What’s Current: The purchase of sex has been criminalized in the Republic of Ireland

Today, the Sexual Offences Bill passed in the Republic of Ireland, criminalizing the purchase of sex. Big congrats to our sisters who worked so hard to get this bill passed!

A trial in Newfoundland raises the question of whether or not child sex dolls constitute child porn. Pedophilia apologist and psychologist James Cantor comments:

“It is a piece of latex. So, if there is no victim where is there, exactly, a harm being committed?”

Cantor argues society should be more accepting of pedophiles, stating, “By stigmatizing [pedophiles] so strongly, we’ve just driven them underground.”

In his new book, the “Cannibal Cop” (Gilberto Valle), discusses his wife’s discovery of his plot to kill and eat her (and other women). Valle writes:

“It was not that I thought anything was wrong with me; I was just aroused by certain things, just like everyone else. Just because my template was different didn’t mean I thought that it was a big problem. I would never harm anyone in real life, so why did I care what turned me on?”

Maybe these men are right, and it’s no big deal! It’s not like destigmatizing male violence against women and children leads to actual violence… Oh, wait, never mind: Russian city sees domestic violence incidents double after Putin decriminalizes beatings.

Researchers find that 50 Shades of Grey depicts rape and emotional abuse by legal and clinical definition. Caitlin Roper writes:

“Despite this, Fifty Shades has become a global phenomenon, inspiring a range of merchandise including lingerie, wine, sex toys, hotel packages, hardware stores selling Fifty Shades packs including rope and duct tape, and even baby onesies emblazoned with handcuffs and the slogan ‘I pretend Christian Grey is my daddy.’

So what happens when a film series of this magnitude frames domestic abuse and male violence against women as sexy and desirable? What message does it send to women and girls, and also to men and boys? Who benefits from widespread acceptance of the belief women and girls secretly want and enjoy sexual violence?”

Luckily, some U.S. law enforcement agencies are sending the message that male violence is unacceptable. The National Johns Suppression Initiative led to the arrest of 522 johns and 30 pimps on Super Bowl Sunday. Cook County, Illinois Sheriff Thomas J. Dart comments:

“Sex trafficking continues to destroy countless lives, and this broad national movement should send a strong message to prospective johns that their ‘hobby’ is much more than a ‘victimless’ crime… It’s particularly meaningful that this sting culminated on the day of the Super Bowl, which unfortunately has emerged as a prominent haven for sex trafficking.”

Susan Cox
Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.

Like this article? Tip Feminist Current!

Personal Info

Donation Total: $1

  • Blazewarrior

    Hmm those male pornographers such as Norman Mailer, Henry Miller and De Sade all wrote about males sexually torturing and murdering women and these males all claimed ‘hey it was just male sexualised fantasy which has nothing whatsoever to do with pandemic male sexual violence being perpetrated against women and girls.’

    Now I wonder why male created and male controlled advertising industry is so profitable given this industry merely promotes products and thereby ensures said products are ‘a must have purchase.’ Obviously the mens’ advertising industry would not be profitable if said propaganda did not create desire to purchase these items.

    Gilberto Valle is publicly promoting normalisation of male dehumanisation of females and whilst he claims he would not himself murder any woman this does not in itself mean he isn’t promoting pandemic male hatred/male dehumanisation of females.

    Interesting the so-called ‘child sex doll has been specifically created as an anatomical female child – because of course all females are males’ interchangeable disposable sexual service stations!

    What is the difference between so-called ‘child porn and mens’ pornography industry? Nothing because it is overwhelmingly females of all ages who are the ones being filmed whilst they are subjected to systemic male sexual violence. It is but a tiny step for the male buyers of these ‘dolls’ to enact the same sadistic male sexual violence upon real females as they inflict on the inanimate dolls. The male sexual predators hone their skills (sic) on these dolls and then inflict the same sexual violence upon real females.

    Interesting that the so-called clinical male psychologist did not posit the question – why did this male purchase the doll? What does this say about how males construct male sexuality? Is male sexuality then one of male sexual predation/male sexual degradation of females including female children?

