Is this Feminism? Murphy and more. Pioneering Sex Worker Advocacy on Connecticut

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susan davis
Is this Feminism? Murphy and more. Pioneering Sex Worker Advocacy on Connecticut

this is a great piece against abolitionist journalists and shows alot about our resident blogger meghan murphy.

she has recently published an aerticle in which we equates criminalization of rape as effective with the criminalization of sex work as being potentially effective...

i don't know where to begin to answer that arguement so instead i found this response below; 

Pioneering Sex Worker Advocacy in Connecticut 

Is This Feminism? Murphy and More. FACEPALM.

Posted: 25 Feb 2013 01:57 PM PST

Over the past year, I have come across several individuals who really hate porn, sex work, and the women, men, and transgendered individuals that take part in sex work. I am hard pressed to find another industry that faces the same discrimination, and that is the target of the same fear and disdain as the sex industry. Simultaneously, there is this absolute need to “save” those who engage in sexual labor, even in the absence of the worker’s desire to be saved! I don’t understand it. I worked as a server and bartender for several years. I HATED IT. I used to drive into work with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, and often left work crying, despite the hundreds of dollars that I had made. No one tried to save me. I never ran into any non-profit groups that promised me “a better life.” Well, perhaps we could begin with an analysis of this countries general fear of sexuality, but I think that’s better suited for a future book.

When examining the anti-sex work camp, it’s easy to spot the loons. I have written extensively about Shelley Lubben’s Pink Cross Foundation in the past Shelley Lubben Article as well as “doctor” Judith Reisman (this is a hilarious one!) "Dr" Lubben & "Dr" Reisman  Jordan Owen has brilliantly demonstrated time and time again why Gail Dines isn’t worthy of a second listen. Jordan Owen is AWESOME

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susan davis

excuse my spelling, am a little upset...it should read a "great piece" not "preat case"....sorry.

 

susie

XLondonCallGirl XLondonCallGirl's picture

As an exited woman, former call girl, ex-hooker, whatever title you prefer, I have to say that my experience of the women you are slating in this piece is very different from yours. This is not about conjecture, but about personal contact and interaction with both Melissa Farley and Meghan Murphy. Before, and if I even go into it at all, the talk on research, I am keener to discuss these women’s intentions, which are completely misunderstood. For them, and many others who I hear slated, the perception, or what is put out there as being the perception others have of them, is wholly inaccurate. I have found them to be loving and caring of women in prostitution. They are respectful, they listen to their voices, and they do what they do because of love for women, not hate. There is no moral judgement in why they support abolition - it is about ending violence against women. If someone really hated people in prostitution, they would not spend their time trying to protect them from abuse.

I have known a great many women, some men, and some transgendered people in prostitution over the years, and apart from one man, who I don’t know whether he did or didn’t suffer rape and/or assault, every single other woman, and the few men and transsexuals I knew, had all been raped and most had also been beaten on jobs as well. Yes, there will be some people in prostitution who have not been raped or beaten. I haven’t met them in person, but I have corresponded with them online, and I am not denying their experience. Of course, there will be some people who are lucky in prostitution, just like there are some people who win the lottery. But most who enter don’t win the lottery, and most in prostitution don’t escape rape and assault.

Comparing prostitution to any other job is impossible, because no other job puts you at a 70% chance of being raped multiple times, a 67-68% chance of developing posttraumatic stress disorder, and a very high (some say 95%) chance of ending up with a drug problem. Let alone the increase in the risk of being murdered. These stats show that being in prostitution is like being in a warzone, and even if you disagree with the stats, there are enough exited women sharing this experience for it to be heard directly from them. I am massively insulted that the writer of this piece has compared selling sex, which is a traumatic and dangerous way to earn a living, to being a server and bartender!

There is a stigma against women, and men, and transgendered people, in prostitution, and it is NOT from these women you are accusing. It is from the ignorant bigots who judge people who sell sex, see us as immoral, fallen women, husband-stealers and corrupters of innocent men. They believe that if we ‘choose’ to get into prostitution, then we deserve what we get, whether that be beatings or rapes, if we disappear or are murdered. These are the people we all need to educate. These are the people who see us as a sub-class of unrapable disposable goods.

Sadly, after having an article published a few days ago here http://www.litro.co.uk/2013/02/denial-a-former-call-girl-shares-her-story/, which I am sure some of you would rip into from other angles, a woman informed me that I got what I deserved. That I deserved to be raped, to be beaten, and anything else that may have come my way because I ‘chose’ to be a call girl and stole other women’s boyfriends and husbands. This is what needs to be changed in society - sick, perverted opinions of ignorant, hateful people.

And who stood by me and stuck up for me, not that I can’t stick up for myself, but this stuff really hurts. I know I didn’t deserve to be raped when I was, and I know I didn’t deserve to be beaten, but for someone, even a stranger, to think that I deserved that, it tears at something inside me. I’ve lived with that kind of stigma against me from when I entered prostitution in my early-twenties and when I exited a few years later, the stigma did not leave me, and more than a decade on, here I am still feeling it. And that very same stigma is the one felt by all women, men, and transgendered people, in prostitution and those who are exited. It is something we all share in suffering to varying degrees. So when Meghan told this woman that I did not deserve to be raped because I was prostitute, that I, nor any other woman in prostitution, stole other women’s husbands, and that it is these very attitudes, which prevent women in prostitution reporting rapes against them, it is completely clear that she cares about people in the sex trade, that their welfare and safety is important to her, that they do not deserve to be judged, that they should be able to report crimes committed against them - things that I would hope we all here agree on!

