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Posts Tagged ‘Good Fantasy-Bad Reality’

If we are going to call attacks on reproductive and sexual rights a “war on women,” then let’s talk about a war on women that has actual prisoners and a body count.  –  Melissa Gira Grant

Thomas LoweThe Biggest Whores

Res ipsa loquitur:

Minnesota’s Supreme Court last week barred attorney Thomas P. Lowe from practicing law for at least the next 15 months after it was revealed that he was billing a client for sex.  Lowe…was approached in August 2011 by an acquaintance who asked him to represent her in a divorce.  Their…relationship soon evolved into a sexual one, but…Lowe…[billed] the woman for [all] the time they spent [together, including] having sex…[after] Lowe…[dumped her] the woman… attempted to commit suicide and was hospitalized…Lowe was previously on probation for purchasing cocaine from a client…

The second lawyer isn’t nearly as bad, though still terribly unprofessional:

A public defender…is facing charges after allegedly exchanging texts with an undercover cop who he thought was a prostitute, and then trying to exchange sex for legal representation.  Christopher Hollander…allegedly sent a text message to a phone formerly used by a prostitute [but now in possession of a cop who] Hollander met…in a hotel room…The two discussed the phony prostitute’s alleged legal trouble.  When the officer asked “How much is it going to cost me” for the legal services, Hollander started to caress her hand…then allegedly began trying to kiss and hug the officer, and told her he had two condoms…

Lawyers, if you want to propose exchange of services just say so; real hookers appreciate honesty, not some clumsy attempt at seduction.

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

Ed Bagley has accepted a bargain in which he pleaded guilty to having sex with his supposed “victim” while she was underage, in return for prosecutors dropping all other charges (despite their insistence that he “swear” that the other accusations are true).  The one is bad enough; it can carry a 20-year sentence, and several of the other “conspirators” (as the state labels them) will also get very hefty sentences.

Something Rotten in Sweden (December Updates)

Remember, prostitution has never been illegal in Canada; these men were arrested for the “crime” of talking about it in public, which demonstrates the importance of taking this kind of power totally out of cops’ hands:  “Ottawa police swept the city’s downtown core…in an effort to find, charge and re-educate men looking for prostitutes…They arrested 15 men, 13 of whom escaped charges and will attend ‘john school’…a partnership with the Salvation Army…”  Please note the Orwellian term “re-educate”.

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawnsex work flow chart by Anne Johnsen

Looks like the Philippines is moving toward British-type legalization (erroneously called “decriminalization”):  “The Department of Social Welfare and Development…has endorsed a bill…which would decriminalize prostitution but punish those who control and profit from…[it, repealing] clauses…which punish ‘women who, for money, engage in sexual intercourse, or lascivious conduct’…

It Looks Good On Paper

Another bit of feel-good legislation which capitalizes on hype but will actually help virtually nobody, due to its basis in fantasy:  “A bill filed in the Oklahoma Legislature…would erase the prostitution records of human trafficking victims…[who] average…12 to 14 years old…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

This article has so much to recommend it:  Dr. Brooke Magnanti debunks “porn addiction”, describing the “studies” which claim to support it as “poorly conducted surveys on a level of market research, not science.”  In the process, she also quotes Dr. Marty Klein and lampoons both Cosmopolitan and Naomi “Stopped Clock” Wolf, all in less than a thousand well-chosen words.

Nikki Sixx's girlfriend, Courtney BinghamGirls, Girls, Girls!

Of all the media one would expect to be least likely to side with puritans against a business persecuted for supposedly “corrupting public morals”, a rock music radio station has got to be pretty high on the list.  Though the article itself is dry enough, the wording and scare quotes in the headline and lede amply demonstrate the editor’s attitude:  “Lawsuit Claims Dancing in a Topless Bar ‘Improves the Self Esteem’ of the Stripper – seeks to have San Antonio’s strict new strip club law thrown out, also claims stripping is a ‘socially fulfilling experience’.”  It gets much worse; the station appears to have some close association with Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue…author of the titular song celebrating strippers.

A Whore in Church

The most interesting part of this article about sex workers in Malawi wearing hijab to attract Muslim customers is not the mere fact of it (which would simply be an example of the clipboard effect), but rather the fallacious notion (expressed both in text and comments) that a whore cannot be Muslim (or “truly” Christian either).  Also worthy of note is the author’s reversal of the usual feminist complaint that not covering up leads to “objectification”; this only goes to show that the real issue such women have is not some imaginary harm to women, but rather heterosexuality itself.

