Blog of Feminist Activism

The feminist activism of charliegrrl and co

Ban men from buying sex

Posted by charliegrrl on December 21, 2007

Last night I was thrilled to see on the news, Harriet Harman and co, wishing to make it illegal to pay for sex. They hope to reverse the model of criminalising prostitutes, and instead criminalise the men who pay for sex. About bloody time!!! They said the Bill will be discussed in the New Year.

The idea that men can purchase women and girls in the same way as that they buy a take away pizza, is deplorable. The fact that newspapers advertise massage parlours, saunas, escorting etc is irresponsible (they are soon to discuss regulating this). The fact that so many women and girls outside of Britain are trafficked into Britain to meet the insatiable demand of men to have sex with a woman/girl whenever they want- well it’s dispicable.

However, as much as I was delighted to hear this news, I was also saddened by seeing women speaking out against such a move to criminalise punters (English Collective of Prostitutes etc)… They state that making it illegal for men to pay for sex, will push prostitution underground and make it less likely to help trafficked women, as punters will be less likely to provide police with info.

On newsnight lastnight, a former government minister, Denis MacShane, argued that men should be criminalised for purchasing sex. He said why should men be able to purchase women, just because they are men…and that no woman he knows would be willing to sleep with 30 men a day to make a living. The opposing speaker was the Green Party’s candidate for Mayor of London, Sian Berry. She dribbled on about how the answer to helping sex workers is to liberalise prostitution, not criminalise punters. Mr MacShane could not understand how a woman could be speaking in favour of men purchasing women for sexual gratification. And neither can I. This fustrates me so much to see women speak in favour of men having the right to purchase women for sex, as if they don’t want to do anything to upset these ‘loyal customers’. Liberalising prostitution is basically giving the green light to men who want to buy sex and allows the capitalist sex industry to expand to meet the greater demand. But it wouldn’t be the prostituted women making the money, but the pimps behind the industry. Sian Berry says that sex workers don’t want men to feel afraid to purchase sexual services- if the demand is reduced, so will the sex worker’s money. I can understand this, but I think to remedy this, if we reduce the demand for paying for sex, we will have to also tackle the issues that lead women and girls to become prostitutes: criminalising men paying for sex would have to go hand in hand with more exit-prostitution projects, supported housing projects, supportive drug treatment programmes, tackling poverty, child abuse and allowing trafficked women and girls to remain in Britain with recourse to public funds, amongst many other things. I wholeheartedly support the drive to criminalise men paying for sex, but I hope that this drive will bring about more support for prostituted women and girls as well.

PS, just found this great flim via Witchy about trafficking, with Emma Thompson in.

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89 Responses to “Ban men from buying sex”

  1. All I can say is I wholeheartedly agree with the above statement. We must challenge the widespread belief that men as a group should have the right to buy women’s and girls’ bodies solely for the purpose of male sexual gratification. But men who buy women not only believe the woman’s body belongs to them they also inflict serious sexual injury and torture on prostituted women.

    Prostitution is an abuse of all women’s and girls’ human rights. Sweden’s legislation does include strategies and provisions to help prostituted women and girls exit. Criminalising the male buyers is a start but we must also educate both men and women it would seem because buying another human being who is predominantly female is slavery. Which demonstrates that slavery was not abolished but is widespread and sanctioned institutionally and individually.

  2. “However, as much as I was delighted to hear this news, I was also saddened by seeing women speaking out against such a move to criminalise punters (English Collective of Prostitutes etc)… They state that making it illegal for men to pay for sex, will push prostitution underground and make it less likely to help trafficked women, as punters will be less likely to provide police with info”

    Since when have John’s concerned themselves that the girls/women they are using are trafficked? Do they have surveys demonstrating that this is a significant factor in the liberation of a trafficked prostitutes? The last survey I read (sorry don’t have link, but I’ll look for it) cited that John’s couldn’t care less if the woman was trafficked and their biggest fear is being “named and shamed”

    Anyway, I’m delighted that this is to be discussed in the new year, and yes I also agree that there needs to be many other multi-disciplined agencies involved for women wishing to exit. Also, as Jennifer has pointed out we need education surrounding the deeper issues involving the view that it is acceptable to endorse the buying of human beings (predominately female) for sexual gratification.

    Sweden doesn’t lead the world in gender equality for nothing.

  3. Rebecca said

    It is good that is becoming part of public discussion – about time.
    As a survivor of prostitution, I find it deeply hurtful that the English Collective of Prostitutes always defend the male punters. Men who use prostitutes are highly unlikely to see the women and girls that they used as human. They will not care if they are trafficked or not. After many men that used prostitutes are capable of great violence. Many have deep hatred of women. Thse men should not be protected.
    For there to be a proper exit stratgedy for women and girls to leave prostitution, I hope the govnernment is prepare to put adaquate money behind their words. Personally, I know that prostitution has a massive effect on the rest of your life, often it is important to reform your whole life in order to exit. For example, the trauma from prostitution is intense – so ther should expert psychological help.
    I fear that as must things with governments and ideas to have radical changes with prostitution, it just words without action.
    Sorry this so long. But I want prostitution to become a dinosaur. I can dream, anyhow.

  4. polly styrene said

    The argument about ‘pushing prostitution underground’ has always puzzled me. Do those who use it really think women in the ‘sex industry’ currently have such a good time when it’s above ground? (or whatever the opposite of underground) is. If so can I suggest they take a walk around any area of a major city where street prostitution takes place. But if you’re a woman don’t stand still, because if you do you’ll be kerb crawled, even if you’re waiting for a bus. The whole argument is nonsense.

    The ideology of prostitution is that women are sub human commodities for men to buy, and that ideology poisons the whole of societies that tolerate it. Do the ECP think we should make murder legal to stop it being driven underground, or that we should scrap the minimum wage just because some people could then have poorly paid jobs they wouldn’t have otherwise. No civilised society condones the exploitation of more than half its population.

  5. Mickie said

    I also saw Newsnight, and I think it’s really unfair to say that Siân Berry is “in favour of men purchasing women for sexual gratification.” She is quite clearly opposed to this practice, but recognises that criminalisation of either party makes prostitution more harmful to the women involved, puts barriers in the way of harm reduction, and increases the stigma involved, making it harder to leave prostitution and get another job.

    In response to Polly, prostitution in this country is not “above ground.” If it were, we wouldn’t have crazy laws like a seven-year sentence for brothelkeeping, making it more legal to work on the street, where a prostitute is 10 times more likely to be attacked, than in a premises.

    The law’s job is to protect; it is not a philosophy or a religion, and we should not criminalise things just because they are wrong – we should criminalise when and only when it will protect the vulnerable. Criminalisation in prostitution harms the vulnerable.

    I thought Berry’s concern for the actual effect on real women contrasted sharply with McShane’s squeamish moralising, apparently happy to leave prostitutes to whatever fate if he could wash his hands of it.

  6. Of course we should be concerned with the real women invovled in prostitution- we shouldn’t criminalise the women, but the men. I don’t think this adds more stigma to women in prostitution, but stigma on the men. Banning men from buying sex is not about religion or squeemish prudish morality- it’s precisely about protecting the vulnerable from harm. It is about saying to men that buying women and girls for sex is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated. The proposals signal a shift in thinking about prostituted women- from whores, bad women etc…to vulnerable women who deserve help. I think if we were to ban buying sex tomorrow this would harm women in the industry, but if a ban is really thought through, providing support for women to exit etc, then this will benefit women. The benefits may not be overnight, but we have to put an end to slavery and exploitation of women and girls.

    I don’t think it is necessarily true that women are safer in brothels rather than the streets- they can still be pimped and enslaved under a roof.

    I think Berry came across as very uncritical of the sex industry and of the men who pay for sex.

    We have to work towards a future for women and girls, that doesn’t involve selling our bodies to survive.

