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The Naked Anthropologist · France anti-prostitution crusade succeeding, rights activists disqualified from debate | The Naked Anthropologist

France anti-prostitution crusade succeeding, rights activists disqualified from debate

Not so long ago the French would shrug and sigh about prudish societies where sex could still provoke scandal, scoffing at melodramas acted out in the USA by politicians caught doing something opposed to so-called family values. Dominique Strauss-Kahn used this tradition with his claim to be engaging in ‘libertine activity’ when he paid for sex at parties. Now this is changing, not only because of Strauss-Kahn’s continuing saga but because the French parliament is set to pass a law against buying sex that was previously associated with countries to the north.

A couple of years ago I wrote Europe’s anti-prostitution initiatives multiply, discussing France in the context of the European Women’s Lobby campaign for a Europe Free from Prostitution. UN Women National Committee Sweden recently called this ‘an issue that divides the world, and where the Northern European and the global women’s movement fight for recognition of fundamentally different values.’ Perhaps now France will feel more northern than southern Europe.

In networks of activism for sex workers’ rights and better commercial-sex laws, the bill set to pass in France has been a focus of campaigning for some time. Many unfamiliar with the subject cannot believe their ears when told about the contradictory law known as the Swedish or Nordic model, which prohibits the buying of sex while allowing it to be sold. In Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores I said:

Yes, it’s illogical. But the contradiction is not pointless; it is there because the goal of the law is to make prostitution disappear, by debilitating the market through absurd ignorance of how sex businesses work.

Although a lot of activism now takes place via social-media websites, sometimes an email is better. Thierry Schaffauser sent the following ideas in a message about the current situation in France to an activist list. I have added links he provided and edited so that outsiders to these conversations may understand. The full text of the proposed French law can be read here: Proposition de loi renforçant la lutte contre le système prostitutionnel.

Dear all,

I think what we fear is going to happen.

The Socialist party introduced the bill, which was co-signed by all other parties affiliated to the Socialists as well as the Communist and Left parties, so there is already a majority in favour of the law. The right wing might vote with them as well. Even MPs who are against the law will probably vote for it, out of party discipline and to avoid being labelled as sexist, pro-pimp and pro-prosti-killers by feminists (prosti-tueurs is the new name they give to men who buy sex).

In parliamentary hearings two former prostitutes were invited to speak, both affirming the shame, degradation and self-destruction of prostitution. Current sex workers were not asked to testify; one of us spoke along with the health organisations. We have held many demonstrations and shown all the evidence, but we are ignored. The sponsors use flawed evidence and anonymous testimonies; they don’t care about NGOs or research.

Sponsors of the bill claim all the time that 90% of prostitutes are victims of trafficking. This percentage may be their estimate for non-French sex workers, not trafficking victims, but abolitionists don’t distinguish between the two. No source is given for the figure. All migrants are defined as trafficked.

Sex workers who oppose the bill are accused of being a non-representative and privileged minority, so selfish that we defend our own interest and those of pimps and willing to sacrifice the majority of poor victims of trafficking and rape. They insist they will not pass a law on behalf of sex workers who claim to consent to prostitution. They say that our consent is flawed due to poverty and other constraints, and believe that if we were to leave prostitution and go into therapy we would recognise that we had lied to ourselves and that prostitution is, in fact, harmful.

Migrant sex workers from all parts of the world increasingly join the sexworker union STRASS, but they don’t participate in public debates because of the language barrier and the stigma. During our last demonstration there were many migrants, but they were ignored by mainstream media. The bill would make it possible for migrant sex workers to get a six months’ residence permit on condition they agree to stop prostitution.

Sponsors of the law don’t care that only 22% of the French population are in favour of fining clients 1500€, because they say in Sweden the law succeeded in changing people’s minds about prostitution. They share the same goal to educate people in France. The bill would mandate school programming to teach that buying sex is like rape and that prostitution is degrading.

The bill says street soliciting will be permitted, but local by-laws can be passed to maintain public order, so sex workers would not even be decriminalised.

The bill would instruct Internet Service Providers to alert authorities and give power to block access to websites suspected of profiting from prostitution, which means even escort advertising could be targeted. One MP said it would be possible for police to use our phone numbers, which we fear means they could listen to conversations in order to identify and arrest clients and lead to forced entry into our homes and workplaces.

Sponsors of the bill don’t even listen to police, who say criminalising clients would be too difficult to implement and would divert efforts to combat trafficking.