Above the Law

[Las Vegas] police officer John Norman is going to prison for two years…after pleading guilty to…coercing women to expose their breasts after stopping them on the road…Once Norman is released from prison, he will have to register as a sex offender…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #13)

Once again, Canadian government prohibitionists are trying to convince the courts that dangerous, repressive laws which deny sex workers’ agency are actually intended to “protect” them:

Hundreds of shadowy body rub parlours operated by exploitative pimps…are operating on the outskirts of Toronto, the Ontario Crown warns in a court document…[urging] the Supreme Court of Canada to let police keep the powers they have to protect female sex workers, who are often cowed into submissive silence…However, a group of prostitutes who have successfully challenged the ban through two levels of court accuse…Crown lawyers of scaremongering.  In the decision under appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal invalidated the…prohibition on keeping a brothel…[and] granted prostitutes the right to…hire staff to protect them…the…court is scheduled to hear the…challenge in June…

Melissa Gira Grant
Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant’s “The War on Sex Workers” appears in this month’s print edition of Reason; though regular readers will already be familiar with much of the ground she covers, it never hurts to revisit it.  More importantly, for an unrepentant sex worker to have the opportunity to discuss the neofeminist war on whores in a national magazine (albeit a libertarian one) is a sign that this issue is beginning to move into the mainstream.

Imagination Pinned Down

This article entitled “Sex, Lies and Audiotapes” is 12 years old, but is an excellent look at how “fantastic tales of sexual abuse” are instilled into the minds of the vulnerable, and why radical feminists were largely to blame for “sex abuse” hysteria and the Satanic Panic; it is thus still topical as background for the new guise of those moral panics, “sex trafficking”.

Shift in the Wind

Though it may be difficult to recognize for sex workers in the US, British Isles and any place else strongly affected by “trafficking” hysteria, 2012 actually saw net gains for sex workers; Cheryl Overs reviews the high points (without neglecting to mention the low ones) in “A Good Year for Red Umbrellas”.

Texas Tall Tales

Texans aren’t the only ones who can tell tall tales about new technology being used by “human traffickers” to “entrap innocent girls”:

…Mobile phone recharge shops have been reportedly taking advantage of innocent girls who approach them for recharge coupons and give their numbers.  The employees/owners of the shop or their friends call the girls…develop friendships and later misuse them…ruining the girls’ lives…human [traffickers in]…Kundapur…are said to be running a mobile recharge outlet…the accused lure the girls with jobs and then use them for their own ends.  Later, the girls are allegedly blackmailed and trapped, and their escape route is closed…apart from flesh trade, a drugs network is also interwoven in the racket…

Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

As expected, a UK judge has ruled that the case of Mark Kennedy, the cop who was allowed to trick women into sex in order to spy on them, will be heard in a Star Chamber proceeding.  What was unexpected was that he would say what Kennedy did was OK because James Bond does it:

James Bond is the most famous fictional example of a member of the intelligence services who used relationships with women to obtain information…[such] fictional accounts…lend credence to the view that the intelligence and police services have for many years deployed both men and women officers to form personal relationships of an intimate sexual nature…in order to obtain information or access.

James Bond meets Pussy GaloreAs Heresy Corner points out, “James Bond isn’t just ‘fiction’, it’s escapist fantasy…[which] doesn’t ‘lend credence’ to anything…and Mark Kennedy’s ‘targets’ weren’t exotic Russian agents with a handbag full of nuclear secrets and the sexual etiquette of a praying mantis…nor were they dangerous international terrorists intent on blowing up airports or shopping malls.  They were…largely peaceful activists engaged primarily in democratic dissent, however misguided or naive…

Buried Truth

Remember Lisa Biron, the anti-gay lawyer who “transported a teen girl…to Ontario …and coerced her into engaging in sexual acts with another person”?  It turns out the girl was 14, there were two men, and Biron also had sex with her.  Oh, and one more thing:  the girl was her own daughter.  She was convicted of child porn charges on the 11th.

South of the Border (TW3 #49)

The creation of “sex trafficking rings” from people who used to be called “illegal aliens” continues, complete with childish “code names”, bombastic rhetoric, exaggerated numbers and infantilization of sex workers:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the results of a lengthy investigation called Operation Dark Night.  It looked into a sex trafficking ring stretching from Florida to Georgia to North and South Carolina…women…were forced into prostitution and traded like slaves in various cities for about a week at a time…11 victims were rescued and 40 customers called Johns were also taken into custody.  Investigators say the women were forced to perform up to 30 sex acts per day…

Like most “trafficking” articles, this one contains the Profession of Faith:  “…‘its a bigger issue than many people thought,’ said Joan Garcia-Melendez…‘Human trafficking is a very hidden crime’…Authorities say this is a wakeup call as to how widespread sex trafficking has become…”  But what will happen to those poor “victims” who were “rescued”?  The BBC says what the American story won’t: “Those who were illegal in the country would be deported.”