  7. Rebecca said

    I wanted to say that it is not true that prostituted women are safer in indoors prostitution than street prostitution. The public are more likely to see street prostitution, and may see the harm.
    The majority of prostitution is indoors, and is highly controlled. In much of indoors prostitution, the prostituted women are encouraged to perform violent sexual acts for extra money. Most women that work in indoors prostitution have little or no control over which punter that they have to go with. She is often pushed to go with more violent punters, for extra money or fear of violence from their “employer”. There is little regard for the safety of a prostituted woman.
    I do believe that making prostitution “controlled” through making it indoors, is about concern for the welfare of prostituted women. Rather, I believe it an easy way for the owner of place that has indoors prostitution to make a huge amount of money.

  8. polly styrene said

    The current way in which prostitution is criminalised harms the vulnerable because it targets the victim rather than the exploiter which is why adopting the Swedish model would be beneficial.

    Actually law does have an ideological function as most academics in the subject will recognise. Drink driving wasn’t considered socially unacceptable until it was made illegal – similarly in the 1964 a conservative candidate in Birmingham ran with the slogan ‘nigger for a neighbour, vote labour’ – can you imagine David Cameron using that today? Perhaps anti race hatred laws have something to do with making racism unacceptable. Law says what is and isn’t socially acceptable, it isn’t just there so criminals can be punished because most of the time they aren’t, let’s face it.

  9. I know very little about law, however surely there is some relationship between laws and morals. Moral rules and legal rules have some similarities and from what I can see the law does overlap or at least run parallel with morals whether we like it or not. Murder, theft, incest, race relations and so forth also have “moral” content. Saying this I do recognise there are several differences between law and morality. Firstly, in general, the law applies to everyone in society whereas morals are more of a personal opinion and can apply to individual groups of people. So if law and morals or as Polly has said “socially unacceptable” actions do intersect on some levels I don’t understand how law can be all about ‘protection’ without involving principals and ethics.

  10. Mickie said

    “The current way in which prostitution is criminalised harms the vulnerable because it targets the victim rather than the exploiter”

    I totally agree with this, and I’d really like to make clear that my support for Berry’s position is conditional on her support for the total decriminalisation of prostitutes themselves (which, from what I’ve heard and seen elsewhere, she does).

    We may disagree on the criminal status of prcurement, but I think we all agree that the present situation, where the women are more at risk of prosecution than their clients, is completely unacceptable.

    On Polly’s other point, activist legislation has a chequered history. There have been drink-driving laws since 1908, and the current UK limit was introduced in 1967, but the current social rejection of drink-driving is much more recent. Similarly, criminalisation has not come close to eradicating drug use, but it has – to note a parallel with prostitution – increased the harm that drugs cause. And does anyone even remember that taping programmes off the TV is a crime?

    Sometimes, activist legislation really works. Often, though, social ethics are more complicated and not led by Hansard or the statute book. I believe, for example, that there is a genuine social consensus that trafficking women for sex is not only wrong but one of the most terrible crimes of our age. So I suggest that we have an opportunity to get close to totally wiping it out in this country at least. I think that’s such an important goal that there’s no way I’m going to support a law that makes criminals of the most important witnesses – men that go to a prostitute and begin to suspect she may have been trafficked – thereby making it nigh-on impossible to get them to come forward.

    The law must, of course, be based on principles and ethics. But its job shouldn’t be as a leather-bound record of our principles. Just because something is not a criminal offence does not mean we are saying it’s right. And just because something is a criminal offence does not mean society will recognise it as wrong.

    What law should be is a tool to achieve the social ends our principles and ethics demand. They demand that prostitution is reduced as far as possible, but they also demand that any prostitution we fail to eradicate – and I think we can all agree we are as unlikely to wipe it out as we are with drugs or indeed any crime – causes as little harm to the women involved as possible. Those are conflicting ends in many cases, but I think the best balance between them is to be found in decriminalisation and regulation of both buying and selling sex.

  11. I remain unconvinced that a significant amount of prostitute using men would concern themselves in regards to procuring a trafficked woman.

    This recent study shows that prostitute using men’s greatest fear is “fear of disease or concern that their partner might find out“ And only 2% said that the threat of jail, naming and shaming or losing their car or driving licence would stop them buying sex.

    http://www.cwasu.org/publication_display.asp?type=1&pageid=PAPERS&pagekey=44

    “It’s Just Like Going to the Supermarket; Men Buying Sex in East London” concludes that the mass of internet pornography, the sexualised images of women in lads’ mags such as Zoo and Nuts, and the proliferation of sex tourism and lap and pole dancing clubs, have made young men view sex as a commodity. More than 40% of the respondents were under the age of 29, suggesting that men are buying sex at a younger age than previously recorded. And the interviewees were unimpressed by threats of tougher sanctions. Just 2% said the threat of jail, naming and shaming or losing their car or driving licence would stop them buying sex. The main deterrents were fear of disease or concern that their partner might find out”

  12. Rebecca said

    I have just reading an interesting site from Canada. It is Ex-Prostitutes Against Legislated Sexual Servitude (X-PALSS). They have a long-term campaign to abolish prostitution, and in the short-term to protest against a new legal brothel in Vancouver.
    I agree with them. especially as they say that prostitution is not inevitable. I feel there is no need for prostitution, only a want from men that hate women.
    Part of their campaign is to attack the concept that if the working environment for prostituted women and girls is made “safer”, it will just an ordinary job. This is nonsense, for whilst men are given permission to buy women and girls for their own sexual wants -there will be a blind eye turn to any violence done to the prostituted women and girls.
    Whilst prostitution is an option for men, prostituted women and girls will be deny human rights to safety and dignity. Many will view prostituted women and girls as not fully human – that they “choose” any violence that may happen to them. Therefore, there is often no point in reporting any rape, battery or mental violence, as it is consider “part of the job”.
    Prostitution can only be survived by numbing out the the male violence and their pure hatred of women. Unfortunaly, this deadening of emotions destroy the ability to feel the good in life and to be able to be trust.
    Whist prostitution is legal, many women and girls will deeply damaged, many may be killed. This is unacceptable. For feminism to forget these women and girls by not working towards a radical change for prostituted women and girls. To allow the buying and selling of women and girls for men’s sexual fantasties is barbaric. Making prostitution illegal is my dream. I wonder why so many other feminists do not back abolition.

  13. Dan Factor said

    I think such a law would criminalise men paying for sex on the street (ie: curb crawlers).
    I am not sure it will criminalise men who buy sex from saunas, massage parlous etc.

    I believe there are a lot of issues connected with the causes of prostitution. I wonder if we should be tackling those issues first rather than just punishing people.

  14. Dan Factor said

    “The idea that men can purchase women and girls in the same way as that they buy a take away pizza, is deplorable.”

    That’s a seperate issue based on personal belief. I am not sure if that’s the reason why the government are considering these measures.

  15. Fanny Blood said

    Men don’t NEED cunt. They WANT cunt. ANY cunt.

    They can fuck off and die.

  16. Well one of the ways in tackling ‘the issues’ is to criminalise men who buy women in order to enact sex on them. Prostitution is about women’s human rights. The right for all women and girls not be purchased as men’s slaves. Therefore, criminalising male buyers would be a step in the right direction. But there that would restrict men’s sexual rights and their belief they must have sexual access to women.

  17. Cassie said

    The fundamental problem is the notion of equality itself.

    And one of the fundamental errors in the “discussion” has been to compare prostitution to a service. Is there any other arena where we discuss the sexual act itself as a service? When we talk about basic biology and evolution, I don’t recall the words “service” ever coming up. When discussing sexual health and sex education, again, “service” is not something I generally hear. Why is this?

    The goal of prostitution proponents is to diminish the sexual aspect for the women while in the same sentence asserting that sex is so important to the man that without it he is unable to function as a civilized member of society (just look at porn proponents who insist that porn is responsible for the reduction in rapes in the US and other countries–their argument not mine).

    Furthermore, if you accept the notion that sex work is like any other job, how far are you willing to see that through?

    Career Planning that includes options on prostitution directed towards high school grads? College courses in prostituting?

    How about women being rated as is done with books and other consumer goods on sites like Amazon.com? Daughters, wives and sisters prostituting on the side for a little extra cash, perhaps on the weekend? A few sons too? Hell, everybody should do it, it’s just another job, right?

