«

»

May 06 2007

DC Madam: Jokes, bloodsport, and more

On Sunday mornings in spring, a young spinster aunt’s thoughts always turn to prostitution. I understand that many news addicts are all a-twitter over the “DC Madam” prostitution scandal currently being pimped everywhere from Fox news to, I guess, I Blame the Patriarchy. And I can certainly see why. For crissake, some top- (or was it just “high-”?) ranking government official you’ve never heard of had to step down! It just doesn’t get any better than that. I shudder to think of the state of our national hilarity if prostituted women didn’t so routinely deliver the A-material.

That’s right; just about everything pertaining to this whole putrid story is sorely chapping the Twisty hide, and I can be silent no longer. A partial list of my objections:

– Everyone gets all winky-winky when government dudes get busy with “high-priced call girls.” The jokey tone emanates from standard mob policies such as “Gotcha!”, wherein a nation takes great pleasure in exposing a prominent personage for getting caught doing what everybody knows everybody does all the time but nobody will admit to because it’s fucking disgusting. Another bogus narrative feeding the public jocularity over the scandal is that the women are “professionals,” who, having used feminine wiles and cunning business sense to separate feckless party-boys from large sums of cash, both enjoy their “work” and are laughing all the way to the bank.

But a “NASA official” or a “military officer” who pays to rape a woman is still a fucking sociopathic john; a “madam” who excises a cut of the take is still a fucking sociopathic pimp; and a “high-priced call girl” is still a prostituted woman whose “choice” in the matter is largely constrained by circumstance, whose sexual “freedom” is entirely illusory, and whose “enjoyment” of her “work” is a fairy tale.

– “Who will be outed next?” is the language [here] used to distance truth from theater. Quoth ScienceBlogger Ed Brayton “I’m having as much fun following this DC Madam situation as anyone, and I can’t wait for more names to come out [...].”

Men, see, are “outed” as “customers” for comic relief, rather than investigated and prosecuted and castrated with rusty saws for paying to rape prostituted women.

– “Outing” is national bloodsport, but only when the john in question is of national importance. Of the “10,000 names” Palfrey is said to have sold to ABC News, that guy nobody ever heard of is supposedly the only one of sufficient political rank to warrant even a public shaming. Whether or not ABC is merely protecting other important dudes is beside the point; the contingency that even a fraction of those 10,000 johns will see the inside of a courtroom is remote.

– “These were not cheap women. These were very nice women who just needed to make a few extra dollars.” This is the position of pinched pimp Deborah Jeane Palfrey as she attempts to save her own hide by (a) using oppressor-approved language that distinguishes between common slut-class garbage and the prized virgin class, and (b) portraying “her girls” as happyfun weekend escort hobbyists who, bless’em, couldn’t have been paid to be raped by johns, because of their respectable inner virginity.

– Fox News, according to News Hounds, is flashing this across their screen: “‘DC Madam’ Lesson: Legalize & Tax Prostitution!” In other words, designate the slut class as legally rapeable. Note to novice blamers: legalization and decriminalization are two different things. The latter, which I support, would remove the insult currently added to injury by ceasing to hold prostituted women criminally responsible for being raped in exchange for money. The former would merely make it easier and more profitable for men to exploit women. Legalization’s added appeal for politicians: their pervy pornsickness would cease to be grounds for legal action or impeachment.

– The “But We’re All Whores In One Way Or Another” position is a variant on what-about-the-men. It often used to diminish the enormity of women’s oppression by arguing that men do jobs they don’t like, too. This dude, who has cleverly spotted in the concept of prostitution a metaphor for politics, has a fun take on the Universality of Whoredom as the Human Condition:

“The only difference between what Palfrey did and what politicians in Washington and around the country do on a regular basis is that Palfrey was selling sex, while the politicians are selling their nations [sic] future. When you think about it, Palfrey really wasn’t harming anyone compared to what the real prostitutes are doing.”

Sadly, through his inability to distinguish between pimp and prostitute, our author’s metaphor is a bit muddled, but we can still make out his point: that the institution wherein sociopathic men pay to rape women isn’t so bad, because politicians are corrupt. Never mind about prostitution! Palfrey didn’t harm “anyone” — who counts a few hookers? — because Washington is taking this country to hell in a handbasket!

Don’t see the connection? That’s because there isn’t one! The guy is a fucking a knob!

83 comments

  1. A MALE...but I'm gay, so it's ok

    Men are pigs

  2. Estraven

    I am not completely convinced that there is never any case when a person is actually free to be a prostitute. However, I do agree with you that, in most cases at least, this freedom is apparent rather then real; not to mention the many cases in which women are physically forced into it.

    I am wondering how you evaluate the kind of law they have in Sweden: namely, it is not illegal to be a prostitute, but it is illegal to be the customer of one. A law, as you might expect, passed by a parliament more or less equally divided among the genders.

  3. LouisaMayAlcott

    Yes, and they wallow in it.

  4. lawbitch

    The fallacy in the “everyone’s a whore” argument is that men are not prostituting themselves. The Jeff Gannon/James Guckherts of the world are in a very small minority. Unless the dude espousing this clever argument is one of these male prostitutes, he cannot seriously compare his dead-end, boring job to prostitution.

    Anyone who has to pay for sex is a big, sociopathic loser. As someone has already mentioned, men who pay for sex are doing so to avoid having to deal with women to have sex.

  5. Rainbow Girl

    But I thought being a madam was so empowerful! Do you mean to say that all those girl bands have been misrepresenting their self-exploitation as liberation, the whole time?

    Damnit, I’m going to have to take my bustier and garter set back to wal-mart, now.

  6. Feminist Avatar

    The laws surrounding prostition in Sweden are, to my mind, a really good solution to an old problem. Prostitution is not legalised but men who use prostitutes are criminalised. This puts the blame where it lies on the user of prostitutes and not on desperate women, who are already fundamentally being punished by the patriarchy. They are trying to push the same legislation through in my home country of Scotland right now. At present prostitution is not illegal in Scotland although streetwalking, pimping and running/ selling sex from a brothel are.

    I also object to the whole winky-winky attitude towards prostitution. The scary thing about being an adult is disovering the prevalence of prostitute use amongst men who you know (rather than the social evil that you know exist but is always somebody else’s thing).I think we should name and shame!

  7. slythwolf

    No, men are NOT pigs. They are men. They are human creatures and if they were pigs we could forgive them for they would know not what they do, having the brains of pigs and all. But they are sentient beings and ought to know better. That they don’t is not necessarily all their fault to begin with (IBTP), but it is certainly their responsibility to wake up and become decent fucking adults.

  8. KMTberry

    I imagine that there is a great DEARTH of “decent fucking adults” in D.C.

  9. Trout

    No! No! No!

