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Posts Tagged ‘Reframing’

Hating on models, sex workers, and similar seems to be a significant subtext of what [feminist] groups support…yet they are often the first to ask why young women don’t want to call themselves feminists.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Rough Trade

California has a crime victims’ compensation program

…which helps people out with expenses like medical treatment or mental health care…you’re ineligible…if you have any other means of getting them, whether that’s insurance, a wealthy aunt, or a court ruling.  The program’s…regulations [also] disqualify anyone who was hurt while “involved” in an act of prostitution…

BDSMNaked Bear-type Man Chopping Wood by Charlie Goodwin

A 35-year-old [Austrian] woman advertizing herself as a dominatrix promised strict discipline to paying clients on her farm…[but] the men found themselves consigned to farm labor such as chopping wood in the nude and mowing the lawn while wearing black fetish masks…in effect, they were paying for the privilege of doing farm work…

License to Rape

One wonders what his “informal training” consisted of:

A…San Bernardino police officer was arrested…on charges that he forced two prostitutes to have sex with him while he was on duty…Jose Jesus Perez, 46, was indicted on four civil rights offenses that involved aggravated sexual abuse “while acting under the color of law”…If convicted, Perez faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison…Perez…had informally trained other officers on how to interact with prostitutes…

The Swedish Pimpocracy

The Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has a close partnership with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and British GCHQ, according to information provided to the European Parliament…investigative journalist Duncan Campbell…told the committee that…Sweden was the third major partner in the surveillance cooperation…

Decentralization

We don’t know if Birmingham, UK-based Passion VIP is…the first escort agency to add bitcoin to its…payment options, but…we have not heard of another one…Tracy Elise

Size Matters

Tracy Elise has fired her attorney and has chosen to represent herself in court…she also filed six motions ranging from being allowed to travel to being allowed to use the internet.  Two years ago, police raided…the Phoenix Goddess Temple…[claiming] it was a house of prostitution, but parishioners said they were just practicing their religion…

The Punitive Mindset

The balance between crackdowns that play to punitive public sentiment and a public health approach that will actually reduce harm and prove most effective in protecting communities is one [Lord Chancellor] Chris Grayling should bear in mind, as he considers a crackdown on sex in prison…The prison service instruction manual states:  “there is no rule specifically prohibiting sexual acts between prisoners, but if they are observed by someone who finds (or could potentially find) their behaviour offensive, a charge…may be appropriate”…this results in…a system ripe for abuse…A blanket ban on sex in prison leads to prisoners failing to report rape or sexual assault for fear of punishment…[some] prisons refuse to issue barrier protection…some prisoners are sanctioned for requesting too many condoms.  One prison governor even said they had no need to issue…[them] as his prison contained no homosexuals…

Where Are the Protests?

As usual when sex isn’t involved, the word “trafficking” is entirely absent:

…America…[has an] underground market for adopted children, a loose Internet network where desperate parents seek new homes for kids they regret adopting…Through Yahoo and Facebook groups… the unwanted children [are passed]…to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally…The practice is called “private re-homing,” a term typically used by [pet] owners…most of the children ranged in age from 6 to 14 and had been adopted from abroad…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Except for the predictable whorearchy (“dancers resort to prostitution”, etc) this is a decent article about how the summer slump in New Orleans affects the stripping business.  It affects escorts as well, of course, though in my experience it tends to recover more quickly in September for escorts than for strippers.  Since I don’t write much about my stripping days, readers may find it interesting that the first club mentioned in the story was the first one I ever danced at, though it had a different name back then.illegal anti-whore sign

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Outspoken Christchurch [New Zealand] city councillor Aaron Keown has taken matters into his own hands to ban sex workers from Manchester St.  Residents woke on [August 27th] to find the street plastered with “No Street Workers” signs…Two days later…council workers removed them, saying [they] were illegal.  Keown, who paid for and installed the signs himself…said…police and council bylaws had failed to keep prostitutes out of the residential area…[he] plans to create another set of signs next week…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #14)

