Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Listen to the White Guy Complaining about a New Law Intending To Criminalise Men Pimping and Procuring Women in Prostitution

Picture of Thierry Schaffauser

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Thierry Schaffauser is a sex worker and president of the GMB- IUSW, Adult Entertainment branch

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This privileged white guy is pissing me off. All week I've been actively supporting someone who is NOT a man, who WAS a prostitute, who has MAJOR PTSD, and is revisited OFTEN by horrific memories of being tortured and abused in other ways, whose body sometimes bleeds when the PTSD is particularly intense. I am a white gay man, like Thierry, who was in motel rooms with a guy who bobbed my head up and down on his dick (holding my head in his hands), as if it were a thing, not connected to me, a whole person. HE treated me like a thing, not radical feminists who are critical of men who treat people like sexxx-things. And I didn't get paid. And getting paid wouldn't have made that experience of being used as a fuck-thing any "better".

Good for Thierry that HE feels fine about prostitution. HE isn't part of the population of people who most suffer from prostitution: poor women and children who are disproportionately Asian and otherwise of color, and who are not in view of or known by him. I'm so fucking sick of white class- and education-privileged folks speaking out FOR "sex work". First, y'all get to do it. No one is stopping you. Pimps are applauding you speaking out against radical feminists as if THEY, not PIMPS and PROCURERS are THE problem population for prostitutes; pimps beat up prostitutes, radical feminists don't; procurers rape and kill prostitutes; radical feminists don't. Second, please hold yourself to account to those who suffer most, to those with the least privileges, to those who are most silenced by prostitution before speaking out for something that is misogynistic and often racist to the core. Thierry has traveled Europe and met up with other relatively privileged folks to co-write a book about empowering sex work entitled, Fières d’être putes, or "Proud To Be Wh*res" (or "Sl*ts" or "B*tches" depending on the translation and context). While his perspective is, thankfully, against pimps controlling "sex workers" he fails to make himself accountable or to hear the concerns of those without his racist patriarchal privileges, with whom he hasn't made contact, such as the girls and women of Apne Aap.

I expect little to no compassionate or outrage about the horrendous and debilitating harm done to millions of people globally, who are largely out of view and out of earshot to those of us in the white West who want our "rights to sell our bodies to men".  I expect all mainstream media to take the point of view Thierry takes. And I'm pissed as hell that he gets to have a voice in The Guardian, when millions of children sold into slavery, and millions of women being trafficked globally, and millions of women in systems of prostitution who are trapped there, DO NOT GET TO SPEAK OUT in The Guardian, or practically anywhere else.The Guardian is pro-status quo. That means it will not promote actions which challenge foundational power relations in society. It will promote pimping more than it will promote radical feminism.

Before considering his perspective, let's have a look at the law he is so perturbed by, which may be found *here* or read below.

Part 2 Sexual offences and sex establishments

Prostitution

14 Paying for sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force etc: England and Wales Show EN

After section 53 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (c. 42) insert—
53A Paying for sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force etc.
(1) A person (A) commits an offence if—
(a) A makes or promises payment for the sexual services of a prostitute (B),
(b) a third person (C) has engaged in exploitative conduct of a kind likely to induce or encourage B to provide the sexual services for which A has made or promised payment, and
(c) C engaged in that conduct for or in the expectation of gain for C or another person (apart from A or B).
(2) The following are irrelevant—
(a) where in the world the sexual services are to be provided and whether those services are provided,
(b) whether A is, or ought to be, aware that C has engaged in exploitative conduct.
(3) C engages in exploitative conduct if—
(a) C uses force, threats (whether or not relating to violence) or any other form of coercion, or
(b) C practises any form of deception.
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

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 [image of Thierry Schaffauser is from here]

Note: The beginning of this next section was revised by me on 15 April 2010 ECD.

It is my contention that this is NOT REPRESENTATIVE for what a "sex worker" looks like because HE's privileged enough to be termed a "callboy" and not "a fucking wh*re b*tch who deserves whatever she gets including gang-raped" by "gentlemen" callers, generally. Disproportionately, what people in systems of prostitution look like is exactly  what most human beings look like: they are female, poor, and of color. Unlike the broader human population though, those inside those systems of exploitation are young as in "underage". Thierry is none of those: he's quite white, quite male, not poor, not living in the "Third World", and he's not quite underage. So who appointed him spokesperson?

