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  1. #1
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    I'm in favour of abolition. Here's some quotes from the corbyn thread (who is in favour of decriminalisation, as is mr tea)

    Mr Tea: Baboon's hit the nail on the head - the debate does tend to be dominated by people with no experience of sex work who think they can speak on behalf of sex workers
    Maybe so, but the issue effects everybody. You don't have to have direct experience of sex-work to have an opinion. You DO need to be informed though, and there is plenty of research to show that decriminalization/legalization actually does nothing to improve safety, 'monitoring' by the law remains woefully inadequate, the majority of violence still goes unreported, it does not result in safer sex practices, and prostitutes are still stigmatized and discriminated against by society. These are all myths, playing into the hands of organised crime.

    I've read that in Scandinavia, a lot of prostitutes are highly critical of the so-called Nordic model (selling sex is legal but buying it is illegal) because punters are naturally afraid of prosecution and therefore give false names, which just makes everything riskier for the prostitutes. I believe the Collective of English Prostitutes takes basically the same stance.
    so what? Should we then just give up on trying to target the demand? Don't you see this is exactly what the johns and criminal organizations who drive the sex industry want so they can maintain the status quo? And of the course the men that 'visit' prostitutes who feel they have the right to buy another persons body.

    as for the prostitutes in favour of decriminalization/legalization: most of the arguments I' ve read have failed to convince me they're fully aware of the true extent of the damage caused by the sex industry, which is under the complete control of organized crime (and is surely to remain so even if it was decriminalized/legalised, as has happened in the Netherlands, Australia, NZ). Prostitutes are caught in this trap, and inevitably often become mouthpieces for those that profit financially from the sex industry - pimps, traffickers, the mafias. Sadly the vast majority of prostitutes do not speak out because they live in fear, or are silenced by the criminal gangs that exploit them.

    Really I see it as symptomatic of an actually fairly reactionary school of academic feminism that simultaneously infantilizes women (by assuming they know what's best for sex workers and can speak for them)
    Strange that you of all people take an anti-academic line. You rightly say that more prostitutes' voices should be heard but that's hardly feminists' fault. Lots of research is carried out, they're not just making this stuff up!

    The abolitionist arguments I've read (from feminists or not) are backed up with research and the horrific statistics of abuse and murder caused by the sex industry pretty much speak for themselves. And the suggestion that abolitionists are nothing more than Victorian prudes is incredibly dismissive, offensive even. This is about the normalisation of the commercialisation of women's bodies, not squeamishness over sex.

    You use the word 'infantilise' - sadly, many prostitutes ARE practically infants, too young to understand what they are getting forced into. they need responsible people to speak for them and help them escape the trap. decriminalisation in New Zealand for example has done practically nothing to prevent 13 year old girls selling their bodies on the streets, and the men arrested for buying sex from minors still receive light sentences. THIS is what happens when people like corbyn decide what is 'best' for prostitutes.

    ...and demonizes men (by conflating sexual desire, which is very often more about intimacy than it is about sex, in the case of men who visit prostitutes) with violence. Or it's just good old Victorian prudery dressed up as feminism
    No, it YOU who are confusing 'sexual desire' and 'intimacy' with the act of paying for sex. Women should not be made responsible and made to suffer for men's inability to build safe, sexual relationships based on respect, without having to buy another person's body. Quoting Rachel Moran (a survivor of prostitution who wrote the book 'Paid for'), 'there are three types of john: those who assume the women they buy have no human feelings; those who are conscious of a woman's humanity but choose to ignore it; and those who derive sexual pleasure from reducing the humanity of women they buy'.

    I can find a certain amount of sympathy for some men who pay for sex (but certainly not for most of them), but this pales in comparison to the injustice against women. I DO agree that there needs to be much more research into johns, of which there is actually very little compared to the vast amount of research into the prostitutes themselves.

    One thing is clear: women often do not have a choice, but men who pay for sex ALWAYS do.
    Last edited by Benny B; 01-05-2016 at 10:28 AM.

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    baboon2004: I don't even know clearly what I think about this issue, other than what's most painfully apparent is how infrequently sex workers themselves are consulted about their thoughts on the issue of decriminalisation, rather than others speaking 'for' them (sometimes/often based upon the idea that a shared gender is enough for one to act as a spokesperson for all women, as though no other lines of division between people exist [also on a side note, fact that big proportion of sex workers in UK are men seems often to be completely forgotten in the debate]). As such, this is worth reading: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics...y-corbyn-money
    Yes men can be victims too but I cant help feeling this is all a distraction from the main issue, which HAS to be one of gender. Of course feminists must speak ‘for’ women, or what is it good for? The idea is to raise awareness of the exploitation that is behind the industry, and explode the many myths around decriminalization . What percentage of sex workers are men? How many women pay for sex with men? It is overwhelmingly women who are the victims of trafficking, exploitation, abuse and murder.
    Last edited by Benny B; 01-05-2016 at 10:36 AM.

