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Archive for July 6th, 2013

We need to listen to [sex workers]…rather than feeling sorry for them…and then actually take what they say seriously.  –  Jeanett Bjønness

Japanese Prostitution

Japanese cops’ increasing adoption of American whore-harassing tactics is extremely troubling: “Tokyo Metropolitan Police…cracked down on a prostitution club…specializing in senior citizens…Officers arrested the 63-year-old manager of club Silk…and one other employee for dispatching a woman, 64, to…an 82-year-old man…”  That’s right, Japanese cops now think persecuting old people for consensual sex is an appropriate use of resources.pearl clutching

Welcome To Our World

Pearl-clutching, bigoted prudery is especially revolting in young men:

There’s a brand new, ultra-creepy fad in China…”Increasing numbers of adults have been hiring wet nurses so they can consume breast milk for its nutritional value”…it’s revolting.  Everything about this scenario should appall the reader, from the very idea of an adult suckling from another adult to the possibility that someone should be so desperate for money that they have to sell their services in this manner.  It’s every bit as wrong as prostitution…

Actually, I agree with his last sentence 100%; it’s exactly as wrong as prostitution, which is to say not at all.

Shifting the Blame

There was a somewhat uneven piece in the New York Times last week; on the one hand, it portrays the victims of the Long Island Killer as individual women, correctly names many of the reasons women do sex work and (best of all) recognizes that “Escorts face danger not because of the Internet but because they’re still forced to work underground.”  But on the other hand, it does not quote even a single sex worker activist, yet does refer to the questionable ideas of Scott “Women Never Lie About their Weight or Take Out Multiple Ads” Cunningham (including his stunningly stupid belief that before the internet most whores were streetwalkers, and his unsupported and false belief that there are more of us now than in the 1990s).  After I mentioned my problems with the piece on Twitter, author Robert Kolker contacted me and I expressed my concerns; it turns out he did interview several activists, but didn’t realize that not specifically quoting them would be perceived as a slight.  His publisher is also sending me an advance copy of his book about the murders, Lost Girls; I’ll let y’all know what I think about it.

Feminine Pragmatism

Wow, what a surprise!

…Jeanett Bjønness of Aarhus University…interviewed 40 Danish women who sell sex on the streets, and it turns out that the women do not regard their sex trading as the biggest problem in their lives…”Sex trading…is perceived as a solution to some problems,” says Bjønness…the people whose job it is to help sex workers…[regard] the women as victims.  This rigid view…has the consequence that the women feel walked over, because they do not see themselves as victims…[but rather] as independent women who make rational choices based on the options available to them…

See how easy it is when you actually bother to TALK to us?

Something Rotten in Sweden (July Updates, Part One)Casey the Rabbit

Wendy McElroy on the government’s attempts to exert total control by regulating even the smallest economic activity:

…[In his act] a magician named Marty Hahne…pulls a three-pound rabbit out of a top hat…“I just received an 8-page letter from the USDA, telling me that by July 29 I need to have in place a written disaster plan, detailing all the steps I would take to help get my rabbit through a disaster, such as a tornado, fire, flood, etc.”  Hahne and his wife must be specially trained to implement the rabbit plan, which USDA inspectors will review…new [EPA] regulations define ditches, gullies and other property features that catch water as part of America’s navigable waterways under the Clean Water Act…the EPA…would become the de facto  owner of people’s ditches and gullies…The Lemonade Freedom  group knows that the ridiculous regulations need to be taken seriously…the group…[protests] police actions…to close down children’s lemonade stands…

Size Matters

Yes, this is in the United States, a country which supposedly guarantees freedom of religion:

Pahokee [Florida] residents, church members, and pastors are outraged over…the…first Lake Okeechobee Summer Solstice Festival…The crowd cheered in agreement as…pastors from around the area admonished city officials for allowing festivals containing witchcraft and occult practices into the city…“We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing and magic spells,” said Daniel Mondragon…“God cannot heal our land if we have witches and warlocks violating our community,” said Evangelist Lillian Brown…

Schadenfreude

White saviors go on a fun trip to Asia, where they “rescue” brown urchins by teaching them to sew, wait table and draw with crayons:

Destiny Rescue, an organization whose mission is to rescue sexually exploited children…hunts through Cambodia and Thailand to find these girls…Indiana State University graduate students played with the rescued girls, visited the sex tourism capital of the world and wondered at the hope with which victims create new lives…More than 2 million children are forced into the sex trade every year, according to the 2012 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report…Destiny Rescue is…[addressing] the problem….by…training in jewelry making, sewing, working in a café, hair dressing or pursuing an education…Vanessa Granger-Belcher…led the girls through an art activity…in which they drew pictures of their dreams for their lives…

It may amuse you to know that most UN agencies estimate the “annual flow of trafficked people” of all ages into all industries at 0.5 – 1.9 million people, of which 2 million are supposedly “sex trafficked children”.  Perhaps the UN should start hiring people with at least 3rd-grade math skills.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received The Sexual History of London from Sasha and Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop from Kevin Wilson.  Thank you both very much!

The Immunity Syndrome

As I’ve mentioned before, teens who make “virginity pledges” are much more likely than others to engage in anal sex in order to remain what we used to call “technical virgins”.  The hilarious Garfunkel and Oates have written a song about it; if you enjoy it, you may also like their earlier lampoon of Christian anti-sex weirdness, “Sex With Ducks”.

