Exploiting Violence for "Feminist" Politics

38 posts / 0 new
Last post
El Feministo
Exploiting Violence for "Feminist" Politics

I've been following the investigation and online conversations about the recent deaths of Jill Lyons and Karen Nabors, and I'm very disturbed to see the press release Vancouver Rape Relief distributed late last night:

 

Date:  Thursday, August 29, 2013

 

August 29, 2013 (Vancouver, BC) Our hearts go out to the families and friends of Jill Lyons and Karen Nabors.

The recent, sudden deaths of these two women within the same building have prompted a public discussion about the safety of women in indoor prostitution and has further exposed the entrenched sexism that informs the way that the police response to investigating violent crimes against women, especially women in prostitution.  

We know from 40 years of working with women who have experienced all forms of male violence that the “foul play” suspected when a woman is found dead in her home is likely to have been perpetrated by a violent man. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has described Jill Lyons and Karen Nabors as engaged in a “high risk lifestyle.” The grim risk that these women faced was the same risk that all women in prostitution face: the violence perpetrated by pimps and johns. Women’s exposure to this risk is not a lifestyle choice—it is a result of women’s inequality and men’s violence.  The public warning to women in prostitution to “take precautions” further shifts the blame off of the men who attack women in prostitution. This warning is dangerously misguided. It places the onus on women identify and fend off potential attackers.

Daisy Kler, a collective member with Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter explains:

“Male violence against prostituted women is a result of women’s inequality and men’s sense of entitlement to women’s bodies. Our crisis work has taught us that this violence does not stop or lessen when the location changes. These two cases are frighteningly reminiscent of the murders of prostituted Vancouver women Lisa Arlene Francis, Hong Wei Yin, and Nicole Parisien, all of whom were killed as a result of being prostituted indoors. The only thing that will work to make women safe is the end of prostitution and the end of male violence against women.”

-30-

Media Contact: Lisa Steacy

604-872-8212

[email protected]

@VanRapeRelief

 

 

To my reading, this smacks of exploitationism. The emotive "Our hearts go out" does little to mitigate the gratuitiously premature reframing of a tragedy according to the "logic" of abolitionist politics. Vancouver Rape Relief effectively treat these deaths as fodder, as an excuse to promote their political position. That's bad enough.

Worse, this press release

(a) presumes to know what happened to Ms. Lyons and Ms. Nabors;

(b) suggests that these women died from "the violence perpetrated by pimps and johns" – thus framing their murder in terms of sex work, and framing prematurely alleged murderers in terms of sex work;

(c) dismisses these presumed victims' lives and work as "a result of women’s inequality and men’s violence";

(d) claims that the only solution to this tragedy is Vancouver Rape Relief's abolitionist advocacy toward the "end of prostitution and the end of male violence against women.”

(e) does all of the above in the name of VRR's work and VRR's "40 years" of experience.

So it seems to me that Vancouver Rape Relief are taking advantage of a high profile news story involving the tragic death of two women (who happened to be prostitutes or sex workers) merely to amplify their own voice. They devote 27 words to Lyons and Nabors in order to devote 292 words to promoting their own agenda. This is the epitome of carelessness toward two women whose death is still a shock to their loved ones, two women whose deaths are just beginning to be investigated, two women whose deaths have only begun to reverberate through the community. More importantly, it is an affront to their lives. The lives of two real people, two recently living women whose deaths call for anything but ideological opportunism.

Vancouver Rape Relief's statement reproduces the stigmatizing framing that begins with the police department's statements and is amplified by the mainstream media. It exacerbates this framing by suggesting that the only real frame is the experience of Ms. Stacy, Ms. Kler, and their collective. This is disrespectful and irresponsible regardless of whether their expectations re the cause of Ms. Lyons and/or Ms. Nabors deaths turns out to be true. Regardless of what happened to these women, taking advantage of tragedy just to promote your own controversial political agenda is irresponsible, disgraceful, and, to borrow a word that Vancouver Rape Relief tweets far too often, this press release is worthy of shame, especially from a feminist perspective.