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    http://www.nswp.org/resource/nswp-co...ts-and-the-law

    from an association of sex workers' organisations, so they have a claim to be representing their voices (though there are some who challenge this and suggest that organising cannot be separated from exploitation), a lot of it seems to follow on quite obviously once you've got past the taboos.
    Last edited by sufi; 01-05-2016 at 11:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny B View Post
    Yes men can be victims too but I cant help feeling this is all a distraction from the main issue, which HAS to be one of gender. Of course feminists must speak ‘for’ women, or what is it good for? The idea is to raise awareness of the exploitation that is behind the industry, and explode the many myths around decriminalization . What percentage of sex workers are men? How many women pay for sex with men? It is overwhelmingly women who are the victims of trafficking, exploitation, abuse and murder.
    I was only making the point about men as a side point, and obvs agree that the power dynamic for women sex workers is completely different, and agree with your last statement. However, it is important to be cognisant of the scale of male sex work (eg this study http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Document...-in-the-uk.pdf suggests 33% of all sex workers in UK are men; I've seen others claim up to 50%, but can't find the appropriate link now).

    "Of course feminists must speak ‘for’ women, or what is it good for? " I'm not 100% sure what you mean here, but I was questioning the right of any particular woman to speak 'on behalf of all women' while clearly not being much bothered what adult women (again, obvs the situation is very different when minors are involved) actually engaged in sex work think about their lives.

    As far as abolition goes, as John suggests above, it seems impossible to talk about this practically in separation from measures to guarantee everyone an economic safety net.
    Last edited by baboon2004; 01-05-2016 at 06:55 PM.

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    Sorry i havent read that document yet, but what do you consider to be the taboos?
    From a look at their list of 8 rights, it doesnt seem like any of them can be achieved by decriminalisation or legalisation. On the contrary, it would play into the hands of the organised crime groups who control the sex industry.

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    reading my post back i'm kicking myself for parroting the term 'sex worker'. much more accurate to just say 'prostitute'. selling your body to 5 or 6 complete strangers a day for years on end is exploitation, no matter how much they get paid. if it is to be considered work, then it is unlike any other.

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    How is abolition even an option?

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    Also, I remember this as being fairly nuanced:


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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    How is abolition even an option?


    It is an ultimate aim to be worked towards. Accepting the status quo would be defeatism. Decriminalisation is a step in the wrong direction-the normalisation of paying for sex.



    If abolition was an option, would you choose it?

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    Well I'd like to see the abolition of wage labour generally.

    Short of that, probably not. It just seems unrealistic and has the whiff of men criminalising women, which is maybe worse than exploiting them?

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    Don't see what's 'weird' about using the word abolition. If like me you believe that there is something fundamentally abusive about any act of buying a person for sex, and that decriminalization or legalization would only make abuse worse, I'm not sure what else to call it.
    And just because lots of people really really like and want something (like a spoilt child) does not mean it is acceptable. Comparisons to the abolition of illegal drugs and alcohol are unhelpful - what you call 'important' differences' between them are important enough to cloud the issue at hand - and I'd argue that in the case of prostitution there is even more at stake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny B View Post
    if like me you believe that there is something fundamentally abusive about any act of buying a person for sex...
    Well, I don't, or at least I see it as no more abusive than paying someone to drive you around, mow your lawn, do your taxes or whatever. (And 'paying' is the correct word here - 'buying' is ridiculous hyperbole.)

    I was going to write a big post here explaining my position, but it's probably not worth it if we're coming at it from such totally different angles. All I'll say further is that I think the impulse some 21st-century liberals feel that prostitution is necessarily this hateful and involuntary state of desperation that the women need to be 'rescued' from is a direct descendant of the impulse that made 'whore' and 'son of a whore' insults in the first place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    I was going to write a big post here explaining my position, but it's probably not worth it if we're coming at it from such totally different angles.
    If you can be assed I would be interested in your take.

    My intuitive position was similar to yours (comparisons with alcohol abolition, war on drugs, etc.) and so I was actually pro-decriminalisation. Thanks to Benny bringing it up I did a quick bit of research (those studies I posted earlier in the thread) which has changed my mind (though I'm by no means certain and of course I'll have to do more than some cursory google searching).

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    Come on, having sex with multiple men who you have no sexual desire for day in day out to fatten the pockets of exploitative criminals is not the same as any other 'service'.
    Last edited by Benny B; 01-05-2016 at 08:20 PM.

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