I’m going to Denmark in a couple of days! Denmark! whoa. I don’t usually use exclamation marks, i think they’re a bit shrill.
but — Denmark!
okay. i’ll stop that now. I’m going to a summer school for grad students on the topic of lifelong learning inside and outside of formal schooling situations. the paper i’m gonna present is about how, well, broadly, how the discourse about prostitution has been increasingly medicalized, and feminist analysis and voices calling prostitution violence against women have been erased. Even as women in prostitution have been both pathologized and abandoned by promoters of ‘harm reduction’. you know what harm reduction is, eh–condoms galore, ‘bad trick’ sheets, outreach workers, street nurses, ‘condom use negotiation workshops’, etcetera– these things and more are supposed to help women be safer, seeing as how they ‘choose’ to be in prostitution anyhow, and it IS the “world’s oldest profession” after all.
bullshit. farming is.prostitution is oppression, not profession.
and so fucking what? slavery’s been around a long fucking time, too, can we find people who think that enslaved people “choose” it? And hey, rape, battering, child sexual assault? Men have been doing these things a long time. Okay with you? Nope. I bet not. And if it is, you’re not likely to say so in public, are ya?
But prostitution, now, that’s something else entirely. That’s business. or, well, maybe it’s a health concern. No kidding. On page 6, I think, of a recent report called “the Challenge Of Change” produced by a special subcommittee of the Canadian Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (or something, I don’t have it here right now, i forget the exact title)–the authors wrote that prostiution is “above all, a public health issue, and not only a criminal law issue”.
fer cryin’ out loud. Mostly they’re concerned about the health of the public, not so much the ‘public women’. Though it does seem that concern for women in prostitution is high. It just seems that mostly, public policy makers and service providers and just about everyone has given in to cynicism and despair and don’t want to really address the demand.
Like ‘wife battering’, ‘rape’, ‘incest’, ‘sexual harassment’…it is an identifiable group that is responsible for ALL of it. All of it. Men. They do it, they get away with it, and even the guys who DON’T do it have more space and power and stuff because other men do it — to women. We are all victims of male violence. Even if no man has ever touched us, we’ve all seen the advertisements, we’ve heard the stories, we’ve been trained to be alert to the possibilities, we’ve all taken the ‘bad trick’ sheet home with us and studied it.
The difference between women in prostitution and women not in prostitution is mostly that the women in prostitution are in danger from men who buy them AND men they live with or have relationships with, and women not in prostitution are mostly only in danger from men they know.
feminist anti-male-violence activists know this, but who listens to us? Well, for a while, in the 70s and 80s, it looked like more people were hearing us. Another study, published in 1985, the Fraser Committee’s report on Pornography and Prostitution in Canada was obviously influenced by feminism. At the very least, they understood that women in prostitution were most at risk from men who bought or sold them (i can’t remember what page that’s on, either). And there was lots more discussion in that report about women’s poverty, and male domination, and how we have to start educating people early about sexuality and all that.
By 2006, all that discussion disappeared, as had a feminist voice in the public discourse. Time to bring that back.
that, broadly, is what my paper’s about. Lifelong learning.
yep. Denmark’s gonna be fun.
because i am, after all, easily riled, I’ll likely do some blogging when I’m there, but who knows, maybe i’ll be too busy lookin’ at castles and arguing with academics from Portugal and Turkey.
so, you know, bye for now.