One would thing that the experience of Ms. Kler, Ms. Stacy, and the members of Vancouver Rape Relief would lead them to put the dignity of women first. Here, Vancouver Rape Relief prefers to take advantage of the tragic demise of (not just two but five) women in order to put VRR's voice over these these women's dignity, over these women's lives, and most tragically, over these women's deaths. So, yes: Shame on you, Vancouver Rape Relief.

Is this feminist politics? Radical feminist politics? Abolitionist politics? Whatever form of politics this might be, it's appalling.

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
lagatta

I see NOTHING in the Vancouver Rape Relief statement that impinges on the dignity and the lives of the two murdered women. Both abolitionists and decriminalists have taken part in the marches for the Stolen Sisters.

Actually, people in the sex trade do face a very high rate of violence, up to and including murder. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_against_prostitutes 

Rightwing masculinists like Richard Martineau accused feminists of "exploiting violence" after the Polytechnique massacre.

By the way, "feminist" is "feminista" or "femminista" masculin and feminine in all the Latin tongues that use the "-ista" suffix, and "féministe" for m. and f. in French. However, El Feministo has every right to invent that word.

 

quizzical

huh....you've shown you have an axe to grind politically with Vancouver Rape Relief and their position on prostitution!!!! and you used these women's deaths to grind it!!!!!

amazing!!!

this non-feminist didn't buy what your selling for a moment...heads up..if the rape place in Van can't speak to violence against women and about the murdered women and their families you sure can't speak for them!!!!

etd to reflect more what i tried to say

susan davis

thankyou for posting and i couldn't agree more.

Goggles Pissano

@Susan,

Which side do you agree with?

susan davis

i am a sex worker of 27 years and am against fanatical prostitution abolition zealots like the rape relief contingent. they attack me personally when i speak publically, lie about our lives and try to own any death of a sex worker to further their cause.

i am for decrim and am working with my community to end interference by abolitionists in our fight for emmancipation.

please see the following for a more complete view of the work i do.

http://rabble.ca/babble/sex-worker-rights

quizzical

susan davis wrote:
i am a sex worker of 27 years and am against fanatical prostitution abolition zealots like the rape relief contingent. they attack me personally when i speak publically, lie about our lives and try to own any death of a sex worker to further their cause.

why do you condem them? you do exactly what you and the person starting this thread are condeming them for and accusing them of....just like you just did!!!!!

Quote:
i am for decrim and am working with my community to end interference by abolitionists in our fight for emmancipation.

please see the following for a more complete view of the work i do.

all i see is a whole bunch of "i's" in your words.  and i don't really get your use of slavery terminology to describe your trying to legalize exploitation of mainly women and girls.

susan davis

stop trolling me quizzical. put me on ignore or something.

do you really need to pick apart every one of my posts? line by line?

i never drop the names of the dead and as i said never try to speak for them. how do you think the families of the other sex workers named in the thread feel? they are trying to heal, trying to move on...but no rape relief keeps ripping open the wounds with total complacency for the people they effect.

we are criminalzed and not free as other canadians are, what the hell is wrong with the language i use?

and hey, if you don't like it, don't read it. i have as much of a right to defend my community as you seem to feel you have the right to try destroy it.

MegB

I'd just like to remind everyone that if you post an opinion here, be prepared to defend it, with respect. Same goes for those critical of an opinion. Disagree, but with respect.

quizzical

susan we as a people really need to get this right. and it's something i now feel strongly about and never thought it would motivate me to really get to the bottom of what is at stake and what position is the right one.

i used to be totally against my mom's and other feminists position on prostitution and all for decrim. then i started getting to know sex workers from all avenues of the industry and lived on the Rez for several years watching how many FN women were forced to enter into just another colonialist abuse mechanism.

