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[Indiana’s] boundless view of governmental power cannot be squared with the Constitution.  –  Sam Gedge

Safe Targets

Please tell us more about how legalization “protects” sex workers:

The [Singaporean] television show Crime Watch…served as the source of inspiration that motivated three youths to hatch a plot to rob sex workers at knifepoint.  On…June 28…Theophileous Jebaraj, 16, and John Karan, 18, were convicted…the third co-accused, a 14-year-old…cannot be named as he is a minor…the trio agreed…[that] the “safest” way to commit a crime…would be preying on…sex workers…given the illicit [government designation] of their work…Armed with knives, they…[robbed] the victim…of…about S$100…and…ransack[ed] the house for other valuables…

Where Are the Victims?

When giving someone a ride to work is a “felony”.  Because “ring”:

A Billings massage parlor owner has agreed to plead guilty to one count related to [what masturbating pigs and prosecutors fantasized was] a sex-trafficking ring…Scot Donald Petrie…agree[d] to plead guilty [to] transporting a woman from Nevada to Billings to work…at his parlor…[giving adult women rides] carries a maximum of 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and an additional $5,000 special assessment and five years to life supervised release…prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges of conspiracy and coercion and entitlement, which could have added 25 years to Petrie’s sentence…

Little Tin Gods (#588)

People sometimes ask me why I moved out of Louisiana.

[A pig who murdered] a 6-year-old autistic boy is out of prison after serving less than two years…Norris Greenhouse Jr.,,,[was given a] plea…[bargain for] negligent homicide and malfeasance…[and was given a] seven-year prison sentence…[which] was reduced due to [his being a pig]…Greenhouse will be on parole until 2025…Greenhouse [had a history of rape and molestation, including being caught trying to molest]…a 14-year-old…He was also accused of making “sexual advances” towards a girlfriend of [one of his murder victims]…

The Course of a Disease (#793)

The Swedish model “helps” sex workers!

Olivier Arsac, deputy mayor in charge of…safety…in Toulouse [said] “We must not hesitate to be brutal…to obtain…[sex workers’] departure [from the city]”…[the statement] caused controversy [among those who want to pretend policing is not intrinsically violent]…Arsac [has also called for]…eviction…of prostitutes [as is typical in Swedish model regimes]…

Rooted in Racism (#913)

In Europe as in the US, the real humanitarians are fighting against racist “anti-trafficking” schemes:

The sea captain who rammed a police boat while bringing 40 rescued immigrants to an Italian port…must be freed…a judge ruled…Carola Rackete…was arrested after she docked the rescue ship of…Sea-Watch at Italy’s tiny Lampedusa island [on June 29th], 17 days after taking the immigrant passengers aboard…Rackete was “doing her duty saving lives,” Judge Alessandra Vella concluded in denying prosecutors’ request to keep the German captain under house arrest…Italy’s virulently anti-immigrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, banned [rescue] ships…from Italian waters and ports, [pre]tending they…encourage human trafficking.  Italian…authorities had repeatedly denied Rackete’s request to enter the port…[so] she steered into…Lampedusa…without authorization…Supporters in Italy and Germany pledged over 1.3 million euros ($1.48 million)…[to] an online fundraiser for her and for Sea-Watch…several impromptu street rallies were held in her support in Italy…[Italian pigs oinked that] the immigrants on board were not in a desperate state of need…[even though] 13 [of them had] to be…medical[ly evacuated from the ship soon after arrival]…

Dangerous Speech (#917)

The government keeps demonstrating that it doesn’t really care that its war on thought is wholly and incontrovertibly unconstitutional:

…federal Judge Susan Brnovich ruled against the wishes of prosecutors and in favor of a defense motion to reset the start date for the trial of six ex-Backpage honchos, allowing two newly-appointed defense attorneys an additional four months of prep time in [the] wildly complex case…Brnovich rescheduled the first day of trial for May 5, 2020 and reset several pretrial deadlines.  [Andrew] Padilla and [Joye] Vaught are relative small-fry in the case.  Out of a 100-count indictment, the feds have charged them with 51 counts: 50 for promoting prostitution in violation of the federal Travel Act, and one count of conspiracy…Though the criminal charges were brought in Arizona, the federal government chose to go through the Central District of California in order to [steal] millions of dollars in assets as part of the operation…[including designated] funds [set aside long before the raids for] legal defense…The reason why Padilla and Vaught have new counsel…is in part due to the feds’ [theft] of [these] accounts…