Meghan Murphy

Susan. You've reprinted (I assume without permission) an entire post written by someone else that simply lies about things I have said, argued, written, and believe. I've blocked the woman who wrote this post on Facebook and on Twitter (she has two accounts) due to harassment and I suppose she felt this was the natural next step in her obsession. And oh look! Canadian feminist Joyce Arthur has even chimed in (though I have to admit I find it difficult to take seriously a 'feminist' who spends so much time calilng other feminists man-haters and sex-haters...)! But yeah, I'm the hateful one. You haven't even made an argument here. You've just regurgitated ad hominem attacks and lies. Keep it classy, y'all.

"choice joyceFebruary 25, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Thank you for this! Murphy is an asshole - rude, condescending and hateful towards sex workers. If you want your head to hurt more, check out this commend thread from an article of hers a year ago, where a number of sex workers and allies challenged her and her supporters, only to be met with insults, ridicule, dismissal, misandry, and anti-sex diatribes: http://feministcurrent.com/4346/who-does-decriminalization-leave-out/"

ryanw

theres many things people can all agree upon

"what is the most important?" probably

"what is the most important right now?" good luck with that

it's great that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but not everyone is moving or can take even one step

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Susan, posting entire articles is against babble policy--not only because it makes us liable for copyright infringement from the blog posted, it also makes us liable for libel from the subject if the post is libellous, which is possible in this case. In order to protect rabble.ca, I've shortened the OP to a few quoted paragraphs.

For the sake of transparency, I should add that Meghan is currently rabble's podcast editor and my co-worker. Speaking personally, I emphatically disagree with the way the linked blog characterizes her position and motivations. While babblers are welcome to disagree with Meghan's blogs and podcasts, an I encourage any discussion on those topics raised here, the kind of ad hominem and inflammatory language use in the blog is not permitted here.

SabrinaShoshana

I wanted to comment on this article, as a survivor of prostitution, as an exited prostituted woman, but it is hard to go back there this often. Every time i do It causes so many panic attacks, and depression, it also causes me to disconnect from myself, and i have no control over that, this is just the deal with ptsd. also, what happens after i write out all this stuff i have a hard time shifting back to regular life, because i don't feel anything, i am empty, i am gone, and i feel like i am in that world again, i feel dirty and ashamed. yet, aware of it so it is even worse, i have no denial to protect me, nor can i use drugs or alcohol to escape all of this. i don't feel human so i have trouble relating to others, cognitively yes, but it is like i am empty shell, and it feels horrible. because if i am not human how can i relate. usually after this much focusing on my past it takes days to recover, and as of late i have been doing so in all sorts of ways, i have to pace myself, but as i am writing this babble response, i am crying, panicking, sick to my stomach, and i am on deadline for the show i work on, so being this debilitated, causes me not to get work done, talk to friends, see my family. i know i want to, but i need to just take a bit of a break. Please no one read this as anyone's fault, or somehow i am being pressured to support others, for that is not at all the case. Nor feel sorry for me, nothing like that, you know it is what it is. it just hurts sooooo much. I am just letting you know why i can't finish writing. And, also this might help others - understanding the impact of the violence of prostitution, and how this damn, i want to call her names, this woman is causing so much damage!!!!!!!! Meghan Murphy who is trying to protect us, save our lives, while you bash her, and destroy us all in one swoop. i cannot emphasize enough the damage you are doing not only to all of us involved in this moment, but other exited prostituted grrls/women who sees this mess, it triggers so much just reading what you wrote, and for grrls/women still being prostituted, if they see this stuff, at least me when i was in that world, and newly out, i needed to believe your type of lies because i couldn't face the reality of what i lived through, which only causes more damage - the longer one is in denial the more the trauma is entrenched, the longer it takes to seek help, you feel me ?! like what you are doing is so harmful just like the rest of the deniers and ones who go after Meghan Murphy, they are killing us !

Ghislaine

I am not sure what is up with the multiple repeated posts, but thank you for taking the time to write Sabrina, even though it was difficult. 

I wanted to post an excerpt from this article on the situation in The Netherlands, where legalized prostitution has not been good for women - [url=http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8835071/flesh-for-sale/] Why even Amsterdam doesn't want legal brothels [/url]:

Quote:
 

Twelve years on, and we can now see the results of this experiment. Rather than afford better protection for the women, it has simply increased the market. Rather than confine the brothels to a discrete (and avoidable) part of the city, the sex industry has spilt out all over Amsterdam — including on-street. Rather than be given rights in the ‘workplace’, the prostitutes have found the pimps are as brutal as ever. The government-funded union set up to protect them has been shunned by the vast majority of prostitutes, who remain too scared to complain.

Pimps, under legalisation, have been reclassified as managers and businessmen. Abuse suffered by the women is now called an ‘occupational hazard’, like a stone dropped on a builder’s toe. Sex tourism has grown faster in Amsterdam than the regular type of tourism: as the city became the brothel of Europe, women have been imported by traffickers from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia to meet the demand. In other words, the pimps remained but became legit — violence was still prevalent but part of the job, and trafficking increased. Support for the women to leave prostitution became almost nonexistent. The innate murkiness of the job has not been washed away by legal benediction. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

What is the point of a sex workers rights forum?

Is it really to attack any one who is a sex workers rights advocate?

