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First published February 17 ...
“Oh you’re different though. You’re not one of those feminists who hate men.”
Perhaps because my reputation as a sex-negative-man-hating-radical feminist sex-trade abolitionist-banshee precedes me, I often encounter this smiling, insistent comment/question half way through almost any conversation with someone new. Some men await confirmation with their eyes glancing towards the nearest exit, others however are already at mental rest, and need to be dissuaded of the comfortable notion that somehow I disapprove of women who do indeed hate men.
So now we’ve got that out of the way, I’m going to try and address something I find infuriating in experiencing women who are pro-prostitution or neutral about it who disingenuously use the “You’re a man, what would you know?” card on men who abhor the sex-trade. By men who abhor the sex trade I don’t mean men who seek cookies for abstaining from using prostituted women and think they are exceptional for it - ( lame-arse, self-aggrandising bores; not being a paying sexual abuser earns you exactly zero credit from my perspective and you’re probably lying anyway ) - but those who actively fight against male entitlement to buy women and girls as sexual commodities.
You see, a lot of men get a disproportionate amount of credit for simply not killing and raping and it is a bit tiresome to have to pat your son, husband, nephew, uncle, boyfriend, friend or father on the head for the act of not behaving like a cuntless wonder. But men who actively fight against the sex-trade are absolutely crucial to abolishing it because without male demand to end paid sexual abuse in the form of prostitution and pornography (filmed prostitution), women like me would have no hope whatsoever of seeing the back of it or it’s apologists.
Put simply, if men stopped paying to sexually use us then all this trade in human beings for sexual access would stop, end, cease to exist.
Women who feign being insulted by women like me who call them out every time they insist prostitution is feminist tend to try and silence me with patronising or hostile dismissals or rebukes. Men sit back and enjoy us arguing.
But there is another way they try and do this and it is also very effective. They leap-frog me in conversation and go for the jugular of the nearest man who supports the abolition of the sex trade.
I am quite a fan of the “You’re a man, you have no right to discuss women’s’ experience” charge. It’s accurate, and it is about as close to telling men to bugger off as I can get without threat of being physically attacked by them, especially if I do it from the distance of the blogosphere. That is quite telling of womens’ very real fear of being raped , beaten and murdered by men every minute of every day globally.
Yes, right now a man is buying a woman, a man is raping a woman, a man is beating a woman, a man is murdering a woman. Oh yawn, how dull. Can’t we make this reality a human right? Can’t we make this sexier? It is so boorrrrrrriing.
With that in mind I’m going to tell pro-prostitution women to stop using the important actual necessity of telling men to bugger off when it comes to women’s rights when they don’t give a shit themselves, and to take their disingenuous arguments about men not having the right to speak about what men do to us, and shove it.
Women, if you are pro-prostitution you are not a feminist. So stop leap-frogging prostitution survivors and faking enthusiasm for women’s rights. You have no politics and no right to argue for our oppression as a class.
I mean what the actual fuck? Don’t even try to go straight to the men who refuse to buy us and organise against our purchase by using me as a platform to ignore. I may not like men very much but aren’t you a tad, bit, completely obnoxious to target them because you are afraid to target me? You have no argument that isn’t vacuous so it is easy to go for these men instead of me because I’ll pin your argument down and dismantle it and you know it.
You’ve got away with so much woman-hating shit by being female that I’ve come to hate you (ideologically anyway) myself. But then, the material and psychological reality of living under patriarchy means that my hatred or even vague dislike of you is irrelevant because a whole lot of men will let you live and stroke your ego for standing up for them. It won’t stop them from abusing you in the long run, but it may keep you safe in the moment. I get it.
I mean I really get it. This is exactly what prostituted women must endure to stay alive in a world where appeasing men neither guarantees our security from male violence but in capitalist-patriarchy we cling to because it is easier to side with rapists and other entitled shits and call it a choice than it is to stop them.
There is nothing psychologically complex about this. How many times have you heard women over a coffee laugh at how stupid men are? How many times have we all had a giggle at men being like ‘children’? Too many times to count because we do it incessantly. Am I right?
It makes life endurable to laugh at men. For example, I personally cringe at crude humour, but put me together with some of the smartest women I know- survivors of prostitution – and in no time we are cracking jokes about the men who have paid to rape us. It is incredibly human; this natural cohesion and cackling at the lowest common denominator. What is important to realise is that the prostituted are not the lowest, it’s the scum-bags who buy us who are. We know this. Alone with a man we know he could easily bash us to death for laughing at him. Every woman knows this. Even capitulating to the use of hierarchical language such as “low” and “high” is a capitulation to structures of superiority but here we are. Surviving as best you can is a double-edged sword.
