Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Climb back in your tomb....

My little eyes glanced across this piece of writing yesterday, to which I feel duty bound as a women to comment on. It did take me a little bit of time to calm down, hence the delay. I am also not supposed to smoke in my office anymore, but I feel I may have to light a cigarette for the calming properties as I type....

So, anyway, Dr Infinite throws the London Paper down on the pub table, and the story says the killer may be "losing control". "Oh, d'you think? He's killed five people, for fuck's sake!" Yep, he's about to lose the shackles of civilisation and do something crazy. The misogynistic, prurient bile is not as salient as it once was, but it persists: prostitutes being described seriously as "vice girls" is one instance. And I don't want to be sanctimonious, but some of the contrived 'sick humour' going around (which I'm not about to republish), is another. And this insight into the psychology the killer brings you the expertise of Dr Ian Stephen who says:

"My worry is that his perception of women will change and he will see any woman who's out on the street at night on their own as a prostitute."

Oh, you mean he might start killing real people, then?

No, I don't think that's what he said, sugarlips. The point he may have been making, and which I certainly took from it, was that the killer has been killing prostitutes which I think you'll agree, reflects a certain pattern. Hence a woman walking on her own at night might be in more danger if she is considered to be a prostitute, than if not. Nothing to do with being 'real people'. Did Santa not bring you a plane to even out that chip on your shoulder?

For fuck's sake. Aside from the sinister implications of that offhand statement, there is the pointmissingness of it. Without getting into the crimmo psychology, the attack on these women isn't just an attack on prostitutes but is an act of violence against women as such.

erm, no. It's an attack on prostitutes pretty much.

Based on a bit of common sense and what the experts say, it looks as if the decision to target prostitutes reflects a) the choice of an 'acceptable' target for male rage

I think I would subsitute 'acceptable' for 'easier'. These are women who are out on their own late at night and who regularly get into cars with strangers, and consequently people don't always know where they are, who they are with or when they are due back.

and b) the attempt to discipline femininity, as in Thou Shalt Not.

So prostitutes in trousers would be okay? Glib, sorry. There may be an element of 'cleansing' I'll agree, especially since two of the victims were found in water. However, that could have been a clever way of removing evidence. I still think the easier target is the crucial part in all this.

Salma Yaqoob pointed out a while back on Question Time that the issue of prostitution is fundamentally one about the commodification of women, and the already implicit violence in that process (which is an extension of the logic of the commodification of labour, which is underwritten by the implicit violence of the state).

There is a certain 'buying and selling' aspect of prostitution, yes. But it's more of a 'hire' than 'own' aspect. I'm afraid you've lost me on the last bit, though. The implicit violence of the state? I guess the left ideal of the state is a body which forces people to do what they don't want to do, but if you don't like that idea, maybe you should embrace libertarianism?

It is a form of sexual slavery,

The Oxford English Dictionary says that a slave is:

One who is the property of, and entirely subject to, another person, whether by capture, purchase, or birth; a servant completely divested of freedom and personal rights.

So, not like prostitution, then, where people actually decide if, when and what they want to do. And get paid for it.

and not only because the vast preponderance of those who get involved start as children,

For fucks sake, do you have any evidence to prove that, or are you just writing any old bollocks? I think the majority of men who use prostitutes would rather not have a child, but a female who is a willing bedfellow and who knows what she is doing.

and are usually addicts to boot.

Very possibly. Also possibly a reason why they are in prostitution.

Even where the motive is pecuniary, you cannot seriously claim that people working in that trade are free.
you'd be right: From what I hear they are very expensive! I think I may rather need to emphasise again that many prositutes are not forced into it through violence.

That would be to take the bourgeois ideology of 'free labour' to an absurd conclusion - reductio ad absurdum, in fact.

fuck me hard. what?

The fact that the demand for prostitution is increasing tells us something about the parlous condition of gender relations in this country. The growing number of clubs like Spearmint Rhino opening up across the UK, the 1990s spurt in 'lads mags', the sexualisation of especially young girls in popular culture - all are an expression, through market transactions, of the oppression of women, of the massive, fundamental and daily material disadvantages that women face in this society.

Am, personally not a huge fan of titty joints, but I can understand why some men wish to pay money to, erm, see the money shot? And the pay is another reason why I understand that many women do it. Dance around a poll for a bit, exploiting the basic characteristics and desires of men? Whatever floats your boat, m'dear. I don't really see why this is the oppression of women, though, as they seem to walk away with the money. If they can still feel dignified and content doing what they do, then who are you to pass such harsh judgement and treat them as though they are victims? I suspect these dancers would probably laugh at you if you said that to them.

It isn't only the 30% pay cut you take for being a woman;

It's not even that, considering that that statement is a complete pile of shite. Payroll departments don't sit there going through who gets paid what and automatically deduct 30% for any female employees. If women get paid less (and I think you will find that the pay gap starts to show in later years) it's because women take a career break to have children, and thus if they aren't in work for the same length of time as male colleagues, and have less experience, then it's understandable they get paid less.

it isn't only the specific way in which 'labour flexibility' (the massive growth in part time, low paid, temporary work) and cuts to benefits affect women in particular;
normally taken up by women because they want to fit work in around their other commitments, such as their families.

it isn't only the huge burden of domestic labour.

I hope you are typing this with one hand, whilst at the same time doing the ironing...

These do explain in part why women are driven into sexual slavery,

No, they just show your complete lack of understanding and inability to grasp different points of view to your own

and into being objects of fantasy for young male consumers,

Sorry - are you saying that it's a bad thing for a woman to be considered attractive by men? Would rather halt the continuation of the human race if men and women didn't fancy each other, no?

but they are also expressions of something more fundamental. The social relations between men and women, rooted in a traditional family structure that is under real stress, condition every other relationship between them (between us, not to leave myself out of the picture). The family unit has been the chief way in which the reproduction of labour has been guaranteed under industrial capitalism.

