Melissa Farely

(202 Posts)
MsAnnTeak Tue 11-Oct-11 13:15:15

Has been a leading light for radical feminists The American clinical psychologist, researcher and feminist anti-pornography and anti-prostitution activistis best known for her studies of the effects of prostitution, trafficking, and sexual violence. Much of her reasearch has been quoted on the above issues and has been highly influential in forming policies across the globe.
Recently there has been a formal complaint lodged against her and there are moves to have the APA rescind her membership.
Canadian courts have found Dr Farley to be a less than reliable witness,
finding her evidence ?to be problematic?, believing her work is
unethical, unbecoming of a psychologist, and is in breach of at least sections 5.01 and 8.10of the APA?s Code of Ethics, perhaps more. The document is 115 Pages long.

If it's upheld and her membership is rescinded will we all have to have a rethink ?

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 11-Oct-11 13:33:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MsAnnTeak Tue 11-Oct-11 15:53:27

Read it from page to page and seems to have some pretty damming evidence of not seeking ethical approval, manipulating data and 'serving her own ideology'.

Beachcomber Tue 11-Oct-11 20:18:27

Calum Bennachie is a knob who likes to pretend that feminists, who are against the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and children, denigrate prostituted women and express hatred for them.

He is either very stupid or has a massive agenda (or possibly both).

Melissa Farley, on the other hand, rocks.


I don't know much about either of the individuals here but I have experienced anti-sex-work and anti-porn campaigners misquoting research, misunderstanding the research they were quoting, passing off anecdote as evidence and making shit up.

GothAnneGeddes Wed 12-Oct-11 00:00:59

Was Melissa Farley's research inaccurate and poorly conducted? Maybe, maybe not.

But the way in which the apologists for sex industry, those who want it to be bigger and more acceptable industry and make it absolutely a-ok and stigma free to "buy" a women, are so very desperate to descredit her and bring her down, makes me think a very real witchhunt is going on.

MsAnnTeak Wed 12-Oct-11 17:35:37

solidgoldbrass - It is becoming apparent those who are anti-porn and anti-sex work may be lying and using deceit to further their ideologies ( Melissa Farley yet to be proven I accept).

GothAnneGeddes - It may not bother you one iota as to whether someone is giving you the full picture but I think it's crucial of somebody who is at the forefront of influencing not only national but international policies on predominantly issues which affect women's health and safety that they are seen to be squeaky clean and beyond reproach.
As for wanting the 'apologists' to expand the sex industry and make it 'absolutely ok', can you lead me to where these people have spoken out ? What I find astounding is those who do champion womens' health and safety would follow an ideology rather than address the fact that prostitution is the only legal 'job' where women if they work other than alone will face criminal charges. I'm sure I'll be correct if I have missed any other jobs

Beachcomber - I assume you reckon Andrea Dworkin rocked too ? Hey this is a women who believes any male who has heterosexual sex is a rapist - by definition that's what the act is ? And might I add, also felt it ok to have women only workshops set up with models of males, whereby it was encourage to 'castrate' them.
Let's start a bogus thread along the lines of, 'I know there is a male only workshop which encourages men to rip off breasts and mutilate the genitals of female models' in this section and find out how the posters view that ?

MsAnnTeak Wed 12-Oct-11 17:51:20

Beachcomber sorry, missed answering part of your post, given the language used by some anti-prostitution campaigners which in effect portrays those who exchange sex for cash as always submissive, of victim status I daresay it is fair to say that it does come across as being hateful.
To deny women who choose prostitution the mental ability to judge whether they have been the victims of rape (and some do report rapes), or are always damaged by child abuse, portrayed as no self determination in transaction would no doubts encourage those men who would seek to harm women to target prostitutes.
Just out of interest, how do you view Dr. Brooke Magnanti ?

Tchootnika Wed 12-Oct-11 18:44:20

I hadn't heard of Melissa Farley before reading this thread and the link, but I'm fascinated by this.

But how is it that demonstrating that research has been carried out and/or used unethically and misleadingly is necessarily a 'witchhunt'?
Also, please explain to me why it should be that anyone who criticizes this woman's work should be an apologist for sex industries. If her methods were unethical or misleading, then surely her political leanings - and those of her detractors, if what they say is evidence-based - are irrelevant.

And yes, MsAnnTeak, if your opinions rely on Farley's work, then of course you'll have to have a rethink.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 12-Oct-11 19:13:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beachcomber Wed 12-Oct-11 22:07:10

Just out of interest, what is your agenda MsAnnTeak?

Actually scrap that - I'm not really terribly interested in your agenda. I shouldn't have posted on such a dubiously anti-women thread, started by someone with no posting history, in a section which gets targeted on a regular basis.

Tchootnika Wed 12-Oct-11 22:21:04

such a dubiously anti-women thread

- How so, Beachcomber?

buzzskeleton Wed 12-Oct-11 22:41:03

I guess the suggestion that should one activist's work be compromised that anti-porn campaigners should all have a rethink. The simplistic representation of Andrea Dworkin's work.

I think if it can be proven that a researcher has been dishonest, incompetent or unethical, particularly if the research has been widely publicised, then it needs equally widely publicising that this particular piece of research has been discredited.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 13-Oct-11 07:58:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 08:42:18

Oh please SGB have you read the document?

There are only 17 pages which outline the complaint - the rest is attachments such as Farley's CV (and long list of her published papers and official speeches), extracts from her and other reports, etc.

It is all smoke and mirrors. Your man Bennachie starts off with a subjective opinion of Ms Farley which is just plain (willfull) misrepresentation of her work and her views - by doing so he makes his agenda perfectly clear.

"Many of the false allegations made by Dr Farley in this paper have been repeated by her in her efforts to stigmatise sex workers and keep them criminal."

Anybody who is familiar with Farley's work, knows that she has no wish whatsoever to stigmatise sex workers nor have them treated as criminals.

Maybe Bennachie should spend a little less time talking for sex workers and claiming to represent them, and a bit more time selling his body on the street, so that he can garner a bit of experience of that of which he speaks.

The notion that we should rethink the idea that the institution of prostitution is inherently violent, dangerous, damaging and exploitative, on the basis of Bennachie's opinion, is risible.

I wonder if Farley will even bother to write a rebuttal.

SGM: Fair enough if there's no evidence yet. I was speaking generally from an awareness that some studies on affects of porn are still being cited despite having been either discredited or in fact had the interpretation placed on them by pro-censorship campaigners disputed by the people who conducted them in the first place.

GothAnneGeddes Thu 13-Oct-11 10:49:02

I know I shouldn't bite but, Ms AnnTeak, you'll actually find that most anti-prostitution activisits are very pro the Nordic Model, which doesn't criminalise prostitutes, but the men who use them. Funnily enough, your male "pro sex worker" activists get all upset over that.

Anyway, here's a really good take down of the pro-prostitution argument:

GothAnneGeddes Thu 13-Oct-11 10:49:47
MsAnnTeak Thu 13-Oct-11 11:05:40

Beachcomber - "Maybe Bennachie should spend a little less time talking for sex workers and claiming to represent them, and a bit more time selling his body on the street, so that he can garner a bit of experience of that of which he speaks."

By your statement in order to have some authority on the subject one has to have had first hand experience ?
Am I wrong to assume at some point you were involved in prostitution ?

"Your man Bennachie starts off with a subjective opinion of Ms Farley which is just plain (willfull) misrepresentation of her work and her views - by doing so he makes his agenda perfectly clear."

Hasn't Ms. Farley started off all of her work with a subjective opinion therefor making her opinion perfectly clear ?
As you have mentioned "willful misrepresentation" is highly probable where there is an obvious agenda. Ms.Farley has one, therefor it could be safe to suspect there may be some validity to Bennachie's complaint.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 11:48:37

Bennachie refers to trafficked women as 'migrant sex workers' <puke>.

He is also claims that there are no trafficked women being prostituted in New Zealand.

He is a knob with an undisclosed agenda.

Farley's agenda is perfectly clear - she is anti the institution of prostitution as she perceives it to be gendered violence against women and children and a human rights travesty. She is always extremely transparent about her position and agenda

Good link GothAnne - thanks. I particularly liked these bits;

“To be able to defend that women sell their bodies (and that men buy them) one must first abolish the victim and instead redefine the prostitute as a sex worker, a strong woman who knows what she wants, a businesswoman. The sex worker becomes a sort of new version of the ‘happy hooker’.

“Ekis Ekman shows in a convincing way how this happens through a rhetoric which portrays the victim position as a trait of character instead of using the correct definition of a victim: someone who is affected by something. In such a way the terrible reality in which women in prostitution find themselves is concealed. The fear of the ‘victim’ in the prostitution debate … is something which mirrors neo-liberalism’s general victim hate – since all talk of the vulnerable person immediately reveals an unjust society. Through making the victim taboo can one legitimise class inequalities and gender discrimination, for if there is no victim there is no perpetrator.”

Fiction of unions for ’sex workers’

The International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW), for example, which is affiliated to the GMB and has spoken at conferences of the Labour Party and the Green Party, is run by a man called Douglas Fox. Fox claims to be a ’sex worker’ and accuses radical feminists of being big meanies out to silence him. Yet on closer inspection it becomes clear that Mr Fox is a liar. Sex worker he most certainly is not, rather he is a pimp who runs one of the UK’s largest escort firms. The IUSW’s membership, you see, is open to anyone, to pimps, to men who buy sex, to sympathetic academics. Of its minute membership of 150 (which compares to the 100,000 plus women and men who work in the UK’s sex industry) only a tiny minority are actual prostitutes. It’s the same all over Europe where similar organisations exist (such as ‘de Rode Draad’ in the Netherlands) – their membership is tiny, most aren’t even prostitutes, and they have never succeeded in pushing any independent union demands.

Those who support prostitution though have of course never been ones for the facts. We see this idea of ‘unions’ coming from both the left and the right because it’s convenient, it gives prostitution a certain false legitimacy. It doesn’t work and it never will work, but it successfully diverts attention away from the deeper questions around prostitution and why it exists in our society.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 12:04:15

Bennachie's organisation links to the International Union of Sex Workers in their list of hunky dory international unions for 'sex workers'.

The NZPC also provide information for anyone wanting to set up a brothel in New Zealand.


Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 12:11:01

There's a thread about this on Punternet atm.


Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 13:01:49

Yes, I don't doubt that there is plenty of support for Bennachie and his brave and tireless campaign for the right of other people to sell their bodies, the right to be a pimp and the right to live off brothel earnings, from the johns hmm.

What a prince eh?

MsAnnTeak Thu 13-Oct-11 13:02:17

Thanks for the link, interesting. Quite a few names mentioned there.

I ended up finding Laura Augstin as it was claimed she denied trafficking existed. Quick Google and it brought me to her blog as I only spent 30mins looking over it I may have missed it, but where does she deny trafficking exists ?

"Bennachie refers to trafficked women as 'migrant sex workers' "

People from all walks of life migrate to foreign countries to work for higher wages. If you are working in a country legally as a prostitute would it be out of the far reaches of the imagination to assume they too wouldn't travel to countries with higher wages ? If plumbers, electricians, farm hands can manage to arrange to move to another place it's a bit of a kick in the teeth to think predominantly women couldn't manage it.

GothAnneGeddes Thu 13-Oct-11 14:02:07


Lets break this down slowly.

To work in another country, you generally a need a visa and often need to prove you have skills others don't. Prostitution doesn't generally fall into that category, because sadly, there is never a shortage of prostitutes.

