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"window shopping" in Amsterdam

(38 Posts)
chocoluvva Thu 04-Apr-13 22:27:04

DD (16)'s male friend - who seems lovely: kind, affectionate, unpretentious, hard-working, fun - is planning to go to Amsterdam in the autumn with his mates to celebrate their 18th birthdays.

He told me this when I asked if he was doing anything special for his birthday next week. "Window shopping" is his phrase. He also joked about bringing me a special cake back. I didn't make much comment at the time, but I was in two minds about expressing my disapproval.

Any thoughts on what an appropriate response would have been?

eventer1 Mon 08-Apr-13 14:16:36

Well my point was I felt safe.

vesuvia Mon 08-Apr-13 14:02:07

eventer1 wrote - "I've been to Amsterdam's RLD. It actually feels safe just like the rest of the city."

Amsterdam tops the list of homicide rates for major cities in Western Europe, according to a study by the United Nations, reported in The Guardian's Data Blog: Where are world's deadliest major cities?

eventer1 Mon 08-Apr-13 13:37:17

I've been to Amsterdam's RLD. It actually feels safe just like the rest of the city.

There are a lot of trafficking scare stories about Amsterdam which have turned out to be false.

"It was claimed a whopping 90% of all Dutch whores are coerced, exploited or otherwise harmed. A massive police raid in search of “trafficking victims” was launched in April 2011 and found…none. "

Bunnylion Mon 08-Apr-13 00:19:21

Underage sex and prostitution are totally separate issues. You're fully entitled to have opinions on both - and as her mother are in a better position to form the opinion of how appropriate it is for your DD to be dong than anyone else here.

Talk to your daughter and even if she doesn't talk to her male friend about the problem with "window shopping", hopefully it'll open up her thinking about the role of women in the world.

chocoluvva Sun 07-Apr-13 08:59:13

Well MTSgroupie lets hope the women in the Amsterdam windows are all of legal age to be there to keep your conscience clear. Being okay about my DD having (only just) underage sex with her boyfriend of several months doesn't mean I have no right to have reservations about anything to do with prostitution or porn. They're different issues.

I like to think I'm liberal, but knowing that prostitution usually involves desperate women and knowing from following current affairs that porn involving violence against women is prevalent and probably having a damaging effect on its viewers makes me uncomfortable with a 17YO lad casually telling me he's going to Amsterdam.... and will be doing "window shopping". Even the prevalence of soft porn disturbs me.

I don't have a 'dilemma'. And my DD isn't going out with this boy (despite his best attempts to win her over) but it's difficult to know whether I ought to call him on this trip. My reaction might influence my DD. If I don't bother will she think it's an accepted part of boys growing up? Does it matter anyway? Some posters think not, which reassures me a bit. Like her peers, she doesn't seem interested in feminism; perhaps I owe it to her to demonstrate my values. But the consequences of speaking my mind to her friend might backfire - and I find it hard to put in words why I don't like the thought of it. That's why I posted on this forum rather than teens, chat or AIBU.

Lessthanaballpark Sun 07-Apr-13 07:52:02

OP, I don't think you need to be too worried now. It's natural for kids to be curious about Amsterdam, I know I was; at that age it seems such a liberal place, so different from our own and therefore intriguing.

His use of the phrase "window shopping" is awful yes, and he is probably being influenced by lad culture which is somewhat lacking in empathy when it comes to women as human beings and not sex objects.

I think what you could do is talk to him when he comes back and ask him how he found it. Actually visiting there may change his viewpoint. I know it did mine. I remember walking down there and my "sex positive" liberal views dissipated when I saw how tacky and tawdry it was and when the reality of human beings for sale finally hit me ( and no, they didn't look in the least bit happy).

Talk to him about it when he gets back. But be prepared for the argument "they choose to do it". Good luck.

BOF Sun 07-Apr-13 01:47:38

I suppose that all you can really do is talk to your daughter about the issues around the sex trade and all its attendant objectification etc. You have kind of missed the boat with making a remark to him, and it isn't necessarily your role to do so. I agree that it is a bit depressing though, but I can't say I'm surprised.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 07-Apr-13 01:42:24

Sabrina - That is such a good video, thanks for that.

yousankmybattleship Sun 07-Apr-13 01:30:14

He needs to mature, that's all. He's not actually window shopping, he's just used a slightly unfortunate phrase.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sat 06-Apr-13 23:46:05

He's a 'poor boy' when he's using phrases like 'window shopping' for human beings? hmm

He needs educating.

yousankmybattleship Sat 06-Apr-13 23:35:38

Well said MTS. You are making HUGE assumptions about this poor boy. You think your own 15 year old is old enough to have sex but you don't credit this young man with enough sense to make his own informed decisions. He's 18, he's intrigued and he's actually chosen to go to one of the few areas where prostitutes are afforded a degree of protection. Who are you to question his motives? You need to back off and allow his own parents to talk to him about such things.

MTSgroupie Sat 06-Apr-13 22:42:36

You are fine with your DD having underaged sex in a bedroom a few feet from yours but you aren't happy for her current boyfriend to visit Amsterdam???

Sorry OP but I just can't summon any further interest in your 'dilemma'. <reaches for HIDE button>.

chocoluvva Sat 06-Apr-13 21:41:39

That's really interesting MTSgroupie. Thanks for the info.

I'm not "Morally Outraged" - and my point about being liberal was that DESPITE the fact I don't think it's immoral for girls to have underage sex per se and I don't judge young girls who are blatantly trying to look sexy (actually, I feel sorry for them) - I don't like the thought of one my DD's friends choosing a holiday destination so that he can have easy access to the 'sex industry' in the flesh, for want of a better description. (I wasn't happy about DD's BF staying over anyway, but I let her make her own choices after giving her advice as best as I could, without making her feel she was doing something immoral).

The Amsterdam thing makes me question this lad's attitude to women and unexplainably threatened/disrespected. I don't know much about prostitution/porn. Both make me very uncomfortable.

DD's friend chose to tell me this - he must have thought I was going to be alright with it. It's confusing.

I'll ask him about his plans next time I see him.

MTSgroupie Sat 06-Apr-13 20:15:37

What difference does it make that it was a different boy? Bottom line: your DD was underaged at the time and you was happy for her then BF is stay over. Bit late to be playing Mrs Morally Outraged

That aside, DP and I spent a weekend in Amsterdam about 10 years ago. We did the standard tourist stuff - Anne Frank's house, waterbus city tour, diamond factory, flower market .... and the RL District. There were of course lots of guys on stag weekends but surprisingly there were lots of couples, young and old, walking around 'window shopping' as well.

From what I've read, the women have a union, they are self employed and pay taxes. It is tighly controlled by the authorities in terms of health checks and the police keeping out organised crime. Away from the RL District there are of course illegal brothels. It is here where the trafficking takes place.

Basically, the district is a tourist attraction that is a must see for a lot of people including female tourists. Sorry, but I can't get too worked up over if some guy that I know went for a weekend. Obviously, if that person did more than look then that is a different matter.

chocoluvva Sat 06-Apr-13 17:23:22

I'm pretty sure that most of her other male friends wouldn't pick Amsterdam as a destination and/or look forward to visiting the red light district.

chocoluvva Sat 06-Apr-13 17:20:51

Different boy MTGroupie and not her boyfriend. I don't know any of his other friends.

It's hard to know what to say when you're put on the spot. He mentioned that his birthday is next week, I asked if he was doing anything special for it, he said not immediately as his friends aren't 18 until later in the year and they were planning to go to Amsterdam. Then he said in his pleasant, chatty way, "I'm going to go window shopping". I just raised an eyebrow and enquired, "Is that what you call it these days?". Then he joked about bringing me back 'special cake'. I was secretly quite taken aback that he said this to me.

I really like him, but I'm disappointed in him now. And I don't know what he's told DD or what she thinks.

MTSgroupie Sat 06-Apr-13 16:50:45

choco - if didn't have a problem with the BF of your 15 yr DD saying over presumably in the same bed BUT you object to the BF, now 18, going 'window shopping'???

PretzelTime Sat 06-Apr-13 16:42:47

Even if they aren't in a desperate situation, it's still not a spectacle for teenage boys to go point and laugh at. They're people.

chocoluvva Sat 06-Apr-13 14:08:58

No - I meant that they can't go anywhere close to scotland that's warm otherwise they might have gone to spain or france so at least they'renot going there instead of going somewhere in the hope of getting nice weather.

Next time I see him I'll ask him why they chose Amsterdam and remind him that most prostitutes are in a desperate situation.

vesuvia Sat 06-Apr-13 12:16:37

chocoluvva wrote "I don't know why they picked Amsterdam - they're going in November so they don't have the option of picking somewhere close to Scotland for its sunny weather."

If they have chosen Amsterdam for the weather (which I doubt), perhaps they might like to know that climate records show that Edinburgh gets more sunshine than Amsterdam in November.

chocoluvva Sat 06-Apr-13 10:14:08

Thankyou for your posts.

He won't be going for the culture or beauty I wouldn't have thought,

I don't know why they picked Amsterdam - they're going in November so they don't have the option of picking somewhere close to Scotland for its sunny weather. He was joking about smuggling 'a special cake'.

The liberal part of me accepts that 18YO's are naturally curious..... but the thought of the group choosing Amsterdam BECAUSE of its red light district is disturbing. I'd be surprised if most of her other male friends would choose to have a mini-break there.

SatsukiKusukabe Fri 05-Apr-13 22:38:18

yes pretzel, who is he laughing at? hmm

specialsubject Fri 05-Apr-13 22:21:07

if he does try to bring drugs back he will learn a lot, fast.

PretzelTime Fri 05-Apr-13 18:42:40

If all he's planning to do is walk through the red light district to have a bit of a laugh with his mates then where's the harm?
Because then he'd be laughing at humans being displayed as items for sale in shop windows. Some possibly trafficked.

swimswithfishes Fri 05-Apr-13 18:33:06

Seems fairly innocent to me. Amsterdam is a lovely city with a great deal of culture and beauty. If all he's planning to do is walk through the red light district to have a bit of a laugh with his mates then where's the harm? It doesn't mean he'd not a nice lad! He's only 18 for goodness sake - there's a lot worse he could be doing.

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