Q & A (January 2013)

Wisconsin danger zoneI mentioned that “the only time [verification services] fail is…when some idiot fails to stick to the plan, gets caught in a sting and then ransoms his worthless hide by giving the busybodies his login info so they can pop several girls before the service gets wise.”  One of my readers supplied more details:  there were several instances, all in the Appleton/Oshkosh area of Wisconsin, and P411 removed those entire cities from the site as a precaution and directly warned all the ladies who might be targeted.  Apparently cops in Little Rock, Arkansas have also attempted the same thing, though less successfully.

Perverse Incentives

Susie Bright on how perverse prosecutorial incentives spawn abominations:

Twice in my career I’ve been asked to serve as an expert witness on the defense team of an obscenity trial…the defendants were low-hanging fruit…targeted because of their…vulnerability…The Justice Department [bags] obscenity law trophies by going after the poor, the suicidal, the insane, the cognitively impaired— because that’s the way they rack up numbers and status.  That’s the way they fuel their careers…not by taking on constitutional issues, or injustice, or fat cats who believe they’re above the law…They find someone who’s drooling, or depressed, or friendless— and then throw the book at them.  It doesn’t take long because the “defendant-target” is overmatched…

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[A] silly uberfeminist crusader…once called me a sex addict in a national newspaper…To some…[that] would be the gravest insult; to me it was the intellectual equivalent of claiming I am Father Christmas.  –  Brooke Magnanti

King of the Hill

The latest entry in the contest to claim bragging rights for “biggest sex trafficking hub in the United States”:  “Reports from cities with federal Innocence Lost Task Forces lists Toledo [Ohio] as the third largest city for human trafficking and sex slavery…”  Previous claimants include New York, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Portland, Oregon and Sacramento, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Phoenix, Arizona; and the entire state of Tennessee.

Updates

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

A southwest Missouri woman who says she shared her bed for years with her husband and his sex slave has decided she needs help defending herself against five federal charges.  Marilyn Bagley… is charged with conspiracy, sex trafficking, forced labor trafficking, document servitude and use of an interstate facility to facilitate unlawful activity.  She and her husband, Edward, are scheduled for trial in February.

My Body, My Choice

Note that prohibitionist “feminists” had no comment on this:  “Former U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith…[who] founded Shared Hope International…said that efforts to stop the sell [sic] and trade of minors in the sex industry should be an extension of the ‘pro-life’ cause.”

Acting and Activism

President Obama is not alone in the fight to end sex trafficking.  Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino…[is] starring in a new Hollywood film, Trade of Innocents, following a sex trafficking ring in Cambodia.”  Thanks, CNN; had you not told me that Obama wasn’t alone in pandering to hysteria, I would never have known.

Backwards into the Future

Even some politicians in Zimbabwe have more respect for human rights than their American counterparts:

Zimbabwe Parliamentarians against HIV and AIDS…wants government to decriminalise commercial sex work…The Director of the Public Personalities against AIDS Trust, Tendai Westerhof, [also] condemned criminalisation of sex workers…“It is disappointing that the country still criminalises sex work…these people suffer a lot as a result of the discriminatory laws…They are raped and cannot report such abuses.  As a result, they cannot access health services”…

Meanwhile, in South Africa, sex worker rights group SWEAT recently made a presentation in their parliament.

Down Under

Though the Australian cops in this story subscribe to fashionable “end demand” malarkey, some of them also admit that client persecution harms streetwalkers:

As a crackdown on kerb crawlers in St Kilda intensifies, street sex workers could be moving…to…Dandenong or Footscray, or [using smartphone] apps to meet clients in unsafe areas.  Police tried unsuccessfully for decades to curb the trade by targeting workers…But halfway through the new two-year strategy, they noticed that the switch to targeting clients was having unwanted consequences.  ”If we do push them out of the area, they won’t necessarily all leave the industry – and they’ll either adopt online or they’ll go and work in another location”…said [Senior Sergeant Brad Daly].  ”We might be creating things that we haven’t thought of yet”…lawyer Vanda Hamilton works with more than 50 legal and illegal sex workers and said…she feared many were being forced into troubling scenarios.  She said the only way to ensure safety was to follow New South Wales’ example by legalising street-sex work…”You’re never going to stop sex work, you’re just going to push it so far underground that you can’t help people”…

Guess what, Brad?  Virtually none of them are leaving the industry; they’re just going where you can’t see them.

