Any doctrine that weakens personal responsibility for judgment and for action helps create the attitudes that welcome and support the totalitarian state. – John Dewey
Maybe I should change my name to “Cassandra”. Back at the height of neofeminist power in the early ‘90s, I predicted that within a decade or so we would start seeing a backlash against women’s rights, and furthermore that many women would be duped into supporting it just as people are always duped into supporting infringement of their freedoms in the name of “safety” or “equality”. But because my mind isn’t twisted enough to conceive of representing a reduction in legal responsibility as a step toward equality, I could never have anticipated the pathological irrationality known as the Swedish Model.
For new readers who may be unfamiliar with it, under Swedish law prostitution is legal but hiring a prostitute illegal; it has been rightfully pointed out that this is exactly the same as legalizing the sale of cocaine or heroin but criminalizing their purchase. But it’s far more sinister than that; though neofeminists in many countries laud the model as a giant leap forward for women’s rights, any sane mind could see that it was anything but that because it classifies prostitutes as tantamount to legal minors. The closest legal equivalent to a prostitute in a Swedish Model jurisdiction is a girl below the age of consent; she can give consent to sex and even actively seduce a man, but is not legally liable for her actions because she is considered incompetent to consent to the act. The man who has sex with her, on the other hand, is considered fully competent and is therefore legally liable. In other words, the adult man is defined as the moral and legal superior of the underage girl, therefore his actions constitute a crime but hers do not. Similarly, under Swedish law a woman is defined as a legal incompetent who is not allowed to consent to paid sex, but because she is incompetent cannot be prosecuted for it either. Men are specifically defined as the moral and legal superiors of women, because they are held responsible for the transaction no matter who initiated it.
Neofeminists are so blinded by their hatred of men and bound by their own “victim” rhetoric that they are unable to recognize that these laws rob adult women of agency and define us as permanent adolescents; they establish a very dangerous precedent, that it is legally acceptable to abrogate women’s right to self-determination under the excuse of “protecting” us from our own choices. Once such a precedent is firmly established it becomes a small matter to bar women from doing anything else the government doesn’t want us to do, which is of course exactly why male politicians enthusiastically embrace this mass psychosis. What the fanatical neofeminists convince themselves and their minions is a boon for women is nothing but the bait intended to lure us into the same cage to which our sisters in Muslim countries are confined: control of our movements, livelihood and sexuality “for our own good”. The Swedish Model is nothing other than one of the first steps toward a secular Western version of purdah.
At present, this creeping rot has only infected Sweden, Norway and Iceland (which has contracted a particularly virulent form of the disease), but it is rapidly spreading as crafty male politicians recognize it as an easy way to roll back women’s rights and have yet another weapon to use against male citizens they wish to harass or ruin, while simultaneously convincing gullible, fanatical neofeminists (not to mention stupid or naïve female amateurs) that they support “equality for women”. These wolves in sheep’s clothing have promoted Swedish-style legislation in Ireland and the U.K. and a number of jurisdictions in the U.S. appear to be moving toward it; now the plague appears to be spreading to France, as reported in this story from the April 13th Guardian:
…A cross-party commission of French MPs have recommended criminalising all clients of sex workers, meaning anyone who buys sex from any kind of prostitute would face prison and a fine…The Socialist Danielle Bousquet and Guy Geoffroy of…[the] right-wing UMP said clients must understand that any visit to a prostitute encouraged slavery and trafficking – which 80% of the estimated 20,000 sex-workers in France were victims of. Roselyne Bachelot, the social affairs minister, favours criminalising clients. She told the commission inquiry: “There is no such thing as freely chosen and consenting prostitution. The sale of sexual acts means women’s bodies are made available for men, independently of the wishes of those women.” Proposals for a law could be drawn up this month but it would not be debated in parliament before 2012.
In France prostitution is not illegal, but activities around it are. Brothels…were outlawed in 1946. Pimping is illegal, as is paying for sex from a minor. In 2003 a controversial law against soliciting…[made] it illegal to stand in a public place known for prostitution dressed in revealing clothes. Sex-workers’ groups in France have long campaigned for legal status and rights.
The French actor, Philippe Caubère…is open about regularly paying sex-workers €200 for sex. He said the government was playing politics in the runup to next year’s presidential election. “First it was immigrants, now it’s prostitutes. This is plain populism and shows a disdain for individual liberties,” he said. He told Le Parisien the government was not doing enough under existing laws to help exploited and trafficked women. “As for the other women, leave them alone. They take care of men who mostly live in sexual misery and terrible solitude. They are remarkable women.”…The French justice minister, Michel Mercier, supports criminalising clients, but the interior minister, Claude Guéant, said it would be difficult to make buying sex a crime when prostitution itself was not illegal.
I’m sure you’ll recognize the usual prohibitionist tactics such as the picking of ridiculously inflated figures out of the air; this is the second time I’ve heard that ludicrous 80% figure lately, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. Note the statement made by Bachelot? This is precisely what I’m talking about; she flatly denies that women are capable of consenting to prostitution, just as we define young teenagers as unable to consent to sex. Since it’s obvious to anyone with a two-digit IQ that women can and do consent to transactional sex all the time, Bachelot and her collectivist cronies are clearly arguing that women are incompetent to make our own sexual decisions.
It may be that the media are exaggerating the danger and that more reasonable opinions will eventually prevail, but the danger is still very real; in a recent email Laura Agustín told me that the European parliament “recommended” the Swedish Model for all European countries and that Israel was also considering it. Even Denmark, long among the most progressive of European countries on sexual matters, is facing pressure from trafficking fanatics to infantilize women in the name of “protecting” them from “trafficking”. The linked story (thanks to EconJeff for providing it) is from CNN, which has a strong anti-sex work bias and so overstates both the effectiveness of the Swedish Model in eradicating prostitution and the popularity of the model among Danish legislators; Laura tells me that the sex worker advocates there are reasonably sure it can’t pass in Denmark now, but that “it’s the way the wind is blowing everywhere over here.” I’m sad to say it’s the way things are blowing over here as well; unless something is done, the young women of today can look forward to increasing restrictions on their sexual freedom and agency in the name of “protecting” them, and if they dare to protest they risk being classified as mentally ill.