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jeudi 2 avril 2009

The Prostitutors
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives (Excerps)

par Elaine Audet

Écrits d'Élaine Audet

Chercher dans ce site


Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
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
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
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

There is a dearth of research on the clients of prostitution, with only one percent of all the studies on prostitution dealing with this aspect (Perkins 1991). It is the first time that men have received so little attention while being at the heart of a problem, and this shows the extent of male solidarity in wanting to conceal their very unattractive role as pimps and prostitutors.

[...] According to Sven-Axel Månsson, the motivations of clients have more to do with the relationships between men and women than their sexuality and with the quest for sexual power than the satisfaction of a sexual need. Today, many women refuse to be dominated sexually by men. Men who are unable to accept this change find that in prostitution the old order is restored. Often, says Månsson, the compulsive need to resort to prostitution can be traced back to this relative loss of power. Many men pay for sex in order to be able to play a passive role and not have to acknowledge the needs of their partner.

At the same time, Månsson dispels a number of myths, including the one that prostitution saves relationships. In fact, the figures show that there are more divorces and common-law break-ups in cases where men have relations with prostituted women. Also untrue is the notion that there is more prostitution among lonely men : those who have numerous sexual partners are actually more likely to pay for sexual relations. As for the very popular myth that men have an irrepressible sex drive, social science research has demonstrated that sexuality, just like gender differences, is socially constructed.

It was thought that the sexual revolution would reduce prostitution. Yet, as Månsson shows, it seems that one of the secondary effects of this revolution has been to reinforce the feeling in men that they have a right to unlimited access to sex. Sex has become a commodity rather than remaining a part of personal human relationships. Elvira Banotti (2003) writes that in Italy, the exploitation of women in those prisons called “houses of pleasure” is considered the highest and most moving form of relationship with women. Some writers sing the praises of brothels, describing them as places where women have successfully overcome their enslavement to family and to men, places that have contributed to the evolution of literature, art and civilization. From Banotti’s perspective, prostitution is part of androlatry and monotheism, of a pornographic culture which prevents women and men from having genuine relationships, of an art which has celebrated mute women, hence portraying women as still life.

Modelling their behaviour on the media and pornography, a growing number of men believe that they are entitled to overstep the norms. The mass-produced illusion of unlimited and available sex instils irresistible fantasies in men about their sexuality and gives them the impression that they never get enough sex. As a result, there is an ever-growing market for more and more demanding “sexual services.”

[...] If a vast solidarity movement does not emerge to demand that governments take measures to prevent and stop prostitution, it may be presented down the road as the alternative to unemployment. Countries will probably do like the Netherlands and give courses on fellatio and sodomy and the roles of dominatrix and slave in the increasingly popular sado-masochistic scenarios.

For feminists, the abolition of prostitution is a long-term goal that requires a re-evaluation of the social, economic and sexual relationships of domination and immediate measures to combat poverty and violence affecting women. Having allowed “houses of tolerance,” as brothels are known, are people now going to agree to live in “countries of tolerance,” turning the world into one big brothel where half the population is sexually enslaved by the other ?

Marie-Victoire Louis rightly calls for a modern abolitionist movement, aimed at putting an end to the never-abolished right of men to prostitute women, linking the fight against prostitution with the fight against pornography, and investigating and denouncing the vast extent to which procurers have deeply penetrated our media, culture, politics and economies, as well as numerous NGOs. This abolitionist movement would categorically condemn the women and men who have reprehensibly proposed the ‘right to be prostituted’ as the new paradigm for our society, hinting at a world where new rights would be recognized–the right to be dominated, raped, shamed, exploited, enslaved, assassinated–all of which are part and parcel of the system of prostitution (Louis 2003).

In Quebec, there is a consensus that all levels of government should stop treating prostituted women as criminals and should give them access to the health, social, legal and police services they are asking for, as well as to emergency shelters and long-term safe housing. There is also agreement that violent customers should be charged with criminal offences and that the police should protect women in prostitution and not harass and prosecute them. The debate focuses on the decriminalization of both clients and pimps. It is prostitution rather than prostituted women that must be targeted.

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    Press excerpts

    "A well understood feminism, that is not puritan but progressive, would nevertheless be unable to tolerate an industry which violates women’s freedom".
    Louis Cornellier, Le Devoir. October 29-30, 2005

    "I firmly suggest the reading of Prostitution, a model of chiselled, well argued and strongly informed text. […] Élaine Audet invites us to follow her in the meanders of the prostitutionnal system by challenging us to come out of it unaffected".
    André Baril, Combats, Autumn- Winter 2005-2006

    "One could disagree with the author’s "abolitionist" position, but it is necessary to recognize the relevance of the discussions".
    Pascale Navarro, Entre les lignes, Winter, 2006

    "For well weighted up analyses which take a stand for the respect of human beings".
    Lucie Dumoulin, Châtelaine, February, 2006

    "This essay calls for a debate of society on prostitution, which cannot be left in the hands of the promoters of a questionable market".
    Louise Dionne, Relations, October-November, 2006.

    On Sisyphe, April 2, 2009

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  • Elaine Audet

    Poet, essayist and independent researcher, Elaine Audet was born in Quebec in 1936. She published in Quebec, France and Switzerland, and collaborated to magazines and collective works. From 1990 to 2004, she wrote a literary and feminist column for the monthly magazine of political information, l’aut’journal. She is presently associate editor of Sisyphe. She is the author of : Pour une éthique du bonheur, (essay, remue-ménage, 1994), Le Cycle de l’éclair (poetry, Loup de Gouttière, 1996), Le Cœur pensant/courtepointe de l’amitié entre femmes (essay, Loup de Gouttière, 2000).
    Her latest books are :

     Prostitution - perspectives féministes, (éditions Sisyphe, 2005).
     La plénitude et la limite, poésie, (éditions Sisyphe, 2006).
     Prostitution, Feminist Perspectives, (éditions Sisyphe, 2009).
     Sel et sang de la mémoire, Polytechnique, 6 décembre 1989, poésie, (éditions Sisyphe, 2009).

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