    And how far do we go to make sure these women aren’t getting raped and abused? How do we envision protecting women behind closed doors? Technology, perhaps? Wouldn’t these measures just drive up prices and create yet more underground demand?

    And shouldn’t johns also be subjected to STD testing as well? It is afterall the john who
    1) creates the demand for paid unprotected sex
    2) will introduce infection back into the general population

    What would the burden of proof be in a court of law when a sexual assualt takes place? Rape cases are notoriously difficult as it stands.

    If you cannot come up with a satisfactory way in your mind to ensure that each and every sex worker would be protected in society just like any other “worker”, then you do not truly believe in equality. And to put the desire of one group of people over the unmitigated harm that will be caused to another group—well…God help us all.

    Ps
    keep up with the great work on this blog!

  18. Lara said

    You know I am reading all of these wonderful comments from smart anti-slavery/pornstitution feminists and I just discovered that the book I have just enthusiastically purchased (Inga Muscio’s “Cunt”) totally supports prostitution and suggests that all women should prostitute themselves in order to “celebrate” their sexuality.
    What a fucking downer.

  19. Lara said

    Needless to say I am going to try to return the book to Border’s tomorrow…. can’t find the receipt…

  20. Richie said

    Is there actually any evidence that legalisation makes things safer and helps control the industry? Because the arguments for legalisation are convincing in theory and I can see why people think it’s a good idea, but the reality of the situation in places where it is legalised says otherwise. I mean, it was legalised in the state I live about 20 years ago, and right now the legal : illegal brothel ratio is something like 1 : 4, and trafficking and child prostitution increased exponentially. So when I hear people say “Oh, if it were legal, there wouldn’t be a black market in sex slaves because the brothels would be regulated”, it really rings hollow.

  21. stormy said

    I’m all for criminalising the Johns, decriminalising the prostituted, financing exit strategies, as well as asylum for the trafficked. It has to be a no-brainer.

    The main ones harmed/affected by such proposals are… the Johns. Boo hoo, cry me a river.

    ‘Sex’ is a want/desire, NOT a need. People don’t die from lack of sex.

    Sheila Jeffreys has written much on the legalisation of prostitution in the state of Victoria. One link:
    http://mc2.vicnet.net.au/home/catwaust/web/myfiles/leginvic.htm

    Very succinct Fanny Blood. Mwah! 😀

  22. Doubles said

    I don’t understand. It’s illegal whether she is selling or he is buying. Except it isn’t and never has been. It’s illegal to solicit, that’s all.

    So this new law is to introduce a crime where none previously existed.

    Shifting the “blame” onto men is no big surprise though. So to make it criminal to buy should therefore be extended, if it is indeed the saviour you claim.
    Make it illegal to buy booze and cigarettes under age, but not illegal to sell.
    Make it illegal to buy drugs, but not illegal to sell.

    Shall I go on, or do you get how stupid it is yet?

  23. We need to be looking at whether “we think it’s right in the 21st Century that women should be in a sex trade or do we think it’s exploitation and should be banned”.

    I’m afraid the wants of the John is neither here nor there. It does not figure in a feminist analysis, just in the minds of men who want to (ab)use prostituted women.

    It’s not the legal status of prostitution that
    causes the harm, it’s the prostitution itself and the 1999 Swedish law describes prostitution as a human rights violation against women. To which I, many other women, men and feminists agree. So yes I do think it is a healthy civilisation that routinely reassess it’s laws and implements changes if these will help society and individuals.

    I also do not find it useful to compare live women to inanimate objects such as cigarettes and alcohol.

  24. stormy said

    I just came across this link, about the rehabilitation of the prostituted women in Ipswich after the murders in 2006.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/crime/article/0,,2227971,00.html

  25. chewitt said

    1. I don’t see why men shouldn’t buy sex from consenting women – to ban it would mean ‘ nerdish’ unattractive men or those in celibate marriages would be barred from having sex like pre 1967 gays – Labour has inisisted on gays having full sexual equality so why shouldn’t straight men .
    2. I’ll bet none of the female contributors on here earn over £100 per hour like expensive escorts – how are you going to provide these women with equivalent salaries ?
    3. It is extremely arrogant to dismiss the ECP woman’s argument in this way – it proves all your arguments stem from a loathing of men not care for prostitutes.

  26. Men can always offer a “helping hand” if they are so worried about males deprived of sexual contact. Think of all the money you would earn!

    http://www.womenlobby.org/site/video_en.asp

  27. chewitt said

    Gay men don’t have the same trouble getting their leg over dearie – they log on to gaydar and get it for free until they’re into their dotage

  28. polly styrene said

    This has been posted here before but it bears repeating – it’s the story of the Broad Street pump. In 1854 Dr John Snow realised that people drinking from the water pump in Broad Street in Soho, London were getting cholera. As the origins of cholera weren’t established at the time there was no point telling people not to use the pump – it was convenient and the nearest alternative pump was some distance away. So he TOOK THE HANDLE OFF THE PUMP.

    If you want to stop something you have to do something practical to stop it happening, not just tell people it’s bad, or investigate the causes of it. Criminalising men buying sex won’t stop it completely, but it will make them think twice, and it will make them a lot easier to prosecute if they have sex with trafficked women or underage girls. This has to be combined with strategies to help women exit prostitution but a multi layered approach is needed. And another point is that men who (ab)use prostitutes are nuisances who harass women generally, as anyone who has ever lived in a red light area will tell you.

  29. Encolpius Smith said

    @Chewitt…

    This bunch generally seems to believe that any woman who willingly engages in porn or prostitution has, even when there’s no evidence whatsoever of coercion or trafficking or the like has been brainwashed by the evil white male dominance and/or is a traitor to their gender.

    Some people really need to stop emoting and look at the evidence.

  30. Oh look, there’s lots of straw men/red herrings aka sock puppets. Oh well what’s new?

  31. chewitt said

    Polly’s point about the pump handle seems more appropriate to provide an argument in favour of prohibition of cigarettes or alcohol or indeed fatty foods than sex.

    I was under the impression that sex with trafficked women or under 18s is illegal anyway – you might as well ban all sex in order to clamp down on paedophiles

    Please also note that I have found just one male escort site called Cherry Gents which you are all welcome to search for – do any of you think that these men are being bought and sold like pizzas and that women should be banned from buying their services ?

  32. chewitt said

    I’ve now watched the video link that Sparklehorse put in her post . It tells me that life can be rough for women in prostitution in Britain and much more needs to be done to enable women to leave and get ‘respectable’ jobs and that the police need to take violence more seriously . However , this does not justify banning all purchase of sex altogether and it does not answer the the issue of upmarket call girls and their civilised customers

  33. Cassie said

    Chewitt says: “However , this does not justify banning all purchase of sex altogether and it does not answer the the issue of upmarket call girls and their civilised customers”

    Even where prositution is flat out illegal, the trade survives—I would even say flourishes, especially the upmarket one. No one can really stop two people from exchanging sex for money in private, no more than gun laws keep people from procuring guns and killing each other, and no more than drug laws keep people from doing drugs.

    But that doesn’t mean that prostitution deserves to be a sanctioned industry open to the full exploits of the free market.

    Let’s be clear on why prositution is in of itself exploitative. It has less to do with the act of sex, but rather how men and women are viewed in society. It has to do with a global movement of the poor and uneducated individuals to provide services for those who are better off. It has to do with a high demand for sex with minors.

    The immigration of men to countries in the Middle East and in the US, for example, to take low wage jobs thus leaving families behind, also has contributed to demand and has fostered some of the most exploitative conditions out there for prostitutes.

    So if you work on things like immigration reform (e.g. preference to families), combating child prostitution, advancement of gender equality, overall it’s a step in the right direction.

    Someone mentioned “male for female” escorts. Does their existence reflect gender inequality too? Let’s see.

