Threat Level

All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.  –  Leo Tolstoy

I am really, really sick of being threatened with violence from “authorities” every time I turn around.  I don’t just mean the threat inherent in universal criminality, nor the implied threat of heavily-armed thugs cruising around looking for laws to “enforce”; I don’t even mean the paranoid uneasiness purposely cultivated by government actors through the use of security theater, mass surveillance and encouraging kids to turn their parents in for consensual behaviors.  No, I’m talking about direct, clear threats spelled out in plain English words on a large fraction of the flat surfaces in the United States.

seat belt threatReaders who live outside of the US may not have any idea what I’m talking about, and many American readers may have grown so used to these ominous warnings of dire consequences that they no longer recognize them for what they are.  So I’ll elucidate:  all over the United States, threatening signs are displayed in businesses, on merchandise, and especially along highways; filling stations in particular may present a wide collection of the ugly things.  For a few years, anyone pulling up at any gasoline pump from coast to coast would be greeted by the visage of a scowling cop, sometimes pointing at the viewer, threatening that one would lose his driver’s license if he drove off without paying.  The door of the attached convenience store might have a warning that loiterers will be abducted and caged, while on the counter within other placards promise wildly-disproportionate “punishments” for anyone who dares buy liquor or cigarettes for those below the magical Age of Shazam.  And after one escapes this minefield of threats and gets back onto the highway, he might see a billboard defacing the scenery with the asinine slogan “click it or ticket”, because the government is so very concerned with everyone’s safety that it steals money from people who can’t afford to lose it in order to “send a message”.

Signs threatening fines for certain behaviors, such as littering, are nothing new; they’ve been around for at least as long as I’ve been able to read them, and probably at least since the early ’50s.  But in the past few decades there’s been such an incredible proliferation of them that Americans are virtually immersed in a sea of threats.  Don’t believe me?  Try counting every one you see today.  I’ll bet there are at least 3 or 4 times as many as the estimate you’re making of the number right now, and maybe more than that; these threats have become like Shea & Wilson’s fnords, invisible to the masses yet producing a vague and pervasive sense of unease.  Because the more unsettled and fearful the populace, the more they’ll support politicians’ efforts to strengthen the police/nanny state using any excuse from “drugs” to “terrorism” to “sex trafficking” to “cancer”.  Nor are the “authorities” the only ones to profit from this society-wide anxiety; non-governmental malefactors will often use the fear the “authorities” have generated as a means of coercing compliance.  For example, non-cop rapists often disguise themselves as cops in order to intimidate sex workers into surrendering without a struggle.  And then there are these guys:

…[copyright troll] Rightscorp…gives its agents [this script] to use when people call in after receiving a [threatening] notice…[it] is quite something, with a few ridiculous statements…[such as] the following.  If the caller says that they’re innocent, here’s how Rightscorp has its agents respond:  “In order to cancel this matter without payment, you will need to go and get a police report and fax or email it to us.  The police may take your devices and hold it for ~5 days to investigate the matter.  You must be sure that it was not you, anyone in your household, including friends and neighbors or you will be breaking a different law with the police department.”  Every part of that statement is bullshit…it’s clearly designed to…frighten the caller into just paying uprightscorp threat…Rightscorp is in the extortion/shakedown business, rather than actually trying to stop copyright infringement…

As in the case of the bogus-cop rapists, Rightscorp is using the fear of police violence to intimidate their victims into surrendering without a fight.  And given that a large portion of that fear was created by the government, both intentionally through constant threats and incidentally via its refusal to punish cops who inflict violence on peaceful citizens, the government is itself complicit in these crimes.

