‘Everybody’s doing it!’ and other bad arguments in defense of prostitution

caitlin stasey

Hello old friend, it’s been awhile.

Sometimes I think a day will come when I won’t need to respond to Hollywood-fueled delusions that imagine prostituted women are all rich nymphomanics driving Benzes, living large on all their sex trade green. But thanks to media and sex industry propaganda, privileged Westerners seem particularly attached to ignoring the reality of the sex trade in favour of a rosier picture.

Actress and happily-married-to-a-man “lesbian,” Caitlin Stasey, shook up the internet this past week with some rather unhelpful claims about “sex work,” including the notion that we would “all be much happier” if prostitution was legalized.

All of us! Fact.

The conversation brought up pretty much every misconception and bad argument that exists about the sex trade, which I’m choosing to see as an opportunity, rather than a burden. As such, I have created a handy listicle that responds to the most common myths and arguments often well-intentioned but ignorant young liberals offer in defense of prostitution. Enjoy!

1) Stop controlling what women do with their bodies!

Possibly the most popular response to feminists who argue against the sex trade is this classic reversal: Feminists who oppose men’s exploitation of women are dictating what women can and cannot do with their bodies.

This is a confounding conclusion to come to, considering that the sole reason the sex trade exists is because hundreds of thousands of men across the planet want to dictate what women do with their bodies…

Here is how prostitution works: men buy sex so that they can force women cater to their desires and fantasies. If prostituted women were freely deciding what to do with their bodies, men would not need to use money to coerce them into engaging in sex acts with them or accepting abuse from them.

Another way of putting this is, as Kajsa Ekis Ekman points out, when two people want to have sex with one another, they have sex. The only reason to pay is if one person does not want the sex.

What feminists have a problem with is not what women “choose” to do with their bodies (we will get to the problems with the “choice” argument later) in prostitution, but with men’s choices. Men choose to abuse and degrade women in prostitution — something liberals appear adamantly opposed to discussing (because talking about women’s “choices” in prostitution allows them to ignore reality and avoid holding men to account for their behaviour — an ever-popular practice in patriarchal society). It is men’s behaviour we have a problem with — not women’s efforts to survive (though we do want to create better options for women).

Feminists believe men should not have the right to pay for sex or to otherwise coerce women into having sex they do not desire (i.e. the basis for prostitution). We see the payment as a form of coercion.

Indeed, those who are concerned about women’s ability to have bodily autonomy should probably discuss that with the men who are selling women in brothels for profit (and demanding they perform certain sex acts for x amount of dollars) and the men who are coercing desperate, marginalized women into performing sex acts they would not otherwise engage in with strange men, voluntarily.

In other words, prostitution is for men — it is a “service” for men. It is explicitly about men deciding what they want to do with women’s bodies. If that were not the case, men wouldn’t need to pay — women would just voluntarily do exactly what they wanted to do with their bodies and everyone would be happy.

Feminists have no say over what women do with their bodies in prostitution. Men have a lot of say, though! It’s funny that those who defend the industry never have anything to say about them, though, isn’t it?

2) Legalization is magic!

People like Stasey like to believe that legalization will resolve everything problematic about the sex trade. “Fair regulation leads to safer work environments for all workers. Sex work should be no different,” she announced to about 100,000 people on Twitter. Stasey also told me, “Regulating sex work, demanding accountability of customers and law enforcement will help prevent [rape/abuse].” Many will also argue that legalization brings prostitution out of the shadows, thereby making it safer, allowing women to work independently and legitimately, and say that criminalizing men will only drive the industry “underground.”

The thing about these claims is that they are patently untrue. We need only look to countries that have legalized prostitution and (attempted) to regulate it in order to see what an abject failure this has been. In Amsterdam, for example, organized crime has taken over the sex trade and the “underground” industry thrives. Julie Bindel reports:

“A third of Amsterdam’s bordellos have been closed due to the involvement of organized criminals and drug dealers and the increase in trafficking of women. Police now acknowledge that the red-light district has mutated into a global hub for human trafficking and money laundering.”

Likewise, in Germany, where prostitution is legalized, organized crime groups like the Hells Angels, Mongols, Bandidos, and the United Tribuns control red light districts.

Places where prostitution is legalized are trafficking destinations. In Germany, most women in the industry are foreign. Many of those women are Roma —  Europe’s largest and most vulnerable ethnic minority group — who are tricked into coming to Germany for “jobs,” then put to work in brothels, rarely even allowed to leave their rooms. Andrea Matolcsi, the program officer for sexual violence and trafficking at Equality Now tells reporter Nisha Lilia Diu:

“For a trafficker it’s much easier to go to a country where it’s legal to have brothels and it’s legal to manage people in prostitution. It’s just a more attractive environment.”

Violence continues under legalization, mostly unreported. In Germany, where prostitution is legal, 70 prostitutes have been killed by pimps or buyers (this is only what has been reported — there are likely more than that). Prostituted women in Germany and the Netherlands are frequently raped, robbed, abused, and threatened. By comparison, not one prostituted women has been murdered by a john since the Nordic model came into effect in Sweden.

An expansive report on Germany’s experiment with legalization at Spiegel tells the story of Cora, a young woman who was put to work in a brothel in Frauentormauer, one of Germany’s oldest red-light districts. Her pimp demanded that she work a 24-hour shift, and then he stabbed her in the face with a knife when she refused.

The bulk of the women who work under legalization are not empowered “entrepreneurs.” They still have pimps and are barely getting by. Women who work at Pasha, one of Germany’s “mega-brothels,” pay 175 euros to use a room for 24 hours. Men pay about 50 euros for half an hour, which means women have to see four men just to break even. Surely you can imagine how hard this is on a woman’s body…

The goal of legalization in Germany was to do exactly what people like Stasey suggest: to treat prostitution as a job like any other, allowing those who sell sex “to enter into employment contracts, sue for payment, and register for health insurance, pension plans and other benefits.” None of this happened — there is a no record of any prostituted woman suing for payment, and only 44 out of an estimated 400,000-1,000,000 prostituted people in Germany have registered as prostitutes in order to access benefits.

Under legalization, the government, the pimps, and the brothel owners get rich off of the sex trade, not the women. Germany has experimented with this model for 15 years and it has been a disaster. We can no longer pretend legalization works. It doesn’t.

3) Women are objectified so women should be objectified

This argument is possibly the strangest one of all. Essentially, it says that because misogyny exists, misogyny is acceptable.

But simply because the world has decided women’s bodies are commodities does not mean that is a good thing. People often use things like objectification in media, the general sexualization of women, or even marriage as a kind of “gotcha” card against feminists, as if we aren’t also critical of the way women are sexually objectified in ads and movies and as though the idea that a woman can be owned, through marriage, hasn’t been criticized since the first wave. We know that women are taught from the time they are young that they should be sexually desirable and that their main source of “power” is in desirability. We know this all exists on a continuum — and this is exactly why we argue that prostitution harms all women and girls, not just the prostituted.

If we say that women are things that exist for men, that we can be bought and sold, that our primary value lies in our fuckability, this hurts all of us, and impedes women’s liberation on a global scale. Simply because an idea is accepted by society-at-large does not mean it’s right.

4) All of us use sex as currency

Where do we draw the line? All of us use our sexuality as currency in some form, so why do we criminalize and humiliate those who use theirs to survive? Sex workers do not sell themselves anymore than a store clerk does. Your body is a vessel and your actions are a service, whether you fold expensive sweaters or clear dirty dishes or give blowjobs. The argument that sex work devalues all women and heightens the sexual expectations men have of us, is rooted in an anti sex rhetoric. The issue is not with the work or worker but the system. Treat sex workers with dignity. Tax them. Regulate their industry. Provide resources. Implement understanding and respect into your narrative of them. YOU alone are responsible for how you treat women, STOP using sex work as a smoke screen for your hatred of us.

A photo posted by Baby Lady (@caitlinjstasey69) on

Uh, no, actually not “all of us use our sexuality as currency.” But it makes me feel incredibly sad that people believe that everything about them is and should be commodifiable.

I realize that it is popular, these days, to pretend as though the ability to profit from our own subjugation negates that subjugation, but “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” is not how liberation is achieved. Capitalism has done a very good job of convincing the marginalized that capitalism is the only way to escape marginalization, but that is a lie.

Feminism is about pushing back against oppressive systems of power like patriarchal capitalism, not embracing them. Besides, women’s bodies and sexualities have been commodified since forever — clearly this has yet to liberate us. Turning sexuality into a thing — currency, for example — ensures men can separate “sex” from people, which in turn ensures men will continue to dehumanize those they want to or have sex with. Sex is not something women should have to trade for safety, money, housing, power, respect, or food. Again, I don’t care that much if society believes sex is a product, totally disconnected from humans. Society is wrong on this one.

5) Naming systems of power is condescending and patronizing

I know that Americans in particular have been convinced that pretending everyone has full agency and autonomy over their lives will lead to everyone having full agency and autonomy over their lives, but it won’t.

We’ve turned “victim” into a bad word because neoliberalism says that marginalization is a personal failure, rather than a systemic one. Individuals are said to be responsible for empowering themselves in the U.S., so if you are poor, if you are raped, if you are abused, if you are jailed, or if you can’t find a good job, it’s all your fault and has nothing to do with being racialized, working class, or female. This message has convinced us that to even acknowledge that some people have power and others do not is an insult to the disempowered. To be victimized or marginalized simply means you are weak, we are told.

This puts feminists in a tough position, because any time we point out that men have power over women in society, we are accused of insulting women who have Full Agency and Make Empowered Choices all the time! I know it doesn’t feel good to acknowledge that you don’t have full control over your life, but you don’t. Like, most of us don’t. Our realities are shaped, whether we like it or not, by things like class, race, and sex. And we aren’t going to be able to change any of that if we don’t acknowledge those systems of power exist, understand how they work, and then fight back.

6) (Speaking of which…) Free will! Choice! Agencyyyyyy!

I don’t know how many times Lucas Neff, star of Raising Hope and husband of Caitlin Stasey, has rented a room in a brothel and been penetrated by ten or so men in 24 hours, but I recommend he try it before assuming this is something women enjoy.

While perhaps there are a few women who truly enjoy selling sex, 85 to 95 per cent want to get out of the industry. Indeed, if women were “voluntarily” entering the sex industry in droves, trafficking wouldn’t exist. As Ekman explains:

“Trafficking comes in when there isn’t a large enough supply of prostitutes for the demand that exists — if you’re talking in market terms. In the Western world there are never enough women who enter the sex industry voluntarily — there’s always a shortage, to put it that way.”

