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Posts Tagged ‘neo-Victorianism’

Jasper Gregory is a citizen science advocate and gender activist in Oakland, California; for the past few months he’s been researching the development of modern feminism from the 19th-century variety, and his “tweets” on the subject were so fascinating I invited him to contribute this column.  I think you’ll find it just as interesting as I do.

A new wave of sexual repression has swept through the lands of the Puritan Diaspora.  Under the banner of Feminism sexual puritans have declared a war on prostitution in Sweden and politically incorrect words and images in the UK and North America; the new Puritans are on the rise and have wrapped themselves in a rhetoric of “True Womanhood” that seems more appropriate for the 19th century than for the Internet Age.  But the similarities between today’s prude feminism and the earlier Victorian age of moral regulation go far deeper than you might suspect:  the radical “cultural” feminism of 1970-2013 is actually the continuation of a two century moral purity movement.

Frankenstein illustration by Berni WrightsonThe English romantic sentimental novel became established in the 1730s during the evangelical Protestant “Great Awakening“.  Under the label of “sensibility”, displays of romantic sentimentalism became the measure of good character; the more sensitive you were, the more civilized you were.  According to True Woman ideology, they were the most pure and civilized and thus the most sensitive, which is they were always fainting away and coming down with cases of nerves.  One outgrowth of Gothic romanticism was the science fiction novel, which first rose to international success in 1818 with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, daughter of romantic novelist and women’s rights pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft.  And soon the Utopian science fiction novel became a way for the early women’s movement to inspire collective action just as the earlier Gothic romance heroines had provided a template for individual reformist action.

The first American woman science fiction author published the Utopia Three Hundred Years Hence in 1836.  In it, Mary Griffith imagines the Philadelphia of 2135, in which middle-class white women have attained more power in society.  The novel displays many features which would appear in later feminist Utopias, but it also contains many elements which were more in keeping the Victorian separation of spheres.  For instance, 2135‘s women do not have or desire the vote, for when they were given equal status under the law they retreated into a women’s sphere and separated themselves even more fully from the men’s sphere of politics and the university.  They did, however, enter the realm of business, which they were suited to on account of their house-holding skills; in fact, quite prophetically, Griffith saw equal competition in the marketplace as the route by which women achieved equality.

Griffith lived in an era in which romantic movement activists were holding up women as especially pure and civilized within the separate women’s sphere of the home.  Though it seems paradoxical to us, it was middle-class women who fought for their gilded cages as moral arbiters of the home and guardians of society’s manners and morals.  Rather than being imposed upon women, the separate women’s sphere was fought for and attained by a Romantic Era women’s movement.  This can be seen in Griffith’s Utopia; her 2135 Philadelphia is a world in which the women’s sphere had domesticated and civilized the male public sphere.  All of the rough edges had been removed:  the roads were smooth, and noisy, scary steam engines were banned once women began to guide technology.  All dogs were also exterminated, a theme common in later feminist Utopias:  dogs were uncouth, ill mannered and dead, though cats would be allowed to live.  Griffith’s Matrons got together and censored the vulgar passages of Shakespeare, and in another flash of prophecy, once the actors had been censored they would go on to become major cultural figures.  Mostly, Griffith dreamed of state regulation and a strong police to intervene and protect white middle class women from undignified situations and unscrupulous men.  Liquor and smoking were banned; if a bachelor was found drunk three times his head was shaved and he was sent to the work camps.

These themes mirror the concerns of Romantic Era Christianity in which a highly artificial version of sentimental femininity came to dominate.  As Colin Campbell wrote in The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism,

…the rise of sentimentality went hand in hand with the rise of consumer capitalism and of middle class women’s new role as head consumer of household items.  This is reflected in Three Hundred Years Hence, where all duties on imported luxury goods have been lifted.  2135 is a consumer paradise.

MizoraBy the 1880s the women’s movement was picking up steam and had moved on from the creation of women’s space into the purity campaigns, the effort to impose what they considered to be feminine virtues onto all of society.  Proto-eugenics was also becoming popular because as mothers, the reformers believed they could lay claim to special eugenic knowledge.  These themes are especially noticeable in Mary Bradley Lane’s Mizora  (1881), the first parthenogenetic Utopia (this element would become dominant in 20th-century feminist Utopias).  In Mizora, our narrator descends inside the Earth to find a blonde, Aryan, all-female society; their forebears had decided that dark skin caused criminal behavior and had used eugenic breeding to “cure” this affliction, and men were regarded as an inferior dark-skinned race whose elimination had led to a perfect society (an idea familiar to readers of 1970s feminist Utopias).  As in Griffith’s work, the Mizorans had tamed and domesticated uncivilized nature; animals had been eliminated and farming was held in suspicion because of the “deleterious” effects of earthly matter.  Their engineers made food from chemicals, produced bread from limestone and were close to achieving their glorious goal of finding chemical substitutes for fruit and vegetables; in a sense, Lane was imagining the Hostess Twinkie Utopia.  But besides being the first exclusively female Utopia where all of the turbulent and chaotic aspects of the men’s sphere had been tamed and made safe for proper ladies, Mizora was also a whiteness Utopia:  even their architecture and clothing were all bleached white.

1888 brought the literary Utopia into the mainstream with the publication of Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, which contained many of the themes of earlier women’s Utopias.  Looking Backward became the first international blockbuster bestseller and inspired the American Nationalist Socialist movement, the Nationalist Women’s Movement and later the Progressive Movement, the New Deal and Europe’s National Socialist movements.  One early Bellamyite was Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who in 1915 wrote Herland, a direct inspiration for 1970s women’s separatist Utopias.  Gilman continued the dog exterminationist themes of Mizora and Three Hundred Years Hence, and like most feminists of the time was a strong believer in Lamarckian evolution and eugenics; the Herlanders “of Aryan stock” had made eugenics the focus of their society, and had perfected their race by eliminating males along with the dogs.  The “Race Mothers” gave virgin birth to girls and were never subjected to the degradation of sex; women thus became supermothers and maternal passion was the only emotion left to them. Herlanders did not eat meat and cats had been eugenically engineered not to meow or catch birds; female cats were allowed to roam free, but males were kept in cages for stud purposes only.

