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Archive for the ‘Prostitution’ Category

. . . is now up on Genderberg.

Kudos to Sam Berg who did a great job gathering all the writings that were selected together for this carnival. It includes essays & articles by feminists of the radical kind, activists, advocates, articulate folks, as well as analyses of popular culture.

Enjoy this new carnival, readers!

p.s. Genderberg is a forum that only allows registered members to comment there, even though the carnival post (linked above) is still visible online to everyone. So, if you would really like to comment on this carnival but you are not a member of G’berg, you can always comment here instead.

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I found this on Allecto’s blog:

sheila_jeffreys

I love all Sheila Jeffreys‘ books, especially The Lesbian Heresy. I am so glad she is speaking out on the suffering of millions of prostituted womyn and girls in her latest book on the sexploitation industries. Sheila is our sister!

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The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade, by Sheila Jeffreys, available from Amazon.

Here is a link to a radio interview with Sheila Jeffreys on the global sex trade. From the Amazon description:

The industrialization of prostitution and the sex trade has created a multibillion-dollar global market, involving millions of women, that makes a substantial contribution to national and global economies. “The Industrial Vagina” examines how prostitution and other aspects of the sex industry have moved from being small-scale, clandestine, and socially despised practices to become very profitable legitimate market sectors that are being legalised and decriminalised by governments. Sheila Jeffreys demonstrates how prostitution has been globalized through an examination of: the growth of pornography and its new global reach; the boom in adult shops, strip clubs and escort agencies; military prostitution and sexual violence in war; marriage and the mail order bride industry; and, the rise in sex tourism and trafficking in women. She argues that through these practices women’s subordination has been outsourced and that states that legalise this industry are acting as pimps, enabling male buyers in countries in which women’s equality threatens male dominance, to buy access to the bodies of women from poor countries who are paid for their sexual subservience. This major and provocative contribution is essential reading for all with an interest in feminist, gender and critical globalisation issues as well as students and scholars of international political economy.

Also another book on prostitution worth reading: Making Sex Work: A Failed Experiment with Legalised Prostitution, by Mary Lucille Sullivan; aivalable from Amazon.
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I had been keeping some posts I have been writing inside of this blog lately, before releasing them. . . when I will be ready. . .

I’d like to say that before I’d started this blog I didn’t expect things to be as they are. It is not that my speech is not free; it is that almost every time I speak out I get hits (people trashing me online). Not that I care much about that part: I know who I am; I know that I am not who they think I am. It is very sad though that, nowadays, contemporary malestream ‘feminism’ is now pretty much about promoting values that suit the status quo, without ever seriously challenging the system.

If you check out the “top 30 feminist blogs,” you will find on the list some people who have become extremely famous at trashing other women, especially radical feminists. It is true that I have noticed that, in a patriarchy, a woman gets some sort of popularity whenever her writing is, not only rife with patriarchal thinking, but also is about slandering other women (who dare challenge male supremacy), including slamming some radical women who have been victims of rape or prostitution. A male patriarchist gets off on watching a female patriarchist stalk, attack, slam and slander another woman, especially a rad fem; it means that he can rest comfortably: his *precious* patriarchy is being well-maintained. This actually hardly differs from the ( so much wider) malestream contemporary woman-hating in the mass-media and in everyday society — especially when you see/hear women hating or abusing other women.

Whenever a woman upholds misogyny, she gains some sort of a status. This, of course, does not change the fact that she is a member of an oppressed gender class which most men regard as inferior. But throwing hatred at or demeaning other women gives her some sort of popularity, at least in the short term.

Double standards apply: Once, not so long ago I was criticized for telling the truth: that rape can take different forms and that, because male sexual exploitation of women exists in a continuum, it is worth paying attention to ALL sorts of sexual abuse, not just the most egregious ones. Contrary to what some folks claimed, I was NOT misrepresenting the word “rape”; I was merely elaborating on the different dimensions of sexual exploitation. Yet, please do not forget that when it is men who really use the word “rape” casually, as in the ‘fun’ of a videogame, or as in the language of their BDSM ‘games’, or as in sexist jokes or fantasies, hardly anybody notices, let alone call them out on their misogyny. “It is merely a fantasy, it doesn’t hurt anybody,” “It’s just fun” or any other similar garbage the patriarchists would have us believe. Well, in real life, these “fantasies” and “fun” actually hurt other people and rape is not funny; rape harms women!

Andrea Dworkin was misrepresented and demonized. In the words of John Berger, she was “perhaps the most misrepresented writer in the Western world.”. . .

Because of her subject, because of the substance of her ideas. . . Andrea Dworkin faced especially naked misogyny: “woman hating,” which is the title of her first book. How she was treated is how women are treated who tell the truth about male power without compromise or apology. It is why few do.

— Catharine MacKinnon, “Who Was Afraid of Andrea Dworkin?,” New York Times, April 16, 2005.

