Hating sex workers, and parodies thereof, and a Copenhagen event

I wrote about hate and hating last year in a somewhat jocular tone, noting that I maintain a sort of parallel cv in which Important Enemies appear as a category (note that readers’ comments were highly entertaining). I also noted that some anti-prostitution activists question the right of people even to disagree with them. Then not long ago ex-movie star Sorvino attempted to stop me from talking on a BBC World Debate where I was a panelist – without succeeding, but her sense of entitlement is amazing (BBC editors softened the effect of her attack considerably in the published version).

Here is an example of another actress, Anne Grethe Bjarup Riis, making a nasty attack on a mainstream Danish television show (Go’ Morgen Danmark, TV2). Here no editing has softened the full effect; even without subtitles, even with the sound turned off completely, you get the gist. Bjarup Riis feels entitled to scream at and interrupt the other guest, hog screen time and use insulting language (fissehul = cunthole). The object of her attack is Susanne Møller, spokesperson for SIO, sex worker rights organisation in Denmark. Sus reacts to the attack by smiling and remaining calm.

Anne Grethe Bjarup Riis’ pinlige optræden på Go’ Morgen Danmark, TV2

Link in case embedded video fails

The attack backfired, since SIO got lots of positive attention from viewers who did not appreciate Bjarup Riis’s behaviour and, especially, from those who repudiated her claim that she speaks for all women. This is a perverted version of feminism, to put it mildly. A parody was soon made of the encounter which is quite funny, and this time the presenter has a way to turn the screeching off.

Live fra Bremen 4 – Diskussion om sexarbejderne – Nyhederne sådan cirka!, DKWebTV

Link in case embedded video fails

For those in or near Copenhagen, there is a sex worker festival on three days next week; I will be there on Sunday.

Sexarbejderfestival 2011

27 februar 1300 – 1800 Festival begins at Jemtelandsgade 3, Kvarterhuset, near Amagerbro Metro station (the metro to and from Vanløse to the airport). Map.

12:30 – 13:00 – Ankomst – Kom gerne i god tid

13:00 – 13:15 – Velkommen – Eini Carina Grønvold fra De røde paraplyer byder velkommen og fortæller om dagens forløb

13:15 -14:00 – Antropologen Laura Agustín taler om migrante sexarbejdere
14:00 -14:30 – spørgsmål og debat

14:30 – 15:15 Sexarbejderaktivisten Pye Jakobsson taler om forholdene for de Svenske sexarbejdere
15:15 – 15:45 spørgsmål og debat

15:45 – 16:00 Pause

16:00 – 16:30 Historikeren Nina Søndergaard vil kort skitsere op hvordan prostitution er blevet opfattet og reguleret i Vesteuropa gennem de sidste 150 år.
16:30 -16:45 spørgsmål

16:45 – 17:15 Talskvinde for SIO, Susanne Møller, vil fortælle om SIOs kamp for sexarbejderrettigheder
17:15 -17.45 spørgsmål og debat

17:45 – 18:00 – afrunding og og tak for i dag

1 marts kl 18:30 – 20:30
Filmaften i Virus Bio på Valhalsgade 4, 2200
Der vil blive vist film, der tematiserer sexarbejde fra forskellige vinkler. Efterfølgende debat. Entré 20 kr.

3 marts kl 17:00 – 19:00
Festivalen slutter d. 3 marts hvor vi vil markere Sexarbejdernes Internationale Rettighedsdag med en demonstration FOR sexarbejderrettigheder og IMOD sexkøbsforbud fra Rådhuspladsen til Halmtorvet. Alle er velkomne!

8 thoughts on “Hating sex workers, and parodies thereof, and a Copenhagen event

  1. Maggie McNeill

    Since I don’t understand Danish, I must ask what the actress is trying to accomplish? Is she trying to impose the “Swedish Model” on Denmark?

  2. Laura Agustín

    maggie: there is a back story, of course. SIO started a provocative campaign talking about sex work as a career in a positive way. a local political candidate appears in one of the short videos on the campaign site supporting the idea of sex work. bjarup riis then published an article in a newspaper attacking that candidate. the attack is about prostitution being a totally degrading, offensive activity, reducing women to pussyholes for men to use. and so on and so forth – a standard anti-prostitution argument. because of the article, tv2 invited bjarup riis and SIO on the show.

  3. Zanne

    This danish actor is strongly opposing sex work, and she appears quite often in the media on this issue as well as on others. She is “good” on tv, always arguing quite engaged, and “good” tv sells !
    This year she will speak at the annual 8.march-demo, where a huge number of women´s groups and others walk through the area of cph where the streetbased sex workers work, calling for the swedish model or a total ban.
    They also organise yet another conference, and this year with the participation of Julie Bindel and Janice Raymond – mums for an ugly group of people they have invited :-/
    Their website is in danish, but some google translation might help

  4. asehpe

    Zanne, if I may ask — what do sex workers organizations in Denmark do to oppose such events? I hope they don’t just accept them passively? Are such events well received among the Danish people?

  5. Steve

    I welcome abolitionists who use insulting language. It never helps their case. In the UK Catherine Stephens spoke on the radio against some prohibitionists. The prohibitionists were not overly loud, but kept using the words ‘Selling your Body’ and some of the other rhetoric abolitionists use. Catherine countered these accusations calmly.

    I took that radio broadcast and asked some I know, who is not involved in any way with the sex industry to critique it. She felt the abolitionists were not helping their arguments at all with there profound exaggerations, and that the calm reasoned arguments from Catherine were far more believable.

  6. Pingback: Savaging « The Honest Courtesan

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