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Posts Tagged ‘neofeminism’

The enormous variations in prostitutes’ life stories make it impossible to fit them in binary categories like “forced” and “voluntary”.  –  Linda Duits

The Rescuers

The youth of the Christian Union conducted a demonstration…in the Red Light District, but the prostitutes wanted nothing to do with it…Mariska Majoor of PROUD, the sex workers’ union…[said] “The Christian fundamentalists make customers afraid while the…women in the Wallen just want to work”…PROUD performed a counteraction to make it clear that sex workers do not need to be saved by Christian fundamentalists…

Dirty Amateurs

Cruising for sex on Craigslist personal ads resulted in a 15.9 percent increase in HIV infections after the website entered various U.S. markets, according to a recent study by the University of Minnesota …Jason Chan…found that HIV incidence began to increase about a year after Craigslist entered a market, then climbed through the study period…the association…occurred only with respect to personal ads — not professional escort services.  Chan figures that sex workers took more precautions than people seeking sex in a social context…

Scapegoats 

Universal criminality in action.  Can’t prove a charge?  Just add another in mid-trial that you don’t actually have to prove:

A factory worker has been jailed for four years after he was cleared of having sex with a Shetland pony but convicted of outraging public decency.  Alan Barnfield was…spotted putting something around the neck of the…pony and leading it and another horse to the darkened end of the paddock.  Worried residents called police and he was found “sweating profusely and smelling strongly of horses”…the outraging public decency charge was only added halfway through the trial [because] it…carried an unlimited sentence whereas the main charge…[only] carries a two-year maximum.  The second charge was added when lawyers…realised that…[they would]  actually [have]…to…prove…[the main charge]…

Too Young To Know

Anyone who whose memory extends back to a time earlier than the age of eighteen should know that the doctrine of “sexualization” is total bullshit, yet people believe it anyway.  Will Matheson argues that since humans are naturally sexual, the actual problem is what we might call “Puritanization”, the societal suppression of those healthy, natural urges.  It’s a good essay, and I’m not just saying that because he quotes me right below Carl Sagan.

Whatever They Need To Say

This cannot be repeated too many times:

One of Amsterdam’s most iconic landmarks is being torn down.  The lights have been switched off in the famous Red Light District…the city’s politicians…have undertaken a massive gentrification project under the guise of rescuing women from the sex trade.  Project 1012 is…buying up brothels with public funds [and] re-selling the realty to “high-grade” enterprises:  dining, design and fashion…It was then Alderman Lodewijk Asscher…who managed to “sell” the project…[by pretending] that sex work is inextricably bound up with exploitation, oppression and human trafficking…This…cannot be substantiated with scientific data…Project 1012 has never been about the faith of sex workers, but about…ownership…of valuable real estate…That’s why brothel owners had to leave, despite the fact they were never charged with actual crimes, let alone convicted.  They merely needed to be branded as social pariahs…

Buried Truth 

Surprising no one:

A preacher who claimed that Starbucks flavour their coffees with semen has admitted that he…has been tempted himself by the gay lifestyle.  “Absolutely, no doubt about it.  I spent three and a half years in prison…I was tempted, but I didn’t yield to temptation…”

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#137) Shockspot

A hi-tech “teledildonics” contraption…lets lonely men thrust into an artificial vagina – and have a robot dildo penetrate webcam girls in time to their thrusts…They’ll have to be quite brave – the Shockspot produces 18lb of thrust…

What could possibly go wrong?

Paint By Numbers

“Fighting sex trafficking” by standing on lawns is so passé:

A group dedicated to saving young women from forced prostitution…[stood around on] Interstate-5 off-ramps for hours in the rain.  Interstate 5 is…where [prohibitionists pretend truckloads of]…sex trafficking victims are taken from Washington to Mexico.  A group of people in Portland…did something about it…[by standing around holding] bright pink signs…

Stupor Bowl

I think we can safely close the lid on the coffin of the “gypsy whores” myth; “Video Vigilante” Brian Bates (no friend of sex workers) is celebrating its demise, and a Phoenix criminal defense attorney mocked it with a poem which also lampooned cops and crusading prosecutors:

‘Twas the night before the Superbowl, when all through the state,
Not a hooker was stirring, who wasn’t a fake;
The cops posted their escort ads on the internet with care,
In hopes that potential Johns soon would surf there;

The police were nestled all smug on their hotel room beds,
While visions of entrapped soon-to-be sex offenders danced in their heads…

…The wrinkles on the face of the undercover cop
Gave the look of old age even with the tube top,
When, what to the client’s disbelieving eyes should appear,
But a detective with cuffs, claiming her age should’ve been clear…

Mind Over Matter

Nobody has any damn business telling people that their reasons for having sex are “wrong”:

Rashida Jones doesn’t think women are deriving pleasure from amateur porn.  “It’s performative, women aren’t feeling joy from it,” Jones said…while promoting Hot Girls Wanted, a documentary she produced on the amateur porn industry…”It’s fulfilling a male fantasy…what is the real cost to your soul and to your psyche?”

Yes, she thinks having sex can damage one’s soul.  But neofeminism isn’t a religion, noooooooo.

