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Posts Tagged ‘Blasphemy’

Americans have been taught to treat the state like a god, to equate its many acts of evil…with the greater good of a plan that none of us asked to be a part of.  –  Brittney Cooper

R.I.P. Madame Claude

Fernande Grudet, who under the name Madame Claude operated a deluxe [escort service] in Paris in the 1960s and ’70s…died on [December 26th] in Nice…She was 92…“Two things in life sell,” she once said. “Food and sex. And I was not meant to be a chef”…Ms. Grudet zeroed in on “failed models and actresses, the ones who just missed the cut,” [said] high-society columnist Taki Theodoracopulos…Only one in 20 candidates made the grade.  Requirements included beauty — plastic surgery could be arranged — poise and a familiarity with history, literature and current events.  Also, talent in bed…assessed by…male acquaintances who took candidates for a trial run and reported back to her…Many of her “Claude girls” went on to find success in film, fashion or business.  Quite a few married rich clients…[her clients] included John F. Kennedy, the shah of Iran, Muammar el-Qaddafi, Gianni Agnelli, Moshe Dayan, Marc Chagall, Rex Harrison and King Hussein of Jordan…

Here We Go Again

Maybe someone should tell them the AJWS supports decrim?

…the National Council of Jewish Women…and its members are…still trying to end…sex trafficking, just as their foremothers had done…Liz Robbins…[of] the New York Times…[wrote] a piece…last year about a human trafficking court in Queens…Lori Cohen…learned about the “white slave trade” in the 1890s to 1930s, which resulted in the trafficking of thousands of young Jewish women from Eastern European shtetls to the Americas on false promises of marriage or employment.  In 1910, she discovered, an estimated 900 Jewish women were sold for sex in Philadelphia…

For those who don’t realize: literally no reputable historian believes the “white slave trade” was anything other than a moral panic.

Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights

What’s that, Asstoon?  “Real men don’t buy girls”, you say?  Oh, my:

Ashton Kutcher…was seen last week ducking out of a Thai massage parlour…women employed at the Ancient Therapy Massage Parlour in LA offer sexual favours after a massage.  There is no suggestion Ashton…engaged in any of these acts.  But our investigator visited the shop later and was offered sexual favours…

Is there a single male prohibitionist who doesn’t enjoy whatever he crusades to deny to others?

Sales Pitch

Remember, kids, the Swedish model eliminates “human trafficking”!

…98 cases of suspected human trafficking have been brought to the southern regional police division’s attention in 2015 – up by 700 percent on the year before when 14 incidents were reported…Most of the cases involve people driving others across the Öresund bridge connecting Denmark to Sweden…While some are believed to be the victims of organized smugglers taking advantage of vulnerable people and charging copious amounts of money for fake travel documents, others are helped by friends or relatives – who could also be charged with human trafficking…

Blasphemy

I find this essay somewhat myopic and disorganized, not to mention needlessly clannish and sectarian; however, at its core it contains the important truth that America’s fascist statism is indeed a religion:

We all saw Sandra Bland’s penultimate moments, being bullied and violated for failure to signal a lane change…before threatening to “light her up” with his taser, he never really gave a reason for pulling her over.  It is probable that he didn’t have one, other than the making of revenue…one of the young Black [Lives Matter] activists…spoke to me of the stress of her first arrest, of the feelings of disempowerment at having the state be in control of your body, of the feelings of disorientation and lack of concept of time in a jail cell, of the feelings of hopelessness such conditions induce…Because grand jury proceedings are secret, we have no idea what happened to Sandra Bland.  And if Waller County has [its] way, we never will…no police department in America is worthy of trust, or of the benefit of the doubt.  Sandra Bland’s death is just one more worm at the rotten core of the theology of one bad apple.  It is a theology and not merely an ideology because Americans have been taught to treat the state like a god…It is amazing how comfortable we are nailing innocent bodies to the cross of the unjust American imperialist justice system…

Saving Them From Themselves

Don’t be fooled; the only reason cops aren’t charging these kids is because their numbers are so great it would cause an uproar:

…Michigan…state police, after uncovering “a massive sexting scandal” involving “200 nude and semi-nude pictures” of female high school students…are not planning to charge the teenagers with producing, possessing, and distributing child pornography, offenses that carry penalties of up to four years in prison per image….[and] registration as a sex offender…Sgt. Jason Wickstrom…said that when some of the girls’ parents demanded criminal charges against the boys, “I told them, ‘We could go after these boys, but then your daughter is going to be charged too.’ That is the way that it would have to be”…

Surplus Women 

Daria Pionko…was found [severely injured] in…Leeds in the early hours [of] December 23…Police…were called to the scene by a friend of the woman, who reported the attack.  She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary by ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time later…Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson…said:  “We are treating this woman’s death as murder and a full investigation has been launched…the victim was a sex worker and the incident has taken place in the managed [red light] area”…a 38-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident…but [police] insist they are keeping an open mind about the case.