    Remember that women-hating male Vladimir Nabokov wrote Lolita wherein he reaffirmed mens’ centuries old lies that female children are all supposedly ‘sexually voracious and seduce innocent adult men!’ The makers of this vile female sex doll are doing the same thing – they are normalising male pseudo sex right to view female children as mens’ disposable sexual service stations!

    • antrenteau

      Nabokov indeed appear to be quite the misogynist towards female authors especially, but Lolita was written so that the reader would dislike HH. Nabokov himself said that he hated his main character and that it was written as an exercise from the pov of a bastard. The deshumanisation of Dolores is there to remind you of how despicable HH is.
      Another famous thing about this novel is how Nabokov ideally wanted something like a sunny sky with a few clouds as a cover and most importantly, no young woman or anything related to Dolores as it would induce a misinterpretation of what the book is about, but then when you look at what the Lolita covers ended up being…

      • Blazewarrior

        Nope – Nabokov’s vile book continues to be lauded by male critics as a ‘work of art’ and these men conveniently ignore the fact Nabokov is eroticising male sexual predation upon female children. The real victim according to Nabokov is the adult male sexual predator not the female child.

      • FierceMild

        A known misogynist writes a book that glorifies pedophilia and becomes a byword for sexualizing children (little Lolita) and somehow that’s not what it’s about. I understand being protective of literature, but it’s freeing to criticize it full on regardless of what authors like Nabokov would publicly admit they intended.

        • Tired feminist

          This kind of backtracking is so typical – dude says something unacceptable and decides based on people’s reactions whether he really meant that or not.

          This is all I can say on the topic because I’ve never read the book and don’t think I ever will…

    • FierceMild

      You are so right about lionizing Male Novelists who are frankly disgusting and only make their way into the cannon on account of their anatomy in the first place.

    • Zuzanna Smith

      Actually Nabokov wrote Lolita as an intelligent very empathetic girl, not a seductress as people have always called her. It almost depends on who reads the book, to me she was always a very loving child with no recourse who had been brainwashed and exploited by men, and I think Nabokov makes that clear.

    • FierceMild

      Q: How many male novelists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
      A: He lit a cigarette. His glass of whiskey lit a cigarette too. “I can only truly love my best friend,” he said, “but not in a gay way. Women wouldn’t understand it. They’re too gay.” Both of the cigarettes agreed.

      Hilarious post in Male Novelists:

  • Wren

    Yay Ireland!! Another place I may move to as my civilization crumbles!!

  • So the issue here is role playing. The cannibal cop was just role playing, and according to the Cracked article, was obviously not going to actually do anything to anyone in real life. The guy with the child sex doll is “just” role playing. People who go around killing people in video games are just role playing, too. But some role playing of illegal behaviour is off limits, some is no big deal because everyone does it (video games), and some (conventional BDSM) is being promoted as safe kink.

    How do we decide what role playing is allowed and what isn’t? Maybe we should make it all off limits, since all of it will have some sort of affect on people’s minds/attitudes. (There’s research!) But then were does acting fit in all this? That’s role playing, too, except we’re audience, not active participants. And it’s hard to be consistent because when people themselves do it or watch it, they don’t think it should be regulated/banned. :s

  • Marla

    “Who benefits from widespread acceptance of the belief women and girls secretly want and enjoy sexual violence?”

    There is a book I had to dig for written in 1951 by Kurt Tamke called Die Erlebniswelt des Films (The World of Cinematic Experience) where he says “A film is not experienced through reason, but engulfs the viewer emotionally; it is an immediate experience.”

    No matter how much publicly hype 50 Shades has received it has nothing new to offer in the BDSM lifestyle but rather recycles it. Although this film is made to appeal to women, it is men who are aroused emotionally by seeing a woman tied up, humiliated, and beaten (usually with an instrument of percussion) that who benefits. As Tamke says about cinema, the popularity of 50 Shades is to engage the viewer into the experience that violence against your sexual partner can transform itself from a sexual taboo into another cultural norm no matter what psychological and physical damage it can do especially to those who understand this film as a trend rather than a destructive lifestyle. Hardly empowering.