Choke Point choke point diagram

In what seems to be a retreat from its Operation Choke Point initiative, the FDIC has…[instructed] banks to judge their relationships with their customers on a case-by-case basis, rather than refusing to provide…services to entire categories of industries…[even] leading banks to close the…accounts of many churches…[because] a large percentage of [their] contributions [are] in cash…The Washington Times…argues that [this] effectively ends Operation Choke Point…

The Public Eye (#423)

This author is too deeply soaked in prohibitionist thinking to write a proper story, but the words of the sex workers shine through anyway:

…the critically acclaimed Sex Workers’ Opera…[was] scripted…to…speak out against…criminalisation…UK…policies are…geared towards rescuing “sex slaves”…but for…sex workers…there is nothing more terrifying than the idea of “being rescued”…In one skit, the cast compares [Swedish model proponents] to naïve fishermen, who tell others to go and fish in safer seas where there are, in fact, no fish…

A Whore in Church (#425)

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

A group of nuns and residents who live near a west suburban strip joint…[alleged] prostitution and liquor law violations…at the club, which they…have been seeking to shut down…the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo and others [now] claim Club Allure…promotes and allows certain touching and “high friction rubbing” that could be considered prostitution…They also say the club…violates…liquor laws by serving alcohol in close proximity to the nuns’ convent…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (#439)

Good riddance to bad rubbish:

A private investigator who gets paid by councils to have undercover sex inside illegal brothels has been fired after withholding information about a prostitute whom he met on a job…the investigator was accused…by [prohibitionist NGO] Brothel Busters…of having “deliberately omitted” important details…to…protect…an illegal sex worker, with whom he had become “enchanted”…

Divided We Fall (#445) Malooka Aldlouah

Prostitution charges are such a convenient bludgeon against minorities:

A court in Cairo has sentenced a 25-year-old transwoman named Malooka Aldlouah to six years in prison under a law that criminalizes “debauchery”.  Aldlouah may be the first person sentenced…since an appeals court announced…it would uphold the acquittal of 26 men accused of participating in a “gay sex party”…in December…police [pretended]  that [Aldlouah] had posted “hardcore” videos on YouTube that were intended to advertise sexual services including “sadistic sex”.  But a review of [her] YouTube and Facebook accounts…showed only videos of her dancing clothed…and none had been posted within the past year…

Sex Work is Work (#507)

A group of South African sex worker rights activists have published “A Guide to Respectful Reporting and Writing on Sex Work“, a hefty 4.7 meg compilation which covers everything from recommendations on language and stock photographs to admonitions against outing sex workers.  Given that it’s in English, it shouldn’t be too hard to adapt for American usage.

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[When we fail to] require lawyers and courts to base arguments on real evidence…not conjecture or faux science…we give government unlimited power to mandate harmful laws, with no recourse for those whose lives or health are jeopardized.  –  Kathryn Kolbert

Don’t Confuse Us With Facts

Compare the judge’s comments about Rue to those made by Judge Himel about Melissa Farley:

…the U.S. Court of Appeals…heard oral arguments in a Texas case challenging the constitutionality of an abortion law, H.B. 2, that has shuttered half the abortion clinics in the state…Judge Catharina Haynes…questioned whether the law was medically justified…“Are we saying if you can find someone in the world to say we need marble floors in an abortion clinic, then that would be good enough to allow the Texas legislature to pass that?”…in recent abortion cases across the country, that is indeed what state attorneys are doing when they hire Vincent Rue, the pioneering junk scientist  behind “post-abortion syndrome”…Rue, discredited by courts decades ago, has since made a career as a behind-the-scenes litigation consultant…Judge Daniel Huyett found that Rue’s testimony “…is not credible…Moreover, his admitted personal opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, suggests…personal bias”…In…the Texas trial…the state was caught red-handed:  Four of the state’s five expert witnesses were forced to change their testimony on the stand when confronted with emails showing they had lied about who had written their reports…

The More the BetterBetty White nude

Recognize this young lovely?  She’s one of America’s best-loved comic actresses, Betty White, practically a symbol of wholesomeness and niceness.  And she started her career by posing nude in the early ’40s.  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to discover this; it’s yet another refutation of the Madonna/whore dichotomy and a demonstration of the ubiquity of sex work and the fact that sex workers aren’t mostly pathetic victims.

A Broker in Pillage

Translation of the last line:  “Let us keep your car or cash and we won’t publish your name and picture.”  The quaint non-“law enforcement” term for this is “blackmail”.

…HB713 would allow [cops] to [steal] a car or other property that was [nearby during] a first-time prostitution…offense.  Right now, property can only be [stolen] for a felony prostitution charge…the Texas Department of Public Safety [pretends] there’s a link between human trafficking and prostitution…Property…could be used as part of a deal in settling a case with the person arrested…

Above the Law 

criminally-charged drug court participants were forced into sexual activity by drug court officer Winfred Eugene Vance Jr. and…Vance’s supervisors did nothing to stop it…Vance blackmailed drug court participants into sexual activity after the participants were threatened with a false failed drug test that could lead to jail time if they did not comply…

Naked Truth

Articles from sex workers, telling the truth about sex work, continue to appear in more mainstream venues.  This one from transgender sex worker Diana Hemingway, entitled “9 Things I Learned in My First Year as a Sex Worker“, does a lot to bust stereotypes and reiterate what I say repeatedly:  sex workers aren’t intrinsically different from others, and sex work is work.

First They Came for the Hookers…

A particularly-blatant example of how sex prohibition never stops with whores:

A couple who lost their teenage daughter to prostitution is now speaking out against a proposed [strip club] in Regina.  Nearly 25 years ago, Ed and Linda Smith’s daughter was killed at age 18…  “We’re opposed to this strip club…not only will it be demeaning to women by treating them as…a commodity, it will also have a huge negative impact on the men who attend”…said Ed Smith…[who is] a regular speaker at “John schools” in Saskatchewan…

The Widening Gyre 

“Sex trafficking” is caused by commercials!

