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Hamlet:  Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius:  By th’ mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.
Hamlet:  Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius:  It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet:  Or like a whale.
Polonius:  Very like a whale.

Rorschach_blot_06A fantasy is in many ways like a cloud formation or a Rorschach inkblot; because its form is unmoored to anything concrete, the shape the human mind imposes upon it is determined by the patterns of the mind rather than any external phenomena.  A psychologist can sometimes tell something about the workings of a subject’s mind by the shapes he imagines he sees in inkblots and the stories he tells about those shapes; likewise, it’s possible to tell something about a fabulist’s mind by the content of the fantasies she spins about the lives of people she knows absolutely nothing about.  This recent “sex trafficking” article from Alabama is a fine example; we’ve seen all theses tropes before, but this time let’s think about what they say about a person who either believes them herself or expects everyone else to believe them.

Eliminating Homewood’s prostitution problem isn’t about going after the girls, said Tajuan McCarty–founder of the Birmingham-based anti-trafficking organization The Wellhouse–it’s about going after the pimps and Johns…

The first thing we can tell about McCarty is that she has little or no capacity for original thought; the “end demand” nonsense spewed here is the cant du jour among prohibitionists, so espousing it takes roughly the same level of cognition as “Support our troops!” or “Smash the Patriarchy!”  It’s nothing more than a shibboleth to demonstrate that she belongs to the “us” group.

…Homewood resident Andy Conaway…is spearheading efforts to eliminate issues that plague their neighborhood—including prostitution.  McCarty…said…Birmingham is a hub of prostitution…

As I’ve pointed out before, dysphemisms play an important part in the demonization of peaceful, consensual transactions; sex is a “plague” (later it’s referred to as an “epidemic”), and a rather unremarkable American city is cast as a “hub” from which the imaginary pestilence spreads to nearby, smaller towns (“…the area…is known for prostitution well outside Alabama’s borders…“)

…both grown women and children [are] being trafficked in plain sight…a 17-year old girl rescued in Homewood…had been kicked out of the prostitution ring she was part of…because she was “too old”…”Pimps will talk about how they can walk into any middle school and leave with five girls who willingly run away with them,” said McCarty…

Nearly all “sex trafficking” propaganda relies heavily on the fetishization of pubescent girls; believers dwell upon lurid descriptions of the bondage, humiliation and rape of teenagers, and the “average debut at 13″ myth is lovingly and obsessively repeated despite its evident absurdity to anyone with even fifth-grade mathematical ability (much less that expected of actual 13-year-olds).  But McCarty goes much further than usual; while it’s not unusual for prohibitionists to vomit out the vile, misandrist fantasy that literally no man wants a woman over some arbitrary age, I’ve never seen that age set below 18.  Moreover, the idea that a “victim” would actually be released from her supposed “slavery” because she had reached that age is not only novel, but also contradicts her earlier statement that “grown women” (a term usually considered to refer to people of at least 18) are “being trafficked in plain sight”.  But the most telling content is what follows next; it occurs in several places in the article, but I’ve gathered it together here for ease of demonstration:

…”These women are victims…whether they are willing participants or not.  She is a princess; she is someone’s daughter”…They are always viewed as commodities and not people…Asked if there are ever any cases where women work for themselves, McCarty said absolutely not.  “Somebody’s got her…every single time”…

The defining characteristic of McCarty’s weltanschauung is her shocking disregard for the intellect and capacity for the self-determination of her own sex.  Even if a woman decides to sell sex, McCarty tells us, her decision cannot be trusted; she is not a rational actor but a pawn of malevolent “pimps and johns” and a passive “princess” to her parents, no matter how old she may be.  That doll-like view of women is echoed a few sentences later, where we are told that “prostitutes sit and wait under the watchful eyes of their pimps“, like toys unable to move until someone fully human – i.e. a male – winds them up and sets them in motion.  Nor does she imagine this to be merely a common or even typical situation; she insists in no uncertain terms that it is a universal one.  In McCarty’s view, no woman is ever capable of self-determination, ever.  She believes that cops should actively hunt sex workers, trap them like animals and then transfer ownership to her organization like dogs sent to the pound; meanwhile, men who violate what she considers to be the proper usage for these mindless playthings should be utterly destroyed without even a semblance of due process:  “It should be about helping her and arresting him…Send her to us and plaster his face all over a billboard.”  McCarty’s mind is a horrifying landscape of self-loathing and reality-denial, and she wants the state to use violence to force everyone else to live in it with her.

I am a man living in Asia and I have, on my many lonely nights, reached out to sex workers who have invariably helped and made a difference to my life.  I’ve always endeavoured to treat all with the greatest respect I can provide and I really want to help make a difference because I really respect their work.  My question is how to get engaged in a drive for decriminalisation.  It doesn’t matter where; I just think it should be legal and safe for whomever wants to engage in this line of work anywhere.  I know I have been a huge beneficiary of their efforts and care and I really want to give something back if I can.

monkey see monkey doI believe that charity begins at home, and that your efforts would be best expended on the sex workers in your country.  You don’t mention which Asian country you live in, but there are sex worker rights organizations in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea, Hong Kong and a number of other parts of the continent.  In fact, I’ve always admired the strength and courage of Asian sex worker organizations; Asian sex workers are my heroes, and if you can help them in any way, such as by donating money or helping through your profession, it would be invaluable to their struggle.  And that doesn’t just affect your country, either:  humans may be the smartest monkeys, but we’re still monkeys, and “monkey see, monkey do”.  The Swedish model has spread because the monkeys in power get the idea from watching other boss monkeys impose it on their tribes, and the more countries decriminalize sex work the more likely it is that the monkeys in other trees will see and imitate that behavior, too.  So to elaborate on my initial statement: charity does indeed begin at home, but the ripples spread out to affect the whole world.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

[Sex workers are] not helped by campaigns which [call] us…“prostituted women” who don’t have any ability to properly consent anyway.  –  sex workers of St. Kilda

One Size Fits All

The phrase “human trafficking” now means “any behavior I don’t like”:

Not a single same-sex couple can reproduce together.  It behooves us to analyze the ways that same-sex marriage demands other people’s children as a “civil right” and in so doing invariably denies both women their own children and children their right to a mother and a father…Gay families are compromised by their need to tear apart other people’s families using the oppressive force of the state and its legal apparatuses…People use their children in all kinds of ways.  Except these are often other people’s children and they did not have to be conscripted to a life of distortion and play-acting.  These children are never the result of same-sex couples’ accidental pregnancy…All gay families are created by or because of someone else’s family being destabilized…The new social justice dictum is that society owes LBGT people the flesh and blood of other people’s children because they are “married” now.  Let’s be honest.  Love does not make a family in this case.  Human trafficking does.

Author Rivka Edelman works hard to get libertarians on her side by invoking the specter of state violence, but this strategy depends on the reader swallowing the rather bizarre assumption that all children placed for adoption got there by being stolen from their birth mothers.  It is absolutely true that the state has a fetish for stealing people’s children, but I sincerely doubt that the majority of adopted children (or even a large minority) are available because of such actions.  Furthermore, the rationalization she employs to separate same-sex adoptive couples from heterosexual ones, namely that straight couples could theoretically produce children of their own, is an exercise in absurdity; if gay couples should be denied the right to adopt because they can’t biologically produce offspring, infertile couples would have to be denied for precisely the same reason.

It Looks Good On Paper

Article goes on and on about how awful it is that “sex trafficking victims” are burdened with a criminal record, yet never questions the premise of burdening anyone with such a record for peaceful, consensual activities.  Oh, and it quotes the usual lies, too.

