The invisible men project

(1000 Posts)
ArmyOfPenguins Mon 06-May-13 22:45:42

I think it's important that the buyers' choices in prostitution are highlighted and shared. This project was linked to on FB. Thoughts? I think it's a great idea.

the-invisible-men.tumblr.com/

inwinoweritas Thu 05-Sep-13 15:39:28

When the red
When it surfaced in this thread it seemed to me that “the invisible man project” might have an agenda namely to paint punters as misogynists (and that that agenda was shared by those introducing it on Mumsnet-it is not an uncommon claim amongst feminists-especially radfems) and was maybe being selective in the posts it was showing.

I thought this might be the case as I was aware of a number of academic studies (cited in my posts on this thread (Tue 20-Aug-13 16:49:22, Fri 23-Aug-13 19:21:22) that had used punternet and equivalent US sites as sources for the views of men who buy sex-and had selected representative posts at random and come to different conclusion (namely that the majority of men who buy sex were no different in demography or attitudes from those in the general population-they are a heterogeneous bunch). Indeed the project is headlined “The punter Let’s talk about his choices”. Not SOME punters or A FEW punters but punters-implying that all punters were similar.

I have myself have just gone through the last fifty posts on PN-and can’t see the type of views highlighted in the project reproduced in that sample, which suggests that the project must have worked hard to come up with the samples they did-again suggesting an agenda.

Now you argue (WhentheRed Fri 23-Aug-13 19:45:02) that the very existence of punternet and other review sites (whether the reviews were respectful or misogynist) show a terrible attitude- that’s a matter of opinion, my own view is that these are hobbyists talking and may not be representative of men who by sex (or men) generally. In her comment on this very thread Minxylydia a West London Escort (link given by lifeandstyule Sun 16-Jun-13 13:15:08) points out (as I have done that the posts are selective and edited) and that there are many posts that are complementary to the prostitute and that if a service is advertised as one thing then maybe if the woman has misrepresented herself perhaps others should know, equally if she provides a good service that too should be acknowledged.

Now you are entitled to your views-what you are not entitled to do is distort the facts –what the invisible man project is trying to do is present a distorted view of those who purchase sex. Now this is generally acknowledged to be an under researched area-but what research that has been done and produced in the peer-reviewed literature presents a rather different view than the invisible man project

I am glad you (unlike flora) are prepared to at least make a tiny start at looking at some of the evidence I produce. It’s a pity you did not get further in ProfScambler’s lecture. (incidentally not as you describe him as “man sharing stories about "girls" he has interviewed” but a Prof of sociology who has published several papers and articles based on researching the sex industry). I linked to the video as he summarizes in an accessible way what is known from many academic studies about the sex industry in the UK-and shows it is unlike the media and Mumsnet stereotype (these academic papers are often behind journal subscription barriers-and yes I have read them and understand them-but since you all seem averse to reading I thought maybe a visual summary might help).I urge other Mumsnetters who might have more open minds to look at it.

But again whenthered you cannot resist the opportunity to distort the content of the video. He does deal a little with the clients (at 18:30-saying that clients are heterogeneous and you cannot generalize about them) and quite a bit about agency (4:02,5:14,21:50 24:06,35:30, 38:20)-the evidence shows that many prostitutes freely choose sex work and are not coerced.(and a large number of surveys some of which I cited in earlier posts show this) Which debunks your line (your post Wed 08-May-13 01:17:41) that there is no consent or agency in prostitution-the evidence says otherwise