The Last Shall Be First Chris Christie bloviating

Anti-trans people just can’t get their minds out of the toilet:

Republican presidential wannabe Chris Christie may have just come up with the single weirdest argument I’ve heard about where transgender kids should go to the bathroom…”I don’t think we should be making life more confusing for our children…Think about those kids in Los Angeles who…had their entire district closed because of a threat.  Think about what they felt like the next day when they went back to school.  Did they feel completely comfortable, did they feel like they were safe?…every place in America is a potential target for terrorism…children learn better, grow up better, mature better when they live in a safe and secure and loving environment…we want our kids not to have to decide which bathroom they get to go in…And not to be subject to the embarrassment that could come with going in a bathroom where somebody maybe doesn’t agree that they should be in there or not,” Christie said.  So trans kids shouldn’t get to pick which bathrooms they use because they might be embarrassed, and also TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM.  Um…thanks for the thoughts, Governor…

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Sacramento classifies women as passive objects without agency, then pretends it doesn’t:

…An acronym for “Reducing Sexually Exploited & Trafficked”, RESET is a diversion court that allows adult sex workers to exchange misdemeanor criminal charges for programs that, if completed, dismiss the charges…the program created an incentive [for cops] to keep it supplied with participants…Prostitution arrests in the county…[steeply increased] last year…a 45-percent increase over 2013…RESET requires participants to plead guilty before they can participate, which irks advocates at the Urban Justice Center and Sex Workers Outreach Project.  But court officers [pretend] the guilty plea [sends a message]…Unlike an earlier version that [more obviously exploited sex workers by charging] participants $250 a pop…RESET is free and doesn’t require participants to say they were trafficked, which can be a sticking point for sex workers who don’t want victimhood thrust upon them…

Their “reward” for completing the program?  A “free” cup of coffee.  I am not making this up.

The Punitive Mindset (#414) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire…and the law firm Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson…filed a federal lawsuit on…behalf of a prisoner’s mother and three-year-old son challenging the constitutionality of a mail policy…that prohibits prisoners from receiving greeting cards, picture postcards, and drawings in the mail.  This policy violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution…The policy applies to all “drawings” or “other depictions”, all “greeting cards”, and all “postcards from particular locations or featuring any type of printed design, picture, or depiction.”  The ban includes Christmas cards, as well as prayer cards with pre-printed images often sent to individual prisoners by religious organizations…[prison officials pretend that] the new policy was put in place to prevent drugs like Suboxone from being smuggled into the state’s prisons through the mail…

Welcome To Our World (#439)

Recognize the rhetoric?

…[Russian] MP Yelena Mizulina, known for her staunch [anti-abortion] stance, has proposed…a law that would equate intermediary services in surrogacy to human trafficking and punish it with 10 years in prison…The senator emphasized that the only people who would face punishment under her bill were…those who arrange the process of surrogate childbirth and receive money for their services.  Surrogate children, their biological parents and women who give birth will all be treated as crime victims…“We are calling to put the commercial component of this phenomenon under strict control,” she emphasized. “As soon as the services of surrogate mothers became available in Europe, criminal groups immediately appeared there and started recruiting women from Hungary, Moldova and the UKThis is a scary form of human trafficking and one of the obvious threats to mankind“…The future bill isn’t Mizulina’s first attempt to introduce surrogacy regulation in Russia.  In April 2014, she prepared another draft that banned hired surrogate mothers [and] made it obligatory for biological parents to get an agreement from a special medical commission…and…[perform] the necessary medical procedures…in state-owned clinics…

Under Every Bed (#520) 

Nobody would believe North Dakota was a “hub”, so now they’re calling it a “funnel”:

…Under a “john school” law that takes effect Friday, judges can sentence those convicted of hiring someone for sex to attend an offender [re-]education program to [be forced to endure propaganda] about the [mythical] harmful effects of the commercial sex industry.  It was among a raft of bills…aimed at curbing sex trafficking in North Dakota, where an oil boom has attracted pimps hoping to cash in on a thriving economy full of male workers flush with disposable income…Sen. Mac Schneider [bloviated]…“If there was no demand for the illicit services offered by sex traffickers…there would be no sex trafficking here”…The concept for North Dakota’s john school came from the Offenders Prostitution Program run by the St. Paul, Minn.-based [rescue industry] group Breaking Free…Terry Forliti, a [shill]…who works as systems analyst for Breaking Free…said…“North Dakota has been a huge funnel for sex trafficking for years”…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

This isn’t the first time the Open Society Foundation has backed sex worker rights, but it is (to my knowledge) the first time it has openly backed an anti-criminalization campaign:

George Soros, the billionaire investor…is supporting a campaign by…Sex Workers Alliance Ireland against [the Swedish model]…he…[has long funded] campaigns on issues like immigration reform and drug legalisation…[including] an estimated $80 million on the cannabis legalisation effort over a 20 year period…the Soros-chaired Open Society Foundation…has long supported organisations…that are governed by sex workers, like the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe and the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network…

