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> "porn: Is It Cock-blocking Feminism?", All About Feminism and Sex Work
erinjane
post Jul 25 2006, 11:16 AM
Post #1


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Posts: 1,301
From: Winnipeg


One of the touchiest subjects between feminists is the relationship to sex work/porn/stripping/etc. Rather then further derail the Porn and Boys thread (but you can check it out for a bit of background http://www.bust.com/lounge/index.php?showtopic=52071&hl= ) come on in to this thread and share your thoughts.

What do you define as sex work? Are you pro/against? Why? Do you have a background in it, know anyone involved, are you involved? As Pixie asked, Does anyone see it as conforming to the sterotypes that feminists are against? Does it hurt or hinder feminism?
Just a few questions to get us thinking. So throw out some thoughts!

*I'm just running out the door but I wanted to get this going before I left. I'll be back hopefully this evening to throw in some of my opinions.* smile.gif


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doodlebug
post Jul 25 2006, 11:07 PM
Post #2


I know it's only rock 'n' roll. But I like it.
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Um...just want to clarify...while prostitution is theoretically legal in Canada, practising prostitution is NOT. The Criminal Code prohibits all forms of public communication for the purpose of prostitution, which makes legally engaging in it almost impossible. It does, in theory, place equal legal peril upon johns and pimps, but this has not translated into any real equal justice. Sex workers, who are mostly women, still bear the burden of legal retribution.

I also believe that survival sex - women (and children) engaging in sex for a meal or a safe place to sleep for the night - must be included in the definition of prostitution, even though it is perfectly "legal" (for women, anyway, if not children).

I work in a women's centre. A large number of women who access us are street-involved women, many of whom are involved in the sex trade. In my job, I provide woman-centred information, referral, support, and advocacy to any woman/child who asks for it, including sex workers.

I do NOT support legalization, because I know there are welfare caseworkers who would have no problem telling women: "There's work out there, go get it." I also believe legalization would provide another avenue for the state and private businesses to control and regulate women's bodies, potentially to the detriment of women's health and personal freedom. Legalization also doesn't put an end to women (and children) working illegally, if they don't meet regulatory standards for "legal" prostitution work...such legal divisions could actually drive these women (and children) underground, making it harder for them to access legal protections against abuse and exploitation.

I do support decriminalization. The main reason I support it is because removing prostitution from the criminal justice system would allow for an environment where sex workers could organize, be more independent, and have more guaranteed protections from pimps, abusive clients, abusive police officers, and others. It would also make it much harder for communities and governments to keep their heads in the sand about the resources sex workers need.

I can't really say whether or not sex work is empowering to women, mainly because it's not up to me to determine what is empowering for another woman. I have never engaged in any aspect of sex work, so I have no personal experience to draw from. I have huge issues with the poverty and violence that perpetuates most of the problems related to the sex trade, but I've also heard some sexual abuse survivors say that engaging in sex work (not "just" prostitution, but also activities like stripping or making porn) is the first time in their lives they felt empowered about their bodies and their sexuality, so what can I say to that? I also believe there are cases where legitimate "healing" can be gained by clients of sex workers, and let's face it, while it's often thought that men who hire prostitutes are sad and lonely and/or "creeps," some people just cannot access regular sexual companionship, for many reasons, which may include disability, appearance, or surviving childhood sexual abuse. If it were me, and I were genuinely helping someone on a healing journey, I might end up feeling pretty empowered by it.

I can say that most women (and children) in my community who engage in sex for money are doing so to support themselves and their children first, and their addictions second. Please note that I'm not saying all sex workers are addicts...I'm actually trying to dispel a myth. In most cases where addictions exist, the addictions came about as a way to cope with the lifestyle - the idea that people enter the sex trade in order to support addictions is a misconception...although it is true in some cases. Unfortunately, many people engaged in prostitution do not have the skills to complete a post-secondary education. Most are not the "kind of people" a business owner would even think about hiring - that's the truth. In my community, and probably many communities across Canada, most prostitutes are poor Aboriginal women (and children) who have already experienced some kind of abuse in their lives.

I believe that as long as we do not have economic equality and freedom from violence, sex work cannot really be considered a genuine "choice" for women. While some individual women may be able to choose sex work freely, the reality is that most of those individual women are women of privilege (white, educated, etc.), and they don't represent the majority of those involved in the sex trade. I also think trying to eradicate sex work is a terrible waste of time, energy, and resources, because I don't believe sex work can be eradicated - and in a "utopian" society where women would have free choice, I doubt it would need to be eradicated. I prefer to devote my own time, energy, and resources as a feminist to ensuring that women are safe, supported, in control, and that they are being paid appropriately for their work.