…no matter how hard she tried, Nicole, who was lured into the brutal world by an abusive boyfriend when she was a teenager, couldn’t get her record expunged…But that system is starting to ease up for trafficking survivors…It’s a welcome reprieve considering that sex trafficking is the fastest-growing business of organized crime…An estimated 293,000 youths alone are at risk of being sexually exploited in the U.S.  Nailing down precise figures remains a challenge due to a lack of funding and the fact that victims are too fearful to come forward.  Compounding the issue is the fact that police often can’t detect the difference between someone who has been forced into the sex trade and a consensual sex worker…

Surplus Women Zheng Shurong

A construction worker thought to be the boyfriend of a murdered prostitute has been arrested at his home in [Hong Kong]…the 62-year-old had a relationship of several years with Zheng Shurong, 44, who was found dead in her…flat…with a curtain chord around her neck.  Zheng’s 19-year-old daughter called police after loosing contact with her mother…

The Prudish Giant

It looks like Twitter may be heading in the same direction as Google, PayPal, LinkedIn, et al:

According to SunTrust Robinson Humphrey tech analyst Robert Peck, Twitter is preparing to purge an estimated 10 million porn-posting users.  Ditching such a large chunk of users sounds drastic until you do the math:  Twitter claims to have 302 million monthly users, so getting rid of the explicit posters will only account for about 3 percent of its total—although that’s just counting the users and not their followers…One week after Twitter’s revenue forecast was reported to be below expectations and deemed a “nightmare earnings scenario,” Nielsen, a global television and digital data company, pulled its advertising campaign after discovering paid promoted tweets on pornography-associated pages…A Twitter spokesperson told Adweek they “are committed to providing a safe environment for brands to build their business, and our product team is working to fix the issue.”  But…how the company intends to fix the issue is a growing concern within the adult industry…

Useful Idiots 

Scott Greenfield explains how useful idiots are trying to subject all human interaction to criminal law.  Here’s the text he quotes and discusses:

…the American Law Institute (ALI) has undertaken a review of the sexual assault provisions of the Model Penal Code.  The undersigned members of ALI are concerned about the direction the project has taken…If there is political consensus on anything in the United States today, it is the consensus that our government has overcriminalized and overincarcerated the American public…§1519 is a bad law — too broad and undifferentiated, with too high maximum penalties, which give prosecutors too much leverage and sentencers too much discretion.  And…in those ways, §1519 is unfortunately not an outlier, but an emblem of a deeper pathology in the federal criminal code…the current ALI draft is an extreme deviation, focused on expanding criminal sanctions for sexual behavior and expanding the problems…equating silence with unwillingness, as Section 213.2(2) does, “patronizes” or “infantilizes” women, treating them as if they were incapable of expressing their own desires…

Buried Truth  Screen-Shot-2015-05-18-at-1.58.14-PM-670x592

Another anti-gay “authority” figure is revealed as a closet queer:

Until 2 p.m. on Monday, the “Our Church Staff” section of St. John’s Lutheran  Church and School’s website described Reverend Matthew Makela as an associate pastor who enjoys, “family, music, home improvement, gardening and landscaping, and sports.”  Screenshots obtained by Queerty from a source who asked that his name be withheld shed light on some of the Reverend’s other favorite past times — namely nude make out sessions and sex with other men…how someone behaves between the sheets is really nobody’s business but his own, except when he’s actively doing damage to others.  We’ve seen it time and time again. The lawmaker who spends his days fighting against gay rights and his nights cruising for bottoms, or the ex-gay activist who isn’t quite as ex-gay as he’d like everyone to believe…Makela…doesn’t just preach Jesus’ love and help with bake sales.  He also uses his position of authority and respect in his community to broadcast his self-loathing view on same-sex attraction…

Banishment

A call for a return of the policy which enabled Robert Pickton to slaughter women virtually at will:

Residents of Vancouver’s Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhood are petitioning the city to crackdown [sic] on prostitution in residential areas and establish a red light district…It’s not clear where he wants the red light district located, but [instigator Ewart] Aitken says organizers hope to meet with city officials in coming weeks…