the white women i met and got to know over several years were already suffering from what Timebandit aptly named "cummulative harm"(#102). they'd been either sexually, physically or emotionally abused for as long as they could remember. being on the front lines of misogyny's effects and its by-products left them with no room to get PS education or even work at min wage jobs. the straight ones saved their money and got out asap. the one's self-medicating and selling themselves to exist.....well the outcome is and was never good.

then my daughter got to be a teen ager....if i don't want protitution to be her career choice then i can't really be wanting other people being forced to choose it.

ya ya i know you talk about choosing to be a sex worker and ya i know there's a small portion of women who do too...but from my experience and fact finding the vast majority are not willingly there.

this fact and the cummulative harming effect on ALL women we are seeing has brought me i think to where my mom and other feminists are in terms of working towards making it completely illegal and stopping the porn and sex industry. rules haven't lessened surrounding it all over the years i've been growing up and raising my daughter. easy accessability hasn't stopped the demand it's fueled the demand and expanded it. and we as peoples the world over are suffering because of the never ending and ever expanding demand of men believing they need whatever sex gratification they desire. 

susan davis

and this is related to this thread how? VRR use of these tragedies over and over and their hoisting of the dead women as some kind of martyres shows how little resepct they have the families and friends not only of the recently deceased but the long dead as well. how do you think it makes me feel to read their names? how about their families?

we are trying to heal and this just brings it right back up again. naming of dead "prostituted women" is low. its classless. bottom line.

do you have anything to contribute to this aspect of the discussion? or are we going to have hear all your "opinions"...again.

i don't answer to you, i answer to my community. i will continue to promtoe sex workers rights and decriminalization and challenge any person who chooses to promote myths as facts and who actively work to destroy my community.

 

El Feministo

Quizzical: If I were claiming to speak for other women and their families, I would gladly embrace your criticism, but I'm not doing that at all.

I make no claim to represent anyone or to speak on anyone's behalf. Also, my post was not directly motivated by the tragedies in New Westminster – it was motivated by the press statement that I am responding to. To me, their statement seems crass and exploitative, and I expressed those opinions on my own behalf, in advocacy for decency in political activism around this sensitive topic. So I reject your claim that I'm speaking for someone; I never purported to do that. I just think Vancouver Rape Relief are taking advantage of a tragic situation to promote their political agenda, and that's not cool. If VRR wishes to make "ambulance chasing" activism their MO, that's their prerogative, but I think it's toxic. Fortunately, I also think it alienates more people than it attracts. 

I wouldn't say I have an axe to grind, either, btw. I disagree with many abolitionist arguments and practices, and I think Vancouver Rape Relief is often unethical in the way it treats its clients, its volunteers, its donors, and the public – but my disagreements are based on evidence and argument, as opposed to mere ideology or some personal chip on my shoulder. In a nutshell, I'm anti-BS. I see VRR and other abolitionists engage in in outright lies and blatant emotional manipulation to paint a complicated topic in deceptively simplistic terms. I do believe their arguments and practices are harmful, but that's a whole different series of conversations.

You suggest that you're trying to figure this issue out. That's a good thing. If I may make a suggestion, please take the time and effort to try to read and listen to people from all across the spectrum, and beware people who rely on tugging at people's heartstrings as a bait-and-switch to promote their own voice (that's how their press release works, after all). There are plenty of voices out there who are willing to embrace the complexities involved in this issue and who strive to base their work on reasoned argument, available evidence, and respectful dialogue. In my opinion, most abolitionist work fails to reflect these values.

 

El Feministo

For some updates on this story, see:

As Vancouver Rape Relief continues to take advantage of this situation to promote themselves, they raise many serious questions about their own motives and involvement in this story. I am asking these questions publicly and openly in the hopes that Vancouver Rape Relief will clarify their intentions, dispel the confusion they are creating, and hopefully, give the public a reason to take their protest seriously. 