Most women are in prostitution because they have no other choice. To base an argument about the sex trade on a tiny minority of people, rather than on the vast majority, is obviously flawed. But in any case, while the Nordic model decreases (and will continue to decrease) rates of men who buy sex, it won’t stop the purchase of sex entirely (not for a very long time, in any case), which means that those few women who are truly in the industry by choice will be very busy, indeed, and therefore need not worry about going broke under the Nordic model.

7) The Nordic model is “reactive and anti-woman”

So, the Nordic model was developed after 30 years of research. This was the first time people in prostitution were interviewed on a large scale — the first time anyone studied the reality of the sex trade, and the people in it. The Nordic model is literally the opposite of “reactive.”

It is also the only feminist model of law that exists, with regard to prostitution. The Nordic model criminalizes only those who do harm: the pimps, brothel owners, and johns, and decriminalizes those who sell sex (largely women). It’s aim is not only to deter traffickers, pimps, and men who buy sex, but to change social attitudes about men and women. It has been very successful, in that sense, as a majority of Sweden’s population now understands prostitution to be a product of gender inequality. Men and women alike see buying sex as wrong and 80 per cent of the population support the law (which was not the case when the law was first enacted — even the police didn’t support the law at first). “What we’ve seen in 17 years is a huge change in the mindset of the Swedish population,” says Simon Haggstrom, head of the Stockholm Police Prostitution Unit.

The entire purpose of the Nordic model is to support women and treat them with respect, while holding men accountable for their behaviour. That’s as pro-woman as it gets.

It does strike me as “reactive” and “anti-woman” to make a bunch of claims based on misinformation and assumptions, particularly when those assumptions support the idea that women are things that exist to be penetrated by penises.

8) Feminist who oppose the sex trade are “moralizing” because of personal feelings

Oh, but aren’t all things women are concerned with just silly? Women and their irrational feelings are always getting in the way of their ability to do Real Politics!

This argument leads me first to wonder why so many people are opposed to “morals” (i.e. ethics) in the first place? I guess they don’t have any? Which explains why they are defending an abusive, racist, violent, misogynist system like prostitution?

But in any case, while there truly is nothing wrong with having either morals or feelings, feminists’ opposition to the system of prostitution is political, not personal. We fight prostitution on the basis that it supports male entitlement and the idea that women exist for men’s use and pleasure. We also understand prostitution to be a product of colonialism that reinforces racist stereotypes about women of colour and preys on the most marginalized in society (i.e. poor women of colour — in Canada, for example, Indigenous women are overrepresented in the sex trade). Indigenous feminist Cherry Smiley argues that prostitution is a system that was imposed on aboriginal communities by colonizers. Indeed, in what is now known as Canada, prostitution did not exist until European men came over and put Indigenous women into brothels. Jackie Lynne explains that, as a result, “First Nations women became Canada’s first prostituted women.”

Without capitalism and patriarchy, the sex trade would not exist — as feminists and socialists, it is politically necessary to oppose it. If you want to call that a “moral position,” you may, but that means every single progressive movement that as ever existed is too.

9) The Nordic model is ‘anti-sex’

If you believe that sex is something that should only be desired by one party, not both, then I guess the Nordic model is “anti-sex.” But I tend to believe that sex should happen on the basis of enthusiastic consent — that is to say both parties involved should desire the sex. If one person wants sex and the other person doesn’t, then the sex happens anyway, that’s… what do we call it again? Oh right. Rape.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • therealcie

    “I don’t know how many times Lucas Neff, star of Raising Hope and husband of Caitlin Stasey, has rented a room in a brothel and been penetrated by ten or so men in 24 hours, but I recommend he try it before assuming this is something women enjoy.”
    THIS! Many times over.

    • Si Llage

      When men in the USA started becoming nurses, it raised the credibility and overall salaries of the feminized nursing profession.

      If Lucas Neff genuinely wants to reduce the stigma against prostitution, the best thing he could do is open his body holes for rent and convince other men to do the same.

      • Tired feminist

        WHY SO SHY BOYS IT’S JUST LIKE ACTING!

        • Wren

          lol!!

      • Sabine

        Oh my God that just made me laugh so hard! Too bloody right!

      • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

        Speaking of….so many men think they’d LOOOOVE to be prostitutes.

        “OMG I WOULD LOVE TO BANG CHICKS ALL DAY!”

        Little do they know it’s not the kind of chicks they probably envision themselves having sex with and most of their clients will actually be other dudes….

  • Diana_Fire_

    Caitlin Stasey says “Survival sex work is no less degrading than survival retail work”, which reveals the disgust that she, an economically privileged woman, has at ordinary people’s jobs. She views the working class as other and the arguments she makes on their behalf don’t affect her. Meanwhile the vast majority of women who have to do low paid work to survive would rather stay stacking shelves than prostitute themselves for more money.

    • Sabine

      Yes…why IS it that the majority of “feminist” – choke – women who say sex work is no less degrading than retail (or whatever) work have never, ever been in the position of needing to make that choice between the two themselves? Last thing I heard “survival retail work” doesn’t involve being penetrated in any available orifice by strange (in every sense of the word) men, repeatedly throughout the working day. How female bodies being used, often brutally, as wank receptacles for the dominant male species can possibly be compared to serving as a cashier is sheer insanity. Yes, appallingly low-paid work in any industry is degrading, especially when women are more often than not paid less than men for doing the same work. Patriarchy and its brother-in-arms Capitalism exist to degrade the many and elevate the very few purely at the masses’ expense. But there are levels of degradation and prostitution is the ultimate manifest realization when it comes to the dehumanization of the “lowest of the low” – girls and women. Indeed – why the need for trafficking if being fucked over and over and over for a living is the same as working in a shop or a restaurant?!! Caitlin Stassey is a fucking moron and that cretin of a boyfriend should just shut the hell up. He is a man. He does not have ANY right to speak on behalf of ANY woman.

    • susannunes

      It isn’t “sex work.” It is human rights abuse by its very definition.

      Men who use prostitutes or who traffic in them should do prison time.

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      HAAAAAAAATE that comparison! “we all do stuff we don’t really want to do for money.” Yeah. I’ve had a lot of retail jobs and they have all been shitty, but I have never had anyone jizz on my face at a retail job. I have never had anyone shit on me at a retail job. I have never had a anyone tell me that I have to stay with a customer for a full hour, even if they try to choke me. I have never had to have my own blood and someone else’s juice in my mouth at the same time….. but do go on about how “sex work is just work…”

  • Polly MacDavid

    How can prostitution be a “regular” job if prostitutes are forced at knife-point to work 24-hour shifts? What “regular” job has a 24-hour shift?

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      Also, what pimp is gonna put up with OSHA regulations? Women will be a bunch of independent contractors who have no benefits, I have to figure out their own taxes, and have a most no legal protection

  • Snork Maiden

    No.6 Hey, some people LIKE having pianos dropped on them from a great height!

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      Hey that’s my fetish! Don’t JUDGE me! You’re moralizing!

  • f.d.

    Prostitution is also legal in Melbourne where Stasey is from. Since 1992, most of her life. We even have a brothel on the stock exchange. Yet trafficked women still must be brought in to meet the demand of men in that state. She’s completely off in cloud privilege land.

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      No no no…doncha know that’s where us ignorant white feminists live… we just aren’t as experienced in female living as an actor!

      ….never mind it plenty of us are former prostituted women… we must’ve just been wrong for the job…

      -dies-

  • Morals! No one should have them!

  • Alexandra Adelson

    Omg “It’s based on your past abuse” argument is so fucked up.

  • fxduffy

    In the absence of political consciousness, or moral values, anything goes. In a historic vacuum, anything goes. When power and coercion are not seen as critical to understanding social reality; and when language itself is deadened by reversals and disconnect, anything goes.

    To think that prostitution is not all about Force, is one more expression of Force. If many women are tricked into this position, men not only are not, but actively propagate the trick. “Consent” in its narrowest possible conception is effectively employed to obfuscate the intentions of men, to dispossesses the minds of women, and to dis-member the bodies of women.

    (It is more necessary now than ever before in a similar way that drones are more necessary to war than ever before–depersonalization through personalization)

    Prostitution survives as man’s oldest oppression because male identity rests on the objectification of women, and next to femicide itself, prostitution is the most powerful proof that men rule. To paraphrase Simone Weil, force is that which turns a human being into a thing even when she is still alive; “she has a soul; and yet–she is thing.”

  • Lucia Lola

    I shake my head that arguments like the ones attempted are still being bandied about like they are constructive, or even truthful.

    Their agenda is obvious. Serve men, period. And like it.

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      But if I choooooooose to tailor my whole existence around what men want it’s totes empoweringz fer meeeeeeeeeeeeeee….

      – takes billions of selfie’s of herself in a thong – FEMINISM!

  • Meghan Murphy

    That would be cool. In fact, before I started writing, I wanted to get into documentary filmmaking and did some film school stuff. I’m not much of a camera person though… Hook me up with a filmmaker! 🙂

    • Sabine

      I will do my best, hahaha!

    • Women in Film and Television Vancouver (WIFTV) has networking events that anyone can go to – you just have to pay for the event – or you can join as a friend.
      http://www.womeninfilm.ca/cgi/page.cgi/event_calendar.html

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      You know some people tried to do that a couple years back and the “sex workers rights groups” aka PIMPS killed it

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Also, I’m constantly confused by that accusation of ‘moralising’. Of course I’m suggesting that the practice is morally wrong! One can’t take a political position of any kind without making moral judgements, because one can’t decide what sort of society we should aim to achieve without deciding what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’. Even arguing that imposing moral values on others is wrong is still making a moral judgement, because it still includes an assertion that one way is ‘right’ and the other is ‘wrong’. We’re all ‘moralising’ as soon as we start the argument.”

    Yes exactly. It is so strange! As if all politics are not rooted in some way in what we think is right and wrong?!? And in what our values are?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah, Stasey actually used that argument… https://twitter.com/caitlinstasey/status/806621632240504841

    • Rachael

      Exactly. Which is why I find it difficult to
      Separate the notion of highly sexualised film or TV from pornography.

    • Wren

      OMG what fucking bullshit. First, she doesn’t have to actually have sex with them. Second, she’s paid a shit-load more than prostitutes, and finally she is understood to be acting and not an actual fuck-bot. And she needn’t fear for her life.