If you do not have a visa/work permit, you are only able to work illegally. If you are caught working or even being in the country, you will be deported. Can you see how vulnerable to exploitation that would make someone? Can you understand that all that has happened in the super "progressive" Netherlands is that there are now two classes of prostitutes, the legal ones and a huge group of illegal and exploited women with no rights and no protection.

Finally, why on earth are you so eager to believe that men being able to purchase access to women's bodies is such a fantastic and wonderful thing?

GothAnneGeddes Thu 13-Oct-11 14:04:15

Beachcomber - I found the part about what eliminating victim status means astounding. We see it so much in so many feminist topics and great great to pinpoint exactly what is going on when it happens.

LeBOF Thu 13-Oct-11 14:04:58

For anyone affected by the issues raised on this thread, can I remind you that there r other life lines?

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 14:18:18

Agreed GothAnne.

I know BOF - not entirely without value however.

YOu could also check out what Dr Magnanti has to say - this is someone who has been a sex worker as well as an academic and therefore can't be dismissed as not having first hand experience.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 14:36:10

I'm pretty familiar with what Dr Magnanti has to say. Like this for example;

"Genuinely. I've tried to give a shit about maternity leave and who does the housework, and all I can come up with is, if your job doesn't give you as much time off as you want, suck it up or get another job. If your partner doesn't do the washing-up, same."

The stuff she writes does nothing to alter my view of the institution of prostitution as being violence against women and children and a human rights travesty.

A few happy hooker stories do not negate the trafficking, raping, beating, murder, exploitation, coercing, threatening, imprisoning and pimping that goes on globally to hundreds of thousands of women and children in prostitution.

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 14:37:28

She doesn't sound like she's writing from a feminist perspective, does she?

MsAnnTeak Thu 13-Oct-11 14:53:43

GothAnneGeddes, correct me if I'm wrong but I didn't think you needed a work visa if you were a member of the EU ? You mention difficulties in other areas ie, it's impossible to gain a visa to work in a country where prostitution is illegal and legal, creating a system where people can be exploited. If you took away the obstacles in immigration this would help to prevent exploitation and give women rights and protection ?

I was unaware I was coming across as "eager to believe that men being able to purchase access to women's bodies is such a fantastic and wonderful thing" ? Where/how have I given that impression ?

I have posted here because a leading light in the feminist movement has had some serious allegations of lying, deceiving and manipulation of data laid against her. If proven and she is struck from the APA it could bring into question over 100 other pieces of her work which is much quoted in some areas of feminism (Scottish Socialist Youth having some of them). The posters here have directed me to other links, some I have looked at and I have thrown questions to you to answer which you appear not to have bothered with.

MsAnnTeak Thu 13-Oct-11 15:02:47

Thanks for the link solidgoldbrass.

Beachcomber - "Genuinely. I've tried to give a shit about maternity leave and who does the housework, and all I can come up with is, if your job doesn't give you as much time off as you want, suck it up or get another job. If your partner doesn't do the washing-up, same."

That equates to, 'if things bother you that much, instead of moaning on about it, do something to actively change it.' What's your comprehension of the statement ?

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 15:10:10

My comprehension is that it is not a feminist political analysis. It doesn't come from a feminist standpoint.

It would fit OK on Punternet though.

MsAnnTeak Thu 13-Oct-11 15:19:10

Is there just the 1 type of feminism ? Looked at my daughter's project on it and appear to be several ?

To post here in the feminism/woman's right section does everyone have to follow just the one kind ie, your kind ?

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 15:25:28


It helps to be on the feminist spectrum though.

That way you get feminist discussion. There's mountains of non feminist perspective and anti feminist perspective stuff everywhere else in the world.

Refusing to see housework or maternity rights as a political issue, rather than an individual personal one, is not a feminist position.

"I'm not a racist but..."

Well guess what. Saying you're a feminist, doesn't make you one. Just like saying you're not a racist, doesn't mean you're not one.

You see, I don't think that insisting on speaking for and about sex workers (as many anti-sex-industry people do) rather than letting them speak for themselves is all that feminist, either.

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 15:44:07

I agree SGB.

But people who are in favour of the sex industry, generally only listen to the sex workers who are continuing to promote the sex industry.

Whereas feminists listen to all sex workers and make a choice from a feminist perspective. IMO.

MsAnnTeak Thu 13-Oct-11 15:58:57

I'm female and believe in women having the same rights, protections of the law, opportunities, etc. as men. I've never been a person who believes you are disadvantaged because you are female. Is that feminist ?

My daughters have been brought up to be strong, independent, motivated women, capable of succeeding in ANY career they choose and embracing their feminine side. They're getting on with it and I'm extremely proud of all they have accomplished.

Maternity and paternity rights, yes it's a political issue but honestly, refusing housework ? It's between the couple living together and if it is such an issue in the relationship make sure there's enough money coming in to get a cleaner, or make sure you find a partner who will share the load, leave it, or get yourself a new partner. Housework has never been a moan in my home and I'd know the world had gone mad if we got to a point where some government busybody decided to send out a questionaire to all those in a relationship on the sharing of chores, and made follow up checks to determine if it was fair or not.

MsAnnTeak Thu 13-Oct-11 16:04:06

"But people who are in favour of the sex industry, generally only listen to the sex workers who are continuing to promote the sex industry."

Bit of a strange thing to say. Who should they listen to, those who have never worked in the sex industry ?
If you want to know about farming do you go to miners for the answers ?

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 16:06:17


skrumle Thu 13-Oct-11 16:18:11

i think i'd go for shock rather than hmm...

LeBOF Thu 13-Oct-11 16:21:11

FGS, don't give him the blowjob face.

skrumle Thu 13-Oct-11 16:24:33

eeeewwwwww!!! i'm never going to be able to use that one again now - you have soiled it forever for me... sad

grin at BOF.

MsAnnTeak Thu 13-Oct-11 16:28:14

Him ? Now I've changed sex.

buzzskeleton Thu 13-Oct-11 16:33:36

[draws Venn diagram for Ms]]

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 16:36:33

Some links to the excellently written blog of a survivor of prostitution - for those interested in stories other than those of happy hookers.

Trigger warning - Rebecca Mott's blog can be distressing to read.

MsAnnTeak Thu 13-Oct-11 16:44:42

Without any of my questions being answered it's now turned into cheesy smilie and blowjob smilie time, with 'you're not female' thrown in.
Awaiting the Venn diagram.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 16:48:39

The voice of a woman who has exited prostitution on 'harm reduction' AKA as decriminalisation.

Could be triggering

LeBOF Thu 13-Oct-11 16:55:51

Thanks for those links, Beachcomber. A more interesting discussion than the one the rather bossy and entitled OP is insisting on. "Awaiting Venn diagram"- pmsl.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 13-Oct-11 17:02:16

I always wonder why it is in these debates, that anecdotes from women who were prostituted and hated every second of it, are given so much more credence than anecdotes from "happy hookers" like Dr M.

Last time I mentioned Teela Sanders, I was told she'd been discredited. (She hasn't.) She actually spoke to women working as prostitutes, and she's actually spoken to punters. Her conclusions are not as clear cut as some.

GrumpyInRepose Thu 13-Oct-11 17:08:52

prob because the happy hookers are rare. complaining that the unhappy hookers are given more 'credence' sounds like you think they shouldn't be believed at all. they matter and aren't given much credance at all in the wider world. belle du jour, otoh, is a lady who got loads of approval and credence.

sorry bad typing bfing

GrumpyInRepose Thu 13-Oct-11 17:10:07

that wasn't meant to say that you actually DONT think they should be believed btw, sorry expressing myself v bdly and typing worse

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 13-Oct-11 17:16:54

Oh, I do believe the horror stories, and agree that no one should suffer like that. But I also believe that prostitution isn't going to go away, and that the current fad for trying to criminalise punters won't help. (I've read the "happy hooker" stories from the Scandinavian countries that have tried it, and they're not happy any more, claiming it simply moves the issue off the streets and into the darker underground, which does not help the women any.)

I also believe that it is possible to work willingly as a prostitute without suffering the PTSD that supposedly accompanies it. (That's another claim that is often made spuriously, based on a survey of street workers in a country where their work was illegal, and with no control for previous childhood abuse...)

I think a lot of the damage done to sex workers, physical and emotional, is due to their lack of control, and forcing the scene underground just doesn't help.

Sorry, have to go out now, back in the morning to see how this progresses.

MsAnnTeak Thu 13-Oct-11 17:18:01

Some horror stories here . Is it time to put a stop to the hiring of migrant domestic workers as cheap labour to scrub homes and look after our children ?

AlysWorld Thu 13-Oct-11 17:23:35

Erm, yes

skrumle Thu 13-Oct-11 17:25:34


oh no, i think the exploitation of other human beings is absolutely fine if it's my toilet they are cleaning smile

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 17:32:16
AlysWorld Thu 13-Oct-11 17:34:05

Now I've bitten, the whole 'academics disagree shocker!' does always make give me a little smile. Academics disagree. They come from different perspectives. This is not news. For me, anyone who comes to things like this from a non-feminist perspective is missing out an essential part of the analysis. It doesn't mean they are somehow 'neutral' or 'objective'. Ideas of being somehow distant from your work were disregarded as making any sense with regard to social issues a good few decades ago. So 'discrediting' an academic is meaningless (except for proving they plagiarised their work or something).

So yes I think Teela Saunders is wrong because she fails to apply feminist analysis. I also think Brooke Maganti is unethical wrong, because she is stepping outside of the field in which she is an academic as well as failing to apply feminist analysis.

AyeScream Thu 13-Oct-11 17:34:12
OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 13-Oct-11 18:01:09

Sorry, I have to go really soon, but why does anyone have to apply a "feminist analysis" to research into prostitution? Surely reliable academic information shouldn't be twisted at the start?

I realise this is the feminist board, but even if this discussion were taking place on "In the News" someone would pop up to demand the feminist perspective. Is there a Labour, Communist or Conservative perspective, and if so, wouldn't they be equally in/valid?

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 18:18:04

Oh well now tht you've bitten alys...

If you think that women are not disadvantaged for being women, then you have not been paying attention and you are not a feminist, even if you say you are. I am not going to spend time on the feminism board, explaining why women are still suffering disadvantage just because of their sex, if you don't believe that then I don't mind recommending The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard as a starting point, but I'm not going to waste any more time debating it because life is short.

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 18:43:03

Yes they would Oldlady, on a labour/ tory/ communist board.

This is the feminist board. I don't think it's extraordinarily bizarre to point out, if someone or something is not coming from a feminist angle. That may not be a particularly noteworthy or important thing in some instances, but it's worth pointing it out if someone is trying to pretend that it is a feminist stance when it's not. Pretending that housework or maternity leave isn't a feminist issue, is not feminist and I don't think it's particularly controversial to point that out.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 18:44:07

What an odd thing to say OLNK confused.

Feminist analysis doesn't 'twist' anything - feminist analysis examines information, observations, society, behaviour, culture, paradigms, etc from a feminist perspective and not a patriarchal one. That's all.

There are many different ways of analysing prostitution.

Capitalist perspective might be to decriminalise in order to allow advertising and the collection of tax revenues.

A liberal perspective might be that it is acceptable to buy and sell sex regardless of individual harm as long as those individuals are exercising free choice.

A patriarchal perspective might be that prostitution is inevitable and part of the natural order.

A human rights perspective might be that all humans have the right to bodily integrity and autonomy.

