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Posts Tagged ‘Neither Cold nor Hot’

To God, there is no zero.  –  Richard Matheson, The Shrinking Man

Richard MathesonR.I.P. Richard Matheson

Another of the greats has passed on.  Though his name is less familiar to the general public than those of many far less talented and far less influential authors, virtually everyone has seen and appreciated screen versions of his work; he wrote almost half of the best Twilight Zone episodes, most of the Vincent Price “Poe” movies of the early ‘60s and many other films you may know (including the thrice-filmed I Am Legend).  And since I can’t possibly do his memory justice in this small space, here’s a proper tribute from regular reader Franklin Harris.

Meretrices and Prostibulae

Archaeologists recently uncovered an ancient brothel attached to a gymnasium and restaurant in northern Greece…It was likely built in the second century BCE, which means it had been a going concern for about 250 years when an earthquake…shut [it] down forever.  Put another way, this brothel operated longer than the United States has so far…

N.B.:  I used this title because Greece was under Roman rule at that time.

License To Rape

Tanzanian police torture, rape and assault sex workers, sexual minorities and drug users, while medical staff deny them healthcare…Human Rights Watch…said in a report…[they] were [also] arrested and detained for days on end…Officers gang raped children as young as 12 years old…One drug user had his eyes burned out with acid…

Jezebel (January Updates)

hotel maidsNordic Choice Hotels…has announced the removal of pornography from its television channels.  ‘We believe it is a natural part of our social responsibility to not support an industry that contributes to…trafficking,’ said [CEO] Torgeir Silseth…”  There was no statement from Nordic Choice about shutting down their whole chain because many so-called “trafficking” victims work in hotels, but I guess one has to have priorities.

Old Men and Young Women

Silvio Berlusconi was given a seven-year prison sentence and banned from holding public office for life…after an Italian court found him guilty of abuse of office and paying for sex with…underage prostitute…Karima El Mahroug…” Berlusconi and the girl both deny having had sex, and even if they had it would’ve been completely legal had no money changed hands because she was 17 at the time.

Neither Cold nor Hot

The Miami New Times does an article on sugar babies; frantic pearl-clutching ensues at Jezebel:

…What really sucks about sugar baby relationships is that most of the arrangements don’t seem like they’re entered into freely; they’re a desperate response to a shitty set of circumstances — a lack of job opportunities, lack of job abilities, and last, but not least, the insanely high cost of college education…the site even targets advertising to women who search “help with college tuition”…

The Author Formerly Known as Morning Gloria has a history of this sort of neofeminist prohibitionism disguised under a thin veneer of sex-positive platitudes, and that’s not even counting her apparent belief that the law of conservation of energy somehow proves that “America is…fucked up.”

May Q & A

Veteran Brazilian activist Gabriela Leite on why she likes the word “whore”:

Bootlickers

How will historians judge a culture that spent many man-months and tens of thousands of dollars on this?

A bikini-barista stand owner who twice before has been accused of lewd conduct recently managed to get a…[cop] to warn her of any undercover surveillance…Carmela A. Panico, and Sgt. Darrell L. O’Neill…were charged with conspiracy to promote prostitution…at seven Java Juggs and Twin Peaks espresso stands…The FBI assisted with the investigation…

Yes, the FBI actually helped bluenoses harass coffee shops because the waitresses wear bikinis.

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Julie Ann Carey, 41, not only was robbed at knife point after providing sex to a customer, police then arrested her for solicitation after she reported the crime…

The Crumbling Dam

Try to imagine an editorial like this in an American newspaper:

…In…[the] Globe & Mail, paid typist and self-confessed plagiarist  Margaret Wente [published]…”Legal Prostitution? Are We Nuts?”, [in which she] brings her swollen puritanism to bear on the current Supreme Court case…Calling prostitution, “the most exploitative, degrading work on Earth” Wente opposes the “feminists and other progressive types”…who are endeavoring to make it less exploitative and degrading…What she doesn’t acknowledge…is that prostitution is already legal in Canada

It’s That Time Again

New Jersey is getting an early start on the annual campaign to look really stupid and transfer a lot of money to cops’ pockets:

New Jersey law enforcement officials expecting a rise in forced prostitution leading up to the 2014 Super Bowl said…efforts to crack down on criminals and help victims will span the entire state…New Jersey is believed to be a major entry point for human trafficking due to its dense and diverse population and convenient access from New York to Philadelphia…Selling Sex

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Joyce Arthur sent me a copy of the new anthology Selling Sex:  Experience, Advocacy and Research on Sex Work in Canada, to which she contributed an essay.  Thank you!

Naked Truth

Laura Lee published “Sex Workers Don’t Deserve to be Stigmatised – and We Don’t Want Your Pity Either” in The Independent:

…I can go out…get hopelessly drunk and jump into bed with Mr. A. Random…the chances are any form of protection will go out the window, as will any form of valid consent.  As a society, we deem that okay, because everyone does it, right?  If I go to a hotel, meet Mr. A. Random in the middle of an afternoon, spend a couple of pleasant protected hours and get paid for it – pearls everywhere are clutched and horror levels soar.  But in my second example, I’m safer.  I know his name, his phone number, where he is staying and I am…surrounded by people…

Bottleneck

The Prague Assembly has approved a bill to regulate prostitution…[both brothels and individual] prostitutes would have to apply for a licence…prostitutes would have to be over 18, without criminal record and…would have to undergo regular medical check-ups…”  The bill’s author claims its intent is “to divide legal prostitution from the illegal.”  It’ll do that, all right, but not in the way he seems to think.

