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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

All people of Sweden can try and draw penises.  –  Emilian Sava

This week’s video was sent to me on Twitter by Mistress Matisse; it was a kind of private joke, but I still think you’ll enjoy the song.  The links above the video and after “Yuggoth” were provided by Wendy LyonMyles JackmanAnna PulleyNun YaTim CushingJesse WalkerRadley Balko, and Carol Fenton, in that order.

From the Archives

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You take a lot of steam out of the “not representative” argument…when you have…escorts in North America…advocating the same message as devadasi sex workers in India or bar hostesses in Kenya.  –  Anlina Sheng

Check Your Premises

Reading the self-contradictory sexual fantasies of prohibitionists makes me feel like I need a shower:

Last year, Rockford [Illinois vice pigs] arrested 95 women…and two men…[but in 2015 they] arrested 18 women…and 41 men…[then pretended this was some kind of “progress”.  Deputy cheif pig] Doug Pann [vomited out the lie that] “No one chooses to be a prostitute.  At some point in their life, they were forced or coerced into this lifestyle.  The people causing the harm are the pimps and johns.”  Pimps are men who control women who sell their bodies…[prohibitionist] Jennifer Cacciapaglia [profits from the state persecution of sex workers]…Chief Deputy [Pig] Mark Karner said….”you cannot paint with a broad brush prostitutes as victims”…police have to respond to complaints from neighbors who see a woman standing on a street corner…[bigots whine] about “bringing down my property values, bringing crime to my neighborhood.”  Cacciapaglia [denies sex workers’ humanity and agency, claiming instead]…”those women would not be there if the men were not buying them”…Pann said…police need the cooperation of prostituted women to go after pimps, but the women won’t talk because they fear being abused…pimps are “vicious monsters, incredibly dangerous,” Cacciapaglia said…

See No Evil Mathilde Grafström photo

In case you think Denmark’s “sexually liberal”:

An exhibition combating negative self-image in a square in Copenhagen has been closed down by police.  Photographer Mathilde Grafström snaps women who don’t have traditional model looks, for a photo series called Female Beauty…Police have denied permission for her photos to be displayed in Copenhagen’s Nytorv square, with Grafström filing a complaint against them and condemning their view of the female body as “offensive”…

The More the Better (#32)

Perhaps one day we’ll arrive at the point where, “She was so desperate to raise money she got a better job!” sounds as ridiculous to most people as it does to me:

Megan Clara, 20, says she was gutted last year when her son Ashton, five, complained that he didn’t receive the same expensive presents as his mates.  The single mum, who survived on £80 a week…vowed to make Christmas 2015 one to remember – and has spent the year making adult films, earning £500 a scene, to give her family a five-star festive celebration…

Japanese Prostitution (#131)

a decades-long standoff over Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s WWII military…[was settled on December 28th]…Both sides compromised…so no one got everything they wanted.  Nationalists in Japan are angry over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s apology.  Some South Koreans say President Park Geun-hye settled for far too little money – about $8 million – and that Japan still hasn’t taken legal responsibility for atrocities during its colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945…tens of thousands of women from around Asia, many of them Korean, were sent to front-line military brothels to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.  But only 46 known former Korean sex slaves, most in their late 80s and 90s, still live, and with time running out and with frustration growing, this deal is seen by many here as the best to be had from a hawkish Abe government.  “Insisting that Japan take legal responsibility is the same thing as saying we don’t want to resolve the issue of comfort women,” said Jin Chang Soo, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think tank, who called the deal an important step forward…

Ad Absurdum

An 18-year-old “man” and a 17-year-old “girl”.  SHAZAM!

Authorities arrested an 18-year-old man…for promoting the prostitution of a minor…Philip Scott Pleasants took a 17-year-old girl to meet different “Johns,” or clients, in [North Carolina]…Pleasants was [caged]…in the New Hanover County Jail under a $250,000 bond…

Cuckoo Advertising

Will gullible reporters ever stop publishing Ashley Madison ads for free?

Ashley Madison claims it has added 4 million members…since a hack on the adultery dating site revealed the identities of thousands of cheating spouses…A rolling count on the homepage claims it has more than 43 million members, up from the 39 million users counted when the site was hit by a group of hackers dubbed the “Impact Team”…the site [also] had 70,000 fake female profiles used to lure men to pay fees for credits on the site.  Avid Life Media, Ashley Madison’s parent company, has not commented on the hack since an August statement and would not comment on the new numbers…

Paint By Numbers

Why do anything special? Just pretend your unsold product “raises awareness of sex trafficking” and watch the profits roll in!

