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examples of misogyny permeating our culture, demonstrated by the bloke pouring hot coffee on his head.

(229 Posts)
UnDeuxTroisCatsSank Sun 24-Jan-16 10:03:27

I read this article about a homeless man who accepted $5 from an arrogant shit in exchange for pouring hot coffee over his head. And the arrogant shit filmed it on his phone, presumably for "fun".

The homeless man, Ronald Leggatt, explained later he was desperate for the money and so willing to take the burns from the hot coffee.

Shocking and appalling behavior from the arrogant shit.

There's a happier ending in that someone overheard the whole thing, confronted the shit and then tried to make things better for Mr. Leggatt, including paying for him to get into a shelter during Hurricane Jonas and getting him some clothes from Walmart.

But this whole sorry story got me thinking. About the parallels with prostitution. Hang on, bear with me.

I just thought that most people would be appalled by the story of Mr Leggatt and empathize with his desperation to get $5 and yet when women are desperate, penniless, just surviving in dire financial straits and ready to do something, anything even though it will cause them harm such as sell their bodies, I don't see good Samaritans rushing to buy them clothes in Walmart and checking them into hostels for the night.

I think many people feel that people working as prostitutes are (a) willing and (b) maybe even like it. Never considering what desperation can make a person do.

Mr Leggatt was desperate and acted in a way that most people would never do.
Many prostituted women are desperate and act in a way that many people would never do.

One is understood and receives empathy, the other not only accepted but vilified, judged and othered.

Just thoughts about the misogyny that permeates our culture.

(And I hope Mr Leggatt gets medical help and support, because he does sound desperate, poor bloke.)

cailindana Sun 24-Jan-16 10:53:28

I agree entirely UnDeux but there'll be plenty of people along to say how they know someone who knows someone who loves working as a prostitute and how we should allow women to make this choice (as long as those women aren't our daughters or sisters or mothers).

This is a point I always make about sex work: walking untethered on scaffolding is considered by our government to be unacceptably dangerous for a worker - any business allowing it to happen will be fined (regardless of whether any harm comes to any workers). Most people would agree that workplaces should have the highest possible standards of safety for workers - there should be minimum danger of injury either mental or physical - that's why there are posters all over NHS workplaces telling people to treat staff with respect.

And yet there are people who argue that it's perfectly safe for a lone woman to go into a room with a man who wants sex, and who feels entitled to get it as he is paying for it, and to allow that man to use the most sensitive parts of her body for his pleasure. The potential for harm is absolutely enormous, up to an including death. Why is it ever ever allowed?

It's allowed because men's need for sex is seen as more important than women's right to safety.

TheWomanInTheWall Sun 24-Jan-16 11:15:47

Good post.

UnDeuxTroisCatsSank Sun 24-Jan-16 11:43:32

Could not agree more.

onahorsewithnoname Sun 24-Jan-16 12:28:46

Calindana, this is not sarcasm BTW, what do you think the HSE would do with legalised prostitution?

onahorsewithnoname Sun 24-Jan-16 12:29:53

Sorry cailindana

TheWomanInTheWall Sun 24-Jan-16 12:35:31

Not cailin but at a guess..

Suitable checks to ensure "safety equipment" ie condoms is being used
Risk register of clients to note any convictions, cautions or informal reports
Banning of any additionally dangerous equipment (eg constraints) without evidence of proper training in its use
Banning of activities more likely than others to cause harm (eg anal sex)
Limiting the number of clients/sex acts per week/month/year to a "safe" number

I'm sure others could add to this...

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 24-Jan-16 12:36:16

I think the health and safety issue is a massive elephant in the room when it comes to prostitution being a job like any other. Even if condom use was universally enforced, penetrative sex would still involve a level of risk from contact with bodily fluids (condoms break) that would be unacceptable in other professions where bodily fluids are involved. The workers should have to wear rubber gloves at all times to bring it into line with other jobs. And there would have to be full background checks and HIV tests for all customers, not to mention a lot of CCTV.

TheWomanInTheWall Sun 24-Jan-16 12:44:57

Good point re rubber gloves.

Access to medical records for clients to ensure not just STD checks are up to date but that client has no other infectious disease/up to date vaccinations might be another one.

Lottapianos Sun 24-Jan-16 12:54:49

Very good points re rubber gloves and health and safety in general

I don't believe that anyone makes a genuinely free and independent choice to enter prostitution. Why on earth would anyone 'choose' to put themselves in such an incredibly vulnerable, dangerous and possibly fatal position? Arguments that its 'empowering' are either stupid or misinformed - I cannot imagine a less empowering situation than being alone and naked in a room with a stranger who gets to do what he wants to my body for as long as he likes, so long as he pays for it. Its sickening

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 24-Jan-16 13:37:21

this is not sarcasm BTW, what do you think the HSE would do with legalised prostitution?

There is also discrimination legislation - does it apply? Can a prostitute refuse a punter who is physically disabled or of a different ethnicity?

The Scottish MEP who is promoting a consultation to attempt to legalise prostitution had a question in her paper

^Do you agree that there should be a statutory right for sex workers to refuse to
provide, or refuse to continue to provide, sexual services?^

I did a double take as it's such a bizarre question- why does anyone need a "statutory right" to refuse to have sex?

What she is getting at is that should prostitutes as "service providers" be exempt from complying with discrimination legislation.

That to me is another nail in the coffin of it being just another job. It's settled law gay people cannot be refused services no matter how strongly and genuinely held religious beliefs the refuser may have.