Contemporary feminists consider Gilman one of the founders of American feminism, which is ironic considering that her eugenic feminism contained so much of the intolerance displayed by modern neo-Puritans.  She is less known for the white supremacism evidenced in her 1908 “A Suggestion on the Negro Problem”, in which she argued that the state should re-enslave African Americans to instill social hygiene in them and take away their right to reproduce; her proposal anticipates both the German solution to “the Jewish Problem” and the invasive social hygiene policies of the modern welfare state.  Gilman was rediscovered in the 1970s and adopted as a feminist idol, thus supporting the idea that 1970s feminism was a white women’s power movement; her model of purified eugenic Utopia became a cottage industry as multiple generations of women’s studies students read and wrote these Utopias and used them as a guiding principle for action.  The following graph shows the rise in use of the term “feminist Utopia” from 1970 to the mid-’90s: feminist Utopia graph

The year 2013 has seen a renewed feminism which in the United Kingdom is busy banning rock music, men’s magazines, pole fitness and exotic dancing, while in California a new culture war is aimed at the traditional libertarian values of the high-tech scene.  Without knowing it, a new generation is taking up the battle to civilize and domesticate the wild unruly natives and impose the traditional values of the Victorian women’s sphere on men and women alike.

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Slavery works as a public fantasy through which the real problems of the world can be pushed to one side and replaced with…“evil slave-owners” who allegedly lurk behind such phenomena.  –  Frank FurediSWAT thugs

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Many organizations…receive inquiries from potential volunteers whose primary desire is to kick in doors and rescue…victims…once a potential volunteer learns that the organization does not have a covert SWAT team…they seem shocked and in disbelief.  The concept of private entities using…armed…[“rescue”] teams…is fueled by Hollywood and…non-governmental organizations…who play DVDs at anti-human trafficking events indicating their organization uses [such] teams…some even indicate their activities are unhindered by the bureaucracy of governments…

Handy Figures

I find this number very credible, given that 1% of comparatively-prudish Western women have worked as whores, plus an unknown (but certainly larger) number in other kinds of sex work:

…economist Yasuyuki Iida…says that five percent of women in Japan have [done some kind of sex work.  He]…begins by estimating that there are 10,000 clubs, bars and parlors offering sex nationwide… “each employs 30 women on average…That puts the number of women…at 300,000”…Iida settles on 10 years as the average tenure…based on data from the Ministry of Justice…the average woman enters the biz between the age of 25 and 29.  Census data…indicates that a total of 700,000 women fall within…that…group.  If 30,000 women [per year]…enter the fuzoku trade, that would represent…4.29[%] of that total…

The Course of a Disease

The Vietnamese government has just passed a decree under which clients of prostitutes will be punished more severely than the call girls…sex buyers will be fined VND500,000-VND1 million (US$23.7-$47.4)…prostitutes…will be issued a warning…in less severe cases or a monetary fine of VND100,000-VND300,000 (up to $14)…If the prostitutes are foreigners, they can be deported from Vietnam…

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Another example of the need for eternal vigilance:

A delegation of former prostitutes…[and] advocates have appeared before…Parliament calling for a change to prostitution laws…the organisation Freedom from Sexual Exploitation (FFSE)…says…”the Prostitution Reform Act…not only encouraged more men to buy sex, but transformed prostitution into an acceptable, even attractive job for young, poor woman in New Zealand”…FFSE is asking the government to…[criminalize] the purchase of sexual services…

Above the Law

Three more “isolated incidents”:

Nearly twenty years after two young women were shot and stabbed to death at a Kentucky massage parlor…former [cops]…Edward Carter and Leslie Duncan are among three men charged…Tammy Papler, the woman who once ran the parlor, claimed years ago that she had been bribing police…and that the killings took place after she stopped paying.

Of course, it isn’t only whores they target:

A…San Antonio [cop raped a young woman]…Jackie Len Neal pulled [her] over…[on the pretext] that her car was reported stolen.  Even though [she] produced a sales slip…Neal insisted on patting her down…[then] placed [her] in handcuffs…[in] the back of his patrol car…[and raped her]…video cameras mounted in Neal’s cruiser were not functioning…[but] a GPS tracking system did corroborate that…[it] was parked for 18 minutes…as the woman had claimed…

And an update from the original “Above the Law”:  “A victim of a…Pittsburgh police officer…filed a federal lawsuit…Adam Skweres…failed his psychological examination before [hiring and]…the city [allowed him to keep working]…after it received complaints against him…[for] three years…Frankenstein - angry mob

The Widening Gyre

You know a moral panic is nearing its zenith when you start seeing mobs with torches:

Hundreds of people [gathered]…on Long Beach Boulevard in Compton to march against the sex trafficking of children and teenagers along the notorious strip.  The march…[followed] the route often used by johns and pimps in buying and selling young victims…”We are marching tonight to shine a light in the darkness and let these men know we see them,” [politician Mark] Ridley-Thomas said…”And to let businesses that profit from this vile trade…know that we’re coming for them”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #34)

Don’t believe our data; believe our dogma instead!

In Maine…its hotline netted 19 of what Polaris Project defines as high- or moderate-level indicators of trafficking in the most recent year…Destie Sprague…[of] the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said…Mainers should not reach the conclusion that only 19 people in the state were victims of trafficking in the past year…the number is in reality much higher…

Lower Education

The federal government is backing away from the nationwide “blueprint” for campus speech restrictions issued this May…the new head of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR)…said that “the agreement in the Montana case represents the resolution of that particular case and not OCR or DOJ policy”…the Montana agreement included an overly broad definition of punishable sexual harassment: “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (i.e., speech)…Serious First Amendment and due process problems remain with…other recent OCR pronouncements…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #326)

Wouldn’t you love to see articles like this in the US?