      Not that I support highly sexualized media even when it’s just simulated, but she’s just a fucking idiot and I don’t know how you have the patience for it. I wonder why these two seem to have such sudden interest in this subject? Must be a vested interest somewhere…

      • Independent Radical

        To be fair the distinction between the mainstream film industry and the sex industry is being blurred more and more nowadays. Sexualised imagery that used to be considered soft core pornography is now everywhere and some actors actually do have real sex as part of their roles (including sadomasochism, which I consider to be a form of sex, as far as I’m concerned if a whip hits somebody’s skin and it’s supposed to be sexual, that’s a complete sadomasochistic act and therefore it’s explicit sex).

        However, the reason the distinction between pornography and cinema is being eroded is because the sex industry is becoming more powerful. They’ve created a situation where there’s less and less differences between being an actor and being a pornography performer, so they’re really just appealing to their own power when they make this argument. On it’s own acting is not remotely pornographic.

        There’s also the fact that ethical concerns are being swept aside in favour of an obsession with aesthetics (determining whether a film is “good art”). Film experts (apart from conservative Christians) only ever ask whether a film is good, not whether it was ethically made and encourages good values. Even discussions about the representation of women and ethic groups have basically become aesthetic discussion. People ask “do we like this female character?”, “is she a complex, well developed, three dimensional (insert another term that means different things depending on who you talk to) character?” and the worst and vaguest one of all “is she a strong female character?”. These are really aesthetic questions. Literature and film critics care about whether characters are well developed, political activists should care about the (in theory, scientifically measurable) effects stories have on the audiences consuming them.

    • Sabine

      Er…well you should Ms. Stasey! Because you are being degraded and used whether you choose to deny this fact or not…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Men telling women they are ‘anti-feminist’ as they defend prostitution as an ’empowered choice’ for women is always a fun time, eh?

    • Yisheng Qingwa

      That is some strudel-layered gaslighting and male reversal. You are amazing for dealing with these psychopaths.

      • Wren

        “strudel-layered gaslighting”
        hahaha!!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah me too. I’ve worked in cafes, bookstores, at bakeries, then also done a ton of real low level admin jobs that were totally degrading (people — especially men — do not treat receptionists with respect)… But NONE of those jobs could POSSIBLY be compared to prostitution. Not even close. Like you said, I suspect these people have never worked in service or retail and are just talking out their asses. They should join the working class at least before making such idiotic arguments. Low wage jobs are often horrible, but it’s simply not the same as being penetrated by strange men day in and day out.

    • Sabine

      When women are being kidnapped and trafficked from all over the world to work in supermarkets and coffee shops on a routine basis maybe I’ll take that ignorant buffoon’s argument a bit more seriously…although it STILL wouldn’t compare to being an object to brutalize and fuck and humiliate as men please. So actually…no, I will NEVER take that ignorant buffoon’s argument seriously!!!

      • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

        The only other jobs I can possibly compare it to are farming and domestic servitude. Thousands of people are trapped into those businesses as well and they’re basically slaves too…. and as crappy as their lives are they are still not in getting penetrated by 20 strange dicks every day!

        …but now you can’t even talk about human trafficking anymore without people objecting, “BUTBUTBUT! CHOISIZZZZZ!”

  • susannunes

    All of those “arguments” in favor of prostitution were used during the so-called sexual liberation movement in the 1960s and especially the 1970s. They were bogus then and even more bogus now.

    A lot of people do not understand what it means when the term “objectifying” is used by feminists. It is another word for dehumanization, for depersonalization. Women are not real life blowup dolls or a series of holes to be used by men. Prostitution by definition is anti-human rights because it robs those people who are in it of their dignity. Any man who uses them is by definition a sociopath.

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      Also, a lot of them were used to continue to support child labor…

      ” but what about the kids who want to work? But what were those kids do for money now? What will those families do for money now?”

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    But dontcha know, “moralising” is what those super uncool religious types do! Don’t you want to be hip?

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      Or “judging.”

      Person: Are you JUDGING me?
      Me: Yes. Yes, I am.

      • Anthocerotopsida

        Yes! Also, add tolerance to the list. Lefties are so “intolerant” toward bigots. Why are we so “judgemental” of other people’s “world-views”?

        Reminds me of people in reality shows freaking out about being talked about. Like, OMG you were talking about me behind my back! How dare you!

        So we’re only allowed to talk to people, never about them, and we must never have opinions about them?

        Note that judging isn’t always negative. You can judge someone positively.
        So these all sound like arguments made by douche bags who no one likes.

  • sylviaplaths

    I’m really afraid that prostitution is going to be decriminalized in the UK. I’ve read about the situation in Germany, I don’t know much about New Zealand or Australia. The entire thing horrifies me, the fact people would defend prostitution is disgusting. And all of their arguments are stupid as hell and based on ideas of liberation and empowerment, not based in reality. All the evidence points to decriminalization (or legalization) increasing trafficking. It’s so scary. It’s been debated and English Parliament this year but i don’t even see what there is so debate – one option increasing trafficking and offers women currently in prostitution no help whatsoever (decriminalization) another option has been proven to reduce trafficking, help prostituted people and contribute to overall gender equality (Nordic Model) so what is there to debate? France has adopted the Nordic Model, so has Northern Ireland so why can’t the UK?? The whole thing stresses me out and makes me feel so powerless.

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      It definitely will be legalized in America now that we have king pimp for a president….

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      Also ALL TEH HUGZ!

      … unless you don’t like hugs, then all the thumbs up 😀

  • Julio

    I’m always amused by the “moralism” argument. Not only for it’s weak baseless attempts to tie a feminist analysis into Christian conservatism but also the admission that their own position is devoid of any ideological foundation and is essentially malleable to fit literally any argument.

  • Tired feminist

    Prostitution advocate: you’re moralizing
    Me: yup
    Prostitution advocate: it’s wrong to impose your notions of right and wrong to society
    Me: but you’re also doing it bud
    Prostitution advocate: yeah but my notions are right and yours are wrong
    Me: lol

  • Independent Radical

    If enormous boobs, tight spankable asses and other body parts men find appealing are a currency, I’m proudly broke and have been all my life. I also hate that this shit gets equated with sexual desire via the (in this case nebulous) term “sexuality”. One can desire sex without having a sexually appealing body that they can use to get stuff from men and vice versa. In fact if you’re using your body as currency you probably don’t desire the sex you’re doing for its own sake (why else demand payment for it?). Liberals are supposed to be the champions of female sexual desire and then they tell women that sex should be a currency to get something else they want. It’s like they’ve all come out of a capitalistic thought generator machine.

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      A ZILLION TIMES THIS!

  • Sabine

    “I think the way being a ‘victim’ is treated as meaning a person is weak is a pretty cunning reversal of cause and effect.”

    I agree with you here. I think erasing the word “victim” entirely can give the impression that being raped makes a woman stronger and that there is something shameful in being a victim even though what they were subjected to was completely out of their control to stop . I think it would be more accurate to use “victim and survivor of rape”.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The reason it has been commonly referred to as the Nordic model is because there are also similar laws in Norway and Iceland. Sometimes people have called it the Swedish or even the “equality model,” but “Nordic” is the one that seems to have stuck.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah, all the misinformation people continue to ignorantly promote despite the fact that there is sooo much evidence out there demostrating the harms of prostitution and legalization blows my mind. It’s so irresponsible, especially coming from privileged Westerners and celebrities…

    • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

      I basically presented all of the above arguments to some friends… I got called an ignorant white feminist who just wants to feel better about herself and who is obviously uncomfortable with sex

  • Meghan Murphy

    “If you can compare prostitution to retail or “any kind of job”, it also reveals how little regard you have for women, how little you view them as human beings, and how little you think of their bodies.”

    That and the fact that people’s actual arguments in defense of prostitution so often are simply, “We all sell sex!” or “sex is a commodity!” Like, does it not occur to them that the fact society has managed to commodify literally everything, included sexuality and human bodies, is a bad thing??

  • Meghan Murphy

    “The entire legal system is based on moral positioning as is rights discourse.”

    Exaaaactly. These people are so idiotic.

  • Tired feminist

    You really should question the relevance of your posts on Feminist Current so far.

  • Petra De Jong

    I did not read through all of the comments yet so I hope I’m not repeating anything here.

    I think I oppose prostitution (although I live in a country where it’s legal). I agree with pretty much everything you write. I see the buyers and pimps as the real issue, not the women. I am disgusted by men who would pay a woman to (ab)use her body.

    What I personally have not been able to argue very well, is how and why exactly sex is different from other work. I strongly feel that it is, but I need rational arguments and not just a gut-feeling.

    If I did not get any money for my office job, I would certainly not be doing it. But I would not say that my job is therefore actually slavery (like how prostitution is actually rape if I follow your reasoning).

    Could you possibly elaborate on this?

  • Anthocerotopsida

    Excuse me while I slip into something more comfortable.
    *returns wearing her AmplePants*
    Ample pants made me lol.
    Also, great comment.

  • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

    IMPORTANT: The Nordic model is not just about criminalizing clients rather than prostituted women. It also is about providing exit strategies for women who want out. The biggest argument I hear is, “With this model, you will be denying an income to all of these underprivileged women who have no other choice but to do ‘sex work.'”

    ….which is actually an argument I kind of love because it goes to show that prostitution is not a CHOICE for anybody, but somehow “feminists” who give this defense still cling to the choice choice choice choice choice agency agency agency agency agency empowerment empowerment empowerment empowerment empowerment blah blah blah blah blah. But seriously….it’s like what the article says about, “Well, we have always objectified women so I guess it’s OK.”

    What… These women have no other opportunities so… Let’s not provide them other opportunities, but she’s let men keep exploding that because you know they can’t do anything else?!?!?!?!

    Also, I don’t see what is so terrible about the legal risk being the exact same for the client as it always has been but the legal risk for the prostituted woman being removed.

    • Melanie

      If they’re concerned about poor women being denied an income then they wouldn’t support an ‘industry’ that provides an insecure income without decent working conditions and benefits, and that’s not going to provide an income beyond the short term. They wouldn’t support an industry that will most likely impact women’s ability to earn a living in the long term due to the high risk of violence, physical and mental illness and injury. There are successful programs in some places to help girls and women get out of the sex industry and be trained into useful, sustainable jobs and careers that will give them economic security in the short and long term.