  • VRR insists police are mismanaging this investigation, but offer no argument or evidence about what the police are doing wrong. — Does VRR possess evidence that the police aren't doing their job? Would VRR tell the public specifically what's wrong with the police investigation?
  • Summer Rain Betham says "Police need to focus on the who, what, why and how." — Isn't this exactly what the police are in the midst of doing?
  • Betham also says "The police need to arrest the men – the johns, the pimps and the traffickers – and stop arresting and charging the women, who are trapped and then forced into ... prostitution". — But shouldn't the police figure out who committed these crimes, first? And haven't local police already moved away from arresting women in most cases?
  • Trisha Baptie says "We're tired of being blamed for the violence being perpetrated against women" — When was Trisha or VRR ever blamed for these deaths or for this kind of violence in general?
  • Baptie also says "We can only make assumptions, which is unfair to everyone involved" — Wouldn't it be better NOT to make assumptions, and thus avoid this unfairness?
  • Finally, Baptie says "We're tired of women being told they live a high-risk lifestyle and being abandoned" – But Trisha and VRR are among the leading proponents of the argument that prostitution is "high-risk," as evidenced by the signs at their protest and by the language of their press release: "The grim risk that these women faced was the same risk that all women in prostitution face: the violence perpetrated by pimps and johns." — How can you be tired of women being told the very message that you repeatedly argue? Are you suggesting that it's ok for you to say these things, but not for other groups to say the same thing?
  • Hilla Kerner says VRR "have many women who call us from New Westminster instead of calling the police or aren't interested in using the police because the lack of faith that women have in police" — Based on their own accounts, VRR fields about 3.5 calls per day (1200-1400 per year) from women throughout all of the lower mainland. How many calls has VRR actually received from New West? Of those, how many have complained about the police? Will VRR provide evidence about the extent of this problem in New West?
  • Finally, Daisy Kler says "The only thing that will work to make women safe is the end of prostitution and the end of male violence against women.” — First off, will VRR offer any evidence that this statement is true? More importantly, isn't the point of this protest as much to draw attention to VRR's campaigns to abolish prostitution? In which case, aren't VRR just using the New Westminster Police, Jill Lyons, and Karen Nabors to draw attention to their own political campaign against prostitution?

With prostitution laws currently being debated by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Bedford case, and violence against women an enormous social problem, these are not trivial questions. I'm glad VRR had the privilege of using their voice, but because their message is so confused and conflicted, I think its difficult for anyone to take them seriously. Fortunately, in this case, it seems obvious that this is little more than a publicity stunt.

Unfortunately, tactics like this both interfere with the real work of addressing these issues, and undermine the credibility of feminist activism in advocacy about violence against women. 

susan davis

this is their MO. they use any incident to promote their ideas and twist numbers to suit their position. its been going on for years. its just like their statement that the average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14 years old. it has been proven that this number in fact was the average age of a group of at risk youth between the ages of 11 and 17. the reasearcher responsible for the statistic had her "research" deemed inadmissable as evidence in the charter challenge.

the data is debunked but VRR still hoist it as truth.

i for one hope that people can see the truth and that you are correct that its difficult for anyone to take them seriously.

Pondering

El Feministo wrote:
Is this feminist politics? Radical feminist politics? Abolitionist politics? Whatever form of politics this might be, it's appalling.

What's appalling is to see a well respected feminist organization that has helped countless women deal with and escape violence attacked and denigrated in a "feminist forum". 

The ultimate goal of abolitionists, survivors and sex worker advocates is to eliminate violence against sex workers.  Some sex workers believe that can be done while preserving the full-service sex work industry while abolitionists believe the only way is to eliminate prostitution.

Both groups will obviously point towards violent events as justification for their argument as it is the core cause of both to eliminate it.

I am offended at seeing feminists attacked in this manner in a feminist forum.  VRR are obviously dedicated to helping women who are victims of rape and violence. Disagreeing with their political positions or solutions is 100% valid. Attacking the entire organization and accusing them of using victims is not. Obviously an organization that fights violence against women is going to present examples of violence against women, duh. You may believe that their solutions are wrong, but that is a separate issue. 