    – How many cases have their been where male escorts have been targeted by women serial killers?
    -Do male escorts have to depend on someone else for security purposes? Why or why not?
    -Do male escorts have pimps? Why or why not?
    -To what extent are male escorts targeted for rape by women?
    -To what extent do male escorts worry about being forced to have unsafe sex?
    -To what extent are male escorts trafficked?
    -Is there high demand from females for low cost, unprotected sex with male minors?
    -Is there a vocal movement among male escorts to tackle injustices and to reform their trade? Why or why not?

    Here I am not condoning “male for female” escort services and I am not asserting that none of the situations I mentioned don’t happen–just trying to get folks to think about what factors put people at risk for harm.

    Look. If sex is supposed to be something between two “equally” consenting adults, then why are women frequently called whore, ho, slut, b*tch, cu*t, stupid, etc in much of mainstream porn?
    Why does much of porn act like sex is a punishment for the woman? And why don’t more men speak out about this and the name calling? It’s like porn has a free pass to do and say whatever, with very little open criticism from the people who consume it.

    Society needs to address gender inequality first. Then perhaps you can reopen the question on prostitution.

  34. stormy said

    Charlie, think my last comment went into spam.

  35. Fanny Blood said

    How many men would actually have a relationship with/marry women who are prostitutes? I think that is a VERY valid question.

    Miss you too, Stormy!!!!! (and all of you amazing Fems.) X

    x

  36. chewitt said

    Fanny’s question is quite reasonable – ideally a man would not want this , and would hopefully support and assist his partner in quitting , although it would depend on the financial situation .

  37. Blackstone said

    “All I can say is I wholeheartedly agree with the above statement. We must challenge the widespread belief that men as a group should have the right to buy women’s and girls’ bodies solely for the purpose of male sexual gratification. But men who buy women not only believe the woman’s body belongs to them they also inflict serious sexual injury and torture on prostituted women.”

    I whole heartedly agree, and as a male, I am disgusted, but not completely shocked of Berry co-signing to liberalize prostitution and not penalize men.

    You can not expect women in positions of power to hold feminist views or such. Women in power tend to be more conservative than their male counterparts, the same goes with most minorities in power. This is do to many reasons, but being conservative allowed them to have more upward mobility than radical or more progressive counterparts.

    I really enjoy your blog and i will post something similiar on mine in a week or so after doing more research on sex trafficking, especially in Africa

    cheers

  38. Cassie – word 🙂

  39. Kate the Great said

    Ahh the entitled have somehow eaked their way in.

    To them I would like to quote the wise words of one Sam Berg, an activist in Portland who has lost many prostituted friends. She too used to be pro-sex-industry before she saw the effects of it on the people she cared about:
    “In theory it sounds good to say sane, reasonable people should have the right to sell a kidney for $500 or more if they choose to. But opening the door to body organ selling would not lead to nearly as many middle class American white men selling organs as other populations whose social circumstances can’t seriously be said to allow a free, uncoerced choice, and it would open the door for ‘brokers’ who exploit poor people.”

    Guess what? It’s illegal to sell a kidney on that basis, and if one does, it is the buyer who is usually punished for doing so.

    The issue of prostitution is a VERY gendered and racial issue, so please stop trying to obscure it as if we wouldn’t know the difference. We can talk about male prostitutes, but an overwhelming majority are women, and an overwhelming majority of johns are men. FACT. If you can find any statistic that says it is about equal, please show it to me, otherwise, stop pissing in my ear and telling me it’s raining.

    ALL women have a stake in this because it has a larger effect on women as a whole. So trying to tell me to be fine with the idea of men renting a woman who agrees to endure sex should really check their entitlement at the door. (Indeed, enduring sex is what it is, because “having sex” would imply mutual sexual desire. She cannot be said to personally desire each and every man she allows to penetrate her. She does it for the money.)

  40. Kate the Great said

    Ahh the entitled have somehow eaked their way in.

    To them I would like to quote the wise words of one Sam Berg, an activist in Portland who has lost many prostituted friends. She too used to be pro-sex-industry before she saw the effects of it on the people she cared about:
    “In theory it sounds good to say sane, reasonable people should have the right to sell a kidney for $500 or more if they choose to. But opening the door to body organ selling would not lead to nearly as many middle class American white men selling organs as other populations whose social circumstances can’t seriously be said to allow a free, uncoerced choice, and it would open the door for ‘brokers’ who exploit poor people.”

    Guess what? It’s illegal to sell a kidney on that basis, and if one does, it is the buyer who is usually punished for doing so.

    The issue of prostitution is a VERY gendered and racial issue, so please stop trying to obscure it as if we wouldn’t know the difference. We can talk about male prostitutes, but an overwhelming majority are women, and an overwhelming majority of johns are men. FACT. If you can find any statistic that says it is about equal, please show it to me, otherwise, stop pissing in my ear and telling me it’s raining.

    ALL women have a stake in this because it has a larger effect on women as a whole. So trying to tell me to be fine with the idea of men renting a woman who agrees to endure sex should really check their entitlement at the door. (Indeed, enduring sex is what it is, because “having sex” would imply mutual sexual desire. She cannot be said to personally desire each and every man she allows to penetrate her.)

  41. wweb said

    She doesn’t have to desire every single man, it’s a job. If she can’t handle that then quit and go work at mcdonalds or burger king. And whoever asked whether men would have relationships/marry prostitutes/strippers: ASK any stripper or prostitute just how many proposals for relationship they get. I’ve witnessed it many times in a strip club, guys trying desperately to get a stripper to go out with them.

    This of course does not apply to trafficked women. But the sex industry is not to blame for this, inadequate law enforcement is the problem. They could easily dry up the trafficking movements around the world. Look at how they dealt with problems of “terrorists” passing through airports etc. Pretty amazing how since 9/11 there hasn’t been a single attack in NA even after we’ve invaded 2 countries. Even here in Canada, recently a bunch of muslim guys at my uni were arrested on “terrorist” charges because they might have said the words “muslim” and “hate usa” in a single conversation over the phone. Isn’t it amazing how they can do that, monitor every single phone convo. for keywords then storm in for any hint of a possible plot.

    They certainly got the tools to stop this illegal trafficking of women. It’s just low on their priorities list. Look what happens to any place where the law suddenly breaks down: rise in rapes, rise in minor prostitutes, rise in trafficking etc. It’s unfortunate and it happens everywhere in the world, but it’s not the fault of men and you shouldn’t blame them. Any and every society needs law enforcement to keep these things out.

  42. sammanberg said

    It’s unfortunate and it happens everywhere in the world, but it’s not the fault of men and you shouldn’t blame them. Any and every society needs law enforcement to keep these things out.

    Law enforcement in every country is 80-100% men, which means you agree that men are to blame, you just don’t blame men who are johns as much as uniformed men who are ignoring (or are paid by pimps to facilitate) widespread rape slavery of women and girls.

    Your disingenuous statement that men trying to finagle freebies from women whose time they otherwise have to pay for proves johns think fondly of strippers is idiotic enough to stand on its own, but anyway:

    From a 1998 study of men who use prostitutes by Sawyer, Rosser, and Schroeder, 89% of men disagreed with the statement “If I were thinking about getting married, I wouldn’t mind marrying a prostitute.”

    95% disagreed with the statement “It would be OK if my daughter grew up to be a prostitute.”

    ASK any stripper or prostitute just how many proposals for relationship they get.

    Okay, let’s ask strippers about the ‘relationships’ men in strip clubs offer. According to strippers in a 1998 study by Kelly Holsopple:

    100% of the women report verbal harassment in the stripclub. 89% were called “bitch”, 78% were called “whore”, 72% were called “pussy”, 61% were called “cunt”, and 61% were called “slut”.

    100% of the women report being propositioned for prostitution, with 78% propositioned every day by stripclub customers.

    78% of the women were stalked by men associated with the stripclub. 67% were followed to their cars against their wishes, 56% were followed home against their wishes, 39% were called at home against their wishes.

    I don’t expect a man who has to pay money so beautiful women will pretend they give a shit about his existence to understand the difference between “relationship” and “economic coercion into sexual submission”, but this post was written for my anti-john homegirls and not you.

  43. Kate the Great said

    I’ve decided to leave most of your arguments as I’m hoping any self-respecting feminist will see your “it’s a job” response and your “it’s not the men’s fault” argument for the fundamentally sexist ideas that they are.