    Pigs are men.

    That being said, I think it’s awfully mean to compare our politicians to prosititutes. Politicians are rich white men who sell themselves to the highest bidder. Unlike the average prostitute, (I won’t repeat the sociology here) politicians have a choice.

    For me the joy in this particular scandal lies in the hypocrisy. I hope that lots of Bush officials are exposed as godbagging bullshitters – because every fake-Xtian who’s exposed as a BS machine adds materially to my happiness, as well as the general health of the universe.

  10. edith

    Why is it that no one ever seems to remember the difference between decriminalization and legalization? And why is it that any time I’m with someone who starts going on about legalizing prostitution that I feel compelled to ask (the male, of course), “Why? Do you use prostitutes?” And then listen to him sputter after? Men just want you to be readily available to them but they don’t want to ADMIT they have to resort to prostitution because they are fuckers (pun unintended, or isn’t it?).

  11. ::wendy::

    Focusing on a trivial detail: $300 per night as a ‘high price’ for raping someone. I guess when the baseline dollar price is $0 then $300 must seem infinitely more expensive to the patriarchy.

  12. lawbitch

    Politicans are power peddlers. They sell their power to the highest bidder. Power = sex? Not really.

  13. Richard

    I think it may be good to expose men who pay for prostitutes if they are public figures who pretend to be opposed to things like prostitution. But I personally see nothing wrong with prostitution between consenting adults, and think that legalizing it is a very good idea. I have never personally used the services of any prostitutes, or been a prostitute, but I believe people should have the right to do whatever they want as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of anyone else. There are also male prostitutes, and there are even females who make use of the services of prostitutes. Now morality is completely different from legality, and I respect the fact that most people probably consider prostitution immoral. But just as some people are financially desperate or are drug addicts or rape victims or have other such problems, there are also some people out there who lack social skills, who are not good looking, or for whatever reason, are not appealing at all to the people they would like to have sex with. To say that these people are inferior and do not deserve to ever have sex with anyone is a form of Social Darwinism or eugenics, saying that only the superior people, people who can attract others (either those of the opposite sex or their own gender, whichever they prefer) are worthy of being allowed to have sex. News flash: not everyone is attractive, not everyone has social skills, and not everyone is good at dealing with other people! Why not simply let people pursue their desires consensually, and use money if necessary? People of both genders have insecurities about sex and about dealing with those whom they are attracted to. The reason prostitution is still illegal IS the patriarchy: the male-dominated society is afraid that if it is legal for women to demand money in exchange for sex, eventually all women might do so, once the stigma attached to it is removed. But in a sense, the legal institution of marriage is a form of legalized prostitution, especially marriage as it existed prior to the feminist movement. The man earned the money and the woman gave herself to him, in exchange for the money. Of course, she also had to do all the housework and raise the children and was not allowed to get a job of her own. But, that just demonstrates even more how traditional marriage is prostitution, and that the priests who marry people are the pimps, and in a sense the husband is “buying” his bride from the father of the bride. Women used to be considered property, of course. Legalizing prostitution would simply legalize what everyone is doing already in more informal ways. It would liberate women to be able to demand money in exchange for sex, if that is what they want. And men could do the same thing, if they were attractive enough or could find people desperate enough for sex with a man. There is no reason to attach a stigma to any of this or say that any person is superior or inferior to anyone else. The stigma ought to be attached to hypocrites who claim to oppose prostitution but have sex with prostitutes, or who practice other forms of hypocrisy. And it ought to be attached to bigots who think some people (like girls who are virgins) are better than other people (like girls who are prostitutes). I think another important reason prostitution is illegal is how it undermines the supposedly “sacred” institution of marriage, even though in many cases, marriage is still just prostitution. Actually it is not just prostitution, it is also a form of slavery too, so it is even worse than prostitution, since prostitutes do not have to do all sorts of chores for their clients all the time, they simply provide sex and nothing else. In a sense, prostitution is just marriage without all the official legal sanction and all the ceremonies and all the pomp and circumstance, and the relationship with each client is quite short in duration, rather than (what used to be) a lifetime committment. So it is considered bad simply because it undermines the supposedly “good” institution of marriage. I also think it is good to out people who are homosexual if they are hypocrites that support anti-homosexual policies publicly, like Jeff Gannon, the former White House reporter. Sorry about writing such a long comment; I am just verbosely challenged, or is it succinctly challenged? But yeah, and I am also an evil heterosexual white male too, and probably part of the patriarchy myself, so please aim your blame squarely at me. Why do I call myself evil? Because I am selfish, and continue to benefit from white male privilege without trying as hard as I can to dismantle the system of oppression. I’d like to get as high as I can in the system of oppression’s hierarchy before I dismantle the whole thing and liberate everyone. Of course, that will probably never happen, because I am a loser and will never amount to anything, despite all my advantages of being white and male and well-educated and upper middle class and living in the United States. For some reason, I am still stuck in a dead-end job making barely above minimum wage, but I will make use of every advantage I can find to get ahead, in my mad quest for money and power. I am sure you all hate me now, or perhaps you just realize I am a complete buffoon and a failure at everything, including expressing my ideas coherently. I honestly recently got out of a hospital psychiatric ward for being suicidal, but it is OK if you don’t understand because you are so much better than me that you have never had any suicidal thoughts ever. It was just hard for me to justify my continued existence, what with the world being overpopulated and Americans like me using up all the world’s resources and destroying the environment. But I am fine now, don’t worry. I will probably end up being a great liberator, or maybe a great oppressor, either freeing or enslaving many people. I still have not decided yet… maybe the solution might be voluntary human extinction so that the animals can be free. Who knows? But check out the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement website, which you can find on Google. The extinction of humanity would put a permanent end to the patriarchy. Just a thought, I am not actually serious about it, just thinking.

  14. slythwolf

    I personally see nothing wrong with prostitution between consenting adults

    …when a woman has to sell her body in order to feed herself or to keep from being beaten and possibly killed by her pimp, that’s not “consent”.

  15. Sean

    “On Sunday mornings in spring, a young spinster aunt’s thoughts always turn to prostitution.”

    This must be the best blog post intro in the history of the blogosphere.

    And I think Richard just hijacked and killed the thread, not because of the first half of the post, but because of the second. How can anyone answer any of that? Is the whole thing supposed to be ironic, sarcastic, post-hip, sincere, scary? I have no effing clue.

  16. BubbasNightmare

    Slythwolf:
    “No, men are NOT pigs. They are men. They are human creatures and if they were pigs we could forgive them for they would know not what they do, having the brains of pigs and all. But they are sentient beings and ought to know better. That they don’t is not necessarily all their fault to begin with (IBTP), but it is certainly their responsibility to wake up and become decent fucking adults.”

    Thank you.