Media organizations worldwide have been busy crucifying Rob Ford for his alleged crimes and intoxicated buffoonery…but mainstream outlets in Canada…need to apologize for repeatedly presenting Ford’s crimes in conjunction with allegations of “prostitution”…Having sex for money is not a crime in this country.  Even though many activities associated with it remain illegal, having sex for money…is a job…Every major mainstream media source in the city latched onto the “hanging out with suspected prostitutes” allegations…what makes someone a “suspected prostitute,” anyway?  Fishnets?…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #329)

Though registration is a poor idea because of the inevitable bottleneck, the general tone of this article is far more sensible than anything from the US:

…Swaziland’s sex workers are not a major contributor to the spread of HIV…[it] is spread widely by people in [unpaid] sexual encounters …However…if HIV is to be contained in any country the need to protect sex workers from HIV is a requirement…Identification of sex workers is the first step, allowing a registry of sex workers for contact and communication.  Thus reachable, these individuals can receive advice on health issues, HIV testing…counselling…treatment …and a supply of condoms…public health crises require realism…

Migliorini in PlayboyLittle Boxes (TW3 #332)

A woman who sold her virginity…for $780,000 but was unable to consummate the transaction has decided to put herself back on the market…Catarina Migliorini  was initially promised to a 53-year-old Japanese millionaire, but the deal fell through after Natsu ended up being a 21-year-old who looked nothing like his online profile.  She also had a falling out with the documentary filmmaker who recruited her…

Decentralization (TW3 #334)

Another example of “sex trafficking” as default bogeyman:

…bitcoin…is not backed by any central bank or government and can be transferred “peer to peer” between any two people anywhere…By largely eliminating intermediaries, bitcoin allows individuals to conduct transactions without being subject to anti-money laundering controls, which makes it an attractive currency to criminals — particularly those who prey on the weak.  Sex slavery and human trafficking generate $9.5 billion yearly in the United States alone, with each trafficked child yielding between $150,000 to $200,000 to her pimp, who controls four to six girls on average…

It’s That Time Again (TW3 #334)

The cuckoo clock is striking 13:

Cindy McCain slammed the National Football League…for not being “willing to deal” with the issue of sex trafficking at the Super Bowl…McCain…said the Super Bowl is the “largest human-trafficking venue on the planet,” but she will be working to tackle the issue in [Arizona] in 2015…McCain emphasized the necessity of bringing the issue to…Congress.  “This issue’s not sexy on Capitol Hill yet, but we’re going to make it sexy”…

Given all the one-handed writing politicians do about “child sex slaves”, I’d say they already find it plenty sexy.  But McCain’s comments, however idiotic, are at least coherent, which is more than I can say for those of her sidekick:

…Saada Saar spoke about her involvement in shutting down “adult services” ads on Craigslist in 2010…“I will never forget that morning getting calls from some of the girls who were still out there saying, ‘Oh my God!  The pimp’s [sic] are losing their minds because they can’t put us up for sale.  We are no longer for sale’…”

Imaginary Evils

Slaves found in London 'tip of the iceberg' Daily MailI knew this would turn out to be bogus, but I’m very pleased that it came apart so quickly:

The first stories in the London slavery reports…all gave the same horrifying account:  three women had been rescued by police after thirty years held against their will…But as details emerged, it seemed to be an entirely different affair…after contacting the charity, the women were encouraged to leave the house, which they did…with no dramatic police raid…[they] had joined a radical Marxist collective…which…was like a microcosm of a Soviet state- workers toil unrewarded for the benefit of the leader…”social services, education and housing departments had all had contact with the household” and…both the leaders had been previously arrested.  The presence of these women in the house was not a new discovery by any means…

And in Spiked, Frank Furedi uses the incident as a springboard for a strong criticism of the way the word “slavery” is used to describe phenomena which are absolutely nothing like chattel slavery.

Everything Old is New Again

Here are two more stories in which “sex trafficking” is described using ludicrous Victorian phraseology; this one from Ohio tells us that the mustache-twirling villains behind the “perfidious crime” are not usually stopped by “swift apprehension”, and that arresting sex workers “[fights] the vexing scourge” by “helping to restore a semblance of normalcy to [their] lives”.  The other, from California, gasps in horror at the idea of “children…at risk” from people having sex “in a home right across the street from an elementary school,” opines that “the horror of human trafficking…has destroyed the meaning of what it means to be ‘safe’ in a free world,”  and tells us that “expanding shackles” (presumably, a technology related to “invisible handcuffs”) are “fueled” by “assumptions that these are consensual interactions with women flaunting their sexual desire alongside pimps in outlandish suits with expensive cars.”

Meanwhile, if you click back to the original column by this name you’ll see something about how New Port Richey, Florida has a scheme to allow “authorities” to persecute “known prostitutes” at will.  Well, here’s an open letter to the town from its most famous daughter, Dr. Brooke Magnanti:

…Profiling has a false positive rate greater than zero, and some of those false positives will no doubt lawyer up.  Also, picking up people because you think they might possibly commit a crime in the future is not the same as detecting people who are actually breaking the law.  It is – hm, how you say? – oh yeah, now I remember the word.  “Unconstitutional.”  (My time in Florida’s schools did not go to waste, as you can see)…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #346)

Buried down near the bottom of this farrago of pearl-clutching nonsense about a persecuted Calgary massage parlor:  “Human trafficking is not a widespread problem among sex workers in Calgary massage parlours, police say…Mary Ann Franks threatens to beat up website owners

Shame, Shame

Activists seeking to criminalize “revenge porn” say they are…[preparing] federal legislation that would force Internet companies to take [it] down…law professor Mary Anne Franks…is helping draft the bill…”Going after intermediaries is a really bad idea,” says Matt Zimmerman…[of] the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  “The entire speech ecosystem…[suffers] because those service providers…decide what people can and cannot post”…Internet companies would likely respond to such a law by removing content any time there’s a complaint, to reduce their liability and…save time…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #347)

This ugly exercise in arse-backwardness repeats lurid nonsense about “sex tourism” in Brazil using Justin Bieber clickbait while describing dry stories about sex workers’ language lessons and business improvements as “titillating”; it then dismisses UN recommendations for decriminalization in a flurry of “sex trafficking” hoo-hah (describing the fringe group Equality Now as “many NGOs”), and adds insult to injury by mentioning Gabriela Leite’s Davida without stating that it’s a sex worker rights organization.  Compare it with this one, which despite being fixated on “grittiness” is at least basically honest.

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Four things greater than all things are, —
Women and Horses and Power and War.
  –  Rudyard Kipling, “The King’s Jest”

Ninety-five years ago today, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the armistice that ended the First World War went into effect; the anniversary was immediately established as Armistice Day among all the Allied nations.  Though it retains that name in France and Belgium, it was changed after the Second World War to Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and Veterans Day in the United States, and its function was expanded to memorialize those who died in any war.*  And because ever since men first marched off to war, whores have followed very close behind, it has been my custom every year on this day to commemorate some aspect of that relationship.

