sexual hysteria — at both ends of the spectrum

Basically, the two pieces below concern hysteria: the first around women who say they didn’t consent and it’s believed they did; the second around women who say they consented and are told they didn’t. It’s so much fun being a woman.

Women writing about rape culture are considered to be creating “hysteria” because apparently rape culture isn’t real. On the other hand, you have ongoing sex trafficking hysteria completely out of proportion to actual sex trafficking cases. It’s the non-trafficked sex workers who are believed to not be real. Either way you look at the two issues, women aren’t being listened to or believed, and the end result is more harm to women. (I’ve little doubt that some real sex trafficking victims can’t find help and are stuck in their situation.)

As a light-hearted bonus, here’s a quick common-sense test of what constitutes sex trafficking vs sex work.

women’s work, a woman’s art

Women's Work by Eliza Bennett
A Women’s Work Is Never Done by Eliza Bennett

This might be tough to look at, but it’s an astounding art project/statement about women, labor and value. The artist, Eliza Bennett, embroidered her hand, representing the underappreciated work that women do.

Speaking of trafficked women, human trafficking for domestic work far outnumbers sex trafficking and though this wasn’t the intent of the artist, I find it ties right into my thoughts about the usually-forgotten women doing “women’s work” around the world under duress and abuse.

serial sex worker murders in Louisiana

A well-investigated, long piece on a startling series of sex worker murders. This should be prime-time TV fodder, but isn’t, for what should be obvious reasons. This piece was published several months ago and I’m just now getting around to sharing it. If anyone has any updates to the story, please comment.

open forum for young punters

From Reddit, where the men also routinely harass women online in all sorts of bad ways. But the open prostitution topic might be interesting to someone who isn’t a sex worker. These guys are young and a lot of the experiences they relate happen outside the US. Generally, they exhibit a lot of bad client behavior and don’t have the money to really pay for what they want. One guy who complains about a girl’s “rules” doesn’t realize she has her rules because she’s done this before (unlike him). The whole thing was nowhere near as vile as I thought it would be, review boards are generally much worse. The Reddit boys exemplify why most sex workers prefer to deal with more mature men who have had a chance to examine their motivations and maybe find a little self-honesty.

escort licenses in Wisconsin

A couple of small cities in WI are trying to stop prostitution by requiring escort licensing. The licenses require fingerprinting, background check and a formal business plan. They forgot to try and put the escort’s DNA on file — I guess they save that for after an arrest. One of their main concerns is drug trafficking, not sex trafficking (should someone start trying to save drugs from being trafficked?).

They’re trying to legally regulate illegal prostitution — how exactly does that work? Wouldn’t they solve a lot more problems if they simply decriminalized prostitution? Then they could pass small business regulations and require escort licenses very legally and I imagine everyone would play together much better. The New Zealand model would be the starting point, of course, but I’m guessing that’s a bit exotic for Wisconsin.

women in movies

I really liked this financial take on the Bechdel test, which looks at how women are portrayed in movies. I’m sure some smart sex worker could do the same thing for movies with sex workers in speaking roles (that is, movies in which sex workers get actual lines and are not part of the background scenery, like in every single cop movie). Would be interesting to see the cost/profit breakdown, though I think applying the actual Bechdel test to sex worker roles would probably leave about five movies to study. A sex work version of the test should be made. I think it would start with the sex worker not being killed.

On the other hand, I have a Monica Bellucci drinking game based on her movie roles: take a drink if she’s a prostitute; take a drink every time she is slapped, beaten, raped, or murdered; drink the bottle if all of the above is true. Only play if you have no plans for the next day.

12 thoughts on “reactions vi

  1. Uhhhh … yeah, the “escort licenses” story. I don’t get it either, unless maybe their theory is that the people who apply for this license are supposed to be “escorts” in the sense of someone who sees that you’re not alone as you go somewhere or do something; no evil wicked sex involved. (“Amanda, I need to go to the bank, but I don’t know the way, and I’m a-skeered. Would you go with me?”) I especially liked that clown cop going on about how drugs are all the time being exchanged for sex. I can’t claim the extensive experience that Chief Sparks undoubtedly has; I’ve seen only three professional women in my brief career in the demimonde. I’d bet my life that if I had wanted to instantly terminate my time with any of those three, I could have done so by simply mentioning drugs. I’m quite certain I’d have needed to run hard, pursued by the heavy objects with sharp corners that they’d have been hurling at me.

    Also, Eliza Bennett: I seriously extend all respect to her and her art; I also seriously cannot look at it. I’m sure that’s central to its message, but still … I just can’t.

    1. Jim — Yeah, the escort licenses is such bullshit.

      There are survival sex workers who have drug addictions and will trade sex for drugs, often they’re on the street and they make up a minority of sex workers. I doubt there’s much of a street scene in that town, or even a huge drug trade (with or without sex workers). It’s just as much of an excuse as “save the children” is.

      Eliza Bennett’s piece is tough to look at but she has my admiration. She is dedicated to making her point and it’s a good one. I’m speculating, but it’s entirely possible she did this in the layer of skin just below the surface, which doesn’t really bleed and wouldn’t hurt much. It’s easier to do this on the hands, than say, your face where the skin is much thinner.

      I’m even more impressed at her needlework. I can’t even sew on a button. I collect those little sewing kits from hotels because I like them, but I’m useless with or without them.

      1. I expect you’re right, and it probably didn’t cause her the pain that it looks as though it did. Certainly hope it didn’t, anyway.

        I’m not sure whether to claim the ability to sew on a button or not; depends on definitions. I have sewn them on before, and they were functional. On the other hand, they looked as if sewn on by an orc. I leave the call to the referees.

        1. Jim — It probably caused some pain, but not as much as it looks.

          I can’t even get a button to stay on, or close a seam. Mostly, if I have clothing issues, I use tape until I can get to a tailor. I always travel with tape.

          1. Off (this) topic, but on another: This past Saturday, I was in southeast Kentucky and did the Redbud Ride, a “century” (100-mile single-day tour). The sky was clear. I thought, “What would Amanda do?” The answer came immediately: sunscreen, waterproof and plenty of it. Today, no red on the hide. Thanks!

            1. Jim — First, congrats on doing a Century Ride! Sounds like a very beautiful part of the country.

              Glad I helped you get through the ride with your dermis undamaged! I can’t guarantee any other undamaged parts.

  2. At the risk of being guilty of trolling for blog traffic, I’ll say: click here for a Redbud Ride report. Other parts did, indeed, take a minor scuff or two.

    1. Jim — Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed it. Tussy Hill sounds brutal but it’s funny, looking at it from a 2D photo from the top — it ain’t so bad. 😉

      You probably should eat more. As someone who has read Born To Run so many times I have most of it memorized — fuel is important. If you haven’t read it, a fair portion of the book is devoted to eating while running very long distances.

      Do you take spin classes? I have off and on for many years and they’re addicting. They do tons of “hill” work in the classes and when you talked about gearing down, I was thinking of cranking down the resistance and getting out of the saddle. Though I have almost no experience riding bicycles on a road so I don’t know how spin classes would translate to the real world. I run on the road, ride bikes that go nowhere.

      1. Amanda, I’ve been doing spin classes since ’07, when I tried one while rehabbing a quad tendon avulsion. I do them at my local YMCA. You’re right, they are addicting. They are also excellent training for road cycling. Up here, the weather becomes prohibitive for outdoor cycling around mid-November, and stays that way until about now. But as long as I spin through the winter, when I get on the road bike for the first spring ride, it feels like I never got off in the fall. Very good training.

        I envy you your running. I don’t have the knees for it. Guys my age should only run if they want to subsidize the orthopedic surgeon’s Mercedes payments.

        I’m sure you’re right about the eating. I did eat some at each stop on the Redbud, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat enough. Next time …

        1. Jim — Good to hear spin translates to the real world, somewhat.

          Run softly and it spares your knees. 🙂

          My answer to problems of energy is always: more food.

  3. Sigh Just … sigh.

    It occurs to me that I can also see these guys bemoaning the reality of Life After Slavery.

    “Oh damn! Now we’re supposed to pay them for their labor? Unthinkable!! Yeah, we need them, we can’t get along without their labor — but there’s no way they deserve anything more than room and board, like in The Good Old Days!!”

    1. RSRD — Great to see you here! But…I’m not sure what you’re referencing. I agree with your sentiment, just not sure what little bit here it’s referring to.

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