A few days ago a group of reactionary right-wing men started defending the right to buy sex in a very sexist manner. They are being widely reported in the media, and sex workers who oppose the bill are made to look as if we side with them, which is terrible for us.

I don’t know what to do now.

See La pénalisation contre-productive for more on the bill from Thierry Schaffauser.

Many of Thierry’s comments illustrate how certain social actors are disqualified from participating in debates, including when their own welfare is at stake. The most peculiar idea pushed by abolitionism is that there must be a single interpretation for the act of selling sex, that all who do it must agree about the experience. In the case of sex workers who do not want their clients penalised, crusaders give a range of excuses for why their opinions are not relevant, appropriate, serious or believable, allowing their exclusion from debate. Somehow prostitution has come to be a subject where disqualification and discrediting are major tactics for winning political campaigns, where crusaders aggressively dismiss women, men and transgender people from attempting to tell their experiences. The most extreme disqualification goes to the voice of anyone currently selling sex:

Aucune personne prostituée pendant qu’elle exerce la prostitution ne dira jamais qu’elle est contrainte, jamais. Tout le monde effectivement dit que ‘je le fais volontairement’. Ce n’est qu’au moment où la prostitution s’arrête que les personnes disent en fait ce n’était pas ce je disais. – Danielle Bosquet

This authoritarian trump card permits anyone claiming autonomy in selling sex to be dismissed on non-provable ‘brainwashing’ grounds. See Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores for more on how disqualification works.

The turning of all migrants who sell sex into victims of trafficking is what drove me into reading and research in the late 1990s. Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry is the result of that research, along with articles in academic journals that opened the door to a new field of study. Moral entrepreneurs disqualify this work, too, as exceptional and irrelevant.

The French legislation is highly repressive in many ways. That it is sold as morally righteous confirms my feeling that we have moved into a period of Social Purity, the name given to a movement in Anglo countries in the late 19th century, in which the pursuit of prostitutes and their clients was a principle activity. The difference now can be seen in clauses to the French bill that would increase police power by allowing more surveillance of telephones and possible blocking of Internet sites where sex is offered for sale. The Rescue Industry now propose to save us from even the sight of advertisements considered to foment prostitution; we are all to be re-educated and rehabilitated for our own good.

–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist

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  1. Schaffauser:

    A few days ago a group of reactionary right-wing men started defending the right to buy sex in a very sexist manner. They are being widely reported in the media, and sex workers who oppose the bill are made to look as if we side with them, which is terrible for us.

    But would ‘left wing’ men have helped, considering that the Rescue Industry would dismiss any defence of sex work by non-sexworker men (especially if they admit to being clients) as justifying some kind of privilege (while ignoring male sex workers like Schaffauser)?

    I agree with you re. the return of Social Purity politics: it looks like the mistakes of the late c19th/early c20th are going to be made all over again.

    Reply

    1. Thierry’s point is that any old ally is not welcomed. STRASS belong to a left-wing feminist lgbt movement, they are not alone, and being associated with some notorious sexist or right-wing guys would not even be strategic in the long run – after the bill passes, sponsored by left-identifying folks.

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    2. They are not at all a right-wing group. They’re a motley group of writers and intellectuals.

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    3. “furthermore we should protect women from these dirty politics by removing their right to vote. obviously those who still will want to vote are mistaken and ‘brainwashed’ and need to be rehabilitated. Of course, there may still be dangers and affronts to women in the public sphere – so perhaps they must stay inside where it is safe. those who will still want to roam the streets are obviously sick and need to be institutionalized so that they may return to health.”

      it sounds absurd at the moment, but it seems we’re headed in that direction.

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      1. If they have any sense of history they remember that suffragettes wanted the vote in order to end white slavery and save the children, so maybe disenfranchising women won’t be on the agenda. But I don’t feel really confident saying that.

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      2. Its amazing that sex workers everywhere dont pay tax, yet in Sweden only men are fined for buying sex not the sex workers.

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      3. Laura, I am curious about your opinion on the causes of this phenomenon. Is the infamous “Swedish model” going to spread? And if so, why? Is it simply a “new puritanism”, the old “whorophobia” (now turned “pimpophobia”)? And how come this comes out of Sweden, where in principle all ideas could be reasonably discussed, with arguments weighed and objectively compared? Can it be that simple? Can it be that we are repeating the past, because something in our culture abhors prostitution and will always fight against it, no matter what the current reasoning behind it is supposed to be (in olden times, protect good men from the devilish influence of evil prostitutes, now protect good women from the devilish perversions of evil clients)?