A Youth Exploitation Safety Symposium aimed at keeping young people safe from human trafficking is scheduled…Keynote speaker Nicole Clark will explore media’s negative effects on girls’ self image and self-esteem, from oversexualization to the pressures to be thin and pretty…

Bottleneck (#313)

This licensing law was sold as a way to “protect” women:

Saskatoon has imposed a temporary freeze on issuing adult services licences, something the operator of a local brothel says is a “very big mistake” and will force the city’s sex workers to resort to illegal and “sketchy” ways of making a living…Canada’s new prostitution laws…now make reference to “offering, providing or obtaining sexual services”…no licences will be renewed until the city determines whether it needs to change its bylaw in light of [this]…

Still a Child 

Agency denial, pimp mythologizing, ludicrous numbers and the other typical trappings are used to divert the reader’s attention from the fact that the “sex trafficked child” who is “rescued” by an “FBI Child Exploitation Task Force” in this story is 18, which the last time I checked is still a legal adult in every part of the United States.

Drawing Lines

A particularly loathsome example of a porn performer trying to pretend she isn’t a whore, because whores are degraded and disgusting and she’s pimped by big companies.  Bonus hypocrisy points: it’s well-known that, like many in her profession, she escorts on the side.

Consider this her nomination to the Hall of Shame.

Facts in the Case of Monica Jones

Monica Jones’ conviction was overturned on appeal:

Defendant-Appellant Monica Renee Jones…was convicted in Phoenix Municipal Court of manifesting an intent to commit…prostitution.  Defendant contends as follows: (1) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of her prior conviction; (2) the trial court erred in considering her potential punishment in assessing her credibility; (3) the trial court erred in not holding a jury trial; and (4) the trial court erred in holding the city code constitutional.  For the following reasons, this Court vacates the judgment of guilt…

Skewed By Taboo

Another, very thorough look at how the GSS and similar surveys are absolutely useless on sexual topics:

…One of the many reasons sex is puzzling is that we lack reliable data.  People lie to friends, lovers, doctors, surveys and themselves…[in] the General Social Survey…Heterosexual men 18 and over say that they average 63 sex acts per year, using a condom in 23 percent of them.  This adds up to more than 1.6 billion heterosexual condom uses per year.  Heterosexual women say they average 55 sex acts per year, using a condom in 16 percent of them.  This adds up to about 1.1 billion heterosexual condom uses per year…[but] fewer than 600 million condoms are sold every year…About 11 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 say they are sexually active, not currently pregnant and not using contraception.  Even with relatively conservative assumptions about how many times they are having sex, we would expect 10 percent to become pregnant every month.  But this would already be more than the total number of pregnancies in the United States…

Traffic in Nonsense

There are actually several of these “anti-trafficking” trucker groups:

…“Truckers Against Trafficking” [are]…teaming up with the Iowa Department of Transportation to educate those who know the roads best…officer Jared Arbegast is reaching out to give more awareness to the…nearly 300,000 young people at risk of being trafficked for sex each year…They say this can happen anywhere there is a large gathering of people, for example major sporting events…TAT recommends that if you do encounter a sex trafficker, do not approach them, instead notify the police…photos of “Victims” and pimp would be great…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on November 16th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

Salvation Army womenEvery time one reads an article that doesn’t mindlessly parrot “sex trafficking” hysteria or some other aspect of the anti-sex movement, yet isn’t written by a sex worker or ally, one can be sure there will be an obligatory sentence about how it’s “surprising” or “paradoxical” or whatever that neofeminists are in bed with evangelical Christians.  The only people who could actually consider this alliance to be anything other than wholly predictable are those who A) believe in the ridiculous “left wing-right wing” dichotomy which “was a poor fit to real political landscapes when it was first used in reference to the French Assembly more than 200 years ago and has become completely worthless since”; B) accept fanatical cults’ propaganda about their motives as truthful even if it demonstrably conflicts with their public behavior; and C) are completely ignorant of the history of the Anglo-American anti-sex movement.  My early essay “Traitors To Their Sex”  provides a brief sketch of this history, starting with the influential and charismatic Victorian feminist, Josephine Butler:

…who recognized that English law of the time…stripped prostitutes of their rights as Englishwomen and so campaigned tirelessly for the repeal of those laws for 16 years.  At the same time, Butler (like most Victorians) believed that women were essentially asexual, and so could not accept that any woman might freely choose to exploit the male sexual appetite in order to earn a living; the very idea was anathema to her rigid Christian thinking.  She therefore concluded that it was actually whores who were the exploited ones, childlike victims of male lust who had been forced into lives of “degradation” by male oppression…after the repeal of the Contagious Disease Acts in 1886 prostitutes were no longer the cause célèbre; when they refused to repent their whoredom and embrace “honest work” and conventional morality the feminists abandoned their sympathy like yesterday’s newspaper and declared war on our entire profession, vowing to abolish it entirely.  Butler founded the Social Purity Alliance…dedicated to imposing middle-class Victorian standards of chastity (i.e. repugnance for sex) onto men, and it was but the first of a host of similar organizations which sprang up on both sides of the Atlantic throughout the 1880s and ‘90s…middle-class “feminists” had shown their true colors and abandoned the drive to win rights for the disenfranchised in favor of one which aimed to restrict the rights of everyone…The purity crusaders used many propaganda weapons…but chief among these were disease scares and the “white slavery” hysteria…the unholy alliance of middle-class feminists and puritanical religious zealots managed to convince the public, the media and governments that there was a huge international trade in underage girls, abducted and forced into sexual slavery…The fact that there was absolutely no evidence for such a vast conspiracy made no difference whatsoever; the public devoured lurid stories of child prostitution, and…voluntary adult prostitution was banned or severely restricted under the excuse of combating involuntary prostitution of “children”…

