Reweaving

Identity, sexuality, spirituality, queerness, radical feminism, honesty

Crappy dialouge and asumptions

Posted by Philomela on March 18, 2008

Renegade Evolution made a post in which she said

Oh, and there are sooooo many people who just need to fuck off and shut their mouths. I am pondering a new policy…if you’ve never done sex work or been prostituted…you need to just shut the fuck up. You are not Judge Dredd, you are not the law.

In fact, you want to know what a lot of sex workers say, even unhappy ones? “I hate peoples assumptions about me”

And though I disagree with her position on sex work I totally agree with what shes saying here, because plenty of people who have never been involved in the sex trade feel free to tell those who have what its like for them and how they feel about it.

But I wanted to build some bridges and have a real dialouge about it so I wrote

But where does that leave those of us who have been prostituted and still want people who buy sex criminalised?

Though I do agree with the assumption thing, it never occurs to anybody ever that I was prostituted. Because that obviously doesnt happen to women who are (now) educated and middle class.

and Ernest green replied to me with

And anonymous, your personal desire to see sex buyers criminalized does not take precedence over the human cost to other women of such retrogressive ideas. Check out what Swedish sex workers, linked from this blog just a few threads down, think of that great idea.

So where does that leave you? On the opposite side from every sex worker who hasn’t had your good fortune and still needs to make a living in what is already a very hard business.

I expect ignorant comments like these on some sites, but when they crop up here, that’s truly a dark day.

This just pissed me off, I know I was lucky to get out but the word “fortune” in no way relates to any of my experiences as a prostituted woman, because yeah I’m just so lucky to have been repeatedly gang raped and beaten up for two years, to have had knives and bottles used on me, to have had a broken rib, a forced miscarriage, to be living with post traumatic stress disorder, what is “fortunate” about that.

When people come and want to dialog honestly and you know maybe learn stuff, making massive assumptions about their lives and experiences and completely dismissing them means they are probably going to stop listening to you.

For my part I do think sex work is not good for anyone involved or a wider society but i also think people involved in sex work should have access to health care, education, housing, and be able to be safe and get their safety concerns taken seriously.

Obviously some women do choose to do sex work but if all women in the world had access to other jobs and financial security and places to go so they could get out of the industry then I’d be more comfortable believing that those that say they choose it actually do choose it rather than it being the only option or the best of several bad options.

I know I need to learn more about those working in the sex trade, and that’s why I read Rens blog and Boundnotgagged but that doesn’t mean my own views should be dismissed, if its important to listen to all people who’ve been involved in the sex industry then we should be listening to those we disagree with also.

Advertisements

7 Responses to “Crappy dialouge and asumptions”

  1. Djiril said

    Good post!
    As an outsider looking in, I generally find the arguments for complete decriminalization more convincing, but I also sometimes wince at seeing how some of the advocates of this viewpoint treat the opposition. There is much too much bad will on both sides of this debate, even when it seems that both sides have some of the same goals (ending abuse and trafficking, ect.)

  2. Yeah, I hear that. EG is, well…yeah. That’s Nina Hartley’s husband, he’s coming off a lot of really hostile interactions with a lot of “anti” people, but yeah, that made me wince even before I knew that’s where you were coming from. and no, as someone in the (legal, upmarket, etc.) porn business I don’t think that what you’re talking about is really his area.

    I guess my own concern is that the Swedish model ultimately doesn’t really help with the stigmatization problem, and it becomes harder to get those things–safety, rights, genuine choices–if it’s still de facto an illegal occupation and you can’t organize.

    I can definitely see how the kind of “legalization” where the government sets up even more rules and regulations and crams people into special sectioned off parts of the city, brothels, etc. could cause at least as many problems as it solves. that’s not what people mean by decrim.

    What I’d like to see: decrim, everything else you say here, and added teeth to laws for punishing abusers.

    Because what you’re talking about here, to me–well, shit, yeah, that’s (horrific) abuse, and I’m very sorry that happened to you.

    And I get why it’d be exasperating to hear people talking blithely about the joys of pole dancing or women-friendly erotica or whatever when that’s your experience, because what does that have to do with your experience and how does that help anything?

    I guess from my POV, I find it sort of exasperating when that stuff is conflated with serious abuse from the anti position as well, because I see that happening a lot.

    Anyway, yeah, on the outsider, please to STFU tip, I just want to say I’m glad you’re writing this, and also some links you might be interested in, dunno if you know ’em. well, the BnG crew, Jill Brenneman maybe in particular, maybe not (she’s had similar experiences). also dunno if she’s a regular there, but Matilda Bernstein Sycamore has at least one post about her experience as a transwoman who’s also been a sex worker, I’ll see if I can find the link.

    oh, and you know Victoria Marinelli, right? she’s not posting much about this stuff, but I think she’s been on a similar journey/process, is still very committed to helping prostituted women and girls.

    http://victoriamarinelli.com/

    also, you might be interested in the work these folks are doing: Ubuntu!

    http://iambecauseweare.wordpress.com/a-statement-about-sex-work-sex-workers-and-sexual-assault/

  3. oh, found the MBS piece:

    http://nobodypasses.blogspot.com/2007/09/prostitute-problem-sex-work-and-self.html

  4. Out Loud said

    Thanks Belle and thanks for the links.

    The think is I’m not convinced that decriminalisation would get rid of the stigma either

    I guess from my POV, I find it sort of exasperating when that stuff is conflated with serious abuse from the anti position as well, because I see that happening a lot.

    I think partly this is an internet thing. people tend to make sweeping generalisations and assumptions, I really think if both pro and anti decriminalisation groups sat in a room together a whole lot more would get done and we would see that we have alot of the same aims.I mean as feminists surely the point is so women can be as safe and empowered as possible so there must be some things we agree on.

    and you know I kind of think, if someone says they are happy and okay doing sex work then if they have housing education etc and exit routes then I’m not going to kidnap them you know? I’m not the boss of anyone I just think that lots of women who are involved in prostitution do want to get out (but then there are other issues there as well, like we need to make sure all women are okay doing what they are doing, like if they arn’t involved in sex work are the alternatives working insane hours for very little pay in really unsafe conditions? what are radical feminists doing about that? are those women less important to them)

  5. Out Loud said

    thank Djiril

    yeah I think both sides need to talk to each other and see where they meet

  6. Well, I definitely don’t think decrim by itself would get rid of the stigma, absolutely. I think it’s a starting point, not a solution. I think a lot of other stuff needs to be done, ideally led by the sex workers and/or prostituted themselves. I’m just kind of leery of the legal grey area the Swedish model puts it in, the ramifications, you know.

    “and you know I kind of think, if someone says they are happy and okay doing sex work then if they have housing education etc and exit routes then I’m not going to kidnap them you know? I’m not the boss of anyone I just think that lots of women who are involved in prostitution do want to get out (but then there are other issues there as well, like we need to make sure all women are okay doing what they are doing, like if they arn’t involved in sex work are the alternatives working insane hours for very little pay in really unsafe conditions? what are radical feminists doing about that? are those women less important to them)”

    exactly.

    as for it only being an online thing: mmm, well…it might be partly that, but also I think people have to -want- to listen, you know, and some people…really don’t.

    I think online has its pros and its cons, you know…

  7. or, well, it’s late and I won’t go too far into it, just: when I said “anti,” I think…yeah, definitely I think people with different positions on policy could & should get together and have a productive discussion. But it sounds like you’re basically coming from the position of “harm reduction,” which I’m down with, and yeah, I think that’s a meeting point, even if we might differ as to other things.

    but…yeah, I’ll have to flesh all this out later.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: