Oh dear, I’ve crossed the Feminist Hive Mind

At least, that’s how I read it when a person reacts with utter, utter bafflement to the fact that I might just think that not every sex worker in the world is a Terrified Victim In Need Of Salvation.*

Still, I would like to thank the commenter over at an ageing Hoyden About Town post for directing me, like the Uninformed Acolyte I am, to the Genderberg FAQ. I needed a good laugh.

Still, time for a bit of self-reflection and acknowledgement of the things I’ve learned:

  1. Prostitution is the only looked-down-upon, crap, potentially dangerous job in which people from lower classes with fewer opportunities are overrepresented. I shall inform cleaning staff, asbestos removers, and (just to cover the illegal aspect for the non-NZers) drug mules immediately.
  2. If any unprivileged person can be coerced into doing a thing to the detriment of their integrity, health, or life, it must be a bad thing and we should be proud to oppose it, which is why we’re also going to make “studying towards any profession your parents force you into through financial/emotional blackmail” and “snorting wasabi on a dare while pissed” illegal.
  3. Being naked will always make people feel nervous, and presumably, all prostitutes get totally naked during transactions while their clients put on three extra layers just to emphasise the power dynamic in play.**
  4. Prostitutes are too dumb to know what they’re doing … so, just like women are too think to understand abortion = Satanic baby murder?
  5. Prostitutes are too stupid to know that sex = babies, so logically will be forced to “submit” to multiple abortions. Real women get to choose.

And always remember kids, feminism is about giving women freedom – but only to do what you find acceptable!

On a serious note … all the bullshit about “oh, but we’re talking about real harm”? You know what “real harm” is? Prostitutes who fear going to the police after being raped, or when they are being coerced by pimps, because of the odds that the cops will just arrest them for soliciting. Prostitutes not having the clout to demand brothels institute safe-sex policies. Children being prostituted while the cops are busy chasing consenting adults – oh, and before we jump on that word “consenting”, real harm is telling women that they simply cannot think what they think or feel what they feel because it’s wrong. Real harm is expecting humans to live up to the standards we’d expect from Radfem Utopia when we don’t, and cutting them loose, calling them the enemy because they’re making choices we disagree with or expressing opinions we don’t like.

*And please, dear God, let’s not turn that statement into, “Queen of Thorns thinks NO sex worker is unwilling, trafficked or abused!” because that’s not what I said, and you know it. On the other hand, the kinds of people who make those arguments don’t seem much bothered with logic.

2 comments

  1. fuckpoliteness

    Wow…it’s been a while since I was over here. I didn’t realise that was you that got kicked around the block on that one, and I’d been super busy so I hadn’t waded in…
    The…black/white nature of that response and a couple of others of late have made me a little uneasy…like me being say too scared to say “But…I thought Princess Leia in the metal bikini was hot…does this make me an oppressive pervert who gets off on the subjugation of women, or is it maybe more complex than that?”
    Anyway…you’re a good writer, and very funny, and yes I do think there’s danger in the JUST PLAIN ANTI UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANES AND FOR ALL TIME approach…there was mention of patriarchy being a problem, and YES, but there’s not ‘outside’ of patriarchy so I guess we need to confront the complexities and ambiguities of living inside it…and being as safe as possible. Good post. 🙂

  2. WildlyParenthetical

    Seconding FP. I’m totally willing to argue that if, when and where prostitution is coerced, it’s very very bad. For sure. But the badness doesn’t lie in the sex, because sex is not inherently about violation. And indeed, it’s perfectly possible to make prostitution a *matter* of consent; i.e. make it possible for people to walk away, to be protected, to be safe, to be happy… these are the things that make prostitution not a harm. I know, I know, I read too much fantasy fiction, but for crying out loud, do we really have such poor imaginations that we cannot imagine a sex work done well? And if we can, surely arguing for that is going to be easier than arguing simply against it?

    I tend away from the ‘free choice’ thing, because like FP says, I don’t think there’s an outside to any system of power. But observing what is considered to be free choice, and what’s considered to be duress/false consciousness/whatever else? Now that’s a politics I get into…

    And yeah, sorry I didn’t wade into that one. I’ve been getting a teensy bit of the irrits about the slapping down of disagreement, especially where someone counters the established radfem line. I’ve been picking my battles, mostly over what *I* know about ;-P But we can totally hivemind at yours, if you like 😉
    [QoT: Mmm, delicious hivemind! NOM NOM NOM.]