Under Every Bed 

Though this story quotes “sex trafficking” fetishists who fantasize that a tiny town is a “sex trafficking hub”, it also quotes the truth from sex workers themselves:

…Apip-Acam, a [rescue industry NGO]…describes [La Jonquera, Spain] as “one of the main centers of the prostitution industry and the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation in Europe”…Many women here insist that they are not working for pimps or being exploited by trafficking gangs, and that this is the only way they can make a living.  Of the 111 women working in the open in La Jonquera that Apip-Acam has contacted, only six have signed up to a program for victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation…[yet Apip-Acam still pretends that] “all of them are subject to extreme control and domination by small family clans”…

Be Careful Who You Rape Meagher turns prohibitionist

Remember how Tom Meagher, the husband of a woman who died because “authorities” don’t give a shit about whores, supplied the quote from which this subsection title was drawn?  Well, he’s become a prohibitionist now, and the sex workers of St. Kilda have something to say to him:

As street based sex workers from St Kilda we have come together to urge you to reconsider your position endorsing the campaign “We Don’t Buy It” and to share with you some of the implications it has for us as sex workers…we…are…subject to laws and policing operations that target us and our clients.  And this really makes it harder for us to best look after our safety…our justice system…is more of an injustice system, and as you pointed out so well, this tragically not only affects us, but our whole society.  To report crimes committed against us we risk being charged ourselves and being known to police for further profiling and harassment…seeing your passion for justice…[for] all, including sex workers, co-opted into a campaign which does just the opposite of this is hugely disappointing and upsetting…Any campaign which calls to end sex work or stigmatises our clients ends up further stigmatising and dehumanising us as well, and ultimately serves to take away our agency and increases violence towards us…

Broken Record (#425)

I kind of feel sorry for “sex trafficking” fetishists from Omaha; since their city appears to have just one largish sporting event, they keep tapping its anemic body to feed “gypsy whores” hysteria:

Hotel workers in the Omaha area are undergoing training on how to spot women and minors being forced into prostitution…Experts say high-profile events, such as the College World Series in Omaha, bring a higher risk of sex trafficking occurring at lodging facilities…Coalition member Shane Fagan said signs hotel staff should keep an eye out for include lodgers with a small amount of luggage, an unusual collection of wigs or IDs inside a suite, prepaid debit cards and girls who are unsure of what city they’re in.

How could one fit “an unusual collection of wigs” in a small amount of luggage?

Lying Down With Dogs (#430)

The idea that “not happening in front of this camera” = “eliminated” is a product of the same level of cognition that allows a toddler to conclude that if he can’t see you, you can’t see him either:

Security cameras installed…[in] “red light districts”…in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District have helped eliminate prostitution there…After seeing these cameras installed…potential guests do not dare enter…Such devices also help detect and prevent thefts and other social evils…police…[hope] the presence of such cameras [will force sex workers to]…give up the trade…

Crying for Nanny (#445)

The outcome was a foregone conclusion, and the lawyers who orchestrated this shitshow knew it:

A federal judge in Massachusetts dismissed a lawsuit brought against…Backpage.com over posting ads for the sexual trafficking of minors…the judge correctly concluded that Backpage.com couldn’t be sued for running the ads, relying largely on Section 230 (47 U.S.C. § 230), the law that immunizes websites from liability based on user-generated content…The plaintiffs in the case of Doe No. 1 v. Backpage.com, LLC are young women who were allegedly sold for sex as minors via ads placed on Backpage…[they] brought various claims against Backpage.com even though it did not have a hand in creating or posting the ads…the court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that Section 230 did not apply to civil actions…[and] explained that it found EFF persuasive in arguing that the chilling effect of extending this exception to private actions would be particularly serious because they would not be subject to the filter of prosecutorial discretion and the heightened standard of proof present in criminal prosecutions…

Check Your Premises (#449)

What, not 50 or 100 per day?  Slackers.

