is there and 'official' feminist view on prostitution? and what is it?

(184 Posts)
ohnoitshimagain Fri 27-Dec-13 09:48:26

hi, just signed up and want to get to the bottom of this issue

ok, I'm sure there's not an official view as such, but how about a consensus or just your own personal view on this topic

1. Should prostitution be fully legalised including brothels?

I believe it should in the modern day, because of freedom

and I'm talking here about female prostitutes and male clients

hope to hear some responses, thanks, btw I"m a man

OneHolyCow Fri 27-Dec-13 10:01:21

No consensus.
What do you mean freedom, for whom?
It sounds so easy like that, freedom and modern as the key words and hey, how could we disagree?
Well. We can.

Pragmatically, we could say that as long as prostitution exists, the safety of the women (and men, why exclude them? Boys are vulnerable on the streets too you know) is paramount and therefore it would maybe be preferable to have a place where they can rest, get medical checks, have a chat, be looked after by each other and have access to social workers, get refrerred to methadone clinics or what have you. Likewise, for the unaddicted, it would be safer to work in a club than to just rely on a pimp or work from home or the street.

Ideally though, in the perfect world, there would be no such thing as prostitution. It commodifies people, it is degrading. So why not work towards rooting it out now? In order to discourage it, push it out of the city, do not legalise it and criminalise in stead.

Usually, people tend to lean one way or the other I guess, ending up somewhere on a scale between these.

ohnoitshimagain Fri 27-Dec-13 10:07:27

ok, I agree with you about making it safer for the women, and healthier etc.. with them having a safe place to work in , and yes, the same if they were male prostitutes.

but eradicate it? surely that is not possible as it's a human nature thing?

meaning that there will always be men willing to pay, and women wanting to earn the money from it, is that so wrong anyway?

OneHolyCow Fri 27-Dec-13 10:11:28

Sex is human nature, sex for money isn't.
Look, I'm not going to explain why money corrupts. I've not enough time. Look up some Michael Sandel on youtube, his Justice series is good. Money does not make stuff right, consent doesn't either.

Thegrinchishere Fri 27-Dec-13 10:19:49

Oh knob off ohno bored of the football all ready???

scaevola Fri 27-Dec-13 10:21:09

I don't think there's an "official" "feminist" view on anything really. It's a basic misconception to think it is any ordinary sense unified as an organisation. Yes, there is a basic underpinning sine qua non of promotion of gender-blind fairness. But a huge range of approaches to that, many of which are culture-specific.

For example, is OP's question looking at brothels in Abuja or an independent escort in a basically safe European country?

Branleuse Fri 27-Dec-13 10:32:03

no there isn't a feminist opinion on it.

feminists are all sorts of people

TheDoctrineOfSanta Fri 27-Dec-13 11:13:25

Have you used prostitutes, OP?

If so, why?

If not, why not?

NotCitrus Fri 27-Dec-13 13:04:35

There's no consensus.
There's agreement that prostitutes are often at risk from their clients and others.
That's about it - some feminists and also some very unfeminist repressive types say sex work is inherently degrading. Others, also including some feminists, say it may often be degrading in practice but isn't inherently more degrading than say cockle-picking, podiatry, or a minimum wage job.

Even when people agree to take a pragmatic approach and acknowledge neither supply nor demand are going to vanish overnight, so let's try to improve things for current sex workers while possibly reducing demand, there's huge disagreement on ways to do that - some are in favour of banning using a prostitute (possibly while being legal to be one), others, often including the sex workers themselves, say that actually put them more at risk from their clients and just pushes the business underground away from police protection.

Where prostitution is a last resort, what happens if that last resort option is removed?

What Are your motives OP?

Are you writing a paper?

You sound very young

WhentheRed Fri 27-Dec-13 17:43:28

What do you mean by "freedom" OP?

There are many aspects to prostitution. I, for one, do not condone the practice of prostitution, on many levels. I don't recognise it as a practice freely chosen by women.

In the debates, there is a lot of loose language being bandied about without any recognition of what each term actually means.

For instance, I challenge the very notion of it being called "sex". The notion of sex in prostitution is not that same as any form of consensual sex that I would recognise. Sex within prostitution is sex for the purpose of gratifying men, without regard to the woman. The woman's desires are irrelevant. It is man pleasing sex. That is not a definition of sex I will ever condone.

I am old enough to have been raised in a general climate where sex was a woman's duty to her husband. She had no expectation of enjoying sex and "Lie back and think of England" was still used. The women's liberation movement changed all that and freed women from the suppression of their sexual desires.

