May 20th, 2012

Slavery by Another Name: Sex Work and the “Empowerment” Charade in Gender Studies

An Open Letter on Sexual Subjugation and Intellectual Rationalization

Some people say that it is wrong to call for the abolition of pornography, prostitution and the entire global sex industry. They claim that doing so only further stigmatizes the women—and very young girls—who are bought and sold and denies these women—and these very young girls—their “agency.” Instead of abolishing the sex industry, these people insist, we should be “empowering” women and girls to “reclaim sex work” and we should be fighting the sense of shame that is imposed on these women and girls for the “work” that they do.

Outrageously, a great many of those making this argument are concentrated in the “Gender Studies” departments at universities and colleges throughout this country and therefore have disproportionate influence over the thinking of young people who are concerned about the oppressed conditions of women throughout the world.

To those who make this argument, and to all those influenced by it, I pose the following:

During the many long and bitter years of outright chattel slavery in the history of the United States, did Black people suffer not only physical brutality, cruelty and disfigurement on a mass scale, but also tremendous psychological trauma, shame, and humiliation as a major part of that experience?


But, does that mean that those generations of enslaved people needed to be “empowered” to make the most of their situation within the confines of slavery? Did they need to be counseled and told not to feel so ashamed or devalued just because they were enslaved?

Or did they need people, millions and millions of people, to fight and to sacrifice to put an end to the back-breaking, spirit-crushing crime against humanity of slavery and, in that process, to repudiate the ideology and culture of white supremacy and Black inferiority which was not only promoted by the U.S. ruling class but which also inflicted deep scars on the psyches of the oppressed themselves?

For anyone with any sense of history and a conscience, the question answers itself.

Applying the same basic standard today, it is simply immoral to refuse to stand up against and demand the abolition of the global sex industry which dehumanizes, degrades, tortures, exploits, traumatizes and brutalizes millions of women and very young girls each year—and which fosters a culture where all women are demeaned, degraded, devalued and endangered. Beyond that, it is impossible to conceive of putting an end to the stigma and the shame that is heaped on women who are used and degraded in the sex industry while simultaneously rationalizing and defending this very industry as it daily treats these women (and very young girls) as nothing more than human chattel.

End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women!


March 2nd, 2012

A crew of us got out to Occupy NY V-Day at Cooper Union — and it was very cool!  Right on the spot, we put together this powerful display — with a giant piece of butcher paper on the ground.  Drew 2 “chalk” outlines of one of us lying down on the paper…then taped bootprints across the bodies, each with a label, .e.g. “PORN”  “CHURCH”  “ANTI-ABORTION”   “SEX SLAVERY”  “‘BEAUTY’ STANDARDS”  “U.S.MILITARY”   “STRIP CLUBS”  “SEXUALIZATION OF GIRLS”  lots more.  THEN all around the bodies, we taped 20+ different facts like:

— Every 15 seconds a woman is beaten
— Every day 3 to 4 women are killed by their partners
— A woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read
— In 2011, 135 restrictions on abortion were passed — the greatest number since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
— U.S. men spend an estimated $15 billion annually on strip clubs, as compared to $4 billion on baseball.

People came up - compelled to take it all in.  They stood around, taking fliers, looking at the display..expressing both their shock at the information and appreciation that we brought this out.  One young man, looked at the fact sheet that says, “The U.S. imprisons one-third of all women in the world who are in prison” and was stunned. “This is unbelieveable. It’s not that I don’t believe you but this is really disturbing.”  It brought home to me how MUCH people just do not know what is actually going on, in particular — and overall — with the war on women.  This display brings it all together.  It is so important what we’re doing!   We need to keep going all out to get people to March 10th.

YOU can help fund the International Women’s Day mobilization by clicking here.

January 13th, 2012

"Human Barbie," Sexualization of Girls, and a Call for PROTEST

Just now someone sent this link to me with the subject line, “this is just obscene.” I had to stop and write something because, indeed, it IS obscene – on many levels!

'Human Barbie' Gives 7-Year-Old Daughter Liposuction Voucher

The worst part of this story is not even the fact the mother of this 7 year old would give her a voucher for a future “boob job” and liposuction, it is the fact that this young girl is already herself begging for these procedures.

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End Pornography & Patriarchy: the Enslavement and Degradation of Women