The 18-year-old South Jersey woman arrested last month on charges she recruited a girl to be a prostitute was herself a victim of the…human trafficking ring recently broken up by federal and state investigators…the men who ran the prostitution ring forced a 14-year-old girl to have sex with up to 10 men a day…and…used violence and threats to control the girl and the 18-year-old…woman, who was also forced to become a prostitute…

Diary #255

fabrics at Maggie's office 5-18-15Last week I mentioned two forthcoming events, one of which dominated most of my week.  And I don’t mean the photo shoot with Mistress Matisse, either, though that was fun (and pictures will be forthcoming soon); no, I mean the decorating of my office.  Jae has piles of lovely fabrics here and is arranging them on my walls and ceiling; I picked up a new bed and some kitchen stuff, and as I write this (yesterday) I’m about to pick up some floor mats to serve as a base for the rugs, soften footfalls and dampen sound (and, not incidentally, to make the floor more congenial to wrestling and other such sport).  Jae has quite a talent for decor, and what I’m seeing so far has me excited not just for this place, but also for my permanent residence at the country place once it’s done.  We have big plans for that place, by the by, and I’ll tell you about them as they develop; for now suffice it to say that a lot more people will be seeing my ranch in the future than have in the past.

Last Wednesday I had dinner with an ally from California who traveled here specifically to meet me, my SWOP friends and other allies; he has some ideas I’ll be telling you about as they unfold, but which could really help the sex worker rights movement in the PR department.  Also, business is starting to pick up for me, albeit slowly; it takes time to get established in a new city, especially in my price range and under the current climate of fear and sexual repression.  But I have lots of help and true friends, and it’s only a matter of time; I think by midsummer I should be well and truly back in the saddle again, and it shouldn’t be long before my writing schedule ramps up again and I get that promised book of essays on the press.

Barbara Payton

I’d rather drink and die.  –  Barbara Payton

I’ve often pointed out that the professions of actress and whore were at one time indistinguishable from one another, and that even now they are at best two branches of one stem (with a large area of overlap in porn and explicit general cinema).  Furthermore, it’s not unusual for actresses in difficult circumstances to practice the more stigmatized branch of our shared profession in a more direct fashion.  But generally, such deals are both highly discreet and in the “high end” price range; the case of Barbara Payton is an extreme and notable exception.

Barbara PaytonBarbara Lee Redfield was born in Cloquet, Minnesota on November 16th, 1927, to Erwin and Mabel Redfield.  Her family moved to Odessa, Texas when Barbara was 10, and though she was very  fortunate in the looks department of the genetic lottery, another of her inheritances eventually destroyed her: both parents were alcoholics.  Barbara eloped with her high-school boyfriend William Hodge just after her 15th birthday, and though her parents had the marriage annulled she was determined to get out of their house via matrimony; just two years later she dropped out of school and married a decorated combat pilot named John Payton, with whom she moved to Los Angeles.  Barbara dreamed of Hollywood success, and persuaded her husband to have some professional photos done; she quickly attracted attention and was a very successful model before she turned 20 (despite the birth of her son in March of 1947).

But success went to her head, and Payton eventually tired of being married to a party girl; they separated in July of 1948 and were divorced in 1950.  Her self-promotion had already attracted the attention of William Goetz of Universal Studios, however, and in January of 1949 he signed her to a $100/week contract (about $1000/week today).  After a couple of minor films, she won critical attention for her performance in Trapped (1949), and was highly praised for her work in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) opposite James Cagney.  The star’s brother, William Cagney, was so taken with her that he bought out her contact with Universal and got her one with Warner Brothers for $5,000/week, an unheard-of amount for such an inexperienced performer.  Despite this, her career began a sharp decline by the following year, when she appeared in Bride of the Gorilla (1951) with Raymond Burr; by 1955 Hollywood was done with her.  Ironically, her career was destroyed by the same thing which had first ignited it: her hard-partying lifestyle.

