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Criminalising clients has nothing to do with gender equality.

This is part of a longer work talking about gender equality and how it is being used by some feminists to justify the criminalisation of clients and the stigmatisation of men as misogynistic. I would be interested in thoughts on this subject.

The ideology promoted by some feminists and which has become law in some nations, specifically Sweden, that stigmatising and criminalising specifically male clients of female sex workers will create gender equality is a dangerous lie. The use of stigma and of the law to engineer societal change is not new. We already live in a society where stigma and law collude to create alienation. Whore stigma exists not because whores are bad people but because society has targeted sex workers as a scapegoat. Societal contempt and alienation of the sex worker is a clear warning to women that this is how society deals with female sexual autonomy. Female sex workers threaten directly the ideal of womanhood within traditional patriarchal society. Men also are not free from societal conditioning with regard to their sexual behaviour. Society already prescribes men to assume behavioural traits that are often mistaken as misogynistic conveniently for some feminists who deliberately inflate that mythology to justify their ideological motivation. Feminists who target men specifically and who encourage their stigmatisation and that that stigma be reinforced by law are not interested in gender equality. They use gender equality as a gesture to justify moralism. What truthfully lies behind this so called feminist ideology is a quite blatant revaluation of age old patriarchal notions of proper moral behaviour repackaged to accommodate the linguistics of modern political debate. A deviation of feminism has reinvented patriarchal moralism to accommodate a modern language of sexual tolerance that poses as something it is not.
Morality of course is always questionable. There is public morality and there is private morality. Both are abstract in that they reflect the influences of spiritual and temporal authority as passive and violent modes of behavioural control. Morality as an idea that influences personal behaviour can be benign but when morality is enforced by the state it can also become the most effective instrument of state violence. It is the latter that pretend feminism promotes when the benign idealism of gender equality becomes their excuse to encourage the state to stigmatise and criminalise specific sectors of society that do not conform to their moral critique of right behaviour.
Patriarchal moralism, despite modern notions of equality, still expects traditional taught behavioural norms to govern how society interacts. Homosexuality for example has become acceptable once it has been normalised to conform to patriarchal notions of family.
Yes these so called feminists insist they want rights for women but it is rights for women contained within an ideological notion of right behaviour and that includes right sexual behaviour. That right behaviour would not be unfamiliar to their Victorian predecessors who also set out to save fallen women, and part of that process was the shaming of men


About Douglas Fox

5 comments on “Criminalising clients has nothing to do with gender equality.

  1. peter schevtschenko
    23 February, 2013

    its not about feminism, its about class, class is more important than feminism, gender equality is a way of maintaining the class system whereby working class women are told by middle class women how to behave, most sex workers are working class, most anti-prostitute feminists are middle class,
    middle class feminists want to povertise sex workers in revenge for choosing sex work, what middle class feminists should be doing is fighting poverty instead of fighting sex workers

    • Douglas Fox
      23 February, 2013

      Well certainly class plays a part but even if money was not an issue people would still sell and buy sex. My point was that a particular branch of feminism has no interest in gender equality but rather an interest in imposing their moral values upon men and women. That is very different from trying to achieve gender equality which has become a political point score ie if only we made men stop wanting to rape women (that means buy sexual services) then men and women will be equal….
      Those same feminists are perpetuating an idea that state violence achieves a moral return. For example the state has persecuted women through using stigma and the law for centuries and now so called feminists want to do the same to men.
      Men are the victims of societal abuse equally with women. Think about the social conditioning that men are bombarded with? The suicide rates among young men is now spiralling and why we have to ask do young men often react violently, often are unable to express themselves without recourse to violence ? Real feminists and social reformists would ask these questions rather than lay blame and agitate to impose more state brutality….But of course they are not interested because they are moralists not social reformists
      I would suggest that labelling any gender as intrinsically violent, as morally unfit is not good for society and certainly will do nothing to achieve gender equality.

  2. Pingback: Swedish feminist Writer | Just My Blog

  3. Aphrodite Phoenix
    26 February, 2013

    Douglas your thoughts on this subject are adroit, comprehensive and thorough, but I would respond to the gender equality issue as applied to criminalized sex work by simply saying: what good is it to legally screw the clients over as much as the workers are being legally screwed?

  4. Douglas Fox
    27 February, 2013

    Ha…yes but that would be a very short chapter 🙂

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This entry was posted on 23 February, 2013 by in Feminism and tagged , , .
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