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mardi 23 août 2011
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
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I received a link to this blog post just hours ago via a feminist listserv ; a listserv that has, just like much of the feminist community elsewhere has, experienced A LOT of heated debate around prostitution, sex work, abolition, and decriminalization.
The author claims to desire a ‘genuine’ answer to some specific questions she puts to abolitionists and, implies, by the title of the post : "Choosing Our Battles : Why the feminist movement needs to stop arguing and support the decriminalisation of sex work", that what she truly desires is to end the infighting and to do what’s best for women, which of course, is really what we all want….That said, the post, and even the title of the post hints at something different than a desire for genuine discourse. Not only does it suggest that decriminalization is the only possible avenue for the feminist movement to take in terms of finding a solution to prostitution and male exploitation of women, but the questions she asks seem to, once again (I say once again because this is, unfortunately, such a common thing coming from arguments against abolition and for decriminalization), display a complete lack of research, an unwillingness to listen to and understand what abolitionists argue and fight for, and the imposition of a word, ‘prohibitionist,’ that shows, again, a complete lack of understanding in terms of the arguments that are being made. When we begin a conversation which pretends to desire authenticity and immediately misrepresent and misunderstand the other side of the argument, is it difficult to take seriously that intent.
This means that two out of three of the questions the author claims to pose genuinely, are actually unanswerable by abolitionists :
2) How, in practical terms, does prohibition work towards the goal of abolition
3) Where has prohibition been an effective tool for changing social conditions or altering social practices ?
Prohibition is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Women are not alcoholic beverages. They are not products to be bought, sold, manufactured, or traded, though I suppose this perspective is telling in terms of those who might like to use this term ; perhaps they do indeed believe women to be consumable ‘products’ that should be bought and sold freely ?
Abolition refers to a desire to put a stop to something, a practice. It first was used in terms of the movement to end slavery and the slave trade. It is now used by feminists to refer to a movement to end prostitution and the trafficking of women. Feminists who fight for abolition believe that prostitution is a form of exploitation and is an example of male privilege and power. Can you see the similarities here ? I feel like if we were asking ‘genuine’ questions we would get the terminology right.
The author goes on to ask : Who should be criminalised ? Sex workers, johns, madames, members of the kink community, bachelor parties, bar/club owners ? Again, to me, this question shows something sincere, that is a sincere lack of research, a genuine intention to not hear what women are saying. Abolitionists do not argue for the criminalization of sex workers. They argue for the complete decriminalization of prostituted women and the criminalization of the pimps and johns. Simple as that. For those who are sincerely interested in hearing the actual arguments from actual feminists and abolitionists, I’ve linked to some references. There is a lot more information out there, including here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. There is a lot more information out there, including here on our website and on EVE’s website, as well as many, many more resources I haven’t included here.
The abolitionist argument has never been about ‘cracking down’ on women who work in the sex work industry but rather has been about ending male privilege, male violence, and the exploitation and abuse of women and women’s bodies. It is about pointing out that, in a truly egalitarian society there is no ‘deal’ in which men are allowed access to women’s bodies simply because they have the cash and women need the cash. In a truly egalitarian society we would not believe that men have this right or that men somehow need to use women’s bodies lest they become violent or rape (which is an argument commonly used to support prostitution).
Finally, the author’s central argument is that : ‘For decades, feminists have repeated over and over that criminalising abortion will not stop abortions.’ How can the continuing criminalization by sexist, right wing men of access to abortion for women – whose lives are on the line, either in botched procedures or birthing – be compared to attempts by feminist women to impede sexist men’s entitlement to the bodies of women whose lives are also on the line ? Reproductive rights provide women with control over their lives and bodies. As the author points out, ‘Women die when abortion is not accessible.’ Women should get to choose whether or not they have to give birth. Whether or not they want to raise children. They ought to get to make those decisions ; not men. But women also die at the hands of pimps, johns, brothel owners and traffickers. Abolitionists have no desire to criminalize the prostituted : they desire a world where sexist men can no longer buy sexual violence against women, where male privilege doesn’t mean that women are put in the position of having to sell their bodies to men. The only valid comparison is that the criminalization of abortions by men hurts women and the tolerance of men’s demand for prostitution hurts women. Abolition and abortion rights both demand freedom for women from a patriarchal society which locks women into the roles of tools for sexual use of men.
In response to this post, and this author’s supposedly genuine desire for a sincere conversation, I suggest we begin with a) research, b) the correct use of terms with which we describe the abolitionist movement, and c) actually listening to people when they talk. When right off the bat your argument begins with an assumption that abolitionists argue for the criminalization of prostitutes and continuously calls the movement ‘prohibitionist’, all it shows is a lack of interest in conversation, in sincerity, in women’s voices, and in the truth.
On Sisyphe, August 23, 2011
Meghan E. Murphy, The F Word
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