CPage251

Hi Susan, thank you for reposting my article. You have my full permission to post it, as it is in the public domain and I am happy to share it. I think the article and subsequent comments speak for itself, but I would like to point out 2 things. 

1. There are assertions of libel here; this means that something that I wrote is not true. Would someone please point out where I have lied or slandered meghan? I have used her own words, and linked her own articles. 

2. Meghan brazenly states that I am "obsessed" with her. This is obviously egocentric and absurd. I am offended and insulted by what Meghan stands for and by her writing, and as both a sex worker and an activist, feel a duty to expose her through my writing. This is not "obsession," this is education and activism. 

Thank you

Christina Page

Legalizetoprotect.com 

MegB

CPage251 wrote:
 

2. Meghan brazenly states that I am "obsessed" with her. This is obviously egocentric and absurd. I am offended and insulted by what Meghan stands for and by her writing, and as both a sex worker and an activist, feel a duty to expose her through my writing. This is not "obsession," this is education and activism. 

Thank you

Christina Page

Legalizetoprotect.com 

I've read your blog, read throught the lines and lines of Facebook postings you so carefully reproduced within the blog.  While I don't always agree with all points of Meghan's perspective, I can certainly agree with her that you're displaying what I can only call an unhealthy obsession. Your blog post has all the hallmarks of a vicious and personal attack. 

Feminism is not a monolithic movement or POV.  The sex trade also has many sides, many differing experiences. It would appear that you, and many others, find it empowering. Others do not share that experience.

I saw that other side when I worked as an advocate for street youth in downtown Toronto. I didn't see a lot of choice or empowerment - quite the opposite. I saw addiction, mental health issues, PTSD, all exploited for sex. I saw what happens to a teenaged girl when a cop forces her to give him a blow job to keep from being picked up for solicitation. That's not choice or empowerment. That's the wanton destruction of a fragile self-esteem, already brutalized by the dysfunctional home life she was forced to leave.

When teenaged boys and girls have to sell their bodies, then pool their resources so that they can hole up in a cheap hotel to avoid spending the night in a shelter where they stand a good chance of having their few possessions stolen and/or having the shit kicked out of them, that's not choice or empowerment. That's survival.

I respect Meghan's intelligence, passion and position - even when I disagree. I suggest you consider doing the same. It would be much healthier.

lagatta

kropotkin, the problem here is that Susan posted this article here, with her comments, attacking another member of the rabble community. Both of these women have the right to their opinions about the sex trade, but if the "rules" about this forum are respected, Megan, who has a different viewpoint, would not have the right to respond to attacks against her. How do we solve this problem? I tend to an abolitionist stance myself (while of course thinking that the safety of people in prostitution is primordial, as is respect for all people except exploiters; I'm sure Megan also does).

Hence I tend to avoid writing in this forum. I put the call for the march for murdered and missing women in a different forum. I was there, as were people I knew both from Stella and Clés, and some sex workers I know personally.

I think the best solution would be taking this to a different forum.

Ghislaine, as I've had several extended stays in Amsterdam, I'll read that article with interest. Similar articles have come out in the Guardian, the Independent, and of course in Dutch media. There are other economic and social elements to the question of the changing vocation of the Red Light district (de Wallen).

MegB

This is a forum for sex workers' rights, and should be respected as a safe place for sex work advocates. It is not, however, a platform for personal attacks against those with opposing viewpoints, particularly when those viewpoints are expressed outside the forum. As Catchfire has pointed out, that's unacceptable both here, and everywhere else on babble.

Lagatta, taking this to a different forum - feminism for instance - is perhaps the best solution.

lagatta

Yes, I'd be interested in writing a short critique of the Spectator article, which I find overstated and simplistic, and marred by some bourgeois crap (no surprise from the conservative Spectator) about "morals". The renovation also involves the evergreen: real-estate speculation.

MegB

lagatta wrote:

Yes, I'd be interested in writing a short critique of the Spectator article, which I find overstated and simplistic, and marred by some bourgeois crap (no surprise from the conservative Spectator) about "morals". The renovation also involves the evergreen: real-estate speculation.

Please do - I look forward to reading it when you're done.

lagatta

Yes, but I'd rather not put it in this forum (though I think Susan might well agree with some of my critiques, as I find some of the language demeaning to sex workers) as this was intended as a safe place for sex workers.

nina76

XLondonCallGirl wrote:

 This is not about conjecture, but about personal contact and interaction with both Melissa Farley and Meghan Murphy. Before, and if I even go into it at all, the talk on research, I am keener to discuss these women’s intentions, which are completely misunderstood. For them, and many others who I hear slated, the perception, or what is put out there as being the perception others have of them, is wholly inaccurate. I have found them to be loving and caring of women in prostitution. They are respectful, they listen to their voices, and they do what they do because of love for women, not hate. There is no moral judgement in why they support abolition - it is about ending violence against women. If someone really hated people in prostitution, they would not spend their time trying to protect them from abuse.

There is a stigma against women, and men, and transgendered people, in prostitution, and it is NOT from these women you are accusing.

 

i will have to disagree. perhaps this but was meant as satire, but since there are no valid explanations, and just these hateful words on a page, i will have make my own conclusions.

 

i became a prostitute because:

 I like getting fucked by the football team, the fraternity brothers, and law
students at graduation parties. I realized that gang rape could be a
transcendental experience.

5. I figured that laying on my back and
getting fucked by hundreds of men, and getting on my knees and sucking thousands
of dicks, was the most profound empowerment a woman could have.

