Smarmy Alligator

Politics, pop culture, and self-deprecation

with one comment

There is a lot in here that’s true, and a lot in here that’s ignorant. People think they can eliminate prostitution, but that’s impossible if their understanding of it doesn’t become a little more nuanced.

I wonder sometimes if it will ever be possible to eliminate it completely. The pimp guy quoted at the end of the article has a point when he says that this stuff goes back a long time (they don’t call it the oldest profession for nothing). But does the belief that “some women like to be exploited” have to be a part of it? Would prostitution be less wrong if pimps were eliminated, and women had control over the selling of their own bodies? If the violence and coercion weren’t part of it?

I haven’t really thought about any of this since I was in school. It’s always been something I was very opinionated about, and reading articles like this, where the complications remain under the surface the whole time, can be frustrating. But it’s good to know that there are some things that politicians are willing to set aside ideological differences for.

In a Shift, Anti-Prostitution Effort Targets Pimps and Johns


Written by laura k

December 15, 2005 at 3:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. There’s nothing especially nuanced about the fact that the word prostitute is a universal insult whether applied to a man or a woman that derives its meaning from the type example: a woman sexually subordinated, humiliated,and routinely subject to violence by men who sell or buy her.Prostitution is an institutionalized violation of women’s human rights made routine by joke laws prohibiting it and cynically euphemized as “the oldest profession” and a “service to the community.” (Name another profession or community service for which sexual assault is the job description.)Like attacks on women’s access to abortion, prostitution does serve a social purpose – to enforce women’s subordination to men by targeting for invasion, discrimination, and abuse women’s reproductive system, the physical feature by which men distinguish and distance themselves from women.In the case of both abortion and prostitution, men make and selectively enforce the laws and frame the public discourse about these issues.While it is true that the attack on abortion is the special game of players on the Right and protection of prostitution is the special responsibility of players on the Left, the fact is that men as a class work together to keep the game going because the control, subordination, and exploitation of women pays off socially and economically for all men alike, just as racism pays off for whites as a class.Given the self-serving coalition uniting ACLU folks, pimps, pornographers, and publishers’ lobbies, (not to mention the ACLU’s teaming up with the Religious Right to defeat increases in the direct mail postal rates)it was meaningless for the Post article to trot out the trite phrase “unlkely coalition” to refer to the feminists, evangelicals, human rights activists and law enforcement personnel who support legislation that at last promises to focus on the source of the prostitution industry – the buyers who demand prostituted sex and the pimps who procure the merchandise to meet that demand.Keeping up the supply of this highly perishable commodity requires that certain conditions for developing it be maintained: plenty of sexually abused children and adolescents, plenty of pornography to model and normalize sexual exploitation of girls and women, and plenty of women without economic resources or hope – preferably drugged.Laura K. asks if “prostitution would be less wrong” if women actually did like to be exploited, if pimps were eliminated, and women had control over their own bodies – or if prostitution were decriminalized. But that would not be the prostitution that the john market demands.Sweden got the legislation right in its recent law defining prostitution as violence against women or other prostituted persons and criminalizing the purchase of sexual services.Ann Jordan and other lobbyists for prostitution under the guise of “sex work” who are quoted in the Washington Post article use the same old specious argument used long ago by opponents of women’s right to equal protection of the law, that ending prostitution would not cure women’s poverty (although it would certainly remove one motivation for keeping women poor) or, for that matter, cure the common cold.Although feminists have no illusions that the evangelicals and other men quoted in the article have suddenly given up their fondness for class privilege over women, the current legislation’s more honest view of prostitution as driven by men’s demand rather than women’s depravity, is worth affirming.If anyone still believes the myth of the happy hooker/high priced call girl, check out the following reality-based websites: http://www.prostitution research.comwww.sage.orgwww.catwinternational.orgTwiss B.

    Twiss Butler

    December 17, 2005 at 12:50 am

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