    • Tired feminist

      The fact that this book is marketed to women looks like a grooming tactic in and on itself.

      • melissa

        You know what else is being marketted to women by women? How to be a “surrendered wife” apparently. http://www.surrenderedwife.com/


        This woman first creates a false dichotomy where you’re either a controlling, nagging miserable wife with a doormat of a husband or a “surrendered” ,laid back, happy wife. While obvious things about not being a control freak is all well and good, a lot of what she says starts to tread some very biblical sounding territory. Welcome to 2017.

  • Laura

    the disgusting cop book is made available by:
    Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    …still looking for a contact email…their about us page is full of corporate spew “transformation”, “sustainability” but no email

    Publisher: WildBlue Press (February 28, 2017)

    We should write some letters

    • Laura

      How to contact Amazon using their guided customer service process:
      Go to http://www.amazon.com and log in.
      Scroll to the bottom of Amazon’s main page and click Help in the right-hand menu.
      Move your mouse cursor over “Need More Help?” and click Contact Us.

      My letter:
      I was alarmed to find out that you are promoting and profiting off this man’s deadly fetish.
      Women all over the world are often at the mercy of abusive husbands.
      Domestic violence and violence against women, like the kind described in this book is a dangerous reality, not a fantasy!
      I hope you take this book out of your catalog and I do not plan on being a customer until you do.

      • Cassandra

        It didn’t click with me that this is Amazon so everybody please pardon me for mentioning them as a way to purchase those fabulous sisterhood totes from redbubble. Redbubble sells a lot of horrible crap, too. In fact I’m kind of obsessed right now about the messages I’m seeing on t-shirts. I was on some site today where all the graphic tees for “women” (teens and college I suppose) had messages on the front about drinking or being drunk. Who decides to make shirts like that? Who sits down and designs the type and who approves it going into production?

        Life was just not this way when I was a teenager. I feel like girls have no childhood anymore.

        • Laura

          i think it’s a lot easier to print thing now that there are companies like zazzle etc and you don’t have to screen it yourself so every damn thing gets a shirt lol. and the more dumb shirts etc there are the more ppl can buy, win win! (/s)
          when i feel bleak about thing i remind myself that this i nothing new and women are resilient

  • Meghan Murphy

    Here in Canada our so-called leftist party, the NDP, opposed Bill C-36, which was fought for by many feminists and survivors over here. The left, unfortunately, is really bad on the issue of prostitution.

  • zirreael

    Yay to Ireland! )
    And nope to Fifty Shades.
    It’s kinda symbolic, that one of the most amazing Irish rebel songs starts as follows:
    “Grey said, victory was sure
    Soon the firebrand he’d secure –
    Before he met at Glenmalore
    With Fiach McHugh o’Bourne…” )

    • FierceMild

      Yay! To both Ireland and rebel songs!

  • Blazewarrior

    The fact is Nabokov wrote this book which reinforces mens’ centuries old justification for sexually preying on female children because they are all supposedly ‘sexually voracious!’

  • Kathleen Lowrey

    If Cantor’s research is right and there are brain differences in pedophiles, that does not mean we know *what* is different about their brains. Much of the pleasure of pedophilia seems to be about degradation, the violation of trust, and of innocence destroyed. That is to say, pedophiles might have not so much a “different kind of sexuality” than a pathological orientation toward vulnerability. The idea of “virtuous pedophilia”, then, would be like “virtuous animal torturing” — sure, maybe you only obsessively draw pictures of animals being hurt or only violate latex cats and dogs. You’re still frightening and no one else is required to be “supportive” of you.

