Beware of purity workers [who are]…ready to accept and endorse any amount of coercive and degrading treatment of their fellow creatures in the fatuous belief that you can oblige human beings to be moral by force. - Josephine Butler
Two new items, ten updates and four metaupdates.
Aristophanes’ comedy depicts an Athenian woman who convinces the women of both Athens and Sparta that the only way to end the Peloponnesian War is to withhold sex from their husbands; in the play, as in real life, the problem is getting all the women to cooperate. The ridiculous sex strike American activists plan for April 28th is foredoomed to failure (as if a one-week strike could have any effect anyhow) because the wives of those making the objectionable laws won’t be participating, and even if they did the politicians would simply go to their regular pros. But if all the whores cooperated…
…The largest trade association for luxury escorts in the Spanish capital has gone on…strike…for bankers until they go back to providing credits to Spanish families, small- and medium-size enterprises and companies…a…spokeswoman [said] “…We have been on strike for three days now and we don’t think they can withstand much more.” She has revealed that bankers have made some pitiful attempts to use their services by pretending to be engineers or architects…The bankers reportedly became so desperate that they even decided to call in the government for mediation…
Well, not zero exactly, but I couldn’t resist my first title beginning with “Z”.
A man who police say sometimes poses as a female prostitute to flag down motorists was arrested…Terrence Elliott…had been warned several times in the past few weeks…But Elliott was also found with a…crack pipe…and…charged with possession of drug paraphernalia [and]…loitering…
What the hell does this mean? Is Elliott a drag prostitute, or does he dress in drag to rob or panhandle? News stories are a lot more informative when they actually contain information.
Feminine Pragmatism (April 7th, 2011)
Because this was practically inevitable, she was a fool for waiting until her marketability dried up:
At the height of her fame…Octomom aka Nadya Suleman was offered a lot of money to show her body. Vivid even offered her a $1 million deal to star in one of their films. At the time…[she] swore she would never do nudity. But dignity doesn’t feed 14…babies so…she [started] doing fetish photoshoots and now…topless shoots…However, she’s not commanding the same price she used to. TMZ reports that days away from being foreclosed upon, Nadya has decided to go naked for…Closer. Sources say she only made $10,000…
Subtle Pimping (April 8th, 2011)
…On Friday, March 30th…[the] 2012 Hooker Beauty Pageant…[will be held] in Hollywood…According to…[organizer] Natalia Fabia, the word “hooker” could be loosely defined as (excuse the pun) “someone who sells one’s talents and abilities, talent, or name for money, (but it also means) a rad, strong, talented, tough, colorful, independent, stylish, and beautiful woman.” This pageant is Fabia’s platform for highlighting real women in Hollywood’s music and art scene…
Umm, how about highlighting real hookers – or more specifically, our mistreatment? I googled Fabia and found no statements about sex worker rights or decriminalization, and nothing about part of the proceeds from her “hooker art” or publicity stunts going to hooker organizations, hooker rights advertising, outreach to street hookers…in short, she’s pimping our image.
Down Under (June 9th, 2011)
Australia continues to be what Sweden wants so desperately to be: the world leader in demonstrating the proper way to deal with prostitution:
[A new study shows that]…New South Wales…is the best place in the world [for]…prostitutes…”Jurisdictions that try to ban or license sex work always lose track as most of the industry slides into the shadows,” [said]…Professor Basil Donovan…of [the] Kirby Institute… “In NSW, by contrast, health and community workers have comprehensive access to and surveillance of the sex industry. This has resulted in the healthiest sex industry ever documented.” The report, prepared for the NSW government, found…[that most] sex workers surveyed also reported being “well adjusted and comfortable with their occupation”…
The Crumbling Dam (October 14th, 2011)
Today the Ontario Court of Appeal delivered a landmark decision on …prostitution laws…All five judges…found that…the provision restricting “common bawdy houses” is grossly disproportionate and overbroad, and…that the provision restricting “living on the avails”…is overbroad because it would criminalize non-exploitive relationships…However, three of the five…upheld the provision criminalizing communicating for the purpose of prostitution, holding that the purpose of the provision…is legitimate and must be weighed against the harms it causes…The…decision will most certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada…
Here’s the full decision. If there’s any justice in the universe, the Supreme Court will not only uphold the decisions of both lower courts overturning the bans on brothels and avails laws, but also reinstate Justice Himel’s decision overturning the “communicating” law.
Elephant in the Parlor (October 23rd, 2011)
Not news, but I want to catalog as many of these as possible:
…John Edwards is denying a report that he used the services of a prostitute in New York…a call girl for…Anna Gristina told investigators she had sex with Edwards for money back in 2007…“Mr. Edwards categorically denies that he was involved with any prostitute or service”… said…a statement. “These allegations are false, defamatory, and he puts those who would publish or repeat them on notice that they acting [sic] with actual malice”…
I’m publishing and repeating them, and I fully admit malice toward career politicians, especially those who bear a huge part of the blame for America’s sky-high medical bills.