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Sex workers in…[current] media accounts are not people, but fever dreams, to be pitied, laughed at, hyperbolically loathed, and surreptitiously lusted after.  –  Noah Berlatsky

Good Advice Jon Cryer

Jon Cryer, Charlie Sheen’s co-star on Two and a Half Men, says in his new memoir So That Happened:

I was in a bad state right after my divorce, and I certainly didn’t feel dateable…I decided I might as well pay someone for company and certain intimate pleasures so that I could at least get my equilibrium back with the opposite sex.  Charlie suggested a few online purveyors he used…

Surplus Women 

Would this excuse have worked for a victim with any other job?

A jury found Bradley Barton not guilty…in the death of sex worker Cindy Gladue…Barton, a long-distance trucker from Ontario, rented [a] room at the Yellowhead Inn…in Edmonton…On the second night, [he] called 911 and reported the discovery of the body of an unknown woman in his bathtub…But closed circuit video…shows Barton and Gladue…walking together holding hands the first night and meeting up again the next evening…Barton [claimed he] didn’t mean to [stab] Gladue, and that the wound was caused accidentally by rough sex…

The Prudish Giant

Since 2006, the venerable libertarian anti-interventionist website AntiWar.com has hosted uncensored photos of abuses committed by United States troops at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq…On Wednesday morning, AntiWar.com received an automated email from Google explaining that the site was being suspended from Google’s AdSense ad network, because that page violates AdSense policy.  Either Google is incorrectly enforcing its own policies, or their policies do not allow for controversial — but clearly and objectively newsworthy — content…

Hall of Shame

Outing a famous non-prohibitionist client just to make money?  Instant ticket to my Hall of Shame:

Kim Petro, a plus-size dominatrix…apparently passed a lie detector test before selling her story to the National Enquirer…Petro claims [Olympic athlete Michael] Phelps contacted her off her “busty festish” Craigslist ad in February 2013.  They allegedly negotiated a $900 “donation” before Phelps…”removed his shirt and…shorts to reveal that he was wearing…women’s underwear…’I got above him [on the bed] to [urinate on him],’ said Petro“…She says she recognized him right away and apparently provided “a cellphone number that The Enquirer independently verified as belonging to the Olympic legend”…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

An exotic dancer who was shot at a Columbia nightclub is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for her injury, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled…The court ruled that dancer LeAndra Lewis was an employee of the Boom Boom Room Studio 54 – not an independent contractor…the…decision could bolster efforts in South Carolina to classify other topless dancers as employees of clubs that hire them…

Checklist 

Another absurd story about “sex trafficking” informs us, without any evidence at all, that “87% of…victms have had contact with a healthcare provider while being trafficked” and “10% of doctors recognize trafficking victims”.  It also informs us that “sex trafficking” is “about the pimping of modern American culture” And advises doctors to “speak love into [victims]”.  I couldn’t make up anything this wack-a-doodle if I tried.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#452)

It’s a popular cultural trope these days that…porn is making men, especially young men, sexually dysfunctional…This basic narrative, with its mixed techno/sex panic and vaguely scientific undertones, can be seen everywhere from New York magazine to consumer health sites, Esquire to The American Conservative to The Daily Mail, Christian websites to Thought Catalog…The genre subtly shames both women and men—the former for not being enough like porn stars to keep their men interested, the latter for letting their libido rule them—and often veers into discussions of whether more government intervention is warranted.  But the narrative at the core of this genre is a crock, according to a new study published in the journal Sexual Medicine…The researchers found no relationship between pornography habits and experiencing erectile dysfunction among sexually active participants…

Vendetta (#518) Peter Qualliotine

As usual, only the alternative media questions the noxious rhetoric which suffuses Swanee Hunt’s “end demand” crusades:

Peter…Qualliotine, co-founder of a Seattle group called Organization for Prostitution Survivors, has for several years been teaching a local “john school”…little evidence exists to show that the class is changing anyone’s behavior…with…a grant from Demand Abolition…he recently began a new…john school that runs for 10 weeks—longer than almost any other comparable program in the county…“Many of these men really are dangerous sexual predators,” Qualliotine says.  Many, of course, are not.  But even the nonviolent men, Qualliotine argues, cause harm—by perpetuating an industry that traps prostitutes…into what he deems degrading work while sexually objectifying women at large…He says that of all the johns he’s met, almost none have said they “feel great” about buying sex or that prostitution is meeting their needs…because they’re coming…from a place of “brokenness” and “desperation”…SWOP, however, found a number of men who agreed to speak, albeit anonymously.  “It’s been something that’s been really positive for me, to be honest with you,” says one man…another sex buyer, whom we’ll call Charlie, doesn’t feel like he’s violated anybody’s rights by paying for sex…“It was very civilized,” he says …One woman he’s seen repeatedly…earns more than he does…

