At the end of last year I wrote a piece examining the ways in which radical feminists/prostitution abolitionists are smeared as being ‘in league with religious fundamentalists’.
In it I wrote: “It’s almost as if it’s possible for two groups, with wildly opposing views, to have one small area of overlapping agreement, without either group suffering from any internal inconsistency!”
But let us, as a thought experiment, pretend the smearers are right, and that if your politics has one small area of overlap with another group’s politics, then you are in league with them, and think exactly the same way they do!
In that case, who are the sex industry advocates in league with?
France came close, last year, to adopting an abolitionist approach to prostitution (also described as the ‘Nordic’ or ‘Swedish’ model, where the john is criminalised, while the prostitute her or him self is decriminalised), but the law stalled in the senate.
This, then, places sex industry advocates in league with the male-dominated establishment in France, where Dominique Strauss Kahn’s ~alleged~ rape of Nafissatou Diallo is seen by many as “the master having his way with the servant.”
Christine Delphy, a feminist sociologist and writer, believes the Carlton trial shows attitudes are changing but, she says, “only marginally and very slowly”. “I still hear people claiming the Sofitel incident was a conspiracy or blaming it on American puritanism and defending what DSK did with the ‘private life’ argument,” said Delphy. “This is France, a country where many white politicians asked how it was possible that a black, immigrant chambermaid dared to make a complaint against a powerful man, where Nafissatou Diallo was treated as a liar and a gold-digger. A male commentator said what happened was simply a case of the master having his way with the servant.
If, in the UK, in the future, the new Tory regime decides to decriminalise the sex industry, it won’t be because of a genuine concern about marginalised women, but because of a neoliberal ideology that sees all human beings as nothing more than economic units making rational economic choices, in a free market that can magically regulate itself; or because of old-fashioned patriarchal ideas about men ‘needing’ a sacrificial class of prostituted women, who aren’t good for anything else anyway, and that some women are just ‘born whores’.
The risk of being ‘in league’ with right wingers/religious fundamentalists/etc, is never a concern for sex industry advocates. So even if they did get their way under the Tories, that would never be seen as proof that they were in league with them (despite the neoliberal leanings of some sex industry advocates).
Funny how that works isn’t it?