A feminist perspective might be that prostitution is violence against women and children.

And so on.

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 18:45:10

That too grin

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 18:53:26

Another feminist perspective is the idea that those who think the institution of prostitution should be tolerated by society, sell their bodies for a while, and then come back and tell us if they think that is a humane perspective.

Oddly there rarely seems to be much enthusiasm, for this though hmm

A feminist perspective might also be that women are entitled to choose to exchange sexual activity for money in the same way that people are entitled to choose to sell their time, physical strength and emotional energy if they so desire, in any profession, and that constantly insisting that any woman who does so must be a victim, a fuck-up or a liar doesn't help anyone.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 19:33:59

I don't know if that can truly be a feminist perspective SGB - I think it is too individualistic. Feminism is political - it analyses cultures, institutions, systematic oppression, group behavioural patterns and the effects and consequences of these for women as a group.

The global institution of prostitution causes harm and distress to women and children as a group. That there may be some individuals who are able to transcend the harms of prostitution does not negate the harm done to women and children as a group.

Unfortunately the entitlement of some individual women to choose to exchange sex for money, cannot be separated from the intrinsically violent, exploitative and predatory nature of prostitution on the wider scale on which it exits as a gendered, racial and class issue.

What if sex work were somehow redesigned to exclude the most exploitative jobs in the industry?
I don't think that these jobs can be somehow excised from the sex industry as a whole. They are in fact an integral part of the sex industry which must exist as the bargain lower-end piece of any industry in a capitalist society.

What I mean by this is that every object we buy, from plumbing equipment to tube tops, has an expensive, "nicer" version that people tend to prefer and pay more money for, as well as a cheaper one. This is just how consumption goes. The problem is that if you turn people, like sex workers, into consumable objects, you are necessarily going to have the cheaper, less desired, minority, no-protection-required, "ugly" version for the cheapskate hobbyist as well as the supermodel regularly-tested escort who services CEOs and politicians.

If union-busting and ineffective unions exist in other industries, they would exist in the sex industry too. If human rights violations can still take place in the treatment of legal unionized factory workers, they would still take place in the treatment of sex workers. This is not an acceptable risk for either factory workers or sex workers.

If you can pay someone who looks just like a celebrity two thousand dollars for a night in a fancy hotel which includes a nice dinner and a bubble bath, you will necessarily also be able to pay someone else twenty dollars for unprotected anal sex, punch them in the face, and run away before they realize you only gave them fifteen.

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 19:54:54

But it is not a feminist perspective to argue that most women doing it, are exercising free choice SGB.

I also think a feminist perspective acknowledges that we don't have a level playing field and questions the idea that women would want to sell sex any more than men would want to. The right to sell sex seems very much to me like the Victorian libertarian argument against state help for people who were in need - that it would deprive the poor of the liberty to starve in the street if they want to. I just think that in our current society, anyone who fights hard for the right of women to sell sex, is actually fighting for the right of men to see women as objects and to fuck women who don't want to fuck them. In some far off future world where men and women are equal and women are not the sex class, then yeah, the right of women to sell sex if that's what they want, is fine; but in the society we've got, where 1 in 4 of us are sexually assaulted or raped and we are the sex class and a massive percentage of men feel entitled to fuck us when we don't want to fuck them, lining up with the right of women to sell sex, is unavoidably lining up with the right of men to treat women as less than human IMO, whether you want to or not.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 20:00:46

What uppity said.

Devlin11 Thu 13-Oct-11 20:34:30

Regardless of the arguments, there are still issues of ethics and standards of proof violations as concerns the professional sphere. If they find guilty of this then the research she has done in the past will be thought of as tainted.

Others, however, may carry the torch......let's hope they aren't doing the same things she is accused of.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 13-Oct-11 20:41:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 20:42:39

Of course a feminist perspective acknowledges that we don't have a level playing field. And of course feminism is political.

But is there not also something to be said for a pragmatic approach to prostitution?

It's simplistic to argue that anyone who does not equate all forms of prostitution with abuse and 'buying a woman' are apologists for exploitation of women.
It's also worth noting, I think, that the idea of 'buying a woman' stems from the notion of one man 'buying' time with a (powerless) woman from a pimp - which is what happens when women are not able to work as prostitutes from a safe environment, where what would be bought would be a service in a situation where a prostitute's physical safety and bargaining power would keep her safe from physical and economic abuse. This is the argument put forward by many English prostitutes.

Is there not room within your ideas of feminist arguments for some pragmatism, so that you can actually take into consideration the safety, wellbeing and requests of real, living (individual!) women, rather than reducing them to factoids to fit the agenda of a hypothetical landscape?

I don't think this approach is an apology for a sex industry.
It is a pragmatic approach which tries to cater for the needs of real people, rather than polarising attitudes to prostitution.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 20:55:02

Another feminist perspective is the idea that those who think the institution of prostitution should be tolerated by society, sell their bodies for a while, and then come back and tell us if they think that is a humane perspective.

Oddly there rarely seems to be much enthusiasm, for this though

Could this be because there's currently no safe way to do this, Beachcomber?
Could it be that there's no safe way to do this because it's not legaly possible (in the UK, at least) for women to work safely together in brothels?

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 21:03:01

Problem is though, that what you call pragmatic, I call inhumane.

Women are not safe in legal prostitution - they are not safe because prostitution is intrinsically violent.

"Legalization will not end abuse; it will make abuse legal."

When prostituted women are asked what they need, they tend to answer "a route out of prostitution".

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 21:03:10

"It's simplistic to argue that anyone who does not equate all forms of prostitution with abuse and 'buying a woman' are apologists for exploitation of women." Agreed. And no-one has argued that. So it's an Aunt Sally.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 21:06:23

Well, I think it is more likely that most people don't want to be penetrated by strangers, who may or may not be violent, for money Tchootnika.

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 21:18:05

The argument that says if only we make prostitution safer it will all be OK, ignores the fact that most women are introduced to prostitution by men. They're not looking for a safe way to do it, they're not looking to do it at all. If we stopped men being pimps, they wouldn't introduce those women to prostitution so these women would not need that safety.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 21:18:18

That's an intersting article - but it's primarily about trafficking, which is a separate issue from prostitution itself.

It makes some well meaning, but rather glib statements ('women's bodies and emotions must belong to them alone' - well, yes, but that's not the issue, if women are not being coerced into prostitution), and it doesn't move away from perceived historical stigmatisation of women. As such, it's quite a limited article.

most people don't want to be penetrated by strangers, who may or may not be violent, for money Tchootnika

No, Beachcomber, most people probably don't.
In which case, why not argue for legalisation of brothels where women (or men) can work safely as prostitutes?

This may come as a surprise to you, but some people are prepared to exchange sexual services for money. (And I'm not talking about Dr Mantegna, or Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman', or whatever, I'm talking about real people with ordinary economic needs, by the way.) I believe that this exchange of sex for money is the act of prostitution, not the state of 'being a victim'.
Vulnerability to violence and abuse is a result of the circumstances under which prositutes have to work: not the act of prostitution itself.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 21:19:37

When prostituted women are asked, consistently around 90% say they want out of prostitution immediately, but the decision is out of their hands and in the hands of their pimps, their husbands, their landlords, their addictions, their children's bellies. A study of women in street prostitution in Toronto found that about 90% wanted to escape but could not and a 5-country study found that 92% of women, men and transgendered people in prostitution wanted immediate help to escape prostitution.

Research on legal brothels in Nevada shows that legalisation does not protect prostituted women from the violence, abuse and psychological and physical injury that occur in illegal prostitution. In many senses the opposite might be true. A pan-European study also found that levels of violence were high in both indoor and outdoor settings and where brothels are regulated. In the Netherlands, where prostitution has been legal since 2000, the government is rethinking its approach as it is seeing more and more signals that abuse of women is continuing. Legal prostitution in the Netherlands, Nevada, and in Australia has been connected with organized crime. Two-thirds of the legal brothels in Amsterdam’s red light district have been closed down because it was impossible to control organized crime, according to the mayor.

Legalized systems of prostitution may mandate health checks, but only for women in prostitution - not for male buyers. Health examinations for women but not for men make no sense from a public health perspective. Women are not protected from HIV contracted from johns. In one study, the longer women were in brothel prostitution, the more likely they were to be infected by HIV.

Legalization of prostitution increases the number of minors who are prostituted. Legal prostitution means that there are more locations for children to be sold for sex. And wherever there is a legal sex business, there are likely to be be 5 times as many illegal sex businesses as well. Therefore, it is good business practice for traffickers to sell children in or near a legal sex business. That’s where the buyers are.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 21:25:42

If it is true that most women are introduced to prostitution by men - and I'd like to know what your source of that 'fact' is, Uppity, then perhaps this is because it's so difficult to work safely as a prostitute.

Arguments on this thread are becoming fairly circular, but believe me, there are many women selling sex - i.e. working as prostitutes - who were not forced into it by pimps.
Again, I am not saying there are necessarily legions of 'happy hookers' out there, but there is a lot between that stereotype and that of trafficked women - of whom, yes, there are many thousands, and certainly the UK government's failure to protect them - particularly those from newer EU nations - has been beyond shameful. But again, the key issue there is trafficking, false imprisonment, rape, assault, etc. - not prostitution per se.

AS for my 'Aunt Sally' argument, Uppity, it looked very much to me as if that sort of polarisation of viewpoints was going on in this thread.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 21:26:39

Trafficking cannot be separated from prostitution Tchootnika.

From the same link as above.

13.MYTH: Legalization of prostitution is an entirely separate issue from human trafficking. FACT: Prostitution is the destination point for trafficking. Legalization of prostitution promotes sex trafficking. Prostitution and sex trafficking are linked. Sex trafficking happens when and where there is a demand for prostitution and a context of impunity for its customers. Legal prostitution sanitizes prostitution, making the harms of trafficking for prostitution invisible. Suddenly, dirty money becomes clean. Illegal acts become legal. Overnight, pimps are transformed into legitimate businessmen and ordinary entrepreneurs, and men who would not formerly consider buying a woman in prostitution think, “Well, if it’s legal, now it must be O.K.” Governments that legalize prostitution as sex work tend to have an economic investment in the sex industry because they earn taxes from prostitution. This will foster governments’ increased dependence on sex businesses for revenue. If women in prostitution are considered workers, then governments can abdicate responsibility for making decent and sustainable employment available to women. In Nevada, women are trafficked primarily into the state’s illegal prostitution venues: strip club prostitution, escort prostitution, and massage parlors that function as illegal brothels. But there also a number of reports of women trafficked into Nevada legal brothels.Trafficking of women into the sex industry is a direct consequence of men’s demand for sexual access to women and girls in prostitution. In countries where prostitution is legal, sex industries are larger and create a demand for more women to sell sex, attracting traffickers and others who exploit women for financial gain. The legal sex industry then acts as a magnet for traffickers, increasing the number of women who are being exploited. Legalization also results in the growth of a parallel illegal sex industry as has been extensively documented in Australia. Since 1999, there have been reports that at least 80% of women in Dutch legal prostitution had been trafficked. In 2009, the Dutch government has closed approximately 2/3 of the legal brothels in Amsterdam because of its inability to control traffickers and other organized crime. By the mid-1990s, 75% of women in legal German prostitution were from other countries, a majority trafficked from Eastern Europe. Trafficking of Asian women into Australian prostitution has been noted by the US State Department.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 21:29:09

Beachcomber, thanks for that extract.