We still have to fight against the idea that women have no right to enjoy sex (the sexist chantings of university students still belie the idea that men don't care about women's sexual desires).

Decriminalisation of prostitution codifies into law the right of men not to care about women's sexual desires. It provides men the right to ignore women's sexual desires and, if they can't get a woman to consent to sex on that basis, they can go out and buy that type of sex.

Other feminists, I think, may view prostitution as an exercise in sexual liberation. I don't. I see it as sexually regressive. It reinforces harmful sexual stereotypes that sex is about man pleasing.

FloraFox Fri 27-Dec-13 18:24:29

Excellent post when. That gets right to the heart of feminist thinking about prostitution.

CaptChaosGlitteryBaubles Fri 27-Dec-13 19:24:30

What When said.

Although, I have my bingo card ready.

pokerface1 Fri 27-Dec-13 22:44:44

Feminists generally believe prostitution (or at least the purchase of sexual services) should be illegal.

Sex workers themselves generally want prostitution (buying and selling of sexual services) to be legal and decriminalized.

pokerface1 Fri 27-Dec-13 22:50:12

Ideally though, in the perfect world, there would be no drugs or alcohol either. But look what happened when the USA tried making alcohol illegal (here's the hint- the mafia made a fortune, grew in power and control and had a ball).

Some things are always going to continue regardless what the law is.

Sex work is never going to end. You can kid yourself it is possible to "abolish" it and support dangerous laws, or you can listen to what the sex workers say and help to make it safer for all.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Fri 27-Dec-13 22:54:43

Journalist ?

Bog off

WhentheRed Fri 27-Dec-13 23:37:13

pokerface, I would disagree with all of your assertions.

I would agree that most feminists believe that those in prostitution should not be criminalised. Feminists, and others, disagree on whether the buyers and the pimps, who are mostly men and who are the parties who are dangerous to those in prostitution, should be criminalised.

Your post also alludes to one of the other loose language uses: the interchangeability of the concepts of "decriminalisation" and "legalisation". Those are different concepts.

Decriminalisation merely removes the criminal sanctions against the commercial aspects of prostitution. It does nothing else to promote or protect those in prostitution.

Legalisation puts in place structures and legal frameworks to regulate prostitution.

The sex industry does not want legalisation. It only wants decriminalisation.

I do listen to women who have been in prostitution. I personally know two (who started at 11 and 14 respectively). I listen to them and amplify what they tell me about their experiences.

pokerface1 Sat 28-Dec-13 00:01:39

I know feminists want the purchase of sexual services illegal and I know legalization and decriminalization are not the same thing.

My point is this view does not appear to be shared much by the sex workers themselves.

Thants Sat 28-Dec-13 00:13:03

We need to improve things vastly for women in terms of poverty and drug addiction these are the things that drive women to prostitution. Help illegal immigrants and trafficked women work and protect then not criminalise them.
We need to be much harder on men that visit prostitutes. There is no fear at the moment! Men need to know that if they buy women they will be punished.

pokerface1 Sat 28-Dec-13 00:20:21

"buy women"? You mean buy the services sex workers provide?

And do we need to criminalize anyone if it takes places between consenting adults?

pokerface1 Sat 28-Dec-13 00:21:35

If poverty and drug addiction are what "drives" women to prostitution how come there are so many high class escorts who clearly are not addicted to drugs or in poverty?

WhentheRed Sat 28-Dec-13 00:22:39

The women I personally know who have been in prostitution support the view that those who are the source of the danger to them - the men who buy them and who profit from them - should not be decriminalised. There also appears to be others (Rachel Moran and Rebecca Mott to name two) who also support that view.

I have a great deal of sympathy for women who depend for their livelihoods on men who are a source of danger to them. It is an awful position to have to live with such risk. They are forced to choose between safety and money, and that is deplorable. I can see why it would be a frightening prospect to turn down the income to guarantee safety, and I fully understand why women who are currently in prostitution would prefer to risk their safety to keep the income stream and therefore they would want men to be decriminalised.

I am not convinced that decriminalising men who pose a danger (and sending the message that their conduct is A-okay) will decrease the horrific risks to those in prostitution.

pokerface1 Sat 28-Dec-13 00:30:46

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

ohnoitshimagain Sat 28-Dec-13 01:30:03

one holy cow wrote 'Sex is human nature, sex for money isn't.'

That's a very broad statement, so can you give some more details on this?

ohnoitshimagain Sat 28-Dec-13 01:32:58

some posters have mentioned 'reducing demand' - well, how is that actually possible?

Making it illegal will not reduce demand at all, as men will always want sex.

It hasn't worked with drugs so why should it work with vice?

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