      I got out of prostitution when I became eligible for youth housing in a group facility where I gained access to counseling and other support, which eventually lead to training into a secure job. Unfortunately my health problems from being in prostitution have held me back, but it doesn’t have to be that way. That’s why I support the Nordic model. I don’t think prostitution can ever be made safe regardless of any law, but the Nordic model is the best of the bunch in my opinion as far as addressing the root causes, looking at the bigger picture and supporting women for the long term. And their families as well. One thing that’s rarely mentioned is the impact on children and families. My children don’t know that I was in prostitution but they’ve still been impacted by my own trauma and the disease I contracted. The worry, stress and the fear that their mother might die, having to take care of me when I was sick, living with my depression and anxiety. And of course some children lose their mothers to addiction or lose them altogether through violence. I can’t believe any leftist would support such a shit deal for women and their families.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah radical feminism and all the survivors fighting to be hear in this debate are super duper mainstream. As we all know, Hollywood hates the neoliberal happy hooker narrative.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks sister!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Survivors of prostitution are leaders in the abolitionist movement. Many of the ‘sex workers’ who advocate for legalization are not, in fact, prostituted women. In any case, the fact that people invested in profiting from an industry also defend said industry is unsurprising. Listening to people is fine and good, but we also have to make choices and decisions based on ethics and on what is good for women as a whole — simply ‘listening’ to particular voices who tell us what we want to hear is not enough.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, this has always confused me too. It’s completely hypocritical. Those who came up with the ‘enthusiastic consent’ model are liberal feminists — the same women who defend prostitution on the basis of ‘consenting adults.’ But, as you say, prostitution does not in any way shape or form constitute ‘enthusiastic consent.’ They seem to just ignore that fact in their ‘analysis.’ Third wavism is so full of holes…

  • Alienigena

    I feel admiration and a hunger for apple/walnut strudel.

  • Alienigena

    Because you make a point about semantics not about the content of the original blog post. Your handle looks Dutch so not sure why you are so committed to speaking on behalf of Scandinavian and/or Nordic (Scandinavian countries plus Finland (apparently not Scandinavian according to angry posters on 23andme.com) and Iceland) peoples. I speak from perspective of someone descended from Danish grandparents who lived in a mostly Icelandic immigrant community in western Canada where the enmity between the two groups (Danes and Icelanders) was palpable, according to my mother. No explanation was ever given. Nordic peoples are just plain ornery?

  • Philip Schuster

    I’ve performed sex acts for money and that was a free choice. But that doesn’t count because I’m a man and only women can be degraded by performing sex acts.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Not sure what you are responding to or what your argument is, Philip?

    • Sabine

      Says who?!

  • FierceMild

    It is the pimp and brothel owning portion of the “sex workers” who lobby and advocate for complete decriminalization (https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/22/pimp-amnesty-prostitution-policy-sex-trade-decriminalise-brothel-keepers?client=safari)
    Prostituted women overwhelmingly desire a way out of an industry that hurts and abuses their bodies, their minds, and their spirits.
    http://www.rapeis.org/activism/prostitution/prostitutionfacts.html
    Most prostituted women have a history of sexual abuse, substance abuse, and trauma.

    Also, prostituded people are overwhelmingly female (around 80-90%) so saying that prostitution is ‘practiced’ by both men and women – while correct – is misleading. Prostitution is predominantly practiced by men upon vulnerable women and underage girls. In fact 40% of prostitued women were trafficked and prostituted as children http://sex-crimes.laws.com/prostitution/prostitution-statistics if that’s your idea of consent I strongly advise you to revisit your ethics.

    Speaking of consent, a need for money does not equal consent. The very requirement of remuneration for services rendered obviates the possibility of mutual consent. Acquiescence can be achieved through payment, but not consent. The coercive power of poverty coupled with the very real physical power differential between John and prostituted woman means that the sex is going to happen regardless of her feelings. The money gains him access to her (from a man; the pimp or brothel owner), and soothes his conscience (if any). What it does not successfully accomplish is to stand in lieu of consent.

    You state – without citation – that many “sex workers” deny any involvement of coercion in prostitution. Allow me to point you to this quick essay on the link between trauma and denial. https://traumadissociation.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/denial-a-defense-against-trauma/

  • susannunes

    No, they are not. It is not choice when money is exchanged. Get a clue. There is no such thing as “sex workers.”

  • Meghan Murphy

    I do love a good listicle… 🙂

  • Meghan Murphy

    There has not been an increase of stigma and harassment of prostitutes in Sweden. Please don’t simply invent facts.

    “The attempt to tie a feminist analysis into Christian conservatism is not weak or baseless. An obvious example is that Francis Willard, feminist and leader of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, was trying to get rid of prostitution over a hundred years ago, and some feminists today are still trying.”

    Who cares if, in the past, some of the women who fought prostitution were Christian? That has nothing to do with what feminists are saying today about prostitution. Also, as Alienigena pointed out [www.feministcurrent.com/2016/12/09/7-bad-arguments-defense-sex-trade/#comment-3048577352], anti-slavery movements have roots in Christianity as well. Like, Martin Luther King was a minister — do you write off the civil rights movement as ‘moralizing’ a result?

  • Meghan Murphy

    The fact that you had this particular experience in prostitution does not make it a universally applicable one. If women truly enjoy prostitution, good for them — but that simply is not the case for the majority of women in prostitution.

    • Nonya Lotter

      I simply mean to say that in a Feminist Utopia it would be possible for women to gain consensual sexual pleasure and feel loved, all the while receiving extra stipulation as gratitude for her more valuable sexual role. By valuable I do not mean in the sense of an object, I mean as compared to male sex which is easier to get. I agree with the points as to why prostitution, as the world stands now, would only hurt many sex workers instead of help them.

  • Leo

    So, you’re telling us dudes are innately shitty and we shouldn’t expect any better? How completely misandrist of you. As feminists, we don’t believe that, but if they were, then yeah I sure do think the state should do something about it. You realise you could use the same argument to justify pretty much anything? We mustn’t arrest thieves because it’s normal to want money, and it might have unintended consequences! Drugs as a normal thing to want, hmm, how many people actually do hard drugs? Let’s see some stats:
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/05/-sp-drug-use-is-rising-in-the-uk-but-were-not-addicted
    It’s still only 31% who’d even tried them, it looks like it’s mostly marujuana used, and 84% wouldn’t take drugs even if they were legal. Maybe people don’t think drugs are such a good idea after all and are capable of deciding that themselves? Now, more importantly, let’s see how many men have paid for prostituted women:
    http://prostitution.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004119
    Oh look, it varies by culture. Isn’t that super-weird if its just innate? US 20%, here in the UK 8.8%, high estimates.

    Ooops! Guess your assumptions about huMANity and what they want might just be projection! Especially because, you know, prostitution doesn’t equal sex, it is in fact possible for most dudes to have sex with a woman who actually wants to have sex with them, you know, mutuality and stuff?

    Satan is made-up religious baddie, patriarchy is a social system. Go and do some actual research before coming up with such terrible comparisons.

    PS. The prostituted woman I actually met DID want help. Survivors have also said they would want help.

  • Melanie

    That’s great that you have your health and are happy. I contracted a serious disease doing prostition that i carried for 27 years. I did two rounds of chemotherapy that took years out of my life, i couldnt work full time, i fell behind in my job, my financial security is non existent, i was diagnosed with complex PTSD during the process of getting on that treatment, ive done months of trauma therapy but i still suffer debilitating symptoms, my family and personal relationships suffer. Being in prostituition has impacted every single aspect of my life. So forgive me if i say so what if you’re fine? What is your point? You are the rare exception. And the reality is that that could change with just one client. Suddenly you’re no longer happy and healthy. You could be dead like i almost was, like girls i knew are. All i can say is good luck and please acknowledge that for most women – and men – in prostitution that is not how it is.

  • Leo

    “It made my clients disposable to me, and yet I never felt disposable to them even though I must have been logically.”
    Yes, logically you would think so. Why would most Johns want to pay ‘very good money’, go through a screening process, have the woman dictate the terms while making it pretty obvious she’d have sex with them anyway (so, they’re getting less advantage out of this than they might from a casual encounter? If they’re attractive enough not to be getting screened out, odds are some other women would fancy them too, right?), have the possibility she’ll back out, when they already have other easier options that might give them what they wanted as much, or more? The prostituted girl I met on the streets was very young and reasonably conventionally attractive, they must be out there. It’s just not at all plausible that prostitution as an industry could function the way you’re describing, rather than being more accurately represented by that girl walking the street.

    From the Invisible Men Project there are plenty of Johns complaining about the cost and the service (even when it’s lower priced, £60 or less), so it seems unlikely they would accept these kinds of stipulations as well.

    • Nonya Lotter

      I don’t think you totally got what I was saying. I can want to have sex with many, many men, but what would make one of these men gain my attention enough for me to choose him to the be receiver of my sexual advances? Payment
      And if other women fancy them so what, you’re acting as if attractive men or men other women desire don’t pay prostitutes.
      I completely agree on the basis that patriarchy has made this type of reform for women to realize they can be more choosy and demanding of men because their sexual and emotional value is higher and men can no longer provide what women cannot.
      As we stand now, prostitution will be a consistent massacre and torture chamber for women to suffer in and then be shunned from society because of. However to say that women should not be sexually valued higher than men (when they clearly scientifically are) in a world where dominance and violence was not rampant and logical reasoning trumped all.
      Women then would still have to choose partners if they wish to procreate with a partner obviously, and if it happens to be a male, who is sexually inferior to her and cannot have the capacity to make her life better, what is the determining factor for the women to choose their mates? The way they appreciate her and in a capitalistic society it means money. Who knows in another type of society it might be “love” or mainly child rearing or doing the lesser jobs in order to just play the subservient role in society. Obviously males are predispositioned to more violence and women would make more level headed decisions that have everyone in mind. Basically what I am saying is why is it wrong to expect men to worship women for still dealing with this shit when clearly men are disposable. Some would say well men created this blah blah but realistically, men did not create much without unnamed women around to steal ideas from. Plus it is finally acceptable now to say female brains have 10 times more white matter than men, which is much lower in monkeys and other primates. Whereas males have 6.5 times more grey matter than women, monkeys and other primates have the same amount of grey matter compared to the size difference. Indicating that white matter is what makes us the superior race (human vs primate). With all this evidence along with the fact that women have taken over drastically in education and the careerforce within just the short amount of time we have been able to, and may I add the amount of sperm we have in the sperm banks. Women can continue society and in fact crime would drop almost completely if men were to be wiped out tomorrow. I am not saying it would be heaven on earth but pretty close to the least violent thing we can imagine. So with all that being said, why can’t women use the leverage of being able to have any sex partner to her advantage?
      The answer lies in the patriarchy and why men want women to be shamed, beat, sold and raped for simply being able to take charge of her own sexuality and make them pay for it. If men could get over themselves and see things for what they really are we would not have to be terrified for women in prostitution.