 

6. My vocational counselor and I discussed a
whole lot of possibilities: doctor, lawyer, women's-studies teacher, legal
secretary. I was offered a four-year scholarship at Stanford, but frankly,
prostitution seemed the most rewarding job option available.

 

so forigve me for not trusting the person who wrote that to be my advocate and ally. forgive me for not thinking she is listening to my voice. these don't sound like the words of someone who is loving and caring, someone who won't judge me. and tbh, this type of 'joke' is why don't trust most feminists as a whole.

http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/WhyIMade.html

 

MegB

lagatta wrote:

Yes, but I'd rather not put it in this forum (though I think Susan might well agree with some of my critiques, as I find some of the language demeaning to sex workers) as this was intended as a safe place for sex workers.

Couldn't agree more.

CPage251

Since when is writing a piece on one's blog an unhealthy obsession? That's some problematic and very egocentric thinking. I read Murphy's article and was repulsed and angered by it, so I tweeted her and wrote my own article. I'm not the only one who feels this way. There's been a HUGE outpouring from other individuals who feel that Murphy's writing is hateful and hurtful. Comparing rape to sex work is especially harmful to someone who has actually experienced both, rape AND sex work. Guess what Murphy? I've been on both ends and they are not the same, and you should be ashamed for saying so. Do you even think before you write? 

If she thinks I'm "obsessed," she needs a reality check. Come back to earth and get you head out of the clouds- sex workers and activists are just sick and tired of being spoken for by the "rad fem" community. If we speak up, we are silenced, we are trivialized and mocked (for example, by claiming that we are "obsessed"). I'm beginning to think that this is an MRA message board, not a "feminist" space. I'm shocked at the attitudes here, although I should be used to them by now. I am not exiting this space, as my time is better spent continuing to work, write, and expose frauds like Meghan. 

susan davis

sorry, i didn't mean to violate the policy. my apologies.

i was looking at this policy too from the rabble story submissions page;

rabble.ca stories do not patronize or indulge in stereotypes, overgeneralizations or other techniques that diminish people due to their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or level of education. For more information about how to avoid bias, please refer to Chapter 8 in Editing Canadian English (Mcfarlane Walter & Ross).

Please avoid jargon of any kind, clichés, assertions and oxymorons. If you are writing opinion, make it clear that's what it is - your opinion. But be sure your words are based on something real, and establish your foundation at the top. Avoid using quotation marks and italics as a way of qualifying or emphasizing a word or phrase. Let the sentence explain itself.

Show, don't tell. Describe, don't preach. Try to avoid these words: must, should, ought to, correct. Avoid hyperbole, bombast, didactic language and rhetoric. Hone your language. Try to make your work a pleasure to read, not a duty.

and this one;

Are all your facts confirmed? If not, hold back from sending it to the editor, or clearly flag the information outstanding at the top of your piece. Is there anything you are basing on memory, assumptions, educated guesses, rumours or gossip? Then don't send it. Check with your sources. Make sure your information lines up with what can be confirmed. File a story as soon as you can verify the facts.

as a sex worker there seems to be some lack of balance here on rabble. i just mean that while this forum is great and honestly i don't mind people reacting here and discussing these issues but for me it is every day, i am a sex worker.

i have never said that all sex work is safe, wonderful and fulfilling or that violence doesn't happen. i have been a full time support worker for free with no back up or infrstructure for years. i have heard of and experienced violence.

my issue is with the constant belittling of my fellow sex workers in the name of saving us. why can't abolitionists as feminists listen to us and hear all sides. why when faced with a different perspective is the reaction to dismiss? why is citing a "researcher" whose credibility is in question deemed ok? it wasn't good enough for the supreme court but its ok for abolitionists?

we are told that there is no war but yet here we are again. why can't sex workers speak for themselves and why is it that only the perspective of those workers whose experiences mirror what people expect to hear is believed?

i don't understnad how such a slanted perspective can be the only actual "staff" journalism on this issue. where is the feminist columnist/journalist who is/was a sex worker? where is the balance between the exposure the 2 positions receive?

the terms seem to create an environment where balance and unbiased journalism allow people to decide for themselves which perspective/outcome/appropriate action they support.

the voices of actual sex workers should be at the forefront of this discussion and should include diverse perspectives to ensure canadians have a clear understnading of the decisions looming on the horizon. if that perspective does not come forward, the right thing to do would be to seek it out to ensure that balance of information is availible to people who care about this issue.

already on the prairies municipalities are taking action changing by-laws and creating all kinds of ridiculous and dangerous rules. why? becuase abolitionists are funded like crazy to spread their message. where is the support for sex workers to do them same?

forced registration, fining for non complaince, arrest and detention during registration, forced information sessions containing all of the usual rhetoric (its like they copied john school) the worst of that session is the "how to save your money" portion put on by the bank, they're not above selling us mutual funds even though we're down troden, victim's of our own self dillusions...oh yeah and human traffikcing....is this the desired affect? is this what abolitionists wanted? because here it is. thanks alot, we really appreciate your enabling of police violence against us....oh, you didn't know that was happening? you didn't mean for that to happen?

the question is will any of you do anything to stop it? will you accept that this is a direct reult of only one perspective being heard?

you say i am slanderous, you say you mostly support an abolitionist stance, you say you want balance on issues on rabble....

its a little hard to believe when it seems that the reigning opinion here is against us.