Subtle Pimping (TW3 #13)

In Michelle Visage’s Hooker Makeover, a judge from RuPaul’s Drag Race and her drag queen sidekick turn ordinary women into cartoonish streetwalker stereotypes.  Visage was at first defensive when confronted with this on Twitter last Sunday, but within hours she issued a public apology and announced that the show would be cancelled.  It’s good to know that at least some people really are listening.

Ruined Maids

Regular reader Isolde Holland discovered this poem and shared it with me:

“An Old Whorehouse” by Mary Oliver (born 1935)

We climbed through a broken window,
walked through every room.

Out of business for years,
the mattresses held only

rainwater, and one
woman’s black shoe. Downstairs

spiders had wrapped up
the crystal chandelier.

A cracked cup lay in the sink.
But we were fourteen,

and no way dust could hide
the expected glamour from us,

or teach us anything.
We whispered, we imagined.

It would be years before
we’d learn how effortlessly

sin blooms, then softens,
like any bed of flowers.

Little Boxes

A Chinese court has declared that “happy endings” aren’t prostitution:

…in July 2011…a massage parlour owner and two associates were arrested…for “organising prostitution”…and…handed a five-year sentence…But [in] appeal…the defendants were found “not criminally responsible” and…acquitted due to “unclear facts and improper application of the law”.  The court said manual stimulation did not belong in the realm of prostitution…

Naked Truth
Unsurprisingly, the cops insist that they know the law better than judges.

First They Came for the Hookers

Dr. Marty Klein’s review of Dr. Judith Hanna’s book Naked Truth: Strip Clubs, Democracy, And A Christian Right discusses the war against strip clubs we’ve mentioned so many times before, and the book itself debunks the usual mythology about “negative secondary effects”, “sex trafficking”, etc. I do have to wonder if Hanna ignores the neofeminist contribution as Klein does in his book, though.

Check Your Premises (TW3 #26)

Ohio wants to criminalize obtaining clear consent:

…the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill ostensibly aimed at fighting “human trafficking” that makes it a crime to “solicit” a legal act:  sex with someone who is 16 or 17 years old.  The age of consent in Ohio is 16.  Yet under H.B. 130, a 20-year-old who asks a 16-year-old to have sex with him, or a 21-year-old who does the same with a 17-year-old, thereby commits a…felony…and…has to register as a sex offender.  But if the teenager broaches the subject, or if the sex proceeds without any explicit verbal reference to it, no crime has been committed…Having sex is fine, as long as you don’t talk about it beforehand… Legislators already define “human trafficking” broadly enough to include consensual sex…Now Ohio is poised to [add] merely talking about consensual sex…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #27)

Another small country stands up to American bullying:  “Cambodia…lashed out at the U.S. State Department for downgrading the country’s ranking in its annual report on human trafficking, saying cultural barriers were hampering government efforts to combat the problem…

Celebrities (TW3 #31)Anwar Al-Awlaki

The fact that the FBI thought a dude paying for sex was somehow noteworthy says a lot about the FBI.  The fact that CNN misunderstands what the newsworthy aspect of this is says even more about CNN.

In the months after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, FBI agents conducted surveillance of…Anwar al-Awlaki and uncovered detailed information about his…use of prostitutes…Al-Awlaki lived in a Washington suburb at the time…he visited prostitutes at least seven times and paid up to $400 for sex…[for] a total of $2,320 …agents interviewed the escorts, obtained detailed information about the encounters, and…even reviewed the possible legal charges that might be brought against him…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #49)

This article is a few months old, but its hysterical pearl-clutching is so hilarious I just had to share it:

If you think the wait to find out if your kids got the…results needed to get into uni is stressful, dream on…It’s what happens next that you REALLY should be worrying about…Darling Daughter could easily end up hawking her body to keep her university finances afloat…poverty is pushing students to sell their souls and get jobs in the sex trade.  Six per cent could be working as lap-dancers, strippers, escorts or prostitutes to pay their way through studies.  Yet more could be manning sex chat-lines…the sex industry is a dark, grubby scene that irrevocably changes people on the inside…No degree is worth it…

So either Jo Davison is speaking from personal experience, or she’s a bigoted ignoramus.  Which is it, Jo?  Do tell.

Uncharted Seas (TW3 #316)

Another mainstream pro-polygamy article, in The Economist no less:

…DOMA was struck down in no small part because it picks out a certain class of people and, by denying them recognition of their marriages, denies their families equal freedom and dignity.  Can it be denied that polygamous families, whose marital arrangements are illegal, much less unrecognized, are denied equal liberty and are made to suffer the indignity [of] active discrimination?…If the state lacks a legitimate rationale for imposing on Americans a heterosexual definition of marriage, it seems pretty likely that it likewise lacks a legitimate rationale for imposing on Americans a monogamous definition of marriage…

True Colors (TW3 #323)

Activist Ye Haiyan…was released from 13 days of detention on June 12 after she scared off three trespassers to her home…Ye first became famous in 2005, when she posted a nude photo of herself online. Under the pen name Hooligan Swallow, Ye raised eyebrows with her bold articles on sex.  But she really caught the public’s attention in 2010 when the…NGO she set up…[called] for the legalisation of prostitution…”Pushing for [this]…contradicts the government’s ideology,” she said. “The government does not wish to see this topic being promoted and the mainland media are banned from discussing it”…

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