WWII nose artIn the last century, however, there has been an unfortunate and growing tendency for officials to pretend that this relationship either does not exist, or that it does exist but is somehow pathological.  The Vietnamese and Ouled-Nail prostitutes who served as nurses during the siege of Dien Bien Phu have almost been erased from history, as have the women of Honolulu’s tolerated brothels who served the same function after Pearl Harbor and entertained the Navy for the rest of the war.  The French like to pretend that women who survived by providing services to the occupying Nazis were somehow different from the others who were forced to deal with them; the Japanese still deny the extent or even the existence of the military brothels in which they enslaved (mostly Korean) women for the “comfort” of their troops.  And the American military establishment continues to demand that its men avoid the company of professionals no matter how much this policy angers the host country or how many sexual assaults result from it, thus prioritizing the wishes of prudish fanatics above the health and happiness of the troops of both sexes.

Of course, this sort of pompous idiocy is only possible between serious wars; while they’re going on, politics takes a back seat to reality and the necessity of dealing with the sexual energy of fighting men can no longer be subordinated to the bluenosed sensibilities of repressed civilians.  The military governor of Hawaii did everything he could to make the hookers of Honolulu happy; Hitler ordered that his troops be issued blow-up sex dolls; the American authorities distributed condoms; and the Japanese resorted to the abominable “comfort women” scheme (which was also used in reverse form, with Japanese whores for American troops, during the first year of the occupation).  Women were also a vital part of the entertainment provided by the American USO; not sexual services, obviously, but even the sight of a Hollywood sex symbol like Rita Hayworth or “All-American girl” like Judy Garland, or the opportunity to talk to or dance with a pretty girl,HMS Jane went a long way for those men starved for female affection and company.  And while those women could not accompany the men into battle, their pictures certainly could: the iconic pinup of Betty Grable  was merely the most famous of the hundreds of photos and illustrations of feminine pulchritude which brightened barracks, bunks, tents and even the noses of bombers.  On British planes, those paintings were often of Jane, a shapely Daily Mirror comic-strip character who would always somehow manage to lose her clothes by the last panel, usually in some incredibly unlikely fashion; Christabel Leighton-Porter, the model upon whom she was based, also posed for nude photos which were literally dropped in bundles to the troops to increase morale.

Obviously, none of this could happen today; Western countries in general (and the US and UK in particular) are paralyzed by a neo-Victorian aversion to sex which preaches the ludicrous catechism that young, healthy men can simply be ordered to be asexual.  Pinups and sexy art are branded “sexual harassment”, and officers are expected to enforce these schoolmarmish decrees.  But all things must pass, the bad as well as the good; these hysterical attitudes will eventually vanish as anti-sex culture fades, and warriors of the future will be shocked to learn that their grandfathers were prohibited from enjoying the simple joy of cheesecake art, and punished for seeking a balm for their stress in the arms of willing professionals.

*Technically, in the US this function is served by Memorial Day (at the end of May), while Veterans Day honors all veterans, living and dead.

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on September 29th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

Detail from The Sistine Madonna by Raphael (1512)I’ve often written about the Cult of the Child, that strange remnant of the Victorian Era which teaches that children (and their definition of the term extends far beyond that Nature uses) exist in what cultists term “innocence”, a state which they seem to equate with “purity” and Divine grace, but which in actuality means ignorance and sexual repression.  It’s easy to tell when a writer adheres to this strange belief system: she tends to depict teenagers as blameless angels absolutely nothing like any young person who exists in the real world, seems unable to remember what she and her friends were like when they were that age, and expresses surprise and confusion when a young person resists being treated like a convict, an infant or a potted plant:

A 15-year-old prostitute has left a Tulsa [Oklahoma] shelter and is back on the streets, saying she prefers the illegal sex-trade business to her home life, [police] spokesman Mark Woodward said…”She was in protective custody and doesn’t want any help…There is no indication of a drug history.  That’s the life she preferred.  There is no telling how much money she was making….She doesn’t like her family, and she didn’t want us to contact her family,” he said…

The story treats this as though it were something remarkable, but it is nothing of the kind; the majority of underage prostitutes (or as they’re now labeled, “sex trafficking victims”) in the US have been in the “foster care” system at one time or another, and in the UK about 90% of teen sex workers who are forced into the system will escape at the earliest possible opportunity (though their agency is denied by the myth-makers, who claim they are “tracked down by their traffickers and disappear from care”).  So entrenched is belief in the incompetence of young people, and so tenacious the need to believe in their asexuality and “innocence”, that child cultists prefer to imagine young sex workers as doggedly pursued by ninja “pimps” who can undetectably spirit them away from houses and institutions without ever getting caught, rather than recognize the obvious fact that they simply prefer self-reliance to regimentation, surveillance and virtual (or actual) imprisonment.  As I wrote in “Too Young To Know”:

With rare exception, teen runaways leave home for a reason; they’re not lured away by “bad influences” or abducted by “traffickers”, but rather pushed away by factors such as physical or sexual abuse or parental rejection of their homosexuality or transsexuality.  But because our laws define people under 18 as chattel, they can be arrested by cops and forced back into the situation from which they fled, or else sentenced to “child welfare” systems so horrible many of them return to the street as soon as possible.  Child labor laws keep them from getting regular work (and such work would expose them to capture by police anyway), which leaves them with roughly three alternatives:  theft, begging or prostitution; the latter is nearly always the easiest and most lucrative…the child cultists want to believe teenagers could never think of prostitution on their own, but this is total nonsense; teen runaways don’t need to be forced or indoctrinated into a form of exchange which predates the human species, and in fact (as revealed by a recent DoJ-funded study) 90% of them are not.  Yet, nearly all current programs for dealing with teen prostitutes are based on exactly the opposite assumption, and if such a girl denies she has a “pimp” she is assumed to be lying.

The latter assumption is even more destructive than you may realize:  it is entirely possible that some of these girls would be content to remain in custody and even submit to the (usually religious) brainwashing procedures such programs generally include, were it not for the repeated pressure from “authorities” to identify a “pimp” who exists only in their twisted minds.