Blasphemy (#520)

Chris Hedges’ piece “The Whoredom of the Left”…is about the evils of prostitution, but the photograph that opens the piece speaks a different language, and points to different interests…it…is exploitive, in the most deliberate sense—the site, Truthdig, is using the women in the photo as a way to provoke titillation and/or moral outrage and/or (more likely) both…The main difference between Truthdig and the owner of…a…brothel is that the brothel owner presumably provided the women in the picture with a cut.  Truthdig shows its higher morals by keeping all the money for itself.  Hedges probably didn’t choose the art himself, and most likely didn’t even get to approve it.  Still, it’s not out of line with his essay, which wallows in feverish, sweaty prose and lurid excitation…Hedges concern is not…for sex workers, or for women being trafficked, but for himself.  Looking at sex workers, or thinking about sex workers, leads him to a hideous, exciting dream of his own violation…

Worse Than I Thought (#520)

Might be“?  Try again, Emily:

Senate Democrats and Republicans have been bickering since last week over whose fault it is that they’re now fighting over abortion in what had been a popular, bipartisan human trafficking bill…Democrats say Republicans slipped anti-choice language into the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) that would expand the already onerous Hyde Amendment…Republicans say Democrats should have known that the language was in this version of the bill from the start…advocates don’t think the JVTA is worth trying to save in the first place…although the Hyde language is obviously a bad idea, that’s not the only problem with the bill…

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People have the right not to be “rescued” by outsiders who neither understand nor respect them.  –  Meena Seshu

The Scarlet Letter

Given that most sex workers aren’t in it for life, it seems fair to assume that a proportion might eventually choose to [leave it]…for many, this will be impossible.  Sex workers [in the UK] are subject to a particular type of non-statutory reprimand: the “prostitutes caution“…it’s not quite the same as the regular kind of caution you might be landed with for shoplifting or being caught with a bit of weed.  Regular cautions require that…there…be evidence of guilt sufficient to give a realistic prospect of conviction…[and] the offender must admit the offence.  In the case of a prostitutes caution, neither of these is required…sex workers suspected of soliciting…can be slapped with a caution, even if there’s not enough evidence to take the matter to court.  Want to call foul?  Tough: there’s no right of appeal…And if a potential employer sees you’ve got cautions, there’s a good chance you won’t get the job…

Blasphemy

Read this and tell me that Marxism & feminism aren’t religions:

Prostitution is the quintessential expression of global capitalism.  Our corporate masters are pimps. We are all being debased and degraded, rendered impoverished and powerless, to service the cruel and lascivious demands of the corporate elite…If we accept prostitution as legal, as Germany has done…we will take one more collective step toward the global plantation being built by the powerful.  The fight against prostitution is the fight against…the subjugation of impoverished girls and women…Those who sell their bodies for sex do so out of desperation…Selling your body for sex is not a choice…Lee Lakeman…[says] it is not…”OK [for]…Asian women [to work] in brothels because they are sending money home to [their] families…The only way to fight capitalism…is to stop men from buying prostitutes…men will have to accept feminist leadership…and…give up the self-indulgence of prostitution”…The legalization of prostitution in Germany and the Netherlands has expanded trafficking and led to an explosion in child prostitution…average age [blah blah blah]…“When some women are bought and sold,” said Hilla Kerner…“all women can be bought and sold.  When some women are objectified, all women are objectified.”

Profound Mental Disabilities

a 2013 study…suggests that BDSM practitioners are generally psychologically healthy and that they tend to prefer roles that fit their personalities…a newer study…examined the personality traits of BDSM practitioners using a somewhat different personality model.  Some of the findings were highly similar…there is no evidence that BDSM practitioners in general suffer from any particular form of psychological disturbance and in fact they seem to be mentally and emotionally well-adjusted…both dominants and submissives…tend…to be higher in openness to experience and conscientiousness compared to…the general population.  Additionally…submissives tend…to be more extroverted than the general population…and [dominants are] less sensitive to rejection…

Soap Opera anti-pimp pads

Just when you thought the “anti-pimp personal hygiene products” trope couldn’t get any stupider:

Pivot provides rescue information to human trafficking victims without detection by their captors.  Ordinary-looking sanitary pads are distributed by activists and healthcare providers to suspected victims. Hidden inside each pad is an insert with rescue information and a trafficking hotline number.  A victims [sic] accesses the insert in the privacy of a restroom, detaches the phone number (disguised as a fortune-cookie tab), and flushes the rest of the insert in the toilet…

Checklist 

The newest “sign” of “sex trafficking”:  going to a beauty parlor:

A new law in Ohio requires licensed cosmetologists to take a course on identifying trafficked women and girls…because of the major highway systems, eight ports on Lake Erie, and proximity to Canada…the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force…identified salons as prime locations to spot victims who may have been brought in by pimps to change their appearance or to win their trust with pampering…

Let Me Help

Meena Seshu, an experienced social worker turned activist for women’s rights in India, [met] a group of sex workers to help them organize.  Seshu thought she knew what to do: “guide them,” as she had been trained to do.  And yet, they rejected her…Seshu…said, “I’m sorry. I know nothing.  Can you teach me?”  Sesha discusses this humility in this amazing talk…

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

Pimps!  Sex slaves!  Benevolent cops!  And other imaginary characters!

