people will tend to see the things that support their pre-existing beliefs and block out everything else.”

    It might be just me, but I’m also annoyed that everyobe making this argument to justify violence (seemingly usually male violence against women, but sometimes against minority groups not specifically female) that they never follow through.

    Yes, you have animals which will attack humans, and so you can extrapolate men attacking women, but when an animal attacks a human it’s hunted down and has bullets put into them. If they were proposing that, say, rapists had their status as humans revoked and were to be treated like any other dangerous animal, that’d make much more sense.

  231. Fede January 14, 2011 at 4:40 AM #

    @gracemargaret: That’s an important observation you are making about studying humans when we want to learn about humans! And you absolutely need not worry about your writing skills – quite on the contrary.

    @Sameer: There’s nothing wrong with your writing skills, either.

    @Hecate: Yes, you mustn’t insult the apes! :D But seriously, most of the bad behaviour I observe in people, in myself, and so particularly often in men, is unmistakeably human precisely because no other species are that atrociously rotten.

  232. lizor January 14, 2011 at 1:45 PM #

    “Yes, you have animals which will attack humans, and so you can extrapolate men attacking women, but when an animal attacks a human it’s hunted down and has bullets put into them. If they were proposing that, say, rapists had their status as humans revoked and were to be treated like any other dangerous animal, that’d make much more sense.”

    Hear hear.

  233. OutsideLookingOver January 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM #

    “If they were proposing that, say, rapists had their status as humans revoked and were to be treated like any other dangerous animal, that’d make much more sense.”
    It makes perfect sense. Men claim that they are acting according to an instinct that is “natural”. What is supposed to differentiate us from animals is the ability to control natural instincts. There needs to be consequences to abdicating control over one’s “nature”.

  234. Sameer January 17, 2011 at 9:51 PM #

    @Aileen Wuornos : I did not blame women for what men do or don’t do to them.

  235. Sameer January 17, 2011 at 10:07 PM #

    @isme : Thanks for the concern, but I think I’ll be fine :)

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