Counterfeit Comfort

More of this, please (but where’s the ACLU?)

Less than a month after approving restrictions on Halloween activities by registered sex offenders, the city of Simi Valley has been sued…the…law bans Halloween displays and outside lighting every Oct. 31…[and] requires a sign on the front door in letters at least an inch tall:  “No candy or treats at this residence.”  Both the prohibition on decorations and the mandatory sign violate free speech rights, according to the lawsuit.  A total of 119 registered sex offenders live in Simi Valley…None has been involved in crimes involving children on Halloween, according to police, who say they have no records of any such crime occurring in Simi Valley during Halloween trick-or-treating…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on the newest, even stupider adjunct to “sex addiction”:

The Daily Mailclaims [that young men] are addicted…[to] Viagra…[which unlike sex] is a pharmaceutical drug…[which] could [conceivably produce] physical dependency…[their “proof” consists of an]…interview [with] exactly one guy who uses Viagra a lot during sex…and…one…“psychosexual counselor”…who says this is “just a small sample of the problem”…Any studies…Any scientific research in any labs anywhere?  Because I…don’t see any.  At.  All.  Reading further down the article I see their real target:  porn “addiction”…[and] sexually empowered women…How dare the ladies express interest and enjoyment in sex!  Why won’t we just lie back and think of England like we’re supposed to!?…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Mere days after I added it to my Amazon wishlist, a reader who prefers to remain anonymous sent me a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale, which I somehow never got around to reading before.  Thank you so very much!

Profit from Panic

Hey, kids! Fight “human trafficking” for fun and profit! Implicate your neighbors! Persecute sex workers! Win big prizes!  “To raise awareness of human trafficking…the Department of Justice and Equality in Dublin and the Department of Justice in Belfast will launch a photography and video competition for Third Level students…Research human trafficking and present your understanding of the issue through a photograph or short video…Winners of each category will receive…1st prize €1,000…2nd prize €500…3rd prize €250.”

Prudish Pedants

Here’s an interesting article debunking the fallacious notion that some kinds of porn are more “positive” than others, that “erotica” is intrinsically different from porn and that men can be “taught” to reject the kind of porn they prefer in favor of the kind women prefer…argued from a marketing perspective rather than a traditionally psychological one.  One important point:  “Human minds are not passive and infinitely malleable receptacles prone to any form of socialization and learning.  Successful marketers are well aware of this reality.  Ideologues, including some academics in the ivory tower, have much to learn!

Misdirection

Remember when controversy over contraception was only something we read about in history books or in reference to unusually conservative Catholics?  I sure do.  But over the last two decades that equine carcass has been dragged out of the glue factory and is once again being set upon by sex-hating control freaks trying to call attention away from the uncontrolled tumescence of government, national debt and the police state.  The fact that the public obediently paid attention to this distraction has enabled lots of crazy people, including a group of nuns who produced an anti-contraception video chock full of propaganda because they obviously forgot that lying makes Baby Jesus cry:

Feet of Clay

Anne Elizabeth Moore and Melissa Gira Grant write:

This week Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn’s book Half The Sky premieres on PBS as a two-part miniseries, providing an opportunity for his audience to step into his well-worn white savior shoes…viewers will survey the lives of young women whom Kristof and WuDunn have chosen as the best ciphers for their agenda…to…“turn oppression into opportunity”…[by] proposing dubious schemes for advancing women’s rights—like arresting sex workers in order to “rescue” them from prostitution, or enthusiastically supporting the creation of “sweatshops” to accommodate sex workers and other women in the global south…

In response, Moore & Grant presented a “collective evaluation” of Nicholas Kristof, in other words excerpts from essays by Laura Agustín, Teju Cole and many others (including yours truly).  The article is also mentioned in this Buzzfeed article, which shows the outcry is getting big enough for even the usually-oblivious media to notice.