      • Sabine

        Oh my god…you are SO clearly a man it is reeeeeeeeally making me cringe…this is so embarrassing…

      • Tired

        ‘I can want to have sex with many, many men, but what would make one of these men gain my attention enough for me to choose him to the be receiver of my sexual advances? Payment’
        Translation: Women can want to have sex with many, many men but what would make them sleep with me? Payment’

  • will

    “Every Adult man and woman is entitled to decide what they do with their own body.”

    That is empty rhetoric. Rape is “something you do with your body”. People get away with this bullshit sloganeering on the simple basis of the broadly enculturated dissociative non-thought we are living through right now. Don’t you get that everything we do we do “with our body”? To declare that one has a right to be abused “with one’s body” is as insane as a Trump presidency. It’s unthinkably irrational but people are really endorsing it.

  • will
  • Monsieur Zoidberg

    So, you can’t possibly imagine a scenario where that isn’t the case?

    Damn, the way your telling it almost sounds like a fairy-tale. You get to choose the men AND you get to come? Wowie! That’s not common, you realize, right?

    A man lifting something heavy as part of the terms of his employment is not the same as a woman taking a dick (or 10 dicks, which I hear is the average when women are renting a brothel room in a 24 hour period.) Also, one of those two “jobs” doesn’t come with a risk of STIs, pregnancy, and oh yeah, male on female violence. EVEN IN legal brothels, women are still ripped off, abused, and forced to do things they don’t want to do. Don’t believe me? Read “Prostitution Narratives: Stories of Survival in the Sex Trade.” <– Seriously, read it. It might just give you a little perspective.

    “I never felt disposable to them”
    Wait until you get old. You’ll be sitting on the garbage heap with all the other women who thought the same thing.

    • Nonya Lotter

      Of course I know that, I was not trying to diminish the pain inflicted on sex workers, even in legal areas. I was simply saying that there are ways to make it so prostitution is not a bad experience and women have total body autonomy at all times. As for the risk of STI and pregnancy I do agree but there are ways to minimize that greatly. We allow people to go into war because they are hard up for cash and don’t know where their lives are going. The same thing could be argued that these people are getting PTSD as well as many other disorders on top of the fact that they could very well die… for what? Stipulation of some sort but it is not looked down upon in the same way prostitutes are because stds and pregnancy don’t constantly happen in the military rape cases? Men can have sex for money with women(hell even men) and they still would not be looked down upon like a woman is.
      I am arguing a brothel where it had armed security, screenings for STD’s, women make their own choices whenever they feel like it, women are made to feel as comfortable as possible and it was harshly punishable by law to infringe the physical and or verbal rights of these women.
      Obviously I am being very optimistic but I do believe in these circumstances women could be prostitutes and not be second class citizens.

    • Melanie

      “Damn, the way your telling it almost sounds like a fairy-tale”.

      I was waiting for the unicorns and the flying pigs to appear.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You have yet to actually articulate any argument, Clara. Like, what is it you are even responding to? What is it you are disagreeing with, in terms of the arguments I and other feminists make with regard to the sex industry? Like, you come to throw around insults based in nothing at all but claim you are somehow ‘credible’ and we are not? I’m not sure you’re going to convince anyone of anything at all with this approach, I’m afraid… Certainly you won’t convince anyone of your credibility. If you really do want people to listen to and engage with you, I suggest articulating a clear, rational argument, based on things that are actually being said.

  • Tired feminist

    Let’s see: you barged into a discussion about the harms of pornography to say “whatever I can use DC++” or something in those lines. Then, you found it important to stress the difference between “mayor” and “chairwoman of city council” in a discussion about male violence against women. Now you came to a thread on prostitution to complain about the NAME given to the Nordic model. You can’t even troll well lmao. Get your priorities straight.

  • Petra De Jong

    This is a really good one that I honestly never thought of before. Thanks! 🙂

  • Petra De Jong

    Thank you!!! This is really extensive!

  • Cassandra

    Dude you need to learn to write in better English before you comment here.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Actually, evidence shows very clearly that legalization ensures danger and stigma remain.

    “‘Who cares if, in the past, some of the women who fought prostitution were Christian? That has nothing to do with what feminists are saying today about prostitution.’

    What feminists are saying versus what they are doing is the point I made. What they are doing is the same thing some women (and men) have always wanted to do, which is to get rid of prostitution / prostitutes. You’re confusing narrative theories — stories, essentially — for reality; and like Procrustes you’re trying to make the latter fit into the former because it’s neater that way.”

    Hmm no. Feminists are trying to create a world free from male violence and patriarchy. It is reductive to say that the goal of feminists is to ‘get rid of prostitution/prostitutes’. Our arguments are against male entitlement and men’s abuse of women, as well as the objectification of women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Well do you see, say, serving coffee to someone you don’t like as being the same as rape?

  • will

    You drew a comparison to your office job and prostitution and I pointed out what the real work of prostitution entails. I have provided you with a link to a site run by a collective of social scientists where you will find plenty of hard evidence to back up the argument that prostitution is not a job like any other. The article posted here provides a rational argument as has respected feminist scholar Max Dashu in answer to your query. There are numerous articles on this blog that articulate very clear very rational arguments for the decriminalization of selling sex and the criminalization of buying it and you will also find quite a lot of clear and well-evidenced critique of the lobby to decriminalize sex buying if you click on any of the topic links right on this very page.

    There are numerous skeptics who come to this site and insist that people explain concepts that are explained over and over again in the posted content on the site. It is annoying when a commenter presumes to ask people to take time explaining what is already right here in front of them. Yes, I was irritated by your comment. I am generally irritated by when people do not take responsibility and initiative to inform themselves before asking for women’s time and effort particularly when women’s time and knowledge is already so undervalued.

    • Wren

      “I am generally irritated by when people do not take responsibility and
      initiative to inform themselves before asking for women’s time and
      effort particularly when women’s time and knowledge is already so
      undervalued.”

      Will, do I have your permission to memorize that line and use it liberally (probably, like, everyday) in my life??? It’s perfect.

    • Petra De Jong

      All I can say is I’m sorry. This was not my intention and I’m not a troll. I have been and am reading a lot on the subject matter and I’m sorry if my comment was premature. I posted it after a frustrating debate with a friend who does think that prostitution is work like any other and finding myself totally unable to argue against that. I have been given many resources by several commenters and I’m in the process of reading them all.

      Again, I’m really sorry, never meant to troll or annoy anyone. 🙁

      • will

        The OHSA piece in logos journal and the research findings of the collective of social scientists that I linked should do the job for your friend. Have him/her read those and if (s)he is still towing that line, then I suggest that there is some other investment in it (like male approval, for example). Good luck!

  • Cassandra

    Good!

  • Wren

    Uhhh…I guess I shouldn’t have given you the benefit of the doubt. You and your “friend” (ahem) have been given enough information now to see the reality. And if you and your “friend” still disagree, well…maybe you should just fuck off.

    • Petra De Jong

      Why are you so hostile? 🙁

      I feel there is nothing that I could possibly say to convince you I’m actually on your side and commented because I had been trying to convince someone but didn’t have the right words.

      One of the other commenters gave me this link: http://logosjournal.com/2014/watson/. The argumentation in it was mostly new to me and this is exactly what I was looking for.

      I am sorry if I said anything that offended you. That was never my intention. I grew up with legalized prostitution and it’s all I’ve ever known. Almost nobody around me ever questions it. I am relatively new to discussing it. Again, I’m truly sorry if anything I said ticked you off.

      • Wren

        If you’re inquiry was sincere, then I do apologize for my hasty condemnation, but you are still coming across as stubborn and reluctant to believe what you are reading here, and that makes you highly suspect. You cannot plead ignorance to such an important issue and repeatedly ask us to educate you without us getting testy.

        Do you have any problems discussing why slavery is wrong? Why rape is wrong? In the past, the societal acceptance of such institutional violence would have made some people questioning the practices but lack of freely flowing information would have made it tough to find validation outside of their “gut” feeling. But that is not a problem you have since you clearly have internet access and are literate. Pleading that you can’t find the information to justify your gut feeling is really a lie, if truth be told. You just haven’t been bothered enough by the issue to try. But I hope you are beginning to see things clearly.

        • Petra De Jong

          It’s not that I can’t find enough information. It’s that I’ve been trying repeatedly to discuss the topic with someone I deeply care about who has a wildly different opinion and when it comes to this subject, I find that difficult and want to convince them. I don’t need any more arguments.

          Sorry again, never meant to be stupid. If I’d wanted to troll, I would not have been posting here using my full name.

  • will

    Or that they are too ______(?) to look for answers to their questions. Perhaps Petra is being honest, but the vast majority who ask for this sort of attention are not.

  • Wren

    The information is readily available on FC and on other links that have been provided. Maybe learn how to read??

  • Meghan Murphy

    Well I am anti-capitalism and don’t support any system that exploits one class of people (under capitalism, the working class). You seem to assume I support the system at hand, but I don’t. Feminists talk about prostitution specifically, because it’s a gendered phenomenon that epitomizes male power/entitlement, but that does not mean we think that the class system under capitalism is ok.

  • Tired feminist

    Geez, imagine if you were!

  • Tired feminist

    “Dudely length”

    Lmao yes EXACTLY, plus the dudely length of his replies.

  • Tired feminist

    “Paying for sex is no coercion like paying for milk is no coercion”

    I can’t fucking believe one can show this level of contempt for women.

    Fuck you.

  • Tired feminist

    Petra, you should really make a quick search for the tag “prostitution” on Feminist Current if you don’t want to come across as a troll.

    • Petra De Jong

      I have been and am doing exactly that! I am really sorry if I came across as a troll. That was far from my intention. I’m just relatively new to debating this subject.

  • FierceMild

    I call them manologues.

  • calabasa

    Petra, I am going to try to engage with you in good faith.

    Now, wage slavery IS slavery. Make no mistake about that. Capitalism sucks (quite literally, it sucks the energy and life force out of those enslaved by it).

    However, prostitution is still not a “job like any other,” which is to say, it is much, much shittier than other jobs, which may well themselves be shitty.