Dirty Laundry

There were a few Magdalene Laundries in the United States as well:

…at…fourteen, Diana [O’Hara] entered the gates of the Good Shepherd Laundry in Buffalo, New York with the label of “incorrigible”…talking was allowed only when the nuns clapped their hands…[a misbehaving girl would be]…locked inside [a] closet…[or] an old [rat-infested] shower room with stone benches [sometimes for days]…followed [by] a severe beating…to “make her strong”…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #52)

While jobs are difficult to find and money is tight, should the Welsh Government be helping women find extremely lucrative and flexible work?”  Yes, someone actually asked that.Johnny Depp & Amber Heard

False Target (TW3 #135)

Hugo Schwyzer is still pretending that men’s preference for young women is “socially constructed”; Christopher Ryan corrects him:

In a recent column at The Atlantic…Hugo Schwyzer asks us to consider, “What would happen if men stopped chasing much younger women?”…he’s not talking about pedophiles…[but rather] men like Johnny Depp, who is apparently dating a woman in her late 20s, while he’s just hit the big 5-0…Schwyzer argues…that this isn’t…happening in response to…innate biological desire…despite the overwhelming…evidence…Schwyzer cites [only] a 2007 study done in Sweden…[which] actually says the opposite of what he thinks it does…Schwyzer somehow knows Depp’s…attracted to his 27 year-old girlfriend because…she’s powerless and he’s intimidated by less “malleable” women of his own age….[this] attempt to shame consenting adults out of what he considers to be inappropriate relationships strikes me as quite the opposite of an informed feminist perspective…

The Auctioneer Effect

If you thought ultrasound requirements for abortion were bad…

…a last-minute amendment to Ohio’s budget…requires an ultrasound and 24-hour wait before birth control… “Pregnancy” in the context of the informed-consent requirements now means “any fertilized egg”…so…“the disruption of implantation of a fertilized egg” now counts as an abortion.  Prescribing birth control is, in Ohio, a ticking time-abortion…

Comfort Zone (TW3 #320)

Usually, the equation of migration with “trafficking” as an excuse to restrict it isn’t quite this transparent:

At least 200 Nigerian girls are trafficked every month to Russia…the crime…declined in Western Europe following strict laws on illegal migration…to curb the menace…[so] attention…shifted to Eastern Europe…you will be shocked at the extent of resistance [to being “rescued”] from the girls. We tell them Russia is not a destination for prostitutes yet they still come…the parents of those trafficked encourage…their children…Casey Kids Playhouse

Think of the Children! (TW3 #321)

More hysteria over structural sex ray contamination:

Parents’ outrage at an advertisement for a swingers party at a [Victoria] children’s play centre has forced the local council to close the business…the centre’s owners [had] said they would repeat the event every month at Casey Kids Playhouse once they found six other couples…a local mother…[who] had booked her son’s fourth birthday party there…[said] ”I am disgusted…This is so morally wrong, not to mention unhygienic”…

I just can’t stop laughing at the word “unhygienic” in that context.

Absolute Corruption (TW3 #323)

The inevitable result of allowing “authorities” to “investigate” themselves:

Jesse Friedman…was properly convicted and should not have his status as a sexual predator overturned…[claims] Nassau County district attorney…Kathleen M. Rice…Mr. Friedman’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, and…Andrew Jarecki, [director of Capturing the Friedmans]…[said] the report was a biased whitewash by the office that originally botched the case…“Rice has made a craven, but not surprising, political decision in failing to admit to the wrongdoing of the…D.A.’s office and former sex crimes chief Fran Galasso, in the face of overwhelming evidence of Jesse’s innocence,” Mr. Jarecki said.  Mr. Kuby said that the district attorney’s office had fought Mr. Friedman’s efforts at every turn and that this was just more of the same…“Fortunately, the conclusion of this bogus reinvestigation clears the way for the Friedman team to return to court”…

Rotten to the Core

This is how service disputes are handled when the profession is legal:  “Sunset Thomas…the…onetime cast member of…Cathouse…and [retired] porn star…[who works] at the Chicken Ranch in Pahrump [Nevada, is being sued by regular client Robert Proffitt for]…$2,200 for services he alleges were not rendered…

Which I Doubt

Tracy Quan considers the connection between the recent Supreme Court decision and the New York “condoms as evidence” bill, and discusses the rather unpleasant bedfellows the sex worker rights movement picked up in both cases, quoting yours truly in the process.

Across the Pond (TW3 #324)Jack Vettriano painting

Gee, I can’t imagine why the police took these paintings:

Jack Vettriano paintings worth £500,000 were seized from a former brothel boss in a police crackdown on vice…detectives…smashed into the home of Ian Haig, 70, whose brother Charles, 73, runs a…sauna in Edinburgh.  Vettriano…regularly visited Scorpio sauna…in the 1990s and painted…girls working there.  He gave paintings to Ian Haig as a thank-you before he became one of Britain’s most successful artists…Police [claim the paintings are]…potential evidence…

Number Puzzle (TW3 #324)

Why is it that people just don’t get that sex work follows the same rules of economics as any other business?

The presence of thousands of brothels and hundreds of thousands of prostitutes has heightened competition and pushed prices down steeply in the German sex trade…Prostitution became legal in Germany in 2002, and the open sex trade has taken off in the years since…It’s been estimated that more than 1 million men pay for sex in Germany every day.  One of the classic arguments for legalizing prostitution is that recognizing and regulating the world’s oldest profession would improve the conditions of sex workers.  Instead, recent reports paint legalized prostitution in Germany largely as a failure…Despite the critics’ claims of atrocious conditions brought on by legalized prostitution in Germany, there are many who don’t want to go back to the days when the trade was cordoned off in the black market…

This is a prime example of American criminal ignorance about sex work; consult the title link for a thorough debunking.

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The supposition that all women…engaged in sex work…are the victims of trafficking and under the control of criminal gangmasters is, at best, delusional.  –  Paul Maginn and Graham Ellison

ViagraBetween the Ears

Dr. Marty Klein explains that it isn’t only women who are ill-served by the medicalization of sexual dysfunction:

As a sex therapist, I see men…who…describe themselves as having…erectile dysfunction.  I say, “So, you don’t get erect when you want to.  Let’s call it that.”  Conceptualizing their situation as ED is frequently part of the problem.  They think their penis is suffering some pathology; more often, the pathology is in their expectations…I ask these men lots…of questions…and…we [often] discover that their uncooperative penis is actually behaving in an understandable, fairly reasonable way…Sometimes Viagra is part of the problem—it reinforces the idea that there’s something wrong with their penis…but if there isn’t…Viagra can’t fix it…

What the Hell Were You Thinking?