Teenage Bad GirlThe notion that young adults are more like children than they are like other adults, with its corollaries that they are ignorant, incompetent and infinitely malleable, is of very recent vintage; throughout most of human history people assumed adult responsibility as soon as they were able (usually about 14), and there was no such thing as “adolescent rebellion”.  As psychologist Robert Epstein explains, “infantilization makes many young people angry or depressed…they can’t do anything meaningful without parental permission…and…the more [they] are infantilized, the more psychopathology they show.”  Teens who are at least treated well are usually content to put up with the restrictions, the arbitrary rules and other such annoyances in exchange for the privilege of living at home and not having to work, but those who are abused and/or rejected see no reason to do so…and who can blame them?  Once they get a taste of self-ownership, even at the cost of a dirty, dangerous, precarious life in the street, is it any wonder they reject attempts to cage and collar them again?  The dogma that most of them are “controlled” by “pimps” is literally 180 degrees from the truth: they reject institutionalization precisely because they aren’t used to being controlled by anybody, and have no desire to be.

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Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.  –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reptiles by MC Escher (1943)Those of you who are sensitive to symbolism may have noticed that my metaphors about trafficking hysteria often involve circles, spirals and other such forms.  In “The Widening Gyre” I used Yeats’ image of the falcon who has spiraled too far from the falconer to hear his commands; in my column from this last New Year’s Day I used the image of a runaway carousel.  This is because a moral panic, like a living thing, has a life-cycle; but unlike a living thing, it can go through long periods of dormancy and then return again from the dead.  The “sex trafficking” hysteria is so similar to the “white slavery” panic that the differences are barely worth noting, except that this time around it went through a period of appearing to be something else (the Satanic Panic) before settling back into its old, colonialist, Victorian anti-sex shape, complete with racist violence disguised as concern for the welfare of “victims”.  The panic grew from the same filth which always nourishes such monsters, went through a larval stage in which it was difficult to tell what it might mature into, metamorphosed into its adult form and has now reached its maximum extent.  But unlike a living thing, hysteria does not decline into old age; rather, it expands until its structure disintegrates and it implodes upon itself.  As recently as the beginning of last year the “trafficking” myth was fairly coherent between the various cults which adhere to it, but now we’re beginning to see wide variation in the narrative; as Yeats wrote, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

To be sure, there are still plenty of paint-by-number “trafficking” articles on the market; this recent one about the New Jersey Super Bowl, for example, has all the typical elements: gypsy whores, denial of women’s agency, cartoon “pimps”, and the obligatory “survivor” witnessing to the congregation (Hallelujah!).  While those intended for a general audience usually rely on pompous pronouncements from authority figures with a few magic numbers thrown in for effect, those intended for an audience with pretensions to intellectuality are often dense with bogus statistics (including the impossible “average debut at 13” and “100,000 children enslaved per year” idiocies); this still works because the prohibitionists know they can count on their readers’ mathematical illiteracy and intellectual laziness.

Even some of these cookie-cutter articles have variations which demonstrate the lack of coordination between cultists; one of the most obvious is the absurd “King of the Hill” game in which cities vie for the dubious distinction of being the largest “sex trafficking hub”, citing whatever nonsensical “reasons” they can think of from “FBI reports” to the presence of highways to the number of nearby rivers.  The funniest of these in my opinion are those who claim that large rural areas are somehow “attractive” to “sex traffickers” for the exact opposite reason given to rationalize the “gypsy whores” myth: while mega sporting events are supposed to attract “traffickers” because of their high (temporary) population density, some fetishists (notably those in North Carolina) proclaim that their states are attractive because of low population density; even small towns want to get in on the act.  But one almost has to admire the chutzpah of officials in Two Harbors, Minnesota (population 3745), who want to have it both ways:  they claim that “hunting season…is a key time for traffickers and pimps because it draws…large groups of men into the Northland.”

Smaller and Smaller by MC Escher (1956)And that’s only in the articles which are strictly canonical; a growing number of them diverge from the narrative to varying degrees.  Some quote old-timey cops who obviously prefer to paint whores as “criminals” and give little more than lip service to the “sex trafficking” catechism; for example, here’s a clown who justifies arresting adult escorts in a “sex trafficking” sting on the grounds that “we don’t know…how many of these young women might have started in that profession when they were minors“.  Others seem to be on the verge of seeing the truth, then slap a hasty coat of “trafficking” paint on it:  “The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 60 percent of children likely to be victims of sex trafficking have run away from foster care or group homes.  They are easy targets for traffickers because of their lack of a strong family support system…” So, so close; all that’s left is for them to recognize that it’s the kids running away of their own volition, not being “lured” away by imaginary “pimps”.  And still other articles openly challenge “trafficking” claims:

Human trafficking…[statistics] are certainly alarming and appear regularly online, and in newspaper, radio and television reports.  They are seldom interrogated by the reporters who quote them.  But are they really accurate?  Is there research to back them up?…[Chandre Gould of the] Institute for Security Studies…states that…“The numbers of trafficking victims presented in…reports [are] not based on rigorous quantitative research, but on estimates which are almost certainly inflated based largely on anecdotal evidence”…[no research] suggests a figure close to the claims that between 30,000 and 45,000 children are currently or annually being trafficking for sexual exploitation in South Africa…Gould’s research revealed very few children working as prostitutes in Cape Town.  Over a 16 month research period, only five children were encountered working as sex workers.  None of [them] were victims of human trafficking…there is little tangible evidence available that human trafficking…plays a large part in the sex trade…only 8 of the 164 women [Gould] canvassed said that they had at one time been a victim of human trafficking-like practices.  “This finding is likely to cause controversy,” she writes.  “An enormous amount of donor money is available specifically for projects that counter trafficking, so organisations working in this area potentially stand to lose funding if trafficking is not in fact as prevalent as assumed”…

Spirals by MC Escher (1953)The article goes on to debunk the “gypsy whore” myth, and concludes that “The estimated number of human trafficking victims…are exaggerated…and sensational …claims regarding the trafficking of children for prostitution and the increase of human trafficking during sporting events are not supported by research.”  And while articles like this are entirely absent from the corporate American media, a few like this one are starting to pop up in the UK:

In recent years a motley crew of government agencies, police forces, human rights activists, feminists, religious groups and celebrities have turned human trafficking into one of the biggest issues of our time.  The anti-trafficking lobby claims that millions of people around the world – mostly women and children – are being smuggled across borders by means of threat and coercion and are forced into prostitution, bonded labour and domestic servitude. The UK media – both broadsheet and tabloid – has slavishly accepted this narrative, filling column inches with salacious reports of foreigners trapped in cellars, used for tawdry sex and held under the threat of murder and even voodoo.  But this modern-day slavery scare is underpinned, not by hard evidence, but by speculation and prejudice. It is a moral panic which masks a fear of foreigners, of fluid borders and of women who exercise their agency by moving across the world in the pursuit of a better life…time and again the thousands of victims and perpetrators that the anti-trafficking lobby claims are out there fail to materialize…For anti-trafficking activists, migrants are either vicious thugs who must be locked up (the traffickers) or helpless victims who must be rescued (the trafficked)…

Shortly after the collapse of the Satanic Panic, skeptical treatments were common (and now form the dominant, though not yet universal, consensus).  And from the safe distance of a century, virtually nobody outside of the Salvation Army hesitates to declare the “white slavery” hysteria a moral panic without any basis in fact.  The same will eventually be true for “sex trafficking” hysteria, and then the circle will again be complete…for our lifetimes, at least.

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What these girls don’t realize is that they are victims.  I don’t understand why anyone would choose to do this.  –  Lea Benson

Rough Trade

China moves ahead of the US in this area of human rights:  “…a court [sentenced]…Li Tianyi, the 17-year-old son of prominent entertainers in the military, to 10 years in prison for gang rape, with four others…the…court…ruled that even if a woman is a sex worker…that doesn’t mean it’s O.K. to rape her…

It’s a Start (April Updates)

former New Orleans police officer [Thomas McMasters], who was fired in 2011 for falsely arresting a woman on prostitution charges, was reinstated…with full back pay…[because] the NOPD…took too long to conduct its internal review…

Presents, Presents, Presents!Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance

I received no fewer than five birthday presents this week!  Ted sent I ♥ Sex Workers, Eddiejc1 sent And Then There Were None and Ada, Leonard Fahrni sent Big Sister, and Krulac sent  Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance.  Thank you all so very much; y’all may not really understand how much it means to me to be so appreciated for what I do that y’all want to send me these gifts.

The Sky is Falling!

The app is just a short-term sugar arrangement, but the anonymous (though clearly female) writer just can’t stand that some women are more interested in profit than “romance”:

If you can’t get a date through any socially acceptable means…apparently you should resort to bribery…[via] Carrot Dating.  Creator Brandon Wade…of…SeekingArrangement.com, seems to believe that all it takes to get women interested in a guy is a “gift”…[such as] a tank of gas or a plastic surgery procedure…

Above the Law

drunken sheriff’s deputy [Paul Derrick] was recorded…when he tried to arrest…female [Marine Brittany Ball] at a…[South Carolina] restaurant…because she…turned down his advances…He…[screamed] at her and [barked] orders as he twisted her arms behind her back…When a few men approached…he threatened to arrest them…Sheriff Leon Lott initially backed Derrick…suggesting that Ball was “resisting”…[but] after a week of pressure…[he] placed Derrick on leave without pay…

And if they had been in a less-public place, it might have gone like this:

A…Houston police officer…pleaded guilty [to rape]…in exchange for [only] 10 years in prison.  Adan Carranza…responded to a fender bender…handcuffed one of the drivers and put her in the back of his patrol car…waited for the other drivers to leave…[then] raped her in the backseat…and…took her to jail for reckless driving…DNA and video evidence confirmed the woman’s story…he…will…have to register as a sex offender for…20 years [after release]…

An Example To the West (TW3 #24)Hit & Run cover

in…response [to the American TIP report]…Thai law enforcement authorities are…pulling sex workers out of brothels, [though] there is little evidence to suggest that [they]…are actually victims of trafficking.  In 2012…police investigated three times as many cases of sex trafficking as the year before but that lead to only a couple of arrests…the largest organisation for sex workers in Thailand called for a stop to the “rescues” of prostitutes in Bangkok, arguing that many of them…choose to work in a profession which pays them more than the bare minimum…

Damned If You Don’t

Charles Samuel Couch says that he was wrongly ensnared in a Manhattan Beach [California] sex sting at a public bathroom…and he’s suing the city, the police chief, and 16 other cops…he was…chaperoning a boy…[when] an undercover detective…entered a stall next to the kid’s…[he] bolted…[saying] “There is a man looking at me in the stall”…The two fled, but…Couch was “tackled, choked and handcuffed”…interrogated for “several hours,” his car was ransacked…and the [boy’s] parents…who vouched for Couch, were called…Detectives also took Couch’s laptop…and kept it for more than a month…[claiming it] had been used “as the means of committing a felony”…the Daily Breeze  published Couch’s photo as one of “18 arrested in sex sting”…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #40)

Sex rays are also dangerous to plants and wildlife!

…Fuck for Forest…makes porn…to raise money for conservation efforts…Unfortunately, they have trouble giving away their sex-tainted cash…co-founder Leona Johansson [said]…“Many NGOs are afraid of us.”  The World Wildlife Fund told them that it would take their money, but wouldn’t allow any official connection between the two organizations because “we cannot be linked to certain types of industry.”  And the Norwegian Rainforest Foundation refused their donation outright.  “I cannot see that this helps the work for the rain forest,” the foundation’s director told a Norwegian TV station…

Presumably grants funded via government violence help the work for the rain forest in a way voluntary transactions can’t.

Standard Operating Procedure

US Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and Naval Criminal Investigative Service…Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II…are accused of accepting bribes from…Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. in exchange for preferential treatment regarding contracts, as well as for tipping the company off to federal fraud investigations…Misiewicz was reportedly gifted with all-expense paid trips for him and his family, prostitutes, cash, luxury hotel rooms, and tickets to shows…

My First Million

I reached a total of two million page views just before midnight on Wednesday.  Thanks so much to all the readers who have helped make this blog a success! two million

Little Boxes (TW3 #45)

Businesses that allow patrons to pay to be cuddled are springing up everywhere.  One…is The Snuggery in…New York…no sexual contact of any kind is allowed…An establishment with a similar business model in Madison, Wisconsin, may never get the chance to cuddle anyone, as city officials are worried that the Snuggle House will end up being a front for a brothel…

But that’s nothing compared to this one:

Barton Jason Lewis Bagnes is asking the Utah Supreme Court to throw out his lewdness convictions, arguing that he did nothing sexual…He was sucking on a candy pacifier and throwing fliers folded into paper airplanes onto lawns when two 8-year-old girls approached him…Bagnes’ trousers were low enough to display a diaper with the Elmo…character…[and] he pulled down his pants to show them the diaper…the fliers that landed in people’s yards showed children of various ages in diapers, some posed provocatively.  Two web addresses were scrawled on the flier, promoting sites that showed sexually explicit images of children in sheer underwear…Bagnes’ history of diaper-flashing goes back to 1999, when he first was convicted of lewdness and was placed on the state sex offender registry…Bagnes has claimed he wore diapers because of urinary incontinence and displayed them to children to spread awareness of the medical problem…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #49)

Mike Ware of Fort Worth and Keith Hampton of Austin, filed writs of habeas corpus requesting the release from prison of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez, who have become known as the “San Antonio Four”…the [National Center for Reason and Justice and the] Innocence Project of Texas and asserts that all four women were wrongly convicted…and that new evidence establishes their complete innocence…The only evidence…against them was the [coerced] testimony of the two children…and medical evidence that is now known to be faulty.  The trial was also severely tainted by homophobia…

The Scarlet Letter (TW3 #52)Exposing Johns

Tizzy Wall on another horrible member of the same degenerate clan as mugshot and revenge porn sites:

ExposingJohns.com…[collects] information by creating fake ads on private entertainment advertising platforms and then [exposes] the folks who unknowingly contact them…For a mere $195.97, they will “investigate the claims” to delete the profile of an “exposed john” within two weeks, and expedited services carry an even heftier price tag, costing up to nearly $500 for a “premium 24 hour investigation”…

Due Consideration

As a woman who miscarried at 22 weeks, stories like this are especially horrifying to me:

Glenda Xiomara Cruz [of El Salvador] was crippled by abdominal pain and heavy bleeding in the early hours of 30 October 2012.  The 19-year-old…went to the nearest public hospital where doctors said she had lost her baby.  It was the first she knew about the pregnancy as her menstrual cycle was unbroken, her weight practically unchanged, and a pregnancy test in May…had been negative.  Four days later she was charged with aggravated murder …at a court hearing she was too sick to attend.  The hospital had reported her to the police for a suspected abortion…last month she was sentenced to 10 years in jail…

Libertarianism Happens To People

Wisconsin…state Rep. John Nygren…is sponsoring [two] bills aimed at…minimizing the damage from heroin overdoses…The first would offer limited immunity for people who call 911 or bring overdose patients to an emergency room…The other would expand those with access to Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose.  Nygren is sponsoring these laws after confronting his daughter’s heroin habit, and her near fatal overdose in 2009…

Where Are the Protests? (TW3 #319)

Notice what word isn’t used:

The Swedish sports world has been rocked by a migrant labour scandal whereby sports clubs duped migration authorities with sham contracts for foreign players…non-EU employees…must earn a minimum of 14,300 kronor ($2,200) a month, but [one revealed]…she had been paid about 5,000 kronor a month…[and another] no more than 2,400 kronor…

Lower EducationBlurred Lines

The student unions at the universities of Nottingham and Birmingham have become the latest to ban the pop song “Blurred Lines” from their respective campuses…Essex University’s student union became the twentieth to ban the sale of the Sun and the Daily Star…Greg Lukianoff…of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)…[said] “UK student unions…think of themselves as…very progressive…But they are echoing…the old Victorian censors…campaigners in both eras share this idea that there are certain moral ends which are so much more important than someone’s measly right to freedom of speech.  This…leads to people wanting to blot out normal aspects of everyday life: sexuality, sexual expression, speech that might be offensive to women…”

Traffic Jam (TW3 #321)

Project ROSE Prostitution Diversion Initiative…was [protested] by a group of sex workers and allies that refer to themselves as the Phoenix Sex Worker Organizing Project [sic]…Phoenix police and students from the ASU School of Social Work team up twice a year to arrest local sex workers and [force] them [to] choose between a six month diversion program or criminal charges.  According to…SWOP…diversion programs…”ignore the fact that many people who work in the sex industry are not victims in need of rescue, but consenting adults who should not be arrested, coerced into diversion, or incarcerated for working”…

Project ROSE’s awfulness also inspired an editorial in Affilia:

Stephanie Wahab and Meg Panichelli provide a succinct analysis of the ethical considerations associated with diversion programs that arrest people…to force them to accept services…“targeting people for arrest under the guise of helping them violates numerous ethical standards as well as the humanity of people engaged in the sex industry”…Project ROSE is found to violate…the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, the Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, and the International Federation of Social Work Ethical Principles.  Informed consent…is violated because the services…rely on recruitment via “massive police…sting operations…social work…should not be in the business of arresting people for their own good.”

Across the Pond (TW3 #333)

Remember “…officials are putting together ‘exit’ services to help the dozens of sex workers who face having their place of work closed down”?  Clueless lawheads imagined closing the saunas would force those dirty whores to get “clean” menial jobs, but here’s what is actually happening:  “Hundreds of Edinburgh sex workers have signed up to an [escort advertising] site – convinced they will be forced out of their…jobs…Six saunas are expected to be permanently closed…

Real People (TW3 #337)

Tizzy Wall interviews Siouxsie Q on a number of subjects, but the most interesting part to me is her commentary on actors’ inane pretenseDear John Letter that they’re better than whores when “HELLO? WE ARE OF THE SAME CLAN!!!”