    The overly facile “Men are pigs” comment that prompted the above quote is just that: overly facile. It says, “They can’t help it–it’s the way they are.” Men can very well be that way (most are), but they can most certainly help it.

    Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

  17. Mar Iguana

    Richard, shut up.

  18. thebewilderness

    Richard,
    Extreme solutions usually make sense when we are in extreme situations, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I hope you are able to find a safe way to find truth and beauty.
    We don’t hate much around here, but we have generous amount of outrage and we disagee plenty.

  19. Scoobs

    Thanks to “liberals” like TBogg, a female legal secretary has lost her job over this: http://tbogg.blogspot.com/2007/05/its-world-of-laughter-world-of-tears.html

  20. E

    O boy.
    *making popcorn and putting my feet up*

  21. Lisa

    Today’s op-ed section of The Washington Post has two extremely pointless articles on this scandal. “Red Light District” is written by Lily Burana, a former stripper. The shorter, accompanying article is “The Happy Hooker’s Code of Ethics” by Xaviera Hollander, who was an infamous prostitute/pimp.

    I suppose one could be happy that these women are now making a living writing instead of selling their bodies to the patriarchy’s fetish for female flesh. But neither of them offer any insight into the matter — in fact, their pieces are both depressingly routine. The few things I did learn from Burana: $300 is actually nothing compared to what the real “elite pros” make. And Palfrey’s “bland” appearance and supposedly tacky clothes are keeping this story from being more satisfyingly titilating. Damn, if only that madam was super hot or wore expensive clothes — that’s what this scandal needs!

    Hollander, in turn, assures us that high-priced prostitutes are “powerful” because they can ruin a big man’s career. She also tells us, and I’m pretty sure this isn’t meant as satire, that because she could talk a guy who wanted “a buxom redhead” into going for a brunette, that she has “the power to change their ideas.” She then goes on to say that the internet and parents who have given up on their kids staying virgins have created a too permissive environment. Wow — even hookers can grow old and weary watching the world change around them.

    The Post took up more than half a page with this crap. I wish they were printing someone like Twisty instead. Imagine that!

  22. thebewilderness

    Richard, my response to you is stuck in the spamulator.
    As a multiple tries failed suicide, my heart goes out to you.

  23. edith

    Richard, while I disagree with you, I’m not going to try and tear you a new one because I know how depression works and I know anything I say won’t be nearly as harsh as what you’re probably saying to yourself anyway. That, and I’m not an unfeeling jerk. And I’ve tried to kill myself too. In fact, I discovered this blog while I was recovering from that experience, and it’s been a great help. Best therapy ever.

  24. Spit The Dummy

    Thanks, Richard, I haven’t had such a belly laugh in ages.

    *settles down next to E with the popcorn*

  25. Ismnotwasm

    I noticed they referred to Palfrey as a “procurer” rather than a pimp in some news reports. The language spin was amazing.

    I have a male Muslim co-worker from The Gambia, who has a far better understanding of this kind of bullshit than your average American White Male. He disapproves of sexual exploitation from a ethical and moral standpoint. He’s all about patriarchy as far as gender roles, to a point–he is a nurse–but I can have a damn conversation with him about prostitution and exploitation of women without him thinking it’s a good idea. Sad fucking world.

    As usual, you nailed it Twisty and I like to check in now and again just to say I appreciate you.

  26. lawbitch

    Richard, you’ve wandered into the wrong blog. You should try the “attention-hungry blog afid” door down the hallway.

  27. lawbitch

    That should read: “attention-hungry blog aphid.”

    Geez, my 13 YO had to correct my spelling.

  28. Octogalore

    “But a “NASA official” or a “military officer” who pays to rape a woman is still a fucking sociopathic john; a “madam” who excises a cut of the take is still a fucking sociopathic pimp; and a “high-priced call girl” is still a prostituted woman whose “choice” in the matter is largely constrained by circumstance, whose sexual “freedom” is entirely illusory, and whose “enjoyment” of her “work” is a fairy tale.”

    Right on, that johns and pimps alike are severely damaged. And that on many occasions, choice is constrained by circumstances. And that in almost all cases, “enjoyment” of this kind of work is a fiction.

    However, to equate prostitution with rape, across the board, is inaccurate, and unfair to women who have been raped. There’s a vast difference that should be acknowledged, and isn’t by lumping these two categories together. If you’ve read Tracy Quan, or accounts of other women with various other options who for whatever reason chose to go the “high-class call girl” route – and I’m certainly not an apologist for this choice – it’s quite difficult, IMO, to see their situations as analogous to rape.

    In many cases, of course it’s hard to see much of a distinction – as in those of lower-income women who are literally forced into prostitution to feed themselves and their families. However, women who worked for Fleiss or Barrows or similar madams aren’t, in the main, in this category. The elitism of the power elite typically dictates a woman with education and the kind of slickness that comes from having other options, and choosing instead those with higher billing rates. Again – not advocating for this choice. But: it’s not rape.

  29. mearl

    Ay. Yi. Yi.

    Richard, I can’t let this one go. And don’t expect me to feel guilty about the fact that you think you are a complete loser etc. etc. and excuse your lack of logic. My suicidal friend is in a women’s shelter as I write this, and my whole family is mental. I’m not belittling your feelings here, but I am saying that they don’t have much to do with your rationale. I have my suspicions that you just haven’t dug far enough into your perspectives about women, men, money, and sex.

    Allow me to retort:

    “I personally see nothing wrong with prostitution between consenting adults.”

    If the adults were consenting, there would be no need for a monetary transaction, no?

    “I believe people should have the right to do whatever they want as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of anyone else.”

    Prostitution exists because of the patriarchy and its institutionalised systems of economics, value and power, NOT BECAUSE OF SEX. Morality has nothing to do with it either. The term “rights,” as defined in a constitution, does not take into account any of the patriarchal power continuum. Please go and read some Susan G. Cole, for fuck’s sake.

    “News flash: not everyone is attractive, not everyone has social skills, and not everyone is good at dealing with other people! Why not simply let people pursue their desires consensually, and use money if necessary?”

    News flash for mearl: “ugly” people (as defined by a given society at a given point of time) don’t have sex or intimate relationships based upon mutual consent, attraction or love? They’re all paying each other? Gay or straight? Wow, I had no idea! Thanks for that eye-opener, Richard.

    “There are also male prostitutes, and there are even females who make use of the services of prostitutes.”

    If you would take out the nanosecond that it requires to note which gender holds all the goodies in most societies, and then see if it matches up with the gender of the group that does the buying of the “services” of prostitution, you will see that the problem is not just a happy, balanced problem of immorality or legality. I would get into this in much more detail, but I hate wasting too much of my time on someone who hasn’t even reached an intermediate Blamer status. Again, Susan G. Cole. I’d add in Germaine Greer, Cynthia Enloe, and Shulamith Firestone, if you’re feeling ambitious. Once you have done that, come on back and join in.