Elisa Wolcott…a University of Nebraska at Omaha art major…has cast, fired and sanded 2,000 ceramic birds in order to raise awareness about sex trafficking in Nebraska.  Her project, “2000 Souls,” is meant to represent the number of women across the state who have been forced into prostitution.  While numbers [don’t exist]…the Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking [decided to pretend]…that at least 47 school-age girls — and likely many more — become victims of sex trafficking in Nebraska each year…her goal was to display the birds in a public setting.  She landed on the airport as her ideal venue.  It’s a place where people come and go by the thousands, where a constellation of birds suspended in air will draw attention…and where, perhaps, [she might make a lot of money from a moral panic]…

Naked Truth (#401)

Drawing BloodIf you want to understand the state of the sex trade…in 21st century America, look no further than the following books.  All published in 2015, they offer inside glimpses of the personal and political aspects of sex work…in ways that are both entertaining and enlightening…I surveyed some current and former sex workers about what they’ve been reading recently, too…”  The list includes Coming Out Like a Porn Star by Jiz Lee, Drawing Blood by Molly Crabapple, Saloons, Prostitutes, and Temperance in the Alaska Territory by Catherine Holder Spude, $pread:  The Best of the Magazine that Illuminated the Sex IndustryBest Sex Writing of the Year edited by Jon Pressick, Prose & Lore (issue 5) by the Red Umbrella Project, and Love Not Given Lightly by Tina Horn.

Not Your Rescue Project 

Sex workers…have formed such a vibrant, vocal part of the internet that it’s hard to imagine an online world without them.  And with that visibility has come a reduction in the stigma related to sex work.  After all, it’s a lot harder to assume that sex workers are mindless, manipulated fuckbots when they’re tweeting thoughts on feminism, racial justice, or the newest Star Wars film…sex workers…handily dismantled the myths and misconceptions that pop culture had fed me over the years.  For many years, I felt a bit alone in my sex work wokeness.  Most of my friends…seemed to harbor [a] rather antiquated…attitude that…sees sex work as abuse rather than legitimate employment.  But lately it’s felt like something has changed.  Over the course of 2015, sex workers have repeatedly been in the media…In fact, when millennial icon Lena Dunham came out against Amnesty International’s support for the decriminalization of sex work, she was excoriated in the media—the same media that, several years earlier, might have applauded her for that very stance…Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook are helping a whole new generation learn about the ins and outs of the world’s oldest industry…

License to Rape (#562)

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

A video uploaded to Facebook shows a gang of cops from the Fort Myers Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office brutally violating a man on the roadside, after pulling him over for a rolling stop.  Screams of agony can be heard echoing from the trees as the man’s arm is twisted almost to the breaking point and his rectum is invaded by the gloved hand of a drug war enforcer.  The cops can be heard saying, “Stop resisting! Just relax!” as the victim continues to scream and kick in pain.  Five officers are initially involved in subduing the man and searching his vehicle, and then another joins the fun by posing with gun in hand facing the onlookers…the anal cavity search was carried out in full view of the public, including a female onlooker…Todd Crisp, a family member of the victim, said that at least one of the cops, Arturo Gonzales, routinely harasses Crisp and his family, and this was just the latest episode…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#575)

According to Hong Kong “authorities”, I operate a “brothel”:

…Sex work in Hong Kong is legal, if it is practised in one room with one person only and nobody else but the sex worker profits from the exchange.  This means that sex workers cannot have managers or security personnel.  The places where they work are called one-woman brothels.  Foreign sex workers cannot work with a tourist visa – they are often detained as they breach a condition of their stay by working without the appropriate permit.  Waiting for clients on the street or soliciting money for sex services is also illegal, and that may include anything from a verbal offer to gestural insinuation, or even just eye contact…[on September 17th] police arrested 62 alleged prostitutes from mainland China and Taiwan…for [such technicalities]…Pang Wing-chau…is a volunteer working with Zi Teng, a sex workers’ support association.  “Although police operations happen on a regular basis, there were more raids than usual in the last three months because of…the District Council elections…politicians ask the police to do more arrests just to get votes”…