        Prostitution must really have some sort of (Jungian?) archetypal counterpart in our collective minds for such reactions to keep coming back.

        Also, what happens with male sex workers? Is the law in Sweden just as firmly applied in their case (any gay males paying for sex are fined, while the male prostitutes are not)?

        Do you see much hope in the sex workers’ movement? Do you think our culture will start listening to these people and not simply silencing them? Will we someday be as embarrassed by these campaigns as we are now by those of the 19th century?

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        1. This particular law was composed first in Sweden but it is only one element of a shift in anti-prostitutionism away from penalising those who sell sex to penalising those who buy it. Johns’ schools (re-education), shaming, swoops on kerb-crawlers were happening in other countries before the Swedish law. And a certain kind of feminism has been focusing harder and harder on the concept of violence since the 80s. There is nothing ‘irrational’ in how the law came to pass in Sweden. Did you read Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores? in Jacobin magazine recently, with a little more background on Sweden.

          The law may be passed soon in both Irelands as well as France. The feminists behind it worldwide see it as a profoundly progressive change. If you read the background paper to the French law you will see how they specifically refuse to pay attention to organised sex workers – the links are above in Thierry’s letter. Joan Smith called this one of the great battles of the 21st century (Independent the other day).

          I do think all this can also be viewed as a return to Social Purity. I no longer believe in social progress in any liberationist sense.

          Reply

          1. I hadn’t read your Jacobin paper, thanks for the reference. A very interesting piece of work (and I am saddened by the death of your friend).

            If this is a return to Social Purity, then what motivates it? I mean, it can’t simply be sexual stigma, not in a society in which sex is no longer viewed as “the devil’s temptation” and a woman is “bad” by virtue of not being virgin (at least, the progressive elites that would support the Swedish model would never consider virginity a measure of a woman’s worth). If it is in some sense the “same mistake”, does it have the same reason — and, if so, does it go beyond whatever social status sex may have at the moment?

            Hmm… perhaps the reason is simply that, even though what we now think about sex (“important for happiness”, etc.) is very different from old Puritan dogmas, one thing remains the same: sex is “important”; sex is “different”. If before it was because it could get you into the First Circle of Hell, now it is because of its role in the perpetuation of patriarchy.

            In the end, left-wing progressives are not that different from right-wing conservatives: both are battling for their worldview to be “the only true one.” Perhaps anything that is fetishized into the “only true path” ends up causing more harm than good, no matter what its internal structures or how good the original intentions of its proponents are.

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            1. I’ve been thinking about the Social Purity movement for a while and mentioned it here not to claim a ‘return’ to the late 19th century but to wonder aloud about how notions of feminine superiority in social terms have reappeared and are being acted out over sexual questions – not only prostitution but rape. I think fundamentalist feminists might say that present campaigns resemble those of the past because the oppression of women is central to a continuing patriarchy. This is part of why they hark back to 2nd-wave feminist ideas, too, which they believe were more serious than anything happening today.

              I often write about how sex is seen by so many to be different from everything else, incomparable as an activity to anything else, the basis of identities and sanctities – more like religion and therefore not amenable to rational debate. But the difference in gender roles within these ideas has to be accounted for, the fact that whether a woman suffers or not from the wrong kind of sex has come to be a huge social issue. I’ve also said I find much of what’s said nowadays more infantilising than what I myself remember from the 1950s and 60s. Perhaps social purity isn’t correct as metaphor but at the moment it feels like it.

