Mar 14 2008

Spinster weighs in on Spitzer

I’ve been away from my desk, but even without having spent the past 4 days jacked into the blogular Matrix of Snipe I know there have already been 57,932 posts about Eliot Spitzer. Here’s 57,933. Sorry.

But the reader can dance the rhumba of relief, because I’m not gonna dwell on the surpassing extent to which Spitzer exemplifies the steaming turds of honky male arrogance festering in our domination culture’s putrid bowels. No, he and his vulgar dudely hubris are remarkable only in their thoroughgoing predictability. In fact, from the self-preservational perspective of the radical feminist blogger on sabbatical in the wastelands of North Dallas, all dudes are automatically presumed to be smug, patriarchy-loving thugs until proven otherwise. So tiresomely commonplace — in all social strata, not just politics — is the antifeminist Spitzer worldview that a (hypothetical) news blitz on AnyDude’s relationship to the Law-Abiding/Ethical Continuum would be news to me only if the reporter miraculously found a way to prove unequivocally that the guy in question had never used his status as a privileged overlord to, metaphorically or otherwise, fuck some insouciant young innocent in the ass.* In other words: so the governor of New York is addicted to pay-per-rapes? Same shit, different day. Thanks, patriarchy!

But I digress. What I’m going to complain about is the perennial missed golden opportunity, whenever one of these dickheads implodes, for a nice, plump public discourse on the human toll of prostitution. I mean, what Eliot Spitzer has quaintly referred to as his “private failings” are not private in the least. Even if he weren’t a public figure, such “failings,” which seem to afflict a significant percentage of the dominant class, affect all members of the sex class — i.e. all women — everywhere. They represent the replication in miniature of a global network of violent misogyny the existence of which has been, so far as I know, magnificently ignored, as per the usual universal agreement, by all the major papers and news networks.

I allude, of course, to the unquestioning, winkwinknudgenudgical acceptance of prostitution as one of Dude Nation’s most venerable and inviolable capitalist institutions. News copywriters drool longingly over the words “high-priced call girl” before they hasten to reassure legions of anxious lechers that “customers” are rarely prosecuted in prostitution stings. Spitzer’s episodic incontinence is romanticized poetically as “encounters” or “trysts.” Bloggers who love to hate on a sister speculate on the amazing staying power of this latest in an apparently endless string of stand-by-your-man “wronged wives” (Is she delusional? Stupid? Why doesn’t she dump the motherfucker?). Drunk on schadenfreude, the Wall Street Journal alternately cheers Spitzer’s meltdown and jeers at his hypocrisy. There’s no shortage of op-ed columnists who, noting that he was on Clinton’s short list for VP, cannot resist salivating with ill-concealed regret over the lost opportunities for the nationwide Spitzergate-that-might-have-been. And, naturally, David Letterman has been on a three-day Spitzer bender, which bender has consisted exclusively of ceaseless repetitions of the word “whore”, which word is, as we know, comedy gold.

Inevitably, “Kristen,” the prostituted woman, has been duly rewarded with her fifteen minutes for her capitulation to the porn mandate; her real name and the details relating to her status as an expensive receptacle (her age, photos attesting to her fuckability, etc) are all over the papers, and her MySpace page tops the Google hit list; she’ll give interviews to Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair and Oprah, and write a book, and become a shoe designer. So what’s my fucking problem?

For starters, “Kristen’s” purported highclassiness is a red herring.

Imagining her as some sort of well-heeled courtesan who’s laughing all the way to the bank allows prurient consumers of the Spitzer Demise to rationalize that “Kristen” has been amply compensated for her role in the spectacle; the bill having been settled, they can continue to indulge in jokes about “Greyhound’s Hooker Express from NYC to DC (’pimps ride free!’).“ Bitch got paid, we can humiliate her all we want!

This attitude is prevalent, I have noticed, among the young white male liberals who argue in favor of strip clubs and porn.

I don’t know anything about “Kristen”, except that as a prostituted woman — however “high class” or “expensive” — she is a de facto sub-human. As are the millions of other, more invisible prostituted women she so inaccurately represents in the popular imagination. “Kristen” may achieve a kind of kitschy, pop-culture cachet because of the high status and celebrity of the asshole who used her as a meatsock, and she might be able to parlay her position as a footnote to history into some kind of financial reward — such things are not unheard of — but the vast majority of what so many progressives like to call “sex workers” subsist much, much more precariously. Some merely teeter on the precipice of indenture and some are genuinely enslaved, but all are subject to violence, disease, imprisonment, marginalization, shame, and all the other degradations, large and small, that accrue with membership in the planet’s most despised class.