    If you did any research into our side, I’m sure you’d discover why.

    – A fellow Canadian.

  44. Tumbleweed said

    Or to put it another way… I copped out.

  45. chewitt said

    Selling a kidney or other organ is not equivalent to sex – people don’t sell their kidney after a Friday night out drinking …

    Apologies to not responding to Cassie for her questions about male escorts , most of which were entirely reasonable and would get the ansewers no or not – this reflects the additional risk of violence street prostitutes have over upmarket escorts , leave upmarket escorts as the only form or prostitution and you will get rough parity between men and women as far as you can get .

  46. chewitt said

    Still blogging away – do bear in mind that men make up the majority of many jobs where there is a risk of physical attack or injury eg the Army for top starters plus fire and police services , tough factory and building jobs – in all these cases many are doing something they don’t fancy at risk of physical injury for their family’s sake – dammit even boxing is not planned to be banned despite the fact that violence is intrinsic to it…

  47. Charliegrrl, you wrote:

    “However, as much as I was delighted to hear this news, I was also saddened by seeing women speaking out against such a move to criminalise punters (English Collective of Prostitutes etc)…”

    Don’t worry, Charliegrrl! Most of those so-called “sex workers” are in fact madams; and I bet you already know that! There’s also the fact that many prostituted women deny the harms and injuries that they have sustained, due to their split personality disorder that often occurs with their PTSD. There’s a great amount of research on that: see Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress by Melissa Farley — have you ever read that book? (if not, I highly recommend it) Also, it is worth pointing out pimps have so many cruel brainwashing techniques, by the way…

    Anyway, I would love to see johns (punters) being criminalized, like in Sweden, rather than legalization. Trafficking in women and children has considerably decreased in Sweden since their 1999 legislation. And the rape rates (of non-prostituted women) have gone up in Nevada (U.S.) and Victoria (Australia) where prostitution is legal — so much for the myth of the “cathartic” effect, huh?

    Like you, I would love to see buyers and pimps criminalized, and prostituted women decriminalized! There is no reason why men should have the right to buy and abuse women! There is NO excuse for prostitution! Our sisters should be free to live their lives free from sexual exploitation!

  48. This of course does not apply to trafficked women. But the sex industry is not to blame for this, inadequate law enforcement is the problem. They could easily dry up the trafficking movements around the world. Look at how they dealt with problems of “terrorists” passing through airports etc.

    Terrorism affects men, men’s governments and men’s property. Trafficking harms females that‘s why they don‘t give too hoots about addressing this misery. Over the last decade, certain UN agencies, various governments, and some NGOs have promoted the policy that prostitution is voluntary and sex trafficking is forced.

    Yet, the reality is that prostitution and sex trafficking are habitually co-dependent. In 2004, even Amsterdam’s mayor admitted that the “Tippelzone,” Amsterdam’s infamous prostitution zone, had become a sanctuary for traffickers and hazardous for women. Sweden has a strong record on prostitution: the country criminalised the buying of sexual services seven years ago after a long-running campaign by feminists, supported by many of its female MPs. Since then, trafficking into the country has decreased.

    Prostitution is not “sex work;” it‘s a human rights violation. It exists because substantial numbers of men are given social, moral and legal authorisation to buy women on demand. It exists because pimps and traffickers prey on women’s poverty and inequality. It exists because it is a survival strategy, not a choice, for millions of the world’s women.

  49. chewitt said

    But inadequate law enforcement does seem to be the problem behind the fact that Johns can find the trafficking brothels via local paper ads , whereas Insp Knacker apparently can’t , or not very easily – if the Police put their back into it trafficking could be wiped out. Most jobs are a survival strategy, and contain significant personal risk in some cases , see my previous post for these.

    Having said that , far more should be done to effect a transition for women to move from prostitution to a job they would prefer , or to return to their own country – if eastern europeans can come here and find UK jobs , prostitutes should be able to be assisted to do the same.

  50. chewitt said

    It’s still the case that the ECP opposes Harman’s proposal , and they after all represent prostitutes ….

  51. delphyne said

    Are you a john Chewitt, one of the one in ten UK men who has paid to use a woman’s body for sex?

  52. sammanberg said

    But inadequate law enforcement does seem to be the problem behind the fact that Johns can find the trafficking brothels

    No, the problem behind men finding brothels with enslaved women and girls being raped in them is the fact that men are looking for brothels where they can pay to rape women and girls. When men rape it is not the fault of other men for not stopping them, it is the fault of every man who chooses to rape.

    Your rush to paint men as the real victims of violent injustice exemplifies why laws ending men’s demand for prostitution are necessary. As your examples of police officers, soldiers and sportsmen prove, almost all perpetrators of violence are male, so focusing on the perpetrators of violence is where energies should rightly go.

    Johns are perpetrators of violence. Those johns who do not relish abusing prostituted girls themselves pay pimps commit the violence that keeps girls available for the johns to masturbate into or onto.

    The average age a girl starts being prostituted is 13. Career experience is a cumulative thing prized among customers and managers, but exploitation is best perpetrated against the youngest, most inexperienced, poorest people that can be found. The average age a girl starts being prostituted is 13. Prostitution is exploitation.

  53. chewitt said

    Never have actually , but have been in now mainly celibate marriage for quite some time, so I have some sympathy with , say a professional guy who might visit an independent upmarket escort occasionally

  54. delphyne said

    That’s what masturbation is for Chewitt. What makes you think you or any other man is entitled to pay to get sexual access to a woman’s body?

  55. chewitt said

    The fact that such women make themselves available at high cost – what makes you think that some of these women at least are not doing it entirely voluntarily ?

  56. The average age into prostitution is 13-14 y/o

  57. Maggie, I don’t wish to see prostituted women criminalised, and I’m suprised to hear you do..? Is this a typing error..?

    ***Maggie’s comment above was changed upon her request to the correct meaning- that prostituted women should be ‘decriminliased’***

  58. I know Maggie from another board. I think she missed out “not”

  59. Oh, yeah, Charliegrrl, this is a typing error! I’m so terribly sorry!!! I IN FACT meant to say: “I would love to see buyers and pimps ciminalized and prostituted women decriminalized”, but it’s not what you’ve received?!! This is a typing error, oh, I’m so sorry. Could you correct it, please (and also publish this comment — if you can)???

    I don’t wish to see prostituted women criminalized either, don’t worry, Charliegrrl!!!

  60. Cassie said

    Has anyone every considered that supporting prostitution encourages the conditions in which men are compelled to seek out prostitutes in the first place?

    By maintaining a system (e.g. economically, socially, etc) where women are strongly incentivized to exchange sex for money, you are perpetuating the same dynamics which plays a strong role in creating “the demand” in the first place.

    Let me explain: You are basically advocating “the idea” of that a group of people (mostly women and girls) should exist, whose sole worth to society
    1) is that they are available for the sexual gratification of males; and
    2) that they will and should sell themselves without regard to their own sexual desires and wants (it’s just a job, right? ) or mental and physical well being

    Other women will continue to have a strong incentive not to be associated with any behavior that even remotely resembles being sexually “free”, for fear of being slut-shamed, labeled whore, etc.

    At least in the US, any resemblance of more relaxed behavior in recent years on the part of young women is most likely due to alcohol (and to some degree media, e.g. girls gone wild). One must ask why many young women seem to be able to express themselves sexually only while under the influence. The fear of being labeled a whore is that strong. Think of all the insults used to describe and humiliate a women. They are all sexual. This is not by accident.

    Please consider that much of the sexual differences between the genders is indeed social and should not be ignored. Yes, there are differences in sex drive and mate selection, etc, but looking in the past 100 years, a lot has changed. So these differences are becoming less and less important because we are not at the mercy of our environment as we were in cavepeople days.

    The thing is that, if you want to convince pro-prostitution folks of the our position then they need to see an alternative. And that way is equality.

    PS: As far as dangerous jobs are concerned, in all fairness let’s not forget about the REAL “oldest profession” in the world.