Those of the ilk of Mackinnon (introduced by Beachcomber( Fri 02-Aug-13 11:16:23) think that under the patriarchy a woman cannot consent to be a prostitute and leads on to the view promulgated by many radfems that prostitution is rape that is paid for. I agree with the comments of minnehaha who put it more succinctly (posts of Fri 02-Aug-13 22:20:53 ) but I pointed out that there are other views from other feminists (my post Tue 20-Aug-13 15:19:48) citing from an article by Barbara Sullivan (lecturer in Political Science University of Queensland (an internationally acknowledged researcher on prostitution and trafficking-according to the Queensland University website) who has written extensively on consent and rape in the context of prostitution (see http://www.polsis.uq.edu.au/sullivan)-the article I cite critiques the view put forward by Mackinnon-saying that prostitutes can consent and that those who have experienced actual rape know that sex in prostitution is experientially different. I could have used the comments of minnehaha who out it more succinctly (posts of Fri 02-Aug-13 22:20:53 )That post prompted the usual kneejerk from flora..leading to the derail..

And When-I would never ever insult you or anyone else in the terms you suggest

FloraFox Thu 05-Sep-13 17:12:19

Wino can you tell us which works of Catharine MacKinnon and Sheila Jeffreys you have read?

CaptChaos Thu 05-Sep-13 19:15:33

wino Can you please explain to us how coerced or bought consent can ever be viewed as true consent in a legal sense. Not just with reference to prostitution, but in any sphere where consent is a pre-requisite.

Can you tell us which works of Catharine MacKinnon and Sheila Jeffreys you have read?

Further, can you get it through your head that discussing human beings on a 'consumer' website is morally wrong? They are not joints of meat, they are not sofas, they are not holiday destinations, they are people. It does worry me slightly that you are unable to grasp that fairly basic concept. It doesn't matter if the posts are complimentary or derogatory. Really it doesn't.

Please just answer like a person, your pseudo-academic style is as ridiculous as it is flawed and it just makes you look like a bit of a pompous fool imo.

WhentheRed Thu 05-Sep-13 22:25:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

inwinoweritas Fri 06-Sep-13 09:11:44

Flora:
Sheila Jeffreys
Jeffreys s the industrial vagina

Jeffreys S 2010 Brothels without walls Social Policy

Jeffreys s 2002 Prostitution Culture: Legalised brothel prostitution in Victoria,Australia.Talk given at Swedish Ministry of Gender Equality Seminar on the Effect of Legalisation of Prostitution. Stockholm, 6 November 2002.

Jeffreys, Sheila. “Chapter 9: Prostitution as Male Sexual Violence.” The Idea of Prostitution. Melbourne: Spinifex, 1997. 242-74.

Jeffreys S the legalization of prostitution : A failed social experiment
Sullivan M and Jeffreys S Legalizing prostitution is not the answer (CATWA)

Jeffreys S 2010 The sex industry and business practice: an obstacle to womens equality womans study international forum

Sullivan M and Jeffreys S 2002 Legalization Violence against women 8 1140

I have also read work by her students

Sullivan, Mary 2007 Making Sex work:a failed experiment in legalized prostitution -a book which is essentially her PhD thesis( s Jeffreys personal comm.) (but as Flora notes that’s just an opinion)

Rave, Natasha 2012 Prostitution in the Community: the challenge of legalized prostitution in Australia (PhD thesis The University of Melbourne)

Sullivan M What happens when prostitution becomes work (CATWA)
Sullivan M 2011 Submission to the standing committee on justice and community safety review of the prostitution act 1992

Also have read the cross examination of Mary Sullivan in Bedford vs Canada

Catherine Mackinnon
MacKinnon, Catharine. Sex Equality (University Casebook Series) (2010)
a. II. Prostitution as Sexual Slavery
b. Chapter 10: Trafficking Women, p. 1381-1420

as well as extract provided by Beach

No point is asking what you have read-you read nothing

FloraFox Fri 06-Sep-13 09:28:24

So why don't you present your own arguments instead of endless linking to other work? You seem unable to synthesise and present the arguments in any of the papers you are demanding others read.

Why are you so obsessed with prostitution?

WhentheRed Fri 06-Sep-13 19:14:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CaptChaos Fri 06-Sep-13 19:42:50

wino No point is asking what you have read-you read nothing

How amazingly rude! Especially after a copied and pasted bibliography!