A Broker in Pillage (#917)

Indiana continues to pursue the “right” to rob anyone within its borders blind:

After losing at the U.S Supreme Court, the state of Indiana still hasn’t given up its argument that there are virtually no Eighth Amendment limits on what it can [steal from anyone cops point at]…In oral arguments before the Indiana Supreme Court last week, Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher said the state’s position that it would be constitutional to seize any and every car that [a cop claims] went over the speed limit—a line of argument that elicited laughter from the nation’s highest court last year—hasn’t budged…The Indiana Supreme Court is now reconsidering the case of Tyson Timbs’ $42,000 Land Rover, and whether the state’s 2015 [theft] of Timbs’ car after he was convicted of a drug felony violated his Eighth Amendment protections against excessive fines and fees…The Indiana Supreme Court will now have to decide how to determine whether a [theft] is excessive or not, a decision that could either check or reinforce the state government’s power in these cases…last year, Fisher argued…that the excessive fines clause, even if it applied to the states, did not apply to the practice of civil asset forfeiture, which operates under the legal fiction that it is an action against the property itself, not the owner…

Morality Lessons (#921)

The FBI should’ve just run their child porn sites on DoD computers:

…An untold number of Department of Defense (DOD) employees and contractors have subscriptions to child pornography websites, and…”hundreds of DoD-affiliated individuals” were recently identified as suspects in child pornography cases…an investigation by the National Criminal Justice Training Program found DOD computers were among the top networks nationwide for peer-to-peer sharing of pornographic images of minors.  DOD’s network ranked 19th out of 2,891 computer networks studied…

All-Purpose Excuse (#923)

I love seeing governments fight the rescue industry for control of the “sex trafficking” narrative:

A [UK] Home Office policy document on…Nigeria[n sex workers] says that those who become “wealthy from prostitution” enjoy “high socio-economic status” and are “often held in high regard” when they return home…[rescue industry perv]erts retorted that [the migrant women they label] trafficking victims [are]…“very young women plucked from the streets of Benin City or Lagos and brought to the UK to be raped, for months and sometimes years”…

Now that the greedy and the power-hungry all recognize the proven power of this ugly, racist sexual fantasy to frighten the Great Unwashed into giving them what they want, they’ll keep struggling for control of it until it implodes.

Checklist (#934)

The scheme to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system continues:

EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland partnered with Seattle Against Slavery on June 21 to continue the [indoctrin]ation [of] health care professionals [in denying the sexual agency of adult women who seek healthcare services]…Claudia Lawrence…delivered a presentation to nursing staff, physicians and social workers on [how to project fantasies] of exploitation…[onto] adults…“Not everyone who is trafficked is aware they are trafficked,” said Lawrence…

Shame, Shame (#951)

An existing crime (extortion) doesn’t magically become a different thing (“sexortion”) when sex is involved:

Gabe Ryan Gilbert, 19, was charged with contacting juvenile girls on social media and threatening to photo-edit nude images of them if they would not send him real nude photos…A 15-year-old girl reported…that Gilbert “had threatened to photoshop images of her face onto nude photos unless she sent real nude pictures of herself”…When [cops] looked into Gilbert’s Snapchat account…”it was obvious the user had been engaging in very similar behavior with…over 50 potential victims”…

The solution to this problem isn’t increasing the censorship powers of the already-bloated police state as authoritarians demand; it’s fighting the idea that a woman’s body is something to be ashamed of.

Overripe

Lots of people are asking for my take on the Jeffrey Epstein thing, but I’m afraid I don’t have one just yet; when a powerful, wealthy, well-connected person is accused of a crime (especially a complex one), the result is invariably dueling volcanos of accusation & defense vomiting megatons of obfuscation into the atmosphere.  Moreover, when the crime “just happens” to fit into a moral panic in full eruption, the result is a firestorm that makes it very difficult to separate truth, lies, prevarications, opportunism, excuse-making, police-statery, and outright bullshit from one another.  However, I respect Liz Brown’s judgment on such things and here’s what she had to say on Monday:

…Why now?  Who else may be implicated?  What do lawyer Alan Dershowitz, activist Mike Cernovich, and The Miami Herald have to do with it?…Epstein first pleaded guilty in June 2008 to charges of…paying young women and teen girls to give him massages and then pressuring or forcing them into sexual activity.  At the time, federal prosecutors declined to pursue the case so long as Epstein registered as a sex offender in Florida, served a little time in jail, and paid compensation to the victims. The prosecutor handling the case was Alexander Acosta, who is now secretary of labor….soliciting  or patronizing prostitution from victims of sex trafficking was not explicitly a federal crime until 2015, with the passage of the Trafficking Victims’ Protection Act…[which] made prosecuting said crimes more lucrative for the feds…indeed, the new indictment against Epstein lays claim to his Palm Beach and New York City residences.  Before 2015, the feds may have been able to charge Epstein under the Mann Act…but…getting any assets…out of them would likely have been much harder…plaintiffs in [a civil] suit reached a settlement in 2017, and documents related to this were…kept under seal.  Wanting to clear his name, Dershowitz sued to have them unsealed.  Eventually, right-wing activist Mike Cernovich and Miami Herald writer Julie Brown would also seek to intervene…On July 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit…[ordered them] unsealed…

There’s a lot more, but I’m sure my readers will find this bit especially important:

…The conduct Epstein is accused of committing does fall under the federal definition of sex trafficking (which encompasses any paid sexual activity involving a minor, including paying them yourself).  And more so than almost any case I’ve covered, Epstein’s alleged actions fall within the spirit and not just the letter of the law.  They also come much closer to what many people might think of when they think about “sex trafficking.”  But these allegations…may be more closely aligned with other crimes, such as sexual assault, statutory rape, etc.  The decision to bring child sex trafficking charges is likely a function of a) some of these other things not being federal crimes, b) a general federal enthusiasm for adding trafficking charges in sex-crime cases, and/or c) the greater asset forfeiture possibilities and related conspiracy/etc. possibilities that come with the federal sex trafficking statute…

The final important point:  Epstein has lots of cronies in both “wings” of the US Fascist Party, so it’s likely that some powerful people in both halves of the duopoly (including two of the five living presidents) are motivated to hide the truth, while their enemies may not wish “to weaponize this” due to fear of fallout to “their” side.  All we can do for now is wait and see.

Diary #471

I always enjoy the time I spend at Sunset, especially when it’s mostly doing nothing.  This time, besides just relaxing and eating and drinking and getting stoned and actually staying basically on track with my writing, I helped Grace to scope out what’s going on under my floor.  After moving the bathroom linen closet (which is not built-in) we drilled some test holes in the floor beneath it, and once we had a space large enough to admit a certain dainty white hand I was able to feel around to ensure we wouldn’t drill into a pipe, wire or other hidden obstacle.  We soon had a hatch large enough for me to slither through and with the help of a cellphone camera Grace was able to analyze the problem.  From what we can tell, the original house (which was built in 1927) had only three rooms: parlor, bedroom and kitchen.  The plumbing was probably outdoor, not unusual in rural parts of the US prior to the Great Depression.  Then in the early ’50s or thereabouts, the owners added an upstairs bedroom and two plumbed rooms to the east of the kitchen, a bathroom and a laundry room.  But they did not allow for the weight of those added structures, and the supports were placed several inches east of the load-bearing wall instead of directly beneath it, with the result that for the past 6 or 7 decades the joists supporting the east wall have slowly cracked and several have broken loose.  So now we need to redo the plumbing so we can cut out the old pipes to make an adequate crawlspace under the house (the current one would be barely adequate for a leprechaun) in order to install footings and an I-beam to properly distribute and support the weight of the eastern portion of the house after jacking it back into level (it has dropped about two inches, which doesn’t sound like much but is noticeable when crossing the floor above).  I’ve already bought the new pipe and tools, and Grace started the work yesterday.  Once the new plumbing is in we can assess the next step, and though it’s going to be a lot of (dirty, difficult, & expensive) work it’ll be nice to know that my country place is on a solid foundation again whenever I’m sitting around watching animals grazing in my yard.

I can always be counted on to persevere as long as it is humanly possible to do so, and then just a bit longer.  –  “Eighth Anniversary