  30. mearl

    Now I can get on with the comment I WANTED to make first, which was to say that FINALLY someone saw the light! Estraven, I have been yodelling about this for years: WHAT ABOUT THE JOHNS? It’s like affirmative action: where you see the power imbalance, you make a contextual analysis of the problem under law. Duh, duh, fucking DUH. And in a corrupt society with a history of misogyny, a society run by the very woman-hating men who use the power imbalance to their advantage, would one ever expect that said men would lay blame where blame is rightly due in the case of sex work and stick by it in both word and deed? It’s pretty clear that the more women we have governing and making laws, the more rational the society will be. Let’s hope that the rest of the world follows Sweden’s example.

  31. mearl

    Oh, I forgot this one: Richard, your comments indicate that you believe that abused, brainwashed, and otherwise oppressed women should be legally free to make cash (a requirement for living and resources) by allowing men they would otherwise consider “unattractive” to use their bodily orifices in an intimate and potentially disease-transferring manner for the satisfaction of those same men who somehow think that because they have an extra 5 bucks, it’s okay to get the sex (not a requirement for living and resources) that they think they so rightly deserve.

  32. Bruce/Crablaw

    This is a 5/600-level course and I am a 101-level student.

    To avoid being the ignorant derailer, irritant or ass, I would respectfully request any suggestions as to resources to consult re radical feminist views on prostitution, pimping and the contours of “consent.”

    Mearl’s list of authors above is most helpful, for which many thanks, but if there are other authors or any specific titles, essays, book chapters or online resources, I would be most grateful for guidance. Many thanks in advance to any/all.

  33. mearl

    Correct me if I am wrong.

  34. H

    Richard?

    Paragraphs are your friend.

  35. H

    To say that these people are inferior and do not deserve to ever have sex with anyone is a form of Social Darwinism or eugenics, saying that only the superior people, people who can attract others (either those of the opposite sex or their own gender, whichever they prefer) are worthy of being allowed to have sex.

    Out of everything Richard wrote, this part is what struck me: the old, wearisome reek of patriachal entitlement. To compare lack of sexual opportunity to some form of social discrimination or to suggest everyone (meaning, of course, every man) has a right to sex with the ‘standard’ of partner of their choice is just laughable. Women have no obligation or duty to allow you access to their bodies either for free or for money. It’s not ‘social Darwinism’ or ‘eugenics’ if you can’t persuade a woman to have sex with you of her own free will and to compare the two to a lack of sex displays a tiresome level of self-pity and an astounding level of self-absorbtion.

  36. thebewilderness

    Bruce,
    Alice Miller writes about how children are conditioned to the patriarchial norm.
    There is also a Feminist 101 site that has some of the info you are looking for.
    http://finallyfeminism101.blogspot.com/

  37. Hawise

    On one of the talking head shows this morning, they had a fat white dude from Nevada bemoaning the fact that Palfrey had broken some sort of pimp/madam code of conduct. Since when is the supposed oldest profession all about the ethics. A procuress got caught, she is outing her clientele to save her own skin and they are scrambling like rats off a sinking ship. Surprise, surprise.
    Pass the popcorn, this one may take awhile.

  38. kanea

    “It would liberate women to be able to demand money in exchange for sex, if that is what they want. And men could do the same thing, if they were attractive enough or could find people desperate enough for sex with a man.”

    richard, in your first sentance you pretty much said legilization would ‘liberate’ women to be prostitues….cause that’s the problem with patriarchy, we’re constantly denied the right to be sex commodities. in the second thing you said men could be prostituets but only if they were attractive or could find desperate people who are so desperate for sex and they cannot find a woman turn men in to sexbots. basically you just state the problem with legalizing prostitution instead of decriminalzing it. all women are potential whores to men. and legalizing prostitution will just make it worse. it’ll make things like getting away with rape and abuse easier. and prostitution is a form of slavery just like you said marriage was. don’t believe me? go learn about the sex slave trade coming from eastern europe and asia and pretty much everwhere humans live.

  39. Antelope

    I’m going to agree with some of what Richard said. I think that there is such a thing as consenting adults trading sex for money. I’m sure it’s a very small percentage of what falls under the name prostitution, but I think that it does exist now and it would be just fine for that to exist in the future.

    The thing is – how much of the sex that goes down supposedly in the name of love or anyhow a relationship is actually good sex for the woman? How much of the sex that goes down supposedly in the name of everybody partying and having fun and being casual is actually good sex for the woman? In my experience of screwing around with liberal, educated dudes both with & without the trappings of a relationship, the answer would be more than a third but way less than half. I’m guessing that’s a damned lucky ratio compared to most women on the planet.

    If it’s all about his pleasure and that’s it, then yes, that’s the kind of thing a person should pay for.

    My vision is that guys would learn appoximately this:

    * It should be every bit as obvious that if you want sex for free then you provide decent foreplay as it is that if you want to eat in a fancy restaurant then you use your silverware correctly. Here’s some ways you can get a clue what decent foreplay is, and then, of course, you can and should simply ask her what she likes.
    * If you want to be totally selfish and just get serviced, then you pay for it. If that’s all that you want sex to ever be, then you pay for it every time. Sex work is a respectable business, so paying means you have the right to be selfish, not rude. Sex workers have the right to refuse service to anyone as they see fit, and they have the right to ask you to leave at any time.
    * If you want to knock somebody around, see a professional to find out if you need meds. Or try rugby or boxing or martial arts to see if you can channel that energy by sparring with people who like it.
    * If you want to knock somebody around who’s smaller than you or otherwise not inclined to fight back very effectively, then you’re going to jail. There is no category that’s set aside for you to abuse. Not women, not children. A long time ago things were different, but nowadays women and children know full well that they can send you to jail and they won’t hesitate to do it.

    All this has nothing to do with the world we live in, I know. I’m just saying that I don’t think there’s anything inherently bad about trading sex for money. The objection seems to come from the assumption that sex is otherwise deeply personal and meaningful, so it needs to be above filthy lucre.

    I guess as long as I’m making up a utopia, it could be one where it’s actually true that sex is usually deeply personal and meaningful, but I figure a world where respect is common and violence is rare is more than enough to ask for.

  40. Rebecca

    For what is, for my money, the best response ever to the “but not all men can get sex for free, waah waah” argument, see here:

    http://www.feminista.com/archives/v2n3/clarke.html

  41. kate

    Thank you H and others for addressing Richard so I don’t feel I have to.

    I commented on TBogg’s site. I think others should too, in fact I think all the asshats guffawing and slapping their meaty man thighs over this whole thing and getting all tittered about who got caught, ought to be harassed by whole a buncha rad fems, but there is so many of them and so few of us.