will rabble hire a feminist sex worker journalist? will rabble bring balance to this discussion which affects me and my entire community every signle day?

here' a story for you, some contrast to the violence described above...to be clear this is not diminsh the experiences described but to try to balance views on our daily lives.

a friend of mine was visitng from edmonton where she has moved to take care of an aging regular client who can no longer take care of himself. this man had been her friend for a long time prior to his health crisis and so she went ot visit him in the care home where he lived. he wept when he saw her and began to describe the horrible treatment he was receieving from the care givers...not changing his diaper, one bath a week, very little food, no human interaction...

she was moved and totally upset and so removed him immediately....legally...but as immediatly as possible... she has since been taking care of him ....for no money.....that's right....no money whatsoever....

she shared pictured of him smiling in a bubble bath with candles all around him....

is this guy a criminal rapist? was he ever?

how can in this day and age our society paint a situation with only one brush? where is the support for sex workers who like their work to be heard? when do we get understnad that we need to hear from all sides to ensure we stabilize the safety of people working in the sex industry. when will abolitionists recognize the impact they have on our safety?

will you ever listen to us?

CPage251

Thank you so much Susan for your words and the work that you do. I am moved to tears. It is BULLSHIT how we are treated by these "feminists" and abolotionists, and you're right. They are not interested in our voices. They are interested in their funding, in their own agenda, and they will silence anyone who goes against it. And why the hell should we listen to a researcher whose credibility is in question- EXACTLY! I would be honored to repost your comment as it's own article on my blog, with your permission. If you want to contact me directly, you can at animaeva25@gmail.com or my twitter handle is Cpage251. 

MegB

CPage 251, if you want to continue to participate in this forum, you'll leave off with the nasty remarks and confine them to your blog.

MegB

Susan, I am listening. Sex work advocacy isn't my area of knowledge, I'm not an abolitionist - I don't think that's an effective way of dealing with safety issues in sex work. However, my job here, in babble, is to ensure that the discourse is respectful and follows babble policy. I have no influence around what happens outside babble, though I can and do express opinions about both rabble and babble content in staff meetings and I do occasionally write for rabble on other issues.

It may interest you to know that last year I did put forward your name as someone who could offer a counterpoint to Meghan's when the issue was brought up by another staffer. I know they were floating a number of names around, but I don't know what the result was/is. I can follow up if you'd like.

I do expect and encourage debate, so long as it maintains a tone of 'I respectfully disagree and here's why'. Not those words precisely, but the general tone.

CPage251

Rebecca with all due respect, my tone changed when Meghan accused me of being "obsessed" with her, yet I don't see you commenting on that. I suppose it's perfectly acceptable to insult sex workers & those on the opposing team.

MegB

CPage251 wrote:

Rebecca with all due respect, my tone changed when Meghan accused me of being "obsessed" with her, yet I don't see you commenting on that. I suppose it's perfectly acceptable to insult sex workers & those on the opposing team.

Unfortunately, the only insults I've seen in this thread, thus far, have come from you.  That has nothing to do with your sex work advocacy or your being a sex worker. It has to do with overt hostility and a lack of respectful discourse.  If you choose to twist my words to represent some kind of bias on my part, you are welcome to do so. Anywhere but here.

 

Meghan Murphy

CPage251 wrote:

Since when is writing a piece on one's blog an unhealthy obsession? That's some problematic and very egocentric thinking. I read Murphy's article and was repulsed and angered by it, so I tweeted her and wrote my own article. I'm not the only one who feels this way. There's been a HUGE outpouring from other individuals who feel that Murphy's writing is hateful and hurtful. Comparing rape to sex work is especially harmful to someone who has actually experienced both, rape AND sex work. Guess what Murphy? I've been on both ends and they are not the same, and you should be ashamed for saying so. Do you even think before you write? 

If she thinks I'm "obsessed," she needs a reality check. Come back to earth and get you head out of the clouds- sex workers and activists are just sick and tired of being spoken for by the "rad fem" community. If we speak up, we are silenced, we are trivialized and mocked (for example, by claiming that we are "obsessed"). I'm beginning to think that this is an MRA message board, not a "feminist" space. I'm shocked at the attitudes here, although I should be used to them by now. I am not exiting this space, as my time is better spent continuing to work, write, and expose frauds like Meghan. 

 

Christina. It would be one thing if you actually addressed anything I've said or argued. You have not. You have no references or quotes to back up any of your claims, you simply wrote a nonsensical rant against me and other women you have a bone to pick with. You have been obsessively tweeting at me or about me for days now, from two separate accounts (both of which I've blocked) riling up anonymous men to do the same. This is not a legitimate article or response in any sense whatsoever. There are many people who disagree with my arguments and ideology who respond to me with respect, accuracy, and logic using references and quotes. You have done none of these things.

contrarianna

Quote:

There is no feminist war on sex workers
By
Meghan Murphy February 4, 2013

I’ve become increasingly frustrated by what feels like a barrage of articles coming from self-described progressives claiming that feminists are the real enemy of sex workers. It seems as though some of those who position themselves as ‘sex worker rights activists’ are intent on creating rigid divisions among women, placing the prostituted woman in a category of her own and placing feminists in some illusory moralistic war against sex....


http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/feminist-current/2013/02/there-no-femini...

Where to start?
As Rebecca West points out "Feminism is not a monolithic movement or POV.  The sex trade also has many sides, many differing experiences...."