Methods of Payment

I’m 23 years old and generally considered good looking and very intelligent, but I’ve never had any success with girls. I’ve been going to prostitutes once a month, and though they’re always lovely, in the end I feel horrible for doing this, instead of managing to get a girl by myself.  Is there something I can do to be more attractive to women?

retro paying for itI’ve written on several occasions about how men can be more attractive to women; probably the best one for your purposes would be “Never Let ‘Em See You Sweat“.  But since I’ve already answered that question, I’m going to ask you one instead:  What the hell do you mean by “I feel horrible for doing this, instead of managing to get a girl by myself“?  It seems to me that you are getting girls “by yourself”, in whatever quantity you can afford and whatever type you like.  Do you mean someone else is paying for you, and that you’re concerned he might stop at some point?  Or are you using counterfeit money or a stolen credit card, and feel horrible for hurting others by your theft?  Or is it that you imagine paying directly with cash to be somehow morally inferior to paying indirectly with presents and entertainment?  Surely you don’t feel “horrible” for  fairly paying a woman the price she wants, instead of tricking her with bullshit…is it that you actually know the price and what you’re getting for it, rather than getting sex of indeterminate quality for a hidden price you won’t know until it’s too late, that could even include legal proceedings against you and/or two-decade long financial obligations?  Because honestly, that doesn’t seem like something any sane man would prefer…is it a kink of some kind?  Because if so, I’m sure you could find a professional who’d help you to indulge it far more safely than experimenting with some possibly-unbalanced and certainly-unpredictable amateur.  Or maybe you’re laboring under the misapprehension that “real” men get sex for “free”, or something like that?  Because I can guarantee you that isn’t the case; every man pays, and the only thing that varies is the method of payment.  Help me out here, sweetheart; I simply can’t wrap my head around what you’re trying to say.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

In the News (#575)

Registration is a pretext to persecution.  –  Matthias Lehmann

Check Your Premises

Res ipsa loquitur:  “Police officers in central Florida say they’ve rescued eight women from a prostitution trafficking ring…the eight women were charged with various sex crimes…

Legal Is as Legal Does

As is typical for outsiders, this reporter just doesn’t get it:

In Hong Kong, as in England and Wales, the buying and selling of sex is not illegal, but brothel keeping, organising prostitution, living off the earnings of prostitution and soliciting in a public place all are…The police have certainly focused more on human trafficking and the evils of the sex trade…sex workers from elsewhere…must expect strict enforcement action, there will often be cases when they can be given an immunity from prosecution in return for testifying against their pimps and traffickers, who, after all, are the real villains…By and large, Hong Kong’s approach to sex work is aligned with Amnesty International’s policy…

His “realistic” legalization in Hong Kong is not “aligned” in any way with decriminalization, and still allows cops to harass sex workers at will.Vanity Fair February 1994

The More the Better

Here’s an interesting listicle of 7 famous people who did sex work in their youths; it includes Maya Angelou, Roseanne Barr, Rupert Everett, Kathleen Hanna, Amanda Palmer, Dee Dee Ramone and Malcolm X.  Hanna & Palmer were strippers, but the other five were all prostitutes; it’s a damned shame that Barr has turned prohibitionist in the last few years, but Everett did exactly the opposite.

A Whore in Church 

The internet allows extreme specialization:

…Sprinkling one’s erotica with its fair share of Yiddish and Hebrew takes a fair bit of ingenuity and chutzpah—especially when the person behind the sexy prose is not only an Orthodox Jewish woman but one committed to following halacha, a collection of Jewish religious laws…But Shosha Pearl (not her real name) has been writing specifically frum (a term to describe religiously observant Jews) erotica since 2012—and has never found it in conflict with being an Orthodox Jew…

Broken Record 

Much of the “sex trafficking” hysteria has descended into self-parody:

Not everything is fun and games with the start of the Kern County Fair.  Advocates against human trafficking say, during this time there an increase in prostitution and soliciting…the big annual event draws in traffickers and customers…

King of the Hill

Every so often, “Cuckoo Clock” McCain skitters out of her nest in Arizona to vomit poison on some other state:

This scourge is especially evident in Ohio…one of the worst regions in the U.S. for sex trafficking…1,000 juveniles are forced into the sex trade each year in Ohio…There is no such thing as a child prostitute.  We must call child sex trafficking what it really is: rape…The charges for the buyers of child sex should be statutory rape, child endangerment, or sexual assault of a minor – charges that “johns” are now rarely arrested for…

And you know why?  Because “child” prostitution is actually quite rare.  Only about 3.5% of sex workers are under 18, and the great majority of that already-small segment are either 16 or 17.