What follows is from *here* at The Guardian.com. [What is in brackets and bold was added and is written by me, Julian.]

Not all sex workers are victims [no shit, Thierry, but what the fuck do you know about those in Asia and elsewhere, who are not in your view or consciousness, who ARE victimised? And what does your public commentary do for them?! It's a stupid thing to say: like, "Not all men are rapists" or "Not all whites are neo-Nazis" or "Not all Black children are poor". These sorts of "framing" statements are designed to take the focus off this: White male supremacists exist, uses force to maintain institutions and practices which keep white male supremacy a dominant atrociously ENACTED ideology, and don't want anyone challenging white men's rights (wrongs) to exploit women of all colors and men of color.

Why isn't your title:

WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE TRAUMATISED, HARMED, AND VICTIMISED BY PIMPS AND PROCURERS in many egregious ways. What are we going to do about THAT human rights violation? 

 You get, I hope, how THAT title frames up the conversation on the social politics of reality, not on liberal-individualistic argumentation designed to deflect the reader from knowing much about that reality.]

New laws on prostitution are sexist – being paid for sex does not objectify me any more than working in a low wage job did [it's not about YOU, whitedood. It's about systems of harm and exploitation that require the rape and murder, battery and gross sexual assault, of millions of women and children in order to exist... for YOU to be able to write this CRAP. For those systems to exist, for pimps to pimp and for procurers to procure, rape and other means of subordinating women to men must happen systematically. Male supremacy, white heterosexual male supremacy, specifically, is strengthened, not weakened, by all prostitution and trafficking. The issue is global and political, not about YOU and how silenced YOU feel by ex-prostituted women fighting for women's human rights!]
On the 1 April 2010, the Policing and Crime Act became effective. We are facing not a feminist measure, but an ideology that sees women as unable to be sexually independent and free of their own actions. Anti-sex-worker laws are sexist. They are essentialist, paternalist and reinforce the division of women. [No, dickwad. Pimps and other racist patriarchs are sexist, essentialist, paternalistic, and reinforce the division of women!]

It is an essentialist conception to consider sex work as always a violence whatever the period, the place, or the conditions. [Way to be abstract, fool.] Sex workers are often seen only as women when many men and transsexual people are also working, and women are always seen as victims by essence. [That's a load of CRAP. Women are subordinated systematically, by systems of harm ruled by men who WANT women to be submissive to them and available to men 24/7.] All acts of violence against a sex worker are thus analysed as intrinsically the result of sex work itself and not the conditions in which sex work is exercised. [What the fuck do you know about what's happening to women around the world, whiteboy?]

It stops the real violence that exists in the sex industry being visible. [The real violence of gross sexxxual exploitation? The real violence of women being bought and sold by men for men's profit and pleasure? The real violence of women being raped because men assume women are FOR men, FOR subjugation, use, and assault?] We are told that we must stop sex work to avoid this violence. [Some feminists are suggesting that the systems are, by design, harmful, and the practices they mandate are part of that harm.] If we refuse, we become accomplices of the patriarchal system. We are accused of being responsible for maintaining an industry that harms women. [No. You, whiteboy, are speaking out about a system of exploitation in which your privileges protect you from a whole fucking hell of a lot of abuse and lack of liberty that you cannot imagine because YOU are white and a man!]

Yet bell hooks warned feminists of the dangers of a "shared victimisation" sisterhood. [Stop with the racist appropriation of bell hooks' writings!] A victim's status for women reduce them to beings who must be protected. [The problem, fuckhead, is that patriarchal violence EXISTS and harms WOMEN disproportionately and specifically. The problem is that pimps and other patriarchs victimise women and reduce them to being s who must be assaulted. In case you haven't noticed, nobody's protecting women!] It participates in the denial of their capacities. It denies sex workers the free disposal of our bodies, [free disposal of your body? Are you putting it in the trash without incurring cost for getting rid of it?] our self-determination, [YOUR self-determination; you have no fucking business speaking for women of color or white women, globally. Speak for yourself, whiteboy] our capacity to express our sexual consent like children under 16. [Do you realise that most people being sold into slavery, being trafficked within systems of gross sexxxual exploitation, and most of those human beings entering systems of prostitution are UNDER age 16??? And do you REALLY think prostitution is GOOD for Queer Youth?!] It reinforces the idea that sex workers are too stupid, lazy, without any skills, and without consciousness of their alienation. [I think you're too privileged to be accountable to those you harm by writing CRAP like this and getting it published by a racist coloniser country's mass media.]

