Your WTF of the Day

7 04 2009

The UN anti-trafficking protocol, courtesy of the lovely Born Whore.

Now, I know what you may be thinking. “How can you oppose anti-trafficking measures?”

Scroll to page 6. You’ll see “highlights”.

“That the consent of a victim of trafficking is irrelevant (Art. 3b)”

Wait, what? I thought the definition of trafficking was that it was non-consensual.

Apparently not. Apparently, crossing any border to engage in sex work is considered trafficking.

What the fuck is this shit?

First of all, it’s racist in that it really only targets sex workers from outside the Western world. Like, if someone moved from Ireland to Canada, and was a sex worker, would anyone consider that trafficking? Probably not – because the assumption is that women of certain races and ethnicities can make their own decisions, and others cannot. Eww.

Of course, this is all written (or at least summarized) by Janice G. Raymond.





Guess who’s back, back again…

29 10 2008

Alright, I’ve been gone for an ungodly amount of time, for which I apologize. I was on bloggy hiatus for a while for a myriad of reasons, but I’m back and will now attempt to post with some kind of regularity. Sorry for abandoning you. (If you’re still reading).

Anyways, this thread over at Amber’s got me thinking. Well, in a tangential way, really.

I was talking to a friend once, and I honestly forget what this conversation was about. Anyways, I said something along the lines of “Well, there’s nothing wrong with having a lot of sex, as long as you’re safe and smart about it.”

She replied “Yeah, but I think there’s an element of low self-esteem that goes into that.”

She might be right, at least some of the time. Yes, some people do have sex because they need validation. However, why is having sex always the thing people like to analyze to death? Especially women having sex? Especially teenage girls having sex.

“Sexually active teenage girl”, at least if you watch TV, has become some kind of synonym for delinquent. I was looking through the “Be on the Show” section of the Dr. Phil website, just out of boredom. (No, you will not be seeing Miss Nomered coming to a TV station near you.) Anyways, an upcoming show is based on this:

“Teen daughter sexually active?”

Groan.

Granted, 13-year-olds having sex is often somewhat concerning, as most 13-year-olds don’t have the maturity level to deal with that. But, what about the 16, 17, and 18 year olds? Older teens have been having sex forever, why is it considered so horrible in the eyes of parents and the media? Especially if the one having sex is a girl?





“Choice” was so ten years ago.

18 05 2008

Something has been bothering me for a while about certain sections of the feminist movement.

Remember “choice”? You know, what we were fighting for a bunch of years ago? Well, it seems to have gone out of style.

Sure, anyone will still valiantly defend your right to choose certain things related to reproductive health; namely, birth control and abortion. Unless we’re talking about “pro-life feminists” (shudder). But, especially lately, a lot of choices aren’t seen as nearly as valid. Specifically, choosing to do things certain feminists don’t approve of.

You know what I mean. Choose to have an abortion, or become an engineer? Good on ya! Choose to wear something revealing, be tied up, or be a stripper or porn star? Suddenly, you lose your ability to choose that. You know, because it’s all a product of brainwashing by the patriarchy.

I’ll definitely admit that sexism does influence our choices sometimes. So does racism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism, and whatever other internalized prejudices one might have. But those aren’t always the only reasons someone might choose to do something (especially something you don’t particularly like or approve of). And, really, when it comes to women in porn or sex work or whatever, do people who call themselves “feminists” really think women are that weak and unintelligent? That they’re so brainwashed by the patriarchy that they couldn’t possibly make a choice of their own?

And as for choices that aren’t frowned upon? Well, I’ll be the first to admit that people don’t always have the most pristine of motives for, say, having abortions. Like, you know, wealthy families who don’t want a kid with Down Syndrome because they’ll never graduate from Princeton. Is it a choice I would make? Probably not. Is it influenced by a lot of ableism? Probably. Am I going to badger them constantly, and tell them how wrong and brainwashed they are? Hell no. It’s not my place to judge, let alone harass them over it. Which is why I distanced myself from a lot of the pro-lifers at Aspies for Freedom – but that is another rant for another time.

You know, it’s hugely ironic when certain feminists go on about “choice”. Then, when someone chooses something they don’t like, that person’s ability to choose suddenly vaporizes.

At some point, regardless of the motives they might have, we have to step back and let other people make their own decisions. Especially when those people are telling you to back off.

When I say I’m pro-choice, I mean it. And it’s not just about abortion.





On that UK porn law, and free expression

13 05 2008

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of months, you’ve probably heard of the new UK porn law.