Little Boxes

Catarina Migliorini says that cooking, driving, reading and every other human activity magically become different things if one only does them once:

…A 20-year-old Brazilian woman is auctioning off her virginity for a one-time tryst on an airplane…Catarina Migliorini says she’ll donate some of the money to provide housing for poor families in her native Santa Catarina…the Internet bidding [has already] reached  $160,000…[and] ends Oct. 15…Migliorini insisted in a statement to the Sao Paulo daily Folha that…”For me, it’s not prostitution…when someone does something once in his or her life, this is not considered a profession.  If you take a picture and it comes out good, you are not a photographer because of it”…The Daily Mail reported that Migliorini is [also]…part of an Australian film project called Virgins Wanted.  She’s getting $20,000 and a 90-percent cut of the auction price…

The HuffPo comments are, of course, predictably disgusting.  Meanwhile, Slate presents this series of portraits of female Iranian singers, who are legally barred from singing on stage for a general audiences because it is “immodest”.  This is not a hypothetical reductio ad absurdum; it is the natural result of busybodies having control over women’s interactions with men and attempting to draw imaginary lines between “good” and “immoral” behavior.

The Public Eye

Rachel Aimee, one of the founders of the late $pread magazine, covers one specific aspect of the “sex workers as mothers” topic:  deciding if, when and how to tell one’s children that one is a sex worker.  She interviews an escort, a stripper, a dominatrix, a nude model and a sex educator, and though as you might expect she doesn’t reach a definitive conclusion, she presents a lot of worthwhile food for thought.

Metaupdates

Think of the Children! in TW3 (#11)

Another good, clean organization refuses charity from nasty, dirty whores:

A pornographic website has launched a fundraising effort for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but the nonprofit says it wants nothing to do with the campaign…the…website said it would donate 1 cent for every 30 views of certain videos featuring breasts during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month…[but the Komen organization said] “We are not a partner, not accepting donations, and have asked them to stop using our name”…

Obviously, the Komen Foundation has not yet learned that they are supposed to care more about women’s health than about prudishness.

I Really Shouldn’t Even LOOK at an Issue of Cosmopolitan in TW3 (#25)

Priya-Alika Elias imagines what it would be like if Homer, Shakespeare, Joyce, Tolkien and others wrote Cosmo sex tips.  Alas, she didn’t do Lovecraft, but it’s still pretty damned funny.

Follow Your Bliss in TW3 (#37)

The…TSA…didn’t bother to do a background check on a priest who had been defrocked for molesting girls before they gave him a job, which included doing pat downs on children at Philadelphia International Airport.  The Philadelphia Inquirerreported that…65-year-old Thomas Harkins…has since been promoted from the…job that required him to pat down children and now oversees screening operations for checked baggage.

This Week in 2011

I answered questions on NBA policies, Wikipedia, gravatars and epigrams, discussed busybody control freaks who use women’s dignity as an excuse for oppression, introduced you to a young courtesan named Su Xiaoxiao, reported on a complaint to the APA about Melissa Farley’s numerous ethical violations, and shared short items on marital sex issues, Gardasil, a Sydney mega-brothel, a pervert cop, BDSM persecution, Edmonton’s attempt to create a bottleneck, a claim that the average hooker is 13, cops’ armed robbery of a strip club, AHF and an essay by Catherine Hakim.

This Week in 2010

I introduced the concept of “sex rays”, talked about my boob job, explained how criminalization exposes whores to danger from real criminals, discussed the families of sex workers, presented brief biographies of the five victims of Jack the Ripper, looked at the archetypal “hooker with a heart of gold”, and shared short items about Congress’ first attempt to control the internet and two creepy men’s attempts to sexually violate women unnoticed.

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Enough! or Too much!  –  William Blake

As I said in my column of December 9th, there always seems to be an explosion of interesting news articles at the end of the year, and here are seven more updates.  After today, I’m officially done with this sort of thing until January!

Recognition (August 19th, 2010)

In this early post I discussed the awkwardness which results when an escort discovers that she knows a client in real life, but none of the examples I gave can compare with this UPI story from December 3rd:

…Titus Ncube of Bulawayo [Zimbabwe] said he called for a prostitute to come to the hotel room in which he was staying while having marital problems and was shocked when his 20-year-old daughter arrived…Ncube said he collapsed to [the] floor upon recognizing his daughter, who quickly fled, crying.  “I am sorry for what I did,” Ncube said.  “I spoke to my wife and daughter.  I apologized for my actions as I just wanted my family back.  My daughter has stopped doing what she was doing and is going back to school next year.  My marital problems are not over, but we have a counselor who is helping us to get over this most difficult period”…

R.I.P Bob Guccione (October 26th, 2010)

In this article I pointed out that men’s magazine publishers have “to be given credit for pushing the envelope and helping to advance the cause of sexual liberty in the US by bringing both porn and frank discussion of sexual topics (including prostitution) into the mainstream.” Now a new book by Mike Edison explores the history of American men’s magazines in depth so as to prove that assertion, and the author promotes it with “How Sex Magazines Made The World A Better Place” in the December 7th Huffington Post.