As far as I'm concerned, the topic of this thread is the neverending attacks on feminists and feminism. 

fortunate

This topic was over several months ago.  

And the press release is sensationalistic and opportunistic.  

For one thing, these women did not die due to their work, nor were they killed by a client.   

Pondering

I've seen lots of old threads revived on babble.  If a moderator has an issue with it in this particular instance and would prefer that I start a new thread or post in some other existing thread then I will of course do so. I don't really see why you would have a problem with it as the thread is majority negative towards abolitionists. It serves as an excellent example of how feminists are under attack. Here is another example:

Quote:
Scold’s bridle

Posted by glosswitch under Feminism | Tags: feminism, intersectionality, misogyny, privilege |

[41] Comments

On Saturday evening I was on twitter, discussing the criminal conviction of those who threatened Caroline Criado-Perez with rape. There are many ways in which people excuse the abuse of women – she asked for it, she wanted it, she’s lying – but here’s one I hadn’t heard before: Criado-Perez was just a privileged white feminist victimising working class people for whom rape threats are a normal part of everyday discourse.

This struck me as one of those bigotry double whammies, reminiscent of a Ceefax letter I once read, claiming that if the UK hadn’t legalised abortion we wouldn’t need all those bloody immigrants. Just as someone there used racism to justify their anti-choice position, here someone was using classism to justify rape threats. Marvellous! There’s an infinite number of ways you can play one prejudice off against another, or even double them up, and in this case you can even pretend you’re on the side of the underclass (poor working class people, they do not know what they do etc.). And so I tweeted this:

@CCriadoPerez I’m waiting for the misogofeminists to pass off rape as the only way “the marginalised” can communicate with “white feminism”

So that was that, at least until mid-morning on a Sunday when my tweet was discovered by the twitter feminism police and deemed to be racist, transphobic, privileged, offensive etc. Hence a whole heap of shit came my way.

Obviously I’m really sorry I sent that tweet. Only kidding. I’m not, not in the slightest. I’ll use sarcasm and hyperbole if I want to. I’ll use whatever means I choose to call out the self-aggrandising bullshit of those who excuse rape threats, patronise and slander those whom they’ve characterised as “the marginalised” and dare to think of themselves as feminist to boot. If other people decide to read that tweet out of context, twist it and use it as an excuse to intimidate me then frankly they should be ashamed of themselves. And I would just leave it at that but this isn’t an isolated event. This kind of bullying, misrepresentation and lying happens to feminists all the time and I, for one, am furious. <http://glosswatch.com/2014/01/27/scolds-bridle/

 

I'm furious too and it's been going on for years. It's about time we point it out. 

Jacob Two-Two

"I don't really see why you would have a problem with it as the thread is majority negative towards abolitionists. It serves as an excellent example of how feminists are under attack."

So the women here who don't agree with your abolitionist stance aren't feminists? Is that your position? 

Pondering

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
"I don't really see why you would have a problem with it as the thread is majority negative towards abolitionists. It serves as an excellent example of how feminists are under attack."

So the women here who don't agree with your abolitionist stance aren't feminists? Is that your position?

No, I'm not the one who put "feminists" in quotes in the title as if abolitionists can't be feminists. Attacking abolitionist arguments is fine. I take issue with attacking feminists because they are abolitionists.

It makes no difference to me whether or not attackers consider themselves feminists too. It's still an example of feminists being attacked.  

My post included another example of feminists under attack. I've moved on. 

fortunate

Not all feminists are abolitionists.  But then, not all feminists want to take the right of choice away from sex workers, and recognize their own ability to make their own choices as adult consensual workers.   And that there are already laws that deal with the underage and unwilling.  

When someone wants to change working conditions to make things less safe in an idealized effort to 'discourage' these adult consensual sex workers i have a problem with their claims to identify as feminist.

quizzical

There s absolutely NO proof presented here in any of these threads saying things would be less safe for prostitutes under an abolitionist stance. just because someone wants to do something to make money doesn't mean they have a right to do it if it is deemed risky for themselves or people in general.