So once again, some white guy is lionized for his extraordinarily comprehensive assimilation of the megatheocorporatocratic ideology, but the fact that he has taken an active role in what can only be construed as a human rights violation is significant to the media not because he so magnificently represents the inevitable product of a culture based on the toxic dominance/submission dichotomy, but because in choosing a lesser object to dominate, he arrogantly declined, as the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger put it, to “spend his free time with Albany’s in-house hookers.” In other words, it’s not that Spitzer went whoring — everybody goes whoring! — it’s that he bought the wrong girl. Gotcha!

If you’re thinking you’re gonna take me to school in the comments section about how “sex work” is noble and should be a legal, legitimate profession, la la la, read this first: at issue is not the objective act of boinking. Until you factor in patriarchy and its wacko concepts of property and gender, sex is just a thing, like eating a couple of Cheez-Its, or going to the movies. But in a patriarchy, all women belong to the sex class, and are defined in terms of men. Men, on the other hand, belong to the default human class, and get to define themselves (and everything else). In a heterosexual boinking situation, the power differential inherent in the relationship between fucker and fuckee absolutely precludes the possibility of any woman participating with full agency in prostitution.

The jovial nonchalance with which the subject of prostitution is bandied about — and prostitution, I say again, is a human rights violation — makes me want to puke.

* And that goes for anyone whose status gives him leverage over hapless minions: bureaucrats, bosses, priests, horndog professors, coaches, parents, gangsters, pimps, johns, cops, prison guards, Army types, creepy uncles, and husbands who only do 30% of the housework. I’m not just talking about sex, obviously, but about the general proclivity of privileged males to inflict almost any other aspect of their will, willy-nilly, on subordinates, willing and unwilling.


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  1. Orange

    I am merely a liberal feminist with zero rad-fem credentials (and with a husband). But I say amen, sister Twisty.

    Two factoids I read this week: (1) Prostitution is the single most dangerous job for a woman, something liek 20 or 50 times deadlier than being a taxi driver. (2) On her MySpace page, the woman called “Kristen” claims a history of all sorts of badness, the NYT reports: She left “a broken family” at age 17, having been abused, according to the MySpace page, and has used drugs and “been broke and homeless.” Two thoughts on those: (1) At least one of her well-heeled “clients” expected condom-free sex, putting her at risk. (2) So even a “high-class call girl” can come out of the same troubled background that leads many young women into sex work, in an attempt to climb beyond desperation.

    I am utterly fed up with the bandying about of the word “whore” this week. Way to dehumanize a woman, folks.

  2. BadKitty

    Oh Twisty, how I missed you during your hiatus! Not to sound like a groveling fool, but there were so many times I read the news and thought, Damn, where’s Twisty when we need her?

    I know you have been occupied with a family matter during the last week or so and I’m sorry for your loss. When I was reading hundreds of posts by “liberals” on “liberal” blogs, both by dudes and not-dudes-but-hoping-to-get-in-the-privilege-by-bashing-women, I was wishing I could say what you have said here and said it only half as well.

    The MSM’s coverage of this situation and their treatment of “Kristen” as nothing but a fuckable meat puppet has made me feel physically ill. It doesn’t surprise me, since they treat all women as fuckable meat puppets to one degree or another, but the depths to which they will sink has depressed the living hell out of me once again. Thanks for being a voice of sanity in an otherwise insane week of blogs.

  3. invisible hussein

    Hear, hear! And, Amen, Twisty.

    I admit to using the word “whore” from time to time. I certainly would never bandy it about, though. I wouldn’t know what’s been actually written and spoken about this subject. I don’t watch or read that crap. Most of what I’ve selected to read about it seems to concentrate on the huge hypocrisy of it all. That’s a whole lot of what you talk about, I believe.

    But in defense of my use of the word “whore”, I only use it when no other word will do. After all, what else can you call John McCain?

  4. invisible hussein

    I’ve been reading a lot lately about the huge number of “displaced” Iraqi women who feel forced into prostitution—to feed their children.

    I have nothing else to say about that right now.

  5. Ryna

    As a former “classy” prostitute who at one point actually ran the very high risk of ending up in a similar situation, I fucking adore you for having something remotely realistic to say about this poor woman when 99.9% of the internets would rather sit around waiting for her to get on the damn screen and tell America she’s sorry for being such a bad bad girl. Thanks.