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            2. Saludos de un seguidor habitual, tanto de este blog como de los libros y artículos de su autora,
              Como conclusión a la presente entrada, sobre el proyecto de ley francés que prevé, como apéndice de los modelos legales ya ensayados en varios países nórdicos, la penalización de la compra de servicios sexuales, se contextualiza el mismo en una suerte de retorno a lo que literalmente se calificado como un período de pureza social (“we have moved into a period of Social Purity”).
              Asimilar la situación actual a los “despertares religiosos” protestantes de finales del siglo XIX es, creo, desvirtuar las categorías del análisis y dar una medida inexacta del contexto ideológico y moral en que opera el abolicionismo, e inevitablemente también de éste mismo. Admitiendo que la “Sexköpslagen” (modelo canónico del resto de las ya vigentes o en vías de exportación) se explica más como producto de la estirpe prostestante de la sociedad sueca que con las divagaciones humanitaristas y feministas habituales en la dogmática abolicionista, es evidente que ésta no propone, ni aquélla como ley se inscribe, en un proyecto de “moralización de la sociedad” al estilo decimonónico, sino que hacen de la abolición de la prostitución un proyecto autónomo, cerrado sobre sí mismo, que censura el “sexo de pago” pero no la organización económica y laboral ni las formas convencionales de heterosexualidad, tradicionales (matrimonio) o liberales (pareja informal, etc.).
              Así pues, no creo que se pueda decir que el éxito del abolicionismo se deba al retorno a principios de pureza social y/o moral, sino fundamentalmente (y proponiendo, de forma casi telegráfica, un esquema de mínimos) a dos razones: 1) su habilidad para hacer jugar a su favor los efectos de la estigmatización de la prostitución en el contexto de la misma moral patriarcal a la que dice oponerse; y 2) su conversión en seña de identidad ética de una izquierda socialdemócrata que ha renunciado a definirse como proyecto político-económico alternativo al paradigma liberal.
              Las posiciones pro-derechos, ya de por sí muy frágiles en sus formulaciones actuales, corren el peligro no ya de seguir viéndose sectariamente excluidas de ponencias y congresos, sino que estarán condenadas a la irrelevancia y el estancamiento mientras no se doten de herramientas comunes y potentes de análisis y crítica (“clasificación”) de la dogmática ideológica de quienes se consideran sus adversarios; mientras no acepten asumir una posición auténticamente dialéctica ante quienes se consideran sus adversarios, y articular un discurso capaz de ponerse en pie y dar más de dos pasos fuera del pantano de axiomas individualistas y ramplones del tipo “todo el mundo tiene derecho a hacer con su cuerpo lo que le dé la gana”. El éxito ideológico y legal del abolicionismo es el reverso de la parálisis, la rendición o la inanidad de quienes podrían impedirlo: sin la demolición de la dogmática abolicionista en el plano teórico, con todas las desventajas que supone frente a los predicadores de la misma la falta de subvenciones, presencia en eventos y círculos académicos, etc., es inútil conjurar fantasmas como la pureza social y articular tanto un corpus discursivo como una agenda “militante” en favor de los derechos, tanto fundamentales como sociales y laborales, del último colectivo aún excluido sistemáticamente de los mismos.
              Lamento no tener un dominio del inglés “escrito” a la altura de mi interés por el tema y el propio blog. Espero que su voz siga firme y activa por mucho tiempo.

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              1. Gracias por seguir mi trabajo. El comentario al fin de la entrada debería entenderse como un sentimiento o una metáfora y no un intento de categorizar eventos históricos. Pero no me echo para atrás y no estoy de acuerdo que el protestantismo es tan importante en el desarrollo de esta ley. Lee si quieres el artículo que mencioné arriba, Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores por algunos breves detalles sobre cómo se desarrolló la ley en Suecia.

                Para mí que participo en redes internacionales y no me identifico con ninguna disciplina académica una ley pertenece a una onda social, y esta onda se ve en diferentes iniciativas y diversos paises. Mientras sí en Francia son los de izquierdas que promueven la ley, en otros paises no es así exactamente sino que son conservadores clásicos algunos que la promueven o algo parecido.

                Para mí la idea de la autonomía corporal sí es sólida y basada en un tipo de feminismo. Que no convence a los y las abolicionistas/prohibicionistas es evidente pero tampoco hay falta total de solidez intelectual.

                Mi trabajo en este campo es comentar y de vez en cuando promover una nueva idea. En el artículo mencionado trabajé sobre la idea de la descalificación, que va más allá del estigma continuamente mencionada. Yo no busco y no quiero alguna nueva meta-teoría sobre la prostitución, quizá algo más ‘masculino’ para dar batalla a los crusados morales. Para mí lo de esta ley y el trabajo sexual en sí son solamente una parte de algo mucho más amplio que sucede hoy en día.

