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Feminism: Sex and gender discussions

"window shopping" in Amsterdam

37 replies

chocoluvva · 04/04/2013 22:27

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?

OP posts:
chocoluvva · 04/04/2013 22:35

Am I being over sensitive? I suppose it's preferable to Ayanapa (spelling?)

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SatsukiKusukabe · 04/04/2013 23:42

I'd have said something along the lines of oh are you buying a puppy?

SatsukiKusukabe · 04/04/2013 23:45
  • window shopping for humans is kinda disgusting.

    actually dont approve of it for puppies for the record
Redbindy · 04/04/2013 23:50

An appropriate response would depend on your view of teenagers soliciting prostitutes and smuggling drugs.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones · 05/04/2013 00:01

Show him

SabrinaMulhollandJjones · 05/04/2013 00:09
Bunnylion · 05/04/2013 00:42

Your not being over sensitive. It's difficult because he will probably see anything you say as some boring old woman's view on sex, and that you're out of touch.

Maybe speak to your daughter about it and if she agrees then hopefully she is able to tell him how wrong it is.

I remember when I was a teenager talking about prostitution with friends. I said that I could never be with a man who had used a prostitute as he obviously has very little respect for women. A female friend of mine left the table crying and her boyfriend looks very embarrassed. I had no idea that he had, but at least shaming him by talking about it may have made the other boys there think about it a bit more.

chocoluvva · 05/04/2013 09:24

Thank you for your replies.

He seems such a nice lad....

He likes to joke and 'banter' so I wasn't completely sure how serious he was being - the drugs was definitely joking, but he's going with mates - Amsterdam rather than anywhere else.

I was torn between not wanting to discourage him from being open about things (rather than secretive) probably to no effect anyway, and making it clear that I think less of him for choosing to ogle prostitutes. Factual info about the nature of it might put him off indeed.

It just makes me feel threatened on behalf of my daughter and uncomfortable for reasons I can't quite explain. More disappointed than anything else.

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maidmarian2012 · 05/04/2013 09:35

Wow, me and my DSis had this same conversation yesterday re her wanting to visit amsterdam. I personally would not go withing 100 mile of it.

But hey thats just me, as many women there are doing it willingly there are women forced into it. I don't like those odds.

We have bred a culture which makes it seemingly socially acceptable for young lads to do this OP.

I understand why it makes you uncomfortable, OP.

Totally unrelated, an old friend of mine (very pretty, only 24 at the time) took up lapdancing, followed by escorting (prostitution by a fancy name) and she got waaay in above her head. She hung herself at 26. Sad Angry

PretzelTime · 05/04/2013 10:14

Ask him if he think it's okay to shop humans.

chocoluvva · 05/04/2013 10:40

I consider myself to be quite liberal and try not to be judgmental - I'm always trying to instil compassion in my DC re alcoholics, homeless people, young girls who wear too much make up etc etc - I let DD's now ex BF stay over before she was 16. I go on and on about respecting other people's beliefs.....but I really hate the prevalence of porn and the thought of prostitution.

I'm so disappointed in this otherwise really nice lad. He seems to dote on DD - always offering to do things for her, gives her little presents, is openly affectionate; he seems like someone with a big heart and loving nature, but the thought of him hanging around the 'red light' district of Amsterdam makes me feel horrible.

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Bunnylion · 05/04/2013 18:26

Amsterdam is a wonderful city for many reasons and I go there often.

I can't stand the normalisation of prostitution with the red light district. What really baffles me is when I regularly hear women and men talk about visiting the red light district, like its a spectacle of a tourist attraction - a must see, along with Anne Franks house and eating pancakes.

swimswithfishes · 05/04/2013 18:33

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.

PretzelTime · 05/04/2013 18:42

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.

specialsubject · 05/04/2013 22:21

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

SatsukiKusukabe · 05/04/2013 22:38

yes pretzel, who is he laughing at? Hmm

chocoluvva · 06/04/2013 10:14

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.

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vesuvia · 06/04/2013 12:16

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 · 06/04/2013 14:08

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.

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PretzelTime · 06/04/2013 16:42

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.

MTSgroupie · 06/04/2013 16:50

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'???

chocoluvva · 06/04/2013 17:20

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.

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chocoluvva · 06/04/2013 17:23

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.

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MTSgroupie · 06/04/2013 20:15

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 · 06/04/2013 21:41

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.

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