Do you have a response to this: Further, can you get it through your head that discussing human beings on a 'consumer' website is morally wrong?

Or can you find nothing to copy and paste on that topic yet?

minnehaha Fri 06-Sep-13 20:31:48

"Why do you think men have the right to buy sex?"

How about discussing a woman's right to sell sex. The proposals many of you espouse would remove her autonomy. I've worked in this industry for over twenty years. I have never been raped, was not abused at any time in my life and do not work to buy drugs.

The vast majority of other women I've encountered during this time would report the same. Contrary to opinion here, the happy hooker does exist.

ModeratelyObvious Fri 06-Sep-13 20:37:48

Minne, I think it depends if you see selling sex as selling a service (like gardening) or if you see it as more like selling, say, blood to a poorly individual.

You can say that the sale of blood is not something society should find acceptable without commenting on any person's autonomy or even whether a particular person is harmed by selling their blood. You can see that it could be exploitative or dehumanising without having to think that's true for every person who might be in the business of selling their blood.

WhentheRed Fri 06-Sep-13 22:26:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SinisterSal Sat 07-Sep-13 01:05:04

The point is when the man walks into the room, what is he thinking about the person standing in front of him. That is the crux.

Invisible man project, P N etc, shows that it's not anything good. Quite often/regularly/nearly always.

And any human knows that being quite often/regularly/ nearly always used as a sex toy by someone who despises you is pyschologically damaging.

You don't need to study vast tracts of academic studies to know that. People know it. If you have ever thought you don't want your self/wife/sister to be a prostitute, then you know it.

sosop02 Wed 11-Sep-13 09:28:55

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Beachcomber Wed 11-Sep-13 10:38:16

Those of the ilk of Mackinnon (introduced by Beachcomber( Fri 02-Aug-13 11:16:23) think that under the patriarchy a woman cannot consent to be a prostitute and leads on to the view promulgated by many radfems that prostitution is rape that is paid for.

This is not MacKinnon's analysis actually. At all.

Her analysis is an examination of consent as it exists, and has been developed, as a legal and social concept in male dominated society within the cultural, social and legal framework of that society both at its current point in history, and historically. Her analysis poses the question as to whether consent (within the domain of female/male sexual relations, and, as described above, as a legal and social concept) is a meaningful concept - her answer to that question is that it is not. Her analysis is concerned with the subject of rape, and, the legal perception of rape, and, the male dominated perspective which provides the societal and legal definition of rape, a definition which is subsequently imposed on women. The analysis applies to all women - prostituted or otherwise.

Your gross oversimplification of MacKinnon's analysis misses very important aspects which are key to understanding MacKinnon's complex and sophisticated thought process.

In other words - you appear to have entirely missed her point.

I don't know if you have read 'Right-Wing Women' but the concept of 'sexual intelligence' as discussed by Dworkin is framed in an identical way to that of MacKinnon's analysis of consent.

Both MacKinnon's analysis of consent as not being a meaningful concept, and Dworkin's exploration of 'sexual intelligence' as being withheld from women, apply across the board to all women in all male dominated society. This is key and you have failed to acknowledge this fundamental and essential structure of MacKinnon's observation.

Reading feminist work is not enough - one has to think about it and often to engage in that thought process there needs to be a stepping out of the framework of patriarchal thinking on the part of the individual. That is kind of the whole point of feminist analysis - it provides a female perspective and needs to be read as thus with the challenges to the individual's thought processes that this implies by the very nature of the perspective not being the usual one - male and representative/foundational of the status quo.

Beachcomber Wed 11-Sep-13 12:17:06

Also whilst I completely agree with SinisterSal when she says;
And any human knows that being quite often/regularly/ nearly always used as a sex toy by someone who despises you is pyschologically damaging.