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                1. Muchas gracias por su respuesta y su recomendación; ya conocía su artículo, que encuentro muy sugerente, y que además entiendo que no contradice lo que yo escribía.
                  Únicamente apuntar las siguientes precisiones:
                  -Cuando hablaba del caso sueco no hablaba de “protestantismo” en general como factor determinante, sino de la “estirpe protestante” particular de Suecia como sociedad política (como podríamos hablar de la “estirpe católica” de la sociedad española) como trasfondo sobre el cual han de comprenderse determinados hechos sociales y estados de opinión aparentemente ajenos a sus valores y en el contexto de sociedades sociológicamente secularizadas. Sabemos por Max Weber la descendencia de la ideología liberal-capitalista de la metafísica religiosa protestante: aunque es algo que por razones obvias me resulta imposible resumir aquí, es en un sentido análogo que entiendo que el proceso que transcurre entre las abstracciones universalistas de los derechos humanos, la igualdad de género, etc., invocadas por feministas y socialdemócratas, y la condena exclusiva y sectaria de la prostitución por parte de ambos (que en principio no tendría más justificación que la de cualquier otra institución patriarcal, empezando por el matrimonio y la pareja, a los que sin embargo nadie cuestiona), sólo puede comprenderse mediado por la “estirpe protestante” del trasfondo social y moral sobre el que opera el feminismo sueco (o noruego, o islandés), que es distinto de aquél sobre el que ha de operar el feminismo español, o el ruso, o el indio. Es en ese sentido que decía que el abolicionismo y la ley de compra sólo pueden comprenderse, en principio, como producto de un feminismo que (como el sueco) opera sobre un trasfondo social y moral protestante, aunque después su ejemplo pueda prender en todo tipo de sociedades y sensibilidades políticas, al asociarse a valores abstractos y universalistas como los derechos humanos, la justicia social, etc.
                  -Igualmente, al hablar de la “izquierda socialdemócrata”, me refería a las condiciones generales de formación de la ideología abolicionista, cuya plataforma ha sido claramente una izquierda que, al convertirse masivamente a la socialdemocracia (por más que se siga pretendiendo comunista, anarquista, revolucionaria, etc), y abandonar en consecuencia su proyecto de una sociedad sin clases, ha pretendido hacerse fuerte en su posición de “conciencia ética del sistema capitalista”, necesitando con ello un nuevo terreno en el que seguir haciendo valer éticamente (ya que no política, ni económicamente) sus categorías tradicionales de “justicia social”, “lucha contra la explotación”, etc: terreno que, a través de la ideología abolicionista, han creído encontrar providencialmente en la prostitución. Ciertamente, el abolicionismo es hoy políticamente transversal, pero lo es porque el estigma de la prostitución permite la fraternidad y la alianza de discursos totalmente antagónicos en sus valores, como el de los socialdemócratas y feministas laicas y el de los conservadores religiosos, pero que comparten su oposición a la prostitución como institución concreta. Creo que el propio feminismo nos da, sin advertirlo, la solución a esta paradoja: en el contexto de la moral patriarcal, la “prostituta” constituye la figura antagónica o negativa de los sucesivos modelos (“heterodesignaciones”) de feminidad normativa, de “mujer honrada”, aunque éstos sean a su vez heterogéneos y opuestos entre sí. El hecho de que la prostituta sea hoy también negativo de la “mujer liberada y emancipada” defendida por el feminismo revela que éste continúa operando con esquemas patriarcales en su concepción y valoración de la prostitución; limitándose, para ello, a practicar un deslizamiento retórico de los contenidos axiológicos de la moral patriarcal a la terminología del humanismo liberal (los “derechos humanos”), el feminismo (la “igualdad de género”) y la socialdemocracia (la “justicia social”).

