Boys getting off on the debasement of girls by @meltankardreist

Cross-posted from: Melinda Tankard Reist
Originally published: 01.11.16

The Courier-Mail is to be commended for its series on the hypersexualisation of our young people — especially the impacts on children by allowing them to be exposed to porn even before their first kiss.

What has been documented here in the Generation Sext campaign is what I’m hearing everywhere I go.

gensext

Educators, child welfare groups, childcare workers, mental health bodies, medicos and parents are reeling.

All are struggling to deal with the proliferation of hypersexualised imagery and its impacts on the most vulnerable — children who think what they see in porn is what real sex looks like.

They tell me about children using sexual language, children touching other children inappropriately, children playing “sex games” in the schoolyard, children requesting sexual favours, children showing other children porn on their devices, children distressed by explicit images they came across while searching an innocent term, children exposed to porn “pop ups” on sites featuring their favourite cartoon characters or while playing online games.
Read more Boys getting off on the debasement of girls by @meltankardreist

An Argument for Excluding Men from the Prostitution Debate, by @helensaxby11

Cross-posted from: Not the news in brief
Originally published: 19.09.16

I’m beginning to think that men shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion on the sex trade, let alone be in charge of deciding the legislation around it. In the last few weeks we have found out that Keith Vaz is a punter, that the Lib Dems are happy with the idea of prostitution being on the careers curriculum at school, and that Jeremy Corbyn just doesn’t care that much:

corbyn-on-prostitution


Read more An Argument for Excluding Men from the Prostitution Debate, by @helensaxby11

In the Frame – a critical look at the linguistic framing of current debates on prostitution

Cross-posted from: Trouble & Strife
Originally published: 01.05.16

Debbie Cameron takes a critical look at the linguistic framing of current debates on prostitution.

Let’s start with a question. Are you pro-sex or anti-sex?

Maybe you’re thinking: ‘of course I’m not anti-sex, who the hell would be against sex?’

Or maybe you’re thinking: ‘Hang on a minute, aren’t those terms a bit loaded?’

And of course, they are. But that comes with the territory. It’s in the nature of political arguments to be conducted in loaded language. The proverbial ‘battle for hearts and minds’ is always, among other things, a war of words.

‘Pro-sex’ (or ‘sex positive’) and ‘anti-sex’ are shorthand labels for political positions on a set of issues (including pornography and prostitution) which have divided feminists since the 19th century. ‘Anti-sex’ is what the ‘pro-sex’ camp call the people on the other side of the argument: it’s not what the other side call themselves. (Because who the hell would be against sex?)

But the competing terms in a political argument aren’t always straightforward opposites like ‘pro-/anti-sex’. In debates on abortion, the opposing camps are most commonly labelled ‘pro-choice’ (supporting women’s right to choose whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy) and ‘pro-life’ (defending the sanctity of human life and the rights of unborn children). Each side has chosen a label that suits its own argument, and both have been relatively successful in getting others, including the media, to respect their terminological preferences.
Read more In the Frame – a critical look at the linguistic framing of current debates on prostitution

Why sex workers should be part of sexual violence campaigns by @alisonphipps

Cross-posted from: genders, bodies, politics
Originally published: 15.09.15

CN: some of the articles this piece links to contain extremely offensive ideas about sex workers.

I have been asked a number of times how my work around ‘lad culture’ and sexual violence in higher education corresponds to my support of sex industry decriminalisation. The implication, which elicits arguments commonly made by abolitionist feminists, is often that the two are contradictory, that in supporting workers in the sex industry I am tacitly condoning the objectification of womenand male sexual entitlement which feeds misogyny and violence. This may sound like good feminist common sense. However, I see it as a facile interpretation of both the causes of violence against women and what it means to support sex workers’ labour rights. This is problematic on a number of levels, not least because it betrays an exclusion from feminist anti-violence campaigning of some of the most vulnerable women in our society, whose primary demand is to be able to work in safety.
Read more Why sex workers should be part of sexual violence campaigns by @alisonphipps

Selling Sex at Rhodes University by @sianfergs

Cross-posted from: Sian Fergs
Originally published: 24.10.15

Originally published as part of a university assignment.

With the price of tertiary education in South Africa being notoriously high, more and more Rhodes University students are turning to the sex industry in order to survive financially.

Like many other students at Rhodes University, Angela* and Lindi*need to work part-time in order to support themselves financially.  But while most of their peers work in local restaurants or shops, Angela and Lindi are sex workers who provide services to Grahamstown’s elite businessmen.

They began doing sex work together in their first year at Rhodes University. “We advertised ourselves as escorts online. It started as a joke, but when we got offers, we thought it could be something worth trying,” Angela says.

From there on, they found sex work to be relatively lucrative and easy work. “We give sex away for free anyway. What’s the harm in being paid?” Lindi reasons. Both of them are currently doing Honours courses. “Our families are not rich and we would struggle to pay for our studies otherwise,” she says.
Read more Selling Sex at Rhodes University by @sianfergs

Enforcing Northern Ireland’s New Swedish-Style Sex Purchase Law – A Sex Worker’s Story

Cross-posted from: Ruth Jacobs
Originally published: 19.11.14

A rainy night in Belfast. Cold and wet with a wind whipping round the corners of the barren streets where women used to stand. How things have changed. A decade ago, even on such a horrible early winter’s night, there would have been activity, but the law changed and drove the women away. Many moved inside, others stood in darker corners by derelict houses or under battered trees in city parks, waiting for the cars.