So who is "creating [a] rigid division among women" lamented by Murphy, Murphy who makes a rigid division between apparently ALL feminists (worthy of the name) and her quote-mark-devalued "sex worker activists"?

How can someone who uses the blanket abolitionist term, "prostituted women" not be considerered attacking those women who choose sex work ?

That term literally objectifies all women in sex work as mere objects of the action of "prostituting"--with the unavoidable sense that they are either unwilling victims of an external agent, or deficient in some way.
 
Is this the only way to maintain an abolitionist's impermeable ideology-- to demean those who make sex work a choice, by denying that they made a choice or are incapable of really doing so?

(Of course there are those women who are essentially enslaved by pimps and anything that can be done to assist them out of lives that they don't want to be in is commendable, but that is not the nature of Murphy's attack)

I'd suspect that those who have actually made a choice of sex work would find the language of Meghan Murphy considerably more dehumanizing and demeaning than the work they have chosen, despite her oxymoronic claim that she "doesn't hold prostituted women in judgement".

susan davis

so, i would hope that rabble would take on a full time feminist pro sex work contributer, such as meghan is for the abolitionists, to balance discussions on this issue. last year joyce arthur wrote a response to meghan murphy but there in lies the bias.

meghan is "staff" and writes a regular column for rabble. she write about a few things including sex work whenever she likes and posts them. one article from a pro sex worker voices feminists is not the same as having an abolitionist on staff.

i am not really suggesting me. i am not a journalist and may or may not be able to follow rabble terms of reference...i just don't have any experience. i mostly post things i find interesting and have formed my opinion on these issues by carefully scrutinizing the "research" put in front of me. sometimes from a personal perspective but also in terms of the credibility of the researcher.

we learned alot about ethics in research during our 2 1/2 years of policy workshops and the important way they effect the shape of outcomes.

citing melissa farely as the "bible" on sex work and the editors here not challenging that is further bias. again, why is research deemed uncredible by the supreme court not seen as further contributing to the challenges facing sex workers in particular in canada during this critical time in our emmancipation?

we are moving into a new era of new laws and now more than ever its is crucial that people be given access to the facts and not be exposed to idealogical research that frames all sex workers as rape victims in need of rescue and who live in a state of self denial...

my real beef here is seeing abolitionist rhetoric held up as fact when it has been proven to be unethical and biased....not to mention the embarasment i feel when trying to explain to people why this allowed to continue.

i am constantly putting out fires started by the abolitionist side becuase they are the only side being heard. when will there be balanced exposure and accountability within material published on rabble?

the terms clearly state that rabble submissions should refrain from taking sides or preaching but meghan is allowed to, why?

is it because of bias that exists within the editorial staff who tend to believe the abolitionist rhetoric? and tend to lean more towards meghan's way of thinking as was stated here? will rabble seek out a hire a rabble staff person who brings a different perspective to this issue and will rabble hold accountable those who promote unethical research as fact?

meghan is free to post her "opinion" but it should as per the terms of reference be made clear that that's what it is, an opinion. cherry p;icking through data to support one's own ideaology does not constitute ethical journalism in my opinion and does not conform with rabble's terms of reference, what will rabble do to correct this situation?

 

susan davis

also, i was just reading about the cop forcing a teenage girl to give him a blow job.....how is that related to prostitution? she is a youth and he exploited her. he is a cop, he assaulted her....where is the prostitution angle? is it becuase she worked as a prostitute? that means its prostitutions fault that the cop exploited and sexually assaulted her?

susie

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

While rabble editors and the publisher read babble regularly, if you have concerns with rabble's editorial policy, the best way to address them is to email editor[at]rabble.ca or use the contact form. This forum is meant as a place of discussion where all arguments can me staged on sex worker rights and policies, from a pro-sex worker point of view. That includes both abolitionist and legalization arguments, amongst countless others. Personal attacks against individuals won't be tolerated here, regardless of the argument forwarded and irrespective of the moderators' personal beliefs on the matter.

susan davis

how is abolitionism a pro sex worker point of view? and ok, i will use the contact form.

not really trying to attack anyone but these issues as you all know are very personal to me. i can imagine its like a gay person trying to discuss gay rights with hetero sexuals...it does bother me to see general attacks on my community and denial of sex worker experiences (not all experiences only some)

its just frustrating to see there is a lack of balance here and that now it seems the discussion is over with no clear outcome...

will rabble consider hiring a staff person who holds a different view? in the spirit of balancing the discussion and ensuirng diverse perspectives are represented?

susie

susan davis

sorry posting mistake!

MegB

susan davis wrote:

also, i was just reading about the cop forcing a teenage girl to give him a blow job.....how is that related to prostitution? she is a youth and he exploited her. he is a cop, he assaulted her....where is the prostitution angle? is it becuase she worked as a prostitute? that means its prostitutions fault that the cop exploited and sexually assaulted her?

susie

No where did I say or suggest that it was the fault of prostitution.  I simply related my experience working with homeless youth who used prostitution as a means of survival - as opposed to choice - and the exploitation they faced.  The more vulnerable you are, the more open to exploitation you are, regardless of what work you do.

It's not pro or anti-prostitution. It's just a fact of reality, one of many aspects of the sex trade. 

My personal position, as previously stated, is that abolition is not a viable response to the potential safety and exploitation issues , issues which I don't think anyone can argue don't exist. I'm not anti-pornography, I'm not anti-sex work, but I do have serious concerns about the safety of vulnerable people working in those sectors. 