First: Overview of the new law. Essentially, it bans “extreme” porn, including acts that appear to be “life-threatening”, or likely to cause serious injury to certain body parts.

Never mind the fact that it’s overly vague, which is the kiss of death in terms of criminal law. And the fact that porn doesn’t kill people, people kill people. In fact, I heard that Graham Coutts had violent impulses years before even looking at porn.

I’m really worried about what this law means for free expression.

I’ll be perfectly honest – I would probably not be comfortable with porn that is overly violent (not in a consensual BDSM way, but just violent), or implies a clear lack of consent. While, personally, I’d be fine with a portrayal of consensual BDSM, I think “rape porn” is pretty socially irresponsible. And, if I were ever to watch it (I wouldn’t), I would probably find it extremely disturbing.

But then again, I find most graphic, gory violence disturbing. I once had to leave the room while we were watching “Saving Private Ryan”, because the blood and gore was making me feel ill.

But you know what? It’s a personal preference. And I hardly know everything, so I’d never want to make the rules for other people. Some people hate watching a lot of sex in TV or movies. I don’t mind it, and occasionally enjoy it. It doesn’t make me or someone who doesn’t like it right or wrong. It’s a personal thing.

As much as I might personally dislike much of the porn being banned, I think the freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental part of any democratic society. And, to the dismay of some, this freedom includes the freedom to say or show things other people may not like. I have a big problem with censoring any kind of cultural product (unless it depicts an actual violent crime being comitted, such as porn actually made without the performer’s consent), because it’s a huge slippery slope, in terms of restricting people’s basic constitutional rights. And, if the Butler Decision taught us anything, it’s that these kinds of laws tend to backfire. Horribly. They often target the people they were supposedly meant to protect – and my instinct tells me this is going to target a lot of stuff made for women, by women. Which is terribly ironic for a law that’s supposed to protect women.

As I said before, I have a big problem with restricting freedom of expression. So this law, even though it might seem like a good idea to some, scares the crap out of me.

 





And a big, hearty “fuck you” goes to:

9 05 2008

the mainstream media, for their shitty coverage of certain missing persons/murder cases. Read: Missing White Woman Syndrome

But you know what? It’s not just the media. The family of 21-year-old African-American murder victim Ramona Moore has launched a lawsuit against the New York Police Department for ignoring her case – because she was black.

It’s not just about race, either. Generally, for the mainstream media to jump on a case, the victim generally has to be:

  • White
  • Female
  • Young
  • English-Speaking
  • Attractive
  • Straight
  • Able-bodied
  • Wealthy or middle class
  • Cisgender
  • Conventionally appearing (no tattoos or piercings; not punk or goth)
  • Not homeless, a runaway, or a sex worker

… and so on.

And it’s so enraging that it makes me want to scream.

Yeah. I know. The media can’t cover everything. But when the only murders the public cares about are of attractive, white, young, straight women – the stereotypical “All American Girl” – then it begins to seem like bias. A lot.

In 2003, in Toronto, a 32-year-old transsexual, Asian Canadian sex worker was murdered in her apartment. Her name was Cassandra Do. Her killer has never been found.

Mainstream media response?

(crickets chirping)

That’s right, folks, a big fat nothing courtesy of the mainstream media. The only reason I even know she existed is because of one or two stories in the local queer press, and some internet research. Which is sad – how many others are out there like her? For every Laci Peterson or Natalee Holloway, how many stories go untold? I know of many, and there are so many more – simply because the media doesn’t pay attention. And don’t give me some feel-good bullshit of “But they want something the consumers can relate to!” Crap. How many people do you know that fit the exact description above? And, apparently, people like me, and a hell of a lot of other people who are “outside the mainstream” (which is a load of crap, since most people do not meet all of the above criteria) don’t exist.

I remember seeing Cassandra Do’s picture in a local community centre a couple years ago, along with the generic “if you have any information about this case, please call…”. I didn’t know anything about the case at the time, but I remember thinking, “Poor girl. I wonder what happened to her?”

I’ve often wondered if the same thought crossed other people’s minds, or if they just walked by, and forgot all about her.

Cassandra Do, and all the others like her, were people. They were people. Okay? Regardless of whether or not they fit some stupid artificial All American Girl stereotype. They had family and friends, and hopes and dreams for the future. They were just like you and me.

