Prostitution, Doublespeak and YXXX

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Prostitution, Doublespeak and YXXX

"Right to work" frames opponents as being anti-worker and yet we know the reverse is true.  Giving this "right" to workers is a subversive means of reducing worker rights not defending them.

Likewise, terminology is being used subversively to attack abolitionists, sanitize prostitution, and confuse debate.  I'd like to discuss examples of doublespeak or semantics that are being used to obscure the reality of prostitution and tarnish its opponents.

I'll put my first example in my second post of the thread.


 Why YXXX suffix?

 Months ago I tried to have a thread on

While it was eventually grudgingly acknowledged that we could defend the Nordic Model, which is an abolitionist path, I realized the topic was just too broad and misunderstood for one thread. The arguments were circular.  At one point a poster managed to establish that legalization did not lead to increased security for prostitutes but it was overlooked. 

In the Canadian Politics section the number of repetitious threads has been reduced by pooling discussions under logical topic headings rather than having threads started for each article or event that comes up.  That gave me the idea of isolating arguments concerning prostitution.

The topic resonates with me on a personal level  but I don't plan on posting often so I want to make sure I can find the threads again whenever I pop in.  Adding YXXX will help me do that and help anyone else who wants to find my pro-abolitionist threads.  If anyone else wants to use the suffix to identify pro-abolitionist threads I'm happy to share. 


Example 1:  "Sex-positive feminism"

 "Sex-positive feminism" is doublespeak  just  like "right to work" .   Language is being used as a weapon against the group it purports to defend.

 The construction sex-positive "feminism"  conceals the fact that sex positive really means sex-trade positive .

 It is an updated version of the accusation that feminists are man-hating by framing everyone who isn't  sex-trade-positive  as anti-sex not just anti-prostitution.


I'm been reading various articles and found some of what was written concerning the Nordic model thoughtful and apparently feminist based.

The Nordic model is the only model that actually works. ‘Duh,’ says Sweden

since this is not my area of knowledge I'm taking time to read about various models and how they do operate when put into practice: pros and cons. So a model may sound good on paper but in real life it may well play out quite differently which it appears (unless the facts are wrong) with the "labour model".


in link above

Julie Bindel points out that the only thing the Dutch government’s 12 year experiment with legalization succeeded in doing was to increase the market. The illusory labour-based approach, put forth by confused lefties, wherein prostitution is imagined to be “a job like any other” hasn’t worked either:

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.

Under the “labour” model, assault and rape is no longer violence against women, but “an ‘occupational hazard’, like a stone dropped on a builder’s toe,” Bindel writes. There’s simply no reason for police to charge men for doing something they feel they are legally entitled to do. Without reeducation and training, which is a key aspect of the Nordic model, the police are unlikely to change their attitudes towards marginalized women, prostituted women, and, more generally, with regard to women’s human rights.

Those who argue that prostitution is dangerous due to “stigma” turned out to be wrong too, as Bindel reports: “Only 5 per cent of the women registered for taxation, because no one wants to be known as a whore — however legal it may be.” The stigma remains, as does the exploitation.

In 2009, the police had to shut down a large number of brothels in Amsterdam’s red-light districts due to organized crime having taken over.

Under legalization, trafficking increased, organized crime moved in, and women have continued to be abused and degraded. Is this the “liberation” we’re looking for?


I believe the Dutch model (also in Germany) initially seemed successful, but there are so many (cheaper)trafficked people in the sex trade that the model there has fallen apart.


Thank-you Jan, both for the link and the open mind.

quizzical wrote:
Under the “labour” model, assault and rape is no longer violence against women, but “an ‘occupational hazard’, like a stone dropped on a builder’s toe,” Bindel writes.

This is exactly the sort of thing I was getting at.  Re-framing prostitution as a job like any other conceals the true nature of prostitution.

Why prostitution is not a job like any other (aside from the risk of violence) is going on my topic list.  I have lots of ideas for individual threads.  Eventually I’d like to explore the intersection between racism and prostitution with an emphasis on the aboriginal women of Canada. I'll wait and see if it's possible to have thread stay one topic.


Decriminalization versus Legalization

An example of confusion and misdirection is arguing the terminology of decriminalization versus legalization.

By definition to decriminalize means to make legal, or less illegal.  

Debating the semantics of decriminalizing versus legalizing can be used to disrupt debate rather than clarifying or contrasting the various laws that apply to prostitution in different countries.

Ironically it is Sweden that has decriminalized prostitutes and has resisted legalizing prostitution. New Zealand has legalized prostitution.  It is fully legal and regulated by law.

Ultimately the terminology is semantics. The important thing is that people understand the issues surrounding various systems of prostitution and how the different types of prostitution are impacted. 


Double post


Sorry folks, I will get the hang of posting and not edit so much.I'm still exploring the interface.

Sex worker versus prostitute

Recent efforts to frame prostitution as “sex work” are strongly connected to this push to completely decriminalize the industry. And while some might argue that the term “prostitution” is outdated and disrespects the women in trade (as Sarah Ratchford did in her recent VICE article), according to some prostitution survivors and feminist organizations, the terms "sex work" and "sex worker" are disrespectful and offensive for a myriad of reasons.

Sometimes framed as a politically correct approach, the language of “sex work” and the discourse surrounding it has been adopted by some as a way to normalize and sanitize the sex industry—while also, many claim, erasing the exploitative aspects that are inherent to prostitution.


And another perspective:

Bridget Perrier is an Aboriginal woman who was prostituted on the streets and in brothels across Canada from the age of 12. She managed to exit the trade and is now co-founder and First Nations educator at Sextrade 101, an organization led by sex trade survivors that aims to abolish prostitution. “To me the terms ‘sex work’ and ‘sex worker’ are both very offensive because of my own experience as a sexually exploited child,” she told me over email.

Rachel Moran, an author and prostitution survivor, agrees. She told me she hates those more politically correct terms because they were “lies.”

“They are deliberately constructed in order to conceal a truth that I was living every day,” she told me. “I hated what I was doing. I hated every moment of it. But I absolutely despised lying about it.”

Pasted from <>


I think people who prefer to use the term sex worker should do so but they don’t have the right to silence practitioners or survivors who prefer to use the more specific term. In the past feminists have been accused of focusing on middle class white woman issues.

In this debate the voices of the oppressed are again being silenced by those with louder voices and a financial stake in sacrificing them. I don't blame aboriginal women for interpreting this as a continuation of colonization in the most brutal way.



Topic locked