  6. Ivy

    Your scintillating turns of phrase make me swoon, but not too much because my fiancée may not care for that. Also, you said what I have been thinking and I wish I wrote it first. Alas.

  7. panoptical

    I had a sort of converse reaction to what you are saying – I began to wonder why sex is such a taboo in our society. Why is the sale of consensual sex illegal in a country where men can and regularly do get away with beating and raping their spouses – where the concept of “raping” one’s spouse is new and controversial because a woman’s body is still considered her husband’s possession? I’ll tell you why – because to sell something you have to own it, and as our fucked up legal system’s institutional policy on spouse abuse (not to mention other issues, like abortion) clearly shows, women don’t own their bodies, and especially not their vaginas.

    Sex is considered corrupt and immoral and taboo because it upsets the established, patriarchal power dynamic of society. The one thing men don’t have the power to do is to create life – that power is reserved for women, and so men create systems of “morality” in which the means of expressing this power is vilified and brought under control of the men. The men get to decide who a woman has sex with and under what circumstances, and by no means can anyone have sex that does not reinforce the authority of the men. It’s womb envy.

    And of course the economic sphere is just as susceptible to corruption as the political sphere, and money is a form of control much more subtle and insidious than laws. I’m not advocating a system where men control sex by controlling resources. Of course women shouldn’t be coerced into prostitution. But women are regularly coerced into marriage by economic forces – perhaps not in the circles of my liberal friends, but I know plenty of women who have the attitude that they need to find a man who will support them. Don’t women deserve another option? Shouldn’t the goal be to empower women sexually and financially by fighting both the puritanical anti-sex moral culture and the institutional economic discrimination that drives women to seek the support of men by bartering (marriage) or selling (prostitution) sex?

    Of course, as you say, as long as there’s an imbalance in the power relationship between men and women, prostitution has an ugly element of coercion – but doesn’t all sex have that element? And couldn’t an attempt to subvert patriarchal restrictions on sex have the effect of challenging that power relationship?

  8. octopod


  9. communicatrix

    I once got into the legalization horse-pokey argument with the ex–some 20 years ago, before my intuition had fully developed.

    Had Twisty (and ilk) been around to school me back then, I’d’ve gone with my gut and gotten out then. It’s so clear to me now that no good can come from a partnership where half of the partners are down with what, as Twisty points out so eloquently, can never really be free trade in a patriarchal framework.

    God bless the internets. God bless the Twisty. (Even if she would not let me buy her a taco on my recent trip to Austin.)

  10. W

    @invisible hussein, re: usage of “whore”

    Even calling a despicable a dude as John McCain a whore suggest that part of his abominableness (abominability? abominabilitude?) is a result of his having qualities which patriarchal culture ascribes to women and therefore is an expression misogyny.

    Also: not only does the voyeurism-cum-domination in the mass obsession with the woman Spitzer raped make me want to puke, but also the paucity of people puking (I should get bonus points for alliteration) makes me want to vomit again.

  11. laura

    it’s been perfectly awful to see this all go down here in new york city, and the way the media (the nytimes as well as the tabloids) have treated the subject. my supposedly liberal coworkers and friends are no better. i hate the patriarchy. thanks for this post.

  12. invisible hussein


    Even calling a despicable a dude as John McCain a whore suggest that part of his abominableness (abominability? abominabilitude?) is a result of his having qualities which patriarchal culture ascribes to women and therefore is an expression misogyny.

    The Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists these as definitions:

    Whore (noun)

    1: a woman who engages in sexual acts for money

    2: a male who engages in sexual acts for money

    3: a venal or unscrupulous person

    Surely McCain falls into definition 3. Definition 2 is a sure thing, as well. I mean, you’ve seen the Bush-hug?

    I sincerely hope that you’re wrong about the paucity of people puking.

    Anyway, I’m open to dropping the word “whore” from my vocabulary. I wouldn’t want my broad-brush to inadvertently color any honorable women.

  13. pisaquari

    “everybody goes whoring!”

    That was the story this morning–radio DJ’s had a local escort woman on air for the “full story,” talking this and that about how many married men and “guys you wouldn’t expect” use escort services. They go for, what she called, a “G.E” or…”girlfriend experience” (!!!!).
    And after a few wives called up all hushed and scared and pissed she said she was excited because this story was going to drive up business!

    Nothing like free advertising.

  14. invisible hussein

    It is interesting, though, how the Merriam-Webster online dictionary uses the word “woman” and then the word “male”. What does that mean, I wonder.