    “In the United States, the maternal death rate was 17 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000” -source wiki.

    half a million women worldwide died during or shortly after childbirth in year 2000 alone–source WHO

  61. delphyne said

    You didn’t answer my question Chewitt. What makes you think you have the right to purchase a woman’s body?

  62. Hey Maggie, I edited your comment- I thought it must have been a typing error! 🙂

  63. Oh, now I can see you publish my comments somewhere above.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to say that. What a goof!!! I meant to say: Like you, I would love to see buyers and pimps criminalized, and prostituted women DEcriminalized! There is no reason why men should have the right to buy and abuse women! There is NO excuse for prostitution! Our sisters should be free to live their lives free from sexual exploitation!

  64. Thanks Charliegrrl!

  65. wweb said

    “Terrorism affects men, men’s governments and men’s property. Trafficking harms females that‘s why they don‘t give too hoots about addressing this misery. Over the last decade, certain UN agencies, various governments, and some NGOs have promoted the policy that prostitution is voluntary and sex trafficking is forced.”

    Well I did say that unfortunately trafficking is low on their priorities list. Also note the majority of trafficking is not for sex work but for physical labor and in this area it’s roughly 50-50 men and women. Do you wonder how Dubai is able to maintain development at such a high and consistent rate? It’s because of the thousands and thousands of cheap labor from mostly south asian countries. Men die every single day due to heat and exhaustion basically working as slaves like the slaves that built the pyramids. You never hear about them do you? No, it’s always some natasha or some such who thought she was going to become a waitress but became a whore instead.

    “Yet, the reality is that prostitution and sex trafficking are habitually co-dependent. In 2004, even Amsterdam’s mayor admitted that the “Tippelzone,” Amsterdam’s infamous prostitution zone, had become a sanctuary for traffickers and hazardous for women. Sweden has a strong record on prostitution: the country criminalised the buying of sexual services seven years ago after a long-running campaign by feminists, supported by many of its female MPs. Since then, trafficking into the country has decreased.”

    This is why proper law enforcement is necessary. They need to root out these gangs that are trafficking in women, drugs, arms etc. These gangs don’t give a shit about who and what they are selling, they just want to make their money. The problem usually is that police are often working with the traffickers either indirectly (by accepting bribes) or directly engaging in the trafficking themselves. Sadly this type of corruption is wayy too common especially in South Asian countries (which is where I’m from).

    “Prostitution is not “sex work;” it‘s a human rights violation. It exists because substantial numbers of men are given social, moral and legal authorisation to buy women on demand. It exists because pimps and traffickers prey on women’s poverty and inequality. It exists because it is a survival strategy, not a choice, for millions of the world’s women.”

    For the vast majority of people in the world, their jobs are their survival strategy. No, I don’t have the right to forcibly use a womens body but I do have the right to accept sex in exchange for money (or whatever) as long as both parties agree to it.

  66. Kate the Great said

    Let us also remember that prostitutes, often former prostitutes, have spoken out against this idea. Sweden even noted that the women in the industry talked very differently about their abusive situations when they were in them as opposed to when they were out. Sadly, even women who have worked in legalized brothels have spoken out against it, been threatened off of their blogs, and — if the abusiveness of some of the trolls I’ve seen is any indication of the ways in which people will work to keep these women silent — have probably been threatend otherwise.

    As for Vancouver, a great deal of our media speaks for “sex workers” as if all of them are in favour of legalization. As mentioned above, there is one group of formerly prostituted women who are speaking out against the plans:
    http://sisyphe.org/article.php3?id_article=2830

    An Aboriginal Women’s group in Vancouver is also speaking out as well on the grounds that prositution in Vancouver has very sexist and racist underpinnings.

    I would like to suggest that if it is SO easy to just get another job if she doesn’t like it, why don’t women get other jobs in the face of beatings, and such a high mortality rate? Why would we need to change the laws surrounding prostitution if we didn’t feel women had no other options? Why are we just sticking them in a brothel instead of helping them find more options? Why are we taking women at their word when they say they “freely choose” to stay in a profession where they are subject to horrendous abuse?
    I would like to know what it is about the job that would be considered so wonderful as to risk ones life on a daily basis?
    “Flexible hours” isn’t enough when you consider how much is at stake.

    Could it be they feel the decision is out of their hands in one way or another? That they could not get another job whether due to financial pressures, coercion or otherwise? Why do so many statistics suggest a majority of prostitutes want out?

    That men assume this is what a majority of the women would CHOOSE to do in the face of death, is highly egotistical. Women are not so desperate to be penetrated by you that we will risk our lives for it.
    There are other reasons.

    Can we work on addressing those issues instead of just slapping a band-aid solution on a very glaring problem?

    I am not interested in creating a system that will turn pimps into “sex business entrepreneurs”, and johns into legitimate customers, which is what I suspect the move is more often about at it’s very core.
    This is why the men argue so strongly for this case than any other women’s issue I’ve seen (besides porn). It’s awfully easy to hide behind a guise of concern for women’s safety, but it’s awfully apparent that’s not where their real interest lies. It’s more about arguing against what they view as someone challenging them on their entitlement to treat women like commodities. “But the women want it! and they are opressed for their sexual choices just like us!”
    Trust me, it’s not the same.

    I speak as someone with a prostituted relative: please stop.

  67. chewitt said

    I did actually answer Delphyne – my right stems from my individual liberty to do what I want with another consenting adult , which is what most upmarket escorts appear to be . Of course , were I to actually vist one , I would check with her that she did not feel she was being exploited in any way .

  68. RGM said

    Well aren’t you a fucking humanitarian. Are you actually saying that before paying a woman to let her fuck you, you’d go through the routine of pretending to give a shit whether or not she’s there 100% of her own volition, or if there’s something more nefarious involved in her presence and activity there? Are you actually saying that if she said that she wasn’t there 100% of her own volition, you’d leave? Bear in mind through all of this, female consent is already irrelevant to you, since you’ve gone there to fuck. If the first woman says she’s there because she has to be, you’ll just keep going until you find one that’s there because she wants to fuck.
    Let’s take a closer look at what consent actually means. It can be defined as agreeing to participate in an activity, free of any and all external pressures. If you were to go into one of those “upmarket escorts” that you’re so fond of talking about, and ask one of the women if they would like to have sex with you, they would say no. It is only through the introduction of money–an external pressure–that she agrees to let you have sex with her. You have thus purchased her consent. But doesn’t this very fact negate the concept of consent? Since you’re such a wonderful upstanding humanitarian, shouldn’t she just want to drop her clothes for you at your mere appearance in the room? And yet, you, even you, special great guy Chewitt, would have to introduce an external pressure in order to convince a woman to have sex with you. This is a perversion of the idea of consent, and it is carried out on a regular basis, every single day, by fine upstanding citizens such as yourself. Most of these people, though, aren’t anywhere near as humanitarian as yourself. They don’t care whether or not that woman is there because she was pimped out by an uncle when she was 10, whether she’s addicted to drugs and has to feed that habit and the only way she can get money is to spread her legs, and they certainly don’t care if there’s a man who will take 90% of the money given to her as “protection” and then proceed to beat the shit out of her for not making more. But you, you’re special, because you care.

  69. delphyne said

    Why do I think that your imaginary visit to an “upmarket” (that seems very important to you) escort is one of your wank fantasies, Chewitt? It’s certainly v. creepy the way you talk about it.

    Your problem is that you refuse to recognise that paying to use a woman’s body for sex is an act of exploitation in itself. It’s disgusting to want to stick your penis into a woman who has no interest in you apart from the amount of money you will be able to pay her. It’s an abuse of her humanity, and of yours in fact although you seem to be pretty cut of from it at the moment. Why would you want to have sex with a woman who doesn’t want to have sex with you and probably finds you repulsive? In what way is that sexy? You know that some prostitutes describe their work as being paid to be raped and those are the ones you’d probably argue aren’t exploited.

  70. sammanberg said

    If everything is even-steven between the man and woman in your scenario – if both of you are equal adults consenting to sex – then explain why the man is expected to fork over hundreds of dollars and explain why the woman is expected to take it.