What I don't get, though, is this (and you may laugh out loud, I don't fucking care...):
If brothels functioned as workplaces like any other, how would it be possible for these levels of abuse to take place?
What if basic employment and anti-discrimination law applied to sex workers?
That'd be quite something, wouldn't it?

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 21:33:11

But it wouldn't stop the illegal trade.

The legalisation of prostitution in the Netherlands, has not stopped illegal prostitution.

So it would not solve the problem.

And no it wouldn't be a good thing - it's the state-sanctioned abuse of women. Women would still be abused by men, but legally.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 21:35:00

Again, Beachcomber, thanks, but:
(a) This refers to North America. (I don't know where you are, but I'm in the UK - very different legal system).
(b) My reading of those arguments is that women trafficked/working as prostitutes are treated so badly because prostitution is still so stigmatised. Which is something that puts me off vehemently anti-prostitution arguments so much.

I also think that a better approach towards violence towards women working as prostitutes would be a more direct one - i.e. to address the source of the violence, which is of course the person perpetuating it, not the victim of the violence or the circumstances under which it takes place.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 21:36:51

It might not stop the illegal trade, Uppity - but that argument is rather like saying that fitting cars with seatbelts doesn't prevent traffic accidents.

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 21:37:50

Prostitution would still be stigmatised if it were legal.

As long as we live in a society which says that women are the sex class and that they're not as important as men and that sex is something that women gatekeep and men want, selling sex will be stigmatised.

In the Netherlands, where it is legal, no career advisors are telling A level students to do it. It's still stigmatised.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 21:42:57

Tchootnika I'm not laughing at the notion of brothels functioning like any other workplace - I'm despairing.

Can you imagine a restaurant where customers got to choose who waits on their table using criteria such as age, weight, race, ethnic origin, colour of skin, breast size, willingness to be verbally abused, willingness to perform painful physical acts which could result in disease and pregnancy?

14.MYTH:Even if it’s not perfect, legalizing prostitution would at least make prostitution a little bit better. FACT: Legalization of prostitution increases illegal prostitution. It does not improve the lives of women in prostitution. Prostitution can’t be made “a little better” anymore than domestic violence can be made “a little better.” Women in prostitution tell us that they want the same options in life that others have: a decent job, safe housing, medical care including psychological counseling. They deserve that, not just an HIV test to make sure that they are “clean meat” for johns or a union to ensure that they get an extra dollar or two for being paid to be sexually harassed, sexually exploited and often raped.

In theory it sounds OK to state that sane, reasonable people should have the right to sell a kidney for $500 or more if they choose to. But opening the door to body organ selling would not lead to nearly as many middle class white men selling organs as other people whose social circumstances does not permit a free, uncoerced choice. Organ sales would open the door to brokers who exploit poor people. While a few body organ sellers may make a free choice to do that, prohibition of organ sales prevents widespread exploitation of less privileged people.

If you don’t want to get paid for having sex with 10-20 strangers a day that pimps send your way, why do you think anyone else does? [For men who don’t understand: the parallel for them would be having a pimp while you’re in prison] Women in prostitution do not want to be in legal brothels: 81% of the women in the Nevada legal brothels urgently want to escape prostitution.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 21:43:04

Back in a bit...
(I don't think that has to be true, btw, Uppity - and FWIW, I think A Level students are given some bloody awful careers advice... but I'm too tired to fit these ideas to this thread right now.)
I hope to be back sometime soon, and hope it goes on in the meantime.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 21:46:05

Can you imagine a restaurant where customers got to choose who waits on their table using criteria such as age, weight, race, ethnic origin, colour of skin, breast size, willingness to be verbally abused, willingness to perform painful physical acts which could result in disease and pregnancy?

Beachcomber - I've worked with actors and their agents, so to me what you're describing isn't actually so strange...

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 21:51:38

Acting is not the same as being penetrated and ejaculated into though.

If we were talking about men doing this en masse, this conversation simply would not be happening, because the idea of men doing this to other, similar men would be too horrific. Unless of course, you were talking about a slave class - a group of men you could pick out because of their colour, or class, or other random characteristic which would put a man in the slave class instead of the dominant one.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 21:52:52

Did you mean that to sound so crass?

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 22:00:32

No, acting doesn't necessarily involve penetration/ejaculation... though it can do. My point was that in some 'respected' professions work is allocated in part on the basis of physicality, age, etc.

And there is, of course, a huge gay men's sex industry, so the arguments we're all making apply to a large extent to men and boys as well as women (in terms of trafficking, abuse, etc. as well as prostitution itself).

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 22:02:19

Did you mean that to sound so crass?

If that's addressed to me, Beachcomber, then no, and I don't think I did sound crass. Could you explain, please?

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 22:07:40

Here you go if you want some info about prostitution in the UK.

Warning - you will need a strong stomach (or a big dose of cognitive dissonance).

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 22:09:51

Comparing prostitution to acting is crass.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 22:16:59

Beachcomber - thanks for last article - I think I've read it before, and as I understand it it's primarily concerned with trafficking - but I'll read again.

My point about acting (as I've said above) was that professionals are initially 'chosen' on the basis of physicality, age, etc.

I was actually comparing this to your hypothetical restaurant.

Beachcomber Thu 13-Oct-11 22:21:33

Acting doesn't carry the risk of STD or pregnancy.

Tchootnika Thu 13-Oct-11 22:24:57

It can do, Beachcomber... but seriously, I don't think you've read my last post, or understood why I said that. Please look again.
I shall read your links soon, I hope, and hope to resume.

Uppity Thu 13-Oct-11 22:26:16

But it would be offensive if it were in a restaurant setting.

In acting, where actors are wanted for certain physical characteristics, it is usually (though not always) artistically reasonable. Waiting at table has no possible reason to have a policy of choosing only blonde/ big breasted/ bearded waiters/waitresses. Unless of course, you are running some kind of sex-class related bar, like Hooters.

MsAnnTeak Fri 14-Oct-11 00:25:05

Thanks for the link Beachcomber

I see Melissa Farley's name also linked with this report.

Found this debate

GothAnneGeddes Fri 14-Oct-11 01:37:53

Note that yet again, the women stating that sex work is an acceptable career and should be legal isn't actually a sex worker herself, despite being the head of a sex workers project.

MsAnnTeak Fri 14-Oct-11 02:38:26

This one is appears to be a blog from a retired prostitute criticising Melissa Farley and wasn't something I picked up as being mentioned in the Bennachie complaint.

Justice Susan Himel found her testimony highly questionable:

I found the evidence of Dr. Melissa Farley to be problematic…her advocacy appears to have permeated her opinions. For example, Dr. Farley’s unqualified assertion…that prostitution is inherently violent appears to contradict her own findings that prostitutes who work from indoor locations generally experience less violence. Furthermore…she failed to qualify her opinion…that [post-traumatic stress disorder] could be caused by events unrelated to prostitution. Dr. Farley’s choice of language is at times inflammatory and detracts from her conclusions. For example, comments such as, “prostitution is to the community what incest is to the family,” and “just as pedophiles justify sexual assault of children….men who use prostitutes develop elaborate cognitive schemes to justify purchase and use of women” make her opinions less persuasive. Dr. Farley stated during cross-examination that some of her opinions on prostitution were formed prior to her research, including, “that prostitution is a terrible harm to women, that prostitution is abusive in its very nature, and that prostitution amounts to men paying a woman for the right to rape her.” Accordingly…I assign less weight to Dr. Farley’s evidence.

MsAnnTeak Fri 14-Oct-11 03:26:31

Please give me some proof that what's suggested in this blog isn't true.

AlysWorld Fri 14-Oct-11 09:26:49

Uppity, I'm really baffled by your response to me at 18:18. I was saying that feminist analysis is crucial and valuable. That there isn't a 'neutral' position in any research, all researchers come at it from some perspective. And so trying to discredit academics for being feminists (like in the OP) is meaningless. Anyway it doesn't really matter, don't want to derail the thread for it, but just wanted you to take me off your shit list wink. I agree with you.

Beachcomber Fri 14-Oct-11 09:28:30

Gosh that Honest Courtesan blog is rather sad. This for example;

I don't have much to say about Ms McNeill's opinion of Ms Farley really - I couldn't get past the personal nature of the comments - accusing Farley of hating men and sex and of spreading 'mad lies'.

It is of course not surprising that people wish to attack Farley and her work. Her work threatens the staus quo. It threatens a lot of people who have a financial stake in prostitution. It also threatens a lot of people who have an emotional stake in prostitution.

This debate is really very simple.

Either one thinks that men should be provided with sexual access to women and children, by society, or one does not.

If you think men are entitled to have sexual access to women and children then you only really have one logical option - legal prostitution. The problem is that legalizing prostitution has been shown to exacerbate the problems intrinsic to commodifying sex. Trafficking increases, under-age prostitution increases, the number of street prostitutes increases, organised crime increases. This has been shown to be the case in several zones (Amsterdam, Nevada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark for example). At the same time the inherent harms of having undesired sex with several strangers a day remain. So does the violent and the abusive behaviour of the johns and the pimps. Prostituted women continue to be overwhelming made up of the vulnerable, the poor and those who are racially discriminated against.

Thereby to be for legalized prostitution is to be for trafficking, rape of children, pimping, organised crime, violence against women, racism, the exploiting of the poor, the exploiting of victims of abuse.

If one does not believe that men have the right to sexual access to women and children and one accepts that prostitution is a class, gender, race, poverty, and human rights issue, there are only really two choices - criminalisation or the Swedish Model.

Criminalisation harms the women in prostitution - it makes them criminals, makes it hard for them to leave prostitution, it makes it virtually impossible for them to access legal recourse against violent johns and pimps, it makes it hard for them to access health care and other support services. Criminalisation stigmatises women and blames them for their own exploitation. Criminalisation may or may not reduce the number of trafficked women and children depending on the legislation of individual countries and how it is enforced. Criminalisation has been shown to encourage corruption however.

Then we have the Swedish Model. This model makes it a crime to buy sex but not to sell it. It declares the institution of prostitution to be violence against women and children - particularly poor women and children. It states that society's tolerance of prostitution is a barrier to that society achieving gender equality. The Swedish model is holistic - it aims to educate the public to the harms and realities of prostitution and it invests money in helping women who wish to leave prostitution to do so (by tackling poverty, housing, drug and mental health issues). This model has seen a huge reduction in the number of women and children trafficked into Sweden and there has been a shift in the public perception of the acceptability of the sexual exploitation that prostitution represents. There are fewer men choosing to use prostituted women. There are fewer women becoming prostitutes. Women who wish to exit prostitution are doing so and being properly supported in order to re-enter mainstream society.

I'm of the opinion that the Swedish Model is the only humane one we have so far. (That is if one considers women and children to be deserving of the human right to bodily autonomy.)

The principles behind the law is that, in Sweden, prostitution is regarded as violence against women and children, it is intrinsically harmful not only to the individual prostituted woman or child, but to society at large, and represents a significant barrier to the Swedish goal of full gender equality. From this premise it was necessary to implement a strategy of zero tolerance to end this intrinsically harmful behaviour in society.

Beachcomber Fri 14-Oct-11 10:16:16

Just to be clear the Swedish Model does not make it a crime for the prostitute to sell sex - pimping, brothel owning and profiting from the prostitution of another person are criminal offences.