Judgy Bitch asks why it’s OK to advise people on how to protect themselves from robbery or worse while travelling (“Pay attention to how you are dressed, Don’t be drunk, Don’t flash your valuables, Keep an eye on who is watching you, Travel with friends, Use your body language to let predators know you are not easy prey [and] If you sense a problem, get the hell out of there”), but giving the exact same advice to young women is “victim blaming”.  Because obviously it’s far more important to sacrifice naïve young women on the altar of feminist politics than to actually help them protect themselves in the real world.

Neither Cold nor Hot

It’s sometimes amusing to watch the debutantes at Jezebel getting the vapors over sex work; this article by Madeleine Davies about sex workers coming to North Dakota in order to fill the woman shortage caused by an oil boom can’t make up its mind whether the men are “Neanderthals” and “criminals”, or the helpless victims of scarlet women “filtering in from across the country to profit off the needs of the desperate male residents.”

Feminine Pragmatism

Lindsay LohanYou’d almost think gossip reporters were historical ignoramuses who didn’t know that up until a century ago, the professions of actress and whore were indistinguishable:

Desperate for money, troubled actress Lindsay Lohan is…working as a professional escort, [said] her father…and other insiders…“The dates last for days, and the guys pay for everything…as well as jewelry and other gifts”… One of Lindsay’s most high profile clients is…Prince Haji Abdul Azim [of Brunei]…and wealthy…painter Domingo Zapata reportedly supported…[her] for months…

It’s That Time Again

Super Bowl time, that is; this year it’s in New Orleans, and though the “authorities” haven’t quite learned not to humiliate themselves with ludicrous “gypsy whore” fantasies, you may have noticed there was a lot less hype about it than before:

…The NOPD…[arrested] two suspected prostitutes and their alleged pimp, while also rescuing [the] 4-year-old…son of one of the suspected prostitutes…Detectives say the group placed ads on…backpage.com, which…is expected to be buzzing with sex solicitation during the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras…[State] Trooper Melissa Matey…said…”We do know those human trafficking cells are attracted to those large scale events, where…there’s gonna be a lot of tourists and…a lot of money to be made”…

I literally laughed out loud at “human trafficking cells”; apparently hookers are equated with terrorists and revolutionaries now.

Don’t Buy It (TW3 #6)

In reference to the “gypsy whores” myth, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women asked, “What’s the Cost of a Rumour?”  In the case of the London Olympics, we can now provide an answer:

Scare-mongering over an outbreak of sex trafficking during the Olympics resulted in half a million pounds being wasted…London Assembly Member…Andrew Boff said that just four cases of trafficking were discovered last year – despite an extra £500,000 being diverted to police…“a huge amount of time, money and resources was poured into this search, which turned out to be nothing more than tilting at windmills”…

The Sky is Falling!

Seekingarrangement.com has a clever advertising department; every so often they come out with a “press release” which announces that “more coeds than ever” are signing up as sugar babies.  Of course, the only thing vaguely “new” about this is they’re doing it on a website, but people like to pretend otherwise.  At least these two examples are refreshingly free of moral censure.

The Immunity Syndrome

Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd…is trying yet again to delete a particularly idiotic provision of Alabama’s sex education law…[which] requires…classes to teach…that gay sex…is a “criminal offense”…[though] that law was invalidated in 2003 by…Lawrence vs. Texas

Another Small Victory (TW3 #18)

Supreme Court buildingMany sex worker rights activists seem to have misunderstood the implications of the news that “the Supreme Court has agreed to review a First Amendment dispute over whether the United States can force private health organizations to denounce prostitution as a condition to get AIDS funding”; had the Supreme Court refused to hear the government’s appeal, the lower court’s ruling overturning the pledge would have stood.  And while it’s certainly possible that the SCOTUS may leave the ruling intact or even expand it by striking down the ban for international organizations as well (which the first ruling did not), neither outcome is likely considering that this court has firmly established itself as the handmaiden and apologist for the excesses of the executive and legislative branches.  One very odd aspect of the linked article is that the call for total decriminalization by WHO and other UN agencies is described as “support[ing] lesser penalties for prostitution”, which is rather like describing the eradication of smallpox as “lessening the symptoms of the disease”.

Whorearchy

Here’s another woman who does not see herself as supporting state control of women’s lives, bodies and choices:

…I recently told my hairdresser that I was a go-go dancer and she replied by telling me that she would have totally stripped if she were my age but that she “didn’t have the body for it”…Even people at…the club where I primarily work…will put money on my platform as if it’s going to get them a lap dance or something…I’m not trying to be condescending towards strippers…but I…take pride in the fact that while strippers are ultimately hired to give guys boners, I was at least semi-hired for my talent…I don’t deny…that it takes some level of sexuality to be a successful club dancer, but there’s a big difference between wearing a push-up bra…and shoving my tits in some grandpa’s face…

For one who’s “not trying to be condescending”, she sure does a good job.

True Colors

Women With A Vision has purchased a new building to replace the office destroyed by arson, but it’s going to need “massive repairs” and renovation; that’s going to be very expensive, so please consider contributing to further their work in helping poor and marginalized women, including sex workers.Sarah Tressler

First They Came For the Hookers…

News on two of the ladies from this column who were fired for past sex work:

…Sarah Tressler…[lost] her reporting gig at the Houston Chronicle after…[being] exposed…[as the blogger] “Angry Stripper”…[but] she just landed a new job at The San Antonio Express-News as a breaking news reporter…Stacie HalasStacie Halas, a California…teacher who was fired for her porn star past [and recently lost her appeal] was [also]…offered a new job…[by] Dennis Hof of…[the] Moonlite Bunny Ranch…

Even if Halas is interested in going back to sex work she could do a lot better as an independent escort than by allowing herself to be exploited by Hof or others like him.

