Woman’s narrow and purist attitude toward life makes her a greater danger to liberty wherever she has political power. - Emma Goldman
I’ve often pointed out that marriage is closely related to harlotry; it’s one of the few points on which I agree with neofeminists. But while they consider that a bad thing, I think it’s a good and practical thing based solidly in human biological, psychological and economic needs (unlike neofeminism). But if one believes that marriage is no different from prostitution and also accepts the neofeminist/trafficking fetishist proclamation that all prostitution is “human trafficking”, one must inevitably conclude that marriage (especially among those unenlightened brown people who don’t pretend that all marriage is based on “love”) is a form of human trafficking. And of course, trafficking fetishists have now embraced this twisted logic; at first they only declared that mail-order brides are “trafficked”, but now they’ve apparently decided that the label applies to any marriage contracted for rational rather than irrational reasons, especially if at least one of the parties is non-white. Laura Agustín’s column of July 29th contains an analysis of this recent article about temporary marriages in Egypt; most of it is dedicated to exposing the contradictions and moralism inherent in such articles (and the incredible incompetence with which they are nearly always written), but it begins with this:
What is gained by using the one word, trafficking, to describe a wide variety of social phenomena? Campaigners will say that they want to show that everything they have decided is an improper way for women to live or get by must be named and shamed as violence (whether people went along with or initiated the activities or not, as we know). So we have seen how surrogate motherhood, sex tourism by lgbt people and marriage broking are all glossed as trafficking, with relationships reduced to exploiter and victim. In the article I’m considering here, several kinds of instrumentally motivated marriages are all called trafficking, and I see no benefit in it at all. When I hear about a phenomenon, I want the details of how it works: who does what and how those involved talk about what they are doing. If some so-called authority with an NGO and an agenda simply tells me here’s another bad thing to condemn and outlaw, give us more support so we can get rid of it I automatically wonder what else is going on. I am not sure the authority-figure is lying, no. But I see the moralising and the personal agenda and want to hear from others, too.
I think I can answer the rhetorical question with which Dr. Agustín begins her essay; what stands to be gained is simplicity. Crusades are not embraced by intelligent, broad-minded people whose minds are capable of complex and nuanced thought, but rather by “true believers” who want to reduce the entirety of human experience to a simple Manichean dualism which does not require judgment or thought. This is why the “liberal” vs. “conservative” myth remains so popular despite its total inability to describe the modern political landscape; it allows the simple-minded to boil everyone down to “us” vs. “them”, in-group vs. out-group, good vs. evil. The true believer belongs to whichever “team” indoctrinated him while he was impressionable or chooses the one which seems closest to his own primitive impulses, subdues those personal opinions which contradict his belief-system and labels everyone who disagrees with it as “evil”, “conservative”, “misogynistic”, “infidel” or whatever and either ignores the facts which contradict that simplistic classification or else indulges in tortured logic in order to force all of his enemies into that one ill-fitting box. In this specific case, the more human interactions can be lumped together as “trafficking” the happier neofeminists and their allies will be, because the simpler their system the more simple-minded people will embrace it. Of course, as we discussed yesterday the more thinly a term is stretched the more reasonable people will reject the usage, but fanatics aren’t interested in convincing reasonable people; there aren’t enough of them in the world to carry the fanatics to power, and even if there were it wouldn’t be the absolute power they crave.
One year ago today I wrote about how sexually-repressed middle-class white women derailed first-wave feminism and combined it with Protestant Christianity to create the “social purity” movement, which sought to impose middle-class Anglo-American Christian female notions of morality on everyone by characterizing everything which offended them as a “social ills”. As I have pointed out before, nothing has really changed except the details; the revived “social purity” movement is still a coalition of fundamentalist Christians and middle-class women who embrace a warped version of feminism, and it still attempts to characterize every form of human behavior of which its membership generally disapproves as “evil”. But while the purity crusaders of a century ago tried to sell sex as something which hurt everyone, their modern descendants have adopted Marxist tactics and now characterize it as exploitation, violence and oppression directed against one segment of society by another, with men as the malevolent “oppressors” and women as their passive, incompetent “victims”.