  15. PhysioProf

    The mainstream media was so gleeful that they could freely say, “hooker, hooker, hooker, hooker, hooker” for days and days. I provided a few thoughts on this at my place:


  16. Linden

    “I’m not advocating a system where men control sex by controlling resources.”

    No need. We already have one of these — it’s called the patriarchy.

    We don’t have an anti-sex moral culture so much as we have a culture that characterizes women’s sexuality as either that of the madonna or the whore. If you’re the madonna, you get a certain package of rewards and strictures. If you’re the whore, you get another package. In neither case do you exercise free, unfettered choice, because you’re not the ultimate judge of your own behavior. This is why the “sex positive” movement fails so utterly.

  17. villiers

    Thank you. Just…thank you.

  18. Matthew Morse


    I briefly entertained the idea that this might provoke some useful discussion of the inherent abusive nature of prostitution, but then I got over it. Then I read the New York Times article on Kristen. Then I saw the front page of the New York Post.

    Speaking as a straight male, I’m not sure I can ever have sex again in good conscience.

  19. W

    @invisible hussein: In truth, it is far from me to actually dictate with accuracy the exact level of misogyny in each of the words we use, so you should feel free to disregard what I say on the subject. HOWEVER! I would venture to argue that “people”, in the monolithic, indivisible entity one usually refers to them as, regard “whore” as specifically having the “feminine” qualities that I briefly described above. At the very least, I observe that the people who most frequently use it around me are entitlement-filled, patriarchy-drunk men who wield it against their male peers in a deliberate attempt to associate them with the women in their life who they never say are but obviously regard as inferior.

    Whew, that was a lot of words to waste off topic.

    @PhysioProf: Isn’t that glee remarkable? It’s almost like they’re a bunch of children told they could have M&Ms for dinner. I wonder what causes it.

  20. TwissB

    Amazing Twisty, I don’t know whether you are channeling Melissa Farley (who, for example, dropped the phrase “sexually incontinent men” into an NPR panel discussion last night) or she is channeling you, but you both do my heart good.

    For anyone not acquainted with Farley’s work, go to http://www.prostitutionresearch.com and read about her new book: Prostitution & Trafficking in Nevada” (2007) The whole system in a nutshell.

    And thanks also to Blamers who dealt with the pop concepts of the word “whore” and prostitution as “sex between consenting adults and why don’t we all just grow up and stop being a Puritan nation in a sex panic.”

  21. TwissB

    I forgot to mention a surprising and informative commentary from an unexpected source – The Beverly LaHaye Institute(!):

    “Governor Spitzer Buys a Woman – But That’s Not Why the Department of Justice Investigated” By Brenda Zurita

  22. Lady Vetinari

    Thank goodness, Twisty. Reading all the commentary on how prostitution is a “victimless crime” and how feminists who want to do something about it are denying women’s moral agency (yes, because you’re such a free agent when you do something for fear of violence/starvation/losing the drugs that you’ve become desperately addicted to!) has turned my stomach. You’re a breath of fresh air.

  23. Chiroptera

    Until you factor in patriarchy and its wacko concepts of property and gender, sex is just a thing, like eating a couple of Cheez-Its, or going to the movies. But in a patriarchy, all women belong to the sex class, and are defined in terms of men. Men, on the other hand, belong to the default human class, and get to define themselves (and everything else).


    Thanks for mentioning this as a human rights issue!

  24. Theener

    Twisty, as usual, you heap the blame right where it belongs.

    Re: “The Girlfriend Experience”
    A way for the man to express even more control in an unequal situation. Not only is the woman used, to use Twisty’s term, as a meatsock, but she has to pretend to enjoy it and then continue to pretend that he’s oh-so-fascinating when it’s over.

  25. slythwolf

    Panoptical, I had to stop reading your comment. There is no such thing as “consensual” sex for money. If a man gives a woman money to have sex with him, he has coerced her into sex, and therefore has raped her.

  26. iamnotanoctopus

    I read this blog constantly and almost never comment, but I think I have to join those thanking you for this post. The discourse on trafficked women in my real life never seems to rise above “Well, it’s her body, she should be able to do what she wants.” As if any woman decides that what she’d really like in a career is to be enslaved, abused, and raped repeatedly. As if the few who claim to love their “job” somehow erase the vast majority of prostituted women and girls who want out of it, but are utterly and desperately trapped. “Sex workers’ rights” should start with the right to NOT BE A SEX WORKER. Until we’ve secured that (which we clearly have not), the rest is so much fluff.

  27. Joanna

    Bailiff, whack his peepee!