  42. thebewilderness

    Bruce,
    This is a link to Arthur Silber who has written some excellent essays on Alice Miller’s work.
    http://thesacredmoment.blogspot.com/

    Kate, I spit in Tbogg’s eye earlier today. I agree that more of us should speak out more often.

  43. kate

    yes, Bewilderness, I saw your comment – spot on.

    I only wish to hell my bookkeeping would do itself so I don’t feel all guilty about spending two hours reading blogs!

  44. pisaquari

    Antelope,

    My vision would first include men and women not being taught to sexualize each other/glamorize rape and *then* see how much we really need this dick-lodging business.

  45. Praxis

    It’s amazing the rationalizations people will come up with to try and defend a society where some women have to sell (rent) their bodies to men [i]in order to earn a living[/i]. And there’s something deeply disturbing about a society where people have trouble understanding that economic need =/= sexual consent.

  46. Silence

    The bottom line of prostitution is one party (usually a woman) saying to another (usually a man): “I do not agree to have sex with you unless you pay me first.”

    Why does society feel the need to defend the people who agree to make such a purpose? It is easy to defend most prostitutes. They’re poor, they’re desperate, they have realized that they can actually earn a living wage better by taking off their clothes than by waitressing — the list goes on. But the johns, bottom line again, are paying to have sex with a woman who under any usual circumstances would refuse to have sex with them.

    Put in that way, there is more than a little component of rape to prostitution. You can’t tell me most johns don’t get off on the idea that they are ‘making’ this woman do something against their will. Prostitution is all about power; the johns have it, the prostitutes do not. I have no fucking sympathy for johns and their ‘wah-wah can’t get sex any other way’ whining.

    In a sane world, all you would need for good sex would be two people who cared about each other. But in this patriarchal-driven world, people are taught that tenderness and caring for others are values attached only to women, who are second-class citizens at best, not even human at worst. Men who show compassion are weak sissies who are allying themselves with the second-class gender. ‘Real men’ laugh at pain and ignore other peoples’ feelings.

    What a sick, sick world. Between this post and that damned dishonorable ‘honor killing,’ I’ve had my fill of bile and hatred for the day.

  47. E

    I’ve been meaning to ask you something and this seems to be the right thread.

    There is a radio show here (Sweden) with a weekly feature where they put the subject (usually a politician or a journalist or someone in the public eye) through an array of “moral dilemmas”. Their answers/reasoning are judged by an ethics/philosophy professor – the more consistent you are, the higher your score. Most people get 2 to 3 on a scale of 5, because most people have never had to think about these things before. The questions are dilemmas like: “If you had to kill 1 person to save 10 (who would otherwise die), would you do it?”. The subjects range from life and death to exploitation, drugs, alcohol, vegetarianism etc. You are not allowed to negotiate your way out of the premise of the question, you have to answer and face the dilemma.

    One of the questions is as follows: “Is it alright for an infertile couple to pay a poor woman to carry their baby, if the surrogate in question is more than generously rewarded for this?” (The person answering has to acknowledge the “generously rewarded” part, they can’t change it to “moderately” or “not-at-all”.)

    Everyone says yes, this is acceptable because 1) the woman consents to this and it’s her body 2) it is an amazing thing to do for other people and this should be applauded 3) because the money can help this woman to lead a much better life, and 4) the couple get the baby they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to have. She provides a service, she gets lots of money for her trouble and the couple is more than willing to pay. Everyone wins. This is how most people answer this question.

    I guess you see where this is going next.

    So THEN the moderator says: “So, is it alright for a man who cannot get sex any other way to pay a woman for a sexual encounter, if she is more than generously rewarded for this and there is no pimp?”

    Most women and leftist politicians answer: “No, because paying for sex is wrong.”

    And so they get slammed by the ethics/philosophy professor for being “inconsistent”. The ethics/philosophy dude says: “If you said it was OK to rent someone’s uterus, that is: pay (handsomely) for someone to provide a deeply intimate and physical service, if you think that is OK, then renting someone’s vagina or other parts of her physical body to perform a service must also be acceptable. There is no real difference here.“

    People who have tried to debate this by saying “But…but… sex is different. It can’t be commodified.” have not been at all convincing (possibly because they never imagined saying “prostitution is bad” would be met with any opposition. This is Sweden, FFS.). But he just says “Why? Why should sex be any different from other services, as in this case, putting your life on hold to carry someone’s child for nine months? What makes sex extra special? Give me a good reason. I’m not talking about pimps or trafficking here, I’m talking about this transaction: this man, this woman, this wad of cash. Why is that not acceptable to you? ” And no one has had a satisfying answer for this.

    As a novice blamer, I’m not equipped to provide an answer either. I just know what I feel instinctively, but that is never enough when it comes to a serious debate. But someone here, and certainly Twisty, is bound to have an answer.

  48. delphyne

    Inconsistency isn’t unethical. That’s like saying that if someone is sexist but not homophobic, they ought to score lower points on the ethicsometer than somebody who is consistently bigoted and hates both gay and lesbian people and women.

    The question shouldn’t be “why do you think buying sex is wrong?” but “why on earth would you think that buying a baby and renting a woman’s body is right?”

  49. Trout

    “Why? Why should sex be any different from other services, as in this case, putting your life on hold to carry someone’s child for nine months? What makes sex extra special? Give me a good reason. I’m not talking about pimps or trafficking here, I’m talking about this transaction: this man, this woman, this wad of cash. Why is that not acceptable to you?”

    Because there is an amazing difference between a male orgasm and a baby. Someone who is willing to have a baby and care for it and love it for the rest of their lives is very different from someone who wants the transient pleasure of an orgasm – and nothing more.

  50. TP

    I find the appeal of prostitution very hard to understand. Even in the wildest hormonally-charged days of my turbulent, self-absorbed youth I found the very idea disquieting.

    I thought about it, of course, since I was young in the glory days of The Happy Hooker and all that crap. I came face to face with it almost daily, on the stroll, where streetwalkers hollered and shook their asses in the streets, looking like their lives were a party. I had a benign view of it, from my ignorant vantage point of youth and male privilege. Sex was good for you, I thought. Sex was good for them, since they needed the money and I supposedly had some.

    But actually paying for sex was something I just couldn’t picture myself doing. I thought I was a romantic, and that love for pay would break my heart if it were the ideal fantasy many boys would like to think it is; the Tracy Quan/Xaviera Hollander story of hot sex with a woman who loved it so much she had to charge for it just to keep it legit.

    But more importantly, I knew to the core of my soul that it was not arousing. I was always a boy who had a keen sense of what was arousing and what wasn’t, and could visualize a projected scenario more realistically than a vague fantasy. “How could you get it up?” I asked myself and my friends. This was the extent of my teen introspection, I must admit.