You don't need to study vast tracts of academic studies to know that. People know it. If you have ever thought you don't want your self/wife/sister to be a prostitute, then you know it.

I can't help being curious if you have actually read the Barbara Sullivan article you cite, inwinoweritas. And why don't you link to it so that other posters can read it and read your citation in context?

I have read it and it is an examination of the barriers prostituted women face/have faced in reporting rape and sexual assault and in having their attackers prosecuted. The cultural perception of the agency of prostituted women as perceived legally and socially is examined with regards to their being able to consent to sex and therefore also withhold consent and be victims of rape.

The article is not an analysis or critique of MacKinnon's writings on rape as cited on this thread. Indeed Sullivan does not engage with MacKinnon's critique of consent as a meaningful concept for all women, at all. She doesn't address MacKinnon's framing of consent in any way - rather Sullivan makes her point with an implied acceptance of the framework of the patriarchal definition of consent and argues that prostituted women exercise agency with regards to this conceptualisation of consent and that this needs to be recognised in order for them to be able to report rape and have their attackers prosecuted.

Sullivan's article does not challenge MacKinnon's analysis at all - indeed it is completely irrelevant to it.

myweb.dal.ca/mgoodyea/Documents/Law/Rape,%20prostitution%20and%20consent%20B%20Sullivan%20Aust%20NZJ%20Crim%202007%2040%282%29%20127-42.pdf

inwinoweritas Thu 12-Sep-13 13:29:30

Beach
With respect I do wish you would read more carefully what I wrote. I drew attention in my post (Tue 20-Aug-13 15:19:48) to the work of Barbara Sullivan-pointing out that there was another interesting analysis of the possibilities of consent (and yes I gave the DOI-so I did link to it) and yes I have read it and some other articles she has written (unfortunately many of these are behind journal subscription barriers).

The part of the article I quoted from dealt with the issue of the possibility of consent-which is the same issue that Mackinnon and other feminist writers have raised. I do have time for Barbara Sullivan however-at least she engages with the real world of prostitution unlike Mackinnon

In another article “Rethinking Prostitution and ‘Consent’ Paper presented at 2000 Conference of the Australasian Political Studies Assoc Australian National University, Canberra 3-6 October, 2000 (which I am sorry seems to be behind a paywall espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:148735 she sent me a copy ) she writes.

There is a significant international and feminist debate at present about prostitution and consent. However, most authors have argued that consent to prostitution is impossible. For radical feminists this is because prostitution is always a coercive sexual practice. Others simply suggest that economic coercion makes the sexual consent of sex workers highly problematic if not impossible. In my own view, it is usually more appropriate to talk about prostitution in the realm of work rather than sexuality. In the realm of work there is a general lack of freedom and choice for most workers, that is it is a realm of 'normal' economic coercion. So why would we want to treat sex work as a special case and insist on the particular relevance of the language of choice and consent in this area?”……… To say that sexual consent will always be constructed within power relations is not to suggest the impossibility of ‘real consent’ but it is to call into question liberal consent (that is a consent negotiated in the absence of power). Women and men working in prostitution will not be without power or (in most cases) the freedom to resist power. Indeed, their capacities as subjects (including their capacity to practice freedom) will be constructed as an effect of power relations. For feminists, this calls attention to new avenues for resisting power and enhancing the freedom of sex workers – for example, by working to establish conditions which support and enable consensual capacity.

She also talks a bit about consent in “Prostitution and consent: beyond the liberal dichotomy of free or forced (available in partial form here books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=FSjEnDrb8QcC&oi=fnd&pg=PA127&dq=Rethinking+Prostitution+and+%E2%80%98Consent&ots=JtURB5MFXX&sig=98UzgbK_UIweAw9eYeJzT4JnGPM#v=onepage&q=Rethinking%20Prostitution%20and%20%E2%80%98Consent&f=false
And yes I have read it.