Certain service providers such as barbers, beauticians, waxers may provide services to only one sex, but a beautician can't wax only white men and refuse black customers.

TheWomanInTheWall Sun 24-Jan-16 14:08:46

Other way round too, Lass - could a punter refuse to go with a prostitute who was disabled, a race not of his choosing etc? Other than walking out, of course.

venusinscorpio Sun 24-Jan-16 14:14:22

Of course as a prostitute you should be able to withhold sexual services from whomever you wish to. It's pretty worrying that people would even think that you couldn't.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 24-Jan-16 14:23:33

Venus My initial response to that consultation question was a polite version of "what the actual fuck are you on about?"

However it makes a warped sense. If prostitution is just another job then one could not refuse a customer becaus of ethnicity or disability.

I'm not allowed to and after all choosing to be a prostitute is equally as empowering as my job. (Like hell it is )

TheWomanInTheWall Sun 24-Jan-16 14:27:31

Lass, yup. A beauty therapist could not refuse a massage to a black person or disabled person (or, if she did, she might find herself out of the salon) so why should a pristitute, who also touches people for a living, have a different "rule"?

<Nb I massively disagree but see the logic!>

Lottapianos Sun 24-Jan-16 14:28:35

Yes, and disabled men have a 'right' to have their 'need' for sex fulfilled so you mustn't discriminate by refusing hmm

Grimarse Sun 24-Jan-16 14:36:09

Doesn't the story in the OP prove the there is a greater level of distain, hatred and othering within our society than just misogyny? That those with power and wealth are not necessarily bothered about the gender of the powerless and oppressed, as long as they get their kicks?

LurcioAgain Sun 24-Jan-16 14:44:25

Grimarse - yes of course many sections of society are othered, and there are many forms of hatred out there (racist, disablist, sexist...) But the point of the OP is that no-one reads that newspaper article and comes back with a response that "oh well, surely the homeless guy made an informed choice, which means on some level the experience must have been empowering for him, and there are people into BDSM who like having hot liquid poured over them, so surely there must be no problem whatsoever with someone allowing hot liquid to be poured over them because they're poor and desperate" - whereas those responses are regularly trotted out in connection with prostitution.

venusinscorpio Sun 24-Jan-16 14:45:28

I can see it would make logical sense for people who believe prostitution is just like any intimate job (like beauty therapy). Which is a large part of the reason why such people are wrong and this idea should be challenged. Sex is not like having a pedicure. Insisting you shouldn't have the right to decide exactly who you fuck, as a prostitute and a human being, is on a par with people who think it isn't possible to rape a prostitute, because it's "theft", rather than rape. And yes I've heard that argument many times, because people are that ignorant.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 24-Jan-16 14:45:41

If anyone has read Orlando Figes A People's Tragedy there is a heartbreaking section about homeless children in the aftermath of the revolution having to survive by shaming themselves for money.

Zola's Nana is reduced to being paid for eating something disgusting at the end of the novel.

"Bum fighting" was a thing recently- paying homeless men to fight or to commit shaming acts.

venusinscorpio Sun 24-Jan-16 14:46:37

YY Lurcio. Spot on.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 24-Jan-16 14:58:20

My reply was to Grimarse

Yes there is a long history of a more powerful class treating others with disdain by paying to be entertained.

I would include entertainment which involves animals in the same category. Dancing bears, circus animals, performing dolphins are exploitative too.

Lurcio's point is correct although I expect there are people who would argue shaming is indeed a free choice if there is no physical harm.

PalmerViolet Sun 24-Jan-16 18:36:46

UnDeux, great post, and yes, it does indeed parallel misogyny in society with regard to prostitution and porn.

And what Cailin said.

cailindana Sun 24-Jan-16 18:54:05

To cover the dangers there would have to be:

fully regulated prostitution centres with legal oversight for all staff
the full range of insurance for each prostitute to cover sickness, injury, death, loss of earnings, damage to clients
Regulated working hours with mandated breaks and acceptable gaps between shifts
Suitable workplaces with safe equipment that's been tested to a British or ISO standards
Proper lighting, sanitation, access to water and food etc
Full safety checks on premises - gas safety, fire safety, trained first aiders etc.
An acceptable and fair form of payment, with recourse if payment is withheld.
A system of accounting, with tax affairs taken care of.
A system of accountability, with a HR function, and clear line management
Full safety procedures for the handling of bodily fluid - everyone given HepB vaccinations, gloves always worn when the possibility of contact with fluids, no exchange of fluids such as spit/semen, no touching of broken/infected skin with uncovered skin.
Personal contact for any reason, even when in a person's best interests (as in the case of restraining a person who is mentally ill) is considered a highly dangerous situation that has be covered by specialist protocols. What protocols you could have to cover a person putting a body part into another person I have absolutely no idea.

Up to the personal contact bit, all the rest is entirely basic stuff that you'd expect while working anywhere. If you didn't have any of those things you'd be quite entitled to complain. Yet, prostitutes are expected to face into the possibility of pain, rape, injury and loss of payment every single day. If such a working situation can be defended then we should all expect to work with no safety measures and face the same uncertainty and danger in our own workplaces, or stop being such fucking hypocrites.

UnDeuxTroisCatsSank Sun 24-Jan-16 18:55:46

The key thing is that people read the story of Mr Leggatt and nobody assumes because he "consented" and accepted the cash, he wanted it, deserved it or should have been left with the entitled shit who paid him. Everyone's reaction is that payment or no payment, the other guy should not be allowed to pay to injure him.

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