    If you are forced by your boss to clean a bathroom or unclog a pipe, it is not the same as being forced by your boss to have sex you don’t want. Whether or not you are getting paid it is likely your brain will perceive this as rape.

    What you are essentially asking, then, is why is rape so bad? It’s quite an interesting question. Especially in the absence of extreme violence, why is rape so bad?

    I have been thinking about this and researching it, as I’m living with PTSD at the moment after being raped by an ex-boyfriend. He wasn’t particularly violent. The sex started out as consensual, and then he held me down mid-coitus and forced a painful sexual act on me I had told him in no uncertain terms that under no circumstances would I do, and asked him to stop asking for (he pretended to be okay with this and that my boundary was “no big deal” and didn’t make him angry, at the time I asked him to stop asking about it, when we were still together). I said “Stop” but he did not stop. In fact, in response to my “Stop” he squeezed me tight to hold my arms still, and put all of his weight on me. It hurt, but he was as gentle as he could be while forcing this particular act. I have nonetheless been terribly traumatized by this. (Sexual abuse was not new for him and the rape after we broke up–which happened not once but twice, as I was fooled into giving him another chance months after the first time he did it, which yes, I feel very stupid about–was the logical outcome of his sexually and emotionally abusive behavior toward the end of our relationship).

    As a result of this, I have been researching PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, something for which according to many studies conducted by many prostitution researchers a solid majority of women in prostitution worldwide meet the diagnostic criteria). PTSD is most common in cases of rape or torture. In fact, according to one source I found, in veterans who engage in direct combat rates of PTSD are at about 15-20 percent, whereas for victims of rape that rate stands at about 49 percent (interestingly, that rate is HIGHER in cases of intimate partner sexual violence, around 70 percent). In contrast to this, being badly beaten results in PTSD around 30 percent of the time; stabbed once around 15 percent of the time; or in a life-threatening accident around 16 percent of the time.

    Why is nonviolent rape so much more traumatizing than extremely violent attacks? Why is torture (the rate of PTSD for which I forget, but it was higher than for rape) so much more traumatizing than being badly beaten?

    I would posit–that is, hypothesize–that it has to do with the personal nature of these crimes, and the way that people’s humanity is so devalued. Torture is oftentimes prolonged (meaning more intimate contact and exposure for the victim) and usually involves psychological torture, as well. Rape, even when nonviolent, is an extremely intimate crime that perverts what is normally an act of affection and bonding. It is an extremely personal crime, and in that it so depersonalizes someone it also has a psychological component. I would guess (without any sources to back this up) that it is LIKELY that intimate partner rape results in higher rates of PTSD because of the prolonged and repeated (often escalating) nature of sexual violence, the component of psychological torture that goes along with it, and the extreme sense of betrayal on the part of the victim, who trusted the person who is essentially her torturer. (It would be interesting to identify and do a study of rates of PTSD among victims of purely emotional abuse and compare it to victims of physical violence; my guess is it would also be higher in victims of ongoing purely emotional abuse than in victims of one-off physical violence). Both domestic violence and domestic sexual abuse (a form of domestic violence) involve repeated physical and psychological abuse (like torture). The intimate and personal nature of sexual violence (even a single incident) and the personal nature of torture (which often involves sexual violence, and always involves subjecting the body to repeated, deliberate acts of pain-inducing violence) likely result in the trauma of rape and torture; the psychological abuse combined with sexual abuse in intimate partner relationships (or familial relationships) is similar to the psychological abuse present in most torturing scenarios as well (as well as the escalating and ongoing nature of both situations, compounding the trauma).

    Simply put, a single incidence of rape IS more traumatizing than a single incident of violent nonsexual victimization, considerably so. Ongoing rape and ongoing physical violence (such as torture or domestic violence) are likely as traumatizing as each other, due to the ongoing nature of them and the psychological component.

    So, rape IS more traumatizing than being forced to clean the bathroom, unclog a pipe or do some unpleasant busywork at your office job. In prostitution, this in ongoing, whether it’s violent rape or pimp-induced or poverty-induced coercion (usually a bit of both). In prostitution I would argue that legalizing it (and pressuring women into a variety of services to stay competitive) also fosters horrible psychological abuse. In what universe is it *not* degrading to be forced to lick someone’s anus, or receive quadruple penetration in a gang bang, etc.? These are common forms of psychological and physical torture that are mainstream in heterosexual pornography and become a requirement under full legalization (especially for the women lowest on the totem pole, and especially as clients who frequent prostitutes, like men who use pornography, become increasingly desensitized to “vanilla” heterosexual sex). Add to that that a particularly abusive john will probably become a regular of a few women in order to continue emotionally as well as sexually abusing them and what you have is large-scale rape and psychological torture across the board (even without the high rates of physical violence and even murder that persist in prostitution even under legalization).

    So, even were the physical violence and threat of murder and forcible rape to be somehow regulated out of existence, legal prostitution would still not be “a job like any other” for the same reasons that rape is so bad (rape would not be so bad if sex were *not* something that an individual perceives as special, intimate, and private). Violation of bodily integrity for a living is not even remotely on par with any other physical service in which the provider touches (as in massage or hairdressing) rather than is touched (and penetrated in their most intimate parts). In my reading about rape and PTSD one researcher, in acknowledging the unique nature of human sexuality, referred to sex “the single human act with the greatest potential for both good and evil.” It is simply obnoxious gaslighting designed to show how “liberated” we are while continuing to objectify and dehumanize women and to groom them as sexual objects (read: the true intent behind the “sexual revolution” of the late sixties and early seventies, and the true meaning of “sex positivity” in 3rd wave feminism) that “sex is no big deal.” Acknowledging that sexuality is important is at the heart of the feminist revolution; calling sexuality “no big deal” and implying that not approving of all forms of sex except pedophilia is somehow Puritanical is reactionary and irrational. It flies in the face of all logic and empirical data.

    This would all seem to be obvious, but there, I’ve given you some data to back up your “gut feeling.” Look up “rates of PTSD in prostitution” and “rates of violence,” and you will find a lower number of women reporting violent encounters with johns (rapes and beatings) than PTSD (about twenty percent lower, if I recall correctly), a telling fact; regular, “nonviolent” prostitution is traumatizing to a majority of women in prostitution, who don’t want to be there (as far as I remember from reading various studies, between 85 and 90 percent worldwide want to exit immediately; is there any other job like that?) Feel free to Google statistics about rates of PTSD and war, rape, accident, torture, etc. to confirm. Psychologists have long known rape, including rape that is not as violent as violent nonsexual assault, to be uniquely traumatizing. They are still not sure why, as more study needs to be done about this (I hypothesize that it has to do with the very personal nature of the crime, the invasion of private bodily areas and the violent perversion of what should be a chosen act of pleasure and a demonstration of bonding and affection).

    On a purely physiological level, prostitution would also be desensitizing even to most liberated of “sex workers” because she must constantly suppress her natural desire to bond during sex due to the oxytocin (the “moral molecule”) naturally released during the sexual act; unending impersonal sex can “burn out” the ability to feel excited by personal attraction to a new partner, as sex addicts and porn addicts alike already know (the desensitization is the same with porn addiction because of the “reward” at the end as it is with actual sex). This means that even the most willing and liberated of sex workers must dissociate during the act (unless she is a “sex worker therapist” type who can somehow, Mother Theresa-like, truly feel compassion and affection for all the clients she services; does this person commonly exist in reality? And does it affect her negatively to largely turn herself into an object in the service of others’ needs?) Even the hedonists of ancient Greece actually preached moderation in their pleasures. They knew that too much of anything leads to addiction and desensitization and results in the death of all pleasure.

    As a side note, from my perspective trauma is not only about loss of a sense of control over one’s body and bodily integrity (a loss of security, identity and personal power) but also about a very personal sense of horror (that is, not just being a witness to violence, either impersonal or personal and malicious–violence with the intent to psychologically break someone down–but a victim of it). I feel a continuous kind of horror that such a person exists as the person who did this to me, who felt the need to so completely devalue me, to whom my personhood and functioning mattered so little and for whom it was fun to continuously torture me in order to reinforce his sense of superiority (I still don’t want to believe that is his true motivation, but can’t see why else he might desire to continually prey on me). People in the prostitution industry who don’t want to be there and don’t have the luxury of screening their clients face this very personal sense of horror unendingly when presented with and used/abused by these nasty, selfish, amoral/immoral, unempathetic, self-aggrandizing and insecure types day in and day out; dealing with horror (see: dissociation) is a part of their job description.

    *P.s. Here is a fact sheet, taken from an article behind a paywall at Psychiatric Times: https://www.sidran.org/resources/for-survivors-and-loved-ones/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-fact-sheet/

    The original article: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/sexual-offenses/are-women-greater-risk-ptsd-men/page/0/2

    (To answer the question asked by the headline of that article, “are women at greater risk of ptsd than men,” considering that PTSD is far more common in men than in women, as much as twice as common, I would say the answer is “yes.” This is likely due to the traumatic nature of rape and the fact that women are much more commonly raped. In other studies, women returning from war did not have higher rates of combat trauma than men returning from war; furthermore, men who have been sexually assaulted, by men or women, have comparable rates of trauma to women who are sexually assaulted).

    http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/women/women-trauma-and-ptsd.asp

    In the Psychiatric Times article (I double-checked) rates of PTSD in cases of torture and kidnapping are reported at about 78 percent (I say “about” for all of these figures because they are an average gleaned from different studies). This statistic does not appear in the fact sheet.

    • Petra De Jong

      Calabasa, thank you so very very much for this. I feel guilty because I apparently came across as some kind of troll who is unwilling to read or learn and I am truly sorry for that. I posted my comment while being rather upset about a discussion with a close woman friend who thinks prostitution is not problematic when regulated properly. I had been trying to argue against that but I was hopeless and that really bugged me.

      Thank you for taking so much time out to write all this. You make lots of points which strongly reinforce the direction my thoughts were taking.

      I have been sexually assaulted once. A stranger “grabbed me by the pussy” on a subway. It was the most infuriating thing to ever happen to me, so I do have *some* understanding of the uniqueness of what it does to a person.

      Again, thank you so much for engaging with me and not thinking I’m just trying to troll.

      • Wren

        You need to get new friends. I guarantee you there are abolishionists all around you. You just have to dig a bit surreptitiously.

        • Petra De Jong

          I seriously don’t think I ever met one. I’m not joking.