Even with new and vastly-broadened definitions, UNODC still only claims that “40,000 people…came into contact with the authorities as trafficking victims in 2012”, very similar to the 24,000 it claimed had been “rescued” last year.  Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

First They Came for the Hookers…

Lap dancing clubs could soon be banned in Glasgow under plans for a tough new licensing regime…new criteria for sexual ­entertainment venues…will allow councils…to set the number of sexual entertainment licences they permit…at zero.  Glasgow City Council has called for the power, which would effectively ban lap dancing bars in the city…Currently lap dancing clubs only need a public entertainment licence, which cannot take into ­account the type of entertainment being offered…

Because obviously, bans on stripping are always 100% effective.

Reframing

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #34)

The man in charge of tackling human trafficking and organised prostitution in Northern Ireland has come out against proposals to make it an offence to pay for sex…PSNI Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall has denied that human trafficking is a bigger problem here than elsewhere and revealed that men purchasing sex have sometimes reported human trafficking to the police…Lord Morrow has argued that similar legislation in Sweden led to a big decrease in human trafficking and street prostitution.  These assumptions have been challenged by DS Marshall, who…fears that Lord Morrow’s proposal would not help matters and would prevent men…reporting any suspicions they had…

Enough is Enough

The powerful story of a woman who understood the difference “between saving a life and prolonging a dying”:

My mother died shortly before her 85th birthday, in a quiet hospital room in Connecticut…She slept in her own bed until the night before…[and] was lucid and conscious to the end.  She avoided what most fear and many ultimately suffer:  dying mute, unconscious and “plugged into machines”…or…demented in a nursing home.  She died well because she was willing to die too soon rather than too late…

Poe Folks

Jemima ably mocks a recent anti-whore article by casting it as self-parody:

The New Statesman isn’t known for its sense of humour so it was a great surprise to see this amazing parody piece by Sarah Ditum  showing other journalists how not to write about…sex workers.  First…she shows how [headlines] can set the entire tone for a piece, cleverly creating straw man questions:  Can a feminist ever support the sex industry? followed by insinuations about the mental state of any sex worker with…what kind of society is it that makes that a rational choice for women? Fabulously done, a question that is meaningless…[followed by] a “have you stopped beating your wife yet” question…The Two Paths

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #38)

Criminalizing things makes them magically vanish!

Switzerland has raised the legal age of prostitution…[to fall] in line with an international convention it signed in 2010…it [is now] a criminal act to pay for sex with anyone who is under 18…[instead of] 16…People who pay for sex with [illegal workers or look at pictures of them]…face up to three years in prison…brothels or escort services that hire anyone under 18 could face up to 10 years…

The Public Eye (TW3 #49)

Here’s a long-form review of American Courtesans by a marriage therapist:

American Courtesans [is] an invaluable resource for therapists, clients, sex workers…[and] the general public…it’s important to call attention to the sex-negative view our society holds…anyone who is open about their needs, desires…and…sex can become a target for judgment, criticism, and even violence…Society wants to “invisibilize” these needs and desires and sex work makes them explicit…

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #135)

Sadistic Irish judges apparently think it’s funny to rob sex workers and give their money to an organization dedicated to destroying their entire profession: “Two Romanian nationals have been given custodial sentences after gardai raided a brothel…A substantial amount of cash was seized…along with paraphernalia linked to prostitution…Judge Conal Gibbons…instructed that the money…be donated to Ruhama…

An Ounce of Prevention (TW3 #312)

An HIV vaccine created by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University may be able to completely wipe out the…virus from the body…[it] is being tested…in monkeys [and] researchers hope…[it] will soon be able to be tested in humans…The approach uses cytomegalovirus, or CMV…a common virus…carried by a large percentage of the population…researchers found…infected cells were sought out and destroyed…

Real People (TW3 #316)Fish Girl

Here’s a nice little profile of Siouxsie Q of The WhoreCast, who’s currently performing in a play she wrote called Fish Girl (in which she portrays a mermaid).  The article also mentions the legal difficulties to which I alluded in the last paragraph of “The Free Speech Mafia”.