An Example To the West (#133)

But not, unfortunately, despite the orders of Seoul’s masters in Washington:

…A…rally and march, marking the 11th anniversary of Korea’s anti-prostitution statute, was organized by the Hanteo National Union, which represents some 15,000 sex workers and business people in red-light districts.  Sehee Jang…said that her group…“focuses on abolishing the prostitution ban”…When South Korea made prostitution a punishable offense in 2004, the decision reversed many decades of de facto (if unreliable) decriminalization…Now, according to Korea’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, “prevention, protection and prosecution” are the correct approach to prostitution, despite contrary recommendations from public health experts and human rights groups…

Traffic Jam (#318)

How many moronic prohibitionist plays can the market bear?

…Part social commentary, part experiment, The Game will enlist the help of five male volunteers for each night of its run.  The men in question have no idea what they will be asked to do by the play’s cast members…what the volunteers can expect is to re-enact scenarios that have come directly from the experiences of Irish sex workers.  [Grace] Dyas’s objective, she says, is to give the audience pause to consider their own views on sex work in Ireland, for better or worse…”The men are here to redress misogyny and give a voice to these women’s stories”…Dyas and her cast have spent weeks immersed in both sides of the story…she says…“Maybe you have to legislate to protect the most vulnerable people, and maybe the right to sell sex is trumped, ultimately, by the right not to sell sex”…

The phrase “both sides” is prohibitionist code for “Swedish model”.

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Another jurisdiction officially classifies women as passive objects without agency:

Indianapolis…plans to create a prostitution court…police will still arrest the men and women who engage in prostitution…[bureaucrat] Julie Fidler [said]…”They need mental health counseling…if we are ever to get them out of the life”…”People think it’s just about punishment,” said Sgt. John Daggy…Experts say more than 70 percent of women who engage in prostitution have been sexually molested as children…

Every time his name comes up, I remind readers that one of Daggy’s jobs is to make excuses for cops who rape sex workers.

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

Michelle Chen takes another look at the prohibitionist shitshow that is New York’s “sex trafficking court”:

Jenna Torres was about to start college on the day she was arrested for prostitution.  Then she became a criminal…a lawyer…urged her to plead guilty and participate in the city’s Human Trafficking Intervention Court (HTIC) system…“I never agreed to the things they charged me of, but they arrested me anyway.”  And she agreed to cop a plea and attend court-mandated “treatment” sessions in exchange for having the charges dismissed.  But the criminal procedure cost her more than she imagined.  After cycling through holdings, which left her hospitalized with a urinary-tract infection that Torres attributes to the unsanitary facilities, she wended her way through a few weeks of mandatory counseling sessions…[classes were]…made nearly impossible by her court intervention.  She scrambled between court dates and counseling sessions…By the time she “graduated” from the program, she had dropped school…the city’s scheme to divert sex workers from the criminal-justice system has often further criminalized them, by treating all people arrested for prostitution as one-dimensional victims—presuming that they are undeserving or incapable of asserting power or self-determination over their labor or their bodies…red umbrella ball

Sex Work is Work (#507)

It looks like Huffington Post is slowly turning away from prohibitionism as the wind changes direction; here’s a recent article by Katherine Koster of SWOP offering “a few tips to the media about how to ethically report on sex work“.  The list includes “Stop publishing the mugshots, full names and addresses of people arrested for prostitution”, “Check your source’s stats and research”, “Ask questions, especially about race, class and collateral damage”, “Use multiple sources, and don’t omit relevant information and/or counterpoints”, “Quote people involved in the sex trade, and publish letters and op-eds by current and former sex workers”, and “Stop mis-gendering sex workers, and stop relying on racist and sexist stereotypes”.

