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
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.