    • Cassandra

      Isn’t this “different kind of sexuality” a form of the naturalistic fallacy or appeal to nature or something of that variety? I feel like that’s men in general when it comes to sex — it’s their natural drive and they can’t help it and testosterone made me do it and on and on so we’re haters if we don’t like it. Poor little boo boo babies. I always just say “It’s natural for me to not like it.” If it were so natural and so “evolution” you’d think we women would love being treated like shit. But we don’t. They try to portray us that way in porn and in other ways because it brainwashes us and collectively works to brainwash *them* — it’s the runaway socialization/tradition train from generation to generation — so entrenched it makes me want to barf.

      One more time for the record, dudes, just because it’s “natural” (or you label it as such) doesn’t mean it’s good. “Natural” is code for privilege, a lack of moral backbone, and/or laziness.

      • FierceMild

        And who decides what’s “natural”! Under patriarchy I think we bloody well know who gets to say what is and isn’t natural. Women would never have naturalized this shit. Never.

        • Kendall Turtle

          Women don’t naturalize it either, whenever women gain more power in society age of consent laws become a thing and child marriages drop, I think that’s a good sign that that shit is NOT natural to us lol.

          • FierceMild


  • rosearan

    The recent passing of the Sexual Offences Bill in Ireland is to be applauded. But let’s not forget that Ireland is still one of the few remaining Western countries that criminalises abortion and the only one to enshrine women’s roles as wives and mothers in its Constitution. This shows that countries are full of contradictions on the issue of women’s rights.

    This also applies to Russia, which is far ahead of virtually all Western countries in the regulation and even criminalisation of pornography. However, the reporting of its DV legislation has been repeatedly portrayed in the Western media as the ‘decriminalisation of DV’, when it’s nothing of the sort. The recent legislation was actually an amendment to the legislation passed last year, which brought Russia’s DV laws into line with the European Council on Human Rights. The amendment simply made a first offence in any given year a civic rather than criminal offence, and given a lighter sentence.

    The linked article that reports how DV incidents have more than doubled in one Russian city since the amendment was enacted is devoid of context. For example, the amendment came just before the Russian Orthodox Christmas – Christmas being a time in which DV and family violence significantly increases in most countries. Also, the amendment may have made women more confident in bringing DV charges against their husbands and partners, knowing that it would not put their families through the trauma of a criminal procedure – unless it were to happen again.

    Also, in regard to the link within the article to a Russian tabloid that supposedly argued that ‘If he beats you, it means he loves you’, some BTL commenters who speak Russian reported that the original article made no such claim. It was just reporting some right-wing Japanese anthropologist’s research about testosterone and alpha-male genetic dominance – the usual evolutionary sexism stuff.

    ‘If he beats you, it means he loves you’ is an OLD Russian saying, but it has plenty of equivalents outside of Russia. ‘Women and chops – the more you beat them the better they’ll be’ (German), ‘Clubbing produces virtuous wives’ (Chinese) and ‘Women, like gongs, should be beaten regularly’ (US and England) and of course the ‘rule of thumb’ proverb which supposedly relates to the width of a rod that was legally allowed in beating one’s wife. English Common Law stated as late as the early twentieth century that: ‘The husband is prohibited from using any violence to his wife other than that which lawfully and reasonably belongs to the husband for the due government and correction of his wife.’ Also, many old celebrated Hollywood films – from Gone with the Wind to Rebel without a Cause – pushed the belief that a woman is much happier if her husband or lover physically ‘disciplines’ her.

    This pot–kettle targeting of Russia as some DV perpetrator’s paradise appears to have more to do with the US-led West’s infowars against Russia than any concern for either DV or women’s rights.

  • FierceMild

    Do it!

  • Wren

    Re: 50 Shades of Grey critique
    The author Caitlin Roper’s organization Collective Shout criticizes the pornification of culture, but from what I can see they carefully sidestep any direct condemnation of porn itself, despite quoting Gail Dines research. Sigh.

  • namesareirrelevant

    I hope the paedophilia apologist has a massive stroke, and dies shitting his trousers and gabbling nonsense, in utter agony. No, I really do genuinely hope for this. No, that in no way makes me as bad as him. Yes, it is a perfectly valid response. Yes, it would make the world a better place.

