Archive for August, 2010

Update: Hiatus (also, I reveal that I read gamer blogs)

The blog is going on a (hopefully) brief hiatus. Our family will be moving to a madly expensive urban area soon, and there’s lots to be done between now and then. I hope to put in a few quick mini-posts, but regularly-scheduled (ha!) programming won’t resume for a few weeks yet.

In the meantime, I stumbled across a gamer blog which has three anti-doodbro posts in a row. Pretty nifty. Written by a male, which gave me mixed feelings – it’s one more voice among the XY crowd, but I would dearly love to see some female-written gamer blogs with the occasional feminist post. Maybe they’re out there, hidden, waiting to be discovered.

The three posts in question on The Seven-Sided Die, in chronological order:

Paizo’s response to criticism of their portrayal of women
GenCon “reaches out” in the spirit of “inclusiveness”
Satire explained

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Hierarchy Dance

SheilaG commented on the conclusion of the Men Without Women series here. Everything she said was spot on:

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Human Trafficking on Craigslist

THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOTLINE: 1-888-3737-888

(Trigger warning, non-graphic, for subject matter involving the sale and rape of minors.)

Craigslist is profiting from human trafficking, and they are unapologetic.

This has been an issue for years, but it came to a media head last week. On Wednesday, August 4, CNN posted this story, followed by a report on AC360. On Friday, August 6, MC and AK, two girls who were sold by pimps hundreds of times on Craigslist to eager rapists in cities across the US, published an open letter as a half-page ad in the Washington Post. (The ad is archived here in PDF form by the Rebecca Project.)

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John School

So today I did my first real research into the topic of john schools.

John schools, for those who don’t know – like me, two days ago – are short rehabilitation courses assigned by courts to men who are charged with soliciting prostitution, generally only first offenders. They are analogous to traffic school for moving violations. You know, where your speeding ticket gets reduced to parking and you sit in a conference room at the local VFW for four hours and watch Craig T. Nelson tell you to pay better attention to the road on a video from 1987? It’s that, only for men who pay money to engage in rape and human trafficking.

From all the sources I’ve seen, it looks like the primary focus of john school is on reminding men that they can suffer bad consequences for paying money to rape women, like herpes or their girlfriends getting angry. They talk about how prostitution hurts communities and causes strain on the justice system. Sometimes they might even bother to remind men that not every woman is a Happy Hooker™ and may be trafficked.

The Village Voice ran a May 2005 article which examined “Project Respect”, the john school in Brooklyn. The article is an enlightening read. It recounts how men responded with indignant shouts in their defense when baited by a female officer who “coyly” asks if they believe they were entrapped. The most jarring portion of the class, at least for reporter Aina Hunter, appears to have been photos of diseased genitals. Hunter portrays the personal stories of trafficked women which are given during the course as sob stories which bookend the real material, rather than the center of attention. God knows whether the men even paid attention to them.

Then again, the article goes on to subtly lionize efforts to decriminalize prostitution, so I guess we’re lucky that they even mentioned trafficking at all.

This 1996 New York Times article describes the San Francisco school, the first of the john schools, in the year after its inception. The treatment is less john-flattering than the Village Voice’s, but they describe the lectures as “six hours of abuse” without a tweak of irony. The article closes with this gem:

After class, one man vowed to change his ways. His friends had once told him that it was cheaper to spend $50 on a prostitute than having to spend the time and money dating.

“It’s cheaper financially, but not emotionally,” he said. “I’m going to be working on finding a real girlfriend.”

Because, as we all know, the purpose of having a girlfriend is to use her for on-demand sexual (power) gratification. Boy, did he learn his lesson.

In the 2002 issue of the Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, Dr. Stephanie Wahab of the University of Utah wrote “‘For Their Own Good?’: sex work, social control, and social workers, a historical perspective”. The paper looks at a few of the efforts to approach prostitution (here called “sex work”, a flag for pro-prostitution attitudes, because it implies a consensual Happy Hooker™ who of course isn’t trafficked), ranging from the Evangelical social groups of the mid-1800s to john schools of today. Wahab finds that today’s silly focus on the demand side of the problem is rooted in a silly belief that “female sex workers need to be protected from the patriarchal exploitation of women” and that “all sex workers regard themselves as victims of exploitation, and that they are incapable of speaking on their own behalf”.