Stupor Bowl (#593)

The “gypsy whores” myth has been so discredited, politicians can’t even get reporters to parrot it any more, and so must write their own propaganda:

Early next year, Super Bowl 50 will come to Santa Clara.  With increased tourism, we predict a spike in human trafficking…it’s estimated that 40 percent of the human trafficking activities on the West Coast come through the Bay Area airports…A shadow network shuttling women, men, girls, boys, even babies…trafficking is an estimated $150 billion industry worldwide, exploiting nearly 21 million victims around the world.  It remains the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise…we have the capacity and the capability to stop such atrocities from happening in our own backyard…it is only a matter of time until we eradicate human trafficking…

Served Cold (#595) 

Despite the ICE, the odor of this is unmistakable:

Two Utah nonprofit organizations raised money to help an international group of law enforcement officials arrest child sex traffickers in Peru…Dan Baird…of Crack the Crowd [claimed without presenting evidence that]…”A total of 36 people were freed from slavery, including 11 children; two of those were 4 years old and 7 years old, I mean really young kids”…Some Utah police departments regularly work to rescue victims through undercover child sex trafficking stings…”The ability for us to remove victims from their circumstance and [lock them up]” said Sgt. Jason Ackerman [in a sentence fragment]…Ackerman oversees undercover sex trafficking operations…monitoring child sex trafficking rings in “public hotels, they are out of houses and on the streets”…

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The sex is ever to a soldier kind.  –  Homer, Odyssey (XIV, 246)

camp followersSince the time humans began carving out territories for ourselves, we’ve been going to war with one another.  Since the rise of centralized governments such wars have usually been conducted by a professional warrior class, and wherever the soldiers have gone whores have never been far behind.  Every army, whether on the march or in garrison, has attracted “camp followers”, non-military personnel who follow along because it’s profitable to do so.  And because armies are (and always have been) mostly made up of healthy young men, deprived of the company of young women and with nothing in particular to accomplish with their pay, many camp followers have always been prostitutes (indeed, the former is often used as a euphemism for the latter).

Up until a century ago, nobody pretended to be surprised by this or subscribed to the ridiculous delusion that it could or should be prevented somehow; the first country to imagine otherwise, the United Kingdom, first contented itself (starting in 1864) with a series of increasingly-oppressive “Contagious Disease Acts” justified as a means of preventing the spread of STIs in the military.  But even the British allowed their officers in the Great War to avail themselves of well-run “blue lamp” brothels…while denying the enlisted men prophylactics and restricting them to makeshift “red lamp” facilities staffed by near-amateurs, then wringing their collective hands at an STI rate seven times that of their German foes.  And while the French, Canadians and New Zealanders followed the same sort of pragmatic practices as the Germans did, the Americans preferred the British “order the men to be asexual” approach; New Orleans’ “Storyville” district was closed by federal order in 1917 at the urging of Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, who considered the whores a “bad influence” on the sailors at the nearby naval base.

By the time of World War II, it seemed the pragmatic approach was winning:

…The military governor of Hawaii did everything he could to make the hookers of Honolulu happy; Hitler ordered that his troops be issued blow-up sex dolls; the American authorities distributed condoms; and the Japanese resorted to the abominable “comfort women” scheme (which was also used in reverse form, with Japanese whores for American troops, during the first year of the occupation)…illustrations of feminine pulchritude…brightened barracks, bunks, tents and even the noses of bombers.  On British planes, those paintings were often of Jane, a shapely Daily Mirror comic-strip character who would always somehow manage to lose her clothes by the last panel, usually in some incredibly unlikely fashion;nose art In the Mood Christabel Leighton-Porter, the model upon whom she was based, also posed for nude photos which were literally dropped in bundles to the troops to increase morale…

But this swing toward rationality was short-lived, and soon after the war the world lost its collective mind on the subject:

…The Vietnamese and Ouled-Nail prostitutes who served as nurses during the siege of Dien Bien Phu have almost been erased from history, as have the women of Honolulu’s tolerated brothels who served the same function after Pearl Harbor and entertained the Navy for the rest of the war.  The French like to pretend that women who survived by providing services to the occupying Nazis were somehow different from the others who were forced to deal with them; the Japanese still deny the extent or even the existence of the military brothels in which they enslaved (mostly Korean) women for the “comfort” of their troops.  And the American military establishment continues to demand that its men avoid the company of professionals no matter how much this policy angers the host country or how many sexual assaults result from it, thus prioritizing the wishes of prudish fanatics above the health and happiness of the troops of both sexes…