In other words, though some early feminists (such as Mary Wollstonecraft and Olympe de Gouges) were individualists who were not at all anti-sex, feminism did not become a popular movement until it embraced a rigid, puritanical morality.  These “first wave” feminists were not merely anti-prostitution, but anti-pleasure; among other things, they campaigned against the “evil” of masturbation and drove the movement which eventually imposed Prohibition on the United States.  So although this early feminism died out in the Great Depression, it is wholly unsurprising that its legacy soon infected the “second wave” which flourished in the 1960s and ‘70s; by the mid-‘80s the anti-sex forces had not only taken over feminism, but had sought out and once again joined their old allies, evangelical Christians, in another loathsome attempt to impose a puritanical anti-sex regime on all of society.  Almost exactly a century after the first iteration of their social engineering crusade, they’ve brought back most of their old rhetoric (now blended with another morally-bankrupt 19th-century belief system, Marxism) and many of their old tactics, including “white slavery” hysteria (now called “sex trafficking”).

This is what a feminist's victim looks likeAs I’ve pointed out before, much of the language in “sex trafficking” and other anti-sex articles and essays is positively Victorian, and even when it isn’t the attitudes are.  Women like Julie Bindel and Meghan Murphy, who would almost certainly take exception with (or even ridicule) the notion that their attitudes fit more in the late 19th century than the early 21st, nonetheless expend considerable effort in arguing for massive censorship campaigns (even though they deny it) and trying to convince other women that only feminist thought leaders have the right to determine which kinds of sex constitute “rape” or “exploitation”, and that their individual consent is immaterial (the result of “false consciousness”, itself a 19th-century Marxist concept).  The “end demand” campaign backed by the Fawcett Society (itself founded in 1866) is based in the tired old Victorian conceit that men can be “taught” to dislike sex as much as prudish women do; furthermore, the recent revelation that the £45 “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” T-shirts hawked by the Society are made in Dickensian sweatshops reveals that middle-class white women’s trivial concerns still trump the serious problems of working-class and brown-skinned women, just as they did in the days when the sun never set on the Empire.  And I think we can all agree that the mind which can produce over 3100 words on whether porn can be “ethical” or “feminist” is one which could’ve been perfectly delighted with thinking up new venereal nouns or arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  So no, it isn’t at all surprising that evangelical feminists conspire with evangelical Christians to make normal people’s lives as miserable as possible; they’ve been doing it for as long as there’s been such a thing as “feminism”.

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The pain [US sex policing] produces in the lives of sex workers…is nothing short of depraved and barbaric.  –  David Masciotra

Rough Trade 

A middle-aged Dublin criminal who is classified as one of Ireland’s most dangerous sex offenders has been arrested in Spain…after fleeing Ireland more than 18 months ago…At least four prostitutes…were raped and robbed by the man between 2010 and 2012…They…were [drugged] and then…sexually assaulted…

Don’t Take My Word For It

Here’s an article on a San Francisco service called ManServants, which has polite guys that women can hire to do romantic but not-directly-sexual stuff for them, like conversation, wine-pouring and hand massage:

For men, hiring a stripper has always been about performing a certain type of masculinity as much as it is about enjoying an attractive woman’s body.  In much the same way, ManServants is a performance. Even among sexually adventurous urban-dwellers, it’s déclassé to post photos of your friend receiving a lapdance from a male stripper.  But a handsome man in a tux refilling her cocktail?  Instagram gold.  According to the women behind ManServants, women want to be adored…They want a touch of theatricality, and to feel the thrill of male attention without worrying about whether they are sending the wrong signals or will have to shoo him away at the end of the night…

Heads in the Sand

We like to think that education changes people for the better, helping them critically analyze information and providing a certain immunity from disinformation.  But if that were really true, then you wouldn’t have low vaccination rates clustering in areas where parents are, on average, highly educated…researchers decided to look at a number of issues that have become politicized, such as the Iraq War, evolution, and climate change. They find that, for these issues, education actually makes it harder for people to accept reality, an effect they ascribe to the fact that “highly educated partisans would be better equipped to challenge information inconsistent with predispositions”…

Scapegoats Lucky the pit bull

I’m sure you feel safer now that these dangerous criminals have been arrested:

A married couple from Indiana were charged with bestiality after police say they made a video showing the wife performing sex acts on their dog…[which was] discovered by a police detective in Fairfax County, Virginia, on the website Beastforum.  The [cop]…was able to determine that the posts came from Anderson, Indiana, and then forwarded the information to local police…Their pit bull, Lucky, [was abducted by cops]…If convicted, the Johnsons could face…two and a half years in prison and a $10,000 fine…

So What Else Is New?

gynecologist Samuel Salama and his colleagues…have some evidence supporting the reality of female ejaculation.  Salama and his team have carried out the first ever ultrasound scans on women who express large amounts of liquid at orgasm. The results…have been published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine…the research showed that there are two forms of female ejaculation.  In the first form, a small amount of milky white fluid is expressed…by the Skene glands which drain into the urethra.  But other women [were observed] “squirting” a much larger amount of fluid…from the bladder…for two participants, there was no chemical difference between the urine and the squirted fluid.  But…samples of the other five women contained prostatic-specific antigen (PSA) which was not present in their first urine samples…