Social Autoimmune Disorder
(TW3 #342)

In the US, new tools of tyranny always spread like a social disease:  “…[Oakland, California] has been mailing letters to men suspected of cruising for prostitutes…The…letters avoid accusations, simply saying their vehicle was spotted in a high-risk neighborhood….Los Angeles may try the same tactic…Sanford, Florida started a letter campaign, but…will include photos of…license plates…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on September 22nd; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

History, it is said, repeats itself.  And while the parallels are never exact, they are often pretty damned close.  Witness, for example, the new Victorianism which has engulfed Western society:

…we have become shockingly hypocritical about sex and grant our governments tremendous power to suppress it while simultaneously spending tremendous amounts of time and money on it…We have revived Victorian ideas of government-enforced temperance and “social progress”, and the…“Cult of the Child”…which…preaches that children [including adolescents] are as emotionally fragile as soap bubbles and the merest hint of sexual imagery…can cause irreversible trauma…is…pressed into service for sex issues which have nothing to do with children…prohibitionists [have resurrected] the late Victorian “white slavery” moral panic under a new name, “child sex trafficking”, and [wield] it as a bludgeon against adult whores…lest anyone balk at treating adult women as children, there’s a Victorian answer for that as well; prostitutes are  abnormal, defective “victims” of men who have to be protected from our own choices, which are clearly irrational.  Similarly, trafficking fanatics classify brown people as…too stupid and unsophisticated to move between countries on their own without being “trafficked” by gangsters, so by the Victorian “white man’s burden” philosophy they need to “save” these poor victims, whether they want to be “rescued” or not

Traffic in Souls (1913)But while the racist, colonialist, prudish, censorious and paternalistic attitudes we see around us, especially in speeches by politicians and articles from the mainstream media, are straight out of the late 19th century, at least the language used is still modern, isn’t it?  Well…not quite.  In recent decades we’ve seen the return of tortured, obfuscatory euphemisms and circumlocutory, polysyllabic abortions used in place of clear words and direct phrases, and nowhere is this more true than in prohibitionist anti-sex work screeds larded with cumbersome, politicized passive-voice constructions such as “prostituted women” or even “women victimized by systems of prostitution”.  And in recent months, it’s been growing steadily worse; yellow news stories steeped in purple prose extol the supposed “horror” of sex workers’ lives in lurid detail, women are described as utterly helpless and hopelessly naïve, and sexual behavior is described in phraseology that would not seem out of place in a hellfire-and-damnation revivalist’s tent.  And really, that’s not surprising; the equation of all prostitution with “sex trafficking” goes back to the 1880s, and one of its chief originators at that time, The Salvation Army, is also one of its chief proponents now.  The “trafficking” mythos is deeply rooted in Protestant Christianity’s obsession with “pure and pious womanhood, and even when there is no Christian group involved in a prohibitionist scheme the same themes of sin and degradation echo through their rhetoric, even if translated for a non-Christian audience.

To be sure, some of them are very subtle, contenting themselves with merely denying that sex work is work, equating all sex work with survival streetwalking and using Victorian phrases like “selling their bodies”.  Others absurdly state that “prostitution is not a victimless crime”, deny sex workers’ agency (“When you are bought and sold for sex…does that make it a freely made choice?”), misdirect attention from the real issues with simple-minded morality plays featuring demonic pimps and heroic cops, and ignore the coercion implicit in the “diversion programs” they tout.  Still others feature cops using language that sounds plagiarized from penny dreadfuls: “[The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics] is committed to dismantling organizations involved in the seedy world of prostitution and ultimately human trafficking.  Our agency…[is] determined to make a positive impact in a dark world that troubles the soul. Women that are used as a commodity sickens ones hear [sic].”  But others aren’t nearly as restrained:

The struggle against human sex trafficking in Israel has made appreciable progress in the past decade.  Mass media have better informed the public of the severity and dimensions of this vast criminal enterprise…The Sinai fence and more effective border patrolling has appreciably, though not totally abrogated the tacit understandings between the IDF and Beduin [sic] smugglers that annually brought thousands of sex slaves into Israel’s brothels…girls as young as 13, are coerced by the ravages of poverty, incest and rape…into sexual servitude.  Procurers and their underworld bosses subjugate them in lives almost never truly rehabilitated by even the most valiant and dedicated social welfare agencies…tens of thousands of [men]…continue to buy women’s bodies in order, as they commonly express it, “to make them do whatever I want”…the purchase of sex is about power, not about sex, about societal toleration of the abuse of women’s bodies – and souls…

If not for the uniquely modern idiocy that sex isn’t sex, one could easily mistake this for a description of a Victorian or silent-film melodrama, complete with bearded Bedouin slave traders (no doubt carrying their struggling captives on camels); note also the revoltingly misogynistic assertion that whores are “fallen” women who can “never truly [be] rehabilitated”, a common Victorian prostitute-motif which persists in modern “sex trafficking” myth and is echoed in theSalome by Jean Sala characterization of rape as uniquely destructive, a “fate worse than death”.

But the myth of the harlot as a passive, pathetic victim of the Almighty Phallus is a comparatively recent one; for the majority of the past two millennia (and for centuries before that among the Jews), we were cast by prudes and religious fanatics as powerful figures akin to witches, vile temptresses sent straight from Hell to seduce godly men into wrongdoing.  A few of their modern successors still prefer that sort of rhetoric, and demand that whores be made into outcast pariahs who can be persecuted by the “authorities” at will:

…New Port Richey [Florida]…Police Chief Kim Bogart…suggested the city consider crafting an anti-prostitution ordinance that makes it easier for police to arrest known “ladies of the night.”  He’s hoping the ordinance would be worded so that if such a woman even waves or makes a certain gesture to someone, it would be justification for arrest…Councilman Jeff Starkey took aim at the city’s prostitution problem.  “It’s unbelievable how brazen these nasty, nasty, nasty women are”…he said…

Of course, before we were witches and temptresses we were priestesses; many ancient religions believed that sacred whores were a way for men to connect with their goddesses.  The practice still existed in the early Christian era, much to the chagrin of early Church fathers (who had inherited the long Jewish tradition of hatred for whores).  Our last (and most fiery) example of retro anti-whore rhetoric derives its inspiration from that time period:

…Preaching from 1 Corinthians 6:15–7:5, [Russell] Moore likened the present-day cultural saturation of pornography with the first-century pagan practice of temple prostitution.  “The temple prostitution of Corinth has been digitalized and weaponized…and brings with it the kind of illusion and anonymity that the temple prostitutes could never promise…there are digital harems of prostitutes, available and pushed upon every single population in the United States of America and increasingly every single population in the world,” Moore said…

As I’ve said before, if I’m going to be insulted and lied about I’d rather be cast as a powerful succubus than a weak and deluded victim.  Given the choice between two ridiculous stereotypes from the past which have somehow held on into the 21st century, I prefer to be a living weapon so dangerous she must be arrested on sight than an infantilized defective who needs to be locked up because she’s too stupid to know what’s good for her.

(This essay was inspired by Dr. Laura Agustín‘s “tweets” about how silly prohibitionist language has become lately; she and Mistress Matisse provided most of the featured examples.)

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