    Even a piece of human filth, such as he is, knows that by allowing rape dolls of children we are condoning rape of children. That’s it, no argument. Rape of children or sexual abuse of children will never and can never be given any measure of leeway of any kind. Child rapists are unfixable, there has never been a proven case of a child rapist being rehabilitated. The best you can say is that they don’t always get caught again when you let them out, but that only means they’ve learned to be better criminals and possibly that the opportunity to rape children again has not presented itself.

    Like with anything else, the brain gives us rewards for doing things we enjoy, which is why so many of us over eat, over drink and over indulge in other harmful activities. To allow a child rapist to indulge in the putrescently immoral practice of raping a child doll is to afford them pleasure at their greatest fantasy – raping a child. That is to encourage them to do it in real life. Yes, it absolutely is.

    I hope he dies, as stated, and soon. And anybody caught manufacturing these dolls or in any way assisting in the distribution of them should be given 25 years to life. As we are all well aware, when society actually makes a point of condemning a practice, that practice is driven down to minimal levels. Which is why rape is still so prevalent, it has in no way been uniformly condemned by society but is winked at at every level from entertainment to the media. Make it very clear that anyone who is even vaguely in favour of these dolls or anything else child rape related is going to be locked up immediately and watch the practice plummet. No, not be driven underground. Plummet.

    There are two positions – pro rights of victims or pro inhuman beasts who assault children. There is no grey area.

    And anybody who thinks that these rape dolls are a good idea is, or even an acceptable idea, makes everybody who is anti pedophilia deeply, deeply suspicious.

    • FierceMild

      And the same goes for rape dolls of women. Why are we so blind to the fact that making life-like fuckable facsimiles of women is JUST AS FUCKING BAD as doing it to children. We aren’t natural fuck dolls anymore than they are.

      It is true that children are a bit more vulnerable than adult women and that they are also (or should be) pre-sexual and as such need and deserve protection. But so do women.

  • Cassandra

    Completely off topic but I have to share:

    Has anyone noticed how quickly the women’s march and Elizabeth Warren’s incident have been made into t-shirts? There is an abundance of “feminist” t-shirts and “Girl power” t-shirts and tote bags and hats, etc. Is there any way to turn it all into a joke better than this? Is nothing off limits to being commercialized? (I know the answer.)

    Of the totes and memes I’ve seen with “She was warned, she was given an explanation, nevertheless she persisted…” I have yet to see one that says “She was given a mansplanation.” Now that would be a good tote.

    But here’s a tote everybody should have:

    I bought one through my Amazon account and you can, too!

    By the way, has anybody heard from Radwonka?

    • melissa

      I was wondering where Radwonka is too. She always had some great, sassy, on point commentary.:) But suddenly all her comments seem to have just disappeared.

      • Meghan Murphy

        How odd!

        • melissa

          Me too. 🙁

      • lk

        I noticed this too! It looked like she changed her username and then it looks like all her comments were just deleted which is unfortunate cuz she had some good ones.

        Maybe she is just taking a little break for the digital world..hope she’s okay!

    • Mar Iguana

      I want a t-shirt that says “Capitalism IS Rape Culture.”

      And, those mug shots of the johns and pimps arrested in Illinois, yikes. What a bunch of butt-ugly cretins. Yet, the male of our species is considered the human standard; it is no wonder the human race is circling the drain. May Mother Nature survive us.

      • shy virago

        That’s brilliant!

  • melissa

    Oh god i know, its insane! How the flying fuck did this happen? Imagine if black people were en mass glorifying, eroticizing white supremacy and willingly living as slaves while calling it a victory for BLM? I mean, Jesus Christ, i don’t know how to process let alone ever imagine undoing this shit show again. Its one thing when the laws are against women,or when they’re religiously indoctrinated, but there’s just something so much more sinister when people, specially “feminist”/ “progressive” people keep promoting and applauding women revering their own chains and a cultural promoting women’s subordination in every way possibly imaginable.