Pondering

fortunate wrote:
Not all feminists are abolitionists.  But then, not all feminists want to take the right of choice away from sex workers, and recognize their own ability to make their own choices as adult consensual workers.

Minimum wage laws take away the choice of workers to accept jobs they would be willing to do and will otherwise not get. We can also deem jobs too dangerous and harmful to do, even if they don't harm 100% of workers. I put street prostitution in that category.

fortunate wrote:
 And that there are already laws that deal with the underage and unwilling.

Laws that have been proven to be ineffective in every country that has legitimized prostitution. It seems law enforcement is overwhelmed in most places and is unable to prevent growth in the underground market leading to trafficking and smuggling. 

fortunate wrote:
When someone wants to change working conditions to make things less safe in an idealized effort to 'discourage' these adult consensual sex workers i have a problem with their claims to identify as feminist.

There is zero evidence of an increase in violence against sex workers under the Nordic model. There is zero evidence of a decrease in violence in any jurisdiction that has legitimized prostitution.

Your accusation an attack against feminists who believe that abolition is the route to decreased violence against women. Suggesting that their motivation is to make things less safe, or that they don't care about the danger, is disgusting and unfeminist. It is also unfeminist to suggest that survivors are telling negative stories because they are paid shills. 

fortunate wrote:
Not all feminists are abolitionists.

This is true but somewhat dependent on the definition of abolitionist. Right now it means "supporter of the Nordic model" or "supporter of laws to prevent prostitution".  So in that context there are many feminists who are not abolitionist. 

On a deeper level, I'm not so sure but it would take deeper analysis for me to explain my point of view. 

 

 

fortunate

quizzical wrote:
There s absolutely NO proof presented here in any of these threads saying things would be less safe for prostitutes under an abolitionist stance. just because someone wants to do something to make money doesn't mean they have a right to do it if it is deemed risky for themselves or people in general.

 

 

There's been ample proof presented, from police reports, sex workers themselves, and researchers.   If you choose not to accept what has been presented that is fine, but please don't insult my intelligence by saying that it isn't here.

 

@ pondering, I am not sure why you are replying to me in that way again, after being asked multiple times to stop, this is getting very aggressively rude.     If you want to edit them, as in simple quote, followed by one single comment free of the multi quotes within quotes blah blah, i'll be happy to read and respond at that time.  Until then, please just don't bother, i don't read them, and won't read anything else you try to do to my comments.    

Pondering

fortunate wrote:
There's been ample proof presented, from police reports, sex workers themselves, and researchers.   If you choose not to accept what has been presented that is fine, but please don't insult my intelligence by saying that it isn't here.

Anectodal evidence isn't proof, it's opinions, and even within that it's self-contradictory. Empirical evidence is notoriously absent. The only thing laws seem to affect is the prevalence of prostitution over all rather than the violence associated with it. That you disagree with abolitionists concerning which approach best protects women does not give you licence to attack their motives. 

fortunate wrote:
@ pondering, I am not sure why you are replying to me in that way again, after being asked multiple times to stop, this is getting very aggressively rude.

I agree that you are being aggressively rude but I will assume it's unintentional. You don't get to dictate who responds to what you say on a message board no matter how many times you "ask". The whole point of message boards is that everyone is free to contribute, or not.  I am not replying to you personally, I am participating in a public discussion. If I see comments I disagree with, arguments that I think are faulty, I have a right to post a rebuttal. Whether or not the originator of the message wants me to is immaterial. 

fortunate wrote:
If you want to edit them, as in simple quote, followed by one single comment free of the multi quotes within quotes blah blah, i'll be happy to read and respond at that time.  Until then, please just don't bother, i don't read them, and won't read anything else you try to do to my comments.