Beachcomber have you read this? It suggests that the Swedish Model is doing more harm than good.

skrumle Fri 14-Oct-11 10:33:37

MsAnnTeak - can i ask why you asked the question "will we all have to have a rethink?" in your OP?

do you currently agree with Melissa Farley's views/the assertions she makes? are you going to fundamentally change your mind if she is discredited on the basis of her methodology?

if you don't currently agree why did you say we?

in the economist debate Farley said:
"The few who do choose prostitution are privileged by class or race or education. They usually have options for escape. Most women in prostitution do not have viable alternatives. They are coerced into prostitution by sex inequality, race/ethnic inequality, and economic inequality."

i don't need stats or peer-reviewed studies or independent authentication to believe that's true.

and the blog you linked to criticising the swedish model was by a sex-worker who specialises in BDSM which IMO is vastly different from being a "normal" sex worker...

Beachcomber Fri 14-Oct-11 10:45:36
Beachcomber Fri 14-Oct-11 11:06:13

Yes I have read it SGM.

I find the this bit of the conclusion bizarre;

Hence, as we and others have written elsewhere, we believe that it is in the ideological and cultural domains that the creation of the “unique” Sex Purchase Act and the above mention discrepancy must be found. It has to do with a desire to create and uphold a national identity of being the moral consciousness in the world; with notions or “good” and “bad” sexuality; with the whore stigma; with creating new forms of sexual deviancy; with a communitarian, rather than liberal, political culture, and perhaps above all: a stereotypical and uninformed understanding of prostitution. Our stance when it comes to policy regarding prostitution is that it has to be based on knowledge rather than morality or radical feminist ideology.

Susanne Dodillet seems to be accusing the Swedish Model of being about prudishness and some sort of outdated victorian style morality rather than about the human rights of women and children not to be sexually exploited and treated as commodities.hmm.

What is your take on it?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 14-Oct-11 11:31:01

The Scottish decision- no Scandinavian laws.

Beachcomber Fri 14-Oct-11 11:40:13

Not really OLNK.

A decision has not yet been made actually.

The article you link to describes how the Scottish parliament does not want to rush any legislation or decisions.

"Tory, SNP and Liberal Democrat committee members said they recognised the importance of the amendment but said it should not be added late to the wider overhaul of the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill, currently at its second stage of parliamentary scrutiny."

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 14-Oct-11 11:43:34

I don't think reviewing prostitution laws was in the SNP Manifesto, and Trish Godman is no longer an MSP, so the subject is unlikely to arise within this Parliament.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 14-Oct-11 11:47:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 14-Oct-11 11:59:17

My apologies, I was recalling the response of the Law Society of Scotland back in February and erroneously thought that was the conclusion. blush

Beachcomber Fri 14-Oct-11 12:03:10

Glasgow City Council seem pretty determined.

For the last ten years Glasgow has taken a proactive stance on prostitution, working tirelessly to support the victims, their families and communities affected by this exploitative trade.

We believe that prostitution is a form of commercial sexual exploitation which disproportionately involves men using vulnerable women, children and, sometimes young men, for their own sexual gratification or financial gain. It is a clear form of violence against women, rooted in gender inequality and abuse of male power.

Our priority over the last 10 years or so has been to provide quality prevention, early intervention and exiting services for victims. However, it is now clear that unless we tackle the demand we will never see a decline in this harmful activity.

Scotland has taken some steps to tackle street prostitution through the Prostitution (Public Places) Scotland Act 2007 - which made buying sex in a public place an offence. However, whilst street prostitution has declined, indoor prostitution continues to flourish as men who buy sex in premises do so without committing an offence. Advertising for sexual services is now at an overwhelming level in newspapers, magazines, on television and through the internet.

We want to follow the example of countries like Sweden, Norway and Iceland who have introduced successful laws targeting the buyer of sex. We believe that by criminalising the purchaser we can dramatically reduce prostitution.

Uppity Fri 14-Oct-11 12:35:19

LOL, you've never been on my shitlist Alys. Sorry, it did look like I was responding to you didn't it, I was acknowledging that you'd bitten and so all right, I would too and then I went on to answer MsAnnTeak, but that wasn't clear, so sorry.

MsAnnTeak Fri 14-Oct-11 13:17:24

Why is there an insistance of discussing prostitution and for some here there always has to be a link to children and it isn't, or can't be seperated? Having sex with children is paedophilia, it's against the law. Children can't consent to sex with adults.
Scotland's mentioned. If you copy some quotes into a search it will bring up thousands of other sites all stating exactly the same and stemming from Ms Farley's research.
Our first grandchild is due shortly and yes, it matters to me if there's a person who is influencing law-makers, influencing governments who are changing policies and laws globally and they are being discredited to the extent of accusations of lying, manipulating data, cherry picking results to suit, producing papers which haven't been before an ethics committee, using questionaires which aren't open to scrutiny, not only by one, or two people but whole bodies of academics. This women is also responsible for influencing in the sexualisation of children research which has hit the headlines recently and my own personal view is, it's implications could be extremely damaging for children, especially girls.

None of my business but would be interesting to know how many of you who have such negative views have children ?

Results for Scotland are online , type in Trish Godman Consultation 2010 and you should get them.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 14-Oct-11 13:28:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 14-Oct-11 13:28:32

Tried that, the only relevant thing I found was a statement from ScotPEP saying they'd had confirmation that "someone" would take on the job of representing a Bill to Parliament.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 14-Oct-11 13:29:08

X post! I didn't try paedophilia!

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 14-Oct-11 13:33:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GothAnneGeddes Fri 14-Oct-11 13:44:57

Yes, because one lone feminist is a greater threat to your grand daughter then the sex industry shills who would like to make using prostitutes as acceptable renting a dvd. hmm

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 14-Oct-11 13:53:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MsAnnTeak Fri 14-Oct-11 14:09:04

Stewie - where's your proof (other than anything that Melissa Farley has influence over) that many (please quantify) prositutes start at 14/16 ?

MsAnnTeak Fri 14-Oct-11 14:39:14

Summary of responses:

1.The intention of the proposed Bill is to criminalise the purchasers of sex and related selling activities. The consultation document accompanying the draft proposal for the Criminalisation of the Purchase and Sale of Sex (Scotland) Bill was issued on 24 November 2010 and was open for comment until 18 February 2011. A number of late submissions were received after the closing date; these were accepted and have been included in the analysis.

2.The consultation document was made available from a link on the Proposals for Members Bills webpage on the Scottish Parliament Website: The Scottish Parliament: - Bills - Proposals for Members' Bills at . It was also issued to 146 organisations and individuals with an interest in the issue. Recipients were encouraged to bring the consultation to the attention of anyone else they thought might have an interest in the subject matter.

3.In total 122 responses were received; these were made up of the following groups:
38 individuals
20 anti-violence against women organisations
9 academics
9 equality/human rights organisations
9 health boards
8 local authorities (including the Association of Directors of Social Work)
8 support groups
6 women's business organisations
5 pro-prostitution organisations
4 criminal justice organisations
3 religious organisations
1 child protection group
1 legislator
1 trade union organisation

78 (64%) Responses supported the proposed Bill either in whole or in part.
39 (32%) Against the Bill
5 (4%) Neutral

Mystery to me it's not there now.

Beachcomber Fri 14-Oct-11 14:56:47

You keep asking for proof of things MsAnnTeak.

How about some proof that the accusations made against Ms Farley, by a man who runs an organisation which is very much for the legalization of prostitution, are of any validity.

And even if any of them are valid, I fail to see how all of Ms Farley's work can somehow suddenly be discounted. That is an intellectually dishonest argument.

It is very easy to do things like accuse of person of not having ethical clearance for a piece of work - what one really needs to know is would ethical clearance be required or in any way expected for the type of work in question at the time the work was completed. Otherwise it is just smoke and mirrors and mudslinging.

The ethical clearance route and interpretation of statistics is a pretty routine way of attacking someone whose views you wish to discredit.

Are you reading any of the info linked to? Are you interested in genuine discussion of the wider issues of prostitution?

Is it so difficult to understand that trafficking and child rape are integral to prostitution? Where you have prostitution you have trafficking, where you have trafficking you have prostituted children, where you have prostituted children you have child rape. This is the reality of prostitution as it happens at the moment in the real world.

You cannot have an honest discussion about what really happens in prostitution, if all you want to discuss is the situation of women over the age of 18, who are not pimped or subject to violence, who entered prostitution as adults under no coercion, who have other valid choices available to them and who are able to exit prostitution without difficulty if they chose to do so hmm. This is a discussion about Pretty Women - it is a fairy story it is not the reality of the vast majority of prostitution.

Beachcomber Fri 14-Oct-11 15:05:29

Oh and for those who are finding it tough to get their heads round the feminist perspective to this, the reason why where there is prostitution there is trafficking, pimping and coercion is because most women do not want to be prostitutes. They have to be forced or coerced.

The sort of people who will force, beat, threaten and coerce others into having sex with strangers with people for money tend not to be very nice. They tend to be the sort of people who will traffick and groom minors and children and sell drugs and be involved in organised crime. They are the sort of people who hang around care homes and 'befriend' young girls.

Which of course is a bummer for those who wish to cling to the happy hooker cliché, but it is unfortunately an unpleasant fact that has to be faced.

Trafficking is an evil thing but don't forget that it isn't just sex workers who are trafficked. Trafficked people can end up in the catering or agricultural industries, beaten and enslaved and exploited, and also in domestic slavery.

GothAnneGeddes Fri 14-Oct-11 23:27:52

SGB - and that's wrong too, as already agreed to upthread.

Beachcomber Fri 14-Oct-11 23:29:13

Yes of course that is very true SGB. The fact that people are treated despicably and inhumanely in areas other than those of prostitution only adds to the argument really doesn't it?

Poor people are exploited and badly treated - for the gain of the nonpoor.

Ugly. But not to be tolerated.

But this is why I do not like the abolitionist stance when it comes to sex work. The obsession with stopping sex work does a disservice to people trafficked for other work, makes life harder for the non-trafficked sex workers (by stigmatizing them and denying them agency) and doesn't necessarily do the trafficked sex worker any good, either.

LeBOOOf Sat 15-Oct-11 00:34:21

How does standing up against exploitation damage the case of non-sex workers?

GothAnneGeddes Sat 15-Oct-11 00:38:42

SGB - How? Your argument smacks a little of "You can't care about x and y at the same time". Again anti-sex work feminists seem to be getting the blame instead of those doing the actual trafficking and exploiting.

Beachcomber Sat 15-Oct-11 08:35:40

I know you won't agree with me SGB, but I find the euphemism 'sex work' offensive and manipulative when applied to prostitution.

This takes us back to GothAnne's link from earlier.

“To be able to defend that women sell their bodies (and that men buy them) one must first abolish the victim and instead redefine the prostitute as a sex worker, a strong woman who knows what she wants, a businesswoman. The sex worker becomes a sort of new version of the ‘happy hooker’.

“Ekis Ekman shows in a convincing way how this happens through a rhetoric which portrays the victim position as a trait of character instead of using the correct definition of a victim: someone who is affected by something. In such a way the terrible reality in which women in prostitution find themselves is concealed. The fear of the ‘victim’ in the prostitution debate … is something which mirrors neo-liberalism’s general victim hate – since all talk of the vulnerable person immediately reveals an unjust society. Through making the victim taboo can one legitimise class inequalities and gender discrimination, for if there is no victim there is no perpetrator.”

Beachcomber: And a lot of sex workers find it offensive to be called prostitutes.

Beachcomber Sat 15-Oct-11 08:47:56

For those who wish to call prostitution 'sex work'.

