Feminist resistance to prostitution
Posted by charliegrrl on February 18, 2008
Feb 11th saw the first meeting of the Feminist Coalition against Prostitution. I have heard lots of good feedback from the event and that feminists really feel the tide is turning and with campaigning, we have a good chance of making it illegal for men to pay for sex.
They are planning actions to lobby MPs and to get support from the Unions. Keep an eye on the website for model letters to send.
If you’re still of the opinion that banning men from purchasing women for sex is a bad idea and you still think that ‘sex work’ is a job like any other, then read below voices of resistance from women who actually have experienced prostitution or read the above book.
I want to bring us back to basics. Prostitution: what is it? It is the use of a woman’s body for sex by a man, he pays money, he does what he wants. The minute you move away from what it really is, you move away from prostitution into the world of ideas. You will feel better; you will have a better time; it is more fun; there is plenty to discuss, but you will be discussing ideas, not prostitution. Prostitution is not an idea. It is the mouth, the vagina, the rectum, penetrated usually by a penis, sometimes hands, sometimes objects, by one man and then another and then another and then another and then another. That’s what it is.
…prostitution comes from male dominance…male domination needs to be ended, not simply reformed, not made a little nicer, and not made a little nicer for some women.
…Any man who has enough money to spend degrading a woman’s life in prostitution has too much money. He does not need what he’s got in his pocket. But there is a woman who does.
The idea that women or girls choose to be a prostitute is a way of ignoring the realities of prostituted women’s and girls’ lives. This safe concept can only work if society ignores these women’s and girls’ life experiences. There are many and often very complicated reasons why women or girls enter prostitution. It can be poverty. It can be that she has experienced male sexual abuse in her home. It can be that the woman or girl is escaping from domestic violence. It can be that they want to push themselves into being a “bad” woman. It can be a “boyfriend” saying “do this to show you love me”. There are so many reasons but few are choices. Choice for me comes from a place where you can understand the consequences. Choice comes from a place where there is self-esteem. These are things few women and girls have experienced when they enter prostitution…
I use myself as an example. I had been sexually abused by my stepdad since I was six. Part of my abuse was to teach me that my sole object was to be a sexual object. I was shown hard-core porn. This taught me that I should smile when I being hurt sexually. Like the photos I learned to appear dead when were forcing sex on me. All this happened before I entered prostitution. So, when I entered prostitution at the age of14, I already believed it was my choice. I thought it was my way to rebel. I was bad. I was now the “whore” that my stepdad had always said I was.
Debunking the Happy Hooker Myth, by Rebecca Mott
I became a prostitute at nineteen in order to pay for my apartment and car the best I could with no degree, no work experience, and with what anybody who tried to hire me for anything else would be willing to tell you was a terrible attitude. I was part of a community of moral relativists who believed that prostitution was a completely valid and even desirable choice for women young and pretty enough to make lots of money at it…The idea was that it was all my choice, and any discouragement would be deleterious to my freedom, but for some reason encouragement was okay.
During my time as a prostitute, especially as someone who felt intense economic pressure to go into sex work and intense social pressure to lie about how that felt, I would make a lot of the same statements that young sex workers make to me all the time. I know where these ladies are coming from because I used to live there. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve done what they do...
…Sex work is bad for you. No really.
The majority of what this industry is about is a lot of pain, misery and distress. It annoys me that the media like to highlight only the prostitutes who say how empowering this is. There might be a few out there who think that at this moment in time, but that is not true for the vast majority. What pisses me off about [Belle de Jour] is that you’re very rarely going to have a client that you like having sex with. You have to learn to disassociate your body from your mind which is dangerous for your psyche. For the vast majority of prostitutes, it isn’t glamorous – it is damaging and dangerous – yet it seems to be promoted as some kind of career option.
I had one guy who kept insisting that I have anal sex but I wouldn’t. He became extremely violent – he kept grabbing my hair and pulling it back. And you have to act like you’re enjoying it. How that cannot damage somebody is … you don’t know what they’re going to do if you say stop.
Prostitution is like any other profession. Really? What other profession do you know of that requires an exiting strategy?Who will you protect?
For other links see FCAP website