  28. Hattie

    How I missed you, Twisty. I can’t believe the rationalizations around prostitution. These are the same as for slavery and child labor. It’s always existed, it serves a social purpose, how could men get along without it…

  29. dr.sue

    Twisty, I know you are dealing with grief and loss right now, and so I have been ashamed of the frequency with which I’ve been clicking over here since Tuesday, in the hope that you would write about just this. The victim-blaming of both women visibly involved in this debacle is stunning. I hope you and your family are doing okay, and I thank you for taking the time to take this on.

  30. glt

    I saw part of a story on this on CNN and they were going on about how his behavior would have been perfectly 100% acceptable if he were a stock broker, but since he was a governor it was extremely bad. What? I completely fail to fathom the rationale behind having different standards for stock brokers and governors. So, since I’m not any kind of elected official at all, I am allowed to go around mugging elderly people, right? Sure, it would be unethical if I were famous, but I’m not so it’s fine! Only when society has rewarded you with notoriety are you required to reciprocate by following silly rules like not hurting people too much.

  31. invisible hussein

    @ dr.sue

    Twisty, I know you are dealing with grief and loss right now, and so I have been ashamed of the frequency with which I’ve been clicking over here since Tuesday, in the hope that you would write about just this. The victim-blaming of both women visibly involved in this debacle is stunning. I hope you and your family are doing okay, and I thank you for taking the time to take this on.

    Me too, Twisty. Me too.

  32. Silence

    First off, I want to add my sincere condolences to you and your family on the loss of your father. He sounded like a truly righteous dude, and I mean that as high praise.

    Secondly, I’m giving you a standing ovation over here for this post, which is one of the best you have ever made — which is also high praise. You hit the nail so firmly of the head that it’s gone right through the wood and hopefully taken out Spitzer’s eye (or something a bit lower). The only reason sex isn’t a perfectly boring act done during commercial breaks and none of anyone’s business is because the patriarchy has a stake in it.

  33. Jeanne

    Twisty, thank you. You read my mind. My condolences on your father’s passing. I wish all dads were as decent as yours.

  34. Tigs

    One of the more charming developments as ‘Kristen’s’ details have been revealed is the media’s denial of her experience.
    The few quotes so far tell us that she left a broken home, and that she was abused.

    Some enterprising types have gone to her home town and talked to her neighbors. To paraphrase: “After she crashed her step-father’s Porsche, he wouldn’t give her a new one. That’s why she left.’
    She was never abused because her neighbors never knew about it. Obviously.

    Ah, it all becomes clear. This is not a young woman at risk at all, rather she is a spoiled brat who never wanted a real job anyway. We clearly shouldn’t spend any time thinking about her because prostitution is great, and if it isn’t, well, she deserves what she got.

  35. TP

    Nobody – but nobody – can speak the truth like you. It’s amazing how plainly you manage to put self-evident truths, how succinctly you distill volumes of thought, how casually you couch each phrase. Your sense of humor and outrage work together, hand in hand, to make you the greatest feminist writer I have ever read.

    I will never tire of listening to you, and believe that you are the best voice ever to speak the truth about the patriarchy.

    I’ve been reading Dworkin’s Intercourse, and have been amazed at the limitless complexity of her thoughts. So different from the lazy summations and slogans her critics reduce her to! So I noted your use of ‘prostituted women’ in place of ‘prostitute’ and knew where it came from. I’ll never refer to a woman victimized by prostitution again without thinking of Andrea Dworkin.

  36. Vera

    I’m just going to echo TP: I will never tire of listening to you. Thanks for writing the plain truth in such compelling language, as you always do.

  37. lawbitch

    Yet another brilliant post. Thank you!

  38. atheist woman, fisticuffer at large

    Of course prostitution is rape. The ones who believe otherwise are those who have bought into the concept (key to even functioning in this society) that money trumps everything. In the minds of pro-prostitution people it is not so much that the man is paying a woman to have sex with him*, it is that he is handing her the money and she is just so stunningly overjoyed (green, pretty, pays rent!!!) at the sight of it, that she willingly hands over sex. See, there is absolutely no coercion going on, merely gratitude. Money in their minds is more important than physical integrity and preference. Wieeee.

  39. atheist woman, fisticuffer at large

    Oh, the asterisk was going to be *Rather than raping someone he already knows.

  40. invisible hussein

    From Twisty:

    This attitude is prevalent, I have noticed, among the young white male liberals who argue in favor of strip clubs and porn.