Dutch Threat

the biggest mistake Jojanneke [van den Berge] made was to think that sex workers would keep silence, she seems genuinely surprised to be hearing from them and has not managed to keep her composure.  It used to be you could just make up stuff…Sex workers who didn’t fit into the role of passive victim were simply ignored.  But with twitter and other forms of social media, sex workers have a place to get their voices heard and they are noisy indeed!  Jojanneke has attempted to fight back against those unruly whores and tried to silence them, but mainstream media is picking up on this story…Jojanneke claims she has never talked to a happy hooker while in a conversation with a happy hooker.  I know at least four genuinely happy, well-educated women who decided to get into sex work out of their own free will who have talked to Jojanneke, but [she] continues to lie she’s never spoken to them…

An Example To the West (#343)

In February 2008, Thailand passed the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act.  Two months later…Fifty-four migrants from Myanmar suffocated and died while being transported…inside a cold-storage delivery truck…increased punishments, penalties and stricter border controls associated with combating human trafficking saw a change from open transportation to closed; and longer journeys resulted in diversions from normal smuggling routes to avoid checkpoints…The media portrays human trafficking in a one-dimensional way.  We see police carrying out raids and apprehending…women [who] are…stood over and herded like inanimate objects…countries such as New Zealand have reduced corruption and almost eliminated exploitation…by replacing prostitution under criminal law with labour and civil laws…

The Camel’s Nose (#344)

Dutch Ruppersberger, the NSA’s personal Rep in Congress…has announced that he’s bringing back CISPA, the cybersecurity bill designed to make it easier for the NSA to access data from tech companies…he’s using the Sony Hack as [an excuse even though]…it wouldn’t have helped…Even if Sony had opened up its system to the government, it seems unlikely that the NSA would have magically spotted this hack and done anything about it…

Here We Go Again (#344)

Though she doesn’t mention it in the video interview I posted before, and it’s pretty far down in this Alternet article, apparently Jessica Pliley does mention the connection of “white slavery” hysteria to the modern “sex trafficking” hysteria in her book Policing Sexuality: The Mann Act and The Making of the FBI.  This review makes it sound very worthwhile, so I’m adding it to my wishlist.

Little Boxes (#350)

I’m not sure which is more ludicrous, the cops’ insistence that this is prostitution, or the cuddlers’ insistence that it isn’t:

Two professional cuddling services, one from Vancouver and one from Montreal, are snuggling up to Toronto…cuddling services have popped up throughout North America in recent years…[but]  controversy…has often followed, amid concerns these businesses lead to illicit activity…The Cuddlery and CuddleMe.ca both [pretend] their services aren’t sexual in nature…But [ex-cop] Dave Perry…said there are risks of sexual assault for both clients and employees with kind of service…

Ad Absurdum (#441)

“Victim”.  Can these people even hear themselves?

A 23-year-old high school teacher was arrested in Tuscaloosa [Alabama]…after police investigated an on-going relationship with one of her students…Jessica Bonnett Acker…was charged with engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19…the victim was an 18-year-old male student…

The Notorious Badge (#452)

Is this dude for real?

…Jamie Dornan [said] …“I fear I’ll get murdered, like John Lennon, by one of those mad fans at the premiere…I’m a father now, and a husband.  I don’t want to die yet”…

He keeps waving his wife and child around as though he thinks they’ll ward him from contamination by those dirty sex rays.

Subtle Pimping (#503)

I’m not going to quote any of it because it’s vile even by her incredibly low standards, but here’s neofeminist lunatic Meghan Murphy on the subject of the pro-sex worker video game currently being developed in Canada.  A warning for those unfamiliar with her:  nearly everything the evil MM writes is the prose equivalent of a parody of The Exorcist, wherein MM’s head spins wildly about at dozens of RPMs, spewing horrifying volumes of noxious green vomit on everything within range.  It’s definitely not for the faint of heart or those with weak stomachs.

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‘Cause I’m just a girl, little ‘ol me
Don’t let me out of your sight
I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don’t let me have any rights.
  –  Gwen Stefani

A few days ago I was talking to Jae about my upcoming car trip to Seattle, and told her that my departure date could potentially be delayed slightly if snow were predicted anywhere along my planned route.  She asked why, and I replied that I’m just not comfortable with the idea of driving in Rocky Mountain snow in Wyoming or Idaho; to this she replied, “You just haven’t shaken off all the boy juice yet.”  That’s an especially powerful image coming from one whore to another, so I asked her to elucidate and she explained that it was her term for the kind of learned incompetence that men tend to (even unintentionally) inflict on women they care about.

woman changing a tireLong-time readers know that I am not a gender-difference denialist; I fully accept that there are many ways in which men and women tend to be totally different, and believe it’s foolish and counterproductive to pretend otherwise.  But there are other differences between the sexes which have little (if anything) to do with biology and everything to do with societal expectations.  Take car repairs, for example; though many women don’t care for getting dirty, there is no earthly reason for a woman not to learn basic techniques that could get her out of a jam or save her money (especially if there’s no man handy to do them).  My father would not let me drive alone until I showed him I could change a tire, and though I absolutely hate doing it and generally prefer the “stand on the side of the highway and look frustrated until a man stops and changes it for me” method (which for me never takes more than five minutes to work, at least in the daytime on a busy highway), I think it’s still a good thing that I know how to do it in a pinch…even if I do (as per Daddy’s lesson) stop as soon as I can thereafter and ask the first convenient man to make sure the lugs are tight enough.  But see, that’s not really helplessness; that’s just recognizing that I simply don’t have the upper-body strength necessary to tighten those babies as tight as they probably should be.  And for all his bad qualities, I do have to give Jack credit for one thing:  he insisted I learn how to perform every simple car repair he could teach me, from changing spark plugs to replacing a brake master cylinder.  Since Grace’s dad didn’t believe in letting her be ignorant of cars, either, I haven’t had to do any of those repairs myself in over twenty years; however, it’s still nice to know what is involved in them.

