You’d Think On a Blog Called Jezebel There’d Be Some Sense About Prostitution

Conversation is hot over at Jezebel, deconstructing Jessica Cutler and the good old (yes, 1983 wants its debate back!) “ohmygod, is whoring, like,
empowering, or, uh, rilly rilly bad?” thing.

Snip from a choice comment, that sounds like so much of the same rhetoric from some visitors to this blog, yes?:

Well, and think about the sex workers who write about sex work.
Ms. Cutler, for instance.

It’s the privileged few who could be doing something else but who
chose sex work for a little while and treat it like a fun adventure,
tee hee hee! Usually middle to upper-class women who have access to
the publishing world and powerful people in general.
That they have become the “face” of prostitution does a grave
disservice to the countless women (and children) around the world who
are enslaved in the sex trade. Women who literally have no choice but
to sell their bodies to entitled men who ARE “normal” by outside
appearances, but who are nevertheless willing to pay money to degrade
women.
The problem with legalizing prostitution is that it’s impossible to
regulate. Nevada turns it over to the brothel owner and the local
sheriff. The brothel owner becomes the pimp and can set up his own
rules.

Amsterdam, Sweden & Germany are all changing their laws because it’s
not working.

To truly regulate prostitution you’d need a cop in every room, making
sure there’s no abuse. You’d also need to ensure that cops respected
sex workers and treated them like people; they do not.
There is no humane way to legalize and regulate the selling of human
beings for the sexual gratifcation of others.

Everything old is new again, if you’ve got a book to sell. Does Farley & her PR team have enough of a sense of humor to see that for some tired old whores, the book is an exit strategy? (Seriously.)

(thanks, Rachel Kramer Bussel, for the tip)

7 Responses

  1. This is interesting:

    “Amsterdam, Sweden & Germany are all changing their laws because it’s not working.

    To truly regulate prostitution you’d need a cop in every room, making sure there’s no abuse. You’d also need to ensure that cops respected sex workers and treated them like people; they do not. There is no humane way to legalize and regulate the selling of human beings for the sexual gratifcation of others.”

    Compare that to comment #4 on the link in the previous post:

    http://torduange.wordpress.com/2007/09/13/sweden-is-not-utopia-even-though-white-liberals-think-it-is/

    Makes me wonder where this boilerplate is coming from.

  2. “To truly regulate prostitution you’d need a cop in every room, making sure there’s no abuse. You’d also need to ensure that cops respected sex workers and treated them like people; they do not.”

    Isn’t this a point in favor of decriminalization?

  3. I totally adore Jezebel as a blog, and their commenters are usually spot on. So yes, the creeping in of crazytown rhetoric is getting me — exactly, iamcuriousblue.

    @stacey, what floored me about that sentiment on cops was that somehow cops are allies? Or that it’s somehow more realistic to get law enforcement as an institution to support sex workers as “people” when sex work was still criminal than to have a decriminalized industry regulated as other industries are.

    I’m so ready to say this whole “can selling sex be humane?” argument has jumped the shark, and it’s time to debate out the nitty-gritty of how to regulate.

  4. Somebody tried to make a similar point over at The Curvature. Here’s the response that I posted over there: http://thecurvature.com/2007/09/12/can-brothels-ever-be-safe/

    Unfortunately wrote:
    “You would need to have a cop sitting and watching every session of intercourse to make sure it was not abusive. What if the john slaps her? Is that a health code violation? What if he calls her a whore? Is that creating a hostile work environment? What if he wants her to talk baby talk and call him daddy, do we have automatic child abuse reporting paperwork to fill out?”

    I guess we need to make marriage and dating illegal, since we cant have a cop watching every encounter that any couple has. Woemn are more likely to be abused by a boyfriend, husband, lover or family member than any other person. Feminists have most effectively responded by helping women access resources such as housing, job training and education to get them out of these bad situation- not making it illegal for them to choose to engage in intimate relationships with men.

  5. I live in Germany, and I think we need to specify how and why we’re changing our laws. We have a new government meanwhile, the power has shifted to the right, and there are surely moralizers there who would like to undo legalization. An official report claims that our half-hearted attempt at it hasn’t changed much for prostitutes, neither for the better nor for the worse. Nevertheless, even the new, rather conservative government decided to keep the laws and not to criminalize sex workers again. There was talk about improving the protection of sex workers, helping them to get out of prostitution, fighting exploitation and so on, but it seems to me that all our officials care about is taxing them.

    In short, we are indeed changing our laws because they are not working – but we are developing legalization, not revoking it. If there are attempts at revoking it, they are for ideological reasons, not because it’s a better solution. We have our radical feminists and religious fundamentalists, too.

  6. […] You’d Think On a Blog Called Jezebel There’d Be Some Sense About Prostitution […]

  7. hs, thanks for the info on Germany’s situation. We so rarely get enough info from people who face these laws daily, so that we can really get into the nuance of prostitution law impacts workers in reality.

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