Prudish Pedants (TW3 #37)

A federal judge in California thinks it’s a wise use of public funds to lock up a 61-year-old filmmaker for four years for the “crime” of grossing out a cherry-picked group of a dozen people in Los Angeles.  Future law students will marvel at the self-destructive absurdity of our era.

An Example To the West (TW3 #39)

In September, I reported that a Korean whore had submitted a constitutional challenge to her country’s prostitution law; it has now been accepted:

…Judge Oh Won-chan…filed the case with the Constitutional Court after accepting a petition from a 41-year-old prostitute on trial for violating the law…the judge’s request doesn’t question the part of the law that punishes buyers of sex.  “We don’t punish a woman acting as a concubine or a wife for hire,” Oh said…[he] also questioned the effectiveness of the law, saying authorities should focus on punishing brothel owners and pimps…

Let’s hope the Korean government doesn’t respond with Swedish-style legislation, which only makes the struggle for rights more difficult.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #42)

Criminologist Graham Ellison has written another excellent editorial against criminalization in Northern Ireland, this time with the help of Dr. Paul Maginn of the University of Western Australia:

…The…proposals…are…premised more on ideological and religious beliefs…than a concrete evidence-base…History tells us that prohibition is an ineffective policy remedy…a few simple facts…dispel the stereotypes about sex work…only an exceptionally small proportion [are street workers]…there is no evidence to suggest that sex workers’ drug dependency is greater than the general population…[they] come from all manner of social class and educational backgrounds…the majority…are there because…the pay is…better than what they could get in other occupations…If Lord Morrow is sincere about his intentions to help womenPaying For It in French involved in ‘prostitution’, he should consider decriminalisation.

Book Reviews (October 2012)

The French edition of Chester Brown’s Paying For It has been chosen by the Angoulême International Comics Festival as an official selection, which will undoubtedly give it more well-deserved attention.  Congratulations, Chester!

Election Day (TW3 #45)

A judge has granted a preliminary injunction against the narrow portion of California’s tyrannical CASE Act which was challenged by the EFF and ACLU:

…Prop 35 is…beset with problems.  The biggest was its requirement that registrants turn over a list of all their Internet identifiers and service providers to law enforcement…the court found that there was a clear chilling effect on speech because registrants would have to disclose their identity either before they speak, or within 24 hours after speaking somewhere online…Allowing the government to monitor and record a wide swath of innocent Internet activity…is a dangerous trend that can easily expand, as law enforcement’s inevitable thirst for information fails to be quenched…

Unfortunately, there is as yet no organized challenge against the aspects of the law which criminalize a wide variety of normal sexual behaviors and virtually any association with sex workers.

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #51)

A leading adult film producer has launched a lawsuit against Los Angeles County over a…measure requiring porn actors to wear condoms, saying the law infringes on first amendment rights and was driving the industry out of Southern California.  Vivid Entertainment, which was joined in the lawsuit by porn stars Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce, claims the mandate was both an unconstitutional prior restraint on freedom of expression and a financial burden that studios could not bear…lead plaintiffs’ attorney Paul Cambria said…it was not economically feasible to digitally remove the condoms in post-production because the studios were competing with rivals elsewhere who had no such restrictions.

It’s interesting that the lawsuit doesn’t bring up the very real physical harm condoms can inflict on actresses under porn-filming conditions.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #52)

Those who wish to inflict the Swedish model on England and Wales have set up a fake “consultation” on the matter which is designed to trick the unwary into providing them ammunition via leading questions and outright lies about decriminalization.  The survey is referred to as a “call for evidence”, but as Laura Agustín points out this is “a misnomer as they are just asking for opinions and feelings – no evidence at all.”  Go ahead and respond to the survey (it’s fairly short), but follow Aspasia’s example by phrasing your answers carefully, since most are of the “have you stopped beating your wife?” variety.  The deadline is February 4th at 16:00 GMT.

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The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.  –  Victor Hugo

One new item, eight updates and two metaupdates.

True Colors

New Orleans charity Women With A Vision has been fighting for the rights of poor women, including sex workers, for years; their efforts were instrumental in bringing down Louisiana’s monstrous “Crime Against Nature by Solicitation” law which was used to place whores (especially black or transsexual ones) on the “sex offender” registry.  Apparently some hateful person was angry about this or their other work, because on the night of May 24th he broke into their office and set a fire which destroyed it and virtually everything in it.

There’s no way to know whether the arsonist was motivated by hatred of prostitutes, black people, transsexuals, or some other disadvantaged group for which WWAV fights, but this action demonstrates the true colors of those who would deny rights to others, no matter what rhetoric they use to rationalize their position.  WWAV is desperately in need of help:  New Orleans area readers could donate time, women’s clothing, computer equipment, office supplies, etc (call 504-301-0428 to volunteer), and readers anywhere in the world can donate to WWAV at their site.  My readers have been very generous to me with presents, but for the next few months I ask that you spend that money helping WWAV instead; if you want it to be a present for me, just make the donation in my name.  Any help you can give will mean a great deal to me!

A similar incident occurred in China last week:

An outspoken advocate for sex workers reopened her office…after it was trashed by eight men who punched and threatened her life last week.  Ye Haiyan, 37, is the founder of Chinese Women’s Rights Workshops, an NGO that promotes sex workers’ rights and helps raise awareness of HIV/AIDS…Ye said the men did not look like gang members and she suspects that local authorities might have had a role in the attack…Earlier this year, she was also threatened over the phone and told to shut her office…

Updates

Lying Down With Dogs (November 24th, 2010)

Another example of an African country whose anti-whore rhetoric strongly resembles that of the US, right down to the ludicrous euphemisms:

The Liberian government…disclosed that a campaign named…“Operation Save Our Future” has been launched…[to] minimize prostitution as well as sexual exploitation and abuse against girls…the operation will also tackle indecent dressing…Minister [Julia] Cassell said the prostitutes will be rehabilitated through basic skills including baking, sewing, hair dressing, and pastry…She urged the public to dress appropriately because the “government is now after them.”  She called on those involved into commercial sex working to desist from the illegal act and put their hands to use in a positive direction.