Many anti-sex-workers' rights activists think that rape is the conditioning to becoming a sex worker. [No. First, they aren't "anti-sex workers' rights activists". They ARE human rights activists who value women as human beings who ought not be made or expected to exist to be sexual service stations for men--as London-based feminist Jennifer Drew says. They ARE people who realise that rape is part of what's in store for any woman and all women, as long as patriarchal systems of gross exploitation of women for men exist] These claims about rape in our childhood or Stockholm syndrome are used to de-legitimate political attempts to be recognised as experts on our lives and to confiscate our voice. [Again, speak for your own whiteboy self. How dare you pretend to speak for poor women of color globally who you don't give a shit about, or even know about?] How could we say that a victim of rape has lost her capacity to express her consent because she is traumatised for life? We never say that for other people. [Nor do "we" say that here, fool. Stop making shit up that sounds like feminists are ridiculous. Pimp-theory is ridiculous: why aren't you critiquing THAT and THEM?]

Another paternalistic way to deny our voice is to claim that we are manipulated by pimps. [Anyone who is manipulated by a pimp IS manipulated by a pimp, right? And what percent of girls and women in prostitution don't have pimps?] It is a common accusation since the beginning of our movement in 1975. [That pimps manipulate women? Yes, that's a true statement: pimps manipulate those they control. Yes, they do. Accept it.] This strategy has been used against many groups. For instance women were accused of being manipulated by the church to be deprived their right to vote. [Huh? Pimps AND the Church are trying and are often succeeding at depriving women of the basic human rights.]

Instead of fighting the "whore stigma", middle-class feminists prefer to distance themselves from it, and by doing so reinforce it and exclude those who incarnate this identity. [And your class and education background is what, Thierry? And most girls and women in prostitution enter it from a place of poverty, yes? And most of the pro-sex work people are white and education privileged, yes?] This participates in the segregation between women. [MEN's institutionalised racism, classism, misogyny, and heterosexism participates in the separation of women, fool.] This may be a form of internalised sexism by other women who think female sex workers give them a bad name. [The women I know who are fighting against pimps and procurers WERE prostitutes, you callous, ignorant fuck.] According to some anti-sex-workers' rights activists, sex workers maintain the idea that men can own women's bodies. [No. Some feminists make the shocking but true point that far too many men believe they have a whitemale GOD-given right to possess women's bodies, and every other aspect of women's existence and being. Those feminists are right about that, not that you'd know] Sex workers are told that they create a sexual pressure on the whole women class. ["Sex workers" are told to suck dick and be fucked vaginally and anally without a condom, not by feminists, but by pimps and procuring MEN. We live in a het male supremacist society, Thierry, not a radical feminist supremacist society. But you'd never know that from your manipulative, deceitful, and antifeminist writing style.]

On the contrary, I think that it is by using expressions such as "selling your body" that we reinforce the idea of sex workers being owned and women as objects, while sex workers try to impose the term the "sale of sexual services" between two adult subjects. How can we talk about the ownership of our bodies when we are on the contrary those who impose their conditions? Isn't it an excuse not to question their own sexuality? [Your focus on the problem of "ideas" is stagnantly liberal and utterly without heart or recognition for what MOST women endure who are in systems of prostitution, trafficking, and sexual slavery, which overlap more than you'd be willing to state in the Guardian.]

Being penetrated doesn't mean that I give my body. Being paid for sex doesn't make me more of an object than when I was working for the minimum wage. [It does mean you have to wipe semen off your face, be called degrading terms, and get STDs against your will. It does mean being at risk for getting raped and sexually harassed every day you work, without legal recourse, unlike at that minimum wage job.] What makes me an object is political discourses that silence me, criminalise my sexual partners against my will, refuse me equal rights as a worker and citizen, and refuse to acknowledge my self-determination and the words I use to describe myself. [Classic liberalism: you, whiteboy, are more silenced by "discourse" than women are by pimps and other patriarchs who beat, rape, and kill women. Killing women silences them, in case you didn't know. And that's far more silent than feminist discourse will EVER make YOU! Your understanding of self-determination is selfish, self-centered, individualistic, and woefully callous to the conditions and injuries most women in systems of prostitution and trafficking and slavery endure or don't live to speak about.]

