Rather than empowering and supporting women to make their own choices, some feminist groups seem to have become more controlling of women’s choices than those they claim to be fighting against. Esp re: specific groups of women who are trying to control their own sexuality, identity and reproduction. (Hey! Isn’t that a feminist aim??) Some feminist groups are worse than others, and there is an argument about these women as there is about pretty much anything in feminism. Feminism has a lot of arguments!
And whether agency means autonomy as well. The female thought in political and social structures is also combative.
Standford Univ .
So what hope does the average woman have, let alone one who actually needs to test what being in control of who we are really means? Even among women?
….the prostitute –
If it were just the wo/man selling her/his wares on the street or in a house of a few, it might be a lot easier. But prostitution is often part of a gang or mob who sell many black market goods and services. Which brings things into a different light. Then you also have to wonder if s/he really is doing it for her/his own reasons, or even voluntarily.
But if you villify the prostitute and treat her/him as a criminal, you end up making things unsafe for her/him. You don’t stamp out the gang or mob though. Shouldn’t it be them you target then? What does that look like?
And what about the prostitute who is more like a date for her/his pick of a few clients? More like a courtesan or spouse than someone who picks up endless strangers on the street for their pimp? They have long lasting friendships, rather than quick and dirty sex in an alley or hotel.
…the broader sex worker –
(ie porn) Is the person acted on a free sexual agent? And does porn have a known negative, testable effect on predators, larger society? Is there a way to circumvent or mitigate these effects if they exist? Like if porn is mostly from the POV of a man acting on the woman, or man acting on a “weaker” man, then could opening up the field to female producers who write the female fantasy reduce this influence?
By pushing sex work underground, as has been done in the past, we run the risk of causing the very issues we claim to be working against… the subjucation of and death of sex trade workers. Esp when we see that we can’t prove there is in fact any negative effect. At least not from or for those who enter the field willingly.
For me, the distinction of whether it’s sexual labour or sex trafficking is if the sex worker enters the field willingly and can exhibit her/his own agency by refusing the client. If s/he has been abducted, beaten, drugged or coerced/threatened, then s/he is not autonomous, is s/he? If the lion share of the profits goes to her/his pimp, then s/he is not autonomous is s/he? But my confusion area is when the sex worker “chooses” the labour due to poverty or lack of other labours’ skills. Is that then a conscious, independent of will, choice? Or is that society’s failure?
And then there is the factor of how much of the legislation is due to the govt wanting to regulate immigration, drugs, gangs,… and how much is actually about the prostitute? And also how much of the religious condemnation of the field is from those who actually adhere to the rules of their religion themselves? Is it ideals/hypocrisy or moral authority that drives their efforts to chase away the prostitutes?
online and banking laws against sex trafficking actually seem to be endangering prostitutes rather than changing anything of the criminal activity
Stanford univ- feminism viewing sex trades
….the wife and mother who stays home to care for their family –
Feminists are so concerned with the entrance into the social institutions and halls of leadership, they forget that the reason feminism began was to give women a CHOICE in how she lived her life. Phrases that exclude a woman who raises her children and takes care of her family are often judemental and minimize how much she does in a day. How many balls she juggles at a time. She is not “just” a wife or mother, in other words.
….the woman who remains chaste
….and the “slut” –
the social model of the madonna/whore dichotomy. Where you must be one or the other.
Rather than querying what the reasons are for her choices… Is she being influenced by a patriarchal religion that says she must be chaste for the god/temple? Is she influenced by the adherence of women to the roles of wife and mother, rather than exploring what it means to be a sexual/sensual woman? Is she responding to draconian laws, where she would be jailed minimum for being sexually free? Is her group influencing her that “if she wishes to marry, no man would have her” if she had partners prior to him? Is she concerned about competition and jealousy between her female compatriots and her? (friends and sisters)
….The single woman who decides to control her own fertility choices –
whatever that is to her. The hot debate over life or abortion has lost sight of the woman who has to live with the consequences. Abortion, adoption or being a single mother… She faces people and institutions who will villify her and her child. Even women do this. It’s true she is the pregnant one who stands before you, but where is your interest in what gets done to the sperm domor in this? And why is she made to marry her rapist in any moral country?
….transgender women –
Some feminist women who argue against men who say that women are hardwired to be subservient and weak in the presence of a man say they aren’t solely determined by biological factors. Then they turn around to a transgender woman and say they are determined by what gender they were born or assigned shortly afterwards. … It’s important to remember that gender goes beyond what genes you have. It also is mostly determined before your 7th birthday. As is everything else you do and are.
WLU – on Judih Butler and Queer Theory
So I’m left wondering at times if our vision of what women are and what we are capable of is at times narrower than the voices of those we fight? And I believe that works counter to our struggle. I mean why would “the patriarchy” take us seriously if we have so much infighting? Something to think about IMO.
And really, “what is a woman?” anyway? Have we decided that yet?