Because working independently for good pay isn’t a “positive direction”, but working in a sweatshop or doing other low-paid work for someone else is; that’s especially loathsome rhetoric in a country founded by freed slaves.  Note also that Liberian “feminists”, like their American sisters, are unable to recognize that the road from criminalization of prostitution to criminalization of “indecent dress” is a very short one.

Neither Cold nor Hot (April 6th, 2011)

Jezebel has attacked evolutionary psychologists like Satoshi Kanazawa (who, incidentally, has a new book out) on a number of occasions, and now they’re fighting back:  Kanazwa’s colleague Barry Kuhle sharply criticizes the site for embracing the neofeminist “social construction of gender” dogma in his article “Giving Feminism a Bad Name”.  He examines the logical fallacies used by “gender feminists” (Christina Sommers’ term for neofeminists) to attack scientific findings, and blames them for the word “feminist” having become an insult.  Kuhle’s an interesting writer; I also enjoyed his recent column on why the ever-increasing alphabet soup used to describe sexual minorities (now LGBTQIH and still growing) is ridiculous and should be replaced by a more manageable acronym.

Welcome To Our World Again (January 20th, 2012)

Too bad Zimbabwe isn’t the only country so Bizarro that it’s willing to cut off its nose to spite its face on the issue of sex laws which cause higher rates of HIV:

President Robert Mugabe yesterday clashed with visiting UN human rights chief Navi Pillay after she appeared to suggest that legalising prostitution and homosexuality could go a long way in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS…Mugabe…swore that this would happen OVER HIS DEAD BODY…police in Harare have intensified a blitz on prostitutes and women found in pubs claiming they are trying to stop crime which is being promoted by prostitution…Mugabe…has previously described homosexuality as “worse than dogs and pigs”…MP Tabitha Khumalo…[said] “[Prostitution] is here to stay and we need to bite the bullet.  PLEASURE ENGINEERING…did not begin in…Zimbabwe.  It all began in the Garden of Eden and one of those PLEASURE ENGINEERS was Eve”…

In a sense, bigots like Mugabe are more consistent and less hypocritical than certain Americans who are very vocal in demanding their own sexual rights, yet support persecution of whores.  Also, I think I’m going to write MP Khumalo a fan letter.

The Rape Question (April 4th, 2012)

This article about “brothel” raids in Ireland (actually, most were private flats in which women worked together for safety) is full of the usual agency denial and “sex trafficking” mythology, but I was especially struck by one passage:  “Mary Crilly, Director of the Sexual Violence Centre (SVC) in Cork [said], ‘I welcome the raids.  We need to end the demand for prostitution, as long as there are men who are paying for sex there will be a demand.  Prostitution isn’t about sex, it’s about money and exploitation’.”  This is of course the old “rape is asexual” dogma, but it does demonstrate how completely out of touch with reality these women are.

Feet of Clay (April 5th, 2012)

The death-spiral of Nicholas Kristof’s reputation continues:

The Brooklyn prosecutor who had a starring role in…Nicholas Kristof’s expose of Backpage…has resigned amid charges she sat on evidence that would have saved a sex-crimes suspect from spending 11 months in jail.  The New York Daily News reported this week that  prosecutor Lauren Hersh quit after two black men charged with serially raping an Orthodox Jewish girl since she was 13 were released because the alleged victim had recanted her claims the day after she made them.  Hersh…failed to share [the recantation] with the grand jury or defense lawyers…Hersh was also cited in Kristof’s story about Backpage back in January, “How Pimps Use the Web to Sell Girls”…Kristof cited a case prosecuted by Hersh involving an underage prostitute, without disclosing the fact that Hersh only was able to track down the perpetrators because Backpage turned over identifying information…

Unfortunately, Fisher is a mealy-mouthed moralist who denies women’s right to sex on our own terms; he seems more concerned with the fact that Backpage is singled out than the fact that whores are persecuted.  But that makes his attacks on Kristof (his natural ally in moralism) all the more indicative of the latter’s fall from grace.

This poster for my favorite perfume was the most complained-about advert in the UK since 1995.

Little Boxes
(April 29th, 2012)

As I’ve pointed out many times, it is impossible to draw clear lines between female sexual behaviors, and sugar babies are part of a continuum stretching from wives to professional harlots.  But while I usually demonstrate the strong resemblance between sugar babies and hookers, Helen Croydon makes the equally valid point that they are a lot like traditional “low maintenance” lovers, and defends such arrangements as sensible and rewarding:

…These models of relationships are an honest way of withholding commitment…That may not be appealing to everyone.  It certainly isn’t the route to finding a soul mate.  But not everyone wants one of those at every stage in their life.  Is it so wrong to underpin the foundations of a relationship with something other than 100% devotion and exclusivity?…payment…doesn’t necessarily have to exclude affection…“compensated relationships” are far more honorable and rewarding than meaningless, vulgar, no-strings sex encounters.  Yet we give more respect to the latter.  These days relationships can only be rubber stamped if they are all encompassing, full-time, cohabiting and long-term…

Whorearchy (May 10th, 2012)

Until the mid-19th century prostitutes and actresses were members of a single profession, and we still haven’t diverged much.  But one wouldn’t know that from listening to actresses – including those who have played sex workers – insisting that they’re better than we are:

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi is demanding an apology from a Hong Kong newspaper after it published claims she had sex with disgraced Communist party official Bo Xilai for huge sums of money…the star of ” Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” [allegedly] slept with Bo at least ten times between 2007 and 2011…[and] negotiated similar deals with several other powerful men…she [supposedly] earned around $110 million from prostituting herself…

Traffic Jam (May 20th, 2012)

Reason posted a video of 20/20‘s 1985 report “The Devil Worshippers”:

…It may help, as you watch this, to know that the bodies of the alleged sacrifice victims never materialized, that the statistic of two million missing kids was a wild exaggeration, and that Mike Warnke, presented here as an expert on Satanic rites, was later exposed as a fraud.  But really, anyone able to think critically should be able to see through this without the benefit of hindsight.  What’s interesting is that so many people took it seriously at the time…Even if you ignore the actual misinformation in the program, this is as pure an example as you’ll find of how a scattered group of unconnected crimes can be presented as a grand, malevolent movement, particularly when they’re combined with anxieties about the influence of popular culture…

Here are the links for Part Two and Part Three.