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

Sex workers in Jamaica gathered…to demand rights, respect and dignity…the Caribbean Sex Workers Collective are ‘advocating for equal rights, and an end to stigma and discrimination’…

Policing for Profit

Sam Leino was ultimately convicted on a single charge of possessing prescription drugs…For that, his wife and their three children are homeless…“the Philadelphia DA has made civil forfeiture into a vast, unaudited revenue stream, profiting from an upside-down legal process through which the DA has the power to bleed property owners dry of financial resources…with minimal or no evidence of criminal wrongdoing”…Because the owner of a piece of property…needn’t even be charged…the Leinos had already lost their home by the time Sam Leino was convicted…In fact, the government can actually freeze your assets before any proceedings begin, making it difficult to hire legal representation for either your criminal trial, or to…reclaim your property.  In this case, the Philadelphia DA’s office actually evicted…[the family] from their home…The office…eventually withdrew the claim…[because] the family had fallen behind on their mortgage payments and the bank foreclosed, meaning that the home was no longer theirs for the government to take…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

After publishers of Front, Nuts, Zoo and the Sunday Sport…refused to put their titles into sealed modesty bags, the Co-op has [announced it]…will no longer stock those titles.  It is unclear which lads’ mags will remain on the shelves in modesty bags – but…(physical) lad’s mag sales were falling anyway…if major retailers were making the money they used to from carrying the magazines, this campaign wouldn’t have had any traction at all…[model] Jodie Marsh blasted the Co-op’s decision on Twitter, suggesting that the groups involved with the campaign to ban lad’s mags “need to turn their attentions to areas where women really need help”…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #336)vandalized brothel

The outrage continues in Bangladesh:

Hundreds of Islamists  vandalized and looted  a 250-year-old brothel in…Madaripur…and…threatened to harm the remaining workers further if they did not leave the area…the local leaders of both main political parties…are not only competing to buy Muslims’ votes…but are also interested in ejecting the sex workers from the downtown area in order to seize the valuable two-acre lot…

And to add insult to injury:

The…attack…rendered at least 500 sex workers shelterless…the infirmaries in the district refuse them essential treatments…[after] the attackers…warned the hospital authorities not to give [them] any healthcare…Some of them have had their ears and noses cut when attackers whisked their ornaments away…The attack…was a clear violation of a High Court order…Mahmuda Akhter – district Women Affairs Officer – was tasked with investigation into the incident, but…allegedly joined hands with the attackers…[saying] “I am with the majority.  No one wants a brothel in the city centre”…

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There is nothing so absurd that it cannot be believed as truth if repeated often enough.  –  William James

Sixteen updates and two metaupdates.

Rough Trade (Part One) (July 25th, 2010)

Ah, synchronicity; the same week this early essay was featured on Debatbond to introduce the topic “Can a prostitute be raped?”, two California lawyers presented their own views on the subject in court.  Representing the “no” position:

Prosecutors dropped rape charges…against…Michael Stanford…[Defense attorney Roberto] Dulce said…the alleged victim was a prostitute and…the sexual contact between her and Stanford was consensual…In a dispute over money, the woman accused Stanford of rape…Dulce said he had witnesses who would testify that they, too, had engaged in sex with the woman…

Yet she didn’t accuse the other “witnesses” of rape, probably because they didn’t rape her.  I think we can guess what happened; “dispute over payment” means he cheated her, but since Fresno isn’t Cartagena he got away with it.  The story says the charge was dropped because “the alleged victim could not be found for Stanford’s trial”; she was probably afraid to go into a building full of cops.  It might have been different in Modesto:  “[Judge Linda McFadden]…denied a motion to overturn a grand jury indictment against…police officer…Lee Freddie Gaines…The alleged victim…testified…that she was working as a prostitute…[when Gaines] handcuffed her and demanded oral sex…

Amsterdam (November 1st, 2010)

Despite a total lack of evidence, Dutch police and anti-whore politicians keep beating the “sex trafficking” drum:

…Amsterdam…plans to force brothel owners to submit a business plan to the city describing what measures they are taking to ensure sex workers are healthy and not being exploited…in recent years both the city and national government have become increasingly critical of the industry.  [They claim] many prostitutes are victims of human trafficking or coerced by pimps…

It’s impossible to prove a negative (“whores are not coerced”); that’s why the burden of proof is supposed to be on the accuser.  And greater legal restrictions will only force whores into the shadows, providing greater opportunity for coercion as they always do.