Moreover, as reported on Heart’s blog lately:

“Linkfluence” is invited, you know, the company that offered us the “Top 30 Feminist Blogs”. Linkfluence’s goal is to “make finding influential communities and following their conversations easier for the greatest benefit of corporations, consultancies or survey institutes.” Just what we need! An organization working to make our feminist conversations most beneficial to corporations! As references, Linkfluence lists multinationals Nestle, Nike and Roche, among others. So I suppose we should not be surprised that among the “Top 30″ are pimps, procurers and those who blog for them, anti-feminists and misogynists. All of that notwithstanding, when companies like this create lists like this, the naive and trusting as well as the anti-feminist and capitalist are going to LINK to them which is what the real goal is. The goal is not to carefully study the influence of feminist bloggers. The goal is to rank blogs according to how dogged they are in linking — who cares WHY they are linking; perhaps they are linking in order to repeatedly launch attacks on feminists, as is very true of several on the “Top 30 list”, and which is always a good way to drive up hits and linkage; blogosphere attacks on women are such good times – because that way companies like Linkfluence and Fem 2.0 garner maximum linkage to themselves and therefore they begin to gain exposure and to influence in heretofore untapped markets.

[Thank you very much, Heart, for the amazing work you put in this wonderful piece and the other one. (I am kinda sad that Heart will not be blogging the same way anymore).]

Often, when I blog, I get some people in comments (which I block) who are stubborn enough to try to shove malestream values down my throat, like “women choose to enjoy torture,” “prostitution is a wonderfully ‘feminist’ thing,” etc, etc and other similar propaganda, blah-the-fucking-blah. . . I am not surprised. It is hard to be open-minded to radical feminism when you live in a patriarchy. You constantly get malestream beliefs reminded to you. They keep controlling you. I used to feel that way. But some people really need to understand that I have been fed malestream values, I have heard them, my whole life; I hear them everyday, which is why I’d rather protect my blog, and whoever comes here with friendly intentions, from the same ol’ patriarchal porn/prostitution/rape apologies I hear every single fucking day.

The language of “choice” and “agency” from the ‘sex work’ standpoint perfectly suits the economic politics of neo-liberalism. Spokeswomen for Coalition Against Trafficking in Women have previously explained that pro-prostitution advocates have organizations that take money from the sex industry (e.g. source: Mediawatch audio podcast). I disagree with the pro-prostitution position which unfairly accuses us of not listening to women who say they love their ‘sex work’ job. It’s not that we’re not listening to them; it’s just that we happen to have understood some simple facts. Women are not valued for their talent or intelligence in this patriarchal society, but for their bodies or how ‘good’ they are as “sex-objects” who service men, hence obviously we understand that some women, more than others, will conform to this patriarchal plasticized ideal of ‘how we should be’ and they will promote the ‘sex’ industry. But we have been informed about the ongoing abuse of other women. And we have concluded that the prostitution industry is inextricably linked to this abuse and there are simply no acceptable losses, as Biting beaver once explained. Therefore, our priority must be to understand what prostitution really is: an appalling abuse of women’s rights to their own bodies and self-determination.

The worst thing is that people who harass rad fems online probably know that our little feminist community is at the margin of patriarchal society. Patriarchists’ views are mainstream; but that does not seem to be enough for them: they need to persistently attempt to silence the few dissenting voices, the few heretics. We, radical feminists, are heretics, mainly because we despise this whole culture and all its diverse forms of misogyny and we will not agree with views that purport that most women or all women enjoy being degraded in every possible ways. Female psychology is a lot more complex than this and women have restricted autonomy within the boundaries of patriarchy.

Lately, I seriously thought about blogging ‘Comments Off’ (with just leaving the survivor thread open for survivor to speak out) as I’d read about the fact that there may be some advantages in doing so. But I changed my mind: I might now use some of those hostile comments sent to me (before deleting them) as a way of observing the raw aggressiveness in supporters of porn & online stalkers to prove my point on the negative effects of pornography.

One thing is for sure: the people who persistently stalk me online will never make me regret to have created this blog. I have full control over my blog and I fully enjoy the luxury of having my right to push the ‘reject’ button whenever someone comes here with totally unfriendly intention and merely a goal of trying to pick up a fight in comments. I will release more and prospective comments will be thoroughly moderated as well as monitored. I will recognize people who are not genuinely interested in radical feminists views and who are merely trying to pick a fight. . .

Comments are closed on this post in order to (at least, temporarily) avoid online harassment. People who are friendly readers of my blog can always check out my Contact Page.

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British radical feminist, Julie Bindel, wrote an article in memory of Norma Hotaling, a formerly prostituted woman, a US campaigner against the sex trade and the founder of the SAGE project, Standing Against Global Exploitation – whose mission is “to improve the lives of individuals victimized by, or at risk for sexual exploitation, violence and prostitution through trauma recovery services, substance abuse treatment, vocational training, housing assistance and legal advocacy.”

