Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of my favourite Tumblr bloggers supports the rights of sex workers. This isn’t something I see too much around here, so if you are a current or former sex worker, or if you are an ally that blogs about the issues and politics surrounding sex work, please reblog so that I can find you. :)
On the other side of the river they dance, sing and play with the restless, mindless eagerness of youth held in amber or captured on joyful, fading eight millimeter film
On the other side of the river they drive around in nice cars wear the latest, skimpiest fashions and eat only the finest cuisine all while drinking from fine, crystal flutes
On the other side of the river they’re never so crass or crude as to carry dirty, green cash everything is handled in pristine fashion with smooth, shiny plastic or the digits of membership
On the other side of the river they never have to deal with foreign sounds and cloying, burning, foreign smells or the foreign, herky-jerky motions of a myriad of strange men, women and children
On the other side of the river they know exactly where they belong in each others’ bright and promising company secure in the cold comfort of familiarity and for the life of me, I am glad not to be them
Chester steps off the crowded bus on the bright, humid, Rochester, summer day. His dark brown skin is wrinkled and somehow his straw thin arms with knotted elbows hold up the bucket and fishing poles. His stride is youthful, belying his seventy years on this Earth in this city. Before long he is halfway down the Charlotte Pier, casting a line into the slowly churning lake water.
A few younger, grumpier, men have already started their daily fishing. They have their favorite spots and Chester has seen them arguing with each other over them. He does not care. He knows he’ll catch one or two to fry up for dinner and just have a relaxing day in the sun and the breeze. Though for the most part he is thirty or more years their senior, he has no trouble settling into place on the concrete.
They say you should not eat what you catch out of Lake Ontario, that there is too much pollution and the fish can make you sick. Chester does not care. He has been eating fish out of the lake since he was a boy, his father taking him on Sunday after church. Sometimes, just sometimes, he can feel his father sitting beside him. He can always feel his Leroy, his only boy taken from him by cancer.
Still he is not bitter, and he spends his retirement taking the crowded “1” down to the Lake, smiling as he pulls his dinner out of the water. Life has not been good, and it has not been bad “it’s just been” he’ll tell people. Once and awhile, the young ones even listen.
“More than 2 million people found themselves behind bars at the turn of the twenty-first century, and millions more were relegated to the margins of mainstream society, banished to a political and social space not unlike Jim Crow, where discrimination in employment, housing, and access to education was perfectly legal, and where they could be denied the right to vote. The system functioned relatively automatically, and the prevailing system of racial meanings, identities, and ideologies already seemed natural. Ninety percent of those admitted to prison for drug offenses in many states were black or Latino, yet the mass incarceration of communities of color was explained in race-neutral terms, an adaptation to the needs and demands of the current political climate.”—Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (via tonylucero)
“If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ‘em? Let them go too?”—
Houston judge Lanny Moriarty • On his decision to sentence a 17-year-old honor student, who (since her parents divorced and both skipped town) has had to work both a full and a part time job just to support two siblings, to spend a day in jail, after she missed school recently. Diane Tran, who also takes dual-credit college-level courses, says that she’s often so tired that she finds it difficult to wake up for school. But that didn’t sway Moriarty, who chose to make an example of Tran. If you think this sucks, we direct you to this Change.org petition.
A few people have alerted me to this video of toddlers and you can watch as a little boy hugs a little girl multiple times and each time he does, she pushes him away. A few of the times, he seems to be prompted to continue by the person with the camera. It’s a full two minutes and nothing changes – he hugs her, she pushes him away, he gets up and hugs her again and she pushes him away again.
Clearly this isn’t street harassment because they know each other and it isn’t sexual harassment because they’re toddlers and don’t have an understanding of all that, but it is a problematic situation in which adults are standing by and letting (encouraging?) this little boy to do something the girl doesn’t want him to do and then instead of helping her use her words to tell him to stop, they’re letting her push him down over and over.
The he writes, “I could be the misogynist here and make some comments about just how badly the lady little treats this fine, young man, but women are pretty great. Maybe this kid needs to get a job, buy a sweet ride (Power Wheels, perhaps?) and learn some Karate, proving himself a worthy love interest?”
And I find that very problematic. Implying that this little toddler and all women who reject men are stuck-up, bitchy, and only after good-looking or rich men is harmful. Instead of looking at the actions and saying, this girl doesn’t want to be hugged, they are focusing on the poor boy and how mean she is. She may have 10 reasons or only 1 for why she doesn’t want to be hugged by him and all of them are valid and should be respected.
No means no, even when you’re a toddler. Especially when you’re a toddler. Fifteen percent of sexual assault and abuse victims are under age 12. Teaching kids how to protect themselves at a very young age is crucial to helping them know how to prevent or get help if they are victimized and can teach them skills they can use all of their life.