As I wrote one year ago today, “There are quite a few older blogs, but I daresay not many bigger ones; despite travels, travails and troubles, I’ve somehow managed to produce a post every single day since July 10th, 2010.  That’s [well over] 3000 of them now, and that isn’t even counting the booksessays for other publicationsaudio and video interviews, and speeches I’ve given in public (not to mention the innumerable unrecorded rants to which I’ve subjected my admiring clients and long-suffering friends, the latter not always while entirely sober).”  On top of all that, I now have my own documentary (which you should watch if you haven’t already).  I’ve reached the point where I summarize that as “for the past decade”, and given the incredible density of posts I think that’s acceptable shorthand; in fact, those who follow this blog closely have probably noticed that I’m already shifting toward looking back at essays from ten years back rather than a mere three (expect a new feature in January).  I’ve sometimes said that I’m not entirely sure how I’ve managed to continue for this long, but that’s a self-effacing lie rooted in my Southern Belle upbringing.  In reality, I know exactly how I’ve done it:  it’s a formula consisting of personality force, righteous indignation, stubbornness, anger, and OCD, in roughly equal proportion.  And though (like most people) I’m not entirely sure how much longer I have in this incarnation, I have no plans to stop fighting this war until there is no breath left in me.  And truth be told, I’m not even sure I could stop even if I wanted to.

This isn’t just a few rogue agents or “bad apples”.  –  Daniel Martinez

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Only bootlickers think the “cashless society” is a good thing:

…for the business of stripping, the end of cash is causing a crisis.  A club makes the majority of its profits in credit card charges at the door, the bar, and the private rooms; the cash that flies around has always belonged to the strippers…without cash…club[s are]…free to exploit.  Cash handed directly to a dancer gets pocketed, but credit card charges are skimmed—and because workers are more or less off the books, we have no recourse to contest absurdly high fees.  When a customer pays several hundred dollars to spend time in a dark room alone with a dancer, the club takes a 70 percent cut…When the customer runs out of cash bills and doesn’t want to pay the exorbitant fee at the club’s ATM (which is often, conveniently, broken) the club will take roughly 30 percent out of every dance dollar—plastic bills representing the cost of a lap dance.  That’s on top of a roughly $100 nightly fee that dancers pay in order to work…cash allows sex workers access to reliable and untraceable income, it makes it possible to avoid the discrimination inherent in the banking system, it allows us to hide our work from outside scrutiny…

Whatever They Need To Say

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of sex workers:

…members from South India AIDS Action Programme (SIAAP) [spoke]…at a discussion on “Sex work is work: Rethinking labour, consent and agency”.  The stigma around sex workers further marginalises them, said Shyamala Nataraj…“State governments often claim to rescue sex workers from red light zones.  If you follow the issue carefully, you’ll observe that the rescue will shortly be followed by a real estate venture in the area”…

With Friends Like These…

What kind of warped mind quotes prohibitionist myths while contradicting the wishes of the sex workers it claims to want to “help”?

…decriminalization like what [every single sex worker activist, every academic who has actually studied the issue and every human rights group want] is the worst option. More permissive sex work laws are associated with more sex works of all kinds…attract[ing] more traffickers [from prohibitionist sex fantasies]…Decriminalizing also does not protect willing, adult sex workers…because [surveillance, outing, and rape & persecution by cops constitute “protection”]…The better alternative is legalization..,[including] a thorough background check and [compulsory, ongoing invasion of sex workers’ privacy by bureaucrats and rapist cops]…

Monsters 

“Written assurance” is like a “restraining order”:

A man in Pakistan has been arrested [for the murder of] his transgender daughter…19-year-old [Maya]…had left home and was living with friends in the city of Peshawar.  Her family attempted to [lure] her [back to their] home on [June 29th].  Maya’s friends, concerned for her safety, contacted the police….[who] allowed family members to take Maya [back] to the city of Nowshera…Aurangzeb Akbar, the teenager’s father, provided the police with a written assurance that he would not harm his child.  Maya’s bullet-ridden body was discovered just hours later…beside a river bank…Police…are…reportedly searching for Maya’s uncle and brothers…

To Molest and Rape

Just protecting and serving:

A cop in Lowell, Massachusetts, has been charged with rape after…he repeatedly [raped] a 16-year-old homeless girl in her tent [after threatening her with nonexistent arrest warrants]…Kevin Garneau…is facing up to 40 years in prison…[after a] grand jury indicted him…Garneau’s police department didn’t learn about [his raping homeless girls]…until January — nearly three years after the [rapes]…and [rewarded him with a paid vacation]…up until the indictment…

Believe Them

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time“:

Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas…and posted…vulgar illustration[s]…group members responded with indifference and wisecracks to…a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died [in a cage] in May…the…group…boasts roughly 9,500 [typical and representative] members from across the country…The patrol…[has] approximately 20,000 [pigs in all, so the group represents half of them]…Perhaps the most [typical and coppish] posts target Ocasio-Cortez.  One includes a photo [manipulation]…of a smiling President Donald Trump forcing Ocasio-Cortez’s head toward his crotch…