    I mentioned earlier, in different words, that I stayed away from all the MSM crap regarding Spitzer because my eyes just can’t take those direct hits. I’m eternally grateful to those who can and then proceed to give us their trustworthy commentary. I also said something about selecting posts to read that seem to mostly talk about the huge hypocrisy of it all (blah, blah). I didn’t say that most of those selections came from “liberal” and “progressive” blogs.

    So this morning I’m zipping around the intertoobal two-dimensional galaxy looking for relevant and current political stuff—in my usual haunts—when, what to my wondering eyes should appear but “hookers” and photos of “hookers”, oh dear. With jokes and with glee so lively and quick, I knew in a flash that it must be St. Dick.

    So I ran fast to Twisty and here I shall stay. I’m pitching my tent and I won’t go away.

  41. CafeSiren

    Glad to see you back in fine blaming form.

    Here’s a question I’d like to ask all the victimless-crime, why-don’t-we-legalize-it types: Why do you think that clients of prostitutes are overwhelmingly male? Because men need to get sexed more than women, and therefore need an “outlet”? BZZT! Wrong, but thanks for playing. Patriarchy, baby. Whether the prostitute is female or male, the one doing the shtupping is almost always male. I just can’t believe that this is a coincidence.

    (there was more logic to go here, but the phone just rang, so I gotta hit “blame”.)

  42. Fiona

    This is a great post on a number of levels, but–please pardon the blatant ass-smooch–this in particular is brilliantly expressed:

    “They represent the replication in miniature of a global network of violent misogyny the existence of which has been, so far as I know, magnificently ignored, as per the usual universal agreement, by all the major papers and news networks.”

    Exactly. There will be no mainstream public discourse on this topic because it’s simply business as usual and not worth further discussion beyond the short-lived titillation and sensationalism that sells newspapers and raises ratings. I read that sentence and assume all right-thinking individuals would smack their foreheads in recognition of truth. Unfortunately, the shortage of right-thinking individuals in the patriarchy precludes this. Even if, wonder of wonders, somebody in the mainstream media DID bring up “private failing” as-replication-of-misogyny-in-miniature for discussion, it would be quickly, if uncomfortably, dismissed by news dudes threatened with the mere possibility of a reduction in their privilege.

    Strike that. The dismissal would be done with a chuckle and a wave of the hand. A man who insists that the use of women is his right feels no discomfort at the suggestion that it isn’t, thus obviating the need for further discussion. Because there IS no discussion.

    Strike that, too. The subject will neither be mentioned nor considered by anyone who is employed by or otherwise participates in mainstream media, patriarchy propagandizing machine that it is. News dudes will never even be put in that position.

  43. Jo

    I feel like I just stepped out of the looking glass – a heartfelt thankyou, dear Twisty for putting the world right again.

  44. vinoveritas

    I was feeling so sick reading the other coverage of this sick story. Thanks for making me feel less crazy.

  45. Jemima

    …Because I think you should all go read this post from the main patriarchy blamer.

    Twisty once again cuts to the bone and this time she points out what’s really important to consider about this whole Spitzer business…


    I thought, I would direct my readers, however few they are, to this post of yours. You’ve done it again, and thank you for that.


  46. C. Atrox

    Twisty Gold. Thanks for that excellent posting.

  47. herdottiness

    I just heard Ben Stein announce his outrage that the “real” problem re Spitzer’s “crime” was not that he raped a woman for money, but that beaurocrats (who are not elected), in investigating his cash transactions, brought about a series of events the toppled a public official who was elected, thereby subverting the will of the “people.”

    It goes on and on and on. Thank you Twisty for your post. I too have been waiting to read your comments on this. Through your grief and many life experiences, you bring focus and brilliance in your writing.

  48. Rebecca

    A rare voice of reason (and in a left publication, no less):


  49. invisible hussein

    Dear Rebecca, I love you, I just know it. But, right this second, I’m afraid to read that article. You see, right this second, I am a member of the personality cult of Obamarama. I refuse to listen to his enemies. That may change. It took me a long time to get here. Besides, maybe the article isn’t negative like I suspect it is. Still, I’m afraid.

    It’s just that, at one time, I had listened to Dr. King’s enemies—and believed their lies. Then, one day, I realized I had been wrong about him. I had believed lies.

    I just have such an aversion to lies. I want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me God, this bullshit is getting out of hand.

    I will read it. Just not right this second. Heck, I can’t even move on from this post to Twisty’s newest two posts. Sheesh, I’m an old woman!

    Not that you were talking to me or anything. Sorry. I talk too much, sometimes.