But quite frankly I think that a lot of the feminist philosophising while sort of interesting in an academic way is arcane-like a discussion of theology and becomes a sort of feminist faith (all prostitution is violence, consent in prostitution is impossible, all prostitution is rape that is paid for and the rest).

The problem arises when this “sun goes around the earth” faith conflicts with the observable reality ( a point I make in my post of Wed 04-Sep-13 09:14:45), the adherents of the faith go through the most amazing contortions to maintain that faith in the face of the evidence-but that is the nature of faith or belief I suppose-I have seen it in other debates as well (GM crops, evolution MMR vaccines to mention just a few examples).

And the techniques are the same-rubbish the opponents, say they must have a vested interest, claim they don’t understand or have not read the evidence , and are know nothings..yadayada….and in the end when all this fails (pace flora) claim they are obsessed

ModeratelyObvious Thu 12-Sep-13 14:04:25

Talking about prostituion being in the realm of work rather than the realm of sexuality is a philosophical position in itself.

WhentheRed Thu 12-Sep-13 19:21:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beachcomber Thu 12-Sep-13 20:21:33

Those of the ilk of Mackinnon (introduced by Beachcomber( Fri 02-Aug-13 11:16:23) think that under the patriarchy a woman cannot consent to be a prostitute and leads on to the view promulgated by many radfems that prostitution is rape that is paid for. I agree with the comments of minnehaha who put it more succinctly (posts of Fri 02-Aug-13 22:20:53 ) but I pointed out that there are other views from other feminists (my post Tue 20-Aug-13 15:19:48) citing from an article by Barbara Sullivan (lecturer in Political Science University of Queensland (an internationally acknowledged researcher on prostitution and trafficking-according to the Queensland University website) who has written extensively on consent and rape in the context of prostitution (see http://www.polsis.uq.edu.au/sullivan)-the article I cite critiques the view put forward by Mackinnon -saying that prostitutes can consent and that those who have experienced actual rape know that sex in prostitution is experientially different.

This is what you posted inwinoweritas

I read what you wrote carefully and responded. Carefully.

I responded by pointing out that:

a) You had completely missed MacKinnon's point.

b) Sullivan's article does not critique MacKinnon's analysis - it does not address it. At all. In any way. Whatsoever.

Are you now claiming that you did not post that the Sullivan article you cited was a critique of MacKinnon? hmm Make your mind up but don't patronise me.

Beachcomber Thu 12-Sep-13 20:27:30

The part of the article I quoted from dealt with the issue of the possibility of consent-which is the same issue that Mackinnon and other feminist writers have raised.

Nope.

You have missed the point as I stated above. Perhaps it is you who needs to read more carefully.

And perhaps listen to women on the subject of women's issues rather than lecture to them. Just a suggestion.

Beachcomber Thu 12-Sep-13 20:52:46

Talking about prostituion being in the realm of work rather than the realm of sexuality is a philosophical position in itself.

Yes to this.

***triggery******

HELP WANTED:WOMEN AND GIRLS DO YOU WANT THIS JOB?

Prostitution has been euphemized as an occupational alternative for women, as an answer to low-paying, low skilled, boring dead-end jobs, as a solution to the high unemployment rate of poor women, as a form of sexual liberation, and a career women freely choose.

*Are you tired of mindless, low skilled, low-paying jobs? Would you like a career with flexible hours? Working with people? Offering a professional service?

*No experience required. No high school diploma needed.

*No minimum age requirement. On-the-job training provided.

*Special opportunities for poor women—single mothers—women of color.

Women and girls applying for this position will provide the following services:
*Being penetrated orally, anally, and vaginally with penises, fingers, fist,and objects, including but not limited to, bottles, brushes, dildoes, guns and/or animals;
*Being bound and gagged, tied with ropes and/or chains, burned with cigarettes, or hung from beams or trees;
*Being photographed or filmed performing these acts.