From the very beginning, Barbara used speed to keep her weight down, tranquilizers to sleep and alcohol for just about everything else.  She was incredibly promiscuous, and was not afraid to ask for money; soon after she signed with Universal she caught the eye of Bob Hope, who gave her an allowance and kept her in a luxurious apartment.  But Hope dumped her when she started demanding more money, and she took up with her drug dealer, a sometimes-movie-extra named Don Cougar; that ended sometime after Cougar beat up Payton’s elderly landlady over a rent dispute.  Over the next couple of years she is known to have been involved with Howard Hughes, Guy Madison, George Raft, John Ireland, Steve Cochran, Gregory Peck and Gary Cooper, plus many others who weren’t involved in the movie industry.  In 1950, Franchot Tone fell in love with her and proposed; she accepted, but began an affair with a minor actor named Tom Neal.  While Tone was away she even invited Neal to live with her (in the apartment Tone was paying for); when Tone returned she kicked him out.  She went back and forth between the two men until September 14th, 1951, when Neal beat Tone so severely he was hospitalized; she then married Tone on September 28th, lived with him for 53 days and then returned to Neal, who as you might expect beat her regularly as well.  The two never married, but stayed together for four years; and though both their careers were badly damaged by the scandal, the straw that broke the camel’s back in racist 1950s Hollywood was Payton’s relationship with her next boyfriend, black actor Woody Strode.

I Am Not AshamedHer life soon followed her career onto the rocks; she began pawning valuables to pay bar tabs and was arrested for giving bad checks to a liquor store.  She was temporarily reprieved in November of 1955 by marrying George Provas, a furniture store owner, but after their divorce in August of 1958 she resumed her downward spiral.  Her face and figure ruined by hard living, she was no longer able to attract patrons of the caliber of Bob Hope or Howard Hughes, and turned to streetwalking to survive; on February 7th of 1962 she was busted for prostitution on Sunset Boulevard.  She was homeless for much of that year, and was beaten on multiple occasions; she lost several teeth and once was severely stabbed.  In 1963 she got $1,000 for a ghostwritten autobiography entitled I Am Not Ashamed, but the money didn’t last long and things just kept getting worse.  In 1964 she was arrested for shoplifting, and in 1965 for possession of heroin.  Finally in 1967 she admitted she could not survive on her own, and moved back in with her parents (who now lived in San Diego); there she died on May 8th of heart and liver failure.  She was only 39 years old.

Barbara Payton had always been a whore from the time she first realized that she had sexual power over men, in her mid-teens; it’s a sign of our society’s deep misunderstanding of harlotry that nobody ever really accused her of it until she lost control of her behavior and was unable to actually make a living at it any more.  The most successful whores are never so labelled, and the greatest legal penalties and social stigma fall upon the least.

Links #254

I cannot turn to gaze at this everyday miracle because every time I do, I smell the anus of Satan.  –  Lau Munyee

This week’s featured video popped up on Twitter a couple of times this week, but I didn’t note who pointed it out first (sorry about that).  The links above it were provided by Angela Keaton (“faking”), Mike Siegel (“heart”), Radley Balko  (“wannabes”), Tushy Galore (“pipe”), Mistress Matisse (“standard”), and Marc Randazza (“science”).

From the Archives

A hidden sexual scourge is revealed.  Sex considered consensual by its participants is redefined as coercion.  A newly discovered predator…exhibits impulses far outside erotic and moral norms, yet rare as he must be, his numbers are inexplicably mounting.  There is a cry for vigilance and prosecution.  –  Judith Levine

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Cops can commit murder, mayhem and rape and still keep their jobs, but if they look for consensual sex…”The sheriff of Bossier Parish has fired one of his deputies…[who was] charged with solicitation of prostitution…Deputy Larry Harrell…was arrested in Shreveport…