Three Sudbury [Ontario] men have been identified as pimps exploiting young women and forcing them in to sex slavery…The same blitz also found six women in the Sudbury who are being forced to work in the sex trade…No charged were laid, but police officers here shared all the information they gathered…[a mouthpiece claimed] “Operations which seek to reach out to trafficked persons give sexually exploited persons the opportunity to report instances of exploitation and allow police to build relationships…”  [The so-called “blitz” was part of] Operation Northern Spotlight…

Under Every Bed (#420) a loon and her lunacy

Still crusading against imaginary “traffickers” in North Dakota:

When she first arrived in town, Windie Lazenko headed to the neon-lit strip clubs and bars catering to lonely oil field workers with extra cash and time on their hands…For nearly two decades, Lazenko was part of that illicit world, starting as a 13-year-old runaway when, she says, she was bought and sold for sex…Lazenko is now one of the most prominent activists in the fight against sex trafficking in the oil patch…

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates)

The connection between abortion prohibition and “sex trafficking” hysteria continues to increase:

Bipartisan legislation to crack down on human trafficking turned unexpectedly controversial…because of a Republican-backed provision relating to abortion that Democrats said they failed to notice…The disputed provision would permanently prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the woman was jeopardized…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (#439)

A Sydney council has lost a landmark legal battle against a massage parlour it alleged was operating as an illegal brothel, after a court ruled the council failed to prove there was enough sex being provided on the premises.  Hornsby Council paid a private investigator to go undercover inside the parlour and [rape] a prostitute as part of a bitter, year-long legal battle to have the operation closed…[because it is near schools]…evidence of sex being sold on the premises fell short of the NSW’s specific definition of the term “brothel” – which requires more than one prostitute to be providing services onsite…councils…would have to fund multiple trips inside suspect premises to have any chance of a result…

Monsters (#510)

The Louisville…Police Department has been insistent that the victim in a Jan. 9 homicide…was not transgender, the homicide was not a hate crime, and the victim’s gender identity was not a factor…Information…directly contradicts or severely undermines all of those assertions…court records and an interview with [the victim’s friend] Tiffany show the police department had evidence, but did not tell the media, that the victim may have identified as a transgender woman who went by the…name Papi…Surveillance video…shows the victim — identified by police as…Sherman Edwards — presenting as a woman, with long hair and carrying a light brown purse…Prosecutors have arrested and charged…Henry Gleaves…with murder…Tiffany said Edwards…had used female pronouns for several years, but…police [said]…“that was a man that was shot.  It was…obviously a man, right?  He doesn’t have a female name”…Among the records contradicting the Louisville police’s insistence that Edwards identified as male is a videotaped interview conducted by…police…shortly after the shooting with Tiffany…

Policing for Profit (#513) 

People [accused] of soliciting prostitution in certain areas of Spokane, Washington, will have their cars impounded by police.  The city has marked these areas with signs proclaiming them a “Designated Area of High Prostitution Activity…”If you’re soliciting prostitutes, you may think twice if you see a sign that says we’re going to impound your car if we catch you,” said Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart.  That seems plausible, indeed.  What doesn’t seem plausible is “high prostitution activity” not simply shifting to elsewhere once the signs go up.  Why would sex workers or clients continue to frequent areas that the city is announcing as targets of increased police stings and enhanced penalties?…

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I was not the only one who left crying after being pressed to talk in detail about our…sexual experiences and desires…some of the audio we provided could have sounded like it belonged in a porn, rather than in a critique of it.  –  Beth Brigham

Pennsylvania Gypsy Camp in Oley Township by Mary Leisz (1927)Don’t Buy It

Melissa Gira Grant on how the “gypsy whores” myth directly harms sex workers:

…the modern sex worker is believed to follow a…migratory path…the World Cup, the Grand Prix, the  Super Bowl – all supposedly draw thousands of women offering paid sex.  It’s…the kind of thing you could imagine in a dusty smut book, or serving as winky fodder for escort agencies and strip clubs in their seasonal marketing….we were told that during the 2012 Olympics, London was to be “flooded” with prostitutes, and that for the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, the city would host a “dark underworld” of illicit sex-for-sale. Like all fantasies, the “roving sporting sex workers” trope [is] mostly harmless…until seized upon by those who find it…politically useful…in London…police raided brothels, arrested sex workers, and threatened them with further arrest if they returned to their neighborhoods…A similar pattern…played out in New Orleans in the days before the Super Bowl…Fox News had a camera crew follow a team of volunteers as they attempted to rescue “sex slaves” from streets and strip clubs…With nearly any woman…a potential target…it may be a minor miracle that the New Orleans police department has reported only eight arrests…