Marching Up Their Own Arses (#537)

Three of the five sex workers who publicly alleged that A&E reality series 8 Minutes lied to them filed a lawsuit against the network and Relativity Media…The show purported to help sex workers leave “the life,” but…the show never delivered on its promises, which they said included assistance with employment, housing, and medical needs…Kamylla, Gina, and Jazzy claim breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  In addition, Gina and Jazzy claim invasion of privacy; although she was filmed for the series, no episode with Kamylla was ever broadcast…

A Load of Farley (#570)

Mark Draughn wonders what it would matter if Farley’s latest nonsense claims were true:

…The moral and ethical aspects of specific actions should not be confused with the general moral and ethical tendencies of the individuals who perform them…A bad person doing good things doesn’t make the good things bad…asking whether clients of prostitutes have good attitudes toward women is missing the point.  Prostitution is labor if the women get paid and choose to do it of their own free will, it’s abuse if the women get abused, and if the women are forced into it, it’s rape and human trafficking.  We don’t need to do social surveys to get this right. What we need to do is make sure that sex workers are free to choose, and then we need to trust that they will make the best choices about who they accept as clients.

Diary #274

loose women 9-26-15Last week, we finally got Jae admitted to a proper hospital; it took until Thursday, a week after we first brought her to the main hospital as we had been instructed to do.  I appreciate the confidence everyone has displayed in me by assigning me credit for getting her placed, but I’m afraid I had very little (if anything) to do with it; after a week of inquiring, researching, making phone calls, talking to social workers and other staff, crying, complaining, pleading, demanding answers and otherwise attempting to move the mountain of indifference with which I had been confronted, a spot opened up in a hospital I was told she wasn’t being considered for admission to, and within a few hours she was admitted.  And with that, we have probably reached the end of the fast-moving part of her recovery; I’ve been told the next stage will probably go on for about as long as everything from the accident until now, and maybe even longer.  In other words, from now until probably late October or sometime in November I’m not going to have a lot to say about the subject.  This doesn’t mean I’m forgetting about her or that I don’t think y’all will be interested; I’m still going to be visiting her at the hospital every day and her other close friends will be visiting as often as they can, and as the doctors feel her condition is improving we’ll encourage others to visit as well.  What it does mean, however, is that the changes will be less profound and more incremental, and that the amount of change in a week may be easily covered in a mention in these diary entries rather than requiring the whole entry.

The important things are that she’s safe, she’s getting proper medical care and she’s in Seattle where her friends can visit her without having to fly or take an all-day drive.  And one result of this change is that, on some unconscious level, my brain has decided it’s safe for me to collapse.  I’ve been running at full throttle (emotionally speaking) since August 16th, and though all my friends (not to mention readers, supporters, doctors, nurses and nearly everyone else) have been warning me that I need to take care of myself physically and emotionally as well, I didn’t really believe that until about nine days ago.  Oh, I intellectually knew that they were probably right, but another part of me was saying, “It’s sweet and wonderful that everyone’s thinking about me, but with the exception of a few tough spots I can handle this pretty easily; after all, I’m Maggie Fucking McNeill the Wonder Harlot.”  And naturally that was the voice I preferred to listen to (and at the time, the one Jae really needed me to listen to).  But once we got into emergency room limbo my strength started to falter, and on the afternoon of Sunday the 20th I just collapsed in tears when Mistress Matisse arrived at the hospital to take over for me for the evening.  She, Savannah Sly, Abby May and my other friends are now enforcing my resting and recuperating nearly every night, and not one of them has breathed a syllable that sounds anything like “we told you so.”  I’ve never been someone who needed help to get to sleep at night, but now when I put my head down my brain starts processing the last two months at double-time.  I’m alternating now between various means of inducing restful sleep provided by various friends, and last Saturday night it was the visiting Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s turn; she chose good old-fashioned alcohol, and let me tell you it worked just fine.  Don’t worry, readers; I’m not going to poop out on Jae, and the wonderful ladies of Seattle are going to be sure that I don’t overdo it too often.  I’m going to keep working wonders as expected; I’m just going to make sure I recharge my super-batteries with enough wonder treats and super-sleep.

