More on prostitution & consent

// 19 March 2008

Twisty is back (and perhaps out of hiatus?) with an excellent interjection on the nature of the debate around the legalisation of prostitution, which also touches on wider issues of women’s ability to fully consent to sex with men:

These well-meaning but misguided gals complain that the eradicate-prostitution position is patronizing because it presumes that women are “incapable,” as Caitlain puts it, of making decisions pertaining to the disposition of our own body parts. I am happy to report that the eradicate-prostitution position does nothing of the sort. No sane radical feminist could possibly support the assertion that women are “incapable” of making decisions; we are merely prevented by an oppressive social order from exercising our capability to its fullest extent.

I suspect that the rampant willingness among young feminists to deny this grim truth stems from the wholly untenable position into which it thrusts’em. They’re young, they’re fit, they wanna boink; who can blame them if they just aren’t ready to accept that nothing short of an exhaustive, uncompromising overthrow of the social order will put them in complete control of their own selves?

I’ve said it before and I’ll again: patriarchy isn’t some vague intellectual conceit invented by radical feminists to pass the time in between trips to the Birkenstock store. It’s an actual humanitarian crisis, and it has actual consequences, even for you, even if you say it doesn’t.

Comments From You

Jennifer // Posted 19 March 2008 at 4:55 pm

Twisty is brilliant and I love how clearly she puts her arguements. She also has a way of putting into words things that I find difficult to get out of my own head and onto paper. I have much admiration for her.

However – I really hate the snippy comments that always go on in her comment sections that are directed at other feminists. I don’t particularly agree with many aspects of “sex-positive” feminisim but I think it is incredibly insulting to say that those feminists haven’t thought it through or are just stupid (and also incredibly egotisitcal to be so damn certain that nobody else has anything to say that is worth listening too). It is also terribly devisive. Shouldn’t we be discussing opposing viewpoints rather than bitching behind one anothers backs? And aren’t we all united by a common goal?

Cat // Posted 20 March 2008 at 11:11 am

I agree with you Jennifer, and I find the term “sex-positive” very odd.

What’s positive about feigning sexual pleasure you don’t feel in order to turn someone one, because they will give you money to do so?

The inference that anyone who doens’t support prostitution, lap-dancing, pornography etc is “sex-negative” is odd.

I believe in sexual pleasure, with consent, for reasons of desire not poverty, is that negative?

Caitlain // Posted 21 March 2008 at 6:50 am

Twisty obviously doesn’t recognize the dichotomy of her own position here. She asserts that a woman cannot “freely consent” to anything (including allowing someone to use her body as a prostitute) because of “patriarchal oppression.” However, if you tried to use that “oppression” as a justification for denying women the right to choose to have an abortion (saying that they can’t really consent, since they’re oppressed), she’d go ape-shit on them and berate them for taking away the woman’s right to choose (which she, theoretically at least, would be doing under the oppression to begin with, which she says is bad, etc., etc., etc.).

You either are oppressed or you aren’t. And women are either free to make their own decisions or they aren’t. You can’t have it both ways.

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