This attitude that women owe men attention no matter what contributes to how, when some men are ignored or rejected by the women they harass on the street, they call them a bitch, a ho, throw trash at them, chase them, or tell them they were ugly anyway. Instead of thinking logically about all the reasons why a woman may not respond positively to a man who hollers at her on the street, men feel it is an affront on their masculinity and lash out.
Another problematic aspect of the video is the number of people who applauded how persistent the kid is. Some people in the comments of posts talked about being disappointed he never got her in the end. Guess what, you don’t always “get the girl” in the end. No means no! 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked annually in the U.S. We need to teach kids, especially boys because they are the bulk of the stalkers, not to follow or keep hugging etc women and girls who clearly don’t want that attention.
So those are my thoughts on the video, what are yours?
The Good Men Project is run by Hugo Schwyzer, who is a terrible person with a problematic pro-MRA anti-woman history. NO MEANS NO in all cases. And ugh forever @ “I could be the misogynist here and make some comments about just how badly the lady little treats this fine, young man…” It’s not that you COULD be the misogynist here, you are the misogynist here. Might as well have started that sentence with “not to be sexistn BUT…”
OK, I know I’m going to get “now you’re just being too serious Christine,” but this is a real issue. We condition these kids young to think it is acceptable to invade each others space, especially, but not only, when it is boys invading girls’ space. It is not just how toddlers behave with each other either. WE do it to kids. How many of you have laughed off a little one not wanting a hug? It’s their bodies and their choice. OK, rant over.
Women, especially young childless undecided women voters, are talking about jobs, not abortion rights, right? What women really care about is not contraception, not access to family planning resources, not social issues like gay marriage, abstinence-only sex “ed” or Mitt Romney’s 50 year old bullying. Nope – it’s the economy. Women, “like everyone else,”– that would the norm – men, just want to be able to go to work, earn a fair wage and support their families. These “social” things are a “distraction” leading Americans to avert their gaze from what’s really important: the economy. Polls are clear: jobs and the economy are their number one concerns.
This oft-repeated juxtaposition, superficial and irresponsible, between The Economy and Social Issues (especially, in polls, “jobs” and “contraception”) is like a political media Greek chorus. People believe it, especially women who are disinclined to think about themselves as discriminated against by virtue of their sex. Young women answer these questions and pollsters ask them the way they do based on the assumption that women, armed with education and “girl power,” have equal access to newly created jobs and will be paid fairly for their work. Those are false assumptions that women, especially young childless ones, need to consider before they vote, because this year’s elections, both state and presidential, will affect their ability to do both for years to come.
We’re engaged in a mass delusion that misleadingly pits The Economy against what are at their core, Reproductive Rights. Don’t be fooled when considering who to vote for – women can’t participate equally in the first until they have the second. The very phrasing of the questions and the reporting of the answers hide the complex and interdependent relationship between the two. Contraception, reproductive rights, gay marriage (defined as it is by conservatives as a threat to male/female hierarchies) – all have critical implications for women’s economic well-being and for the economy at large.
Insistence on splitting these two concerns is particularly useful to Republicans, because it allows them toblame women’s economic woes on their “choices,” a specific irony. If a woman gets paid less or doesn’t have a “seat at the table” it’s because she chose a lower paying job, or because she chose to have children and works part-time, or she chose to not complete her education. If women make “bad choices” it’s their own fault, their decisions and they have to pay the consequences. Which gets us to the second half of this equation. Simultaneously, for the “less important” Social Issues, the word “choice” is completely anathema to Republican legislators and presidential hopefuls. Girls and women cannot possibly be trusted with “choices” when it comes to their own bodies, sex ed, birth control, health care, sexuality, domestic violence and marriage.
Most importantly, however, in terms of the economy, is that what all of these secondary-in-importance social issues boil down to is that women especially cannot be allowed to “choose” for themselves when to become mothers – arguably the single most important contributing factor to their, and our economies, long-term well-being.
What single factor arguably has the greatest impact on a woman’s work life? In other words, what enables women to participate in the economy and become productive workers and engines of economic growth and expansion?
That would be motherhood.
So, even single, childless, undecided women who may one day get pregnant, should consider what happens to a woman when she gives birth:
She is 44% less likely to be hired
She makes 11% less than her non-mother female counterpart (who is already just making 78cents to the male dollar)
She is less likely to go to school or complete her education.
She works part-time with more frequency, so that she can provide child care for which she is uncompensated and can derive no benefits as child care is invisible labor.
She is less able to work overtime.
She is unable to get maternal health care coverage as part of a basic insurance policy. Already discriminated against by gender rating in insurance prices, she is now doubly financially harmed by the fact of her parenthood.
She is more likely to have to limit herself to lower paying job sectors where she thinks she will have more “flexibility” even though this has been proven not to be the case.
She is more likely to be impoverished and become state dependent.
And, what is motherhood? In it’s simplest terms, it is reproduction.