Divided We Fall (November 16th, 2011)
Gay activists could’ve demonstrated a commitment to supporting sex worker rights this week when “[Malaysian]…Deputy Minister…Datuk Mashitah Ibrahim…said…’The (LBGT) issue…can lead to prostitution, drug abuse, psychological problems and also mental illness…Part of the LBGT problem is caused by natural reasons, such as being born with two private parts…’” but instead many of them were just as indignant about being compared to prostitutes as they were with the mental illness and hermaphrodite stuff. I guess once you win your rights in the West it’s OK to join in with stigmatizing other groups who haven’t yet, just to show you’re part of the gang.
See No Evil (November 26th, 2011)
An inability to tell fantasy from reality would normally be considered evidence of psychosis, but in law enforcement it’s a job requirement:
…the Canadian government [has] dropped all criminal charges against Ryan Matheson, [an] American…charged with…child pornography [due to] Japanese comic book images on his laptop…Matheson accepted a plea deal…[in] which he admitted to “a non-criminal regulatory offense…”
Presents, Presents, Presents! (December 29th, 2011)
The Course of a Disease (February 16th, 2012)
Apparently Canadian neofeminists, angry at their inability to infect their native land with the Swedish Disease, have decided to poison the well in a country which is already sickening:
[Canadian MP Joy Smith] has taken it upon herself to encourage Knesset members [via email] to support recent legislation…which will make paying for sex services a criminal offense…“Israel now has the opportunity to pass progressive legislation and to be a leader in the fight against this form of modern slavery,” Smith wrote in the email. “I urge you to support MK Zuaretz’s bill and help make Israel a country that others aspire to emulate. The world is watching and waiting for Israel to take this important step and eliminate the demand to purchase sex…”
Obviously, Israeli reporters don’t bother to check their facts any more than American ones do; this one erroneously states that “most” Western countries have adopted some form of the Swedish Model, and swallows the easily-debunked prohibitionist lie that most prostitutes are coerced.
Above the Law (March 8th, 2012)
Apparently, the American federal government believes it’s only OK to grope people if one puts on a uniform and does it without their permission: “[Bryant Jermaine Livingston, a TSA] manager at [Dulles International Airport] has lost his job after being arrested on prostitution-related charges…” The story explains that Livingston was running a kind of cheap temporary brothel in a hotel room, stupidly returned to the same hotel and was ratted out to the Gestapo of Montgomery County, Maryland by the irate manager.
“in France…it’s OK to be a whore as long as you have no friends, family, employees, assistants, managers or other human contact other than customers”, and if you’re an official who has embarrassed Paris one too many times, you can be charged with the horrible crime of helping legal workers to conduct their legal business: “…Dominique Strauss-Kahn…is under investigation for “aggravated pimping” for his alleged participation in a prostitution ring in France…”
It’s now official; the government will steal $6.4 million from the former owners of Escorts.com. As usual, the state’s claims read like an FBI drama, with heroic cops “investigating” hardened criminals; in reality, the feds botched an attempt to take over the site surreptitiously in order to use it to entrap thousands of escorts and clients. The bogus “money laundering” charge was just a way for them to recoup their losses; despite FBI claims to the contrary, federal judges have repeatedly ruled that “facilitating prostitution” is not a federal crime and websites are not responsible for the content of ads.
Sean McBride, AKA “John Curtis”, has resigned as head of “The Grey Man”. After it was discovered that a group of Thai children the group claimed to have rescued from “sex traffickers” were in fact ordinary village schoolchildren, Curtis issued a series of increasingly-absurd and self-contradictory “explanations” (including one on this blog), mostly based on a paranoid fantasy that a competing “rescue group” had conspired with the Thai government to discredit him. But after new revelations that McBride routinely lied about the age of “victims” and the number “rescued”, he stepped down voluntarily before he was thrown out. Good riddance to bad rubbish; let’s hope every one of the con artists who profit by the persecution of whores is similarly exposed, and soon.
I’m pleased to see the number of voices raised in criticism of Nick Kristof’s anti-whore crusades is growing; ever-larger numbers of writers are pointing out the absurdity of the claims made by “trafficking” fetishists and calling attention to the harm this moral panic inflicts on women. I suspect The Guardian will be one of the first major media outlets to officially denounce the hysteria; it’s published a number of articles on the subject, most recently last Monday:
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is on the move and his latest target is the Village Voice. This attack appears to be part of a broader campaign to shut down the sex industry and to rescue and rehabilitate women and girls working in it. Kristof’s allies range from women’s rights organizations to religious organizations…the critical lens applied to Kony2012…must [also be applied]…to the crusades against sex trafficking…when women and girls are “rescued” by the anti-trafficking organizations, they may be taken to state-run rehabilitation homes that have jail-like conditions. Human rights and sex worker organizations have long documented what rehabilitation might mean for a sex worker: overcrowded conditions, a lack of healthcare, and violence at the hands of the police and guards…
It’s wonderful to see statements like these in a large newspaper, and even more heartening to read the many supportive comments beneath.
One Year Ago Today
In “March Q & A” I answer questions about cunnilingus, men pretending to be women online, and the sex drives of middle-aged escorts.