Would you agree to this job being advertised in job centres? Being something a careers advisor could recommend to youngsters? Something young people could do work experience in? The sort of job that could be offered in temping agencies? A possibility for job seekers who can't find other work? A weekend job for a student? Something people who worry about money should do to help pay for Christmas?

The pimps and the traffickers just love the term sex work - they work in the Human Resources department. They probably call it 'training' when they rape a new girl to break her in.

sunshineandbooks Sat 15-Oct-11 08:50:39

SGB I've followed your arguments on here a long time and although I am anti-porn I've been very impressed by some of what you've said and developed some new ways of thinking about the whole thing.

I thought I'd point that out because I want you to understand that this next question is genuine and not posted in a passive-aggressive way (cos I've tried numerous ways of writing it and it still sounds like it is):

What do you propose we do to eradicate exploitative porn and trafficking but continue to help existing genuine sex workers? Why are the two necessarily linked? Few people think nannies/cleaners should be abolished but still accept that trafficking slaves for this reason os unacceptable.

Beachcomber Sat 15-Oct-11 08:51:55

I can understand why a prostitute would prefer to refer to herself as a sex worker and I have no wish to deny anyone the right to do so, for themselves, as an individual.

I object to people framing discussions about the global institution of prostitution, as it operates in the world today, as 'sex work'.

Many many prostituted women hate the term sex work and what it implies.

sunshineandbooks Sat 15-Oct-11 08:57:31

Beachcomber not sure if your last post was to me or to SGB. Either way, it sort of backs up what you're saying because I was specifically using sex worker to mean women who have genuinely chosen to work in porn (I think there are very, very few personally, but I accept that there are some). I would refer to those trafficked/coerced/forced through circumstance very much as victims.

sunshineandbooks Sat 15-Oct-11 09:01:40

Although saying that, 'victim' could be considered pretty offensive too. I hate being referred to as a victim of DV. I am no one's victim.

Trouble is, words are important aren't they. I refer to victims of DV whenever I am talking/writing about them as a group although I would never call a woman a victim face to face IYSWIM (unless that's how she referred to herself).

Beachcomber Sat 15-Oct-11 09:07:33

It was to SGB.

BTW SGB I have a lot of respect for you on MN - I agree with you on a lot of things. Just not this one smile.


Beachcomber Sat 15-Oct-11 09:15:16

I think the word victim has been manipulated too - being a victim of something that is not one's fault, is completely different to having a 'victim mentality' or being somehow weak or feeble.

Women need to reclaim the word victim IMO, and have it regain its meaning as the opposite of perpetrator. IMO victim should be a neutral word to describe a person's experiences at the hands of others - there should not be any implication about the victim, only the perpetrator.

sunshineandbooks Sat 15-Oct-11 09:20:23

Good point Beach. It's interesting how much the word victim has come to be equated with shame in the context of crime against women as opposed to crimes against men (unless they too are of a sexual assault nature).

No one feels ashamed of calling themselves a victim if someone stole their car, do they?

Beachcomber Sat 15-Oct-11 09:23:47

Exactly. It is a form of victim blaming.

I certainly don't think that victims of trafficking and forced prostitution are weak or bad or have anything to be ashamed of. To be trafficked and enslaved (whether that's for sex work, domestic work, catering or agricultural work) is a terrible thing.
But I think that ending the stigmatization of sex work and getting rid of the insistence that no matter what they say sex workers are victims (powerless, 'other') would be more helpful to those who are being abused. An exchange of sexual activity for money is no more 'buying a person' than an exchange of money for a person's time to cook your food, dig your garden, clean your toilet or cut your toenails - and sex work paid for at an hourly rate is a lot less 'buying a person' than marriage can be. If sex work is not stigmatized it becomes easier for sex workers to complain and press charges when mistreated - or ripped off - by clients, without fearing that they will get told it serves them right for working in such a profession. It becomes easier for those who want to do something else to move on without being afraid that Someone Will Find OUt they have done sex work and judge them for it.

GrumpyInRepose Sat 15-Oct-11 11:30:31

I disagree SGB.
I don't remember the first time I cooked someone's dinner or cut their toenails. But the first time I had sex was an event, and is for most people. Sex, for the majority of people, is a totally different thing. It's a primal thing, a huge driver in their life, maybe it defines their life and life choices in a way that cutting toenails or playing the piano simply does not. kids are fascinated by it, teens gossip and giggle about it, adults cause immense amounts of misery and happiness because of their sexual choices. It's a central theme of vast amounts of literature, music and art.

You could argue that it's not innate but merely a symptom of the sexully fucked up society we live in. That may be so, but most human societies are similarly fucked up, in that case, which suggests that there's something deeper at work. Secondly, does it matter in a pragmatic sense as people are products of their society and take on it's norms.

Of course not EVERYONE feels this way, and for a lot of people they can say, and mean 'It's just sex'.
(As an aside, I suspect that most people who feel this way are men (because since the dawn of sex the consequences of sex are less severe for them) and that's problematic from a feminist perspective if we're all encouraged to take on a 'male' view of sexuality, which unsurprisingly benefits men.)

(perhaps those people,the 'happy hookers' who can go against societies' norms are also the people who are most likely to go against the stigmatization of prostitution? Maybe the stigma is a sort of protection for the people who HATE the work. AS in it's not YOU that's wrong for hating this, it's a normal reaction. I don't know really, just mulling)

This is ss btw

Beachcomber Sat 15-Oct-11 13:18:40

It isn't feminists who stigmatise prostituted women - it is patriarchy with its madonna whore complex and fetishization of female sexuality.

Sex is not treated by society like any other activity such as gardening or cooking. Female sexuality is fetishized and subject to a value system in patriarchy.

Some individual people may be able to treat sex like any other activity, but it is clear that the women who want to exit prostitution, do not. These women describe undesired sex for money as a violation.

I do think that all women, men and children in prostitution are victims - they are victims of patriarchal values.

Uppity Sat 15-Oct-11 13:27:26

Yes I think it's just unrealistic to think that in a patriarchal society, we will unstigmatise prostitution by calling it sex work - all we do, is deny women who have no choices about doing this (ie most of them) their valid feelings about it.

We're supposed to have had the sexual revolution 40 years ago. I'm supposed to live in a society that's comfortable with the idea that women are sexual beings, that we have orgasms, that we should only have sex when we want to, that we have the right to have sex with a number of men who want to have sex with us, without assumptions being made about our moral character, our intelligence, or our pscyhological health.

And yet, the words slut, slapper, tart, nympho are probably used more often than they were before the sexual revolution. 1 in 4 of us are getting raped or sexually assaulted in our lives and there is no justice for most of those cases.

Without systematic overhaul of patriarchy, all this sexual freedom bollocks just doesn't happen - on an individual basis for some individuals (I have to say, generally speaking, feminists) yes it can happen - you can choose to live as if the sexual revolution has happened for everyone - but on a population basis, we still live in a society which is deeply fucked up about sex and still has major patriarchal attitudes to it. That won't change by calling the women who have been inveigled or coerced or trafficked into prostitution sex workers in order to benefit the tiny minority of happy hookers who haven't; without a genuine sexual revolution, which actually can't happen without a societal revolution and the demise of patriarchy, to argue for the legalisation and normalisation of prostitution, simply argues for the right of men to fuck women who don't want to fuck them and only do it for money. And that is not a progressive demand, IMO.

Beachcomber Sun 16-Oct-11 09:59:43

Yes I agree with you Uppity.

Trigger Warning - I am going to post about rape and violence experienced by an escort.

I had a bit of a look round The Honest Courtesan - the blog linked to earlier which criticises the Swedish Model. The writer describes how she has only been raped twice on the job, both times anally and both times she explains how she went into survival mode and tried to detach, relax as best she could in order to not be too badly hurt and wait until the ordeal was over. She stresses that screaming or struggling are bad ideas in this situation as they will anger the rapist and lead to more violence such as strangulation and even murder. She also describes having to wash blood away after both rapes. Both times she then went on to do another call, even though she was hurt - she describes this as 'being a professional'.

The writer also briefly describes being gang raped at gunpoint by 3 policeman before entering prostitution - she does stress however that this experience and the subsequent trauma had nothing to do with her decision to become a prostitute.

She reported none of her rapes (for reasons we can all understand about why women often do not report rape).

The writer also tells us of how she coached a girl who entered prostitution on her 18th birthday (working for the writer's agency) on how to deal with johns what are extremely unattractive to you - basically the advice was to detach and think of the money.

There is also a link at one point to another escort's blog where she describes being anally raped by a client who put a binbag over her head, beat her into concussion and made her swallow the condom he had removed.

This is the so called 'high end' of prostitution. The blog is about escort prostitution charging 300 dollars an hour. The woman in question stresses that she freely chose to move from stripping to hooking in order to earn more.

Her blog is extremely pragmatic - she describes herself as tough and very professional.

Beachcomber Sun 16-Oct-11 10:01:55

oops 'johns who'

Tchootnika Sun 16-Oct-11 10:11:34

Beachcomber what you describe in your 9:59 post(or very similar) has been experienced by many, many escorts (possibly the majority, I don't know, but I for one don't need to go to web sites to find these sorts of accounts).
But these sorts of experiences are also in large part due to the fact that it's not currently possible to practice sex work/prostitution safely.

Also, of course sex work/prostution is nothing like the sort of 'good' sex you describe, but as has been pointed out there are many women and men who are able to sell sex. And what SGB says about the sale of sex for many sex workers being parallel to certain sorts of care work is right.

It's been mentioned on this thread that we don't hear much support for legalised sex work in a safe environment from women who are actually selling sex (or 'prostituted', as you like to say, Beachcomber).
Well, no, we wouldn't, would we, since in standing up to be counted in this way, under the current law (in the UK, at least), sesx workers/'prostitutes' would necessarily be incriminating themselves.

Beachcomber Sun 16-Oct-11 11:33:02

I don't really understand your post Tchootnika.

There is nothing to suggest that prostitution is magically made less violent as a result of legal status - this is certainly not the experience of countries such as Holland, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. People who study this phenomenon have come to the conclusion that that is because prostitution is inherently and attracts people who objectify and commodify women and their sexuality.

I disagree that SGB is right about care work being similar to prostitution - although I do think care work can be difficult in many ways.

Nurses are not penetrated by their patients and patients do not generally try to get them to swallow bodily fluids or put themselves at risk for STD or pregnancy. Patients require nursing - nobody needs to masturbate into another person.

It is currently legal to both buy and sell sexual services in the UK.

Can you give an example of a country which has a safe legal environment in which prostitution takes place that does not have any of the issues such as pimping, trafficking, child prostitution, illegal proposition, coercion, rape, links to organised crime, under-age prostitution, unwanted pregnancy, STD, over-representation of poor women, over-representation of women with social problems such as addiction, homelessness, history of abuse, abandonment etc..?

I can't.

Beachcomber Sun 16-Oct-11 11:33:59

prostitution is inherently violent

must proof read!

GrumpyInRepose Sun 16-Oct-11 12:51:50

You cannot compare care work to prostitution. Care work may involve body fluids/violence but that's not the point of it.

There is a different power dynamic in care work too, generally it's the worker not the client that has the power - physical/emotional whatever. In prostitution it's the other way round. (Not that the first is without it's problems either, but that's a different thread)

windsorTides Sun 16-Oct-11 13:43:21

You cannot compare sex work with any other business transaction, but people who defend the right to use porn and buy sex, constantly dredge up these absurd analogies, while also trying to discredit anyone who disagrees. Beachcomber's analysis of what happens in the sex industry, compared to other service industries, is correct. There is also no evidence at all that legalisation changes the psychological profile of the punters and their wish to defile and degrade women.