This is not a fluke of a paper. This attitude is the new feminism, the result of the second wave movement being kicked out by faux-fems. This is the sort of thing you can now read on Feministing and Feministe every day. There’s no such thing as trafficking; fourteen-year-old girls love being raped four or five times a day, ignorance is truth, what about the menz.

In the Village Voice article, perhaps the most telling quote of all is attributed to Juhu Thukral, then the director of the Sex Workers project at the Urban Justice Center: “John schools are part of an effort to address the demand side of the industry, but it’s really just a revolving door.”

Thukral says this in order to support her position that all the shame, guilt, and consequences (for men) should be excised from purchasing women’s bodies for rape. The sentiment is based in the idea that men will be men, that men will always seek to rape women, that if you deny them access to street prostitutes they will simply seek out brothels and escort services. That men are dogs who have no option but rape, and that women are less than dogs and must submit themselves to rape.

Ultimately, that’s what john school is: a cop-out, a little slap on the wrist, a wink and a nod. John school is the idea that men should be allowed to rape women, that they shouldn’t face real consequences. That raping a woman is roughly equivalent to going ten over the speed limit.

Soliciting a prostitute should be a felony equivalent to rape, with the same sentencing guidelines (which ought to be the as harsh as the others of the most violent crimes). As long as men are the ones making, enforcing, and interpreting the laws, this is not going to happen.

In the Times article, a woman rescued from prostitution tells the room about “how much she loathed her customers, wanting to kill one, any one, and even kept a butcher knife in her purse just in case she got the chance”. Sounds like self-defense to me.

Would men pay to rape women if they knew that they might face the death penalty, administered by her own hand?

THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOTLINE: 1-888-3737-888

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High School Student Raped After Principal Uses Her as Bait

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s story. Trigger warning, both for the link and for the content of this post.

The breakdown: a girl approaches a teacher, Ms. Esther von Waldow, to report that she and another girl were raped by a boy on campus. Ms. von Waldow goes to the principal, Dr. Michael Ghilani, with her first concern being the girls’ safe passage home from school property. Ghilani had other plans.

According to a court filing submitted by the school district, Dr. Ghilani didn’t believe that the students were in danger or that any safety concerns were present. Instead, he thought students were having consensual sex in school after hours.

He devised a plan to have school police officers follow the students in question to determine who they were and where they were going.

Security followed the girls, but they believed the girls had left for the day, presumably after losing track of the girls. (A night officer saw the boy and another girl on campus that evening, but he was unable to track them down.)

That afternoon, while school cops patted themselves on the back for doing their job, the boy raped Jane Doe again, as a direct result of being prevented from returning home. And all because the principal thought he was Kojak.

As usual, the school took the victim-blaming route in response to the lawsuit brought by the girl, saying that the victims – and these victims include previous victims of harassment and assault by this kid in incidents which were known by the school – were actually all in consensual relationships with the rapist, and that they were jealous of each other. Therefore, since the little tramps deserved it, the school didn’t bother reporting any of this shit to the police.

I want to know why Ghilani isn’t up on criminal charges. He looked at a young rape victim and literally saw jail bait.

The school wants the suit thrown out because “the plaintiffs cannot prove the district was deliberately indifferent to the possibility that the student would be assaulted”.

On the Upper St. Clair High website, Dr. Ghilani invites you to email him personally – mghilani@uscsd.k12.pa.us – to receive additional information about the school. I wonder if they have a brochure about their Student Rape Program?

THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOTLINE: 1-888-3737-888

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Men Without Women, Part 7: Conclusion

A brief (I promise) recap of the series:

  1. Female spirituality is the core structure of a sustainable, equitable, harmonious social structure.
  2. Male entitlement and power-seeking behavior is the antithesis of a sustainable, equitable, harmonious social structure.
  3. If men wish to be allowed to be part of the solution (or to live through the revolution), we must turn to ourselves and begin the long and inevitably painful process of excising our entitlement and power-seeking behavior.
    • As sexuality and sex roles have become the basis of modern society, we must begin by addressing how our entitlement and power-seeking are embedded in those arenas.
  4. We must be conscious of and honest about the road which led us here in order to affect true change and keep us vigilant in the future.
  5. Voluntary relationships are the expression of human compassion, selflessness, and affirmation. Obligate relationships will not suffice, and no social or legal structure based solely on obligation is sustainable.

We began with a set of related questions: What would men be like without women to put on the brakes? What would a more sustainable society involving men and women look like? What has to happen to move toward that goal?
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