Metaupdates

What a Week! in October Updates (Part One) (October 2nd, 2011)

Another advantage to decriminalization:  access to the legal system.

A plan to build Australia’s largest brothel is poised to overcome local government opposition in a victory for Sydney’s sex industry over creeping regulation.  The $12 million, three-storey extension to the Stiletto brothel…can be approved once client numbers are capped…Even after being decriminalised in 1995, NSW brothel owners are increasingly turning to courts to reverse rejections by councils opposed to the industry…”Research usually shows brothels are not a problem in a community,” said Wayne Morgan, a lecturer specialising in sexuality-related law at the Australian National University.  “Staff are usually very discreet, and clients, by their very nature, are very discreet.  This was partly the point of legalising brothels in the first place – to take out the criminal aspect”…

Counterfeit Comfort in TW3 (#8) (February 26th, 2012)

Louisiana’s recent attempt to further destroy the lives of people who urinated in public or had consensual sex with their high-school girlfriends is not the only one to be defeated lately; those condemned to the American pariah caste are fighting back:

Registered sex offenders who have been banned from social networking websites are…successfully challenging many of the restrictions as infringements on free speech…Courts have long allowed states to place restrictions on convicted sex offenders who have completed their sentences…but the increasing use of social networks for everyday communication raises new, untested issues…Ruthann Robson, a professor of constitutional law at the City University of New York, said the bans could eventually be taken up by the Supreme Court…”If we think that the government can curtail sex offenders’ rights without any connection to the actual crime, then it could become a blanket prohibition against anyone who is accused of a crime, no matter what the crime is”…

One Year Ago Today

June Updates (Part Two)” reports on San Diego’s excuses for rapist cops, Mira Sorvino’s declaring Sacramento the “leading destination for sex traffickers”, and yet another guy playing BDSM games with strangers without a signed contract.

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The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.  –  James Madison

Ten updates and two meta-updates.

Welcome To Our World (January 20th, 2011)

Who else besides prostitutes and drug users are abducted and caged “for their own good”?

A 17-year-old suspected rape victim is being held in a California juvenile detention facility to ensure that she’ll show up to testify against her attacker…“The last thing we ever want to do is put a victim or a witness in custody, but when you have serious crimes of violence and multiple offenses, you have to balance the protection of the community,” [said the]…assistant district attorney…

Once again:  never, ever call the cops for any reason, not even if you think you’re dying.  Because once you do, they think you are their personal property to dispose of in any way they wish.

A Manufactured War (January 23rd, 2011)

In the grand tradition of William Randolph Hearst, the New York Times doesn’t just report the news; it exaggerates, distorts and lies in order to make a “good story”.  And since it’s been on an anti-whore hobby horse for several years now, that means stuff like this:

…While the rest of Spain’s economy may be struggling, experts say that prostitution — almost all of it involving the ruthless trafficking of foreign women — is booming…powered in large part by the desires of young men…The State Department’s 2010 report on trafficking said that 200,000 to 400,000 women worked in prostitution in Spain…[and] 90 percent were trafficked…

No, “experts” say no such thing; those who promote this kind of garbage are mostly just making it up, either pulling numbers from thin air or using overly-broad definitions (such as defining any hooker who works in an area other than her native soil as “trafficked”) and then embellishing the numbers with unwarranted adjectives like “ruthless” and presenting scare stories as “fact”.  For more Times duplicity, see “Feet of Clay” below.

Neither Cold Nor Hot (April 6th, 2011)

Once in a while, Jezebel stands up for sex workers; too bad it isn’t more often:

Sex workers are anti sex-trafficking.  It seems obvious…and yet you might not know this because sex workers rights activists have not gotten any air-time from the major anti-trafficking organizations…shutting down advertising sites…means losing the ability to screen clients beforehand…SWOP and other sex worker advocacy groups have ideas around what could actually help trafficking…

Don’t Take My Word For It (September 29th, 2011)

Three German students may have discovered the secret to heterosexual male prostitution:  don’t charge anything or expect much business:

…three business students from the University of Mannheim…offer…female students uncomplicated and anonymous one-night stands…posters…promise “Good Grades through Good Sex.”  The young men claim that their project is about emancipation…and…should be recognized as more than a mere coital campaign…Female students who spend their evenings drained and fatigued in the library and are in the mood for a little closeness and intimacy are encouraged to send an email.  Then one of the three men will meet with them…[they] claim that five one-night-stands have taken place so far…

Scapegoats (January 26th, 2012)

Since this report is several years old and was not available on any mainstream news site, I suspect it’s an urban legend circulated among animal-rights types;  supposedly an orangutan named Pony was “rescued” from a rural brothel in Borneo, where she was employed as a prostitute and shaved several times a week to make her more presentable.  Unless someone manages to dig up a properly-documented article, I must point out that claiming huge numbers of men would pay for sex with an ape seems closely akin to the notion that similar numbers want sex with traumatized prepubescent girls:  both are prohibitionist myths intended to smear men in general and whores’ clients in particular.