Moral Climate

You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred.  Ask yourself, What do we want in this country above all?  People want to be happy, isn’t that right?…Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo.  Burn it.  White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Burn it.  Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs?  The cigarette people are weeping?  Burn the book.  Serenity, Montag.  Peace, Montag.  Take your fight outside.  Better yet, to the incinerator.  –  Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

books cause thoughtThough Ray Bradbury was much more a fantasist than a writer of science fiction, in many ways his predictions about the society of the future have proven far more prescient than those of his contemporaries whose writings are more grounded in hard science.  One striking example is his depiction of future homes and cities as being constantly inundated by music, synthetic voices and fast-changing video images from huge screens and loud speakers in every conceivable location; the TV screens which start playing commercials when one passes them in a store are straight out of Bradbury, as are the video players we carry in our pockets and the earbuds and bluetooth sets in our ears.  Most science fiction writers depicted future people as being better-informed and more scientifically literate; Bradbury realized they would, if anything, be less so.  And while typical 20th-century literary dystopias featured top-down censorship by totalitarian governments who wanted to wanted to keep their citizens in the dark for political reasons, Bradbury alone understood that the censorship of the future would be lateral, grass-roots efforts pushed by ignorant citizens who wanted to remain ignorant and unchallenged by ideas which unsettled them.

We are living in the past of Fahrenheit 451, the early stages of a culture which values feelings above thought, the history of a world in which the solution to any troubling idea is to eradicate it.  Right now it’s going on in the universities, where sheltered young people who have been coddled by overprotective parents for two decades are declaring themselves to be “triggered” or “offended” or even “violated” by ideas – whether spoken or in print – that they haven’t encountered before, or that contradict their opinions, or that they find unpleasant, or that bear some superficial resemblance to any of the preceding.  Just as their parents “protected” them from these unpleasant thoughts by banning them from their homes with internet filters or “parental controls”, so they feel entitled to “protect” themselves – and every other person within their sphere of influence – from those bad, icky ideas by banning them.  And just as they may have been shamed as children for “bad” thoughts, so they seek to shame others who originate such thoughts; sometimes these censors go beyond mere shaming to the desire to punish the Bad People, and often that punishment can be career-destroying or even life-wrecking.

But it’s not completely limited to universities, nor to insular corners of social media; as I wrote in last year’s essay for Banned Books Week (which in case you hadn’t figured it out from the topic, starts today):

…the urge to censor actually is [not]…limited to those traditionally labeled “social conservatives”…nowadays, the most belligerent, aggressive and effective proponents of censorship are those who…describe their targets with words like “sexist”, “racist”, “homophobic”, “objectifying”, etc…promoters of this chic form of censorship very often don’t call for the direct government suppression of their targets; that would, after all, be censorship, and every thinking person knows censorship is bad.  So instead, they just “critique” the things they want banned and sling ad hominems like “misogynistic” at their targets’ creators, hoping to make them so radioactive in the public mind that risk-averse corporations will refuse to fund them…this isn’t technically censorship in the strictest traditional sense of the word, because it isn’t being forcibly executed by a political authority.  Neither is Operation Choke Point direct criminalization of the businesses it targets; that doesn’t change the fact that those businesses are as effectively suppressed as if they had been criminalized…while [such methods] lack the violence associated with actual criminalization of forbidden ideas, they are still very effective in creating an intellectual soil highly toxic to free expression…

It doesn’t matter whether the excuse is “sin” or “feelings”, or the injured party is conceived of as an individual or collective, or the suppression comes from above or below, or the method is violence or economics; the suppression of thought and speech is evil, tyrannical and socially self-lobotomizing.  As Ryan Holiday wrote in The Observer,