Am I imagining it, or are you talking crap again?

The woman's subordinate role in the household and in society has ensured that the exploited male worker can go home from an exhausting, brain-numbing day, and have time to recuperate in a small, controlled environment in which he can consider himself the boss.

Speak for yourself, chappie! Just shown that to my mother who laughed her hollow laugh, as she told my father he was cooking the dinner tonight. The boss? I don't think so! In most marriages, a husband and wife consider themselves a 'partnership'. The work of both, whether the wife or husband stays at home, are very important. Being a housewife is not degrading in any way! Why should people not be able to choose what they do with their time, so long as they can afford to do so and do not harm others in the process?

By the way, have you ever been in a relationship before?

However, the breakdown of that structure, partially a result of real advances made by women, and partially the result of social atomisation and a disinclination of populations in late capitalist society to sustain these forms of comity, has not come about in a way that frees women. On the contrary, the entry of women into the labour market has, as noted, seen the reproduction of traditional structures of oppression through the market.

No. You're wrong. The entry of women into the labour market has seen an emancipation of women which is embraced by the majority of society. If women felt that they were not as well paid, respected or important as men in their jobs, then they wouldn't stay there. The advantage of market forces, you see. I love working. I am not treated any differently because I am a woman, except when my colleagues bring me in dairy milk once a month. I am not paid less for doing the same work. I am not treated like a skivvy.

This is global. It is emphatically not simply a matter of crazy fundamentalists, although conservative religious doctrine is an enabling factor. Only a short while ago, we had the spectacle of a man shooting up Amish schoolgirls, nominally because of a 20-year-old grudge. It wasn't so long ago that a man in Staten Island engaged in a custody dispute decided not only to kill the spouse with whom he was battling in the courts, but also another women with whom he had fathered a child. Just because.

Are you saying this man encapsulates all men? I agree that there are elements in religion which repress women - indeed it is a major reason why I am an athiest, but surely you can see that even in these religions nowadays, those stigmas are dying away because of globalisation and greater awareness?

The response of the father of one victim was to decry on national television the encroachment of liberals, the breakdown of Christianity, the anti-family agenda, and all the rest of it. This conservative reaction to murderous women-hatred was to insist that a return to traditional, 'organic' modes of oppression would protect women, which is structurally homologous to how religious conservatives in Afghanistan react when confronted with the rape of women there.

That is one man's view. And he could very well have a point that the breakdown of certain elements encouraged in religion such as 'thou shalt not kill' or 'love thy neighbour' may be a reason why people do have less respect towards each other. However, I don't think you can really link up a religion such as Christianity encouraging a family unit, where children are brought up by two parents in a loving environment, to a completely outrageous and unacceptable rule of law by another element of another religion.

And of course imperialism brings no liberation, at the very least because practically every imperialist adventure involves a massive escalation of sexual slavety,(sic) often child sex rings, whether in Bosnia or Kosovo or Haiti or elsewhere.

I suspect that these things are normally exploited by the nationals of that country / region and where is your evidence that this only happens under 'imperialism'? And where was the imperialism in Bosnia? Or Kosovo? Or Haiti?

The American military is sustained wherever it goes by the deliberate enslavement of women.

What completely incorrect and offensive shite. How do you manage it? I suppose it must be a talent of some form, but I can't quite find a use for it. What absolute fucking nonsense you are writing. Do you walk round in circles, since that chip on your shoulder is so pronounced it must affect your balance somehow. Some of us, it seems, are still fighting the cold war! Down with America! Why? erm...because! Because their style of government and commerce is more successful than nutty old communism? Green doesn't suit you, my dear.

More fundamentally, it is because US imperialism wants to reproduce and intensify the structures which sustain the oppression of women.
like freeing up women from the Taliban? Where is the oppression of women in America? Look at the Republican party - one of the most popular figures there is a black woman. And the Democrats - I think there is large support for Hillary Clinton, another woman!

The oppression of women, as I've tried to indicate, illuminates and intersects with every other axis of oppression and exploitation in society. And since prostitution, as an aspect of that oppression, is itself a type of commodified labour, the response should at least in part be to show solidarity with a vulnerable group of workers, to demand that they be protected by the law, not criminalised. It is outrageous that the police are begging for information but have not as yet offered any form of immunity from prosecution to sex workers who come forward.

They have, actually

The English Collective of Prostitutes is demanding an amnesty, and we as socialists should support that as a minimum. If you want to catch this bastard, stop criminalising his victims.
I, as a libertarian, am calling for that.

And more generally, legalise prostitution, recognise fully the unions formed by sex workers, and outlaw Page 3.

So women can get paid to have sex, but they can't get paid to show their breasts in a newspaper? hmmm, having trouble seeing how you reached that conclusion. I agree to a certain extent, the second I don't so much but that is because I am not a fan of unions, but why would you outlaw Page 3? Do you find breasts offensive?

I find you quite offensive, but I am not trying to outlaw you.

I hope that's not too obtuse.

Obtuse? I'm afraid so.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic fisking, but then it was just crying out for it.

The problem is that lefties cannot accept that some people are warped, evil or otherwise anti social. They are desperate to blame everything on society.

As for the anti Americanism, I am sure that it is a form of group psychosis, as it is completely divorced from logic, and regarded as the root of all evil.

Trixy said...

Thank you very much.

Of course: everything has to be someone's fault somewhere. Society must be to blame for flawed actions, what else could it be?