    But it’s the core of my belief that men are trained to regard women as objects to be fucked, and that such objects are somehow contrary and resistant to the idea that they exist to be fucked, and therefore must be seduced, coerced, paid or forced into it, even though it is what they are here to do.

    Somehow I didn’t quite get enough of that training drilled into me, and as a human being, rather than as a manly man, I rejected the idea on every level.

    If men weren’t trained to regard women as objects to be fucked, then there would be no prostitution. It wouldn’t be exciting to have sex with someone who wasn’t excited by you.

  51. rebecca

    I

  52. sam

    ”Today’s op-ed section of The Washington Post has two extremely pointless articles on this scandal.”

    How comforting to know that despite other rancorous political divides conservative corporate media outlets and liberal nonprofit media outlets can at least agree that men should be permitted to have as many whores as they can afford.

    Kudos to TP for stating prostitution exists because to be fucked is what men have decided women were put on Earth for. Most of the arguments defending prostitution can be boiled down to the basic notion that some great creator made women for men to have sex with much like they made cats just so dogs would have something to chase.

  53. Artemis

    E –
    Politicians get to positions of power by making as many people as possible happy and particular people even more happy. Asking such a person a question about ethics and morality is absurd. You will not get a meaningful answer on the nature of what is ethical or moral, you will get a political answer and a specious argument.

    And there’s not a very big chance that the average person would have thought through this problem to any great depth. But my bet is that the radio show doesn’t choose people based on their abilities to form deep philosophical positions anyway.

    So it’s no surprise that there seems to be a disconnect between the two answers because the problem is in how this is being framed in the first place (and they clearly intend the “gotcha!” at the end of the two-part question – we have only to ask ourselves who is framing it this way and why).

    You can reframe this as a human rights issue and it’s very simple. No human being should have her financial wherewithal based in her womb or her vagina, because that equation puts her in a de facto position of being dominated for those uses. But we live in cultures where women have been designated as members of the breeder and sex classes, which reality enables the dominant class (men and their surrogate institutions, i.e. the patriarchy) to use women as it will for those purposes.

    Because we live in cultures that tell us that humans have the right to have sex or the right to breed – under a wide variety of circumstances – it appears that an ethical argument can be made within that framework. But it can’t.

    Try explaining that on a radio show.

  54. Cathy

    Another response for Richard, assuming he actually wants to learn anything:

    “News flash: not everyone is attractive, not everyone has social skills, and not everyone is good at dealing with other people!”

    We’re not trying to drive you over the edge, Richard, but here’s a news flash for you: Women don’t judge men by their looks anywhere near as much as men judge women. You want to screw, say, Julia Roberts, but she won’t, so you decide you must settle for a prostitute. Women settle for ugly men all the time, often because we value finding a decent person more than some hot stud.

    Be sure to read the post written by H on May 6th, 2007 at 8:30 pm.
    You don’t need to be handsome to attract a woman. You need to be a good person. And no one is saying you don’t deserve to have sex. But your inalienable right to have it ends where other people’s bodies begin, so you may have to jerk off. It’s OK; it’s not a sin.

  55. Yeny

    Richard – ‘I will probably end up being a great liberator, or maybe a great oppressor, either freeing or enslaving many people. I still have not decided yet…’

    Wow, Richard, you seem like a really great person. You think that enslaving people is a reasonable course of action to be considering, for instance like choosing whether to take that weekend trip, or between learning german or french during the summer.

  56. Trout

    Just a little note for Richard about how ugly guys can get laid:

    1.) Bathe daily. Use soap, shampoo, and how water. Use deoderant if you sweat a lot.

    2.) Get a haircut once a month, and trim your beard, if you wear one, weekly.

    3.) Don’t wear any piece of clothing for more than one full day (breakfast until bedtime) without washing it. People are much more likly to talk to you if you look neat and your clothes are neat and clean.

    (That was the easy part. Now we get to the hard stuff.)

    4.) Subscribe to a major newspaper and read it daily. (This gives you something to talk about, and more importantly, something to listen about.)

    5.) Train yourself away from looking at breasts when you talk to a woman. Same with asses.

    6.) Learn active listening techniques and use them. (There must be a million self-help books on this subject. Find a good one, read one chapter a day, and practice, practice, practice!)

    7.) Take an interest in other people.

    8.) Treat women like they were human beings. (That is, treat women like they were men.)

    9.) Be honest about your feelings. If you like a woman, tell her so upfront after you’ve known her for a couple weeks. It works a lot better than making sexual/sexist comments or beating around the bush.

  57. mearl

    TP says: “If men weren’t trained to regard women as objects to be fucked, then there would be no prostitution. It wouldn’t be exciting to have sex with someone who wasn’t excited by you.”

    Bango! Having sex with someone you only consider an object is called “assisted masturbation,” which is something a majority of men are doing to women, children, pictures, video porn, and other men most of the time. There is no reason at all that anyone should be legally entitled to that, considering how much damage it does to the person who is objectified, whether they numb it out or not. Despite my musings upon my wishes for more male nudity in the general milieu, my definition of healthy sex has to do with reciprocity and personal integrity. Men and women both are doing ourselves a disservice if we think sex is only physical.

    (many thanks as always for the enlightened male perspective, TP)

  58. mearl

    Here’s something to add to Trout’s list:

    10) Think about whether you truly like a woman or if you only see the outer trappings, then if you like her, think about how you can make her happy. DO NOT think about how you can “make her happy” SO THAT you yourself can get a piece.

  59. S-kat

    “…there are also some people out there who lack social skills, who are not good looking, or for whatever reason, are not appealing at all to the people they would like to have sex with. To say that these people are inferior and do not deserve to ever have sex with anyone is a form of Social Darwinism or eugenics, saying that only the superior people, people who can attract others (either those of the opposite sex or their own gender, whichever they prefer) are worthy of being allowed to have sex.”

    I’ve know better than to feed the trolls, but I just can’t help myself here. I have to say it: Yes, those people should not be “allowed” to have sex.

    “Allowed.” Now that’s an interesting concept, that you should be “allowed” sex as though it’s a right or something. If nobody wants to have sex with you, then that’s just too fucking bad for you. Stick to masturbation. I mean, go fuck yourself.

  60. Eurosabra

    I love the idea of a radical feminist blog commenter posting advice on how ugly guys can get laid. It amounts to “Be Yourself”, and all the things that a radfem would think would work–but don’t. http://www.feministcritics.org has a series of interesting blog posts on the sexual politics of heterosexual attraction that form an interesting point of departure, if “getting laid” is the topic of discussion.

