The fact that Laurie Penny is considered by the mainstream press to be at the ‘forefront’ of feminism, just shows what a terrible state feminism is in
Who is Laurie Penny, and why does she matter? She is an Oxbridge graduate who squeezed every last cm of copy from her time as a ‘sex worker’ (she was a ‘burlesque’ performer for fun), making sure we knew all about her “taut 18-year-old curves”, and set herself up as a socialist and a spokeswomen for feminism. Unfortunately the mainstream press is more than happy to enable her in this.
Does she contribute anything of worth? No. She recognises the problems of the sexualisation of girls and sexual bullying (except she doesn’t, having written a ‘controversial’ post defending padded bikinis for prepubescent girls), and anything useful she may have said on the way women are ‘performing’ sexuality in a way that is inauthentic to themselves, has already been said many times before by radical feminists.
She is included in last weekend’s Observer article on ‘new wave feminist activists’ (which includes some great women, but also Caitlin Moran, who is even more pointless than Penny), and this is, apparently, the best, most representative quote they could find from her:
There are a lot of people who think either populist feminism or the other extreme is nonsensical, who want to demean sex workers or to protect their rights, and what the internet means is that we can’t ignore each other.
This is so poorly written. Penny is, I’m assuming, trying to place herself in the ‘reasonable’ ‘middle ground’, and at the same time say that there are two polarised opinions on the sex industry; what she has actually written though, says that there are people who think “either populist feminism or the other extreme is nonsensical”, and that these people can’t make up their minds as to whether they want to “demean sex workers or to protect their rights” – one needs a degree from Oxford to write this badly?
Penny sets up a massive straw woman with her false dichotomy, if you’re not for ‘sex worker rights’ as defined by sex industry advocates (meaning the complete decriminalisation, expansion and normalisation of the sex industry), you want to “demean sex workers”.
She is also being incredibly cynical, to imply that she wants there to be dialog – “we can’t ignore each other” – then to completely misrepresent the abolitionist stance.
She’s also hypocritical, as being pro-sex industry is the populist stance, being pro prostitution and pro porn is the mainstream, is ‘fun feminism’ that will never be truly critical of anything if it means men might get upset, and will justify anything and everything in the name of ‘choice’ and being ‘sex positive’.
The only people who don’t believe in the human rights of ‘sex workers’ are the ones committing sexual and physical violence against them; that’s the johns, the pimps, the traffickers, the pornographers and the corrupt police and other officials.
Abolitionists (advocates for the Nordic Model, which criminalises the johns while decriminalising the prostitute her or him self), believe in the human rights of ‘sex workers’, that’s why we are abolitionist.