There is no way to tell how long this will go on, but sooner or later this neo-Victorian prudishness must end; things go in cycles, and eventually the sex-negative phase we’ve been in for over a generation now will be discarded by younger people eager to do things differently.  But as military organizations themselves are also changing due to the advance of technology, what will that mean for sex workers?  Only time will tell, but I feel perfectly safe in declaring that as long as military organizations exist, they will continue to have a deep and close relationship with whores, whether those in power approve or not.

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Wildfire

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  –  Thomas Jefferson

sequoia wildfireThe quote which forms today’s epigram is probably a familiar one, but few people are familiar with the larger paragraph in which it is embedded.  Jefferson was referring to Shay’s Rebellion (arguably the single strongest motivator which caused the weak central government of the Articles of Confederation to be replaced by the strong one established by the US Constitution) when he wrote:

God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion…If [the people] remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?

Every November 5th I call for a rededication of the holiday from one in which rebels are burned in effigy to one in which tyrants are burned in effigy instead; in most of those essays I have quoted what I wrote the first time, words which echo Jefferson’s sentiments expressed above:

Governments need to be reminded (at least annually if not constantly) that they only hold power by the sufferance of all the people, not merely the majority, and that the overthrow of any government by a disgruntled minority is always a possibility.  I would like to see most if not all politicians and their minions paying for their power and privilege by being forced to live in a constant state of nervous anxiety; maybe then fewer would choose that path and more would concern themselves with keeping all the citizenry happy rather than merely pleasing barely enough of the population to keep themselves in office.

Every time a cop murders some unarmed person, pig apologists sonorously remind us how dangerous police work is (which it isn’t, by the by), and how tewwified the poor widdle coppies are, boo hoo hoo.  To which I reply:  They aren’t nearly terrified enough.  I want them to be so fucking terrified that they can’t sleep at night, so utterly frightened that they don’t dare leave their fucking stations.  I want them so scared they piss themselves on a daily basis and quit long before they can develop the kind of swagger that lets them go around beating, robbing, raping and murdering without fear of repercussions.  I want them to have nightmares of surveillance cameras recording their every move, and I want televised trials of bad cops every fucking day to serve the same function as a coyote’s hide nailed to a fence post by a rancher.  Tyrants and their thug-enforcers alike deserve to be burned in effigy, to be cursed and spat upon every time they venture into public, to be (figuratively) crucified for the slightest abuse of power.  We make government positions attractive to sociopaths by heaping accolades and privileges upon them; instead, those positions need to be made so repellent that nobody will stay in them for very long.  The price of power needs to be very high indeed to prevent exactly what the United States has turned into: a fascist police state whose rulers can do anything they like to the ruled without any consequences at all.

It’s much, much too late for this to happen in the US; no decaying empire in the history of the world has ever been revived once it got to the level of corruption this country reached a generation ago, and things have grown much worse since then.  Two years ago I wrote:

…old, decaying things must be cleared away – sometimes forcibly – in order to make way for new, younger and often better things.  Old people must pass on to make room for new children; dilapidated buildings must be demolished to pave the way for new construction.  And old, moribund governments which serve only the entrenched and wealthy must be removed if we are to build new ones which better serve all of the people and protect minorities from oppression by both majorities and other, more privileged minorities…

Like it or not, this is the future Americans face; our rulers have made peaceful change impossible, therefore violent change has become inevitable.  The system will be burned to the ground, whether we want it to or not; I don’t really want to see it, but if I live to be as old as Maman that will be a forlorn hope, as I don’t actually believe the system can survive another 40 years the way things are going.  The fire is coming, but as The Onion satirically reminds us, that is not a bad thing:

…a study…found that regular, controlled Washington, D.C. wildfires are crucial to the restoration of a healthy political environment.  “Periodic blazes that destroy sections of the Beltway region are a natural part of the political cycle and play a key role in maintaining democratic balance,” read the study in part, which explained that occasional wildfires of mild to moderate intensity are the most important and effective mechanism for clearing out old federal agencies so that new ones can take their place and flourish.  “Although such fires are often considered a hazard, without them government would quickly become dense, overrun, and impenetrable, stifling political diversity and inhibiting the germination of new ideas”…The study concluded that attempts to suppress the wildfires would likely only lead to the occurrence of far more powerful blazes in the future capable of causing significant, permanent damage to the government’s branches.