This is why instead of The Economy and Social Issues being unrelated as people keep suggesting, they are integrally related. The very nexus of The Economy and Social Issues then, from a policy perspective, is the question “Do you believe women should work, for (fair) pay and outside of the home?” Republicans do not. That’s why their dedication to controlling female sex and reproduction is an economic policy choice – it affects women’s abilities to pursue education, get hired, be paid, stay in the workforce.
If you believe yes women should be able to work and be paid fairly outside of the home, then you do everything possible to create family friendly work structures, fair pay regulations, health care access, planned parenting provisions, that enable women to do just that. If no, then you don’t. You do the opposite. You create a disabling “social issue” legislative scaffold on which to build a “it’s your own fault” Temple to Patriarchy.This is precisely what the Republic party is doing. If you are an undecided woman voter you should pause to consider the impact of these intersections on your own life and the lives of other, often far less privileged, women.
As it is now, even for a woman who has access to birth control, health care, safe and legal abortion, becoming a mother in this country, planned or unplanned, is the single worst economic decision a woman can make. She is still cobbled by inadequate health care, higher gender-rated insurance premiums, discriminatory pay, poor return on her educational investment, greater responsibility for child care and an inability to save effectively for security in her old age.
Republicans have shown repeatedly and without remorse that they want to keep women vulnerable, dependent and at home:
Domestic Violence? Let’s make sure the Abuser Lobby is happy, given the mail order bride business and more, and ensure that women most vulnerable to violent abuse are isolated and left even more at the mercy of mostly men who will rape and beat them without recourse to the law.
Reproductive Freedom? Let’s pursue husbandry-informed blunt force trauma legislation ensuring that women’s bodies and reproduction stay in the control of men. Eliminating Planned Parenthood, making it hard to find birth control and abortion services, mandating transvaginal ultrasounds that women themselves have to pay for, requiring waiting periods that require expensive travel – all of these things impede women’s freedom and ability to compete fairly in the job market.
Health Care: What, you mean the stuff that keeps people healthy and able to go to work? Hell, no. We’ll not only fight against affordable health care (the opposite of which is unaffordable health care) but we will also stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood, even including monies dedicated to non-abortion services like…family planning – often the only services that poor women have access to. Title IX? The only federal program devoted to family planning, you almost cannot make this up it’s so ridiculous: Romney will eliminate it entirely, to save money for The Economy.
And yes, even Mitt Romney’s 50 year old bullying of a gay boy. Why? Because the exact same attitudes that informed that incident inform his support of abstinence-only education, gendered societal roles, fair pay provisions, reproductive freedom – namely, there are rules, boxes which people are supposed to fit into – and when they don’t conform to his world view they should be punished and forced to. The roots of his high-school bullying escapades and his “Social Issue” policies both reside in an inability to empathize with people who don’t look like and sound like him. It’s why he saw nothing wrong in explaining that Ann Romney was responsible for translating females. Empathizing with women is just not a possibility if you’re a man.
All of these issues profoundly affect women’s ABILITY TO ENGAGE FULLY AND EQUALLY IN THE ECONOMY WITHOUT PENALIZATION. If Republicans were serious about their commitment to women’s unimpeded equality in the workplace, then they would not insist that “social” policies are unrelated to “the economy” and they would not be pursuing broad legislation that affirmatively harms women’s ability to participate in the economy on multiple levels. Basic control over her own body, that would be reproductive freedom and health care that is affordable, non-discriminatorily priced, and relevant to her body and not men’s, affects whether a woman can seek and complete her education. The type of job she can get. How many hours she can work. If she can afford to start a business. Whether or not she can work full time or has to work part time. Whether she can afford childcare and health care, if she works. Whether she can safely leave an abusive spouse without fear for her children and seek work to support herself.
That’s why Social Issues, like contraception, are ABOUT The Economy not separate from it.
If you haven’t read this yet, you should read it now.
What she said! But really, if you are a human being who participates in any sort of sexual activity, you need to learn about what consent is and how to be an engaged and understanding and open sexual partner. This goes for everyone straight, queer, and in-between. This goes for male, female, trans, neither, none, and everything all at once. Just do it.
Defiant we children of the “me” generation for a decade or two at least wearing our ink and steel like armor against complacency or complicity
We Raged against a machine that we didn’t understand while losing ourselves in the poetry of a man from Seattle who didn’t understand himself his gifts or his limits
So very different from our parents at least that’s what we told ourselves we’d never sell out for that house or that shiny new Cadillac feeding the consumerist beast until the bubble burst
It was not that we cared about it the damage being done all around us but that we could not be bothered with wanting or needing all the shiny things until they were dangled in front of us dissolving our apathy
The apathy that so defined our generation the contradictory excitement over ennui and how silly we had to look building on such a flimsy frame and how patient our elders had to be to humor our bad haircuts and worse attitudes until we moved out and on
Now we sip our iced tea in Starbucks as we watch the Millenials with envy these eager beavers who are going to change the world the world we were so certain was going to end so why stand up and do the hard work of saving it
Its not to late to find our place to regain relevance to stand beside instead of against these wild, brave and young men and women.