    Before answering, reflect on the social, racial, and economic dynamics of the miniscule number of wealthy, white, First World women who sex tour the world’s most impoverished countries in order to sexually exploit the huge disparity of power that men in all countries can easily enact without leaving their neighborhoods.

  71. wweb said

    Kate The Great: I know a few prostitutes too. Back in high school when I was a wannabe 50 cent (selling drugs), I got to know a few prostitutes. They were doing it for the same reason I was selling drugs, we didn’t want to work at mcdonalds like all the other losers. Now, this was a dangerous job, I regularly got beat up because some guy decided he didn’t want to pay me, or because I was selling on some other guy’s territory.

    I knew the risks but I decided it was worth it. Same with those girls, they knew the risks in prostituting themselves but for them the money they were making justified it. Seriously stop making them out to be the greatest victims ever.

  72. RGM said

    Oh good grief, it’s the old biological imperative argument rearing its head. Men do not have higher sex drives than women, simply because they are men. Sure, individual men will have higher sex drives than individual women, but by that same token there are individual women who have higher sex drives than individual men. However, you are making a false argument to suggest that all men have higher sex drives than all women. You are also making an absurd statement that because all men have higher sex drives than all women, men should be entitled to buy women’s bodies so that they can have their access to that sex at any time they so desire. No and again no. If men have such out of sync high sex drives, they can satisfy that without having to resort to reducing women’s bodies to a thing to be purchased and then discarded.
    The desire to purchase and then discard women’s bodies is not biological nor is it inevitable–it is done because some men believe that they deserve access to any woman’s body at any time for their own sexual gratification, because that is the role for which they believe women are best suited. They are thus “less than” fully autonomous human beings, built to serve men’s sexual gratification. That is what your argument implies, and not too subtly at that. Imagine this hypothetical situation, because unfortunately the relativist argument is the best way to break through the entitlement barrier that most men put up when it comes to the subject of prostitution and pornography: if some scuzzy guy in school came up to your 14-year old daughter and offered her twenty bucks for a blowjob, and she said yes, would you simply say, “Oh that’s OK, you consented to it,” and go about your day as though everything that happened were perfectly? Or would you suddenly realize that, hmm, maybe this whole idea of prostituting women (note the verb!) isn’t so hot after all? If you choose the latter, you’re one of two things: if you apply that conclusion only to your daughter, you’re a hypocrite for supporting the idea that other people’s daughters should be whored out (again, note the verb) but your precious little flower must and should be immune from it; if you come to the conclusion that because it is wrong for your daughter to be prostituted, it is thus wrong for all women to be prostituted, congratulations, you might just be a feminist. If you choose the former, you’re a terrible human being for having absolutely no empathy for your daughter being introduced to the Hobbesian world of prostitution. Take your pick.

  73. Wweb I know more than just a ‘few’ prostitutes. I worked with these women/girls and their substance misuse addictions for six years. And no, not all prostituted women use drugs – but a hell of a lot do.

    I knew the risks but I decided it was worth it. Same with those girls, they knew the risks in prostituting themselves but for them the money they were making justified it. Seriously stop making them out to be the greatest victims ever.

    Now seeing that 92% want out of prostitution and 67 percent meet criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD where’s this level playing field with other ‘occupations’?

    http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/prostitution_research/000020.html

  74. The real issue of course is men’s continuing belief they are entitled and have the innate right to sexually abuse/use women and girls. This is the real issue and it is one which causes so much discomfort and anger to so many men. How dare feminists demand men must cease believing the myth being male ‘naturally’ entitles them to have sexual access to any woman or girl.

    Men are not biologically programmed to need a constant fresh supply of women and girls in order to obtain their sexual releases. No man died from not penetrating a woman. But innumerable women and girls have suffered terrible suffering at the hands of men who think they have the right to sexually torture and abuse women and girls.

    Reality check – male sexuality is not biologically driven and women are not men’s sexual toys. Women like men are human and no one has the right to sexually enslave another human being. Claims prostituted women consent are deliberate tactics designed to normalise male sexual violence and also exonerate male culpability.

    Note also no longer does the media refer to the Trafficking of Women And Girls for Sexual Exploitation. Instead we constantly hear about human trafficking. Conveniently this term once again obliterates the fact it is 90% women and girls who are trafficked not men and boys. Could it be that if we referred to trafficked women and girls for sexual exploitation, some might wonder just who is fuelling this demand in female human beings and why are there not similar numbers of men being trafficked into sexual slavery. After all men’s invisibility is paramount because Johns do not want their sexual exploitation made public. When men are routinely raped, sexually abused and sexually tortured by women then of course there would be a huge outcry but since it is only women – who cares. Certainly not those men who believe it is their right to buy women’s and girls’ bodies in order to rape and torture. Because of course, prostituted women are not human they are dehumanised and it is much easier to abuse a dehumanised being. After all they are simply whores and sluts. But strangely enough the definition of slut and whore fits those males who believe male sexual expression means they are entitled to penetrate innumerable women’s and girls’ bodies. Because of course men can never be sluts or whores – just women because the definition is male-defined and male-centered. How convenient.

  75. Cassie said

    Prostitution and porn: what do they have in common?

    RMG hit home with the point about consent. I think that a more fitting definition of prostitution should include also the exchange of money for the sexual consent of another person.

    I hear many men argue that prostitution is just sex between consenting adults. But I wonder if there’s more to the notion of consent?

    Well, it’s funny because I’ve learned to look at what people do, instead of what they say. And one way to gauge what men really think is by looking at what kind of porn is marketed toward men. The beauty (and ugliness) of free markets is that they are extremely efficient in pinpointing the wants and desires of the consumer.

    Flash forward to 2007. How is consent portrayed in mainstream porn; and I’m not talking about the “all participants were over the age of 18 disclamer that’s in fine print” I’m talking about consent as a character and plot element.

    Basically there are two themes that seem problematic:

    1) The first is a complete exaggeration of consent. It is one where women are put into quite absurd circumstances, which most people would consider painful, humiliating or just plain risky (not all STI testing is fullproof and methinks we are going to see an increase in throat/anal cancer in the not too soon future)

    So basically the idea that is being sold here is not just the absurdity of some of these acts, but the “idea” that woman is not just eager to consent but she is often begging for it. And OF COURSE these are the women that are labeled whores, sluts, bitchs, etc… because she “actually” likes it.

    2) The second theme regarding consent is the premise where the woman is being tricked into giving up her consent. This is actually a key element. I think a show called ‘bang bus’ started this, and based on its popularity others soon followed. But basically, the idea is that men drive around trawling for “unsuspecting” random women to screw.

    They then coax her and then they agree on some sum of money. So here they are hitting home that the women really doesn’t want to have sex, but they have broken down her defenses, by coaxing and the promise of money.

    Then the punchline is, that once they are done screwing, she gets kicked out quite uncerimoniously, without the promised money and sometimes in a humiliating way. Then off to find the next girl.

    The allure here is not just the sex, but the idea that you’ve “pulled one over” on the stupid girl. She consented to sex for money, but in the end got no money. If consent was based on recieving the money, and she got no money, in the end how is it consentual? I’m not questioning whether the actual “actors/actresses” were paid–I know it’s an act. I’m questioning the allure of these of scenarios to the viewer.

    Porn producers above all are about profits. They don’t mass produce stuff that doesn’t sell. So I think the discussion regarding consent with regards to prostitution needs to be a bit more sophisticated and honest. And kudos to RMG for reminding us to question why female consent is often obscured or disregarded.

    And I can say only one good thing about porn: it is that it is most likely giving us quite a lot of valuable information about things that few men are willing to confess.

  76. kromos said

    I have to start by admitting that I’m somewhat out of my element here: I’m a heterosexual male; I live in Minneapolis in the United States; and I’ve never found much logic or equality-oriented value in the anti-(hetero)sex arguments of radical feminists.