Allow me to show you a group of white self pro-claimed ”sex workers” promoted by the BBC . Check out the snark, check out the eye-rolling and complete dearth of ethical responses to (some) genuine claims and queries in this cleverly grafted pro-prostitution propaganda:
One would imagine that these are the real faces of prostituted women. It reminds me of the signs of smiling pigs and cows outside butcher shops. The chicken giving you the thumbs up to eat them.
Oh my, did I just equate “sex workers” with pigs, cows and chooks?
Why yes I did. How else do you think men who buy us think of us?
If you don’t think the way men think of us impacts on their choice to buy us you are bonkers. Or perhaps, as happens in almost any other group of people,you are clinical narcissists. eg. One of the women in this clip defended her right to be a “sex worker” on the basis that she pays her taxes as if contributing to the GDP, which furthers the expansion of the sale of a class of people, is a good thing because she is choosing it for herself and this makes the sex-trade just fine because it isn’t harming her personally.
Well, I don’t subscribe to right-wing ideology. I don’t subscribe to Thatcherite-Reaganism and the oppression of the majority based on the applause of the few.
Apart from the complete lack of structural analysis - (the fact that decriminalising johns and pimps leads to the inevitable expansion of the sex-trade in those who do not want to be in it) - I could not care less how these “sex workers” earn a living. It is actually cringe-worthy how they think they are so risque, interesting and misunderstood. They are so unutterably boring it would be laughable if the sex-trade truly was harmless.
It’s laughable until you are trying to find a way out of prostitution and people keep shoving it down your throat that this is a job like any other. It is laughable until you realise that the lies you tell about orgasms (above, I mean really, are you shitting me?) become the lies you tell not just the men who buy you (some of whom will beat you if you do orgasm by the way), but the lie you tell yourself and everybody else. It is laughable and apparently so hilarious, to talk down to any one who asks questions about the reality of prostitution, roll your eyes at them, explain you are a professional “submissive” (not a real one- hahahaha) or dominatrix (who doesn’t have to be penetrated but gets to bash the shit out of men who like it - go you!). It’s laughable until you’ve been years in prostitution and the men stop paying for you unless the acts get more and more violent. It is laughable until you realise you still don’t have that flat you were saving for and no proper work experience anywhere else.
You can go into the fetish market of course. Women who are fucked while sleeping? Men who fetishise wrinkles and rolls? Men who want to fuck us when we are dressed as 2 year olds? Men who want our emotional energy and to be cuddled like babies while they chew our breasts and shit in diapers? Men who want to fuck their mothers and grandmothers but feel like they are sick for wanting to? Aw, poor men. Yes, it is disgusting wanting to fuck your mother or grandmother or daughter, but hey, it is so liberating for us prostituted women to tell you you are not repulsive fuckers. (You are disgusting, I hope you all die and soon because you are taking up valuable space, but I won’t say that directly because at the moment you are bribing me with money to cover the fucking rent you arsehole.)
It is laughable until you realise that men can murder you with impunity.
It is laughable until you realise that a man who has raped you is not charged with rape but with “theft of service.”
So kudos to the men who do more than pay lip-service to abstention from buying and trading in us as sexual commodities.
I imagine I’d probably have a more sisterly conversation with the women in the sex-trade who insist they enjoy it, and the women who have no experience of it but claim it is all about a ‘woman’s right to choose’ than I would with these men who actively oppose the sex-trade because men do so often expect me to mollify their feelings of shame at being male as a class and I am not particularly inclined to mollify them.
But these men can take my word for it, yes I need you to stop buying us for sex and yes I insist you speak out against the sex-trade every single day to other men.
Thanks for that and keep it going.
As you can see, the pimp propaganda using self-proclaimed “sex workers” is effective. While women argue amongst ourselves and prostitution survivors like myself are leap-frogged in discussion, I DO expect nothing less of you than to keep going in the fight to end male entitlement and also for first-class exit strategies for women in prostitution. I insist on this even for the noxious, entitled types featured in this smarmy piece of shit propaganda above.
I really haven’t found anything to like about men as a class even though I like some as individuals. I will continue to dissuade men who are relieved that I don’t cut their balls off when I meet them that it is because somehow I think they have been hoodwinked or are innocent in all this. But my manners are generally okay and I’m frankly not a misanthropic kind of ‘girl’.
Big deal. You know what to do. End demand.
These socially unconscious and self-centred “sex workers”and me can handle our in-fight while you get on with the work of letting every man and boy, ( disabled, poor, rich or otherwise ), know that sex is not a human right and that money does not equal consent but circumvents it entirely, no matter how many pimp-funded leaflets, promos, banners, paid “sex worker” activists and documentaries tell you otherwise.
Thank you. I really mean it. But as you can see I’ve still spent a lot of time having a go at other women about this so count yourself fucking lucky if you are a man.
I’ll keep fighting but only men can stop the sex-trade.