The grocery store’s the super mart, uh huh
Little girls still break their hearts, uh huh
And men still keep on marching off to war
Electrically they keep a baseball score. - Sonny Bono, “The Beat Goes On“
Three more variations on previous themes.
A False Dichotomy (June 22nd, 2011)
As I’ve pointed out many times, prohibitionist laws (and legalization regimes) are based in the ridiculous notion that sex work is magically different from all other work, and that whores somehow need “protection” from our own choices; accordingly, artificial lines are drawn and false dichotomies constructed between whores and other women, “sex buyers” and other men, streetwalkers and “indoor” workers, “free” and “coerced” prostitutes, those who cross borders to buy or sell sex and those who don’t, etc. This January 1st op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald by Elena Jeffreys (no relation to Sheila as far as I know) deconstructs a lot of this nonsense:
…Sex workers… make money from sex work. The clients…pay for sex work. This is a relationship, this is negotiation and this is a system in our culture. Yet our laws, social mores and the morality police tell us it’s scandalous – a one-way ticket to hell. Or jail, if you live in Sweden. All this assumes that sex workers and clients are supposedly doing something wrong. But what makes it wrong? The government, even when it legalises or reforms laws in favour of sex workers, does not want to be seen to be endorsing sex work – just regulating it for those who are in it and need ”protection”. What are we being protected from? Why should it be reasonable to criminalise the negotiation of financial arrangements for sex? Rape is criminal. Violent assault is criminal. But consensual sex with a dollar figure attached to it is not. In [New South Wales] sex work is decriminalised and workers, clients and health advocates believe it should stay that way. We are talking about 30 minutes or so of massage, sex, nakedness, talking, showering, then getting on with your life. Is that evil or wrong? Negotiate, pay or be paid, have sex, see ya later.
…Now I know what you are thinking. It’s OK for me. I’m articulate, educated. I get articles published by newspapers. I’ve been president of the Australian Sex Workers Association. I can see what you might prefer to imagine: a typical downtrodden, desperate sex worker without any choices or an education, struggling on the streets with pimps breathing down her neck and unable to use condoms. Facing violence. Facing addiction. Facing a personal hell prescribed to her by men who want to pay for quick sex. Let’s examine some facts. Sydney’s…street-working area was the first site of condom use in Australia…Why? Because street-based sex workers knew about HIV and didn’t want to catch a life-threatening disease. In the brothels…owners were stopping sex workers from using condoms, threatening sacking, and worried about losing business. But because street-based sex workers were demanding condom use, it made the brothel workers more able to stand up for themselves and demand condom use also…Street-based sex workers are organised about their rights in ways that go unnoticed on night-time TV cop shows…[they] are often imagined as victims…In fact, [they] are victimised by laws, police and lack of access to justice. Not by clients who spend money to have sex with us.
The same applies to sex tourism…Even if…1 million Australian clients travelled to Thailand for sex tourism, Thai men even at the conservative estimate of 15 per cent visiting sex workers, STILL outnumber potential Australian clients 3 to 1…Thai sex workers [state] that their bread-and-butter income is from local clients and that travelling Anglo men make up only a small – but consistent and welcome – clientele. What’s more, it is our racist Western attitudes when we see a Thai sex worker with a white, fat, old Western man that lead us to believe she is being victimised by him…But as the sex workers in the Chiang Mai offices of EMPOWER say: ”Many fat old men are very respectful, kind, entertaining, generous and polite customers. We don’t discriminate.”
In the words of author and sex worker Juliet November, ”Sometimes sex work is about being gentle with someone’s need for touch; sometimes it’s about being kind toward a man who’s ashamed of his body; sometimes it’s about being friendly and fun with someone who’s lonely; sometimes it’s about holding someone’s vulnerability very lightly in your hands; sometimes it’s about making someone feel desired…sometimes it’s about sharing intimacy, cigarettes and a laugh.” So let’s rid ourselves of our prejudices and preconceptions and repeat after me: IT’S OK TO PAY!
Secret Squirrel (July 16th, 2011)
I’ll slightly modify my own previous statement to introduce this January 5th item from Jezebel: “I guess the concept of ‘trust’ has gone out of style. And perhaps I’m old-fashioned or idealistic, but I think it would irreparably shatter my relationship with a person if I found out he or she had used this nasty little Secret Squirrel [procedure] on my [underwear]”:
…Infidelity DNA Testing’s incredibly creepy press release asks, “How many times have victims had the horrible feeling that their husband, wife or partner was cheating on them but were afraid to confront their partners without 100% non-disputable proof?” Really, if there’s anything the Clinton presidency taught us, it’s that all infidelity scenarios are made much better by semen analysis. And with just a little underwear subterfuge…satisfaction — of a sort — can be yours:
The process is real [sic] simple. Just provide us an article of clothing preferably underwear or panties and we will do the rest. We can identify if semen is present, make sure it’s viable for dna [sic] extraction and then do a final comparison to make sure the DNA belongs to the correct person.
He adds, “There is just no legitimate reason or lie that a wife can come up with for having another man’s semen in her panties.” And why stop with wives? Users can submit men’s underwear too, to be tested for semen or for incriminating ladyjuices. The real piece de resistance of creepiness, though, is Infidelity DNA Testing’s suggestion that you use its semen detection service to find out if “your daughter is having sex.” Because having your child’s panties analyzed is definitely a better option than talking to her about sex…in order for it to work, your partner (or, cringe, daughter) would have to have unprotected sex and then leave underwear soiled from such sex around for you to find. If your wife or girlfriend is doing that, chances are she’s also giving you other signs that she’s cheating. And if you’re even thinking about stealing some of her underwear for DNA analysis, your relationship is probably in trouble. Actually, I think Infidelity DNA Testing does provide one useful service: breakup advice. If you are seriously considering working with them, you should break up. And this test is actually free!
I totally agree; if you have that little trust for your wife, your relationship is doomed so you might as well save the money and just break up. With “no fault” divorce it doesn’t matter if she’s cheating anyhow, so why bother? And if it’s your daughter, you stand to lose a lot more from spying on her than from letting her have sex.
Where Are the Protests? (December 3rd, 2011)
From the December 30th Huffington Post:
A health alert warning residents of Michigan’s Kent County that “possibly hundreds of people have been exposed to HIV” was issued…after the arrest of David Dean Smith, a 51-year-old HIV-positive man who told police he was on a mission to infect as many people as possible, MSNBC reports. Smith allegedly told Grand Rapids police…that over the past three years, he had engaged in unprotected sex with as many partners as he could – a number he estimated to be in the “thousands” – in an effort to infect them with HIV and kill them…Smith targeted Michigan residents as well as those living many states away, whom he contacted via Yahoo! Personals…It’s unclear why Smith chose to alert authorities of his behavior at this time, but…he has a history of mental illness which includes a recent admission…for threatening suicide….hospital records say that Smith is “sexually aroused by causing pain to females”…
Now, I don’t believe for one second that “thousands” of women gave this loony free bareback pussy. But as I wrote in the previous column, “Where are all the protests, the online petitions and the expensive full-page newspaper ads demanding that [Yahoo] close its [personals] section? After all, it’s being used by [psychos] to lure [women] to their deaths! Sure, [attempted] murder…[isn’t] as bad as prostitution, but [his method involved sex], so surely that counts for something?”
One Year Ago Today
“Hello, Dolly!” is a short birthday tribute to Dolly Parton (she turns 66 today), who has never disguised her admiration for and support of hookers.