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Posts in this topic
erinjane   "porn: Is It Cock-blocking Feminism?"   Jul 25 2006, 11:16 AM
mermaidgirl13   I define sex work as stripping, porn or any kind o...   Jul 25 2006, 11:47 AM
maddy29   thanks to ej for starting this thread. i have lot...   Jul 25 2006, 11:56 AM
jsmith   I second Maddy's definition of sex work. And I...   Jul 25 2006, 12:06 PM
greenbean   Wow, okay, this is a verrrry broad topic. If y...   Jul 25 2006, 12:28 PM
erinjane   I've talked about posting this before, but I w...   Jul 25 2006, 12:41 PM
pixiedust   I mentioned this in the other thread, but aI'l...   Jul 25 2006, 12:49 PM
erinjane   I meant to make this point in my last post, but fo...   Jul 25 2006, 01:17 PM
maddy29   ej-what is the website for? who is it geared at? w...   Jul 25 2006, 01:29 PM
zahia1996   I'll try and keep this as brief as possible (h...   Jul 25 2006, 01:57 PM
pixiedust   I think I'd have go with the answers from som...   Jul 25 2006, 02:05 PM
erinjane   I'll give you some direct info from the websit...   Jul 25 2006, 02:13 PM
girlbomb   I, too, wonder about the "empowering" th...   Jul 25 2006, 04:25 PM
pixiedust   I can't help going back to what falljackets sa...   Jul 25 2006, 05:33 PM
zahia1996   Pixie, what you mentioned about FJ made me think. ...   Jul 25 2006, 07:26 PM
knorl05   zahia: the double standards exist and it is frustr...   Jul 25 2006, 08:44 PM
falljackets   wow, knorl, i completely agree with your last post...   Jul 25 2006, 09:26 PM
txplumwine   This is a fantastic thread and I'm so glad to ...   Jul 25 2006, 10:09 PM
erinjane   Prostitution is actually legal in canada, but NOT ...   Jul 25 2006, 10:38 PM
maddy29   great post doodlebug. you said what i was thinkin...   Jul 26 2006, 08:08 AM
erinjane   Seconded doodle. I don't think I made it clea...   Jul 26 2006, 10:51 AM
greenbean   Condoleeza Rice. Hillary Clinton. Barbara Boxer. D...   Jul 26 2006, 11:16 AM
erinjane   I agree greenbean. I wouldn't define power ex...   Jul 26 2006, 02:37 PM
candycane_girl   I think the problem here is that there are so many...   Jul 26 2006, 02:45 PM
erinjane   That's exactly what I was thinking...another ...   Jul 26 2006, 02:46 PM
knorl05   maddy: i do agree.   Jul 26 2006, 04:14 PM
knorl05   i'm big into philosophy, so i'm gonna inte...   Jul 26 2006, 04:28 PM
zahia1996   That's a good point Knorl. But it made me thin...   Jul 26 2006, 09:43 PM
pixiedust   The is really good insight khorl. It looks like y...   Jul 26 2006, 10:10 PM
maddy29   Love this knorl! "considering sex appeal...   Jul 27 2006, 06:59 AM
doodlebug   Hey all...this is a quick post...I'm sorry I d...   Jul 27 2006, 09:45 AM
maddy29   very true doodle:)   Jul 27 2006, 09:52 AM
pixiedust   You are right Doodle! You couldn't stay em...   Jul 27 2006, 10:02 AM
falljackets   i think that makes total sense, doodle. people g...   Jul 27 2006, 10:15 AM
maddy29   so fj-for you it's more the taking of the pict...   Jul 27 2006, 10:25 AM
falljackets   absolutely. i took down the website nearly two yea...   Jul 27 2006, 10:34 AM
pixiedust   That makes sense FJ. I am always mezmerized with ...   Jul 27 2006, 10:43 AM
erinjane   I'm inclined to agree with Falljackets in term...   Jul 27 2006, 10:52 AM
knorl05   absolutely no time to reply, at work. just wanted ...   Jul 27 2006, 11:28 AM
knorl05   FJ: you have an amazing philosophy on life that i ...   Jul 27 2006, 05:04 PM
girlbomb   Okay, I'm not trying to be a total see-you-nex...   Jul 27 2006, 07:19 PM
nohope   I consider anything in which sexuality is used to ...   Jul 27 2006, 08:41 PM
knorl05   girlbomb: thats an excellent point. it's true ...   Jul 27 2006, 08:55 PM
girlbomb   Okay, I'd edit my last post, but I'd rathe...   Jul 27 2006, 08:59 PM
knorl05   nohope: although i respect your opinion, i complet...   Jul 27 2006, 09:10 PM
sixelacat   So, I think what girlbomb is trying to differentia...   Jul 27 2006, 10:37 PM
zahia1996   I got so wrapped up reading what you all had to sa...   Jul 27 2006, 11:28 PM
doodlebug   I don't have the brain power for this tonight,...   Jul 27 2006, 11:37 PM
maddy29   doodle-it's funny you brought up marriage, bec...   Jul 28 2006, 07:56 AM
greenbean   I can't believe all the tearing down of beauti...   Jul 28 2006, 11:11 AM