And really, what made Cassandra Do’s life any less worth living than Laci Peterson’s or Taylor Behl’s? Because she was trans? Because she was Asian? Because she was a sex worker? Her life was just as valuable as those of the damsels in distress you see on CNN. So why was her story deemed not worthy of talking about?





Yes. I’m pissed off.

3 05 2008

So, if you haven’t heard, “D.C. Madam” Deborah Jeane Palfrey committed suicide.

This whole situation is fucked up. And some people’s reactions (or lack therof), are even more fucked up.

It just hit me that certain “radical feminist” bloggers, while pretending to just disagree with the sex industry (which isn’t my point of view, but hey, I can respect that), really just hate sex workers.

Like, when they accuse RenEv of not being a real person. Or, when a member of a certain message board called sex workers “retarded”. That’s right, folks, ableism and sex worker hate in the same sentence!

And then, I suppose, are people who react differently. I know this probably sounds bad, but it creeps me out a little when male feminists become involved in the “plight” of sex workers (how awful it must be to be a whore), and consequently, treat female sex workers like children (which is kind of a patriarchal in itself). You know, I really hate it when people say “Well, we protect children, why not women”. Umm…no. How the hell patronizing is that? Full grown women are not children.

Another characteristic of some of these anti-“pornstitution” folks is ignoring the voice of any sex worker they don’t agree with. Or saying, if someone does choose to be a sex worker (and choose is the operative word here), it must because of their mommy/daddy issues or blatant stupidity. Again, it’s so condescending it makes my head hurt.

And no. Do not say “Her death was tragic, but…”. No. Don’t accuse her of being a “pimp”.

And I’ve noticed a lot of silence on this, too. Because, again, some people only choose to see what they want to.

I heard Palfrey was facing up to 55 years in prison. For what? We don’t give those kind of sentences to armed robbers and child molesters.

Fuck. I’m really not loving the “morality police” right now. Not that I ever liked them. But I’m quite pissed off at the moment.

I think Amber Rhea said it better than I ever could.





Teenager Shows Back; World Explodes

30 04 2008

There are few things the mainstream media does better than feigning outrage. And the outrage-of-the-week now? 15-year-old Miley Cyrus posed for some supposedly “salacious” photos where she shows her back. And her bare shoulders.

Cue moral panic. The mainstream media (not to mention the not-so-mainstream media) has gone into a frenzy about how the pictures are “kiddie porn”,  and how it’s an example of how we’re “sexualizing” the young’uns.

The latter can sometimes can be a legitiamte complaint, although it’s horribly infanitlizing at times. I mean, people tend to forget that I am only a year or two older than Miss Hannah Montana herself. And implying older teenagers can only be “sexualized”, instead of occasionally expressing their own sexuality is a little insulting. Because we all know teenagers, especially teenage girls, aren’t supposed to have any semblance of sexuality that they actually express themselves. Lest, you know, one of us ends up pregnant. Or having (gasp) a male attracted to us. It’s all so horribly heteronormative, not to mention sexist.

Have you ever noticed how often females, between the ages of, say, 15-25 are referred to as children? You know, referring to a 19-year-old as a “teenage girl”, and how everyone seems to call people of my gender and age range “child”, “little girl”, “baby” (as in “You’d be a baby having a baby!”), but almost never as a “young woman”? And how males of the same age are almost invariably referred to as “young men”? Most people wouldn’t dream of calling a 17-year-old male a “little boy” or “child”.

This is not me trying to grow up too fast. This is me trying to get people to have some basic respect for my intelligence and maturity. And I really do wish people would acknowledge, without panicking, that teenagers do think about sex and sexuality, and no, it’s not always a bad thing!

As anyone who knows me can attest to, I wear t-shirts and jeans most of the time. I rarely wear makeup, except for a bit of lipstick once in a while. But I also own a miniskirt or two, a couple low-cut tops, and some other miscellaneous clothing that could be termed “revealing”. It does not make me feel good to know that if I choose to wear something strapless or backless, I’ll be held up as an example of media brainwashing, or the moral decay of society.

And no, it is not about me having low self esteem or wanting to pick up guys. You know, because gays couldn’t actually, like, exist or anything! I rarely “dress to impress”, when I do, it’s usually because I want a cute dyke to notice me. But I rarely do that. But you know what? There’s nothing actually wrong with wanting to feel “sexy” once in a while. I hardly think my looks are all I am.

Dressing a certain way does not make someone vacuous or stupid. In fact, if you think wearing something slightly revealing means someone is being reduced to a “sex object”, I think you may be the one with the sexist attitude.