In reality, the entrenched establishment has prevented those moderate fires; the big one which will cause permanent damage is coming.  We can only hope that the ashes left behind are fertile soil for something better, leaner and healthier.Washington burning

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Mainstream feminism rejects sex work as an acceptable choice.  So…I don’t describe myself as an adherent to a political philosophy that wants to eliminate me.  –  Mistress Matisse

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Almost certainly not:

They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper [is] more than 800 pages in length…Michael Maybrick was a hugely popular singer and composer in the Victorian era, who is virtually forgotten today – for reasons that Robinson believes are no accident…Maybrick was close friends with Sir Arthur Sullivan and the painter Frederick Leighton, among many other prominent public figures.  Both Sullivan and Leighton were Freemasons, as was Michael Maybrick.  He was…on the Supreme Grand Council of Freemasons, whose members also included the Prince of Wales…Maybrick was 47 at the time of the murders; a bachelor and, [author Bruce] Robinson believes, homosexual…

Yes, it’s a new version of the Masonic theory.

Above the Law rapist cop Jeff Sowers

When you’re a cop, rape becomes “official misconduct”:

A [Tennessee cop]…who resigned amid allegations of [raping prisoners]…pleaded guilty…to one count of official misconduct…Judge John Dugger sentenced Jeff Sowers to 18 months in jail…Dugger denied a request by Sowers’ attorneys for judicial diversion, which would have allowed for Sowers’ record to be expunged after his sentence…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Such a lot of stupid writing on something that not only doesn’t exist, but will never exist in the way and on the timescale these idiots are wanking to the fantasy of:

…a recent report claims intimacy between robots and humans will be more common than that between two people by 2050.  The work, written by futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson, purports that engaging in virtual sex acts will be as prevalent in 2030 as our engagement with porn today, and that the majority of people will own sex toys that employ an alternate reality in some way come 2035…

Storyville (#139)

Over the last 150 years, rights for sex workers have…diminished, according to West Virginia University journalism professor Alison Bass.  In her book Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law…Bass surveys the history of laws regulating prostitution in America and abroad.  In the past and today, Bass finds, sex workers have been marginalized by stigma that portrays them as immoral, dangerous, even diseased figures. B ut while the stigma hasn’t changed, the laws have—in many cases…for the worse…

Dutch Threat

Lawheads are completely unable to comprehend the bottleneck effect:

Entrepreneurs in Amsterdam who want to open a brothel must speak at least one common language with the sex workers they rent space to, according to a…ruling handed down by the European Court of Justice.  The court [claimed] the decision as…a way to guarantee the safety of the women, [reduce] human trafficking, and…help prevent pimping…and [pretended it] was…not discriminatory in any way…the court also noted the Council of State’s notion that the seeming overreach in authority was meant as a protection of public order, and that being able to converse with a sex worker allows a brothel owner the possibility of stopping child prostitution…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Because nobody would care about a headline reading, “Man minds his daughter while mother works”:

A Michigan man held his 9-month-old daughter in a motel room while the baby’s mother had sex with another man for money…Derohn Wilburn…is charged with…felony promoting prostitution and misdemeanor child endangering…Melissa Coleman…is charged with misdemeanor child endangering and prostitution…police released the baby to a family member.  She was unharmed…

Played Out

I don’t know who Robert Fullinwider is, but I thank him for taking the time to read through Moran’s drek so as to be able to rip it to shreds:

