Daily Archives: March 28th, 2016

Ask the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals to Reject Amnesty International

Librarian organisation CILIP (which stands for the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) have got together with human rights campaigners Amnesty International to announce a major new partnership to celebrate human rights in children’s literature.

It’s going to be called the Amnesty CILIP Honour and will span both the Carnegie fiction and the Kate Greenaway picture book awards.

Beginning with the 2016 medals, a title from each of the prestigious shortlists will receive the Amnesty CILIP Honour, a thumbs up for the books that most distinctively illuminate, uphold or celebrate freedoms. The books receiving the commendation will be able to carry an Amnesty CILIP Honour logo.

The first Amnesty CILIP honour judging panel will include last year’s Carnegie medal winner, Tanya Landman whose book Buffalo Soldier dealt with issues including racism, slavery and gender discrimination.

Amnesty International’s Nicky Parker, said: “Books have a unique ability to inspire empathy, broaden horizons and empower young readers. We hope this award will make it easy to identify books which will teach children about truth, freedom and justice and encourage them to feel they can shape a better world.”

The winners will be announced at the Medals ceremony in June 2016, look out for our gallery of the longlistees for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway when its announced early next year!


I have drafted an email/letter to send to CILIP, the judges, and the authors listed for the awards (it will need adjusting slightly for the different recipients), please feel free to adapt and use:

Dear _____,

I am writing to ask you to reconsider CILIP’s partnership with Amnesty International for the awarding of an extra honour to nominees of the Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Amnesty International’s recent decision to support the full decriminalisation of the sex industry, in opposition to established international human rights treaties [1] demonstrates that they are no longer legitimate as a human rights organisation.

Amnesty International made this decision in advance of consulting their membership [2], the consultation process was rushed through without giving members time to research and respond [3], and the information given on the abolitionist approach/Nordic model (which decriminalises the prostitute her or himself, while criminalising buyers and third party sellers) was inaccurate and misleading [1].

Amnesty International defined ‘sex work’ in such a way as to exclude anyone who had been abused in the industry [4] [5], and lied about consulting prostitution survivors [1]. The first version of their ‘sex work’ policy was written by a known pimp [1] and the vice president of one of the groups Amnesty International took advice from has recently been sentenced in Mexico to 15 years for human trafficking into the sex industry [6].

Amnesty International’s Nicky Parker has said this about the CILIP award: “We hope this award will make it easy to identify books which will teach children about truth, freedom and justice and encourage them to feel they can shape a better world.”

I would like you to consider how a ‘better world’ is compatible with the objectification and commodification of women’s bodies inherent in prostitution, and I ask you to read this critique from Taina Bien-Aimé , Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women [7]:

“What would happen if every country decriminalized prostitution? Not just the few that have already disastrously done so, but what if every government legitimized pimps and brothel owners and failed to hold men accountable for purchasing human beings for sex? Would the United Nations and its member states launch a #2050 Agenda for Investing in the Sex Trade as a Solution and Sustainable Development for Women and Girls, Especially the Most Indigent?

“What marketing slogans would ensue? Might public agencies launch poverty alleviation campaigns? “First Nations, Indigenous, Aboriginal, African-Americans and Global South Populations: Are you Poor, Young, Incested, Transgendered, Homeless? With our help, the Sex Trade will provide you with shelter, food, free condoms and the opportunity to contribute to your (or a foreign) country’s Gross National Product. No experience or education required.”

“[…] The Afrikaans term apartheid means “apart and aside” and evokes one of the most brutal regimes in modern history. By encouraging governments to enshrine the sex trade as just another potential employer, Amnesty is promoting gender apartheid, the segregation of women between those who deserve access to economic and educational opportunities and those who are condemned to prostitution. Make no mistake: as long as women are for sale, no woman will be viewed as equal in corporate boardrooms, in the halls of legislature, or in the home.”

An early, leaked draft of Amnesty International’s policy paper contained the following claim [8]: ” Sexual desire and activity are a fundamental human need. To criminalize those who are unable or unwilling to fulfill that need through more traditionally recognized means and thus purchase sex, may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health.”

Do you really want CILIP, and the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, to be associated with a group that tells boys that when they grow up, they will have a ‘human right’ to purchase sex?

Do you really want CILIP, and the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, to be associated with a group that tells girls, especially poor girls, that, once they turn eighteen, they will have the right to ‘choose’ prostitution?

