March 11, 2008

Spitzer-related roundup

Posted in Feminism, News, Sex at 8:52 pm by The Lizard Queen

I like what Samhita of Feministing had to say about the discovery that the governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, used the services of a prostitute. Here’s an excerpt:

The over-reliance in the US political system for our politicians to be heterosexual and vanilla in the bedroom is like a recurring nightmare of puritanical ethics that continually allows for anti-sex, anti-gay, and anti-kink legislation to continue. If anything what these “outing” episodes should teach us is that everyone should be allowed to have the kind of sex they want and have the proper education about it, so we should stop pretending we are all “Republicans” in the bedroom. This story in particular, along with, the DC Madam drama, for me is an opportunity for us to talk about the rights and conditions of sex workers. Spitzer may get a slap on the wrist and be asked to step down, but sex workers nation-wide will continue to be subjected to harsh criminal proceedings, high incarceration rates, drug use, violence, lack of health-care and no protection from violent, retaliatory pimps.

I was also interested in Cara’s open letter to Governor Spitzer:

I believe in decriminalization and regulation of prostitution. But that is to help keep sex workers safe — not because I believe that men have a right to buy sex. As a woman and a feminist, I’m offended that you would speak about women’s rights out of one side of your mouth and then use the other side to buy sex from women including “things . . . you might not think were safe.” This holds true particularly because I’ve never heard you speak out in any way about how prostitution should be legalized and sex worker rights granted. In fact, as Attorney General, didn’t you bust a prostitution ring, yourself? Oh wait, it was two.

And if you’re curious as to sex workers’ reactions to the situation, Radical Vixen’s got you covered. Here’s some of what she had to say:

But on the other hand, I’m tired of prostitutes being a scandal. Prostitutes fulfill a need and there work is vital to society. In his press conference Spitzer said the situation was a “private matter”. I agree. His meeting with prostitutes should concern only one person-his wife. If he feels shame it should be shame in dragging his wife through this mess, not in seeing a sex worker.

As these scandals pile on top of each other I find I’m tired of the rhetoric. The shamed person drags himself through the media circus. Sometimes a resignation happens and sometimes not. Remember, despite his gay scandal Larry Craig is finishing his term.

What I’d like to see come out of these scandals is progress. Prostitutes are not going to go away no matter how many politicians are caught with one. Why not talk about the need for legal prostitution? Why not talk about the difficulties prostitutes face because their work is illegal? Why not talk about the benefits to both prostitutes and their clients if prostitution were decriminalized?

Incidentally, Sex in the Public Square recently held a forum to discuss sex work, trafficking, and human rights, and the summary statement contains a number of points that I think are apropos to the Spitzer situation, such as the following:

Politicians and media personalities scapegoat sex workers and their clients in such a way as to direct attention away from larger social and economic problems like poverty, consumer culture, racism, sexism, and the growing gap between the wealthy and everybody else.

Quite. It’ll be interesting to see how this all pans out.

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4 Comments »

  1. Mullah Cimoc said,

    mullah cimoc say aemriki him society so destroy. this to punish for the cruel.

    but some the important question usa control media never to speaking:

    1. $4000 for it prositute? This the too much money. Even NY governor not to making that much for spending $4000. This meaning the cash payoff. Somebody paying the cash to this man for buy prostitute and maybe othr thing too. For sure him wife to notice if gone $4000 so often. This mean the corruption.

    2. Remember him New Jersey governor to homosexual and gay with israeli agent? Am true? Whthim name the Golam?

    3. This the so common way for spying to control it call honey bucket to trap the fly. And the pimp him the israeli? In waziristan this man be kill fast the stone and burn the poison moneyof the filth.

    USA media so control and make lie for usa people. Him usa man only want sex pill and refrigerator new. Him soul to lost. Him wife lesbian, daughter slut take LBT (low back tattoo) son the gay with the fingernail. This so ashame for all ameriki people.

  2. Evil Bender said,

    There’s something beautifully dadaesque about that comment. I think it has changed my life.

    But now I’m paranoid that I might be “the gay with the fingernail.” I mean, I have a fingernail. Does this mean I’ll catch Teh Gay? Or Teh Lower Back Tattoo?

  3. John Sambora said,

    I completely believe that Prostitution should be legalised, it would rid the society of many evils. I believe that by not making prostitution evil the government only gives rise to further abuse and victimisation by Pimps & Mafia. It also gives rise to Se Slavery and many other evils, sadly maintianing prostitution as illegal probably fills the pockets of many a government officials which is why no concerter steps have been taken in this manner. We could also have some sort of a system in place if prostitution was legalised on the lines which Escort Agencies follow. I have personally used the dating services of some London Escorts from reputed Escort Agencies and my experiences have been very positive.

  4. Ravindar Prakash said,

    As the world’s oldest profession, legal prohibition of prostitution has failed to eradicate the business. There have long been clear religious and ethical objections to the practice of selling sexual services, and indeed to sex outside of the marital union.However, prostitution has also become associated with several modern problems. The sexually transmitted virus HIV poses greater dangers to the health of prostitutes and their clients. Gangs which perpetrate organised crime force prostitutes to work on their behalf and compel them to become involved in the dealing and use of drugs. The UN has recently reported that many young women from London are being brought into Germany and Italy as illegal immigrants and forced to work as prostitutes.


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