December Q & A (December 28th, 2010)

Not even doctors and scientists are immune to idiotic male-ego-boosting myths:

…A stem cell expert is looking to treat sex workers with their bodies’ own stem cells, so they can have tight, toned vaginal muscles…“The idea…was tried…by a team of scientists in Japan.  They recruited commercial sex workers who wished to give up the trade and get married…” said Dr Himanshu Bansal…The clinical trial involved mostly young women, some of them mothers, who were worried that their vaginal muscles were too lax…

I hate to break this to you, guys, but your penises are not as big as babies.  Not even close.  No amount of sex, commercial or otherwise, can loosen the vaginal muscles; only babies do that.  Notice that “some of them mothers?”  The truth is “most of them.”

I Really Shouldn’t Even LOOK at an Issue of Cosmopolitan (January 18th, 2011)

I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s willing to say out loud that Cosmo’s “sex advice” is ludicrous; Ben Reininga writes “Ridiculous Tips for a Miserable Sex Life”, which this month features his hilarious picks for Cosmo’s 44 most ridiculous tips of all time.  Enjoy.

A Narrow View (April 29th, 2011)

An organization of young Chicago sex workers fights for their rights against a system which treats them as infantilized victims:

When youth who live on the streets and work in the sex trade…are victimized…often the institutions that are supposed to help them…do more harm than good.  [Leaders of]…the Young Women’s Empowerment Project…said, “We don’t dictate a young person’s future and make decisions for them, we support them to make it on their own”…While many organizations dealing with sex workers aim to help them leave sex work, YWEP maintains that it is a valid individual choice and practices a harm reduction philosophy…

Social Construction of Eunuchs (July 18th, 2011)

Apparently forced feminization of little boys isn’t enough for Swedish neofeminists any more:

Vänsterpartiet, [a feminist socialist party,] tabled a motion that would require office washrooms to be genderless with a sit-down-only requirement…Party speakers cited medical research they said shows men empty their bladders more efficiently while seated…[which] reduces the risk for prostate problems…[motion author] Viggo Hansen…[said] the move does not represent an attempt to meddle in the bathroom habits of citizens…

Wholesale Hypocrisy (October 12th, 2011)

It’s always refreshing to see judges slap witch-hunters down:

Instead of presenting prostitution-related charges against former University of New Mexico President F. Chris Garcia and others to a grand jury this week, prosecutors are now discussing the future of the case…[after] Judge Stan Whitaker…ruled that neither a website, an online message board nor a computer amount to a “house of prostitution or a place where prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed”…Garcia’s attorney, Robert Gorence…last month called on District Attorney Kari Brandenburg “to…[exonerate] Dr. Garcia” after owning up to “the mistake she made when she bought in to APD’s flawed investigation and exaggerated charges…[Garcia] never received a penny from any such activities nor did he control or direct the activities of women who advertised as escorts”…

As another legal expert stated, “Connecting people to do whatever they want to do is not illegal, it never has been.”  And as Melissa Gira Grant succinctly put it, “Data is not prostitution.”

Forward and Backward (November 22nd, 2011)

While American prohibitionists continue to demand that whores’ advertising be censored, Spain has moved into the 21st century:  “…the Spanish parliament reversed a 2010 ban on advertising by…prostitutes and brothels…[in order] to stimulate Spain’s poor economy.  The sex industry spent approximately €40 million annually on advertising, according to a 2007 report…”  Perhaps if the economy continues to worsen, American politicians may eventually wake up; this is, after all, the same reason alcohol Prohibition was repealed in 1932.