…Moran is not content to offer her particular life-story…She also sets herself up as the Universal Prostitute, a woman whose experiences define prostitution and trump the “experiences” of anyone else — sex worker, academic, or otherwise — who views prostitution differently than she does. She is not content to let her story speak for itself but instructs the reader on the proper conclusions to draw, and engages in arguments based on her experiences and “research”…Moran writes: prostitutes are “coerced” into prostitution (pp. 49, 227); they have no “choice” (p. 161); they have no “free will” (p. 201); they act out of “desperation” and “destitution” (pp. 43, 96)…Moran…[claims] she didn’t consent to prostitution because “it is not possible to consent to a lifestyle you don’t comprehend” (p. 50).  Yes it is.  People do it all the time.  “I didn’t know marriage was going to be like this!”  “I didn’t know how stressful being a parent would be!”  “I didn’t know military life would be this tough!”  [She claims] she didn’t consent to prostitution because she wasn’t an adult and children can’t consent (pp. 50-51).  Yes they can.  Society frames laws that say people below certain ages can’t “consent” – to contracts, to mortgages, to sexual relations, and the like – but the “no consent” here is a legal fiction…a sixteen year-old girl who finds prostitution utterly repulsive, revolting, and disgusting, and who is “desperate to escape,” yet who passes up on an opportunity to get out of the trade because she’s unwilling to be bound by any rules, is a person who’s made a choice— a bad choice, to be sure, but a real choice…Moran…speaks of allowing herself to be coerced (an odd locution) into prostitution by her boyfriend.  What did her boyfriend do?  Did he beat her?  Did he threaten her?  No, he “suggested” that she turn tricks; he “encouraged” her (pp. 47, 186)…Moran seems to think you haven’t acted freely unless you are as happy as a lark with what you’ve chosen (p. 227); that you are not self-determining unless you are “controlling the totality of your life” (p. 175).  These are just fundamentally unserious engagements with the notions of freedom and self-determination.  We always act under constraints, we never control the totality of our lives, and we are often unhappy with what we’ve chosen, just less unhappy than with the alternatives…

Rooted in Racism (#429)

Sweden’s “liberal reputation” is bullshit:

…a recent report by the United Nations…concludes that a rising level of racist violence and “Afrophobic” hate crimes in Sweden are “an extensive social problem”.  “There continues to be a general Swedish self-perception of being a tolerant and humane society, which makes it difficult to accept that there could be structural and institutional racism faced by people of African descent,” says the report…The country’s official [lie] of equality and respect for human rights “blinds” it to the racism faced by African-Swedes, it says.  Hate crimes against the 200,000 or so black people…in Sweden increased by more than 40% between 2008 and 2014…with more than a fifth of incidents last year involving violence…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#505)

On Working It, the magazine at the center of the stripper labor rights movement in Portland:

…Each magazine brings together about 50 pages of writing and art by sex workers from around the country.  In addition to permanent sections including “Client Hall of Shame” “Best/Worst Tip$” “Tales from your Shift” and art, each volume of Working It has a theme…After Danzine went dormant, [Matilda] Bickers and Portland’s sex worker activism also went relatively dormant.  [SWOP] took over Danzine’s bad date list.  In 2005, Bickers and her friends tried to start a dancer union — “but that failed miserably, and I was really burnt out for a while,” Bickers says.  In the following years, Bickers worked at strip clubs and…graduated from Portland State University.  “I kind of never stopped doing sex worker activism,” Bickers says…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#550)

The history of the concept of sex addiction is a complex, somewhat contentious one…I’ve often cited the concept back to the initial writings of Patrick Carnes…Now, three New Zealand historians have contributed a wealth of astounding, rich and often surprising information to the issue…Sex Addiction, A Critical History…represents a remarkable detailing of the troubling, often hidden, history of this concept…Reay and his coauthors found powerful writings by Hatterer from the 1960’s and 70’s, where he blamed a sexually addictive process for sexual excesses. Powerfully, they detail [Dr. Lawrence] Hatterer’s disturbing history of treating homosexuality as an illness, and the way he treated homosexuality “like an alcoholic”…in his writings…from its inception, the concept of sex addiction has been applied to treatment of homosexuality as an illness…

If You Want Something Done Right…

I have the most awesome friends:

…Mistress Matisse…heard about Heather’s experience and was determined to help.  Through other sex workers she tracked Heather down, called her and booked a flight to West Virginia.  She showed up at Heather’s door…organized fund-raising, lined up medical assistance and connected Heather with nonprofit help.  This isn’t a new role for Matisse.  She’s worked as a sex worker in various capacities since she was 19.  But as she’s gotten established in Seattle, she says, “I have gotten to the point in my career where it is in many ways self-sustaining.”  As a result, she’s had more time to devote to activism.  Matisse was there to help Heather because she’s made it her business to help sex workers who are in crises.  I talked to Matisse about her activism, her work with Heather and why sex workers are the best ones to help sex workers…