    If I Correctly understand Denis MacShane’s proposal, the only individuals who could be held criminally liable for engaging in a prostitution transaction are heterosexual males. There would be no penalty for any female who bought or sold sex. Nor would it be illegal for males to purchase sex from other males. Clearly, the purpose of such a law is little more than to lend political support to the demonization of males or, at least, of male heterosexuality.

    I can see little real value that could come from such a law. If one wishes to argue that prostitution is, by definition, a process of exploitation; then the men and women who utilize male prostitutes would seem to be getting a free ride in that process.

    In The United States, prostitution is illegal under all circumstances (with the exception of several counties in the state of Nevada—where prostitution is heavily regulated by the state). Yet, in most large cities, including here in Minneapolis; prostitution enjoys a de facto legal status as long as it takes place indoors and doesn’t involve any ancillary crime (such as trafficking, drugs, tax evasion, etc.).

    While I believe that prostitution is an acceptable, if not an unwise, choice when free of coercion; I realize that most of you reading this find the act of prostitution itself to be indefensible. I’m not looking to argue that point, however, I do think that many of the indignities and dangers that are prevalent in prostitution can be addressed by a policy of thoughtful legalization.

    By properly legalizing prostitution; the economic and physical power that is currently held by pimps, corrupt police, and violent customers can be transferred to the prostitutes themselves. Legalization with the intent of creating a safer and prostitute-controlled environment will do far more for the women (and men) working as prostitutes than will draconian state control of its citizens sexual behaviors.

  77. Lara said

    So what are you really concerned with Kromos?? The defense of men’s privilege and access to women’s bodies (as you ranted first about “man-hating” radical feminists)? Or the rights of prostitutes? I am thinking it’s the former as any whining about “what about the meeeennnnnn?” is telling me that you are concerned with protecting men’s privilege first and foremost before anything else. Your stupid arguments (if they can be called that) just prove our points even more.

    “By properly legalizing prostitution; the economic and physical power that is currently held by pimps, corrupt police, and violent customers can be transferred to the prostitutes themselves. Legalization with the intent of creating a safer and prostitute-controlled environment will do far more for the women (and men) working as prostitutes than will draconian state control of its citizens sexual behaviors.”

    Oh really? Prove it.
    Lookey! How cute, you’re using the “radical feminists are sexual nazis!” argument, how avant-garde and unique :/
    (To my fellow rad fems: I love when they introduce their brainless vitriol by saying “im a heterosexual male….blah blah blah”, it’s like they’re already letting us know that they’re the sole arbiters of all that is right for the world).
    What makes you think you know everything sweetcakes?

  78. Lara said

    And I consider the existence of prostitution to be the very evidence of a “draconian state control of its citizens sexual behaviors.”

  79. kromos said

    ‘And I consider the existence of prostitution to be the very evidence of a “draconian state control of its citizens sexual behaviors.”’

    Lara, Are you suggesting that the state mandates individuals to become or to visit prostitutes?

  80. kromos said

    “What makes you think you know everything sweetcakes?”

    I did exactly what you did, I expressed an opinion. That can hardly be interpreted as an assertion that I “know everything”

    I’m not sure where Nazism comes into this argument, but the fact that that you are so threatened and/or enraged merely by my sexual orientation… to the point of engaging in unwarranted personal attacks suggests that, on a personal level, you have an obvious gender bias. Expressing that bias has nothing to do with any legitimate discussion of the questions surrounding prostitution and what its legal status should be.

  81. kromos said

    “sweetcakes”

    ???

  82. Cassie said

    Kromos,

    1) “If I Correctly understand Denis MacShane’s proposal, the only individuals who could be held criminally liable for engaging in a prostitution transaction are heterosexual males. ”

    I think at least part of the intent of the law is to crack down on human trafficking, which, as another poster put it, is 90% women and children with a heavy emphasis on the sex trade. The overwhelming demand is from heterosexual males.

    2)”Clearly, the purpose of such a law is little more than to lend political support to the demonization of males or, at least, of male heterosexuality.”

    Demons come in many forms. Government makes all kinds of decisions regarding female heterosexuality, such as what constitutes sexual consent and who gets access to reproductive services from prevention (e.g.plan B) to abortion and under what conditions.

    In the US and now in my new home Italy these laws exist and I don’t agree with many of them, but for the most part they “claim” to have the purpose of mitigating harm (e.g. to a wrongfully accused rapist or to a fetus). In both instances women are affected because any women under any circumstance, at any time can be raped or can find ourselves in need of an abortion for a dizzying array of reasons. We are all affected.

    For this prostitution law to have an affect on men, you just don’t solicit a prostitute. It’s that simple. How is that demonizing all of male heterosexuality?

    3) “Legalization with the intent of creating a safer and prostitute-controlled environment will do far more for the women (and men) working as prostitutes than will draconian state control of its citizens sexual behaviors.”

    Child pornography and child prostitution are illegal and prosecutable to the full extent of the law in most countries. Did these two ills magically disappear? Why not? Because the DEMAND is still there. If men really cared about safety for women in the sex trade they would focus more on what it is about the demand side that lends itself to exploitation. Its a valid question, that I have not seen anybody honestly address.

    Also, you should check out what’s happening in the Netherlands. The Dutch are as controlled and safe about prostitution as can be. Check it out on the BBC.co.uk; they just had an article up the other day about having to close down some brothels in Amsterdam’s famed redlight, because pimping and traficking just can’t be stopped.

    The only thing demonizing hetersexual males is men’s own behaviors and the refusal to look inward and to at least ask questions. I keep hearing thing like, “it’s just sex” or “it’s just another job or service”, yet when that service is threatened they, as you put it, feel like it’s an attack on the whole of male heterosexuality.

    Clearly having even just the option of prostituting a woman means a lot more than the importance you place on the reality that many women are exploited and harmed, even when all of the safeguards are in place. Yet we are the radical, illogical ones?

  83. chewitt said

    Oh , maybe this law isn’t such a bad idea after all – hopefully there will be a decrease in trafficking and the more dangerous end of street and brothel work . Let’s hope the police don’t take the easy way out and set up officers as escorts instead of tackling the traffickers

    I must be in a conciliatory mood ….

    Chewitt x

  84. cat said

    Here here and I agree 100%. I recently saw the figures for criminal behaviour – assaults, muggings, rapes, breach of the peace in Edinburgh since the Toleration Zone moved and it had increased so the way to reduce it is to tolerate men abusing women. No way!!

    I fully support prostitutes need all the support and advice they can get but we have to come down like a ton of bricks on men who want to exchange consent for money.

    On the criminalising of men – it can be done in all different types of way. In Scotland we have Diversion from Prosecution. Men who agreee to attend a course of sexual exploitation could be diverted from prosecution and don’t even need to get a criminal record. You would only prosecute persistent offenders.

    The sooner the better it comes about the better.

    I think the film Lilya 4 Ever won most of my waivering friends over to criminalising men.

    The Scottish Socialist Party (in Scotland) has a position to criminalise the buyers of sex and to provide resources to the sellers of consent/sex.

  85. chewitt said

    Probably most of you won’t have seen Fiona Mactaggart’s article where she says law will be non-gender specific , so that does pull in rent boys , male escorts etc . Pretty much fits in with what I have said above on this .

  86. stormy said

    As RGM said above, buying consent negates consent.

  87. […] Charliegrrl has written a post entitled “Ban Men from Buying Sex,” which is her reaction to the proposed adoption of the ‘Swedish Model’, which […]

  88. Andrew said

    I am male, 44, USA, fully support this idea wherever, whenever it is proposed. If you can’t figure out that this is a crime, you are either uneducated as to the reality that underlies it, or you need more help than I can give. Ending the demand is the only way prostitution will go away; ending the demand will also entail some revamping of gender relations in the long run. Education is needed, but so are public and significant disincentives (actually a good educational tool).

  89. M. said

    Whenever such commodities are discussed there are always -male- hypocrites who identify as “progressive” or “left” who either haven’t the slightest clue about capital and how it impacts upon the value of consent and the contruction of sexualities which socialise and reinforce misogyny or they simply – and conveniently- suspend these principles to accommodate something irreconcilable with socialist thought. These f- imbeciles are as bad as their rightwing coounterparts.

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