maddy29   greenbean-where do you see women being torn down? ...   Jul 28 2006, 12:01 PM
pixiedust   I agree...I don't think anyone's being tor...   Jul 28 2006, 12:12 PM
maddy29   ooh, that's interesting pixie! or what abo...   Jul 28 2006, 12:23 PM
knorl05   greenbean: what does being a feminist mean to you?   Jul 28 2006, 12:25 PM
katiebelle2882   ok so i guess this thread got started. first off i...   Jul 28 2006, 12:48 PM
erinjane   I wouldn't say I see sex stores in the same av...   Jul 28 2006, 01:04 PM
lucizoe   I think a big issue is that no one's choices a...   Jul 28 2006, 01:50 PM
knorl05   let's just throw some definitions around for f...   Jul 28 2006, 03:28 PM
knorl05   greenbean: i would say if you support the feminist...   Jul 28 2006, 03:49 PM
pixiedust   Traditional marriage=prostitution would be a real ...   Jul 28 2006, 04:42 PM
lucizoe   knorl, thanks for the definitions - most helpful. ...   Jul 28 2006, 04:48 PM
knorl05   pixie, yes i agree, most traditional marriages hol...   Jul 28 2006, 07:30 PM
doodlebug   If sex toy stores are involved in the sex trade, t...   Jul 28 2006, 08:16 PM
knorl05   doodlebug: so then in that light, women should att...   Jul 28 2006, 08:58 PM
doodlebug   knorl, if you are reading what I wrote as saying w...   Jul 28 2006, 09:12 PM
knorl05   doodlebug: could be i misunderstood you. i think i...   Jul 28 2006, 09:24 PM
doodlebug   knorl, I edited my last post as you were posting...   Jul 28 2006, 09:45 PM
knorl05   doodlebug: ahh. yes, completely. thank you for cla...   Jul 28 2006, 09:59 PM
battygurl   Just to clear up the terms here, what you're...   Jul 29 2006, 12:02 AM
lucizoe   battygurl, I would really like to see some documen...   Jul 29 2006, 08:28 AM
battygurl   Eek, I shouldn't have posted when I was so tir...   Jul 29 2006, 11:26 AM
erinjane   Took the words straight outta my head. One thi...   Jul 29 2006, 11:59 AM
greenbean   Ooof, there have been a lot of new posts since I w...   Jul 29 2006, 12:08 PM
lucizoe   Heh, battygurl, I got ya. I agree that the lily-wh...   Jul 29 2006, 12:48 PM
girlbomb   Gah. You know, the sex industry that I've wi...   Jul 29 2006, 05:24 PM
erinjane   Talking about things like bangbus and girls gone w...   Jul 29 2006, 06:04 PM
greenbean   See Girlbomb, thats why this discussion is so conf...   Jul 29 2006, 08:48 PM
nohope   I don’t think it’s all that different at all. ...   Jul 29 2006, 10:27 PM
pepper   oh, nohope. speaking true. nice one.   Jul 29 2006, 11:17 PM
battygurl   Yeah, nohope I think you're right about most p...   Jul 30 2006, 02:33 AM
zahia1996   During (yet another) sleepless night, I decided to...   Jul 30 2006, 02:56 AM
pixiedust   Ok..I went to bed thinking about teh "traditi...   Jul 30 2006, 10:05 AM
greenbean   Wait, nohope...what? Are you saying that whether ...   Jul 30 2006, 01:23 PM
pixiedust   I honestly don't think that was what he was sa...   Jul 30 2006, 01:34 PM
knorl05   pixie: i think thats the key. to live according to...   Jul 30 2006, 09:00 PM
maddy29   greenbean- im not sure where you got the idea that...   Jul 31 2006, 08:34 AM
greenbean   Maddy, so sorry if you thought I was calling you a...   Jul 31 2006, 12:06 PM
pixiedust   Right on Maddy! There will always be exceptio...   Jul 31 2006, 12:27 PM
snafooey   No, but frankly using the expression "femin...   Aug 1 2006, 11:57 AM
pixiedust   Snafooey...I said it was like "the people who...   Aug 1 2006, 12:25 PM
snafooey   Fair enough - it really wasn't clear to me fro...   Aug 1 2006, 12:39 PM
pixiedust   I'm going to try to keep this short. I'm ...   Aug 1 2006, 01:59 PM
snafooey   So is everyone who challenges something someone el...   Aug 1 2006, 02:12 PM
pixiedust   Well...I guess I see debate as expressing ideas an...   Aug 1 2006, 02:57 PM
snafooey   Great discussion? It's "debates" lik...   Aug 1 2006, 03:09 PM
katiebelle2882   all i am going to say is (and i know many other bu...   Aug 1 2006, 03:40 PM
erinjane   Normally I keep out of these, but I think that pi...   Aug 1 2006, 04:53 PM
snafooey   Erinjane, I see what you're saying, but I refr...   Aug 1 2006, 05:04 PM
erinjane   Yeah, I understand, i get really defensive myself ...   Aug 1 2006, 06:03 PM
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