The More the Better (January 9th, 2012)

This article about University of Wyoming students who work as strippers is not only fairly sensible, but includes these encouraging words from Women’s Studies (!) professor Susan Dewey:

“It is a reality that some women see sex work as a form of liberation…in recent years…trafficking has become conflated with sex work…I have many students who will use [the] terms prostitution and trafficking synonymously, interchangeably.  This is very, very problematic because when you say to someone ‘you do not have the right to do something legally’ that’s one thing…but when you say to a person ‘you think are making a choice but you’re actually not, because no person with self-respect would make that choice,’ that’s a real problem.”

The Course of a Disease (February  16th, 2012)

This week Scottish Labour MP Rhoda Grant was defeated in her attempt to fast-track Swedish Model legislation without allowing opponents to speak:

The proposal…must now go out to consultation, instead of taking a quicker route through the Scottish Parliament.  Ms Grant argued a previous attempt to pass such a law meant the issues had already been aired…A similar proposal in 2010 was opposed by ministers, who feared it would push the sex trade underground.  Critics of such legislation believe that making workers in the sex trade less visible to the authorities would place them in greater danger…

Here’s an example of how different the US and UK can be sometimes:  one of the groups opposed to client criminalization is the Association of Chief Police Officers.  Dr. Brooke Magnanti’s excellent essay on the issue concludes with the eminently-quotable line, “It’s time we started acting like grownups and stopped pretending that making something illegal makes it cease to exist.”

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (March 3rd, 2012)

The new “Trafficking in Persons Report” has been released; Algeria, Central African Republic, Congo, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Zimbabwe are now on Tier 3, “Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so” (those “standards” are defined by the US via methods it neither discusses with anyone else nor even explains).  Several other countries were raised to Tier 2 after they stepped up pogroms against whores (as Malaysia did in 2008), and Israel was promoted to Tier 1 (probably due to its flirtation with the Swedish Model).

The Immunity Syndrome (March 5th, 2012)

Parents in Onalaska, Washington are reportedly “furious” that a school principal honestly answered students’ questions in a sex education class; apparently, the parents expected her to lie, and one of them said that talking about sex in a sex education class is “just the same as raping somebody.”

Above the Law (March 8th, 2012)

The British government has finally admitted that cops are allowed to trick women into having sex while spying on them:  “[Home Office Minister Nick] Herbert said it was important police were allowed to have sex with activists because otherwise it could be used as a way of outing potential undercover officers…” In other words they’re allowed to do whatever they like, including rape, in order to accomplish whatever it is they want to do.

Little Boxes (April 29th, 2012)

The inevitable result of trying to make artificial distinctions between consensual behaviors:

The owner of a [Las Vegas] massage business…says she’s losing crucial business because of a [new] city law requiring her to close at 10 p.m…”If we don’t get an extension, I’ll be closed within a month…The daytime does not pull in what we need to cover.  It is barely paying the rent for that space and utilities.”  Mayor Carolyn Goodman said changing the ordinance for the Johnsons would set a precedent for more than 50 other “massage establishment” licensees…

As I’ve said before, “attempting to define sexuality…as being in the… ‘legal’ category rather than the…‘illegal’ one is a tacit acknowledgement that such lines of demarcation are valid and that government has the right to draw them…even if one wins the battle, the government can simply re-draw the line to include one’s entrenched position.”  The Johnsons are learning that the hard way.

Naked Truth (May 23rd, 2012)

I’m going to use this title for articles written by current or former sex workers in mainstream sites or publications.  This time, two outstanding pieces by Tits and Sass contributors:  “The Ways We Don’t Talk About Wealth” by Charlotte Shane in The New Inquiry, and “Can Sex Workers Transition to a Cashless Economy?” by Susan Shepard (AKA Bubbles Burbujas) in Forbes.