This from Julie Bindel’s Guardian article:

Norma Hotaling, who has died aged 57 of pancreatic cancer, was internationally renowned for her advocacy work in the US on behalf of victims of sexual violence, in particular prostitution and trafficking. The Florida-born campaigner founded a world-famous programme to deter men from paying for sex.

Hotaling herself had endured the worst type of violence. Shortly after the death of her father, when she was three years old, she was sexually abused for the first time, with further occurrences between the ages of five and seven. She went to school in Palm Springs, but by the time she was 18, she was on the streets selling sex and soon became a heroin addict.

In 1989, after 21 years in prostitution, Hotaling decided she had had enough. She turned herself in at the nearest police station and insisted that she be put in jail, where she stayed for six weeks, almost dying during drug withdrawal. She soon began to devote her life to helping other women. First working with Aids sufferers, in 1992 she founded Standing against Global Exploitation (Sage), a San Francisco-based centre offering services to help women out of prostitution.

Furious that street prostitutes continued to be arrested and blamed for their circumstances, Hotaling decided to try to educate people living in neighbourhoods most affected by the trade. She began meeting regularly with community leaders, explaining that the women were not there out of choice, but that the kerb crawlers were. It was then that she decided to do something about the demand side of prostitution.

Ironically, it was her collaboration with the police officer who had arrested her countless times in the 1980s for soliciting, Lieutenant Joe Dutto, that enabled her work with sex buyers to take off. She contacted him after hearing of his concern about the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in the city, and, by then armed with a degree in health education from San Francisco state university, offered her skills.

Hotaling devised a programme that was to become known as the John’s school, which came to be replicated across scores of cities in the US, Canada and the UK. Formally known as the First Offenders of Prostitution Program (Fopp), charges against first offenders were dropped if they paid a fee and attended a day-long course, including sessions run by former prostitutes, on the realities of the sex trade. Most of the fees went to help women attend the Sage programme.

“I was scared,” she said about the first time she ran Fopp. “I knew they would hate me. I never thought in my wildest dreams they would get anything out of it. At the end of the programme they were all crying.” Very few men who attend Fopp are known to reoffend, and its existence has enabled a change in emphasis to focus on the demand for prostitution as the cause of the problem.

In recognition of her work with Sage and Fopp, Hotaling received more than 20 awards, including Oprah’s angel award in 2001, presented to her on air by Winfrey herself. She also advised governments on how to tackle trafficking and prostitution and addressed conferences all over the world.

Asked in 1997 how she managed to work with women who have complex problems, she replied: “It’s like caring for orchids. They die so easily. But you take the dead-looking stem to someone who knows orchids and that person can look at the root and say, ‘Look! There’s still a little bit of life here.'”

Hotaling never married. She is survived by her mother and brother.

• Norma Hotaling, campaigner, born 21 July 1951; died 16 December 2008

And another wonderfully courageous feminist has died. I feel a deep grief…

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… is now up at Women’s Life Matters & Women’s Lives Matter.

It has a section called Sex-Trading = Slave-Trading?

Other features are called Race Divide, Gender-Crossing, Women’s Global War of Terror, etc, which can be found on the main page and contain links to many posts on different topics.

Many thanks to Rain. She did a great job gathering all those articles.

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It goes on and on… I found this video on YouTube. It truly saddens me. No wonder I don’t turn the TV on anymore; I guess I wanna partly protect myself from all this malestream misogynistic mess. Here are some examples of pornographic imagery seeping into malestream advertising and fashion ads:

These images include women in submissive positions, rigidly conforming to stereotypically feminine beauty standards; these women are also being bruised, threatened, attacked, roughly grabbed, tied up, fragmented into body parts, represented & treated as if they were mere pieces of meat. On some of the pictures, it even looks as if they were dead and photographed at murder scenes.

This video is merely one example that demonstrates how the sexualized torture, abuse and murder of women have become “sexy” and commonplace in our culture.

George Bataille once said:
“Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaning it”
— Bataille, in Death and Sensuality, p.140.

Beauty is admired in a patriarchy, but only so it can be defiled, debased, violated, tortured, etc.

In this pornified culture, women must be beautiful. They must abandon their humanity through conforming to feminine roles, traits, beauty standards, etc which have been taught to them by male-supremacist culture. And then, once they conform to the system, they must be treated as most men view them: as passive sexual objects.

Of course, that is not to forget that most women find it very hard to conform to all the ‘airbrushed’ feminine ideals that the advertisement industry sells them everyday. And the price we pay, in a gender-based woman-hating culture that constantly shapes our attitudes, buying habits, viewpoints and the ways we view the world, is high. As this trailer for “Killing Us Softly 3” (a Media Education Foundation film) shows:

A longer version of this MEF film “Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women” can be found if you click here.

A sidenote: Sheila Jeffreys has just released a new book on the ever-expanding sexploitation industry. It is called The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade. You can find an article about it here.

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