Workplace:
Job-related activities will be performed in the following locations: in an apartment, a hotel, a “massage parlor,” car, doorway, hallway, street, executive suite, fraternity house, convention, bar, public toilet, public park, alleyway, military base, on a stage, in a glass booth.

Wages:
*Wages will be negotiated at each and every transaction. Payment will be delivered when client determines when and if services have been rendered to his satisfaction.
*Corporate management fees range from 40-60% of wages; private manager reserves the right to impound all monies earned.

Benefits:
Benefits will be provided at the discretion of management.
NO RESPONSIBILITY OR LEGAL REDRESS FOR THE FOLLOWING ON-THE JOB HAZARDS:
*Nonpayment for services rendered;
*Sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy;
*Injuries sustained through performance of services including but not limited to cuts, bruises, lacerations, internal hemorrhaging, broken bones, suffocation, mutilation, disfigurement, dismemberment, and death.

Note: Accusations of rape will be treated as a breach of contract by employee.
Name of applicant: __________________________
Signature of manager on behalf of applicant:______________________

WhentheRed Thu 12-Sep-13 22:17:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhentheRed Thu 12-Sep-13 22:22:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beachcomber Fri 13-Sep-13 15:02:45

I get you WhentheRed.

The chapter from Sullivan - "Prostitution and consent: beyond the liberal dichotomy of free or forced", just (inadvertently) highlights the flaws in consent as a meaningful concept that MacKinnon observes. But it absolutely does not challenge MacKinnon.

Sullivan actually visiblizes her cognitive dissonance in the chapter linked to. On the one hand she tries to argue that prostitution is work and therefore the idea of 'consent' is a rather strange one to apply as it is not a concept that is generally applied to other forms of work (other than in Marxism) but she then recognises that consent it quite important in prostitution as otherwise prostitutes cannot be considered to be victims of rape in the event that they are forced to have sex.

Sullivan's second thought process is clearly an admission that prostitution is not work like any other. Indeed Sullivan finds herself in the sticky situation of implying that a prostitute cannot be raped by the very definition of her being a prostitute, if she takes her 'work' analysis to its logical conclusion. Yikes!! So she tries to have her cake and eat it. Prostitution is work and the concept of consent is as irrelevant to 'sex work' as it is to 'other work' but with the caveat that consent is actually quite relevant otherwise 'sex workers' are open game for rape and they will have no legal recourse.

Gosh, what complicated mental gymnastics this woman is engaging in.

However, be that as it may, she still has not critiqued, addressed or even acknowledged MacKinnon's analysis of consent as a patriarchal concept from a male dominated perspective that is imposed on women.

"Consent" is always used by those who argue that prostitution is work like any other, as their get out of jail free card. What they generally fail to see is that when one is having to use 'consent' as an argument it is because one is trying to argue that a sexual encounter was not a rape or a sexual assault.

"But she consented" = "I didn't rape her"

In other words the concept of consent is only relevant when rape is the elephant in the room. We do not talk about sex women want in terms of consent.

And that brings us right back to everything MacKinnon said in her chapter about rape and what I said earlier on this thread when I posted the following;

Sex a woman doesn't want, is rape. This is the feminist analysis of rape. This is the analysis from the female perspective.

Patriarchal analysis is that rape is sex a woman does not consent to. This is a male/PIV centric perspective.

Consent can be bought, manipulated, influenced and coerced.

"Consent" is a smoke and mirrors patriarchal concept used to allow men to get away with raping women. "Consent" is a rape myth - possibly the biggest one of all.

Consent in prostitution is pay to rape.

And punters know this - they just either don't care, lie to themselves about it or they actively get off on it.

"Consent" is always the final word in the pro-porn argument as though it is an unexaminable, non-flawed neutral reality, when the truth is that consent is a patriarchal social construct rooted in the oppression of women via our vulnerability to PIV. Consent is a tool of oppression and nowhere is that more obvious than in prostitution and porn.

WhentheRed Fri 13-Sep-13 21:53:22

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