(cross-posted from Life in the Patriarchal Mix)
An article (A good one) was recently published of which a disabled feminist discusses the Liberals and their use (would it be right to call it abuse?) of disabled people to defend the sexual exploitation of women in favor of disabled men’s libidos. This is nothing new with Liberals and their pseudo-analysis of “individual freedom”, sacrificing the needs and concerns of a group of people, normally the oppressed are the targets, for the minute satisfactions of another group, the oppressors. Unfortunately the commentators, I am betting my savings that they are men, do not seem to understand or even argue the author’s main point about her article. These commentors seem to find it perfectly acceptable to abuse women through paid rape as long as the disabled men are happy. I will closely look at the argument that seems to be most popular with these Neo-Liberals.
I know several sex workers, all of whom chose the profession because of the untaxed income and flexible hours.
Unless this John (Yes, I am saying it) can give the names of these women, I will doubt his assertion that women just “choose” to be in the “sex industry” just for the hell of it. I wish this John can prove that women get paid more for “having sex” with these men and not live in desolate poverty for their entire lives. His argument in his comment doesn’t even address the disableism that is often used to prove the “usefulness” of prostitution. You cannot say a statement and then argue that it is factual without any evidence to back it up, that you happen to be male does not make your argument true.
If the first thing you think about when you hear “disabled men are not entitled to sex” is “but those women made a choice!” I am sorry but that is “moving the goal-post.” You are arguing that is not even challenging the person making one argument, you are distracting from the main point. The author of the article argues that saying that disabled people (oops, I mean men) have a “right” to sex by using exploited women because we disabled people are just disgusting things that no person would want to love under normal circumstances as the author writes
The assumption that nobody would ever have sex with a disabled person through personal choice is not only inaccurate, it’s also offensive. An infantilised view of disabled people also contributes to the idea that sex with one of us is wrong or weird, adding to the stigma and prejudice that limit our lives.
The author also argues that the assumption that all disabled people (Men, did it again) need is a sexual partner to be fully human is also insulting to the disabled people and places their worth on how “attractive” they should be as romantic partners albeit through a very narrow scope. This assumption about our “attractiveness” also ignores those who are happily married and have children (though personally I am against the institution of marriage), those who have high paying jobs, or are not shut-ins in some institution where they are fed a diet of horrible hospital-style food and medication. It also makes assumptions that if disabled men are given the option to have “paid sex” with women then they wouldn’t feel so dehumanized or think themselves as less than the Able. If they legitimately believe that feeding into the stereotype of disabled people being sexually unattractive and that only the Able can “help” them will end oppression against disabled people then they would need to re-examine their priorities.
Disabled people do not owe it to non-disabled people to exist so that Liberals can use them as a political crutch. It seems odd that disabled people seem to only be brought up by Neo-Liberals if they are of any use to the Liberal’s selfish agenda; a Neo-Liberal can talk up a storm about ‘freedom of choice’ and ‘human rights’ of the able-bodied and able-minded people but not one sound for the disabled. No discussions about access to education, no programs to get disabled people out of poverty, no discussions about the sexual abuse of disabled women and girls, no discussions about the rampant discrimination that disabled people (whether the disability is physical or mental) often have to deal with to work in society. You will never hear that from any Liberal unless it can increase the credibility or make that Liberal seem charitable.
We are not charity cases and we are not objects to be pitied by those who have never had to live our lives. We are not just things to be used to make a case for the exploitation and abuse of women, especially women in the sexploitation industry. We are not some monolithic group who needs the patronizing and dehumanizing words from the Able to make us look human. The Able most certainly DO NOT have a right to take our terms, such as ableism, and use them against the people who are fighting alongside us. The women who are prostituted also do not owe to the disabled men to exist as a mere service, women in general do not owe it to ANY MAN to be sexually subservient to them. Women should not have to sexually “service” men in an “equal” society; quite frankly I find this to be an equal insult to the women who are prostituted, it is a sad state of affairs when women have to coddle a man’s ego (and his boner) merely because the disabled man and if he does not get what he thinks he is entitled to that he is being “discriminated against” or is “being denied his right.”
Women are denied their right to live a life free of violence and hatred every single day, through various factors and these institutions are created up to make sure women stay in that place. You have to ask only a few former “sex workers” to get the full picture and the pattern that this industry and its CEOs (pimps) follow to keep women subservient and dependent. To use the disabled man’s “right to sex” as an argument for her continued servitude only rubs salt on her psychological and physical wounds especially when the possibility that she was abused as a child are likely. Unless these “pro-sex” Liberals are willing to try to not be obtuse when it comes to their real intentions and how they actually view both trafficked women and disabled people then they shouldn’t speak as if they know about the issues that affect disabled people.
Just because the man is disabled that does not mean he should be allowed special privileges to sexually abuse a woman because no woman finds him attractive; the disabled (including myself) already have plenty of issues to deal with and the right to “have sex” with a trafficked woman, who is in dire circumstances and trying to survive in a patriarchal society, is not one of them. It is not the woman’s job to take the blame for everything that happens to disabled and to alleviate that brief moment of discomfort simply because women are raised to serve men’s every whim and desire.
Life in the Patriarchal Matrix: I mainly blog about feminism, misogyny, disability and activism.