Now, the law’s about to change again. Protesting that they don’t want to criminalise the women – just the men who seek out the women – the gentle Sinn Fein folk demanded that the old rule against loitering for the purposes of prostitution be struck down.

We talked about this, a few of us, at the quaintly but tautologically-named Commercial Sex-workers’ Clinic recently. The wonderful woman and man who run the service rolled their eyes. They didn’t want Clause 6 of Morrow’s Bill and they certainly didn’t think this ‘concession’ was going to fool anyone.


Read more Enforcing Northern Ireland’s New Swedish-Style Sex Purchase Law – A Sex Worker’s Story

Submission to the consultation on the Prostitution Law Reform (Scotland) Bill from the Nordic Model Information Network

Cross-posted from: Charlotte Proudman
Originally published: 30.11.15

The Nordic Model Information Network is a global alliance of researchers with deep and systematic expertise in researching the dynamics of prostitution and the sex industry, trafficking and violence against women. We write in response to the consultation on the Prostitution Law Reform (Scotland) Bill, and we argue for the adoption of the Nordic Model. We do this in accord with the 2014 Resolution 1983 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly “Prostitution, trafficking and modern slavery in Europe”, and the (Honeyball) Resolution of the European Parliament, “Sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact of gender equality”, both of which recommended by overwhelming majorities the approach of addressing demand as best legislative practice throughout the European Union.

Our research is grounded in contemporary evidence including, importantly, the testimony of survivors of the prostitution system, as well as drawing on historical and philosophical inquiry. Many of us have worked directly with prostituted women. We have individual and collective links with a wide variety of organisations working for the abolition of prostitution as an institution of gender inequality and exploitation. We believe it is important to signal very clearly that our position on prostitution is not grounded in a moralistic approach, or in any kind of hostility to women in the prostitution system. Nor is our position linked to considerations about maintaining ‘public order’. Our concern is centrally with the human rights of women in protecting the dignity of all women equally, and with an end to all forms of the subordination and degradation of women.

We unequivocally support the removal of criminal sanctions for women who solicit sex and the strengthening of laws against coercion in the sex industry. On this basis we are in support of law reform that decriminalises solicitation and that focuses on women’s safety. We do not, however, support the general aim of the Bill to reform the law on prostitution in Scotland along the New Zealand model. We set out our reasons for this below. We think it is important from the outset to clarify and correct some of the misinformation, in particular about the Nordic Model, noted in the Consultation Paper.


Read more Submission to the consultation on the Prostitution Law Reform (Scotland) Bill from the Nordic Model Information Network

Is Amnesty Throwing us all Under the Bus? by Not the news in brief

Cross-posted from: Not the news in brief
Originally published: 07.08.15

Amnesty’s draft proposal to decriminalise all aspects of the sex trade is being debated this week and there have been numerous articles, blogs, research reports, comments and tweets about it all over the media. There is an enormous amount of research and counter-research which seems to prove one thing and then proves another, depending on whose interpretation you read, and which side you’re on. Funnily enough, despite the strong feelings on both sides of the argument, and the seemingly unbridgeable gulf between us, we do actually agree on the main premise, which is that the (mainly) women who provide sexual services to (mainly) men should be decriminalised. You wouldn’t know that from the decrim lobby, but it’s true! Feminists opposing the Amnesty International proposal are doing so, not because we want the women in prostitution to be punished in any way, but because we want the men who exploit the women to be held accountable. Full decriminalisation, however, would mean that all ‘sex-workers’ would be free to work legally with no restraints, and that includes pimps, brothel owners, strip club managers and other people who make money out of women’s sexual services. It’s that aspect which causes the conflict.
Read more Is Amnesty Throwing us all Under the Bus? by Not the news in brief

Poldark, Prostitution and Protein World

Cross-posted from: Not the news in brief
Originally published: 16.05.15

In recent weeks several public conversations and debates have taken place on subjects that primarily affect women and girls: objectification, body-shaming, the sex trade…the usual suspects. A new way of minimising the harm of these practices for women seems to have emerged, in the form of claiming they are all gender-neutral, or at least ignoring the aspect of gender, and therefore erasing the equality issue. It’s been done before of course, notably in regard to domestic violence (brilliantly dismissed as an argument by Karen Ingala Smith here), but as a way of silencing feminist debate it seems to be growing in popularity: #NotallMen is being joined by #Don’tForgetTheMen! Men who want us to recognise that they are not *all* bad also want us to believe that they share *equally* in the oppression.

First there was the Student Sex Work Project by Swansea University. This study, based on a self-selecting online questionnaire, found that there was parity between male and female students doing ‘sex work’ and that this should have implications for the services provided to offer support to these students. There was a lot wrong with this survey, primarily to do with the methods used and the stated aims – unsurprisingly it concluded that ‘stigma’ was one of the most significant downsides of the work (as opposed to, say, threat of violence), and, more surprisingly, that ‘sexual enjoyment’ was one of the motivations to go into the trade. This is much less surprising when you note that significantly more male than female students had responded to the survey with a positive response to the question of whether or not they were involved in ‘sex work’ and that the definition of ‘sex work’ included porn acting. A lack of scepticism over this blatantly unrealistic result further discredited the project findings and, bar a couple of newspaper reports, it sank without trace.
Read more Poldark, Prostitution and Protein World