Sex positive feminism is not feminism at all (Trigger warning – discussion of paid sex, violence and rape)

We live in a Patriarchal society, one where women are not in any way equal to men, and so there is no way in such an unequal society that sex work can ever be a choice for women, not only this, but sex work is, by it’s very nature, both physically and psychologically harmful to women. The academics which push sex positive feminism as something empowering and healthy, I suspect have not been in a position where sex work is the only way they stay well that day – i.e. the only way they will access the drugs their body needs. I suspect these successful women have never needed to sell sex to eat, to sleep somewhere inside, to clothe themselves or their children, and if it was ever to become an uncomfortable dangerous reality for them, they would soon start singing a different tune.

Studies show that the actual women who end up in prostitution have poor mental health, are in extreme poverty, have been physically and sexually abused in both childhood and adulthood, are drug or alcohol dependent, spent a childhood in care, suffered domestic violence, and are generally not as well educated as their sisters who are not herded into this horrorshow of a reality.

I am not interested in the politics of shame, nor of vague accusations of sin, none of this concerns me, the shame is not on the woman trapped in prostitution, but on society that herds vulnerable women into an activity which puts them in such danger of disease, attack and psychological distress: the shame is on the men who use her body like a toilet to deposit bodily emissions.

I am no erudite and studious Dworkin, I have no claim to academic prowess, but what I do have is an inclination to not bother to hide my past while writing this blog, and a deep desire to pin my colors to the mast and tell it how it is: I have been there.

Abused as a child sexually and physically? Check

Domestic violence victim? Check

Drug addict at the time? Check

Badly educated – well actually no, but all that privilege was wiped out by point 1 up there.

Mental health issues? Show me a survivor of child abuse that isn’t damaged. I had no self esteem at all.

Extreme poverty? Check. I had no family after the age of 17. It was all on me. I had no safety net at all.

In short, my self esteem destroyed at a young age, desensitized and groomed, heroin addict because the pain of my childhood was too much to bear, I was herded by the patriarchy which had mutilated and dismantled me, straight into sex work so they could finish devouring me. Did I feel fierce? No, I felt disgust and vulnerability. I was disgusted at the men who purchased access to me, disgusted by their bodies and their attitudes and their violence. Did I feel empowered? No, I didn’t feel much except for a need to keep the habit going, and the feeling like it was all life as usual.

I never knew a time where I wasn’t being used as a receptacle for men’s violence and fucked up sexual urges. I knew nothing other than being a thrown away female. I had been cast off by my real mother, cast off by my real father, by the family I belonged with, and the Patriarchy can always find something to do with discarded women – namely beat em, and fuck em. I am not unusual – this is the norm, not the exception.

I knew many other girls in the same situation. Were they horny and fierce? No. They were sad and addicted, and often diseased and injured. I soon learnt the art of shooting up areas you can keep covered up, information passed between whore to whore in order to make the men who buy you more comfortable fucking you. I won’t name these spots, don’t want some john checking over his purchased female and beating her up because he finds out she is an injecting addict. Oh yes, did I mention the danger? Beatings, rapes – taking sex and not giving the money and other dangerous situations are the norm. Unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases should never be occupational hazards.

The myth of the empowered female prostitute is just that – a myth. There is no such thing. There are women who fall foul of the unequal Patriarchal world and it’s abuses and get herded like animals to the slaughter, into dangerous, soul destroying sex work. The only way forwards is to decriminalize those selling, heavily criminalize those buying, and provide support for women to exit sex work, and adequate mental health care once they do. The answer lies in humane drug addiction programs that don’t throw people off a methadone precipice and cost a fortune. Sex work fuels the human trafficking trade in women and children, and if sex work gets shut down, women and their children will be so much safer. I was never trafficked but heck I care about humans selling humans into sex slavery, and I think just about everybody else should too. There should be adequate protection for women who leave sex work but have men insisting that they cannot – their pimps are not going to like their cash walking out the door. This means shelters where there are no men inhabiting shared spaces, women need men-free zones to heal.

The diseased, dangerous, murderous, terrible reality of sex work is a far cry from these hallowed liberal halls of learning and their academic assertions of power. No women should ever be shamed for sex, paid for or not. Not shaming does not mean that it is ok to treat women like beasts of burden in thrall to men’s orgasms.