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality (October 27th, 2010)

From the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger of December 12th:

A truck driver claims his prostitute fiancee suffocated as they celebrated their engagement with a meth and bondage sex party.  Then he drove from California to Mississippi with the corpse in the cab…and set fire to the truck – with himself and the body inside.  Mark Andrew Rice pleaded guilty to arson and desecrating a corpse and was sentenced Monday to six years in prison…[with] two years…suspended for time served.

Rice, 49…met [Natasha] Carpenter at a truck stop in Texas.  He fell in love after several encounters…and [gave] her an engagement ring…[on] Sept. 15, 2009.  As part of their celebration in Barstow, Calif., Carpenter agreed to let him bind…and…gag…her…When he found her dead, Rice panicked and bought “all the meth his dealer had” and drove to…[Mississippi, where he] planned to say goodbye to his family and kill himself…[but they] took a gun away from him so he climbed into the rig and set it ablaze.  Deputies eventually pulled him from the burning truck…Hancock County authorities believe he would’ve been charged with manslaughter or worse had she died in Mississippi…Prosecutors in San Bernardino County, Calif..said there was “insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

It’s really quite a sad story, since he seems to have genuinely loved her; I’m guessing the methamphetamine increased her metabolism so that she suffocated more quickly than he allowed for.

Barbie (December 5th, 2010)

In this column I pointed out that “People with a lot of free time and more math skills than sense have published complicated calculations showing that at 1/6 scale, Barbie would be 5’9” tall, with measurements of 36”-18”-33” and a weight of 110# and that “The campaign to suppress or neuter Barbie derives from the same repressions and insecurities as the campaign to ban porn and abolish prostitution…”  And just as neofeminists aren’t too scrupulous about getting their facts right with regard to porn or prostitution, so they aren’t in their Barbie-attacks either:

Galia Slayen…[told NBC’s “Today” show that] she first created [a 6’ tall] Barbie-like figure — with a 39-inch bust, 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips…for the first National Eating Disorders Awareness week in 2007 while she was [an anorexic] high school student in Portland [Oregon]…”I’m not blaming Barbie [for my illness] — she’s one small factor, an environmental factor,” Slayen said.  “I’m blond and blue-eyed and I figured that was what I was supposed to look like.  She was my idol.  It impacted the way I looked at myself.”

The grotesquely distorted microcephalic figure in the picture (which, as you will note, bears little resemblance to a real Barbie doll) is a perfect symbolic representation of the grotesquely distorted “prostitute” caricatures described by people like Melissa Farley, except that Slayen’s distortion of the math isn’t nearly as severe as that practiced by Farley et al.

Welcome To Our World (January 20th, 2011)

It’s funny how efforts to suppress consensual activities always end up looking a lot alike, as in this December 5th story from the Associated Press:

…Lithuania’s capital [Vilnius] recently introduced a ban on panhandling that not only punishes those who beg but those who give, with fines of up to 2,000 litas ($770).  Outraged rights groups say the ban spells misery for the needy in one of Europe’s poorest countries, as winter kicks in and economic turmoil spreads across the continent…”Begging is a human right,” said Linas Kukuraitis, director of the Lithuanian chapter of Catholic charity group Caritas.  “It was there long before cities emerged.  There have always been those who begged and those who helped them.”

But Vilnius Mayor Arturas Zuokas says the ban will help beggars to find more sustainable ways to make a living.  “Giving money to people on the street is wrong,” Zuokas said.  “By doing this we doom them to stay there forever”…police…are not issuing fines just yet.  Instead they are handing out cards to beggars with addresses and phone numbers of charities and homeless shelters.  Stricter enforcement is expected to begin in January.  The mayor himself rode his bicycle…looking for violators of the ban.  Zuokas made a splash on YouTube earlier this year by riding an armored personnel carrier over a luxury car as a publicity stunt for his crackdown on illegal parking…He said there are plenty of homeless shelters for the poor in Vilnius, “but they stay on the streets because it is a kind of business.”

…Some Asian countries have laws targeting both beggars and almsgivers but European…laws typically focus only on [beggars] and aren’t always strictly enforced.  However, police in Ireland cracked down on panhandlers this year…[and] Austria’s Styria province…introduced a begging ban in February.  None of them punish  almsgivers.  By contrast, Norway, one of the world’s richest countries, abolished a more than 100-year-old vagrancy law in 2005, making it legal to beg in the streets.  It’s also legal in Sweden, Germany, Spain and Portugal…

Note that Sweden and Norway officially believe that beggars have more right to self-determination and making a living in a way that suits them than women do.

