These Guys, After They See Why It’s Happening.
These Guys, After They See Why It’s Happening.
“Men who buy sex often think that women in prostitution have no right to make emotional demands on them. This attitude may free the men from the expectation that they acknowledge or respect the personhood of the woman they buy. “Money displaces the emotions. It frees you from that bond, that responsibility,” explained a man who was interviewed after buying sex in the United Kingdom. “The distance you get from exchanging cash for sex means that afterward you don’t contemplate the impact on the prostitute” (Spurrell, 2006).
— Farley, M., Macleod, J., Anderson, L., & Golding, J. M. (2011, March 28). Attitudes and Social Characteristics of Men Who Buy Sex in Scotland. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0022645. (p. 10 – 11)
There’s not so much this week. I’ve been posting most things individually.
- On the Newstatesman: Why is sterilisation still being forced on transgender people? I saw this doing some rounds last week but didn’t get a chance to read it. Dear Lord (the article, not my absence of chance).
- Interesting telling of street harassment here from the other side of the wall – Egyptian Man Dresses Like a Woman, Gets Harassed Like a Woman (bust).
- A first-hand account of the stigma associated with sex work (lauraslifeandthoughts).
- Why I won’t publish your comments about false rape accusations (cogentcomment) (inc. a very good critique of statistics on the “prevalence” of false accusations).
- On everydayvictimblaming: Clare’s Law – will it really help women fleeing violence?
- From secular.ie: Jimmy Carter blames religion for human rights abuses. (Addition: I agree with him. And on that note, Alternet collates some 20 really horrible quotes about women from religious leaders through the ages.)
- And, finally, another on sex work (FWSAblog): Sex work is work.
Some good points here. Submission by Finn McKay on feministcurrent:
Prostitution has long been a contentious issue in the Women’s Liberation Movement, splitting feminist individuals and groups. This is largely because the debate is often reduced to an either/or argument between what is called ‘harm minimisation’ in a legal ‘sex industry’ – the legalisation argument – and on the other side, arguments for the abolition of prostitution. Those veering towards the latter view are often accused of moralism, conservatism and, worse, of a disregard for women’s safety. It is perhaps timely then to revisit the feminist understanding of prostitution as a cause and consequence of inequality, and this post will attempt to address some of the contemporary challenges to this political stance.
What is the abolition argument?
Abolitionists are those who believe in the criminalisation of demand for prostitution, with a view to reducing prostitution, or perhaps ending it in the future. This is not just a feminist argument, many Socialists and anti-capitalists also subscribe to this view and look towards a future without the prostitution industry. Abolitionists usually view prostitution as a cause and consequence of inequality, including gender inequality; they do not view it as work like any other. This is a political stance, it is not a religious, moralistic or conservative stance.
What is the criminalisation of demand?
Many feminists, including abolitionists, are advocating what is called the Nordic approach, calling for the complete decriminalisation of all those exploited in prostitution and instead for the criminalisation of demand. In 1999 Sweden outlawed the purchase of sexual acts in prostitution, effectively criminalising punters, while decriminalising all those selling ‘sexual services’. To put it plainly – the women aren’t criminalised, but the men are. This move was in line with Sweden’s understanding of prostitution as a form of violence against women and a symptom of inequality, as well as being part of their commitment towards tackling global sex trafficking. Any such legal move must go alongside a large and dedicated financial investment in both harm-minimisation and exit services, and this is no less than what those people exploited and harmed in prostitution deserve, many of whom have been let down consistently by the very state services that should have protected them. [Rest.]
With chilling clarity, Jill Meagher’s husband has answered the question that has surely hammered him since Adrian Bayley raped and murdered his wife – how could this have happened?
“I’m aware his previous victims in previous cases before Jill were sex workers, and I’ll never be convinced that doesn’t have something to do with the lenience of his sentence,” he said on the day Bayley was sentenced. “Put it like this: if he’d raped five people like Jill that many times in that brutal a fashion, I don’t think he would have served eight years in prison.”
Meagher has given voice to an issue that is seldom spoken of in Australia – the normalisation, and acceptance, of violence against women in the sex industry.
Working at Project Respect, an organisation challenging violence against women in the sex industry, we see this everyday. In the last two years, we have made 631 visits to 71 licenced and unlicenced brothels in Victoria, been in contact with 1,709 women in the sex industry, and provided 2,637 hours of counselling. When women talk to us, two themes are constant – violence and stigma. [Rest.]
- Bust has a story on how a 13-year-old girl dies after genital mutilation. Brutal.
- Stuart Hall’s sentence is “unduly lenient” according to Jonathon Freedland (commentisfree). I thought it was disgraceful.
- We all drew breath at the pictures of Nigella Lawson being grabbed by the throat by her husband. It was a “playful tiff”, he said. What does a serious tiff look like, asks Suzanne Moore (commentisfree).
- On the same note, Alternet asks why no one stepped in to stop Saatchi. Indeed.
- Rhoda Grant (newstatesman) discusses the case for the Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex Bill.