Backward, Turn Backward

I can’t even imagine living in the looking-glass world prohibitionists inhabit:

…a survey by the Immigrant Council of Ireland has found…that by far the biggest fear about paying for sex was not that they would be caught but that they would have a bad experience or contract a disease…Of the 58 punters [who answered]…16 (27.5%) said they had [at some point changed their minds after meeting the prostitute]…“six stated…the person appeared controlled, five…because the person appeared unhappy, four…because the person appeared too young, two…because the person appeared unwilling, while two…because the person appeared intimidated, ‘hurt or injured’,”…Denise Charlton…said…“We have now heard from the buyers themselves that such laws would be a deterrent…We know too that the image of the happy, independent hooker which is being portrayed by those opposed to new laws is not the reality; 24% of buyers reconsidered a transaction because they believed the women and girls involved were controlled, unhappy, too young, unwilling, or intimidated.”

Beside the fact that 58 self-selected people is too small a sample to “conclude” anything, the figures suggest exactly the opposite of what Charlton claims.  Only 27% have ever in their lives encountered such a girl (not 27% of all encounters); furthermore, their refusal testifies against the myth that men will eagerly hire coerced women, and finally the option of reporting those situations to the police would be closed by client criminalization, which is precisely the opposite of the stated goal of “protecting” sex workers.

Blasphemy

This must-read profile of neofeminist anti-porn crusader Gail Dines by her ex-disciple Beth Brigham paints a chilling portrait of the brainwashing that goes on in “women’s studies” programs; the similarity to narratives from survivors of other cults is unmistakable, and Brigham’s observation that much of the prohibitionist myth of pimp “recruitment” and “exploitation” of girls more accurately resembles their own behavior is spot on.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Tracy Clark-Flory can always be counted on to debunk sex hysteria; here’s a short but sweet entry on “sex addiction”:

…“Inventing Sex: The Short History of Sex Addiction”…published in the March issue of the journal Sexuality & Culture, isn’t an objective scientific study.  It’s a paper by cultural historians at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, that attempts to document the growth of the concept of sex addiction…the paper’s pull-no-punches thesis [is]:  “We argue that this strange, short history of social opportunism, diagnostic amorphism, therapeutic self-interest, and popular cultural endorsement is marked by an essential social conservatism–sex addiction has become a convenient term to describe disapproved sex.Soiled Doves  Many of these points should be familiar, especially if you read my piece on sex addiction’s critics…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received a copy of Soiled Doves, a short history of prostitution in the American West, from Elisabeth Whispers.  Thank you, Elisabeth!

Backwards Into the Future (TW3 #6)

The Push to Decriminalise Sex Work in Kenya” is a discussion paper from an African think tank which “explores the dangers associated with sex work, the protest movement in Kenya to decriminalise it, and the potential benefits of decriminalisation.”  I’m sure you can guess what conclusion it reaches.

Useful Idiots

Wisconsin expands its police state:

Efforts to collect DNA samples would expand to include any adult or juvenile arrested on a felony charge — and anyone convicted of a crime — under a budget proposal Gov. Scott Walker announced…Walker also announced plans…to allow GPS monitoring of certain people receiving first-time restraining orders who are found to be at higher-risk to cause serious harm…and…[an] increase for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to add five employees to investigate child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children…Walker’s plans to expand DNA collection…raised the ire of civil liberties advocates…

CISPAIf politicians had any sense, they would wait for the outcome of trials involving similar laws before wasting millions on a program that might be recognized as illegal.

The Camel’s Nose (TW3 #16)

CISPA—the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act…would have effectively [required]…private-sector businesses to hand ordinary citizen data…to the U.S. government in order to thwart primarily cyber…[or] terrorist attacks.  This, as you might expect, caused an uproar among the online community…the White House…threatened to veto the bill…But now…two separate reports…suggest CISPA could be heading back to the Congressional table…[and] President Obama…[has also issued] his own executive order

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Upcoming erotic game Custom Maid 3D will be bundled with a very special controller…Ju-C Air…is a wireless masturbation toy that will respond and react in real time to your stroke speed and depth, making this motion control of a very particular sort.  Those motions will also cause the in-game characters to react accordingly, too, with different characters reacting, um, differently…Ju-C Air…also has an analog stick and an action button as well as a right and a left click…[so]Ju-C Air players don’t even have to take their hands off their penis while playing…

Pyrrhic Victory

Wendy McElroy on “Is America a Police State Yet?”:

If you need to ask the question, then the answer is “yes”. But that is a glib response and I do not feel glib about America’s slide through the nine rings of political hell.  A police state is generally defined as a totalitarian government that exerts extreme and pervasive social, political and economic control over peaceful citizens…[it] maintains…control through the pervasive surveillance of peaceful citizenry, through a vast number of laws with draconian enforcement, and by converting rights into privileges that can be withheld…This describes America.  Surveillance of daily life has soared; even the Supreme Court has consistently expanded the “right” of police to perform warrantless searches.  A vast array of laws now dictate the minutia of life, from what you may not eat to the light bulbs you may not use as well products you must buy…A special police force called the Department of Homeland Security…functions without transparency or accountability.  Travel, formerly a right, is now a privilege granted by government agents at their whim…The difference between America and a communist regime lay in its institutional protection of the individual against the state.  That difference no longer exists.