Amnesty At Last

Here’s an NPR show which purports to present a “discussion” of the Amnesty International position statement on decriminalization, but which was designed from the get-go to promote prohibitionist propaganda by stacking the panel three to one (Swanee Hunt, Rachel Moran and Andrea Powell) vs. Maxine Doogan.  Unfortunately for the antis, Maxine had logic and facts on her side and acquitted herself quite well.  What you won’t hear:  Sol Finer of SWOP-Seattle called into the live show and Moran absolutely lost her mind, screaming and shouting at Sol in such a clearly unbalanced manner that the tirade was edited out of the archived version of the show.  So much for NPR’s commitment to the truth.

New Excuse (#576)

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Thargelia…made her onslaughts upon the most influential men [of her time].  –  Plutarch

Thargelia by Victor Tchetchet (1930s)In these harlotographies, I try to alternate between modern ones (who died in the 20th or 21st centuries) and those of earlier times.  Unfortunately, even those of earlier times tend to have lived in the Renaissance or later; a precious few date to medieval or classical times, and none at all from earlier.  As I wrote in my biography of Thaïs,

…it seems as though Rhodopis of the 6th century BCE may be about as early as I’m able to go; her life story is a mixture of fact, surmise and legend, and though we know the names of earlier whores…they are largely inhabitants of the sphere of legend.  This is really not so surprising when one considers that we know little more than the names and dates of most kings from earlier times, and virtually nothing about anyone else unless they had some impact on the affairs of kings…

Most of the hetaerae I have discussed lived in or near the time of Alexander, and a couple (Aspasia and Lais) were born in the 5th century BCE.  As Thargelia flourished only half a century or thereabouts after Rhodopis, y’all probably won’t be surprised at how little is known about her, but since what is known is quite fascinating, I wanted to share it with y’all.  Like Aspasia, she was from Miletus; like Lais, she is sometimes considered to be two different women with the same name; and like Thaïs, her claim to fame is bound up in the story of the Greco-Persian conflicts that dominated the 5th and 4th centuries BCE.  But while Thaïs gleefully witnessed the collapse of the Persian Empire from the train of its conqueror, Thargelia was born a Persian subject and worked to sway Greek opinion toward the Empire when the Wars were just beginning.

Here’s what we know with a fair degree of certainty about Thargelia:  she was an exceptional beauty with an exceptional brain and devastating powers of persuasion who managed to bring more than a few of her powerful and influential lovers over to the Persian side.  Her name is also the name of an important spring festival of Apollo and Artemis, celebrated in prehistoric times (like so many ancient Greek festivals were) with human sacrifice; it probably had the same sort of ring in her culture that the names “May” or “Easter” might have in ours.  Hippias of Elis claimed that she had been married fourteen times, but this seems highly unlikely; he may have garbled reports about the number of important clients whose support she won for Darius.  Other accounts claimed that she married Antiochus, ruler of Thessaly, and ruled for thirty years after his death; the latter is known to be false because it was Antiochus himself who ruled for 30 years, and he was succeeded by Thorax of Larissa.  She was eventually assassinated by an anti-Persian politician from Argos whom she had used her influence to imprison.

It’s such a pitifully meager amount of information, yet it’s enough to inspire the imagination: given a few more years to work, who knows how many great men she would have lured into the Persian camp?  And had that happened, Darius’ invasion of Greece might have gone very differently…and with it the entirety of European history.  In a world where that unnamed Argive had been killed rather than merely imprisoned, Thargelia might have been the most influential whore in history instead of a mere footnote.

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Human trafficking is what we call it when women make choices that make us uncomfortable.  –  Cathy Reisenwitz Hiram Johnson

Here We Go Again

In 1913, former California Gov. Hiram Johnson signed the California Red-Light Abatement Act, outlawing bordellos…advocates promised the law would stymie the “scattering of the evil throughout the residence district…[and wipe] out the unclean profits of those who prey upon fallen women.”  Voters approved the measure by a 53.3 percent majority.  As for those “fallen women,” their jobs became more treacherous.  You see, the Abatement Act…just made it so they could no longer operate indoors without breaking the law.  As bad and exploitative as some bordellos were before the Act passed, the street only magnified these dangers and presented new ones…More than a century later, an escalating campaign to crack down on online classified portals is fanning a similar migration…activists say…

