Search My Odd Brain!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Who the hell are you to say a woman can't sell her body?!

San Francisco, via Proposition K, is attempting to decriminalize prostitution. That might sound radical to you if you live in America, but it is probably common sense to you if you live in Europe. I am continually amazed that in our Western liberal legal tradition we have somehow permitted ourselves to outlaw consensual acts between two adults. Robbery, stabbing, rape--sure, make them illegal, because one person in the equation is definitely not willing the transaction. But drug use, prostitution, vacations to Cuba...we think we have the right to tell people they're being victimized when they might not think so? Check out the comments of San Francisco D.A. Pardini:

"The proponents usually paint a fairly rosy picture of two consenting adults and a monetary exchange at the end," Pardini said. "They don't factor in the people that are being exploited and people that are being controlled, the ones manipulated both physically and chemically."

Right on. Pardini paints a fairly rosy picture of himself as defender of the exploited, controlled, and manipulated, physically and chemically. I actually find that a noble sentiment, but in the tradition of impartial, impersonal Western justice, let's go all the way and criminalize all exploitation and chemical/physical control: let's criminalize candy and soda companies for their exploiting of consumers via chemical addiction to one of the most destructive drugs in America, refined sugar. Let's criminalize Michael Bay, Joel Schumacher, Larry Clarke, and other American filmakers who exploit the human capacity to be hynotized and morally shut-down by addictive action-images, or plots that keep us asking what's next instead of what's now, what do we have here. Let's criminalize campaign finance, advertising, HMOs, automobile companies, Walmart, and everyone and everything else that uses physically and chemically addicting substances, the fear of poor health or death, and manipulative rhetoric to accomplish their aims. I'd go so far as to claim that legalized prostitution is LESS exploitative than your average American job, considering how many live at or below the poverty level, and how companies like Walmart are run by greedy pimps, selling out anyone and everyone for that most sinister of euphemisms: 'competitiveness.'

Once again, I'm all for criminalizing exploitation, which is to say: initiating a socialist revolution (not necessarily violent, of course). But if that makes you uncomfortable, then at least be consistent and don't criminalize drug use or prostitution. Or do you really think Michael Bay is less whorish than, well...whores?


David Y said...

I'm not sure I follow you brother. It seems like you started off favoring the legalization of prostitution, then you agree that it's exploitation and criticize folks who are too limited in their conception of exploitation, conclude with saying you are for socialist revolution to end all exploitation, and criticize opponents of criminalizing prostitution and not criminalizing sugar for failing to be consistent. But since you concluded with endorsing socialist revolution to upend exploitation, thus making you among the consistent in your framework, then aren't you actually against decriminalizing prostitution, since it is exploitation, rather than for it, as you seem to have begun with?

I'm not sure socialist revolution is the answer (you mean with guns and hitting?). But in any event, we need to decide what to do about prostitution today. I'm for some form of legalization, but not Prop K, which seems rather anarchic in its effect. Doesn't legalize it but forbids policing of it - that's really not good social policy. I don't live in SF but if I did I would vote no on K.

LinzAnth3 said...

Read it again. Nothing in the piece is against criminalizing prostitution. If you are confused as to how Prop K might be "anarchic", research a more humane, less fascist country (read: most of Europe) and the statistics shall set you free. What do you gain by arresting prostitutes? What do you teach people about their private lives when you tell them what they can do with their bodies? And how do you police violent tricks and pimps if prostitutes do not have legal recourse and a support network because they are criminialized. This is, as countries like Sweden and Germany have known for years, a no-brainer.

Lindsey said...

alright! I agree. then, some of the currently legal prostitutes (aka gold diggers in Beverly Hills) would be out of a job too. you can shake it with me anytime!

The Sacred Dice - A Revolutionary Salon

The Sacred Dice is a salon of musicians, scholars, poets, sound sculptors, activists and artists of all kinds committed to art that is committed.  That could get us committed (to an asylum).  That disdain's art for art's sake and artists who have no idea why they do what they do.  We know why we do what we do--to create and celebrate community in a country still stuck in capitalist fantasies of individualism.  If you want in, you're in.  If you want out, don't worry--you already are.