*          *          *

Here are a couple of the comments from that website that speak to what's fucked up about what Thierry is saying above. Mostly it's just a silly conversation about how individuals should get to do whatever they want with their bodies. As if women can not shave at all, be any size and any color, have any shaped nose (and every other "part") and be totally socially acceptable to the ruling classes.

MilesSmiles

14 Apr 2010, 11:31AM

And a black guy being paid to star in a racially degrading movie isn't objectified at all and does nothing wrong. No other black people should mind at all.
See how that works?
Get it into your head: it's not all about you.

littlevigilante

14 Apr 2010, 11:46AM
Contributor Contributor
This is one of the worst-constructed pieces of writing I've seen on thHeris site lately. Not to mention the disgusting co-option of bell hooks, who, by the way, insisted that her taken authorial name not be capitalised - it should be written 'bell hooks'. (Cif eds, can you please change this?)

[Julian's Pro-Patriarchal Atrocity Award goes to this one, for most ignorant comment about how patriarchal systems of oppression operate:]

BeeStrikeMan

14 Apr 2010, 11:59AM

A very good article. People are very odd about sex.
It is understandable that sex has become such a political issue, considering the hardwired/historical/social significance of sex. All societies try to police and control sexual activities and expression, usually with relatively little success. Very often, the reasons for doing so are also incoherent.
However, the bottom line is that your body is your body. Do what you want with it.

*          *          *
Here is my posted reply to him, on The Guardian website:

julian

15 Apr 2010, 1:23AM

How accountable is Thierry to the millions of girls and women in Asia who are in systems of prostitution? Does he communicate with the girls and women in Apne Aap? How many of those prostitutes did he speak to before spouting off about how it is feminists who silence him, not pimps who silence women in systems of prostitution? He has some nerve pretending he speaks for all people in systems of sexual exploitation and harm. Some damn nerve.

Read this for more critique of his irresponsible commentary:
http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/2010/04/listen-to-white-guy-complaining-about.html

3 comments:

samberg said...

Thanks for taking the time, Julian.

Most interesting to me are the reactions to bell hooks' request about how she would like to be credited.

Men who mock a woman's simple request to respect her self-definition with "Bell Hooks Bell Hooks Bell Hooks! you can't make me stop!" are not men who can possibly treat prostitutes with respect. Women say please, men respond with I WILL ADDRESS YOU HOWEVER I WANT BITCH, and this man Thierry blames feminists for men disrespecting prostituted women to death.

Julian Real said...

Hey Sam!

THANK YOU!!!!

These white male supremacist dickheads and their little pathetic anti-reality liberal minds can't "get it" EVER. Because, well, they don't want to get it because it's not in THEIR interests to get it.

JENNIFER DREW said...

Oh poor victimised Thierry Schaffauser whining about UK's legislation criminalising 'poor men' (sic) who seek out prostituted women in order to rape and commit other forms of sexual violence. Never mind Schaffauser UK legislation does not criminalise all Johns unfortunately, only those Johns who unwittingly seek out prostituted women who are controlled by male pimps.

Schaffauser you have no idea or even desire to understand what prostitution does to the women and girls who have to be men's sexual service stations because horrors - men will die if they can't get their regular fix of sexual access to women and girls 24/7.

Schaffauser - it is not about you and your 'rights' - you are white and male both of which automatically accord you more power and respect that any woman or girl. Also Schaffauser you are not a sex worker you are a pimp and pro-prostitution apologist.

The crucial issue is the right for all women and girls not to be reduced to men's sexual service stations. The right for all women and girls to be seen and accorded human status.

Prostitution was created by and for white men - and UK's legislation whilst it does not criminalise all Johns unlike Sweden, is a step in the right direction. Anti-prostitution UK feminists will not rest until the UK criminalises all Johns who attempt to buy prostituted women and girls. Even then we will not be satisfied until adequate services are put in place assisting women and girls to exit prostituton. Not forgetting the ones who should be shamed and named are the Johns, pimps, brothel owners, multi-national corporations and governments all of which benefit financially literally off the backs of women and girls involved in prostitution.

Prostitution is male sexual violence against women and it is never 'sex work.' That is a euphemism created by the sex industry and its brother pornography.