You seem really stuck on this notion that I want you to read and respond. I don't care. There are pros and cons to both sides so I am pretty neutral on it. 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Fortunate, Pondering's method of breaking down a post for response is really common on most message boards. It's often easier to respond to specificity points in a very long post - and you do write very long posts - in a way that is a little more comprehensible. It isn't rude, it's actually very normal. If you don't want your post broken down, edit them so they aren't so long. Unfortunately, fortunate, you don't get to dictate style for other posters.

fortunate

That's ok, TB, i simply am telling her that if she does this, it is a waste of time for her because if the reply is to me, i am not reading it anyway.  so what's the point?

 

 

quizzical

speaking to another audience besides yourself.....

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

fortunate wrote:

That's ok, TB, i simply am telling her that if she does this, it is a waste of time for her because if the reply is to me, i am not reading it anyway.  so what's the point?

 

 

I guess my point is that you're kind of being a princess about this.  Sure don't respond - but if you can't respond to someone who uses totally normal message board conventions, what's the point of posting here at all?

fortunate

Timebandit wrote:

fortunate wrote:

That's ok, TB, i simply am telling her that if she does this, it is a waste of time for her because if the reply is to me, i am not reading it anyway.  so what's the point?

 

 

I guess my point is that you're kind of being a princess about this.  Sure don't respond - but if you can't respond to someone who uses totally normal message board conventions, what's the point of posting here at all?

 

It actually isn't normal to take time to section out bits and pieces of one single post, in order to reply tobits and pieces, in an attempt to mislead or misdirect.    If she is reply to my post, quote it of course, but quote the whole post in the block in which it was written.  Nothing is stopping her from then dealing with individual comments, in one uninterrupted post.   

For example, as I did with your post.   And I did not write my comments in segments, i wrote it as a whole.   to have it dissected, by someone who is trying to mislead others as to what I said?  That is my objection.  Plus, it is clearly an MO, as others have made complaints as well, many times.   

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

fortunate, I've participated on a number of message boards, not just this one, for over a decade.  It's a very common mode of address, especially for people who write War and Peace length posts.  It's often difficult to make clear exactly what part of the post you are responding to without doing so, or is time-consuming and therefore a limit on discussion.

If you'd like your posts responded to in whole, perhaps you should try editing them.  Otherwise, get used to people using totally ordinary methods of response. 

In short:  Suck it up, buttercup.

susan davis

buttercup, princess....wtf....is that what you call respectful discussion? is that what passes for being feminist to one another?

your comments are completely condesending and are attempting to infantalize fortunate who is an adult woman and who has a right to recognize, as i have the way that quizzical likes to cut our posts up and tear us apart while providing no new evidence or evidence of any kind for that matter while doing so....

its a tactic she uses when she is angry or we won't cow down to her opinions on these issues.

in my opinion, especially since fortunate has always been respectful and courteous in this forum, that these kinds of references to her as some kind of princess buttercup are not feminist and have no place in this forum. 

abolitionists are not the only ones who deserve respect here....

whatever you think about the way quizzical posts and baits us, calling fortunate a buttercup or a princess is completely unjustified and rude....

fuckin princess buttercup...and we're the ones who are misogynist....

MegB

I would like to remind everyone that feminism is not monolithic. Feminists, one feminist labour leader recently told me, are defined by their actions, not their labeling or divisive politics. Keep it respectful folks.

Pondering

Rebecca West wrote:
I would like to remind everyone that feminism is not monolithic. Feminists, one feminist labour leader recently told me, are defined by their actions, not their labeling or divisive politics. Keep it respectful folks.

This is true which is why I object to the labeling of feminist abolitionists as evil uncaring prudes who don't care if women live or die.

I am of the opinion that with few exceptions most women feel passionately about this topic because they want to prevent violence against women regardless of which side of the battle they are on. 

As you noted, feminists are defined by their actions. Misogynistic attacks against women have traditionally included prudery and man-hating as insults intended to discredit women's viewpoints. Attacking women (as opposed to their actions or arguments) is unfeminist no matter who is doing the attacking. 