  61. Twisty

    “if “getting laid” is the topic of discussion”

    Not on my watch, it ain’t.

  62. Eurosabra

    ‘Swhy I offered a reference to a blog that DOES care about the vicissitudes of straight male sex roles, since the blinkered non-recognition of said vicissitudes–to judge by the response to Richard–prevails here–Very Off Topic–and I don’t understand WHY radfem commenters made any foray here into advice for straight men. D. Clarke’s response in the linked blog at least recognizes the relevance of dominance to male social status and mating success in a patriarchal system, but Feminist Critics said it better, IMNSHO.

  63. Cathy

    No, No, No, Eurosabra – she wasn’t saying, “Be Yourself.” (Which doesn’t work for you). She was saying, “Be Nice and Pleasant.”

  64. Adam

    Almost every one here (Including me) agrees that prostitution is basically a bad thing. No one who didn’t NEED the money badly would consider doing it, which tells you basically no prostitute likes her job, and with good reason.

    Now, with that said, decriminalization of prostitution, probably in a similar manner to Sweden’s, is something I support, for a very basic and simple reason. If the prostitutes (mostly women) are not themselves considered criminals at all, it becomes much harder to coerce them (aka, pimp them). Also, pimping itself should be left specifically illegal, with penalties the same as for rape.

    As per current American laws in most places, in order for a prostitute to gain protection from a pimp, she would have to first basically admit to being a prostitute, and we know how well that would work at the police station.

    it’s not a solution, it’s a bandaid, but it’s a bandaid that will help things in a meaningful way, until such a time as the (many) issues facing the human races are dealt with to the point where no one is forced into this situation in the first place.

  65. Eurosabra

    Well, as a recovering Nice Guy(tm), I would label it as “Be Your Best Possible Self.” And Straight People dating/mating is neither here nor there on this blog, although I would concur with much of what TP wrote.

  66. Adam

    side note, only some what related to the topic, yeah atheism:

    http://richarddawkins.net/article,990,Those-fanatical-atheists,Dan-Gardner-The-Ottawa-Citizen

  67. Eurosabra

    “Be Your Best Possible Self” in other words.

  68. wtf

    Okay, let me just throw this out here. I’m well aware that arguing in favor of consenting adults having control over their own bodies and being able to do with them as they please is pointless here. I’ve seen it done dozens of times and it’s always met with the same dismissive reaction no matter how cogent the argument, so I won’t bother.

  69. wtf

    Shit I accidentally sent that before I finished the comment. How smart am I. Hold on.

  70. wtf

    Okay, let me try this one more time. What I’m saying is, it’s easy for anyone to sit in front of their keyboard on their own little soapbox and tell everyone else exactly what’s wrong with the world. You can denounce prostitution and porn and “pornstitution” all you want, but what the fuck does actually do? What solutions are you offering for this all-encompassing problem that finds its way to the center of so many conversations here?
    This is what I think: prostitution isn’t going anywhere. It’s always been around and I think it’s fairly safe to say it will be around quite a bit longer. So if we can agree upon that at least hypothetically, the question of “where do we go from here?” inevitably rears its complicated head. Now there have been a few mentions of decriminalization but is that really enough? Seems to me like the best thing we can do is work toward some way to make things safer and all-around better for these women. You can sit and bitch about how “unfeminist” it is to support the idea that it is a personal choice to consent to have sex for money, or you can actually do something to work toward some kind of legislation that will make things safer for prostitutes. I don’t get it: if you recognize the futility in whining about how fucked up society is that it forces women to whore themselves for money, why do you prefer to do it rather than actually make an attempt at helping them? If you know you can’t free them from what you view as oppression, the least you can do is try to make it so they do not get beaten and killed and riddled with disease. Now I know everyone will hate this, but the only way I ever see this happening is through legalization. Make it legal to run prostitution like a business, for prostitutes to get proper healthcare and proper protection from the law and I guarantee it will make their lives a million times better than sitting on your fat ass and bitching about how oppressed they are and how that in turn oppresses you.
    Hey, three comments in a row, look how cool I am.

  71. Adam

    Related topic:

    Where does legit Escort services fall in this? and I suppose I should define what I mean by legit escort services.

    and escort is basically a date to be seen in public with. Some single person is going to be at a relatively public event, is expected to have a date/partner, for what ever reason doesn’t have or doesn’t want a real date, and so pays some one to play pretend date for an evening.

    Event is over, escort is now free to go home or do what ever. And if they find their pretend date interesting enough, they may or may not aim at turning it into a real date or what ever.

    just wandering thoughts.

  72. Feminist Avatar

    Wtf, you are completely missing the point of this debate. You talk as if we think that prostitutes are the only women without choices. The point is that no women have real choices under the patriarchy. Prostitution and pornstitution are particularly virulent examples of this lack of choice that cause very real harm to all women. Trust me we have soapboxes on just about every aspect of women’s life that you care to imagine.

    I hesitate to speak for all womankind, but nobody here is shying away from offering real solutions to women involved in prostitution or pornstitution. Part of being a radical feminist however is thinking about the bigger picture and, for me, this is what this blog is about. We need decent theory on these problems in order to offer helpful solutions.

  73. wtf

    Hmmm Feminist Avitar…

    “The point is that no women have real choices under the patriarchy.”

    Is that the point? It sure seems like any time some one tries to bring up how other people’s choices are limited as well, everyone starts shouting, “NO! NO! NO!PORNSTITUTION!!! AHHH!!! YOU UNFEMINIST!!!” as if it is the absolute root of all that is vile and evil in this world. Mentioning anything else is seen as diluting the argument. And if anyone even tries to mention the mere idea that men’s career choices may too be limited by environmental factors and gender roles, the screaming gets even louder. So I don’t know if what you’re saying is the point.

    “Trust me we have soapboxes on just about every aspect of women’s life that you care to imagine.”

    Oh trust me, I know. It’s this part I’m not so sure about:

    “nobody here is shying away from offering real solutions”

    I’ve yet to see something that could be construed as a solution, let alone, “practical.” And this part makes me chuckle every time I read it:

    “Part of being a radical feminist however is thinking about the bigger picture”

    Ah…gee. Whatever you say there, tiger.

  74. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    If I really want to have sex with a man, I won’t accept money from him for it because to do so would demean both of us. If I don’t want to have sex with someone, then there is no “consent” and no amount of money could turn it into anything but rape.

  75. Twisty

    wtf, what does it actually “do” when you sit in front of your keyboard and attempt to make mocking fun of the deluded little feminists? And jesus chrust, this asinine notion that “writing about it on the internet” = “you’re a do=nothing blot” is on my last fucking nerve.

    Banned!

  76. smmo

    IBTP: Come for the blaming, stay for the dating tips.

  77. Natalia

    WTF has the logic of a troll. Also, the ellipses of a troll.