Elephant in the Parlor (October 23rd, 2011)

A politician being caught with a prostitute isn’t really news, but for the prostitute to expose the politician is.  This one’s from the December 6th Huffington Post:

The…married mayor [of Medford, New Jersey], accused on a website two months ago of having sex with a prostitute at a California hotel, [has] resigned…The anonymous allegation against…Chris Myers…included a photo of…him in his underwear…[The accuser] claimed to be a prostitute…[whom] Myers contacted…through a male escort website…Myers paid him $500 but didn’t fulfill promises of a car and other gifts…[and that] the broken promise was the reason he was taking his story public.  The website was [soon] taken down…[and though] Myers…refused to comment on the allegations [he] didn’t deny them…His resignation letter…did not mention the scandal…

Saint Death (November 1st, 2011)

The December 10th Miami Herald featured this article on persecution of Umbanda, another syncretism of Christianity with African and Indian beliefs.  The crusade is largely driven by Pentecostal Christians who…wait for it…want to “save” believers from their choices:

…many Brazilians…view Umbanda…as…witchcraft…In many parts of the country, [it] was outlawed until the 1950s, and in the following three decades believers were supposed to register with the police…Brazil’s…1989 constitution enshrined [religious] freedom…but…followers say official disdain and intense prejudice still put their lives and shrines at risk…[they] report on average 100…physical or verbal attacks a year…in…Rio de Janeiro alone…Cases…have increased along with the…power of Pentecostal religions…”There is always a discourse of ‘taking them from the hands of the devil'”…[theologian Fernando] Altemeyer said…Such tensions have come into relief in Sao Goncalo, where Mayor Aparecida Panniset, an outspoken Pentecostal, has been accused of failing to protect Umbanda sites, or even destroying them.  In October, she ignored pleas by religious tolerance activists to stop the demolition of the house where the first Umbanda rituals were held in 1908.  She also turned down requests to meet the activists…then moved ahead with efforts to raze another traditional Umbanda house…

One Year Ago Today

The Swedish Pimpocracy” shows how the government of Sweden exploits women to “implement a plain old-fashioned tyranny while hiding under the cloak of ‘enlightenment’.”

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Fantasy mirrors desire. Imagination reshapes it. –  Mason Cooley

As I discussed in my column about BDSM, it is easily as misunderstood and persecuted as sex work.  It is thus probably a really bad idea for a master to prostitute his slave, especially to strangers and especially if she is rather young and he is not absolutely certain of her loyalty and psychological stability.  The following story is, as usual, paraphrased from an AP article.

Last month, a Missouri couple was accused of keeping a young woman captive for several years as their sex slave; she had been locked in a cage and subjected to electrical shocks, and parts of her body had been nailed to wooden planks.  When announcing charges last month, U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips called the case one of “the most horrific ever prosecuted in this district.” Authorities claimed the woman was a mentally deficient runaway who was recruited by an older man at the age of 16 to live in his trailer.

The situation came to light early last year after the woman, then 23, landed in a hospital following what prosecutors called a torture session.  But as more details have emerged it has become clear that the accuser voluntarily participated in violent sex practices, posing for a pornographic magazine and working as a stripper.  Supporters of the defendant are speaking out as well, pointing out that many of the acts described in the indictment are practiced every day between consenting adults.

Ed Bagley, 43, faces 11 federal charges, including conspiracy, sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, and forced labor trafficking.  Four other men also are charged with various crimes.  A graphic 21-page federal indictment describes BDSM devices being used on the woman at Bagley’s mobile home near Lebanon, Missouri and also includes accusations of waterboarding, suffocation and beatings.

Bagley’s wife, Marilyn, said she and her husband met the girl when she dated their son, but when they broke up the girl wanted to come live with them because she had become estranged from her adoptive parents.  She said the girl moved in when she was 17, not 16, and never had sex with her husband until after she turned 18.  “She was not a runaway,” Marilyn Bagley said. “We picked her up from her adopted dad and stepmom.  They were right there and everything.”  Marilyn Bagley said prosecutors have told her she also will be charged if she doesn’t agree to testify against her husband, violating the 5th amendment guarantee against self-incrimination (which has traditionally been interpreted to ban forcing a wife to testify against her husband).  But she said she will not take the stand against him because she believes the two did nothing wrong.