  50. tinfoil hattie

    Thank you, Twisty. Thank you so much for articulating here what I’ve been trying, in vain, to express to people for days. Both in person and on other “progressive” (“feminist,” even!) blogs, I have been shouted down patronized, ignored, and smiled at knowingly. Man-hating bitch that I am.

  51. invisible hussein

    But, women aren’t really victims, right? Someone set me straight.

  52. Kathleen

    What Dr. Sue said.

  53. invisible hussein

    @ W (my bold)

    Even calling a despicable a dude as John McCain a whore suggest that part of his abominableness (abominability? abominabilitude?) is a result of his having qualities which patriarchal culture ascribes to women and therefore is an expression misogyny.

    Fuck culture, yes?

  54. panoptical

    Just to clarify, I’m not trying to defend prostitution as it is currently practiced. I think it is worth debating whether women would be better off with or without legalized prostitution, and I’ve certainly been swayed by the arguments I’ve seen here (which is why I think it’s worth debating – it’s an issue that people will change their minds about.) What I was really trying to say was that it’s worth thinking about why it is that prostitution as a patriarchal practice is illegal in a society where so many laws support the patriarchy. Is this a moment of weakness on the part of the patriarchy? I don’t think so – I think it is a move calculated to maintain the patriarchal order. I think that subverting the intent and the power dynamics behind prostitution is more likely to benefit women than relying on patriarchal authority for police “protection.”

    Also, I think the sex positive movement has had a great deal of success. I would probably not have felt comfortable with my sexual identity even ten years ago, because it is, on several levels, not compatible with the “one man, one woman” paradigm that the patriarchy tries to enforce. For me, the problem with a sex-negative attitude is that it is also negative toward a BDSM subculture, toward a polyamorous subculture, toward a pagan subculture that wants to use sex magick or hold skyclad rituals. Any paradigm that pushes sex into a dark corner also pushes all of the subversive, marginalized groups into that same corner.

    I don’t want to be put into a corner with rape, with human rights violations, with exploitation and abuse. And so I think it’s important to be awfully specific in what we’re fighting. To draw distinctions between force, coercion, and power, and combat each one with the most effective techniques for that battle. To balance imbalances of power without sacrificing the groups at the margin. I hope I don’t seem pedantic – I just fear that a government crackdown on prostitution means a government crackdown on homosexual intercourse, on BDSM, on pagan groups, and on anyone who wants to express their non-standard sexual identities.

  55. invisible hussein

    Yes, well, love SUCKS!!! I hate it. Sucky-ass love. Do you hear me?

  56. Linden

    The patriarchy doesn’t try to enforce a “one man, one woman” paradigm. It supports a structure in which men exclusively own the sexual services of their wives and girlfriends, but have the option of taking other women on the side. This is part of their privilege. Prostitution is illegal not because men don’t like sex, but because it ensures there’s a ready supply of desperate women to exploit who can’t strike back legally. Women have also historically colluded in this motive, because whatever slight privileges are afforded by being the wife or girlfriend are to an extent maintained by having an underclass of exploited women.

    The “sex positive” movement doesn’t challenge this because it doesn’t challenge the underlying assumption that women’s sexuality is defined by men. A pole dancer who is dancing for “feminist empowerment” looks the same to the male customer as the one who’s dancing to make him horny. To him, they both fit neatly into the “whore” box on the scorecard, and can be treated the same.

    I’m familiar with the pagan/polyamory subcultures. There are some truly nice and caring people involved, but I still think it should be acknowledged that these folks make up a tiny subculture within a tiny subculture. In every other culture I’ve ever heard of, multiple marriage is a scourge upon women. BDSM appears to my perhaps untutored eye to replicate the toxic power structures of patriarchy; making the woman the aggressor doesn’t change that because the power of the fantasy comes from the inversion of what’s “normal,” rather than challenging the idea of having a power structure at all.

  57. Jeremiah Reid

    “Until you factor in patriarchy and its wacko concepts of property and gender, sex is just a thing, like eating a couple of Cheez-Its, or going to the movies.”

    If you have in your possession Cheez-its, I offer to purchase them from you, and you accept, am I coercing you into giving up your Cheez-its?

    I’m not going to argue that it’s right or justifiable, but when does prostitution become rape? By that logic, all financial exchanges between men and women should be considered theft. Can someone explain?

  58. Twisty

    Hey Jeremiah Reid, normally I delete requests for remedial education, but what the hell: submit a 1000-word essay on the ways in which a Cheez-it differs from a human being, and we’ll talk.

    Hint: commodity should be one of the 1000 words.