I hope you will read my email, and the sources supplied, and re-examine CILIP’s partnership with Amnesty International.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Kind regards,

[1] https://thefeministahood.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/what-amnesty-did-wrong/

[2] https://www.byline.com/project/3/article/226

[3] https://antipornfeminists.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/qotd-amnesty-international-vote-of-no-confidence/

[4] http://glosswatch.com/2015/08/05/the-amnesty-challenge/

[5] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/09/listen-to-sex-workers-but-which-ones

[6] http://www.faber.co.uk/blog/a-human-rights-scandal-by-kat-banyard/

[7] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/taina-bienaime/the-framing-of-gender-apa_b_8273268.html

[8] https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=YW1uZXN0eS5vcmcuYXV8YWlhLWFjdGl2aXN0LXBvcnRhbHxneDo2ZDZhNzFmOTc5YmU1Njhk

The email address for CILIP is: ckg@cilip.org.uk (also copy in mark.taylor@cilip.org.uk, and liz@riotcommunications.com and jon@riotcommunications.com, who are the publicity contacts for the prize)

They also have a postal address: 7 Ridgmount Street, London, WC1E 7AE, UK.

Nick Poole, CILIP Chief Executive, can be contacted here: nick.poole@cilip.org.uk and is on twitter @NickPoole1

Dawn Finch, President of CILIP, can be contacted here: dawn.finch@cilip.org.uk and is on twitter @dawnafinch

Sioned Jacques, chair of the judging panel, can be contacted here: sioned.eleri@btinternet.com and is on twitter @sejbookworm

Tanya Landman, one of the judges, can be contacted here: tanyalandman@tantraweb.co.uk and is on twitter @tanya_landman

The Amnesty CILIP Honour is sponsored by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). They can be contacted here: alcs@alcs.co.uk

This page has a list of all the nominees for both prizes, I will update contact details in the comments section as I find them:

Sarah Crossan
Frances Hardinge
Nick Lake
Patrick Ness
Kate Saunders
Marcus Sedgwick
Robin Talley
Jenny Valentine
Anthony Browne
Ross Collins
Oliver Jeffers
Mac Barnett
Jackie Morris
Helen Oxenbury
Peter Bently
Chris Riddell
Neil Gaiman (I already know there is no point in contacting Gaiman, he’s a sex-pozzer)
Sydney Smith
JonArno Lawson

That page also tells us:

The winners for both the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal will be announced on Monday 20th June at a lunchtime ceremony at the British Library

“Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History”

Funded via Seed & Spark

Hello! I’m Anita Sarkeesian. In 2012, I launched a modest Kickstarter campaign to fund a small video series deconstructing representations of women. In an astounding, humbling turn of events, Tropes vs Women in Video Games drew international attention—both positive and negative—and Feminist Frequency raised over twenty-five times the amount we sought. We put it to good use: in the four years since, Feminist Frequency has transformed into a non-profit organization devoted to critically engaging with media. Our videos have focused on examining the way women are represented in popular culture, and reimagining the world of video games as a more inclusive place.

Starting today, we’re doing something new: a video series called Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History.

Rather than heroes, leaders and innovators, women are often depicted and treated as secondary characters in history, objects of affections, damsels to be rescued, or merely the wives, mothers and assistants to the men who achieved important things. Instead, we’re taking a look back at the amazing women throughout history who defied gender stereotypes and changed the world, to remind us that the stories we tell about women—in TV shows, comic books, video games and in real life—often reflect the limitations placed on them, rather than the world-changing feats they’ve already achieved.

With your help, we can bring their stories to life and give these incredible women the attention they deserve.

QotD: “Towards the end of my work as an “escort” I was thoroughly exhausted”

Towards the end of my work as an “escort” I was thoroughly exhausted. The brothel work had been brutal on my body, but the “independent escort” work had exhausted my spirit. Whereas once I just ran the gamut of garden-variety sexual activities with, at best, a distant smile and a “good day to you,” I now had been obsessing over my appearance, my apartment, my advertising, and my “image” as well. I’d been made to adopt the most insidious of all contracts: The Girlfriend Experience — winsome, involved, overly nurturing, and available. Intelligent enough to understand but never enough to contradict. Lying to “clients” about my background, my views, and my habits in order to demonstrate a pleasing personhood for the paying male ego.

Friends had also left brothels in droves and began to navigate this landscape of pretense for themselves. According to “clients,” we didn’t drink heavily, smoke, do drugs, swear, speak coarsely (other than at appropriate sexual moments) argue, have opinions, or refuse to gratify. In truth, most of the women I knew had problems with drink, drugs, eating disorders, mental health problems, and anger issues. We may not have been routinely beaten by punters or raped (although it does happen), but our self-esteem and self-assurance was as paper thin as our digital platforms.We pretended to be happy, empowered, sexy, and comfortable in our roles as sponges for immediate male satisfaction while pushing our maladies and distresses down the sides of the sofa… just like those women detailed by Betty Friedan: isolated housewives, secretly quaffing vodka and pills to deal with their controlled misery. In each of our separate apartments, the “high class escorts” I knew were indeed like those housewives, only now it was more than one “husband” we served to keep a roof over our heads.

Rae Story is a part time freelance writer living in the UK. She describes herself as “sex industry critical” after having worked industry for over 10 years, in various capacities and countries.

(Posted at Femsolid)