BDSM

An Orpington dominatrix has defended her secret fetish dungeon…after neighbours complained to police…From the outside it is a large, detached home on a quiet, leafy street but inside is a thriving fetish establishment…Neighbours…[claim] to have heard “whipping” and “screaming” coming from the address.  But the dungeon’s operator…”Mistress Evilyne”, said the business is legal, she is registered with the HMRC and no sexual services are offered…A tennis club spokesman [said]…”We host Crofton School for coaching and we are concerned the children might be exposed to something that they shouldn’t see at their age”…the police have not found any evidence of illegal activity…

Out of Control (The Camel’s Nose) 

Well, this is different:

An NYPD sergeant with the Organized Crime Control Bureau has been suspended, but not arrested, after throwing semen at a co-worker…Sergeant Michael Iscenko, 54, had previously told the victim, a civilian administrative aide in her 60s, that he liked her…[she] had just left the ladies restroom and was heading back to her office when Iscenko crept up behind her and threw something on the woman’s leg and her shoe…The woman…immediately filed a complaint with her supervisors, who sent a sample of the substance out to be tested, it turned out to be semen…people who know the sergeant…[said] they wouldn’t have pegged him as a pervert, because of the way he dresses…

A Procrustean Bed

“Justice system” destroys woman’s life for giving a friend a ride:

[An Ohio] woman convicted of promoting prostitution and labeled a sex offender after she drove a friend to what turned out to be a prostitution sting was granted judicial release after serving about seven months of an 18-month sentence.  But Aimee Hart…is continuing with an appeal of her…conviction because she doesn’t believe she should have to register as a sex offender…“I personally feel that they perverted the intention of the law to fit my circumstances,” Hart said…

Yeah, they do that.

Childish Things

Cathy Reisenwitz on the psychology behind support for prohibition:

…you’re at brunch with a pretty normal person.  But better educated and smarter than normal, smarter than you, in fact.  But they’ve not heard that a conservative estimate for the average age at which women enter the trade is 25.  They don’t know that even underage prostitutes start at an average of 15-16, and only 15% of teen hookers (themselves a small minority of all sex workers) enter at an age below 13.  They’ve never had Maggie McNeill in their living room.  In fact they’ve never talked to a person they knew was a sex worker.  So why do smart, well-educated people buy into the sex trafficking moral panic?  And the larger question, why do we condescend to sex workers by assuming they can’t consent to sex work?…

An Example To the West (#343)

Of course Reuters is too mired in American carceral thinking to see any of this as a problem, but this report on police responses to “human trafficking” in Thailand gives a few clues as to what an unholy mess the attempt to stop people from migrating to work has created.

A Year Later

Canada has a problem.  Her highest court ruled in 2013 that prostitutes have a constitutional right to work, but federal officials still do all they can to impose prohibition…This ad hoc law is likely unconstitutional as well…prohibitionists are driven by moralism, as opposed to policy outcomes and concern for the wishes of prostitutes.  This becomes apparent as they frame all prostitution as coercive and parrot the [myth] that Canadians enter the industry on average between the ages of 12 and 14…when it comes to practical enforcement, prohibition efforts in the United States have seen prostitutes more likely to have “freebie” sex with officers than get arrested.  Further, sites such as SugarDaddie.com...beg the question as to when dating ends and prostitution begins (as pointed out on the Bob Zadek Show with Maggie McNeill, a call girl turned blogger…

Fever Dream (#541)

Readers over 40:  in your youth, could you have imagined living in a country where statements like this were made with a straight face?

Just a few years ago, Tennessee was scrambling to combat sex trafficking.  Now…there have been 36 new laws in the past four years, including…money for more special agents assigned to investigate sex traffickers for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.  And for the first time, TBI will have the power to conduct electronic wiretapping…Until now, that kind of surveillance has only been allowed for the most serious murders, drug dealing, and gang crimes…Margie Quin…says…“With the advent of websites that are strictly geared toward selling women and children for sex, being able to combat that through electronic authority will be, I think, very beneficial”…

Seizing Power 

This article on the Backpage credit card issue doesn’t break any ground readers will find unfamiliar, but the more mainstream articles on the topic the better.  And besides, it quotes me!

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