Reframing (June 20th, 2012)

My friend LilyRose sent me a link to this “reframed” trailer, which is exactly the opposite of the Mrs. Doubtfire one and just as clever:

Metaupdates

Law of the Instrument in TW3 (#20) (May 19th, 2012)

Think about these stories next time you hear some “authority” blathering about how “trafficking” has increased.  The first one comes via Wendy Lyon:  “A 30-year-old man…[was] charged with an offence under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act…[after] travelling to Ireland [to meet] a child, having…communicated with that child on two or more previous occasions with the intent of doing an act that would constitute sexual exploitation…” And here’s another one from Minneapolis, Minnesota:

[Mickey Cupkie]…has been charged under Minnesota’s new Sex Trafficking law for having sex with two teen prostitutes, ages 15 and 17…The girls were runaways, says Minneapolis Police Sgt. Grant Snyder…He says pimps picked the girls up…and then placed an add [sic] on Backpage.com…Ramsey County Attorney John Choi says he hopes the charges send a message to the Johns…

Said message being, “’trafficking’ means whatever we want it to mean, and if girls act alone we’ll just invent pimps and ‘traffickers’ to fit the narrative.”

See No Evil in TW3 (#21) (May 26th, 2012)

Even Sweden gets it right once in a while:  “Swedish news outlet The Local  reports that their Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of manga translator Simon Lundström on child pornography charges…The court’s decision reflects the viewpoint of free speech advocates…that sexually explicit manga images are…not child pornography…

One Year Ago Today

Lola Montez” was one of the most colorful courtesans of the 19th (or any other) century.

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Partial truths serve as more effective instruments of deception than lies…By using accurate details to imply a misleading picture of the whole, the artful propagandist…makes truth the principal form of falsehood.  –  Christopher Lasch

I often write about the way prohibitionists “reframe” facts to make them seem different from the way they actually are, both to make their own war on human sexuality look noble and heroic, and to make whores and clients seem evil, criminal or pathetic. Police and academic neofeminists (with the help of the sycophantic media) are especially skilled at this:  escort services or advertising websites are described as “prostitution rings”; dumb luck or shotgun tactics are depicted as brilliant police investigation; status offenses are equated with violent crimes; escorts become either “criminals” or “victims”; their husbands or drivers become “pimps”, “traffickers” or even “gangsters”; young adults are called “children”; productive work is referred  to as “being sold”, “servitude” or even “slavery”; denying the agency of women is described as “protecting” them; abducting and jailing them is called “rescue”; and so on.

Though many prohibitionists lie a great deal and others are simply delusional, good propagandists don’t have to invent anything; they simply omit what they don’t want, “cropping the image” to display only those isolated details of much larger picture that they wish to display.  The most skillful of them artfully edit, rearrange and embellish the facts with emotive language, logical fallacies, euphemisms and dysphemisms, the prose equivalents of dramatic music and cinematic lighting techniques.  Lately, I’ve run into three excellent examples of how this works; none of these have anything to do with sex work, but they graphically illustrate the techniques I’m talking about.  If you wondered why I started the column with that iconic picture of the brave protester in Tianamen Square, and illustrated this paragraph with that cute little kitten, you’re about to get your answer.  As it turns out, the famous image of man against tanks was only a part of the story; here’s another of the same scene which surfaced a few weeks ago: 

It’s obvious that this one was taken a few moments earlier and at a much wider angle; the protester is almost lost in it, and the better-known photo calls attention to him at the cost of losing the incredible scale of the thing.  I don’t believe that the photographer was intending to deceive, but the principle is the same; the first photo tells only a small part of the story.  The same thing goes for the kitten; I myself cropped her out of this picture: 

Seeing that tiny creature in her true surroundings inspires a totally different emotional reaction in the viewer than that elicited by the isolated detail; one might even say that the two pictures tell completely different stories.  But my final example is the most striking of all; a clever film editor used scenes from the Robin Williams comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, accented with new music and a different production design (visual effects, editing style, etc) to create a trailer which makes it seem like a film of an entirely different genre:

In this case, the intent was to amuse rather than deceive; the impact is strongest when the audience already knows that the actual film is a comedy.  But the principle is the same:  skillful manipulation and omission of facts, with the proper emotional cues, can easily turn a mundane or even benign narrative into a tale of horror.

One Year Ago Today

Here Comes the Groom” discusses a form of call somewhat more common in June:  the bachelor party.

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