          I wouldn’t end a friendship over this, though. There’s people I care about with opinions I fucking detest…

          • Wren

            Let me introduce you to everyone who supports Meghan at FC. There, now you have abolistionist friends galore 🙂

    • calabasa

      I suppose my point in this reply (apart from replying to Petra’s query) is that the causes of PTSD need to be reevaluated. Although some in the psychiatric community include “threats to bodily integrity” in the definition, the most common definition still remains that the trauma is caused by “fear for one’s life” (or the life of another, as a witness) during a violent encounter.

      Such a definition does not explain the high rates of PTSD seen in rape, including rape by force without a high degree of body-damaging violence (such as in date or acquaintance rape) or without forceful violence at all (drug or alcohol-enabled rape). It could be argued that the mere fact that someone is doing such a thing to you is convincing evidence that they might also kill you (for, say, resisting); someone willing to violate you in such a way might also be willing to violate you in the ultimate way, by taking your life. However, why are rates of PTSD lower, then, in victims of violent crime that could result in death? Why is the likelihood of development of PTSD far lower in the victim of a single incident of stabbing then in a victim of a single incident of rape?

      There have been observed to be differences between men and women in the likelihood of developing PTSD. Whether these are biological, social, or simply have to do with the fact that women are sexually assaulted so often is something that we don’t know. Nor do we really understand the psychological nature of highly traumatic experiences, or the way that how we feel changed psychologically increases a likelihood of developing PTSD (did I feel a sense of overwhelming horror because of the PTSD, or did that sense of horror cause it?) We do know that repeated trauma leads to a higher likelihood of developing PTSD after experiencing another incidence of violence, but again, we don’t really know why.

      Basically, there has not been enough study done of the nature of trauma. I remember reading that one researcher said she believed that women are traumatized by simply being socialized as women within the patriarchy, and she wanted to study the incidence of PTSD in individuals who have not experienced traumatic events so much as grown up in anxiety-inducing traumatic circumstances (of oppression).

      I think at least part of the trauma for me, personally, is realizing over and over again how men really think of me (and of women). Rape is just the most visceral reminder of my place on the totem pole, even if it is an act of weakness on the part of the rapist. It’s also terribly sad for me that I have to worry about sexual violence and abuse when thinking about heterosexual relationships, and has had a terrible effect on my health as well as personal and interpersonal functioning.

      How, then, does being exposed on a *personal* and *intimate* level, day in and day out, to how men *really think of women*–as objects for use and abuse–affect women in prostitution? One measure of happiness in this society is how much we can convince ourselves that others care, by surrounding ourselves with good people. What must it do to someone to constantly experience this type of intimate exploitation? (It’s bad enough to have to constantly experience the non-intimate exploitation of survival labor without having to give up the most private part of ourselves as well).

      I think a different definition of PTSD, one that addresses the heightened trauma of intimate and psychological violations, might explain why women in survival prostitution are so traumatized by repeated unwanted sex with strangers (strangers who *know that sex is unwanted*) regardless of whether or not they are violated in the conventional (forceful) sense of the term.

      The mindset of johns recalls the mindsets of abusers, also. What kind of man would want to have sex with a woman who doesn’t want to have sex with him? A man who doesn’t care about mutuality in sex, a man who likes to exploit women sexually and gets off on their lack of desire or consent (evil arousal), a man who likes to manipulate (the same), or a man who is in complete denial that the prostituted woman doesn’t really want to be doing it (denial is a mainstay in the abuser’s arsenal; to ward off guilt, they must build ever more intricate layers of delusion in order to justify to themselves and others what they are doing). Sexually abusive people have sex with reluctant partners, and whether it’s from a POV of convenient ignorance or in order to actively hurt women, johns approach the sex of prostitution with an abuser’s mentality. Whether the client thinks she’s engaging in it reluctantly or not (that is, regardless of whether his approach is one of denial or one of intent) the result is the same: an abused woman.

  • Tired feminist

    You see sex as a “demand” from men that women are expected to “fulfill”. This is rape culture. Just stop.

  • calabasa

    Actually much higher than combat veterans. I’ve been researching this. Rates of PTSD in prostitution are similar to rates of PTSD in rape victims, which are more than double than that of frontline combat veterans. It’s not surprising this is a little-known fact, as nobody seems to be talking about it except PTSD researchers in peer-reviewed studies and dry academic journals. (I have never seen a mainstream article about PTSD not geared toward veterans but geared toward the vast majority of PTSD sufferers: female victims of rape and domestic violence).

    • Tired

      Thanks for that, I haven’t actually checked the research in a while and wasn’t aware the rates were so high 🙁 . I will go and check

  • Cassandra

    Blah blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT blah blah blah blahBlah blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT blah blah blah blah Blah MANSPLAIN blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT lah blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT blah blah blah blahBlah blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT blah blah blah blah Blah MANSPLAIN blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT lah blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT blah blah blah blahBlah blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT blah blah blah blah Blah MANSPLAIN blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT T lah blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT blah blah blah blahBlah blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT blah blah blah blah Blah MANSPLAIN blah blah blah blah MRA blah blah blah MALE ENTITLEMENT

  • Sabine

    Oh that was just HILARIOUS! Dude…you honestly believed you would not be seen through within the first few lines? Priceless….

  • Sabine

    Well I never! “Clara” only joined Disqus 2 days ago to specifically post very dude-ish comments on this thread. Nothing else on “her” profile….Hmmmm.

  • Melanie

    Thanks FierceMild. I appreciate that. I had Hepatitis C but I recently did a new treatment and I’m cured now. Maybe now I can finally get on with my life. It upsets me that these people can treat this like an academic exercise, something to theorize over from a place of detachment. It effects women in such horrific ways that they’ll never have to deal with or understand. I’ll never have the kind of life they have or the kind of relationships they have because of what happened to me when I was in prostitution. It ruined my health, my mental health, my ability to trust people, my financial security. And they have the nerve to call this ‘sex positive’ and ’empowering’ while they go about living their sweet, over privileged lives.They have zero self awareness.

  • Melanie

    Yes, men sexually exploit and abuse both men and women, girls and boys. I knew a few men in prostitution. They were all young, homeless, mostly state wards, in and out of the foster care, juvenile justice or prison systems and addicted to drugs. I would not say that their choices were free.

  • Melanie

    If you’re against in-fighting maybe stop smearing second wave feminists who did all the hard work to get you the rights, legal protections and services for women that you enjoy today.

  • Melanie

    Financially coercing women into sex is disrespectful to women in itself. Has your friend ever done prostitution? Have you? If not why not? It’s just a job right? It pays relatively well apparently. It’s weird how all these middle class liberals who say it’s just like working in retail or fast food have never actually tried it themselves. So what’s stopping them? The difference is that it’s not simply ‘sex’. It’s sexual exploitation, violation and violence. It does not meet the criteria for enthusiastic, freely made consent. There’s your rational argument.

  • Tired feminist

    Voluntary sex doesn’t need to be paid.

  • Tired feminist

    Lol yeah I was thinking of that link! 😀 anyway she seems to be engaging in good faith.

    • will

      Yes. I agree. Makes for pleasant change!

      Maybe after a few months of following this debate she’ll find herself feeling pretty cranky too. 🙂

      • Wren

        fingers crossed.

  • FierceMild

    Now you’re making me blush!

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Patriarchy theory?” lol, MRA.

  • FierceMild

    I just vomited a little bit.

  • Wren

    lol. Personally, I think they mean “YOU MUST LIKE SEX WITH ME OR THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU.”

    • radwonka

      aaaah indeed! since these people think that how they have sex is innate and that how they have sex is how they express their personality (double essentialism !!! :D), it explains why they are so defensive and so arrogant if people dont follow their rules. Everything is coercive: *how* we have sex and with who -aka always the same pornified sex and always the same pornsick males- is controlled and girls are groomed, the humiliation, guilt tripping and stigmatization for “prudes”, etc,
      which is why if we dont do as they say, it is considered like a personal attack.

      you are smart as usual Wren *.*

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Regular back page style prostitution” is also mostly trafficking…

    “This takes all the agency of the decision completely away from women.”

    No it doesn’t. “Agency” does not erase power dynamics, marginalization, systems of oppression. Working class people are an oppressed class under patriarchy — to acknowledge this does not “take away agency” or even deny that working class people have some agency and can make *some* choices, within a narrow set of choices.

    “Unfortunately many people throughout the world work jobs they don’t like because they pay well. I used to work for a big bank and I hated it.”

    Did your customers at the banks call you a whore while face-fucking you?

    • AFR-auth

      There’s way you’re going to agree with me on this. Perhaps my stance is too neutral for you. In any case… It doesn’t matter that the bank didn’t face fuck me. All that matters is that I made a choice to fulfil the whims of someone paying me in order to have access to their funds. I chose to agree to their terms. And situations where women do the same, unless there is a social push to pigeonhole women into prostitution by men, it cannot be said that prostitution is a male problem.

      The junkies aren’t responsible for the hardships endured by the drug dealer nor are the art enthusiast responsible for the depression of the artist should they choose to paint only what sells.

      These women make a value assesment and chose prostitution.I know it’s porn… But belle knox’s story is a good example of this. After her first go on facial … She drew a line and didn’t do that anymore… But she is still a sex worker.

      Whether or not the woman comes out perfectly on top or not is not what defines male opression. Her degree of choice is.

      • Meghan Murphy

        “It doesn’t matter that the bank didn’t face fuck” you? Really?? Then why is it you think feminists have a problem with prostitution?? Why is it we see rape as traumatic? Being penetrated by numerous strange men every day is not the same as working at a bank. That is obvious to anyone who isn’t a sociopath.

      • will

        Dude, I really do hope that the male bank teller face fucks you next time you are in and then tosses you a twenty. Then you can come here and tell us all about how it’s the same as paying bank fees or some shit.

      • Yeller

        FYI….. When it says “no black men” on a back page add it means she has a black pimp/ trafficker

  • Meghan Murphy

    “You have no grounds to say that prostitution exists because of men alone.”

    lol. When 90% of buyers are men, I’m afraid we do.

  • Tired feminist

    Dude ffs, the diffeence between unwanted work and unwanted sex is that the latter is rape. It shouldn’t be that hard to understand.

  • Fouraces

    1) Is money capable of making every act ethical? Do you think it is perfectly OK to buy a kidney off a black market in a third world country?
    2) If women and men had equal choices don’t you think we would be seeing equal numbers of female and male prostitutes, and equal numbers of janes and johns?