But even if a woman is as lucky as I was, and has boyfriends and family members who don’t intentionally keep her as helpless as possible, she still has to endure endless societal pressure (not just from men but from women and institutions) telling her not to take risks, not to do anything that might scare her and get her in trouble, not to explore her existence without the help of a man (or worse, of Big Brother).  And though early feminists seemed to be making some progress against that, their successors have embraced it and are its most vociferous proponents.  “Feminists” demand that young women be protected not only from physical harm, but even from ideas or pictures that might upset their delicate sensibilities, rattle their chains or force them to question their preconceptions for five minutes.  And they march arm-in-arm with religious conservatives and police-state functionaries to restrict women’s sexual choices and send armed thugs to hunt, entrap, rape, brutalize and cage them in order to “send a message” that utilizing one’s sexuality to win economic independence is too dangerous an activity for women.  Their propaganda reveals their incredibly low opinion of women’s competence; sex workers are said to be unable to place their own ads online, and touring is reframed as a criminal “circuit” in which helpless, ovine women are passively trucked around by evil “pimps”.  The idea that the female brain might actually be capable of booking hotels and writing ad copy is completely alien to the narrative.

African QueenThe cumulative effect of this pressure to be helpless is both profound and insidious; it even affects women whom one would think would be immune to it.  Case in point one Maggie McNeill, a nervy, hard-as-nails dame once favorably compared to Lara Croft by her admiring husband.  And yet when it came time to plan a cross-country book and speaking tour, the idea of doing it alone never even entered into her head until circumstances demanded her planned traveling companion be elsewhere for the duration of the trip.  Full disclosure:  I was scared, y’all.  I had driven long distances alone, but only if I had friends at the destination point.  The idea of not only making all the arrangements myself, but of then driving alone to strange cities and booking into hotels alone, was so daunting that the only reason I attempted it was because I had no other choice.  But why was it so scary?  What exactly was I afraid of?  Beyond the danger of running out of money, there was little to fear; it’s not like I was going up the Congo on a tramp steamer or something.  No, my trepidation came from only one place:  the social programming that it’s unacceptably dangerous for girls to travel alone far from home.  And now that I’m aware of the fact that this brainwashing is still subtly affecting me even after almost two decades of living outside “acceptable” female norms, you can bet I’ll be on the lookout for it.  That still doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with the idea of driving in a snowstorm, though; that has very little to do with “girls can’t” messaging and a lot to do with the fact that I grew up in south Louisiana and never even saw real snow until I was 34 years old, much less drove in it.

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Sex workers are…the sacrificial offering that people outside of the industry are willing to make in an attempt to attain an impossible state of societal purity.  –  Clay NikiforukClay Nikiforuk

The Red Umbrella 

This excellent December 17th column by Clay Nikiforuk only came to my attention this week:

…Canadian law…C-36 [supporters]…talk of wanting to “end demand” for sexual services, and I wonder what that could mean.  Is there a lab somewhere cooking up a pill to end cravings for intimacy?  Or maybe an army of attractive sex robots are being programmed as we speak?  Ending demand seems like an imaginary Conservative wonderland, and no one wants to talk about the fact that it doesn’t exist and thus no one has any idea of how to get there.  In the meantime, prostitution abolitionists are content with an approach that…will result in nothing but violence against a marginalized group if these heinous laws are enforced…[prohibitionist] language suggests that sex workers are things to be purchased rather than lucid, valuable people who make choices, among others, to market and sell services…no sex worker sells their body.  They are not passive ragdolls, slaves for the enjoyment of ravenous perverts, as the pornographic imagination might wish to believe…they are complex and complete people who have their own stories and are part of communities.  They cannot be sacrificed for a supposedly feminist ideal that wishes to ignore, silence, and erase them…

A Narrow View

Ask yourself:  if the operators of “rescue homes” really have the best interests of “rescued” sex workers at heart, why must they invariably deny these women’s agency and reduce them to passive, doll-like creatures to be done to?

A St. Louis charity will open a home next year where a small group of women who are trying to escape from a cycle of prostitution and prison can rebuild their lives.  Christine McDonald has spent months visiting prisons searching for women…[to] be the first residents of the 10,000-square-foot home being opened by Magdalene St. Louis.  The women will live there two years and will have access to free food, health care, counseling and job training…director…Tricia Roland-Hamilton…said many people believe these women choose a life of prostitution, but they don’t…

The Widening Gyre 

An escort is murdered, and cops immediately pimp her corpse to promote their crusade by declaring her a “victim of sex trafficking”:

A Vancouver woman found murdered inside her…Portland hotel…was a victim of sex trafficking, according to…Police…Ashley Renee Benson’s…body was found in a stairway at the Double Tree [sic] Hotel…Benson’s family [said]…they didn’t know Benson was a sex trafficking victim until they heard it on the news…they didn’t notice anything different about Benson when they saw her on Christmas Day, just 21 hours before she was found dead…

The reason the family didn’t know she was a “victim” is because she wasn’t.