Saving Them From Themselves

A 17-year-old who sent her boyfriend intimate photographs has been left shattered after police decided to charge him for possession of child pornography.  Alison (not her real name), who is four months away from being 18, says she’s been traumatised by the way that she and her partner Peter, 22, (also not his real name) have been treated by police, the stress of which has forced them both out of education…people aged 16 and 17 can legally consent to sex but can get into trouble for making “child pornography” if they possess and share images of their own lawful sexual activities…Alison and her mother are now calling for a change in the law to protect consenting couples from getting into distressing legal situations like this…”I feel my consent has been total violated by the people who are supposed to be protecting children…I chose to send pictures of myself to Peter.  I did NOT choose for all those detectives, solicitors and goodness knows who else to see them…”

Surplus Women Shukan Jitsuwa 5-14-15

The violent death of a sex worker in Japan:

Last month…police found the body of Manae Noguchi, 18, buried on a farm in Shibayama, Narita City…police have arrested four suspects…The victim was last seen getting into a rented car in Chiba City…at around 10:00 p.m. on April 19.  It was later determined that the occupants of the vehicle were the four suspects…an anonymous…tip…indicated Noguchi had run up a large amount of debt…

…and Hungary:

The Association of Hungarian Sex Workers (SZEXE)…condemns the victim-blaming articles and reports published in the media that followed the death of Nancy, a Hungarian sex worker who was murdered in…Budapest..the media focused on assumed client of Nancy instead of examining state regulation that coerces sex workers into isolation, exile and personal stigmatization, police violence…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

When a respected scientist starts spouting nonsense terms, it’s time to put him out to pasture:

A leading psychologist has warned that young men are facing a crisis of masculinity due to excessive use of video games and pornography.  Psychologist and professor emeritus at Stanford University Phillip Zimbardo…spoke about the results of his study, an in-depth look into the lives of 20,000 young men and their relationships with video games and pornography…Zimbardo says there is a “crisis” amongst young men, a high number of whom are experiencing a “new form of addiction” to excessive use of pornography and video games…

Change a Few Words

Siouxsie Q on the really newsworthy question about sex work in Silicon Valley:

Why are many tech platforms so inhospitable to sex workers?  Payment processors like Pay Pal and WePay are notorious for shutting down the accounts of sex workers and even seizing their funds.  Facebook has booted hundreds of sex workers, including myself, from its platform with the adoption if its “real name policy;” and both the Apple and the Android app stores prohibit adult content of any kind.  Venture capitalists have been willing to go toe-to-toe with lawmakers to obtain legal wiggle room for companies like Uber and AirBnB, that dance the razor’s edge of legality…They argue that…though these services may be technically illegal at the moment, they perpetuate victimless crimes — peer-to-peer transactions that benefit both the buyer and the seller — and therefore the laws need be changed to catch up with the innovation.  The same argument could be made of…sex work…though technically illegal, it is a peer-to-peer transaction that often perpetuates a victimless crime.  But no headstrong venture capitalist or idealistic design team has stepped up to innovate the oldest profession…

An Example To the West

Phnom Penh sex workers and rights advocates met…to denounce police brutality and corruption, and called on the government to establish a zone where sex workers can operate in safety.  The plea was made during a press conference led by NGO Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), which was attended by around 100 sex workers, who complained police often sought bribes or sexual services…prior to the introduction of a 2008 law intended to combat human trafficking, brothels operated openly.  But…the law heralded a brutal crackdown that saw women and girls…mistreated and stigmatised by officials…researchers found that the heavy-handed response of authorities…forced sex workers into more precarious settings for their work, placing them in greater danger of rape and sexual assault…

The Widening Gyre Walking Prey

It’s everywhere! It’s everywhere!