  • radwonka

    “sex workers” and libfem also use that argument a lot. But since when do people have that much power? It is those who own money who decide what they will buy, not the reverse. likewise if I tried to sell something that doesnt fit this patriarchal culture, it wouldnt sell.
    Ive many things to sell but where are all these johns now?Where is my empowered money?? Why dont they buy my stuff? I thought that people could decide what they want to sell?
    Because people buy stuff that fits their dogma. Whatever doesnt fit this dogma wont be bought.
    And If the world was that easy (ie selling whatever you want easily), there wouldnt be any poor or failed societies.

    It is also very insulting to imply that people can “choose” what to do under capitalism, it literally denies that institutionalized poverty (which is institutionalized to control people) is the first factor, not “agency”.

    Any kind of client and boss is strict. Those who buy pop music expect women to be pornified and sing about patriarchal sex for example. Clients complain when a waitress doesnt smile. Clients want maids to be fired if they dont clean their toilet 10 times per day. Bosses scream at you if you dont work “hard” enough and break your bones. Disabled people arent hired. Etc. Those who need to survive have to conform or they will die starving. They need to follow rules, bow down, etc.
    But the same people who claim that prostitution is job like any other suddenly deny that clients are strict (I mean, we all know that the client is king, the client is the first who will claim “I paid for it, thus I have every right to expect it the way I want it to be or give me my money back”) or that bosses can be nightmare or that our strength/health worsen with time because of too much “work”.
    But yeah, we are supposed to believe that women sell their rectum because they wanted to their rectum for fun or whatever.

    lmao

    (also we can talk about huge societies who use psychological propaganda to influence people -make people feel insecure- to sell their products and solidify culture, or george soros who finances nearly 20 NGO which shows that NGO arent neutral, need millions and thus need to follow rules otherwise soros wont give them his money, but that’s another topic 😉 )

  • radwonka

    “For instance, to say that prostitution is due to men would necessitate that men have higher sex drives”

    stupid. johns are cowards we all know this. They rape women because they are insecure as fuck. Men who rape women do it because they want to prove themselves that they can dominate others. Yeah its stupid, but that how johns are.

  • radwonka

    “There are a lot of reasons men wouldn’t like prostitution to be legal”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH yeah men in Germany and Spain didnt like it AT ALL HHAHAHA RIGHT!

    • Melanie

      It’s interesting how many men are deeply invested in the ‘right’ of women to sell sex to them. Of all the human rights issues impacting women and girls this one appears to be the most important of all, and guaranteed to make even the most misogynistic man an instant ‘feminist’. I wonder why that could be?

  • Melanie

    We’re not talking about the ‘choices’ of marginalized women and other people who end up in prostitution because of social and economic inequality. We’re talking about the choices of the men who exploit them and what we can do to address that. We should not protect men from their choice to sexually assault, violate, injure and harm women and other marginalized people. They should be held accountable for them. If by ‘imposing rules’ you mean making laws, there are many laws that have been made to prevent people from exploiting and harming other people. It’s ridiculous to argue that we should never exert moral authority about an issue. Our entire legal system in based on making decisions about what is and isn’t moral or ethical behaviour.

  • Meghan Murphy

    What if the only reason she “decided she wants to have sex for money” is because otherwise she will starve?

  • Meghan Murphy

    No, that’s not what I’m arguing. I am not opposed to male desire, I am opposed to men believing they have the right to sex/sexual access to women simply because they can pay.

    You’re also ignoring the spirit and logic of my posts. You know what I’m saying. There’s no way you can’t follow it. You’re just being obstinant, which is your right, but I believe you get what I’m trying to say.

  • Tired feminist

    There’s no such a thing. The only reason why someone pays for sex is because that sex is unwanted.

  • Tired feminist

    You said it yourself: an industry exists because producers pander to the desire of buyers. When 90%+ of demand for prostitution comes from men, how can you say with a straight face it doesn’t exist because of men? Are you stupid or are you stupid? Your hoverboard only exists because there’s enough demand for it to be produced in the first place. Stop playing dumb.

  • Tired feminist

    “Maybe you can pay someone to agree with you?”

    Some johns do that indeed. Escorts for example are required to be nice and agreeable, feign interest in what their clients have to say, smile frequently etc.

  • SuperOnionKnight

    If men feel entitled to have sex with women, then there’s no need for a financial transaction as a medium. People engage in financial transactions, because that which they are trading is considered less valuable to them than what they are receiving in exchange; ergo, men are willing to trade money (power) to seek intimacy with a woman. They could be engaging in that as fulfillment of a power fantasy or simply want something to fill in the void for lack of affection or for another reason, but there’s nothing inherent in choosing to procure a prostitute as indicating entitlement. They could perhaps feel entitled, but it’s clearly not being made manifest by the reality of having to exchange something for something else which is how all symbiotic relationships act. For a consenting prostitute, that money is worth more to her than the service she provides for the time, and similarly, that woman’s service is more important to the man than whatever money he pays. If he truly feels entitled, then there’s no need to give her anything. Prostitution and rape are both against the law, and the man doesn’t lose nearly as much in that case, especially in a rape culture.

    • Meghan Murphy

      The ‘financial transaction’ exists because the women these men are having sex with don’t want to have sex with them. But these men feel entitled to access the bodies of women so use money as a means of coercion.

      • SuperOnionKnight

        I suppose that could be the case though it’s certainly not a very savvy approach to accessing women’s bodies given the number of highly insecure, young, mentally ill or inclusively impoverished women who under the influence would be far easier targets with less legal risk and less cost overall. You’d have to make enough to justify the cost (e.g. rich old man finding voyeurism cheaper than to risk paying alimony or other divorce settlements) or you’d have to be so hopelessly socially awkward that the only remote chance of intimacy needs to be bought and paid for. I find the latter to be the types who have been mentally damaged, have intimacy issues, and are craving affection from any source. Those really aren’t the types to feel entitled. I could get behind your hypothesis for the former though if those sugar daddy / sugar baby relationships are representative of that dynamic, it seems to be more about reliving their youth and having an ego boost. Many of those women get away with not having sex at all.

        I can’t really deny that men like that exist, but I’m just not sure how you conclude that they form the basis for a man who would go to that length to have sex. Society has made it very clear to me that as a man I will be paying for it one way or another. If that means a heroic deed as represented by film and poetry, a romantic gift portrayed in those holiday commercials that imply that not buying her something won’t get you laid, or acquiring wealth and status evident in real life dating and relationships; regardless of the means, we know that we will have to do something to prove ourselves, not just expect it.

        Is there any scenario in which you feel that prostitution would not be oppressive? Is there a certain level of income that they must acquire relative to the local standard of living that assures them that coercion is not a factor from needed wealth?

        • Meghan Murphy

          You seem to think it is my desire and job to convince you of some ‘theory,’ but it is not. Prostitution is not just a theory, nor is objectification. It is real and you simply wish to theorize it into nothingness or harmlessness. Please go waste people’s time elsewhere.

        • Tired feminist

          You don’t seem to understand what male entitlement is. All men belong to the dominant sex class in a patriarchy, not just the wealthier or more handsome or whatever your idea of success for men is. Some men choose not to buy women, but they still could if they wanted. All it takes for prostitution to exist is demand.

  • Meghan Murphy

    If you haven’t read Ekman’s book, do check it out! It’s great.

    • Lisa Tremblay

      Thanks Meghan. Ekman’s book isn’t at my local library but I can get the Kindle edition on Amazon.

  • Cassandra

    I don’t feel bad, if that was your intention. Language is important in how we communicate and if you’re going to come onto a feminist website and say offensive things you could at least try to do it more clearly.
    Happy holidays d00d

  • foamreality

    Effing brilliant! I’m wondering if any of those tweeters have read it. This is incredibly well argued. I am trying to imagine which liberal feminist pro-prostitution arguments you havn’t nailed perfectly here. I can’t think of any. I’ve book marked this – its going to save me hours of torturous debate with people. Thank you.

  • foamreality

    ‘All coercive sex is rape end of the story.’

    You said it right. If a woman wont have sex until coerced with money its rape.

  • foamreality

    ‘There are plenty sex workers who have repeatedly come out to say that sex work does not involve coercion.’

    So? lots of people are in denial. Especially exploited and abused ones. Lots of women blame themselves, rather than the men. You are here.

  • foamreality

    But guess what the Nordic model doesnt stop you selling consent if you want. It just stops men purchasing it. That is everyones business because it exploits ALL woman and girls. Thats what society is about. Being social. Buying women is disgusting.

  • foamreality

    You dont have the right to kill someone with your body. You dont have the right to rape someone with your body. You dont have the right be raped with your body. And if you dont mind being raped it just means your insane. THAT is your right.

  • foamreality

    And people who dont work in the oil industry shouldn’t speak about the harms of drilling for oil?

    and people who don’t work at mcdonalds shouldn’t speak about mcdonalds exploitation?

    and people who don’t have penises shouldnt talk about people with penises?

    and people who havn’t been raped shouldnt talk about stopping rape? oh wait you answered that already.

    Get a grip.

    • Melanie

      Yes, the ‘sex industry’ wants to be treated like any other industry because it’s just a job, but they also want an exclusive say in how it’s regulated, or not regulated, unlike any other employee or worker in any other field. You can’t have it both ways. For example, the tobacco, advertising, alcohol, forestry and mining industries are all regulated with workers, the environment and other members of society in mind and anyone can have a say into that as citizens, employees etc. Every woman and girl has a stake in how prostitution is approached legally because it impacts the status of all women and girls. Even current ‘sex workers’ can’t speak for all women in prostitution. I certainly didn’t experience prostitution as a profession. If you’re in the sex industry by choice you have to accept that other people have a say in your ‘industry’. Exited women should certainly have an input as we have experience and insight into the long term impacts of this co-called profession on health, mental health, family and personal relationships, financial security etc.

  • Melanie

    Well that’s the entire point. The law needs to be changed to protect women and other vulnerable people in prostitution from such gross exploitation, and punish those who commit it. Coercion also doesn’t meet the legal definition of sexual consent and prostitution is financial coercion. This needs to be acknowledged by our legal system in relation to prostitution, hence the Nordic model. I would say it’s you who are clueless. You’re living in a theoretical fantasyland where everyone is on equal footing and nobody is suffering from gender inequality, social and economic disadvantage, racism, trauma and exploitation. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • Melanie

    You miss the entire point that the the law needs to be changed to reflect the fact that financial coercion does not meet the standard of sexual consent.

  • Meghan Murphy

    lol bye

  • Yeller

    I think your dead on!