Your feelings are your problem, not mine—and vice versa.  Real empowerment and respect is to see our fellow citizens…as adults.  Human beings are not automatons—ruled by drives and triggers they cannot control.  On the contrary, we have the ability to decide not to be offended.  We have the ability to discern intent.  We have the ability to separate someone else’s actions or provocation or ignorance from our own.  This is the great evolution of consciousness—it’s what separates us from the animals…

Up until recently, Western society was built upon the premise that citizens were self-owning adults capable of self-determination and self-regulation, but as citizenship has been expanded over the last century and a half, the rights associated with it have been dramatically curtailed.  As detailed exhaustively in this blog, modern governments believe they own citizens’ bodies and can control what we do with them to a terrifying degree; now our fellow citizens are trying to control what we can do with our minds.  That is a two-pronged recipe for cultural suicide, and though it may be much too late to avert that, I consider it the duty of every freethinking, self-owning individual to do his or her best to at least go down fighting.Fahrenheit 451 woman

Links #273

We have to send a message to our kids.  –  politician Ann Rivers

Now that Jae’s in a proper hospital in Seattle, I had a little more time to work on my blog and I’m going to try my best to get ahead a little if possible.  The video below is not recent, but it just came to my attention this wek and it’s so weird that…well, see for yourself.  The links above it are from Carol FentonCharles Hill,  Mike SiegelRadley Balko, and Lenore Skenazy in that order, less “slow torture”.

From the Archives

In the News (#574)

Raising the minimum age perpetuates the notion that sex workers are naive individuals with little to no agency or understanding of their own situation.  –  Laura Marks

Lack of Evidence

A fine example of barking up the wrong tree:

During a recent trip to Miami, San Francisco residents Heather Cox and Gigi Otálvaro-Hormillosa visited Dean’s Gold strip club in North Miami Beach…they were denied entry…[because] they’re women and weren’t “accompanied by a man”…”The message that women must be accompanied by men is totally infantilizing,” says Otálvaro…”it’s a direct statement of exclusion targeted at bisexual women and lesbians”…

Nope and nope. It’s not “infantilizing” and it isn’t “targeted at lesbians”; the Florida policy is an anti-whore measure intended to keep us from “poaching” clients from the clubs.  Don’t like it, lesbians?  Fucking lobby for decriminalization, then, because as long as we have no rights yours will continue to be infringed.  And guys, don’t think these laws don’t affect you, too:

…The YouTube video’s original caption to the video…“Bought a burger and pulled over to have a few bites. I suppose that constitutes probable cause?”  Fortunately, the citizen…pulled out his phone and started recording when the Austin cop  approached the vehicle…Rick asked, “Why am I getting pulled out of my car?”  “Because you’re being detained.” answered the unknown Austin PD officer…Rick immediately asked, “Why am I being detained?”  “Let’s see. It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and you’re in a parked here by yourself in a high prostitution, high drug area”…

They Still Don’t Get It

This “editorial” cannot have possibly been written by an actual editor, unless this paper hires its editors from the local eighth-grade class.  It is also virtually fact-free and if its nose were any higher up the arse of authority it would suffocate:

…Prostitution has always been a money-making endeavor.  It generates an income for the women and the men who often control them.  But, the profession has become more dangerous because many of the prostitutes are desperate for money to support drug addiction.  That, of course, means crimes related to prostitution have increased dramatically…Most of the women are not street-walkers, but advertise themselves on a website called The Back Page…police respond to ads to snare women, and place fake ads on the site to entice the male customers…Fewer women are now advertising on the site, but the demand from male customers was still too high…prostitutes were more numerous 40 years ago and they frequented the heart of the downtown.  Development in the center city that has attracted families chased the prostitutes away.  We appreciate the police for continuing to work on the prostitution problem and…the developers who continue to make the downtown a better place…

End Demand

Ever wonder what kind of sick propaganda men are subjected to in “john school” for the “crime” of sexual desire?

