Recently I wrote about a man-licking-women video that supposedly depicts a man who does sex for money and feels oppressed by the job. The only sex we are shown, though, is oral, with the man kneeling on a floor between the outspread knees of women on their backs on a bed. The video, part of a campaign by the non-democratic European Women’s Lobby, has provoked interesting comments on my blog, not least from men who say the video’s message is not easy to grasp.
It seems the actual subtext of the video is that older and fat woman are disgusting and undeserving of sexual pleasure. matt
He seems more bored than disgusted. Alex
What the creator of this video did not realize was that clients love to lick women including the mature providers. Pohaku
It is a big boost for a man’s ego if so many women want to have sex with him, even if they are older women. Kris
The depiction of women who are older or a little bit curvy as disgusting? Talk about misogynistic. Erik
Oh, please. A job described as Help Wanted: male to lick anonymous pussies for $xx per hour, supply your own toothpaste and kneepads would have applicants lined up out the door. There would be plenty of candidates if it was a volunteer gig. ewaffle
Okay, bizarre choice of ad. That turned me on. Randy
These are just extracts; go to the comments directly if you are interested. The point is, the video itself, as opposed to the propaganda surrounding it, is open to a myriad of interpretations – some of them quite the opposite of what the EWL intended. Which is good.
The European sex worker rights movement objects to the characterisation of their lives in this way, of course, calling it anti-sex, woman-hating, sexist, discriminatory. But even more importantly, everyone asks how a campaign can be called Together for a Europe Free From Prostitution when several EU member states permit some sorts of sex work and prostitution (see this example from Italy’s Comitato per il Diritti Civili delle Prostitute). The issue is that the EWL receives public money – your taxes – from an EU programme called Progress, established to support financially the implementation of the objectives of the European Union in employment, social affairs and equal opportunities. I first questioned this use of public funds in April, so I am glad to see that the following question was submitted to the European Parliament on 1 July (note the EU’s executive body is called the European Commission):
Can the Commission explain if EU funds have been used directly or indirectly to finance an abolitionist “Campaign to put an end to prostitution in Europe” and “Together for a Europe Free from Prostitution”, promoting a “Europe free from prostitution” and calling on “individuals, national governments and the European Union to take concrete actions”, substantially on the basis of the Swedish model of legislation on the issue and with the aim of abolishing prostitution, which is presented as a form of violence against women? Have notably Progress funds been used for this? If so, can it explain how EU funds can be used to promote a certain legislative model, notably on a matter where Member States have different policies and sensitivities on the matter? If EU funds have been directly or indirectly used, if a campaign is launched to legalize prostitution and sex work or to promote a different legislative model, would the same EU funds be eligible for it? If not, why? Will the Commission request that EU funds are given back, if the campaign is funded without the Commission knowledge?
I edited a couple of words to make the English more understandable to an international audience; see the original form submitted at the bottom of this entry.
The current commissioner for Home Affairs is Cecilia Malmström (Swedish), and although she has not said anything publicly so far about the EWL campaign, she is getting close with recent pronouncements on sexual exploitation of children and modern slavery (where she mentions someone who was forced to have sex with 65-70 men a day, every day during five years, just as though it was the most typical story). I will keep my eye on her, both as an anthropologist of Europe and an anthropologist of Bureaucracy. Speaking of which, here is the original form submitted to parliament.