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #27)

A southern Chinese province has stopped sending prisoners to labor camps, becoming the first in the country to take steps to phase out the much-criticized system…Yunnan’s top law enforcement official Meng Sutie announced…that the province will no longer send people to labor camps on the grounds of threatening national security, petitioning by causing unrest and smearing the image of officials…and…is suspending…sentences for people charged with other offenses, such as drug use and prostitution…

Worse Than I Thought

As I’ve previously explained, any totalitarian law which passes nowadays will invariably be used as the model for similar laws in other jurisdictions:

…Nevada Sex Trafficking Bill AB67 [redefines]…Pandering…and…Living from earnings of prostitute…as “sex trafficking,” thus carrying harsher penalties and requiring registration as a sex offender…Does [this] include…family members supported by…a woman working legally in a Nevada brothel?  Pages 27-28 redefine terms so broadly as to apply to most consensual adult relationships, including marriage…“‘Prostitution’ means engaging in, agreeing to or offering to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee, monetary consideration or other thing of value…‘Sexual conduct’ means…any intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or any object manipulated or inserted by a person into the genital or anal openings of the body of a person…”  Is a medical doctor a prostitute for accepting money for a gynecological exam?  Is the husband who drove his pregnant wife to the doctor a sex trafficker?…

Grafton Street, Dublin c. 1900Dirty Laundry

This article is two years old, but it’s an interesting short history:

Monto, in the heart of Dublin…was once the biggest…red-light district in Europe.  Celebrated in song and story, it was where Leopold Bloom went for sexual humiliation and where a young Edward VII was said to have gone for some high-end thrills…At its height…1,600 women worked in Monto…but…within only a few years of the foundation of the State and the accession to power of the Roman Catholic church…War was declared on Monto.  The new Catholic state stormed into action and a force of gardai…raided Monto at midnight on March 12, 1925, and literally threw the women working there out on to the street and into the Church-run slave-labour laundries…

Thought Control

New findings on Fredric Wertham, the fanatic who whipped up a moral panic over comic books and almost destroyed the industry in the early ‘50s:

…Wertham’s personal archives…show that the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors and in general “played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics,” according to an article by Carol Tilley, published in a recent issue of Information and Culture: A Journal of History.  “Lots of people have suspected for years that Wertham fudged his so-called clinical evidence…but there’s been no proof,” Tilley said. “My research is the first definitive indication that he misrepresented and altered children’s own words about comics.”  Wertham died in 1981 [but] his archives…weren’t made widely available to researchers until the spring of 2010…

This sort of prohibitionist behavior is already very familiar to regular readers.

That Old Black Magic

The “Juju sex slaves” myth just keeps on going like a zombie; the most telling aspect of the narrative is the way it clearly links “sex trafficking” hysteria to the Satanic Panic, much as the Swedish Könskriget cult does.

Presents, Presents, Presents! (TW3 #50)

Eric Berkowitz , author of Sex and Punishment, on Reason TV:

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (TW3 #134)

Filipino sex worker rights advocates call for true decriminalization rather than the legalization erroneously labeled as such by politicians:

…An NGO called “Women Hookers Organizing For Their Rights and Empowerment (WHORE) is treading the thorny path toward government recognition of this history-old job…[an advocate called] Tex said…there are about 500,000 sex workers in the country…“But we are not going for decriminalizing sex workers while criminalizing clients like the Swedish model…It didn’t even work there”…

The article is much better than the propaganda pushed by American journalists; it shows that opponents support criminalization of women and mentions UN support for decriminalization.

Due Consideration

Looks like the US isn’t the only regime using this concept:

The Queensland police union is calling for tougher laws to send risk-taking pregnant women into safe houses in an effort to monitor their behaviour…[saying] the rights of an unborn child should be considered ahead of the mother…Union president Ian Leavers says the state should be able to intervene in cases where children are at risk of foetal alcohol syndrome and drug addictions…

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Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.  Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil.  –  Eric Hoffer

It’s fairly common these days to hear people marveling at the fact that neofeminists and religious fundamentalists agree on the prohibition of prostitution and porn, but actually it’s not remotely surprising.  What causes these people’s confusion is that they have bought into the artificial and long-outmoded political framework of “right” and “left”, which was a poor fit to real political landscapes when it was first used in reference to the French Assembly more than 200 years ago and has become completely worthless since the rise of industrial welfare states in the 20th century.  Because pre-industrial societies changed only slowly, the labels “liberal” and “conservative” actually meant something in the 1700s.  But modern telecommunications created a cosmopolitan bazaar of ideas and industrialization made it possible to implement those ideas with astonishing speed, so trying to fit modern politics into an 18th-century dualism is as absurd and futile as attempting to describe modern technology using only the scientific terminology of that period.