                  Reply

                  1. -Cuando hablaba de la fragilidad de las posiciones pro-derechos no me refería a usted o a su trabajo, cuya tenacidad en circunstancias muchas veces desfavorables me merecen el máximo respeto. Lo que quería es señalar la aparente incapacidad del conjunto de colectivos e individuos comprometidos en la vindicación de los derechos de las prostitutas para articular un discurso teórico capaz de hacer frente a otros discursos que, como el abolicionista, ya están funcionando de hecho como “meta-teorías de la prostitución”. Frente a esto, la defensa del “principio de autonomía corporal”, como usted lo llama, adolece de claras insuficiencias: basta con que alguien, como hacen los promotores del proyecto francés, le oponga el falso dilema que pretendería que con él se está sacrificando a la “mayoría de víctimas de tráfico y violaciones” para proteger a una minoría privilegiada e insignificante, y seguramente alienada y autoengañada a la que se podría redimir terapéuticamente, para que el principio quede virtualmente inmovilizado. Porque, como usted dice bien, la ley y el trabajo sexual “son parte de algo mucho más amplio que sucede hoy día”: algo que no afecta sólo a la autonomía corporal, sino a contradicciones irresolubles en nuestro sistema de organización de las relaciones sociales y sexuales.
                    Por ello creo que para los pro-derechos será necesario tarde o temprano ir más allá de “cortar el nudo gordiano” reconociendo que “no vamos a ponernos de acuerdo”. Como sin duda habrá tenido usted ocasión de comprobar, el abolicionismo no sólo no busca el acuerdo, sino que no puede tolerar ninguna forma de pluralidad valorativa en torno al fenómeno de la prostitución, o la simple existencia de discursos o aproximaciones al mismo que no se ajusten sin reservas a sus presupuestos: precisamente porque es una Dogmática. Su manejo de categorías (vaciadas de contenido) como “violencia de género”, “explotación”, “alienación”, etc., las convierte en un mantra que no admite la argumentación racional, la investigación, la corrección, la revisión, la matización: no admite más que la adhesión incondicional o la oposición igualmente incondicional. El abolicionismo es una ideología dogmática, pero está en vías de ser generalmente aceptado como la forma “neutral”, o incluso la única concebible, de hablar sobre la prostitución: el hecho es que expresiones ideológicas como “sistema prostitucional” ya han conseguido auparse al lenguaje institucional, como muestra el actual proyecto de ley francés (cuyo propósito es, literalmente, la “lutte contre le système prostitutionnel”), y que, como viene a decir Thierry Schaffhauser, cada vez es más difícil resistirse a utilizarlas sin ser tachado de sexista, de prostituidor, de “pro-prosti-killer”, etc. Me da la impresión (que no sé si usted compartirá, desde su propia experiencia) de que durante mucho tiempo se ha subestimado el fenómeno abolicionista, viéndolo como algo lejano e inofensivo, un experimento legal original y extravagante ajustado a las condiciones particulares de un país nórdico con poca población y poca prostitución, fuera del cual no tenía trascendencia más allá de ciertas discusiones de gabinete entre las feministas; y que algunos sólo están empezando a reaccionar cuando ya han sentido en el cogote el aliento del monstruo. Contra todo esto habrá que reaccionar tarde o temprano. Y aquí es donde yo veía el peligro de utilizar metáforas como el “retorno a la pureza social” para dar cuenta de lo que está pasando, ya que pueden desenfocar el fenómeno observado y dar la razón a quienes desde el abolicionismo dicen (como leí hace tiempo en un blog): “nuestros adversarios se descalifican por sí solos al acusarnos de victorianas y puritanas, cuando somos colectivos feministas y de derechos humanos”. Y tal vez sea aquí donde haya que apuntar: a la denuncia no de la pureza o del puritanismo, sino del secuestro del feminismo y de los derechos humanos por los abanderados de la dogmática abolicionista.
                    Sólo ratificarle mi felicitación por su blog y mi deseo de seguir leyéndolo con el mayor interés.

                    Reply

                  2. The reason why this particular brand of anti-sex work legislation is coming about at this time in Europe is racial paranoia about keeping Europe white.

                    Most of the migrants are not considered white (not even Slavs are seen as white). The Left is not immune to this appeal.

                    The Paris Commune of 1871 indulged in anti-sex work appeals as well, closing the Paris brothels and putting prostitutes (and drunks) in jail. Apparently, France is coming full circle,

                    Reply

                    1. I don’t know how familiar you are with my work but what you describe above on ‘consent’ is what my concepts of Rescue Industry and folks who Know Better how everyone should live are about. I recently wrote on how subjects’ own feelings and perceptions are disqualified in http://jacobinmag.com/2013/08/prostitution-law-and-the-death-of-whores/

                      You might find it interesting.

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                    2. I have never seen any convincing arguments for why the Swedish law is good and why prostitution is bad. Ultimately the argument seems to boil down to the singular: People’s bodies should not be for sale!

                      Which ignores the reality that prostitution is the sale of a service, not of a body. I also think that the gender perspectives are ignored:

                      For example, if prostitution is some form of systematic abuse, then we must take in the perspective of male prostitutes as well. If we want to honestly investigate the consequences of some phenomenon on a group of people, it’s dishonest to ignore some subsets just because they don’t match the theories you’ve already made up in your head.

                      One problem I have with some feminists and some leftists is the willingness to entirely discard the concept of consent. That kind of argument is based on placing yourself in the shoes of some group, and then making a blanket statement about how that group should want to behave, and then forbid behavior to the contrary. For example, one could reason that “No woman would want to prostitute herself because prostitution is disgusting. We should thus ban prostitution.”

                      Reply

                      1. Plainly in the Left’s handbooks it is written “Rights are granted by the State”. They don’t believe in individual liberties, so when they talk about “consent” what they really are getting at is the collective’s control of male sexual behavior. It’s futile arguing with Leftists, since the only truth they believe in is power

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