A woman who was lured into commercial sex when she was 14 brought a warning to Charleston parents…Just about any unhappy teen can be enticed in the same way, according to Holly Austin Smith, who…[wrote] Walking Prey: How America’s Youth Are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery…At the same time as Smith was speaking in Charleston, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson was giving a similar message to a Rotary Club in Mount Pleasant.  “Trafficking is far more nefarious than what you see in Hollywood,” Wilson said…He [made up]…a story of a woman…who was blackmailed into sex trafficking…For two years she was trafficked over and over and over again…[while] living under her parents’ roof and they did not realize she was being trafficked…Wilson has been tirelessly [pretending]…that sex trafficking is a major threat in South Carolina.  Yet the arrests on trafficking charges have been relatively few since the state passed its law in 2012…

Shift in the Wind

Imagine if big foundations started giving grants for sex worker advocacy:

The health and safety of sex workers…[is] yet another example of how marginalized populations are often left out of essential public policy discussions…due to the social stigma of sex work, people are generally more comfortable avoiding the issue…the issue of sex-worker rights is still taboo among some of the leading [philanthropic] foundations.  But if these foundations recognized how sex work is connected to other issues that funders are working on—like over-incarceration, homelessness, and poverty—the work they do could be more effective…The safety of sex workers…would also be greatly improved by decriminalization.  Because of criminalization, sex workers are at greater danger for physical and sexual violence, because perpetrators know they are unlikely to come forward to police.  With decriminalization, more sex workers could report the violence they experience, making the community safer for everyone…

The Public Eye

a…special edition of [of TMI (Too Much Information) Storytelling] called Sex Worker Diaries…kicks off the weeklong San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film And Arts Festival, which features lives performances, film screenings, workshops, and panels throughout the East Bay and San Francisco…the festival…showcases a diverse range of artistic projects rooted in celebrating, supporting, and accurately portraying people involved in the sex work industry.  The goal is to push back against the ongoing criminalization and stigmatization of sex work — by providing a platform for marginalized workers in a highly misunderstood profession to share their stories and show audiences they aren’t helpless victims…

Welcome To Our World (#450)

Henry…Rayhons’s ordeal was not the first example of overzealous protection of the supposedly defenseless and asexual aged, nor will it be the last.  In 2009, a Massachusetts bill sought to amend the state’s child pornography law to include the disabled and people over sixty among those statutorily unable to consent to posing nude or performing sexually before a camera…The bill’s lead sponsor, thirty-eight-year-old…Kathi-Anne Reinstein—also author of a proposal to make the Fluffernutter the state sandwich—told the Boston Herald that advocates had informed her “elder exploitation and pornography [were] on the rise.”  She called her bill (which, thankfully, failed) a “no-brainer.”  This assessment, I commented at the time, was indisputable…

Public Property (#506)

Men urged to control uppity women by choking off their income:

…a Dallas anti-[sex worker] group is telling men to stop paying women for sex…New Friends New Life…is asking men to stop buying sex and patronizing strip clubs.  It also plans to create an emblem for businesses to display to show they don’t fund business meetings at strip clubs…experts say…the average age of a girl first sold into prostitution is 13…it will take time for attitudes to change about…strip clubs…some of the women who work there aren’t there of their own volition and are barred from leaving…Chris Kleinert said…“No father, when their daughter’s born, says ‘Wow, I can’t wait for her to be violated 10,000 times by the time she’s 21 years old’,”…

Just for comparison:  I’ve had roughly 5000 in my entire career.

Broken Record (#536) 

That so many people could believe in such lunacy explains a lot about the world:

…Houston is…a major hub for human slavery and sex trafficking in the United States.  For years, this intersection of business and widespread prostitution has provided a boon to sex traffickers in Houston every year.  However, the difference this year is a coalition of anti-human trafficking organizations who have joined with city law enforcement and conference organizers to combat the widespread sex trafficking that usually occurs during this event…OTC conference staff have been trained in identifying suspicious sex trafficking activities, law enforcement set up  prostitution stings, and volunteers hit the city streets to raise awareness…the majority of sex victims brought in to service the convention is between the ages of 12 to 14 years old…OTC also warned conference attendees against participating in sex slavery…

Yes, they’re essentially saying that their silly chanting and rattle-shaking scared away the demonic “pimps”.

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