As a feminist, I will rip into pro-life arguments with every ounce of passion I have, but I will not attack the women presenting that viewpoint. I will not suggest that she doesn't care if women die performing coat-hanger abortions even if I argue that will be the result of anti-abortion laws. It is crossing the line to suggest that abolitionists don't care about violence against women including those who are prostitutes. 

 

fortunate

What we are saying is that abolitionists refuse to listen to sex workers, or accept that prostitution is not violence against women.  It diminishes real violence against women by suggesting that sex between men and women is inherently violent, and links it where it doesn't belong.   It diminishes those who are actually assaulted and/or sexually assaulted by saying that adule consensual sex workers are by definition victims the same as a college student is date raped, or an RCMP recruit is sexually harassed.  

It isn't true, it isn't even remotely similar, and it deflects and directs attentiion away from real victims.    

Pondering

fortunate wrote:

What we are saying is that abolitionists refuse to listen to sex workers, or accept that prostitution is not violence against women.  It diminishes real violence against women by suggesting that sex between men and women is inherently violent, and links it where it doesn't belong.   It diminishes those who are actually assaulted and/or sexually assaulted by saying that adule consensual sex workers are by definition victims the same as a college student is date raped, or an RCMP recruit is sexually harassed.  

It isn't true, it isn't even remotely similar, and it deflects and directs attentiion away from real victims.    

And you have every right to make those claims and present your arguments to that effect. I disagree with you but I won't present that argument again here.

My sole point is that feminists shouldn't be personally attacked for their views. This is far from limited to the topic of prostitution. I have an example to present at some other time which I will do but there are way too many conversations for me to keep up with. 

And yes, this does extend to personal attacks against feminist sex worker advocates too which I admit I have been guilty of. 

MegB

Like most complex issues that people are passionate about - choice, sex work, prostitution - I'm ambivalent. Not through lack of caring but because I can understand multiple viewpoints without subscribing to any particular one. There are many many issues that I find simple enough that I can feel unambiguously passionate about, the no-brainers like reproductive choice, tar sands, pipelines, climate change, etc. but even within the pro-choice movement there are people who are against abortion for various reasons, but they passionately support choice. I'm one of those people. I feel passionately about the prevention of violence against women, about the sexual exploitation of vulnerable women, but I do feel that women who make a choice, a real choice and not one driven by addiction or mental health issues, to make their living in the sex trade deserve to have the same legislated labour protections that people working in any other sector have.

fortunate

Rebecca West wrote:

 

Like most complex issues that people are passionate about - choice, sex work, prostitution - I'm ambivalent. Not through lack of caring but because I can understand multiple viewpoints without subscribing to any particular one. There are many many issues that I find simple enough that I can feel unambiguously passionate about, the no-brainers like reproductive choice, tar sands, pipelines, climate change, etc. but even within the pro-choice movement there are people who are against abortion for various reasons, but they passionately support choice. I'm one of those people. I feel passionately about the prevention of violence against women, about the sexual exploitation of vulnerable women, but I do feel that women who make a choice, a real choice and not one driven by addiction or mental health issues, to make their living in the sex trade deserve to have the same legislated labour protections that people working in any other sector have.

 

In an article i think in the Georgia Straight, there was a great comment by someone who works in health care, and sees street workers, and street people in general.   She had a harm reduction approach, and among other things, suggested free heroin be dispensed.  If you take away the need for money for the addiction, rather than simply trying to take away the choice addicts make to do sex work for their addiction, you do go a long way to addressing that particular issue of when is choice not a choice.  The anti sex work approach is to try to take away the legal income for the addict, without dealing with the real problem: the addiction.   This in turn will likely turn her into an actual criminal, stealing to get money for the drug.    

 

 

Pondering

fortunate wrote:
In an article i think in the Georgia Straight, there was a great comment by someone who works in health care, and sees street workers, and street people in general.   She had a harm reduction approach, and among other things, suggested free heroin be dispensed.

I couldn't agree more. That alone would take a lot of women off the street or at least reduce their presence there.