- Bust again: a story about turning the tables on fat-shaming (possibly NSFW): The Adipositivity Project wants to “widen definitions of physical beauty – literally.” It was made to push through all the bullshit fat-hate and prove that big bodies can be strong, confident, and really really beautiful. A collection of professionally-snapped pics, Adipositivity showcases full-figured bodies in all their glory. Round, soft, strong, and naked. Not every picture is a nudie, but there’s enough boob in this post to warrant a lil’ NSFW warning.
- A conservative claims that women in the military make up rape stories for money (feministing). Christ alive.
- Finally, the Nation has some infographics on Aids prevention and anti-prostitution drives.
Same time next week, folks. (Or when I get around to it.)
On the powderroom:
Just this week, there’s been a lot of press surrounding Facebook’s crackdown on hate speech after companies threatened to pull their advertising dollars from the site. Facebook admitted it hasn’t been adequately policing reports of hate speech, particularly pages that focused on women. They put up a blog post about it last Tuesday. NSFW follows:
So I won’t say that this is ironic, but it is absolutely puzzling that just a week later, Facebook is claiming that a page featuring graphic sexual photos of prostitutes in the red light district of Sonagachi doesn’t violate their terms of service. You may be familiar with Sonagchi in Kolkata, India, as it was the focus of the acclaimed documentary, Born into Brothels. [Rest.]
I was away all of the bank holiday weekend, and slammed at work before that, so Monday’s feminist round-up is today instead. Here we are:
- What happened in Ireland some months ago is happening in El Salvador now. A woman, whose foetus has no chance of survival, is not allowed to abort. It is likely that they will both die. A 22-Year-Old Woman Is About to Die for the Sake of a Fetus With No Chance of Survival—This Is “Pro-Life?” (alternet)
- In the biggest head-scratcher of the week, Louise Mensch is at it again with her brand of feminism – Reality based feminism? (unfashionista). According to Mensch, intersectionality is out and middle-class white women ignoring their privilege is in. That’s what’ll mobilise feminism again, apparently. staavers and glosswatch offer a take-down. (Updated to add: Laurie Penny also responds. Penny is, incidentally, one of those intersectional feminists who perplex Mensch so.)
- The Huffington Post (HT sociologicalruminations) discusses a study which examined the extent of sex trafficking among homeless youth in New York City. Headlines: In interviews with almost 200 randomly selected homeless youth over the last year, researchers at Covenant House and Fordham University found that almost half — 48% in total — of those who engaged in commercial sexual activity said they did it because they did not have a place to stay. Almost one out of every four homeless young people we interviewed were at some point in their lives either victims of trafficking or had engaged in survival sex (trading sex acts to meet basic needs like food or shelter). Kids who had a history of childhood sexual abuse, who lacked a caring, supportive adult in their life, and who had no means to earn an income were particularly vulnerable to such exploitation. Since Covenant House offers shelter and care to more than 3,000 youth in New York City each year, it is possible that we work with as many as 700 youth annually who have experienced trafficking or survival sex.
- Science Daily (another HT sociologicalruminations) cites a study which has found that women lie about sex in order to conform to gender expectations/ stereotypes/ norms. The important point, here, is that the same participants (293 college students between the ages of 18 and 25) would not lie about other gender-related behaviours: “Sexuality seemed to be the one area where people felt some concern if they didn’t meet the stereotypes of a typical man or a typical woman.” [...] But for non-sexual behaviors, the participants didn’t seem to feel any added pressure to respond in stereotypical ways for their gender.”
- And another research study: 93% of college women admit to engaging in negative discussion about their bodies – “fat talk” (blogs.nytimes).
- I’m sure the “feminism is dead” argument happened again somewhere on the internet this week. I missed it (again) thank the gods but, in case you happened upon it and are looking for some refutes, have this: Four Men On Fox Explain Why More Breadwinning Moms Will Destroy Society (video, via echidneofthesnakes). Their main argument: When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and female in society, and the other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role. We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complimentary relationships in nuclear families, and it’s tearing us apart.
- By the way, you may be interested in this research also: Mothers Are the Sole or Primary Provider in Four-in-Ten Households with Children; Public Conflicted about the Growing Trend (pewcentre). Take that Four Men on Fox!
That’s it for now. Normal service will be resumed (for a while) on Monday.
A sample of 103 men in London, England, who used trafficked and non-trafficked women in prostitution were asked about their experiences and awareness of the sex industry. Almost all (96%) bought sex indoors. Many reported that they were aware of pimping, trafficking and other coercive control over those in massage parlour, brothel, and escort prostitution. These men were frequently aware of the vulnerability and risk factors for entry into prostitution including childhood abuse, lack of alternative job choices, coercive control and homelessness. The men listed effective deterrents to buying sex which included time in prison, public exposure and being issued an ASBO. They described their ambivalence about buying sex and their ambivalence about the nature of their relationships with women. Some of the attitudes expressed by the interviewees in this study have been associated with violence against women in other research.