Prosecutors said Ed Bagley posted videos and other images on the Internet showing the young woman engaged in sexual activities; he allegedly described her as his sex slave and advertised that she would perform sex acts and submit to sexual torture for other people during encounters online or in person.  Bagley is accused of taking payments of cash, cigarettes, computer hard drives, even meat, to let other men come to his home and torture her.  He and the other defendants are also charged with transporting the woman to California in 2006 and 2007 for prostitution; she appeared on the cover of the July 2007 issue of Taboo, a publication owned by Larry Flynt’s Hustler Magazine Group, and was the subject of a story and multipage photo spread inside.

Prosecutors said Ed Bagley also forced the girl to work as an exotic dancer and threatened to punish her if she was not a top earner at the clubs where she stripped.  But another dancer at the same Missouri strip club said the woman seemed to enjoy the attention she got when she danced, often showing off the issue of Taboo which featured her on the cover.  “This girl was spoiled,” said Katie Smothers, who said she spent time at Bagley’s trailer when she needed a place to stay but never participated in bondage activities.  “She would take customers to show them her magazine, and she had a bucket of photos at the bar.  She bragged about it.”

Susan Dill, Bagley’s Kansas City-based attorney, told reporters recently that the indictment tells only one side of the story; she said the defense will present evidence that the woman practiced BDSM by choice.  Dill declined to go into detail, and attorneys for the other defendants turned down requests for comment.  The U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas City also declined repeated requests to comment, saying the indictment speaks for itself.

Marilyn Bagley, who for years shared a bed with her husband and the woman, told The Associated Press the woman often left the Bagleys’ home to go into the community.  She believes the woman’s family coerced her to go to police after she was taken to a hospital suffering from cardiac arrest, which Bagley claims she suffered while getting ready for work — not during a torture session.  “She started seizing, and when she was done, she stopped breathing. Ed gave her CPR.  I was on the phone to 911.  We were freaking out.  We didn’t know what to do,” she said.

Dr. Keely Kolmes, a San Francisco-based psychologist who sees patients who practice BDSM, said that many of the acts listed in the indictment can be part of consensual activities, but others might indicate Bagley was an abuser, such as allegations that he shot animals the woman cared about to prove he could kill her and that he refused to stop immediately when the woman used a safe word.  “Consensual BDSM does not involve holding minors hostage against their will or causing physical or mental harm,” Kolmes said in an e-mail to the AP.  “That is a criminal behavior.”

Susan Wright, spokeswoman for the Baltimore-based National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, said some of the things Bagley is accused of are clearly abuse, if true.  “Certainly in abusive relationships, sometimes it’s hard to parse out what people do voluntarily and what things they are coerced to do,” said Wright, who helped write a sadomasochism vs. abuse policy statement in the late 1990s that has been adopted by national BDSM groups.  At times, it all becomes “tangled up,” she said. “And at that point, I don’t think any consent you give is legitimate consent.”

Ed Bagley

So what have we really got here?  It looks to me like a young, impressionable and narcissistic girl with BDSM desires got involved in a lifestyle situation with a couple who exercised poor judgment and failed to “cover their arses” with regard to the age of their sub when the lifestyle relationship began, and may also have overstepped the bounds of a proper BDSM relationship.  Unfortunately, there is no way to tell for sure; anyone who would suddenly accuse her dominant of abuse after participating in a consensual BDSM lifestyle for five years is clearly unstable and her testimony is therefore questionable due to the possibility of brainwashing on the part of her family, cops and prosecutors (as so often happens in “child sex abuse” cases).  The defendants can’t be trusted to tell the truth either, because they can’t admit to stepping even close to the line in the heat of the moment due to fear of being railroaded.  And the “authorities” can’t be trusted to present the facts because of “trafficking” hysteria and the desire to score another conviction whether the defendants are guilty or not.  IMHO the only trustworthy testimony in this case will have to come from witnesses (such as the stripper quoted in the article or men who participated in BDSM activities but do not stand accused) and from experts like Wright after carefully examining all available evidence.

The sad part about this is that at least three people’s lives have now been irrevocably ruined; both the Bagleys and the unnamed girl will carry this with them for the rest of their lives because cops and prosecutors simply cannot resist turning personal matters into a media circus.  Though the AP does not release the names of the victims of alleged sex crimes, the fact that the girl was in a magazine won’t make it very hard to discover her identity, and she’ll have to endure dissection of her entire sex life in lurid detail before a thousand leering pervert court officials, prosecutors, cops, jurymen and reporters.  And even if it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the relationship was consensual, the Bagleys may still face prosecution under anti-BDSM laws, prostitution laws and the ever-popular Mann Act.  No matter what the outcome, there will be no winners in this battle.

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