All-Purpose Excuse (#923)

Please, rescue industry, keep attacking the institution that most promotes your narrative:

…The credibility of the TIP Report must first and foremost be grounded in the integrity of the government issuing the report…U.S. policies are deliberately eroding protections for the most vulnerable among us.  Not only is this approach ineffectual to reduce human trafficking, this puts the United States’ standing as a leader on human rights in question…the United States is increasingly denying human trafficking survivors’ access to T Visas, which were explicitly created to [bribe people to sing as directed by prosecutors]…the administration’s zero tolerance and the “Remain in Mexico” border policies…empower…traffickers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#931)

Tyranny always starts with despised minorities, but it never stops with them:

Over the past two years, an estimated 1 million Muslim Uighurs have been rounded up and [imprisoned] in…”re-education camps.”  It’s extremely difficult to report from the Uighur homeland of China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. Journalists are followed wherever they go and prevented from visiting certain places or speaking with locals.  So we posed as tourists and snuck in wearing hidden cameras.  Twice.  What we witnessed was an Orwellian state unlike any place on earth.  We got a chilling, up-close look at how the Chinese government is using the world’s most advanced surveillance technology to spy on every aspect of Uighur life, and how Uighur men are taken away by the police in the middle of the night.  Most disturbingly of all, we learned how many Uighur children are being separated from their families and brought up by the state — as if they are orphans.  They’re prevented from speaking in their native tongue and indoctrinated with Party propaganda.  The goal of all this is clear: the total erasure of an entire religion, culture and ethnicity…

Safe Position (#947)

The concept of “human rights” becomes incomprehensible to Americans in proximity to the word “sex”:

..pervert-friendly…Tiffany Cabán…pimps and johns…gigantic brothel…sex tourism…[quote from CATW]…sexually transmitted diseases, drug use and depression…denizens of cathouses…epicenter of sex work in New York City…disgrace…normalizing hooking…troubled people…unhealthy…Teen Vogue…is urging youngsters…as young as 13…to dump their professional goals…shame…protect[s]…kids from being used…violence is caused by…pimps and buyers of human flesh…dangerous and soul-crushing pastime…

Since this “article” is basically just one big ball of stupid, I simply extracted all the especially-pompous puritanism so you could get a whiff without having to dive into this burning dumpster.

I’ve followed Cathy Reisenwitz‘ work since I started this blog, yet somehow we’ve never had a guest column from her!  So when I saw that she’s started a new newsletter, I jumped at the excuse.

It’s a tragedy of feminism that so many of us are stumped by a very easy question:  Is sex work a choice?  Ask any current sex worker and they’ll tell you:  Sucking dick for money under patriarchal capitalism is as much a choice as cleaning toilets.  But one pays a lot better.  Is being a housewife a choice?  If your view is that society worships motherhood and despises ambitious women, then obviously those forces will influence women’s choices.  But an influenced choice is still a choice, something many radical feminists don’t like to admit.  Radfems like to straw-man arguments for female autonomy as choice feminism.  But when the women in question have power, suddenly the question changes.  While downtrodden and oppressed women aren’t allowed to make their own choices, women in positions of power are afforded unlimited options.  I find a particularly interesting example of this “choice only for the powerful” phenomenon in feminist author Jill Filipovic’s treatment of presidential hopeful Kamala Harris.  While Filipovic equivocates about sex work and choice feminism, she asks for nuance when considering Harris’s choice to use her powers as a prosecutor to deprive women of the choice to engage in safe sex work.

Harris’ record as prosecutor reveals a woman who is more than happy to use the criminal justice system to keep other women from engaging in sex work without fear of violence, arrest, or imprisonment.  Harris arrested Backpage.com executives and illegally charged them with pimping and conspiracy, then after a judge threw out the case Harris filed nearly identical charges in another California court; the First Amendment Lawyers’ Association described the maneuvers as “a gross abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”  Harris fought Backpage and continues to support FOSTA in the name of fighting human trafficking, yet everyone from Amnesty International to the World Health Organization says that decriminialization leads to lower rates of sex trafficking.  Despite this, Harris has consisently sided with prostitution prohibitionists and supported police raids of sex workers.  And while San Francisco Bay Area police officers were committing actual sex trafficking, Harris and her office pretended it wasn’t happening.  Jill Filipovic is quite aware of the “Kamala Harris is a cop” meme, but has a more nuanced take.  In a recent op-ed, Filipovic asks readers to consider the competing interests Kamala had to take into account when making choices as a prosecutor (if Harris hadn’t defended the death penalty she risked alienating politically powerful police unions; if she hadn’t fought the California anti-overcrowding court ruling the state would’ve missed out on slave labor, etc).  I’m not sure how to justify her choice to become a prosecutor in the first place; as Joe Biden pointed out in the recent Dem debate, “I was a public defender. I didn’t become a prosecutor.”  Filipovic is able to see Harris’s choices through the lens of a woman navigating a minefield of racism and sexism while also balancing careerism and her own conscience, yet when it comes to sex workers, all that nuance is reduced to “choice feminism.”