Please correct me if I'm wrong - because you know a great deal more about the issues than I do - but I think it takes a certain robust personality and a degree of self-esteem and personal empowerment to be successful in sex work.  

Meghan Murphy

susan davis wrote:

i mostly post things i find interesting and have formed my opinion on these issues by carefully scrutinizing the "research" put in front of me. sometimes from a personal perspective but also in terms of the credibility of the researcher...

we learned alot about ethics in research during our 2 1/2 years of policy workshops and the important way they effect the shape of outcomes.

citing melissa farely as the "bible" on sex work and the editors here not challenging that is further bias. again, why is research deemed uncredible by the supreme court not seen as further contributing to the challenges facing sex workers in particular in canada during this critical time in our emmancipation?

we are moving into a new era of new laws and now more than ever its is crucial that people be given access to the facts and not be exposed to idealogical research that frames all sex workers as rape victims in need of rescue and who live in a state of self denial...

my real beef here is seeing abolitionist rhetoric held up as fact when it has been proven to be unethical and biased....not to mention the embarasment i feel when trying to explain to people why this allowed to continue.

 

 

Hi Susan. Where do I reference Farley or, as you say "cit[e] melissa farely as the "bible" on sex work"? Also, where have I framed "all sex workers as rape victims"? I'm not sure what you're referencing? The problem with the OP is that it doesn't address anything I actually argue or believe. Unfortunately it seems your comments are now following that route, which is the trouble with starting a conversation based on speculations or on a post that isn't logical or accurate.

hysperia hysperia's picture

Full-time feminist pro sex work contributor? Hey, I didn't know rabble was hiring for a full-time ANYTHING? Most people who work with rabble do so on a volunteer basis unless they've pitched a particular article and been told they'll be paid for it. If rabble is actually hiring, let me know. I think people who've contributed on a volunteer basis such as bloggers and podcasters like Meghan Murphy should be first on the list to get hired though, lol.

XLondonCallGirl XLondonCallGirl's picture

Rebecca West wrote:
Please correct me if I'm wrong - because you know a great deal more about the issues than I do - but I think it takes a certain robust personality and a degree of self-esteem and personal empowerment to be successful in sex work. 

 

Yes, if my personality was more 'robust', and I had 'a degree of self-esteem and personal empowerment', I wouldn't have minded being raped and beaten on jobs????

 

DENIAL (http://xlondoncallgirl.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/denial.html) is what is required by most, dissociation - usually a coping mechanism developed in childhood to deal with abuse - is what is needed. This explains why most women in prostitution were abused as children. Also many entered prostitution when they were children.

EMPOWERMENT is so misunderstood in this context. Money is empowering, having free time to do what you want is empowering. Having sex with men for money when you wouldn't want them anywhere near you, let alone touching your naked body, is not empowering. (http://xlondoncallgirl.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/can-prostitution-be-empowe...)

CPage251

"Hi Susan. Where do I reference Farley or, as you say "cit[e] melissa farely as the "bible" on sex work"? Also, where have I framed "all sex workers as rape victims"? I'm not sure what you're referencing? The problem with the OP is that it doesn't address anything I actually argue or believe."

 

Really..? I actually have direct quotes and screen caps from you in my blog article, in which we discuss Farley and her "solid" research. Also, your newest article compares rape and consensual sex work. I didn't think I needed to point out your own words for you. 

And you keep pointing out that I have 2 twitter accounts. Yes, one is my personal accoun and one is my work (aka porn) account. 

MegB

XLondonCallGirl wrote:

Rebecca West wrote:
Please correct me if I'm wrong - because you know a great deal more about the issues than I do - but I think it takes a certain robust personality and a degree of self-esteem and personal empowerment to be successful in sex work. 

 

Yes, if my personality was more 'robust', and I had 'a degree of self-esteem and personal empowerment', I wouldn't have minded being raped and beaten on jobs????

Just where the hell did I even remotely suggest that? I'd appreciate it if you didn't de-contextualize what I post and attribute attitudes and positions to me that have no possible relation to any stated position I hold.

nina76

susan davis wrote:

my issue is with the constant belittling of my fellow sex workers in the name of saving us. why can't abolitionists as feminists listen to us and hear all sides. why when faced with a different perspective is the reaction to dismiss? why is citing a "researcher" whose credibility is in question deemed ok? it wasn't good enough for the supreme court but its ok for abolitionists?

we are told that there is no war but yet here we are again. why can't sex workers speak for themselves and why is it that only the perspective of those workers whose experiences mirror what people expect to hear is believed?

 

will you ever listen to us?

they won't ever really listen, because they don't care. they never have, and they never will. they are too busy saving us from ourselves, or mocking us by suggesting we think gang-bangs spirtual experiences.

your responses are beautiful and eloquent, and i love reading them, so please keep posting. please also know i am on your side, because i am in the same situation, being shamed by both sides for my choices, without ever really being heard. i know exactly what type of people abolitionists are, and i know i need to protect myself from them as much i need to protect myself from law enforcement and the right wing. they don't have everyone fooled!

MegB

This discussion has been going seriously downhill almost from the get-go. I understand these are issues that people are passionate about, but if the participants don't stop the hostility, vitriol and personal attacks, I'm going to, reluctantly, shut it down.

