Friday, 28 March 2008

Some random linkage

The Swedish law that prosecutes johns and pimps (while decriminalizing prostituting women) has been such a great success that a city council in another country, Scotland, sees this law as a fair way of fighting the atrocious sexual slavery that is called prostitution. Some excerpts from the Scottish Daily Record:

GROUNDBREAKING laws that have almost wiped out prostitution in Sweden could be introduced in Scotland.

The Swedes stopped punishing the prostitutes - and instead criminalised the men who buy sex. [...]

[Glasgow City Council deputy leader] Coleman said: "There's no doubt it has worked in Sweden and there's no reason why it can't work here too.

"There can be no question that prostitution is exploitative and abusive of the women involved.

"Name one other situation where we would put up with endemic violence, abuse, disease, drug addiction, alcoholism, mental health problems, fear and trauma as a way to earn cash?

"The only logical way we can stop the damage suffered by this group of vulnerable women is to cut off the demand for buying sex." [...]

In Sweden, 1650 men have been convicted for buying sex. They faced up to six months in jail but all were fined Stockholm Detective Inspector Jonas Trolle, who is part of the delegation, says indoor prostitution is every bit as harmful to the women.

He said: "You need at least five customers a day for it to be profitable.

"One case I was involved in, the woman took 17 customers one evening and she was not able to walk from the flat afterwards. Is this a question of free will, when you can't even walk?" [...]

In 2006, researchers found Swedish men were least likely of about 30 nationalities to use prostitutes as they considered it unacceptable.

Another phenomenon has been a dramatic fall in sex trafficking. It has fallen to just 200 women, while neighbouring Finland sees 15,000 a year brought across its borders. [...]

Now former prostitutes are treated as victims and helped to find a way out of the trade through retraining and counselling....


Also, it is wonderful to see a radical feminist (like Melissa Farley) being published in the NY Times. It is so so so rare when a radical feminist gets to be published in a major newspaper nowadays. From Melissa Farley and Victor Malarek's excellent op-ed article The Myth of the Victimless Crime:

[...] Whose theory is it that prostitution is victimless? It’s the men who buy prostitutes who spew the myths that women choose prostitution, that they get rich, that it’s glamorous and that it turns women on.

But most women in prostitution, including those working for escort services, have been sexually abused as children, studies show. Incest sets young women up for prostitution — by letting them know what they’re worth and what’s expected of them. Other forces that channel women into escort prostitution are economic hardship and racism. [...]

Whether the woman is in a hotel room or on a side street in someone’s car, whether she’s trafficked from New York to Washington or from Mexico to Florida or from the city to the suburbs, the experience of being prostituted causes her immense psychological and physical harm. And it all starts with the buyer.

Pro-radical feminist man Richard Leader, of Adonis Mirror, has recently written a compelling piece, She will not be Forgotten, on Ruth Christenson, a woman to whom the sexism of pornography has shattered her life:

[...] Perhaps Ruth Christenson is still remembered in quiet vigils in Minneapolis. I hope so. She sure as hell isn’t remembered anywhere else.

Perhaps that’s for the best. If Ruth Christenson were remembered today, she’d be remembered not as a hero — or even as a martyr — but as a crazy woman. A tragic figure, no doubt, but the tragedy would be considered hers to bear alone.

Even people calling themselves feminists, no shortage of men in that number these days, would believe Christenson did what she did out of selfish, personal desperation: an inability to cope with private horrors that have little to do with what the “common woman” experiences. Hormones and brain chemistry. To them, that can be the only reason why she took such a terrible and final action.

Not because sexism shatters women’s lives. [...]

Who would be willing to remember the bravery of Ruth Christenson in a world where even anti-pornography activists are ready to shed the word “feminist” from their organizations in exchange for better funding? [...]

If female bravery of that kind could be celebrated, it would mean that women suffer under patriarchy in the here and now, even surrounded by good men....


And Debs, at The Burning Times, posted an article about a porn report that shows that men still represent the majority of pornography consumers:

"Of the pornography consumers interviewed for The Porn Report, 17 per cent were women and 82 per cent were male..."

Debs also wrote:

All porn is violence against women. The existence of any type of porn is a symptom of a world in which women are seen as commodities, and where violence against women is at epidemic proportions. [...]

For the man, porn is just a normal part of his everyday life, and the women he encounters in his everyday life could easily appear in the porn he watches. It is easier for him that way; he does not have to do any work. The 'normal' women in his porn are the checkout operator and the traffic warden he sees when out and about - the women in his porn are every-woman. Women make a separation for the sake of their own sanity - there are real women, and there are the women in porn. Men make no such distinction - the women in porn are all women everywhere. [...]

I think a far more likely reason for women's [slightly] increased use of porn is a sort of "if you can't beat them, join them" attitude. Women have resigned themselves to the fact that porn is increasingly prevalent in society; it's impossible to escape, so they just play along, because to do otherwise (ie, fight it) is to be seen as 'anti-sex', a prude, frigid, or any number of other meaningless insults. [...]

Studies like this, as I'm sure they don't intend to, do not progress the fight against porn, nor set it back. They just observe....

Finally, I'd like to link to the Carnival Against Pornography and Prostitution's Homepage. There has already been three editions of that Carnival that have been posted so far and some of my writings have been selected a few times for it. The older editions are linked on the top of the sidebar (on the right) of that Carnival blog.

I would like to let my readers know (as you've probably noticed) that I blog intermittently. It is because I need to have enough time to write articles. I'm often busy with work and studies. However, I'm planning on writing more. Don't worry, I ain't going away. There is no way anyone could silence me. I will not be silenced. So please stay tuned and check on my place now and again.

In Sisterhood,

M.H.

2 comments:

JENNIFER DREW said...

Given that pornography has become mainstreamed and 'normal' it is not surprising so many women feel they cannot challenge men's right to consume porn and define women as men's ejaculatory refuse bins. I have read this report and whilst it defends pornography in reality it shows how powerful propaganda is in representing pornography as 'female sexual liberation.' Whenever women's voices are silenced it always results in male-centered definitions of what is and is not supposedly violence against women. But as evidenced by Melissa Farley et al's piece women's voices will not be silenced. Opposition to pornogaphy will never be eradicated but it is hard to challenge this when women continue to be told they are anti-sex, frigid etc. Who benefits from such misogynstic name-calling why the pornography industry and men who consume this vile hatred of women and children.

allecto said...

"Don't worry, I ain't going away. There is no way anyone could silence me."

Glad to hear it. We sisters gotta stay strong. :)