  59. josquin

    Oh, Jeremiah. It’s so predictable when men get all sincere and confused when confronted with an inconvenient truth. Did you read Twisty’s whole post? I think she just did explain.
    But who cares about that. Same as it ever was.
    Hey I also caught Melissa Farley’s “sexual incontinence” reference! I’m going to start using that expression in general conversation when applicable. Maybe we can spread it around! I love how it brings up the image of a toddler messing up his diaper.

  60. panoptical


    I say “one man, one woman” because it’s the rhetoric that George Bush and his anti-gay-marriage jerks like to shove down our throats all the time. I buy your argument that this is disingenuous to the extent that these people also have women (or young boys) on the side.

    It seems we agree that prostitution is illegal so that women can be exploited – that’s what I’ve been getting at, although I may not have expressed it well. This doesn’t mean that making prostitution legal would end that exploitation – it would just take a different form. That’s why I’m for resisting the underlying system of coercion and exploitation.

    We may have had different experiences with the sex positive movement. By bringing up the marginalized groups I mentioned, I mean to provide a contrast to the pole dancer that you refer to. I don’t think there are too many people – men, or women – who find pole dancing particularly erotic. What the sexual subcultures do is allow people to express their own sexuality in a sex-positive way instead of subscribing to the same homogenized view of sex that is, as you say, defined by men of privilege.

    Finally, I’d like to draw attention to the distinction you draw between the caring people in the polyamory subculture and the scourge upon women that multiple marriages constitutes. I think this illustrates that there is a possibility for a sex-positive culture to develop in a way that is in stark contrast to the exploitation of women in traditional culture. Sure, the polyamory culture is small, and new, but I think we’re gaining ground as more and more people begin so see a viable alternative to traditional, patriarchal modes of sexual expression and exploitation.

  61. bigbalagan

    I’ve missed you, Twisty. I don’t know anything about your father, obviously, but losing an abusive jerk of a father as my partner just has is a very complicated kind of relief…

    My primary reaction to l’affaire Spitzer, as well as the non-stop circus accompanying it (including the now iconic and so-suggestive chopper monitor of his ride downtown in his SUV last week) has been a deep sense of shame as a man. We are truly a blight on the planet and all its denizens.

  62. Linda Atkins

    Something rings alarmingly false here: the mention of eating a couple of Cheez-Its. Is there actually such a thing as eating only a couple of Cheez-Its once one has taken the trouble to thrust one’s hand into the box (or, if neurotic about grease on one’s fingers, poured them into a bowl and picked up a spoon)?

  63. panoptical

    I can’t help but noticing all the talk about Cheez-Its on this blog, and I just want to say, what about the Cheese Nips? Cheese Nips get eaten too. I mean, shouldn’t we be talking about all cheese-related snacks? Dear God!

  64. slade

    Kick some Spitzer ass, Spinster Aunt!

    Thank you!

  65. mearl

    I unequivocally blame the Johns.

  66. A Call Girl

    Totally agree! I don’t care about Spitzer, but I felt sorry that “Kristen” got outed. Then I was astonished at the fact that she could make tons of money from cheesecake magazine spreads and telling (selling) her story. I think I can speak for most call girls that being outed certainly wouldn’t make me a millionaire. Instead, if my friends, family, neighbors, ex-boyfriends, and co-workers, etc. ever found out I was a call girl it would be devastating. Not to mention clients finding my blog and wanting to book a session with me, especially since I write so much against their “hobby.” Gives me chills…. Certainly “Kristen” has had to deal with a lot of this kind of humiliation, in spite of the money.

  67. Canadian Whore

    As a long time feminist and a longtime whore i just have to say I think too many of you have the wrong impression of the sex act for $ transaction. If you must see it in terms of the fucker and the fuckee believe me it is more often the guy getting fucked. And to also ruin that fantasy – usually no one is fucking-over the other. It is a mutual and brief transaction wherein both parties are getting whatever they entered the transaction to get. The vast. majority of us doing it in North America choose it. I know I do.

    And feminist sisters don’t you remember that in sexual intercourse the female organ engulfs the male organ. You selectively recall some only fem-scripture.

    And dworkin herself claimed to be a hooker.

  68. Jonathan

    @Canadian Whore:

    The vast. majority of us doing it in North America choose it. I know I do.

    Are you telling me that the girls who are victims of prostitution in the US, (who are on average 12-14 years old) [cite] are there by choice?

  69. Felicity

    How do you explain the ‘GFE’ and that the man knows when he’s having sex with the woman he knows it’s not wanted?

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