Checklist bingo prostitution

Baltimore hotels would be required to train their staffs to recognize signs of forced prostitution under proposed legislation that also would prohibit rooms from being rented for less than half a day.  City Councilman James B. Kraft said the anti-human trafficking bill is necessary to combat an “international plague”…[because] Baltimore …[is near] Interstate 95…Hotel staff may recognize individuals who frequently rent rooms…The victims may eat all their meals inside the room and only…pay in cash…

Original Sin

It’s unusual to see an evangelical break with the party line on “trafficking”, but refreshing to be cast as a powerful witch instead of a helpless “victim”:

…why it is that only clients should be criminalised, but not the prostitute?  The question that must be asked is who the victim is and who is the predator…Modern society generally deems the prostitute to be “hurt” or “harmed” because she is used by clients…This is a dangerous half-truth.  The prostitute is the woman of Proverbs 7 who is brash, rebellious, sly, and of a wicked bitter tongue…She victimises even strong men through her sexual immorality and wicked flattering words…While she may indeed be used by others for sexual gratification, she is a predator…Prostitutes are harlots – they seduce unsuspecting men who do not know about the moral dangers of indulging in sexual immorality…

Original Sin (#321)

Another self-proclaimed “authority” helpfully explains that porn causes “sex trafficking”:

…sex trafficking and exploitation exist…even [in] Utah…social media and easy global access have made it more simplistic [sic] for criminals to entice targets…young men and women…are more exposed than ever [due to online flirting]…chat rooms are still…the weapon of choice for criminals…Sgt. Jason Randall…[fantasizes about] minors being forced to engage in sexual acts…on pornographic…websites…Randall said he believes pornography is at the source of all the exploitation problems…“Pornography is just like drugs.  People can dabble in it and never get addicted to it.  But some people — it’s just taking that first hit of meth, and then they’re hooked…There’s no question that there’s a correlation between pornography and sex offenses”…

Highlight of the story:  a bureaucrat named Tammy Atkin wisely pronounces that nobody grows up and then makes a statement about what she’d like to do when she is 12.

Welcome To Our World (#327)

Fifteen people have been arrested in Beijing in connection with a prostitution ring which used websites to connect young mothers with men who paid to be breastfed by them…Wet nurses that serve adults are paid $2,600, nearly four times the monthly average…

Mumbo Jumbo

Sometimes the connection between “sex trafficking” hysteria and the Satanic panic is subtle, and other times…well, see for yourself:

Traffic Circle

It’s a small development, especially considering that the publication is Reason and the author is steadfast ally Elizabeth Nolan Brown; however, it’s still fantastic to see “Sex Trafficking Hysteria” as a heading in a national magazine article that treats both the hysteria itself and the bullshit used to promote it as what they are rather than deferentially pretending that there’s any doubt at all, as even most skeptical articles do.

Shame, Shame (TW3 #348)

“Cyber Civil Rights Initiative” is a front organization for Mary Anne Franks:

Illinois became the latest state to criminalize “revenge porn,” crafting what its creators hope will become a model for federal legislation…The…law…will punish offenders with one to three years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.  “We believe [revenge porn] is a form of sexual assault,” [figurehead sponsor] Scott Drury [said]… “You could be someone working at Burger King, and now you’re a sex object.”  Carrie Goldberg…of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, which [wrote] the Illinois law [downplayed valid concerns about the unintended consequences of the vague, overbroad legislation]…

Property of the State

Note how the police state uses the mere existence of a sex worker’s child as an excuse to proclaim consensual sex a “felony”:

A woman was arrested for promoting prostitution while her 2-year-old was at daycare…Trishta Daniels [was ratted out by hotel employees and ambushed by cops upon] leaving her room…Police [abducted] the child and [trafficked her to] the Department of Children’s Services…

That Old Black Magic (#422)

West African “penis stealing” hysteria, now with whores!

A 23-year-old woman, Uche Agunta, who works as a prostitute confessed that her gang specialises in cutting off victims’ manhood during sex…[she] had har­vested about seven [penises] be­fore she was arrested…her method is to lure men into sex…and at the height of ecstasy, she would sneak out razor blade and cut off her partner’s manhood…for money rituals…

Follow Your Bliss (#424) White Slaves of Chinatown

There’s something profoundly perverse about many of the “grim truth behind prostitution”…articles…Rescue stories read like erotica, but they sensationalise sex workers’ lives at their expense and commodify the experiences of actual victims.  They are obsessed with how many penises in filthy surroundings and rape by their stepfather and forced abortions and getting peed on and condomless blowjobs.  While sex workers and sex work activists want to talk about human rights, international law, respecting the agency of other adults and stopping violence, rescue fetishists get all flushed as they emphasise that thousands of women get raped with objects and are forced to drink buckets of sperm and they get tattoos so everyone can see they are a whore…The rescue industry exploits others for financial gain, which is morally reprehensible, but their non-consensual use of vulnerable women for their perverse sexual preferences is a grim truth about the rescue industry that really nobody is telling you…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

As I predicted, this trope is becoming much more common:

Darlene Pawlik…was…sold into prostitution…before she reached legal adulthood…[she] found herself sold hundreds of times, bought by local businessmen, a city councilman, and a candidate for sheriff..[when she] found herself pregnant…[she] faked an abortion so she could leave the lifestyle.  She reached a new home and began a new, restored life and eventually became a nurse, business owner, married mother of 5 children, and pro-life advocate…

All conveniently far in the past and without names or evidence, natch.