The Immunity Syndrome (March 5th, 2012)

Here’s an unsurprising report showing that American states with “abstinence-only” sex education have the highest teen pregnancy rates:

The number of teen births in the U.S. dropped again in 2010…to about 34 per 1,000 girls… Mississippi continues to have the  highest teen birth rate, with 55 births per 1,000 girls.  New Hampshire has the lowest rate at just under 16 births per 1,000 girls.  This is the lowest national rate for teen births since…1940…Researchers…found that teenagers who received…comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant.  And in 2007, a federal report showed that abstinence-only programs had “no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence.”  But 37 states require sex education that includes abstinence, 26 of which require that abstinence be stressed as the best method…research shows that [these] deter contraceptive use  among teenagers, thus increasing…risk of unintended pregnancy…

Above the Law (March 8th, 2012)

Naomi Wolf’s analysis of the TSA’s true motivation is much like mine:

…this week, the Supreme Court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor…Justice Anthony Kennedy explained that this ruling is necessary because [one of the 9/11 conspirators] could have been stopped for speeding.  How would strip searching him have prevented the attack?  Did Justice Kennedy imagine that plans to blow up the twin towers had been concealed in a body cavity?  In still more bizarre non-logic, his and the other justices’ decision rests on concerns about weapons and contraband in prison systems.  But people under arrest – that is, who are not yet convicted – haven’t been introduced into a prison population.  Our surveillance state shown considerable determination to intrude on citizens sexually…the use of forced nudity by a state that is descending into fascism is powerfully effective in controlling and subduing populations.  The political use of forced nudity by anti-democratic regimes is long established.  Forcing people to undress is the first step in breaking down their sense of individuality and dignity and reinforcing their powerlessness…the TSA…genital groping policy…is designed to psychologically habituate US citizens to a condition in which they are demeaned and sexually intruded upon by the state…

Useful Idiots (March 15th, 2012)

More evidence for those who still don’t accept that neofeminist propaganda denying the agency of prostitutes and other non-neofeminist women is inevitably used to classify all women as passive, infantile moral imbeciles:

[Wisconsin governor] Scott Walker…quietly signed three controversial bills on the eve of a holiday weekend…A woman seeking an abortion must [now] undergo an exam and consult with a doctor alone, away from her friends and family.  The doctor must determine whether someone is pressuring the woman into the procedure…

Mandatory prosecution laws for domestic violence and Swedish-flavored anti-prostitution laws have established the precedent that women are incompetent to make any decision which involves sex, and that if a woman makes a decision “authorities” don’t like it must be the result of coercion.  This merely follows that precedent to its next logical step; look for more like it in upcoming months.

Feet of Clay (April 5th, 2012)

Thanks to Jacob Sullum of Reason for pointing out this excellent article:

…[Nicholas] Kristof’s own newspaper profits from the sort of advertising for escort services, strip clubs, and other forms of adult entertainment that Kristof has linked to the underworld of child sex trafficking…About.com is “a wholly-owned subsidiary of the New York Times Company”…[which] accounted for 5% of all [company] revenues…in 2011, roughly $100 million…the Times also owns a 49% stake in Metro Boston…[which] also happens to make money from  adult advertising…[Kristof’s] salary partly comes from the same ads, and the same allegedly criminal activity, that he tried to pin on Goldman Sachs…Though [it] immediately divested itself of its stake in Backpage.com, that was not enough for Kristof, who told CNBC he would have preferred to see the company apply its investment towards “bringing about change” in the online advertising industry.  He added that Goldman Sachs should have sold its 16 percent stake in Village Voice Media to “an anti-trafficking organization.”  Will Kristof apply that same standard to the New York Times–and himself?  The newspaper and its shareholders must give up over $100 million in annual revenue; are they ready to contribute to the cause?  And if not, will Kristof devote his column to campaigning against his employer?  Will he appear on CNBC to report “The Times‘ Ties to Sex Trafficking?”  If not, why not?

The Notorious Badge (April 9th, 2012)

In the TV movie The Client List Jennifer Love Hewitt played a mother who becomes an erotic masseuse to make ends meet, and the movie proved so popular it is now a series.  I have been told the character and her work are portrayed positively, and this interview with the actress leads me to believe that:

Since the movie has come out and with the upcoming show, have you been approached or contacted by any women who work in the sex industry?

No, I haven’t.  I mean, I’m sure maybe once the show starts airing a bit, I might be able to meet some of those women or they might feel more comfortable to come up and say hello and have open discussions about those things…I feel like [prejudices come]…from lack of knowledge and fear and maybe not knowing the whole story…the more that you look into those industries, a lot of those women are single moms doing the best that they can or are someone’s daughter who fell on hard times…of course, some of them…just chose it because that’s what they wanted to do…I respect people doing what they have to do in order to try to live and be happy…

I sent a message to Miss Hewitt offering to answer any questions she might have, but haven’t heard back yet.  The comment thread is a story in its own right; it’s full of holier-than-thou comments from the pompous windbags who apparently infest the massage profession nowadays, as discussed in “Full of Themselves”.

Metaupdates

An Ounce of Prevention in That Was the Week That Was (#11) (March 17th, 2012)

More on Michael Weinstein’s campaign against an anti-HIV drug:

…Thanks to Weinstein’s “leadership” [AHF has] gone from a sizeable healthcare foundation with a good reputation to…a…joke…

A leading AIDS group is battling with FDA over whether the agency should approve the first drug for preventing HIV infection in gay men, and the fight has gotten nasty…the AIDS Healthcare Foundation called for Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to resign over that and other issues, perhaps including egos…Truvada cut the HIV infection in men who have sex with men by 44 percent compared to a placebo…So far, the drug has not been found to work in women…Weinstein worries that the promise of a “magic pill” could reverse progress the AIDS community has made in encouraging condom use over decades…

Mr. Weinstein is actually the only one who’s been branding Truvada as a magic pill, and he’s been citing half truths [and] his own botched survey…Nobody else…has been calling this anything other than…a drug with a promising potential that needs to be truly and thoroughly studied…Maybe it’s time for the AHF to consider whether or not the $366,046 a year they are paying Weinstein is money well spent.  Charles Lyons II at Glaser makes exactly $1023 less than Weinstein for running an organization twice the size and scope.  And he’s not wasting his group’s time and efforts trying to derail patient care…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not in That Was the Week That Was (#14) (April 6th, 2012)

Dr. Laura Agustín published two excellent articles on Gloria Steinem’s recent attempt to appoint herself an expert on “prostitution and sex trafficking” in India; her April 6th column discusses Steinem’s many errors, clichés, distortions, biases and moralistic assumptions, including her bizarre description of sex as “body invasion” (apparently a melodramatic twist on Robin Morgan’s ridiculous definition of rape).  And on April 9th, Agustín describes an absurd tabloid-style news article glorifying Steinem and other White Saviors descending upon India to “rescue” sex workers “with money and might”.