    Some practical solutions:

    1. Decriminalization, as discussed at length above.

    2. Active prosecution of pimps and johns.

    3. Nurturing a legal climate in which rape accusations by prostitutes (and strippers, and porn actresses, and oh, hell, while we’re at it, all women) aren’t routinely dismissed; in short, undermining the rape culture.

  78. Natalia

    Ah, Twisty got in there with lightning swiftness before I blamed. Thank you, Twisty.

  79. Bird

    Adam, where I’m from, “escort service” is a polite name for a call girl agency. They’re licensed by the city as businesses and are sort of grey area legal. The cops turn a blind eye to the actual purpose of the agencies. Part of this stems from Canadian law, where prostitution isn’t illegal, but proposing paying for/selling sex is. With an escort agency (at least here), nobody actually states the purpose up front, but everyone knows that the “date” will probably never happen outside the guy’s place and will include sex.

  80. Mercurial Georgia

    //there are also some people out there who lack social skills, who are not good looking, or for whatever reason, are not appealing at all to the people they would like to have sex with//

    Shorter Richard: Ugly people are entitled to have sex with beautiful people too, if the ugly people have money, and hey, there are definitely beautiful people out there who NEED the money.

    Are you the same Richard commenter at Pandagon, who opposed social safety nets? Cause OMG, it interferes with the market! No desperate women, no goods.

    When the social safety net is snug and men and women are equal, I’ll be able to see prostitution as just another business, as something one could choice on the grounds of not needing the money for food/rent/bills/tuition, but bonus, and a people-person job if their attitude is that open and when STDs is not that much of a threat. Until then, I will never date men who have used a prostitute.

    There is a difference between being deserving of good things to being entitled to them. People deserve to feel good, but since partner sex is a thing that involves more than yourself, to think that you are entitled to it is creepy, that ways lies the misogyny behind Warren’s making of the AprilBot

    You deserve sexual satisfaction, masturbate, there is nothing wrong with it and it’s actually good for your health. They have those vibrating rings for guys now. You deserve to be loved, but you aren’t entitled to have someone to love you, because that someone, is another entity together. No matter what you do, there is no guarantee that who you want will want you back, which is tragic, but at the same time, no matter how much someone wants YOU, if you don’t want that someone back, you can say no. …I also sure hope that you are never in a financially disadvantaged circumstance where you really have to sell your body just to get by, or to get out of it (tuition).

    You have to ask yourself, what do you want? Emotional intimacy and/or sex? You need to better at social interaction for the former, or find someone equally inapt, but still understand you as you understand him/her, same language. If you want sex, there is craiglist, I haven’t tried it yet because there’s a scent of desperation about but it’s miles about having to pay for it. Are you attentive? Are you good at back rubs? Cunniligus? Pillow talk? There are women out there who’ll much rather get off with an ‘ugly’ person than take to their bed a highly ‘inflated’ Himbo, and really, with stuff like Star Trek, beauty is in the eye of beholder. Though health isn’t, I’ll can be attracted to a guy with a crooked face because really, he can’t help that and that doesn’t affect his skills, pot belly, he can work out and pot belly could mean that he’ll be out of breath. Go to craiglist and post what you offer and what you want (oral sex? Intercourse? Heavy petting? 30 minutes or stay the night or fuck buddies?) Keep it consensual.

    PS: Regarding interacting with women, at least not annoying them or pissing them off so much that they won’t be willing to screw you even if your dick can vibrate, see this:
    http://www.heartless-bitches.com

    Check out the ‘Nice Guys’ section, if you need help in the area directions department, there is The-Clitoris.com, and ya know, talking to her and actually asking what she likes?

    - MG

  81. Mercurial Georgia

    To E, I find the situation where a women needs to rent her uterus and 9 months of her life and sell her baby, as morally horrific as situation where a women sell sex to eat/pay rent/tuition.

    I believe that surrogacy should only be allowed under the following circumstances:
    1)No money change hands beyond the medical. (and a society where the social safety net is snug is something to strive for always, I rather have a society where there are people who take advantage of that and not work as hard as they have to, then a society where most people are suffering no matter how much they work, while the rich don’t)
    2)Her body is still hers.
    3)The surrogate /mother/ has parental rights as well as the genetic parents. I find the idea of the woman who carried the baby having no parental rights as deeply misogynic and patriarchic because it will always be a woman who carries the baby, makes it inside her womb from genetic scratch, while it’ll be the man who’ll only donate half the genetic material.

    Those who can’t conceive naturally, need to find someone who is willing to be carry and be a third parent. Cause you know what, you can’t just buy a baby from someone else! It’s kinda tough that you can’t be the ‘traditional’ two-parent family, but there is nothing natural about renting a womb anyways, might as well roll with it. The surrogate mother have equal parenting rights, and this includes child support shall they break up and she be deemed the most competent parent, shall they break up, joint custody is preferable. Everyone should have really worked this out before the pregnancy really, it’s not like it’s going to be an accident in this case.

    - MG

  82. smmo

    I find the idea of the woman who carried the baby having no parental rights as deeply misogynic and patriarchic because it will always be a woman who carries the baby, makes it inside her womb from genetic scratch, while it’ll be the man who’ll only donate half the genetic material.

    Actually sometimes the baby has no genetic connection to the surrogate. Which doesn’t change your compelling argument, just worth noting. These are tough questions. I feel a lot of compassion for the infertile. Probably the best surrogate situations are ones in which love figures – a relative or friend.

    The surrogacy / prostitution comparison is worth considering, but one could argue that helping an infertile woman have a child serves a greater good while prostitution, no so much.

  83. Mercurial Georgia

    //Actually sometimes the baby has no genetic connection to the surrogate.//

    I know that! Hence, my wordings, which to be even more clear, a woman will always carry the child, go through the most trouble, and a man will only donate half the genetic material, usually taken when he comes, good for him. The woman however, have health risk to look forward to, and 9 months it’s easy to get attached, as she should.

    I feel bad for infertile couple, and I feel bad for man (and woman) who can’t get the time of the day from anyone, but they are not entitled to the use of another person’s body. It’ll be good for couples to seek a surrogate in a friend or relative, but, the surrogate must still have parenting rights as well over the baby she gave birth to (and if she change her mind, she have the right to change it again a period after the birth as naturally conceiving mothers do when they put up for adoption), even if it genetically originated from outside of her, it’s her blood, her flesh, her 9 months. ..and what’s so bad about this? The couple gets a baby, a third parent which is good insurance for the child because there is a reason people seek out godfathers and godmothers because accidents happens. The baby won’t feel like something brought because all those involved in its existence stayed. The surrogate won’t feel like she rented out her womb, because the baby is recognized as hers as well. Win.

    - MG

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>