And it is very funny, that someone who finds me so ‘tedious’ that she has to block me from commenting on her blog, is still spending time reading mine, and blogging about it! (But without any direct links to this blog, which comes across as rather underhanded – does she not want her readers to see what I’ve actually written?)
For the record, with regards to my ‘academic grooming’ post, I was talking about Hugo Schwyzer, using his “Navigating Porn” class to convince young people that using porn is great, as grooming, I merely referred to Agustin within a list of academics I consider to be “distorting, partisan, biased, corrupt and self-serving”.
It looks like Agustin doesn’t like being referred to as a neoliberal:
I also am not a neoliberal proponent of the happiness of making money in a free marketplace.
I can understand why Agustin doesn’t like being labeled a neoliberal, what with its association with Tea Partiers, Thatcher and Reagan, but it is the correct label for her worldview.
I don’t call Agustin a neoliberal because I think that she thinks that making money makes us happy, I call her a neoliberal because she reduces all human beings to economic units, and all human interactions to economic transactions, with the belief that markets will self-regulate because economic units will only ever behave rationally.
She defends prostitution as sexuality, as sex (even when the ‘sex’ is that of a homeless child engaging in survival prostitution), but at the same time strips sex of all emotional and psychological meaning and turns it into nothing more than menial labour.
To Agustin, a homeless child engaging in survival prostitution is merely making a rational economic choice, and there will be no negative psychological consequences for that ‘choice’ because the only thing that could harm that child is not being allowed to fulfill their economic potential by ‘working’ in that way.
What does sexuality look like under a worldview that reduces all sex to menial labour? What can sexuality even mean, except being ‘sexually active’, or, rather, since we are talking about children engaging in survival prostitution, ‘sexually acted upon’?
Agustin reduces sex to menial labour, then calls anyone who is against prostitution, even child prostitution, a ‘prude’. In her defense she states that “everyone has a sexuality – babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, old people” – when I asked her what the sexuality of babies and toddlers looks like under her neoliberal worldview, that was when she started blocking my comments.
There is no emotional or psychological depth to Agustin’s worldview, there is no room for fear, for suffering, for trauma; people are only ever ‘unhappy’ – a weasel word if ever there was one in the context of forced sex – and the biggest thing that makes them unhappy is not being allowed to work.
Agustin dismisses as ‘psychobabble’ the idea that an adult or child trafficked into prostitution may be too afraid to testify against the traffickers. We’ve seen, very clearly, in the Rochdale and Oxford cases, that this does happen, that gangs will use violence and the fear of violence to threaten and control; Girl C’s traffickers threatened to kill her, to kill her baby and her adoptive mother, but the idea that such threats could have kept her under the traffickers’ control is just ‘psychobabble’, according to Agustin.
When it suits Agustin, the police are incompetent, and if we try to get the system to work for us we are babies crying over a broken toy, but at the same time, when it suits Agustin, the fact that trafficked women and children don’t want to testify against their abusers is proof that there is no abuse!
If Agustin doesn’t like being labeled a neoliberal, perhaps she should re-examine her worldview, or just re-read her own writing a bit more carefully, like here, where she claims that “Prostitution as a sexuality is indeed a bizarre idea, and one I didn’t say myself”, when in the original piece she says this:
It may be noted also that a recent study in Massachusetts found a trend towards greater numbers of homeless among lgbtq youth. One sort of marginalised sexuality can contribute to another, unfortunately.
There it is, clear as day: “One sort of marginalised sexuality [homosexuality] can contribute to another [prostitute].”
In her more current post Agustin says this:
What I am is a believer in human agency. I believe that disadvantaged persons with limited options of how to proceed in life have, until they are actually put in chains, some space to move, negotiate, prefer one option to another.
If the only time you see abuse or coercion is when someone is literally in chains or with a gun to their head, you won’t see much abuse or coercion, and this is important because one of Agustin’s main claims is that a lot of what gets labeled as trafficking into prostitution is in fact a ‘free choice’.
This is not the way control works, and it isn’t the way control has ever worked; there has never been a dictatorship in human history where every citizen was kept permanently in chains, or was assigned a soldier to hold a gun to their head 24 hours a day (with another soldier assigned to that soldier to keep him in line, and so on, off into infinity). Control is maintained through the use of just enough violence, enough beatings, enough murders, enough disappearances, to keep everyone afraid; this is how traffickers work, but every time Agustin reads an account of women returning to prostitution, that is, for her, proof that there is nothing going on, those women are making a rational economic decision, they are not afraid of anyone, they are not afraid for their families, they don’t owe massive debts to gangs who could hurt them or their families.
At another point I referred to my own experience of being oppressed by the work-permit system, where leaving a job one has a permit for means instant expiration of one’s legal status in the country. He has been told about the live-in maids who cannot leave because their passports are stamped for that single specific employment, even if they are being abused. To find out that supposedly ‘highly-skilled’ permits are just the same and that a researcher might feel abused and want to quit the job but stay and find another had never occurred to him.
Yep, that’s right, being an academic who doesn’t like her job is exactly the same as being a maid who is starved, raped, beaten, forced to be ‘on call’ 24 hours a day with no days off, and not paid by her employers!
To Agustin, being unhappy in a skilled, well-paid job is the same as being treated like a slave, and, therefore, being treated like a slave is no worse than being unhappy in a well-paid job.