Imagine your mother or the person you think of like a mother.  Now picture her on the street, offering sexual services for $10 at least a half-dozen times a day…The goal of the day was to outline not only the “what ifs,” such as being assaulted and robbed, but to impart that many prostituting are forced there by circumstances, whether that’s another person, addiction, or mental illness…the men also hear about possible health impacts, from HIV to pubic lice, sexual addiction, and the impacts of prostitution on communities…


All anti-sex laws are repeatedly supported by courts until the day they aren’t:

A…judge has refused to find the laws that outlaw prostitution in Ohio unconstitutional in the case against two women who were operating a massage parlor…“Ohio prostitution statue compromises the protected right to sexual privacy by denying consenting adults the right to make decisions about sexuality in the commercial market place,” [defense attorney] Blake Somers wrote in his motion. “Such an instruction is not justified or mitigated by societal moral concerns…making the sale of sex illegal violates the right of sexual privacy derived from the due process clause and the defendant herein seeks nothing more that to invoke the principals of liberty that already exists”…

Still a Child 

Twenty-five years ago, Jim Kelly argued before the New Orleans City Council that women ages 18 to 20 shouldn’t be allowed to work as exotic dancers…The proposed ordinance was approved…but after a recent murder case involving 19-year-old dancer Jasilas Wright, Kelly realized it was not being enforced.  In July, he returned to City Hall to put teeth into the existing ordinance…Local dancers say the ordinance shouldn’t exist at all…”Don’t tell women they can’t work a f—king job when they’re adults,” says Lilith, a 27-year-old dancer at Babe’s Cabaret who started when she was 20. “To assume we’re all victims and have no other options or are forced to be there is simply disrespectful.”  Kelly says he is trying to protect young women…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes Zoo Weekly

Bauer Media announced that Zoo Weekly would be closing “due to tough retail conditions”.  It has been declared that its October edition will be its last…it is a victory that Collective Shout, Australia’s most vocal anti-porn campaigners, is claiming as its own.  In August…Zoo Weekly was removed from Coles’ shelves after a “successful online campaign” was waged by Collective Shout…history has shown that Collective Shout’s real problem lies with the idea of women displaying their bodies in men’s magazines…The women who appear in these magazines, often dressed in string bikinis, have done so consensually and have been paid for their work…there have been no instances where Zoo Weekly has placed a woman on their cover without that woman’s approval…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#419)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

…North Carolina Senate Bill 279 would amend state sex-education standards to require all schools teach age-appropriate info on “the threats” of sex trafficking…The bill also says school administrators must collaborate with law enforcement agents when developing or presenting this material…Training cops on sex trafficking issues is often a collaborative effort by religious nonprofits and the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) who preach the new gospel of prostitution: that almost all women…were…forced into it and should be treated as victims; that the Internet fuels a thriving child sex-slavery trade; that “ending demand” for adult prostitution by targeting johns and using other tough-on-prostitution measures are necessary to stop children from being sold into sexual slavery; and that there’s a rampant and escalating problem with sex trafficking in the United States.  But there is no solid evidence that any of these things are true.  A DOJ-orchestrated, law-enforcement-centered sex trafficking “awareness” program for public school kids seems likely to spew the kind of fact-lite, panic-heavy propaganda that fueled school anti-drug programs like DARE…

The Course of a Disease (#423)

The Israeli journalist who wrote this article on brothels in Tel Aviv presents a much more nuanced view of sex work than one would see in the American media:

…Reports on prostitution tend to focus on exceptional cases, such as…an underage sex ring…[or] human trafficking, a phenomenon of the 1990s…They concentrate on…“notorious drug and prostitution den[s]”…[such as] the Hasan Arfa area…a warren of tin shacks and garages supposedly overrun by drug users and sex workers…[prohibitionist]  Rebecca Hughes…writes, “Most women do not choose to be prostitutes.”  The actual face of prostitution is more nuanced.  There are hundreds of brothels in Tel Aviv. Many of them operate openly, advertising their services on the street with business-sized cards scattered on sidewalks throughout the city by young men…

Innocence Never Had (#428)

Yet another attempt to cast young people as passive vegetables without agency:

On Tuesday night Sean ’Diddy’ Combs tweeted a petition asking the Associated Press to stop using the phrases “child prostitute” and “child prostitution” in their style guides and news stories.  “They are victims [and] survivors of rape,” he wrote, sharing a link to the Change.org campaign…Because the terms deal with the issue of people who are too young to consent to sex, let alone sex work, the group argues that saying “child prostitute” or “child sex worker” is both insensitive and factually inaccurate.  Instead, the group suggests that outlets refer to these children as “victims and survivors of child rape”…

No.  The number of underage sex workers who are “children” in any meaningful sense is virtually nil; the vast majority are above the age of consent, albeit below 18.  To call them “victims of child rape” is both insulting and factually inaccurate.

Imaginary Crises (#445) 

The people who profit from rape panic just won’t stop creating new bogus “studies” designed to uphold their cherished “1 in 5” myth:

More than 20 percent of female undergraduates at an array of prominent universities said this year that they were victims of sexual assault and misconduct, echoing findings elsewhere…The survey from the Association of American Universities drew responses from 150,000 students at 27 schools…Researchers acknowledged the possibility of an overstated victimization rate because there was evidence that hundreds of thousands of students who ignored the electronic questionnaire were less likely to have suffered an assault…

Here’s another hint: counting everything under “sexual assault and misconduct” as assault is the same as counting everything under “murder and assault” as murder.grumpy Gloria

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#449)

This Indian critique of anti-whore “feminists” has especially strong words for Gloria Steinem:

…[Steinem’s] opposition to the AI proposal is based upon a rather parochial view of what sex work means to impoverished women, especially in developing countries…Since 2010 I have been engaged in ethnographic research with Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC)…Steinem visited  Sonagachhi in April 2012 on a six-day “learning tour”, under the guidance of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an anti-[sex work] organisation…She called this tour a “life changing experience” because she met several women who were…victims of unspeakable abuse.  However…In the last five years I have only met a handful of women in Sonagachhi who were trafficked.  In the initial phase of this research I gathered stories of how the women arrived in Sonagachhi and a pattern soon emerged consisting of abject poverty, abandonment, hunger, motherhood, familial responsibilities, and finally survival.  Most women told me that they arrived in Sonagachhi through a friend, a relative, or a neighbour who was either working in and/or had contacts in Sonagachhi…The women also do not necessarily see their work as “making a choice” in the classic dyad of forced into, or chose to engage in, prostitution or sex work.  Rather, it is the absence of choice and the structural barriers of poverty that lead them to sex work…

Seizing Power (#567)

Backpage wants a federal appellate court to prohibit Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart from pressing credit card companies to de-fund the site…The company set the appellate process in motion…when it filed…paperwork to appeal U.S. District Court Judge John Tharp, Jr.’s refusal to grant a preliminary injunction against Dart…

Now They Notice

In another example of how the Rentboy raid is being treated differently from the many raids on female escort sites which preceeded it, here’s an interview with a gay Rentboy client; how often have you seen interviews with the clients of female sex workers, despite their far greater numbers?

…I now enjoy my sexuality in a way  in which I don’t think would have happened unless I hired escorts.  It’s specifically because the cash makes it professional.  It’s bad customer service for him to judge me for my interests…I’m not saying he has to put up with everything I want.  In fact, there’s some things that I’ve asked for that he says not to…If he says no, then it’s no…That professionalism and that distance is profoundly helpful.  It takes me to a place where I can just enjoy sexuality.  It’s nice and clean…I see laws against prostitution as intolerant…We know from Romer v. Evans, that mere moral prohibition against something is not sufficient grounds for making a practice illegal.  In Lawrence v. Texas, for the life of me, I cannot see how Kennedy’s reasoning about an ordered liberty about private choices between consenting adults doesn’t cover prostitution.  He has that weird declaration at the end of his opinion that this case has nothing to do with prostitution.  It comes out of nowhere, he just stuck it in there to cover his ass…It strikes me as profoundly cruel for people who have more barriers to an enjoyable sex life, to just criminalize a method that works for both parties…


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