Backwards into the Future (#439)

Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!

Vietnam will not see prostitution as a legitimate profession…[said] Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam…[he also pretended] that anti-prostitution measures [could somehow be considered]…human rights protection…The [repetition of political dogma]…came in response to a number of opinions from…officials who suggested that sex work should be legalized in Vietnam as it serves an essential need of people and such legalization would help improve the management of sex workers…

Subtle Pimping (#445)

Jin Ohashi…is being questioned for his unethical way of taking photos [of]…Thai sex workers who don’t even know their photos were exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography…[Ohashi has] fondly and proudly talked about how he pretended to be a regular tourist and sneaked his camera into the brothels, where cameras are strictly prohibited.  He talked about his bravery of doing so against his local coordinator’s warning.  He even said, without the slightest nuance of guilt, that sex workers got panicked when his camera flashed and ran about trying to hide from him…the attitude shown by Ohashi indicates the less-than-human views he holds of the Thai sex workers…in [a] 2007 interview [he said]  sleeping dogs by the roadside and those girls had the same tension… whatever that means…Sandra

Monkey Business (#449) 

An orangutan named Sandra has become the first non-human animal recognized as a person in a court of law.  The Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights…had asked Argentine courts recognize the 28-year-old great ape’s right to freedom from unjust imprisonment…if the zoo does not challenge the decision within 10 working days, Sandra will be sent to a sanctuary in Brazil…The decision may have ramifications for other great apes.  In the United States, a group called the Nonhuman Rights Project is currently seeking similar rights for four privately-owned chimpanzees in New York state…

Banishment (#452)

Predictable as sunrise:

Timothy Poole, the…registered [sex offender who won the Florida] lottery…is being sued by two alleged victims who say he owes them for pain, suffering and psychological damages.  The two are brothers who were 5 and 9 years old at the time of the abuse in 1996…Their attorneys…are seeking a court order to freeze Poole’s [assets] until the proceedings are over because Poole may “squander, hide or otherwise dispose of assets”…

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The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. - Edward Powell

Maggie sketch 8-30-14As has been my custom for five years, New Year’s Eve is the occasion for a retrospective of the year’s news.  But while in previous years I mostly reported on the things other people did, the biggest story this year (at least in this blog) is the stuff I did.  Besides too many interviews to count (including one for Reason TV that has been seen over 20,000 times so far), I made dozens of personal appearances all over the country, as detailed in my tour diaries from May until the present.  The excuse for these was the publication of my book, Ladies of the Night (and if you haven’t bought a copy yet, you probably should); I know that last year I said that the second one (tentatively entitled The Essential Maggie McNeill) would be ready by summer, but obviously the tour pre-empted that.  I still hope to have it ready in the next couple of months, but I’m not promising anything because I’ve finally decided to take everyone’s advice and try to make just a tad more time for myself.

The best news of the year is that we’re still right on track for an end of “sex trafficking” hysteria by 2017, as I predicted three years ago; already we’re beginning to see skeptical articles from journalists and academics in addition to consultation of actual experts, prominent reporting on anti-hysteria studies and increased placement for articles from yours truly (including ReasonThe Washington Post and a law journal).  Though the hysteria is still in full bloom in most quarters (especially among cops, rescue industry opportunists and others with a vested interest in keeping the panic going), the exposure of “trafficking” darlings Somaly Mam and Chong Kim opened the door to allowing skeptics to openly express their doubts.  Still, just as the bad laws spawned by the last round of “sex trafficking” hysteria have endured to the present day, so will those spawned by this one endure for decades after the panic is over.  This year saw an expansion in efforts (some of them surreptitious) to impose the horrible Swedish model, and while France barely escaped it Canada and Northern Ireland have not, with the Republic of Ireland almost sure to follow.  And while there’s no way the US will ever stop persecuting sex workers without a Supreme Court order halting the practice, Swedish-flavored “end demand” rhetoric provides a palatable “feminist” excuse for endemic police violence and hounding of sex workers.

rapist copBut it’s not only sex workers who are infantilized in the name of “feminism”; female university students, too, are treated as moral imbeciles too delicate to make sexual decisions without the help of coercive patriarchal institutions.  And it’s not only sex workers who are the victims of police violence; nearly every week sees at least one report of a cop raping at least one woman (I reported 60 this year).  Not one of my Links columns is free of at least one incident of police brutality, and cops’ unrestrained and consequence-free murders of young men, especially young black men, has provoked mass protests all year.  Nor do all cop attacks involve physical violence; actual robbery under cover of “law enforcement” pretenses is at an all-time high, and many police and FBI operations are motivated by profit and/or the desire to create a spectacle in advancement of a political narrative.

At first glance, this hasn’t been a good year for sex workers; our rights are even under attack in countries where they’ve been reasonably secure for years, and agency-denying “sex trafficking” propaganda is promoted in virtually every mainstream venue and pretended to be factual in legislatures and police circles worldwide.  But at the same time academics, human rights organizations and many others are beginning to open their eyes to the truth, and everywhere I traveled this summer I found receptive audiences.  Moral panics do not slowly fade away; they usually get worse until they very quickly collapse.  The end of widespread societal support for persecution of sex workers is coming…and sooner than you might think.

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