I didn’t really want to write this. It isn’t comfortable for me, but if you scroll down the feminism tagged posts, without exception they are screaming for pro-sex work feminism. Not only that, any discussion which wavers from these damaging lib fem ideals is shut down in a way which is condescending and verges on no platforming. They don’t want to hear the uncomfortable truth that challenges views they will never have to back up by risking their own bodies, their health and their lives, while some psychopathic man uses you are a bathroom or a piece of flesh, denying your very humanity. I really didn’t want to write this, and am more than a little sad that I felt I had to.

18 Comments

  1. Maria Prosecuter

    I don’t believe in shaming. I believe in empowering women to stop letting for less than we are worth. I don’t bother with feminism because it is dominated by women who want to gain equal rights with men by fighting for the right to be respected as sexual objects. Meanwhile, the same men who are oppressing women through slut shaming and superiority are the same men who have endless porn in their vaults. Clearly, sex is not the way to gain respect. Women should be trying to be better than men, not equal to them.

      1. Maria Prosecuter

        I feel that feminism is washed up. Sure certain feminists do good work, but I feel that for women to truly rise up we’re going to need a whole new movement. The only people who differentiate between the various sects are feminism are feminists. Everyone else sees it as one big wacked out tit fest.

      2. The Paltry Sum

        I understand why you feel that way, and am sorry you don’t feel included. I am not sure how anyone sees feminism as a tit fest, especially not feminism of the radical, gender critical kind. There is always room for work within women’s rights, and I hope you find the right place for you that will give you the experience and support you need, Maria.

    1. The Paltry Sum

      It is just a horror that I felt it even needed saying. Women selling their poorer more damaged sisters down the river to push some lie that supports their politics and academic theory at the cost of female lives actually makes me sadder than I can express.

  2. Ruth

    I agree with your defence of feminism Paltry. No social movement is without its failings, and liberal feminism is so watered down it has become meaningless. But … it was and is feminists who set up rape crisis centres and domestic violence shelters, feminists who are fighting to end porn, prostitution, trafficking; feminists who campaign against FMG, feminists who gave us legal abortion, birth control and reproductive rights; equal pay, maternity leave, no-fault divorce; access to credit and to a mortgage. We are still fighting.

  3. rebecca s revels

    When my husband was alive and driving that truck across the country he was often approached at truck stops or rest areas. There is something that the drivers could put on the step to the truck to let those approaching know they weren’t interested. But, he told me about those he would see moving from truck to truck. The emptiness in the eyes of those who banged on his truck door anyway. Seeing them walk back to a waiting vehicle to leave for the next where ever. A lot of drivers are now taught how to watch for signs of human trafficking, especially if the woman looked young. I remember back when I took the paper and there would be the lists of arrests, I was always glad to see that it wasn’t just the women arrested but the men as well. I have never been in that position. I can not begin to imagine the nightmare but I do hurt for those trapped within.

  4. My Sister's Keeper

    Good rant, but the word “studies” doesn’t cut it for documentation of your claims. I can agree with you that women get a raw deal in traditional society, but feminists don’t want to confront the central problem. Many girls and women are mentally castrated from an early age, and become sexually dysfunctional for life. Early activists for equality didn’t realize that, but why are feminists today still ignoring and perpetuating widespread and permanent sexual dysfunction in women?

    1. The Paltry Sum

      Sex huh. Men want to call women not wanting to fuck them ‘dysfunction’. It is SANITY. No woman wants to take a chance on some loser piece of shit that might beat them to death. Incel bullshit. Do better

  5. The Paltry Sum

    The damage done, women driven into being forced to fuck for drugs, fuck for money to feed their kids, dance for slimy little bastards who are too inadequate to not to have to pay for it, who come to my blog telling me what is up. Dismissing me as ‘ranting’. Listen motherfucker. You have no right. You have no idea what it does. I detest men. That is not dysfunction. That is the realization how dangerous most of you jerks are. Stupid little pricks with their all demanding need for orgasm. Get the fuck away from me, you user, abuser and destroyer of women. Get the FUCK away from me. I have had enough. Take your incel little play acts well away from me. You know you are pathetic. You know you droop every time a real woman looks at you? Mama not kind when she potty trained you? she made you feel your little winkie doesnt run the universe? Go jerk off to anime, you secxually inadequate little slimeball. I read your nasty little blog. You are not even dangerous, just fucking pathetic. Loser.

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