Why would it, when in fact all the evidence from sex workers themselves is that punters are becoming more violent and entitled, not less? Older sex workers link a decline in behaviour to the violent and misogynist porn that is now mainstream and readily available and younger sex workers know no different.

Prostitution needs to be seen in the context of the entire sex industry and not as a discrete activity.

MsAnnTeak Sun 16-Oct-11 16:09:38

My interest and study of prostitution began a few years ago once it was revealled my paternal great grandmother had become a prostitute afer her husband had been killed in war and was left with numerous children to feed on her own. By accounts she was a feisty woman, went on to become a small time money lender to the poor women who lived around her.
I view her as a victim of circumstance rather than the men she saw. Without their money my ancestors would probably died in the workhouse, or possibly of starvation and I wouldn't be here.

It may be wonderful to have an idealogy but say for instance every person stopped paying for sex, no income to any prostitute at all (take trafficked, children, sex slaves out of the equation), where will the cash come from to pay for some of the things the money goes towards ie. food, homes, schooling, better all round standard of living ?

Noticed to phrase 'priviliged few' when talking about the minority of prostitutes being mentioned. Could somebody define exactly what the term means. What determines one ?

MsAnnTeak Sun 16-Oct-11 16:17:06

GIP, have you worked as a prostitute ? How do you know the balance is always with the punter ? What about dominatrix who beat men up ?

As for mentioning care work and who has power, how many nurses and care assisstants are attacked by patients every year ? Figures will be online. Our local hospital now has security guards in A&E.

MsAnnTeak Sun 16-Oct-11 16:18:52

Windsortides, your last post speaks of evidence, is that by any coincidence evidence prosuced from the Melissa Farley school of fact ?

windsorTides Sun 16-Oct-11 16:27:46


MsAnnTeak Sun 16-Oct-11 16:28:34

If anyone is interested in the subject I found an interesting study

SolidGoldVampireBat Sun 16-Oct-11 16:39:38

The exchange of sexual activity for money is not inherently violent. Nor is penetration inherently disgusting, nor are body fluids always revolting.

I do think there is a worrying increase in the level of general unkindness in society, but it's not the porn industry, or the sex industry, that has caused this. Nor is it down to video games, horror films, or pop music.
I lay the blame mostly on the likes of Rupert Murdoch and the Daily Mail, who have been peddling a vile cocktail of sentimentality, spite and panicky tribalism to the masses for a couple of decades.

GrumpyInRepose Sun 16-Oct-11 16:49:16

it's play acting MsAnnTeak. Obviously if the punter decided that today he wants non-dom sex, the prostitute must comply, or if she's lucky she gets to refuse. She certainly doesn't get to decide, ffs.

Your great grandmothers story is a pro welfare state argument, rather than pro prostitution one.

SGB i totally agree re the media driven unkindness, but I don't let misogynistic sex centred media off the hook. If you accept that media does influence society, (seeminly negatively, tbh) you have to accept that ALL forms do, not just the ones you personally don't like.

windsorTides Sun 16-Oct-11 16:55:23

Who thinks that penetration is inherently disgusting, or body fluids, revolting? confused

LeBOOOf Sun 16-Oct-11 16:56:04

So you researched your family tree, and it turned you into a slightly obsessional prostitution geek? Does anybody else think that's a bit, well, weird?

MsAnnTeak Sun 16-Oct-11 16:57:31

GIR, why would prostitutes have lists of dos and don'ts if they don't get any choice ?

MsAnnTeak Sun 16-Oct-11 17:04:23

LeBooof, why weird ? Geeked over a few things in my lifetime but none became an obsession.

GrumpyInRepose Sun 16-Oct-11 17:06:51

'if she's lucky she gets to refuse' is what I said.

TBH i do think bodily fluids are a bit disgusting. I can get over that for people I love/like/care for. Not for just any random. that may just be me though. And quite possibly your great grandma, MsAnnTeak. Would the parish records have that information, do you think?

LeBOOOf Sun 16-Oct-11 17:09:16

It seems obsessive to me linking to academic papers etc., asking for peer-reviewed "evidence" from people who disagree with you, and banging on about writers the average MNer has never heard of. So yes, it does seem weird to me. Especially as you seem content to glean your knowledge of feminism from your daughter's 'homework' <snort>

Great school for her though- I've never been lucky enough to encounter a school that asks pupils to write projects on feminism. The National Curiculuum must have got a lot more interesting these days.

AlysWorld Sun 16-Oct-11 17:12:17

I'm loving the argument that if poverty is the only other option then women should be prostituted. Presumably they could also sell their kidneys? Maybe sell their children to the nearest trafficker? Or become a hired killer, that's another option of course. I mean, heaven forbid we should scrutinise a society that allows people to be in that poverty in the first place. God no. Problem is, it does lay bare the extent of the alleged 'choice' argument doesn't it. hmm Whoops MsAnnTeak.

MsAnnTeak Sun 16-Oct-11 17:44:24

I do recall on some cenus results a woman's status as prostitute put down. Not sure about the parish ones, maybe you would like to check ? You presume it was by researching my family tree I found out the family secret, not at all. A chat at a family funeral was where it first came to light.

As for gleaning my knowledge of feminism from my daughters homework, I'd been introduced to Dworkin in the 80s. DDs busy with a degree and has me looking for information on many things for her projects and coursework. Her first one was 'Does nymphomania exist ?' which brought up interesting information on the topic. How society, male and female has tried to control the sexual activity of women who were promiscious.

windsorTides Sun 16-Oct-11 17:48:58

I agree that there are many current drivers for misogny, but to claim that the sex and porn industries have nothing to do with it is just denial.

Beachcomber Sun 16-Oct-11 19:40:39

SGB, I'm not arguing that penetrative sex disgusting or that bodily fluids are gross.

I'm arguing that undesired penetrative sex, which takes place in a societal context in which women are not equal to men, in which female sexuality is fetishized and has a market value, indeed in which women and children have a market value, is, intrinsically, violent and oppressive.

It always seems to me that arguments about a woman's right to sell sex basically come down to the notion that if the worst comes to the worst she can always survive (in the patriarchy) by letting strange men fuck her for money.

Is that it? Is that the best deal women can expect? Is that what empowerment comes down to? Getting paid to be a masturbatory receptacle?

Have we really only come that far? Don't women have the right to jobs which don't put them in danger and which don't involve rape as an accepted occupational hazard?

I agree with what Uppity said earlier - maybe one day in the future, when male supremacy is over and women are no longer oppressed, selling sex will become a neutral transaction. Until that day comes though, it is anything but.

And it is not feminists who spoil things for women who wish to earn their living this way - it is men and patriarchy.

If men didn't rape, abuse, hurt, damage, beat, pimp, coerce, threaten, murder, traffick, exploit, sell, imprison, objectify, commodify and dehumanize prostituted women, then maybe it would be in some way valid to argue the case for prostitution.

That is just so not the case currently though.

This question has been asked before in this discussion, but I would really like to know what those who make the case for prostitution think should be done to regulate it? The experiences of countries which have opened their doors to prostitution seem to suggest that massive resources are required to control the activity and stop it from turning into something hideous and inhumane. Do people really think that this is a good way to spend tax money? Wouldn't that money be better spent giving women and children different opportunities?

MsAnnTeak Mon 17-Oct-11 09:28:06

Beachcomber you make some really valid points and to quote you "prostitution seem to suggest that " in your closing paragraph.

Tony Blair and George Bush took us into a war against Iraq on the basis of a lie. Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, attack was iminent. This was hyped up a media frenzy ensued convincing us we had to go to war, resulted in Iraq being invaded, thousands of women and children died, the infrastructure destroyed including schools. Iraq was a country which had high literacy and numeracy for both male and female children and from what I understand good healthcare for both.
As the truth began to emerge he had no womd, no desire to attack, wasn't harbouring Al Queda. The truth was, it ''seemed'' as if he may have. manipulation of information, cherry picking what suited, death of Dr.Kelly. on and on and on. People in America still believe he did have womd and have done a great service to Iraq.

Back to starting this thread. Melissa Farley is a woman who has produced hundreds papers, carried out numerous studies, given evidence, is at one of the highest levels to influence women's policies globablly which will and is impacting on the lives of millions of women. If she is guilty of the accusations against her, if she is disguarding data which does not suit her ideology, if she is using other studies which are skewed to give the impression the policies she has governments implementing such as what is happening in Sweden, are showing great results, when in fact they are not.

If the way prostitution is dealt with in New Zealand and Australia are keeping women safe, preventing trafficking, women, men and children ending up being abused in prostitution and she is manipulating studies, lying, misrepresenting facts in order to further her ideology she is putting lives in danger.

It appears anyone who challenges any anti-prostitution stance is an apologist, complicit in the trafficking of children and women into prostitution, condones the rapes and torture of women and children. Academics with no ideology, no agenda, both male and female have challenged Melissa Farley's work, backed up by sound statistics, research, facts.

As for how to make prostitution safer, I think you'd go some way to finding answers if you ask those who are directly involved. Rape, trafficking, physical abuse, paedophilia, pimping of children are illegal and should be prosecuted.

How much is it costing Sweden to spy on women they believe are prostitutes, set up covert operations to spy on them ? How do you feel about single women staying at some hotels in the UK are automatically under surveillence, monitored to see if they have male visitors to their rooms ? I'm apaulled at the thought any of my DDs will be have their activities monitored if they're booked into a room alone.

MsAnnTeak Mon 17-Oct-11 09:43:23

Windsortides "I agree that there are many current drivers for misogny, but to claim that the sex and porn industries have nothing to do with it is just denial."

I believe the greatest factor which effects men are their mother. Women are the primary carers.
What are the factors which drive males to become women haters, to beat, rape, kill, mame ?
Look at some countries which have very little pornography, look at the rights of women and female children, are they worse or better off for no pornography, are they more embedded in a partriarchal society, are they more likely to have female gentital mutilation as part of their culture, do they allow ?

MsAnnTeak Mon 17-Oct-11 09:46:42

(pressed post instead of preview)

... free movement to women in their society ?

GrumpyInRepose Mon 17-Oct-11 09:49:29

wow MsAnnTeak, you're pinning a lot on Beachcombers 's use of the word 'seemed' . Tenous at best.

I'm appalled that my DD's live in a world where prostitution is seen as a valid option if the worst comes to the worst. Jesus.

As for single women being spied upon in hotel rooms? Really? Though I'm not surprised that hotels want to keep an eye on room occupancy rates ie if you're paying b&b for one the hotel doesn't want to lose out. Indeed I know of hotels that procure prostitutes for single male travellers. have you got a source for this 'spying' claim?

MsAnnTeak Mon 17-Oct-11 10:18:06

Have to logoff shortly due to an impending hair appointment, meaning I'll have to find the information requested at some later time. Also a bit of a bummer as I'll have to remember how I got to it originally. If you can't wait, or would prefer to search it out for yourself, try a google search. Input a string along the lines of hotels, charter, anti trafficking, USA and somewhere on the pages you should get a result.

GrumpyInRepose Mon 17-Oct-11 10:27:21

No it's ok - I get where you're coming from.

It's women's fault if the men become murderers and rapists.
And the lack of porn in say, the Middle East, is directly responsible for the low status of women there, rather than a different manifestation of the same underlying attitudes.

So, I don't think we'll ever see eye to eye, to put it mildly.

MsAnnTeak Mon 17-Oct-11 10:42:18

Nope, it's the person who kills and rapes who is responsible not the victim's fault. What an absurd statement.
I pointed out there are countries where there is very little porn yet it is far more oppresive to women ? I didn't conclude anything.

GrumpyInRepose Mon 17-Oct-11 11:10:41

grin yes it's absurd. I didn't make it.

Beachcomber Mon 17-Oct-11 12:38:45

I'm afraid you have rather lost me with all this rather bizarre and utterly irrelevant talk of the Iraqi war.

I'm rather surprised that you don't have any opinions about how to regulate prostitution considering that your posts suggest you are for legalized brothels.

I have a few questions for you - do you have any impartial (ie not written by someone with a financial or other interest) information on how legal, state controlled prostitution is a Good Thing for women and for gender equality?

Do you have any information which backs up the claims made by Callum Bennachie? Do you have any information which shows that Bennachie does not have a financial interest in legal prostitution in New Zealand? Can you explain why he constantly misrepresents Ms Farley as someone who wants to stigmatize women in prostitution and who wishes to have them criminalized (which is a bit stoopid really considering she supports the Swedish Model which everyone knows decriminalizes the women) ? Are you comfortable with the fact that he fails to disclose that he works for an organisation that gives advice to people on how to set up brothels - a potential conflict of interest?

The fact that he can't seem to grasp the basic premise of Ms Farley's work (or wilfully misrepresents it) and that he seems to think she should be removed from the APA, and discredited completely and totally in everything she has done, on the basis of some pretty weak claims, makes me a bit sceptical about his impartiality and intellectual honesty.

Why are you so keen to unquestioningly believe him MsAnnTeak?

MsAnnTeak Mon 17-Oct-11 17:17:02

Beachcomber, sorry you are lost on Iraqi it was not my intention. Women and children suffering a war based on blatant lies tends to get my blood boiling. The point I was trying to make is much of the abolishionist speak is based on words such as seemed, probably, may be, likely, without many actual facts to base it on. Would find it difficult to imagine you hadn't also.

Bennachie complaint as a stand alone is well written and each point her raises tends to be backed with facts. Have you read the complaint in full ?
Melissa Farley has been criticised on numerous pieces of work, not only those on Wikipedia, a search of the internet and you find's%20demand%20for%20prostitution%20in%20Scotland.pdf where academics question the vailidity of her work. Bennachie isn't listed as one of them.

As a clinical psychologist Melissa Farley must be aware of the procedure which has to be followed for obtaining a diagnosis for PTSD (you can check out the APA website. It's not simply having persons completeing a questionaire).
If this has not been followed using approved methods she can not claim 100% those women were suffering from it. Mentioned already, she does have critics, in full knowledge of this why would she flout procedure ?

MsAnnTeak Mon 17-Oct-11 17:18:57

Blast, posted instead of previewed.'s%20demand%20for%20prostitution%20in%20Scotland.pdf

GothAnneGeddes Mon 17-Oct-11 19:18:22

You are comparing fighting the idea that women and children are sex objects for purchase to the Iraq War?!

You honestly think a man who profits from the wholesale exploitation of women is some kind of hero?

Elsewhere on this board there was a thread started by a woman living in a country where sexual services are openly bought and sold. Rich expats think nothing of buying a blow job every lunch time. Paying a woman for what ever sexual act you want is the norm. If you pay enough, you could get a young child to do it for you. It's a free market, so the customer is king, not the prostitutes.

Does this sound like paradise to you? Does this sound like something worth fighting for, or fighting against.

All the decrim system has to offer is a two tier system, there will still be those on the bottom being exploited.

For Farley and those who agree with her, no level of exploitation is acceptable, so no truce with the prostitution industry is acceptable.

Beachcomber Mon 17-Oct-11 19:29:26

I'm afraid I'm still lost on the Iraq war thing.

Are you calling Ms Farley a blatant liar? I would be cautious of doing that on public forum.

The problem with attacking her, for making claims about diagnosing PTSD in prostituted women, by using a questionnaire, is that it is a strawman.

She doesn't diagnose the people in question with PTSD - she says that they meet several of the criteria for the condition. Most people with standard empathy skills, find such that idea pretty concerning and worthy of further exploration. They don't think that the person who played a major role in allowing prostituted women to express how their trauma and distress manifests, should be silenced.

It is rather remiss of Bennachie to have misrepresented her work again. Of course I have read the report in full - I found it a bit hard to take seriously though with its rather personal tone and false accusations that Farley wishes to stigmatize prostituted women and have them criminalized hmm. For some reason the phrases 'axe to grind' and 'vested interest' kept popping into my head.

I have read the document you link to. It reads to me like a 'what about the johnz' statement. The authors disagree with the basic premise that the institution of prostitution, as it happens in the world today, is inherently violent and a barrier to gender equality. In other words they disagree with the radical feminist view on prostitution - and they don't think radical feminists have the right to explore the issue because they disagree with radical feminism and its questioning of the status quo.

The above is a subjective position and a political one.

Pretty standard patriarchal stuff really.

Is the conclusion of this thread going to be that pimps, happy hookers, johns, and people who disagree with radical feminism don't like Ms Farley, her views and her work? Well knock me down with a feather! Quelle surprise!

I'm still interested in any answers you might have to the questions I asked you previously. When you have a moment.

MsAnnTeak Tue 18-Oct-11 14:24:31

Iraq. A war waged, based on misinformation, the media being involved in building a case for it, not verifying facts and the supression of an alternate view.

Beachcomber, thank you for the clarification on PTSD, Ms. Farley says they meet several of the criteria, which is not the same as have been diagnosed with PTSD.
Soldiers on active duty spring to mind for possibly fitting the criteria for PTSD, yet wouldn't necessarily be suffering from the condition, or be diagnosed as such. Consideration would need to be taken of facts outwith the active duty.

A basic google search results in first link -

"Prostitution, Violence Against Women, and Posttraumatic Stress - Similar
by M Farley - Cited by 230 - Related articles
by Melissa Farley, PhD and Howard Barkan, DrPH (*) ... Several previous studies suggest that the incidence of PTSD among those prostituted is likely to be high. ..."

Suggests PTSD has been diagnosed, which you have pointed out is not the same as 'meet several of the criteria'. Prostitutionresearch is Melissa Farley's site ? It's easy to see where the public and groups involved with violence against women could easily conclude it was proven beyond resonable doubt given a questionaire was distributed and Melissa Farley PhD is a well established reasearcher and capable of making such assessments.

On the same search page -

"NightLight | Facts About - Similar
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
The following statistics are results from a study by Melissa Farley and Norma ... women in prostitution suffer from PTSD, a psychological reaction to extreme ..."

Again states ''women in prostitution suffer from PTSD''.

Hope this is now tying in with Iraq ? We were lead from ''Saddam Hussein may have WMD'' to "Saddam Hussein has WMD". Use of the word 'has' suggests it's been proven.

Melissa Farley "women fit the criteria for PTSD" to "women in prostitution suffer from PTSD".

Is she lying, purposely leading people to draw false conclusions, etc, I have no idea. As a PhD psychologist she studies human behaviour and the mind , and as part of her studies, from that position she's aware of manipulation and how to influence.

Thank you for allaying any doubts I may have had regarding your feminist leanings, you belong the the radical feminist camp.

"Is the conclusion of this thread going to be that pimps, happy hookers, johns, and people who disagree with radical feminism don't like Ms Farley, her views and her work?"

Do pimps, happy hookers and johns know much about her work to be able to form an opinion either way ? There are those who may not like, or agree with her views and can form their own opinions. Equally there are those who know nothing of the work of Melissa Farley but could be influenced by her findings once reported to the wider media and presented as truth.
Her academic studies are different. If they're not up to recognised academic standards, found to be highly flawed and showing invalid data once peer reviewed, it's foolish to conclude your bias to it is down to not having a radical feminist stance. It's because it's not proven as a factual piece, yet presented over and over again as fact - an oversight of little concern when preaching to the convereted methinks.

Beachcomber Tue 18-Oct-11 17:08:51

Nope still lost on the Iraq thing.

Farley has done lots of studies and lots of work with prostituted women. Sometimes the women are described as meeting criteria for PTSD, sometimes they are described as qualifying for a diagnosis, sometimes they are described as actually having a diagnosis. Lots of prostituted women have a diagnosis of PTSD, sadly.

My reading of Farley's research is that she differentiates between the different situations and describes the methods used to assess for qualifying for a diagnosis of PTSD or meeting the criteria for PTSD - she uses the standard number of symptoms of the standard symptoms as approved by the APA. That is because Farley uses the APA official DSM-IV criteria for assessing a person for PTSD.

My point was that Farley does not give someone a diagnosis of PTSD, on the basis of a few written questions, in the way that Bennachie implies she does. I would have thought that all of that would be clear to someone who reads her papers (from start to finish, including all the boring 'methods' bits.)

I don't suppose saying; 'Farley claims that prostituted women meet the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD according to the standard APA official DSM-IV method' would have sounded quite so damning though would it?

I'm a bit of a stickler for detail you see.

Are you disputing the APA approved DSM-IV criteria? Are you disputing that prostituted women meet criterion A or show symptoms for the other criteria? Are you disputing Farley's use of the DSM-IV criteria?

The criteria used, not only assess a person for PTSD, they also give an indication of severity. Prostituted women routinely have a PTSD sum indicator in the 50s - this is the same score, in the same test as that of Vietnam War veterans.

Beachcomber Tue 18-Oct-11 17:14:48

Thank you for allaying any doubts I may have had regarding your feminist leanings, you belong the the radical feminist camp.

What an odd thing to post hmm. It comes across as rather creepy.

skrumle Tue 18-Oct-11 17:16:24

"Thank you for allaying any doubts I may have had regarding your feminist leanings, you belong the the radical feminist camp."

i really am interested (since you ignored my question first time round) - which "camp" do you belong in???

Beachcomber Tue 18-Oct-11 17:25:33

Study which replicates Farley's findings.

Full study

PubMed listing

MsAnnTeak Tue 18-Oct-11 20:20:19

Skrumble, has to be the free thinking camp.

LeBOOOf Tue 18-Oct-11 20:24:13

I found a hat on the pavement today. Free. A wooly one.

GothAnneGeddes Wed 19-Oct-11 01:25:02

Free from logical thinking more like.

Here's why the Iraq war comparison doesn't stack up. Are you ready?

Over 100,000 people died as a direct result of the Iraq war. Direct meaning that they died due to injuries from the military hardware used against them.

0 people have died as a result of Farley's research. In words: Zero people, i.e nobody has died as a result of Farley's research.

Someone finding it less acceptable to "procure" a women for sex because of someone's research is not the same as the researcher encouraging or inciting murder.

Someone finding it less acceptable to profit from sexual exploitation because of someone's research is not the same as the researcher encouraging or inciting murder.

The comparison you make is as erroneous as it is offensive. Please stop making it.

In short:

Feminists don't rape, beat, torture, rob or murder prostitutes, men do.

smackingnotharmfull Fri 19-Apr-13 17:00:02

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blackcurrantjan Sat 20-Apr-13 01:28:40

interview with former prostitute This womans story gives a real insite into the harsh reality of prostitution.

Zombie thread.

namioe Sun 21-Apr-13 21:26:09

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masterchef1 Thu 02-May-13 02:43:13

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