In Supporting Sex Workers’ Rights, Opposing the Buying of Sex, Filipovic writes, “[In Utopia], sex would be a fun thing, a collaborative thing, always entered into freely and enthusiastically and without coercion.  Of course women should have the right to do what they want with their own bodies, and of course there are many sex workers who aren’t trafficked or forced into the trade.  But that smacks a bit too much of ‘I choose my choice!’ feminism, which I find to be incredibly intellectually lazy.”  What’s really incredibly intellectually lazy is to spend hundreds of words apologizing for a woman who chose to arrest and incarcerate sex workers and make their jobs less safe to bolster her own career, and then dismiss the fight for sex work decriminalization as “choice feminism.”  Are sex workers not doing the best job they can considering there are negative consequences to every position they could take?

A look at my own experience with sex work may be helpful in illustrating this.  From the time I walked the aisle at a tent revival and confessed my sins and gave my heart to Jesus at five years old, I’ve always been a true believer.  I’m not sure if I ever signed a purity pledge, but I might as well have.  I met my favorite high school boyfriend at a good old-fashioned Southern Baptist abstinence retreat, and I lost my virginity at 22, on my wedding night.  As I pulled away from religion, my husband drew in; by the time I said I wanted a separation four years in, he said he’d only see the pastor and his wife for marriage counseling.  I studied her perfect highlights as they refused to talk about the problems in our marriage until my relationship with Jesus was fully addressed.  Sometime between the divorce and today I got paid for sex for the first time, because once you see that traditional marriage is just one long, nominally exclusive mutually beneficial arrangement you really can’t unsee it; then the question becomes how long, and how exclusive, do you want the arrangement to be?

I was a sex work activist before I was a sex worker, because a feminism that doesn’t include self-ownership is no feminism at all, and women don’t own our bodies if we aren’t allowed to rent them out.  Contrary to the carceral feminists, I don’t believe any kind of consensual sex should involve arrest or imprisonment.  In what universe can a woman consent to cleaning a toilet for money under capitalism, but not to sucking dick?  Such a conception is utterly infantilizing, superstitious, and antifeminist.  It’s not despite my femimism that I support sex work decriminalization; it’s because of it.  Whoring has always been one of the only ways a low-born woman could rise above her station; sex work enables more women (and men) than you’ll ever know who don’t have trust funds to pursue social justice, music, comedy, and acting.  Or writing feminist screeds, in my case.  I’m neither proud nor ashamed of having done sex work.  If I had been a great sex worker I’d be proud, but I wasn’t; I didn’t find most of my clients interesting and I’m bad at pretending.  Yet I found sex work empowering even though I didn’t like doing it; maybe it’s my libertarian showing, but I tend to believe more options are better than fewer.

I’ve been writing about feminism, sex, and capitalism for the past ten years, mostly at Sex and the State; in that time I’ve changed my thinking on everything from abortion and sex work to the social safety net.  My writing is thinking aloud and learning in public.  I’m honored to have learned from women like Maggie, who turns the “prostituted woman” trope on its head; far from being abused or oppressed (except by cops and an overinvolved state), no one could prostitute Maggie except Maggie herself.  I’m still a true believer — evangelical as the day is long — but what I’m preaching has changed quite a bit.  I invite you to join my sex-positive libertarian feminist tent revival, by subscribing to my daily email.

Links #470

This machine is pumping fluid into my veins as we speak. – Shaquille Dukes

Apparently five years of living in Seattle is not enough for me to have heard of this, but I’m not terribly ashamed because Chekhov, a font of local knowledge who first moved to Seattle in 1978, had never heard of it either.  It does actually serve as a kind of goofy real-life metaphor for the city, though.  The links above it were provided by Marijke Vonk, Boatfloating, Franklin Harris, David Wraith, Emma Evans, and Lucy Steigerwald, in that order.

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