One Year Ago Today

The Pro-Rape Coalition” demonstrates why those who call themselves “anti-porn” are in reality pro-rape.

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So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. –  Revelation 3:16

Many of my readers are probably at least somewhat familiar with the website Jezebel, which describes itself as “Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women”; it’s part of the Gawker family of news & commentary sites.  Jezebel’s political bent is more or less third-wave feminist, and though it’s very pro-porn and seems inhospitable to neofeminist anti-prostitution propaganda, its staff also appears vaguely uncomfortable with sex workers; I think of them as something like a gaggle of debutantes volunteering at the local homeless shelter because they think it’s the right thing to do, but unable to really disguise their disgust for the “icky people”.  There are occasional columns about strippers and whores, and once in a while one will see reader comments about sex worker rights, but that’s it; no sex worker rights news, articles condemning persecution of prostitutes, reprinting of any of the many articles debunking prohibitionist rhetoric, nothing like that.  Back at the end of January they even participated in spreading the “Super Bowl sex trafficking” hysteria, obediently repeating the lies promoted by Christian groups who would oppose most of what Jezebel seems to stand for.

I’ve never commented on any of the stories myself; the general tone of the replies is so party-line whitebread “feminist” that I don’t really feel I’d be welcome.  But while writing my December 8th column I read this article about Sugardaddyforme.com in which the author, Sadie Stein, starts a profile on the site for research purposes and discovers to her apparent surprise that the other members are “surprisingly human” (presumably she thought they were all robots, apes and spirits).  So I decided to take a chance by sending her an email, suggesting she start a profile on one of the escort boards so she could discover the same thing about sex workers and their clients.  As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I got no response whatsoever.  After that, I sort of gave up on using Jezebel as anything but a source of stories which might inspire columns.

Then last Monday (March 28th), I was scanning the site as usual and saw this article attacking Satoshi Kanazawa, which was obviously directly inspired by his column of the night before talking about me!  Though the author, Anna North (who also wrote the aforementioned Super Bowl trafficking story) was clearly familiar with Kanazawa already, the suggestion that she could be “essentially” the same as one of those nasty whores seems to have set her off.  Interestingly, she has nothing bad to say about me (though she does misquote my description of a neofeminist by calling it my definition of a “contemporary feminist”, which as my readers know is not at all the same thing).  Considering that Kanazawa and I aren’t all that far apart on the subject I thought it was interesting that she was so vicious to him but gave me a free pass, presumably because of my sex.  Unfortunately, she also gives a free pass to the neofeminists by weakly describing them as feminists who “insist on lockstep orthodoxy”.  This kind of weak-kneed faux “sisterhood”, refraining from criticizing other women merely because they are women (even if one strongly disagrees with their beliefs), is exactly what caused the collapse of second-wave feminism in the first place; mainstream feminists should have had the sense to ostracize the man-hating, anti-sex crowd back in the 1970s, but instead they passively watched while monsters perverted the movement into a crusade for their own warped agenda.

Another example of Jezebel’s discomfort with the sex trade can be seen in this story (also from March 28th) about hookers’ business cards; apparently some New York politician who’s been living under a rock his entire life just discovered that some low-end escorts pay guys to hand out business cards for them and therefore wants to ban the practice.  Though the author, Irin Carmon, doesn’t seem too fazed by the idea of prostitution and also appears to have a healthy degree of skepticism about the politician’s attempt to paint his effort as “for the children”, take a look at her headline: “Pimps Use Alessandra Ambrosio’s Image To Sell Actual Sex”.  Actually, the (often Hispanic) males who hand out these cards are the hookers’ employees, not their bosses, and they’re usually teenage boys rather than grown men.  But Miss Carmon has clearly bought into the myth that any non-customer male who has anything to do with a whore MUST be a pimp, and her use of the term conjures up a lot of negative stereotypes a real friend of sex workers would not choose to evoke.

And then there’s this one from the day before the other two, which references this New York Times scare piece on the dreaded scourge of teen “sexting”.  Though the author, Morning Gloria, does seem to find the lugubrious tone of the Times article absurd, she yet agrees with its principle that photos of the human body are dirty, bad, wrong and “sexist”, and that something needs to be “done” about girls taking them.  Does she remember that girls of our generation (and at least 60 others before it) were slut-shamed quite effectively without any pictures at all by use of the grapevine (remember the word “reputation”, ladies)?  Hell, no!  Does she point out that the suffering of the girl in the story was caused not by the picture but by the other kids’ stupid parent-taught attitudes about it?  Of course not!  She instead feels compelled to turn the incident into a feminist parable:

And, while we’re at it, why don’t we get to the root of the problem and examine why, exactly, teenage girls only feel valuable insomuch as they’re seen as “sexy?”  How are we talking to our daughters?  When are we complimenting them?  Are we socializing them to be pretty pretty princesses or productive, thoughtful contributors to society?  As long as the greatest compliment that a girl can be paid is “you’re beautiful” and not “you’re smart,” shit like this is going to keep happening, no matter what kooky consequences we cook up for the bullies who attempt to use young women’s sexuality to shame them.

Maybe if the ladies at Jezebel would actually read about evolutionary psychology instead of simply mocking it, they’d understand why normal women (not just teenage girls) want to be seen as sexy, and why “you’re smart” will never have the same impact as “you’re beautiful”.  I was repeatedly and enthusiastically told I was fucking brilliant by nearly every adult I knew from the time I was about five years old, and you know what?  I still consider “you’re beautiful” to be a greater compliment, despite “socialization” to the contrary.  “You can process information well” is a fact, not a judgment; it’s no more a compliment than “you’re of average height” or “you have brown hair”.  There’s no feeling in it, while “you’re beautiful” is almost pure feeling.  If feminists would get over their fear of their own femininity they’d understand that, and Jezebel would be a much less annoying website.

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