    And yea, slavery, sadism, power, control just screams love! Its not like power, control and violence in interpersonal relationships has anything to typically do with abusive relationship at all. /s

    Notice they always do this. They always describe women’s subordination in highly romanticized, flowery language. Both the Christian right and the left. Same thing with the deterministic language. The Right will say men and women are just born a certain way, therefore its inevitable. While the Left will say how THEY are just born this way(because yea, there must be a slave gene somewhere and its somehow predominately affecting women, while the men are just born to lord over them), by appropriating talking points from lesbians and gays, and there by claiming it as also inevitable, as well as highly offensive to ever question.

    Also, i just feel horrible for the kids that have to grow up in household where mom is constantly treated like a slave.They are no doubt getting a very skewed idea about how men are suppose to treat women. The funny thing is leftist will still hypocritically whine when studies demonstrating unconscious biases and preconceived expectations about women, either in relationships (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chores-by-gender-women_us_57be3226e4b02673444e5a87) or relating to work. (http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/11/18/harvard_business_school_study_it_s_not_kids_but_husbands_that_hold_women.html).They’ll talk about how susceptible kids are to learn from and mimic their parents behavior and relationship dynamic, they’ll point out the life choice differences women/men make depending on their upbringing and the example they had (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/upshot/mounting-evidence-of-some-advantages-for-children-of-working-mothers.html?_r=0) . But none of this suddenly applies here. Nothing wrong with kids growing up watching their dad lording over mom, literally as the “master” of the house.

    • lk

      “Imagine if black people were en mass glorifying, eroticizing white supremacy and willingly living as slaves while calling it a victory for BLM?”
      There was an article on fc that was criticizing pornography and one of the commenters said she was a black woman who liked porn, submission and had fantasies around hiding from the KKK. Then she said it was biology…umm, what? Yes, black women just have a biological urge to be sexually aroused by racism and the Ku Klux Klan!! Obviously, it has nothing to do with social messages about race or sex.

      I found the comment so gross that I could not even respond.

      At this point, I’m over the biology/I’m born this way ideology. ..its just been used to defend so many things that are harmful to society. I feel like its being used to give people a free pass for unethical behavior.

      What kind of makes me laugh about modern liberalism is that it wants to have it both ways- they want to both claim that women are just born like this or that and at the same time say that it is all women’s choices. I’ll at least give conservative and religious ideology some props for consistency- women are just naturally submissive, men are naturally dominant and that’s how god wants it! The end.

      “While the Left will say how THEY are just born this way(because yea, there must be a slave gene somewhere and its somehow predominately affecting women, while the men are just born to lord over them”

      Lol, in addition to the slave gene, there is an I want to worship men gene , an I want to be a wife gene and an I want to be sexy gene that nature put into all women!!

  • Wren

    I stand corrected. Thanks! It’s an excellent statement against the industry.

  • Lisa Tremblay

    Thanks for this link to the CBC article about child sex dolls. Dr. Peter Collins, the forensic psychiatrist in this story argues that the man who ordered the doll from Japan is probably a pedophile. I don’t believe in pedophilia. Men who fantasize about, or act out, sexual abuse of children are ordinary men who learned to sexualize children through socialization and training in masculinity. They weren’t born with a medical condition or a sexual orientation towards children. If their brains are wired differently from men who don’t fantasize about the sexual abuse of children, it’s because thinking and behavior patterns re-wire the brain over time.
    The notion that these anatomically correct child dolls can be used to prevent the sexual abuse of real children makes as much sense as the argument that using pornography can prevent rape. Using the dolls normalizes the sexual abuse of children and, like pornography, will increase desire for more intense and real-life experiences. A man who uses his doll to play pretend child rape may, in fact, seek out a child who looks exactly like his doll.
    According to the psychologist in the story, Dr. Cantor, when a man penetrates a child-like doll, he is not harming a child. Really? I wonder what children would say about that. Children – as a class – have the right not to be sexualized by men even in fantasy or have their bodies cloned into dolls so that men can practice child rape before engaging in the real thing.