ETA: before I do, I would suggest that each participant carefully read all the posts fully, and not cherry-pick points or phrases that they can rant against. It's not productive, nor is it conducive to anything resembling a coherent and varied debate.

nina76

Rebecca West wrote:

This discussion has been going seriously downhill almost from the get-go. I understand these are issues that people are passionate about, but if the participants don't stop the hostility, vitriol and personal attacks, I'm going to, reluctantly, shut it down.

i don't know what to say anymore. i would love to have a serious discussion about my experiences, and those of other sex workers, but every time i open my mouth i am told i am "hurting all women" or "i am a victim" or "my experiences are wrong" then farley's little 'why i chose prostitution' bit reaffrims what i knew. that because i am a sex worker, i will never be listened to or respected. that's what this is about. being heard. nothing is worse than someone speaking for you, when you have you own voice. i have a voice, but nobody wants me to use it. and now i am epxected to believe that people who insult me have my nest interest at heart, and i shoudl trust them?

are you familiar with the expression "don't piss on my back and tell it's raining out"? and people think i am too stupid to notice, and yeah that makes me angry.

MegB

nina76, this is supposed to be a safe place for sex workers and their advocates. If it isn't, please tell me what I can do to help it become that place. This forum is a place that has been designated as a safe space for sex workers. It doesn't mean that there won't be debate, that all opposing points of view won't be allowed, but it needs to be a respectful space for discussion of the issues that sex workers deal with.

 

contrarianna

susan davis wrote:

how is abolitionism a pro sex worker point of view?

That's a good question.

The subject area title reads:

Quote:
sex worker rights
A place for sex workers and their allies to discuss issues around, and advocacy of, sex workers' rights.

I guess some pre-defined limitations of POV "safe spaces" are not as safe as others.

Either that, or the word "allies" gets defined by those who say: "we are your allies even though you don't think so because you make invalid decisions and choose unacceptable work."

ryanw

Rebecca West wrote:

Unfortunately, the only insults I've seen in this thread, thus far, have come from you.  That has nothing to do with your sex work advocacy or your being a sex worker. It has to do with overt hostility and a lack of respectful discourse.  If you choose to twist my words to represent some kind of bias on my part, you are welcome to do so. Anywhere but here.

calling someone a plagiarist is an insult actually, especially coming from someone who values references and quotes so highly

I don't know that respect was given when you engage someone in such a way; when the person you're addressing doesn't share that same value for "references and quotes" that you do, it comes off as a little out of touch and self important 

hysperia hysperia's picture

This forum has been designated a "safe space for sex workers"? Whereabouts was it designated and what does it mean? No discussion of the issues surrounding prostitution because it's not safe for sex workers? Who is policing that?

hysperia hysperia's picture

Sorry for double post.

jas

I'd be interested in hearing the discussion from the point of view of those who have worked, or are working, in the field. This was the problem before, if I recall, is that we didn't have those perspectives from both sides of the debate who are actually speaking from personal experience. Now it appears we do, so I hope the thread stays open.

MegB

jas wrote:

I'd be interested in hearing the discussion from the point of view of those who have worked, or are working, in the field. This was the problem before, if I recall, is that we didn't have those perspectives from both sides of the debate who are actually speaking from personal experience. Now it appears we do, so I hope the thread stays open.

If you read through the thread, I think you'll find a diversity of opinion from people who are, or have been working in the sex trade.  I'm extremely reluctant to close any thread, and this one in particular, but I can't overstate the importance of respectful discussion and difference of opinion and experience.

Your point is well-taken though. This thread should be dominated by those with actual experience in the sex trade, and regardless of what that experience has been, it must be a safe place.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Has Megan Murphy ever worked in the sex trade?

hysperia hysperia's picture

How do we know who has experience in the sex trade and who hasn't? Are we really going to demand that everyparticipant give that kind of information? How would that be "safe"? Why is it ok for people who say they've worked in the sex trade to attack someone by name, in the title of the thread, and no one who isn't a sex worker can object to that? What makes that "safe" for sex workers? What is "safe" anyway? Only one point of view? What about the sex workers who come here with a different opinion, as some have? How are they to be treated? Who is making the rules and what, exactly, are they? Is this Babble policy? Can this policy be disputed anywhere? If so, where and with whom?

susan davis

london call girl, NO !!most sex workers were not abused as children. this is a reference to yet another melissa farely statistic based on biased and unethical data. the sample group were all workers who were on street and in crisis between the ages of 12 and 18....not an accurate sampling of the sex industry community at all.

meghan your most recent article clearly links and equates sex work and rape...not sure what your question means....i have read alot of your writing and find it is always slanted towards your personal opinion rather than taking a real unbiased look at the facts. another example is your writing about the swedish model, declaring it a success and cherry picking numbers that support your position when in fact violence seems to have increased not decreased when the numbers are closely scrutinized....

how about answering my questions about the harms unfolding on the praries as a result of denying workers voices? any comment or actions being planned on your part to combat the fresh round of police violence workers are facing there? ,maybe you write a column about that, contact workers affected, ask them how they feel the abolitionist approach is working out for them....

again, i simply would like there to be balance in these discussions and accountability for referencing/ quoting known unethical data and statistics like "most sex workers were molested as children". this is not true and has no place in these discussions as it tends to slant people towards a particular perception about sex workers and our lives and is known to be false.

meghan is paid for her contributions...no? perhaps what would work would be a regular columnist being featured on rabble and who supports a different perspective than such a blantantly biased one. then perhaps we could have a more balanced discussion and sex workers would feel safer posting their experiences.

and no, meghan murphy has never worked in the sex industry...

susie

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