Adherents of political dualism classify feminism as “leftist” or “liberal” because it seeks to replace much of the existing social order, but by this same standard we would have to classify Islamic militants as “liberals”…which I hardly think most people would.  Dualists think of religion as inherently “conservative” (even when it wants to turn a society upside-down) because religion has been around for a while; it’s an “old” (therefore “conservative”) way of doing things.  But as I pointed out in my column of April 26th, it’s a mistake to think of neofeminism as anything other than a religion:

Though [secular] religions concern themselves with physical reality and avoid talk of the soul, the Divine or other such esoteric concepts, they are yet religions because they insist on rigid adherence to a morality and interpretation of reality (i.e. an approved set of both “truth” and facts) derived entirely from knowledge revealed in sacred scriptures by the founders of the religion.  The dogma of…neofeminism…must be accepted unquestioningly by adherents; dissidence is suppressed and any scientifically-sound facts which contradict the teachings are denied…the Scandinavian countries infected with institutionalized neofeminism are every bit as irrational and ideologically-driven as the staunchest theocracy.

Neofeminist tenets such as “social construction of gender” and the mystical interconnectedness of all women fly in the face of biology, psychology, physics and common sense, and as I said yesterday the idea that “humans are an exception to every single rule of mammalian biology is religion, not science; it’s no different from the fundamentalist denial of evolution.”  Attempting to comprehend ardent feminism in general and neofeminism in particular as what it claims to be, a political philosophy, will leave a rational person scratching his head over the plenitude of contradictions.  But when one understands it for what it actually is, a religion, it all falls into place.  Now, this is all theoretical for me; though (like most girls my age) I went through a feminist stage in my teens, the kind of dogmatic feminism which qualifies as a religion has never really penetrated the Deep South, and even if it had I was far too critical a thinker to ever embrace its evident absurdities.  But a couple of weeks ago I got an email from a friend of mine who had just read the March 25th column, and I found her “insider” viewpoint to be well worth sharing (with her kind permission):

I grew up with a lot of exposure to feminism.  My stepmother is an ardent feminist with a big collection of feminist books, some of which I read…Second Wave feminism did explicitly preach that all women are interconnected in a giant sisterhood, and that this sisterhood is the only thing that can defeat the patriarchy.  Women born since 1970, raised in bigger cities or suburbs, and college educated, were often taught in their late teens, if not sooner, that womanhood is a single entity.  As ludicrous as it sounds to a sensible adult, I did find the idea appealing when I was 13 and I didn’t know any better.  This appeals to the normal human desire for group membership, which is especially strong during the teen years, so many girls embraced the idea enthusiastically.  Hence this idea of a super-group of all women soon became one of the defining characteristics of feminism.

Camille Paglia said in an interview:  “Next, one of my major criticisms of Naomi [Wolf] is that she has drifted from any kind of ethnic affiliation.  I have constantly said this about her, Susan Faludi, or Gloria Steinem:  that these women are not identifiably anything.  Feminism has become their entire metaphysical, religious, and cultural world view.”  For women raised in liberal, mostly secular families, where there is no clear identification with one’s ethnicity or one’s family’s historical faith, feminism has become their substitute for religion.  They react to any women who behaves in any way that is considered non- or anti-feminist the way religious fanatics react to apostates.

I got my first hint that there was something wrong with feminism from one of the essays in Sisterhood is Powerful [edited by Robin Morgan] called “The Tired Old Question of Male Children”, in which a lesbian advocated figuring out how to reproduce by parthenogenesis and then routinely aborting all male babies to create an all-female human race.  At 13, I knew, there is something wrong with people who would even allow that to be included in their anthology, even if they don’t agree with it.  But it wasn’t until a couple of years later that I really started questioning feminism…Many girls who are raised with these ideas never question them, and then they get these ideas massively reinforced by what they’re taught in college…

I think she’s bang on.  Though the neofeminist leaders must be held accountable for their crimes against society in general and women in particular, the rank and file who parrot their dogma are no more culpable than fundamentalist Christian women who believe that the Bible is literal fact or conservative Muslim women who never question why they must hide their faces and figures under concealing garments.  They have been taught not to think, and they learned their lessons well.  So the predictable reaction of such an indoctrinated feminist to prostitution or porn is the same as that of her conventionally-religious sisters:  she condemns it as sinful, and attacks any defense of it as blasphemy against the catechism which has been drummed into her.

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