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Foot Dude, leave those women alone!

Sweeties, send feeties

By David Futrelle

An anonymous fellow recently turned to Yahoo Answers with a plaintive question: Ladies, why won’t you let me love your sexy feet?

More specifically, he asked: “Why do some women try to make their feet look attractive, but think a foot fetish is weird?” Apparently he was a little miffed that these women continue to tease him with their toes.

Females why do you go to extremes to make your feet look good, cute, sexy, attractive and just plain beautiful but when a guy with a foot fetish likes you for your feet you think its weird? When you tell yourself you want your feet to look good, why are you doing that, whats the purpose? 

There are some girls that go to extremes to have the sexiest looking feet, you walk around in high heel shoes, or open toed shoes showing off your feet, but these same girls think that a foot fetish is weird, so how the hell are you going to go to extremes to make your feet look sexy and show off in public but think that the very people that are obsessed with the very thing you tried so hard to make sexy is weird?

Foot Dude, just listen to yourself a little more carefully. Because the answer is hidden in plain sight in your questions. For example, right here:

when a guy with a foot fetish likes you for your feet

No one, not even a woman who has a foot fetish herself, wants to be reduced to a body part. Women don’t object to people who think their feet look good; they object to people who like a certain body part better than they like the person with this body part.

And think a bit more about this line as well:

the very people that are obsessed with the very thing you tried so hard to make sexy

There’s nothing wrong with having a foot fetish. There is something wrong if you rush to tell every woman with “sexy feet” how sexy you think their feet are, how obsessed with feet you are, and, even if only by implication, how horny their feet make you.

Foot fetishists have a reputation for leading with their fetish, and the wording of the question here suggests that you, Foot Dude, may be one of these men. Women really don’t like it when men they don’t know, or with whom they have only a platonic relationship, show up on their doorstep (real or viritual) babbling about how hot their feet are.

They would have a similar reaction if someone showed up babbling about their lips, their ears, or their asses. The body part isn’t the problem. The problem, Foot Dude, is the unwanted intrusion of your sexual thoughts into their lives. Would you like it if, say, an ear fetishist came up to you and started babbling about how much your ears turn them on? No one wants that.

For some reason, foot fetishists seem to have more difficulty than most in remembering this basic tenet of sexual etiquette. I don’t know if they’re actually worse about this, or if it’s just that people notice it more from them because their particular fetish seems weirder than, say, the more common fetish of someone who likes big butts and can not lie.

But if you ever take a stroll through the CreepyPMs subreddit, filled with screenshots of creepy, unsolicited private messages that women (mostly) get from men (mostly), you’ll notice that a strikingly large number of them involve feet.

Here are a a couple of cringeworthy examples of this particular genre of creepy PM that I plucked from the subreddit because I think they help to make all this a little more understandable. Also, they’re sort of hilarious. (Click on the pics to see the original posts.)

If you have a foot fetish, and the person you’re asking for “a feet” pic knows you have a foot fetish — and if you’re asking them for foot pics, they know — asking for foot pics isn’t somehow less creepy than asking for pictures of their genitals. They know you get off on feet, so it’s as brazenly a sexual come-on as if you asked for a pic of them goatse-ing themselves.

Foot Dude, there are women online who will be happy to sell you their foot pics. It’s not hard to recognize them because their online profiles say things like “I sell foot pics” or “DM me for foot pics.” Go to them rather than bothering random women or, equally bad, women you know.

Hell, doing research for this post I ran across a variety of subreddits devoted to free foot pics of all sorts, including one in which foot exhibitionists display their feet with one sock on, and one sock off for the pleasure of Foot Dudes just like you. I had no idea that was even a thing.

Now let’s go back to a slightly different sort of creepy foot PM:

The problem here, Foot Dude, isn’t that this poor man is being discriminated against by a woman who’s maybe a little squicked out by the idea of someone huffing her feet. She has every right to be squicked out if she is.

And even if she’s actually into this particular fetish, she has a right to be annoyed. Because the real problem is that he’s trying to pull her into a sexual conversation — and one that is 100% turning him on as he thumb-types out his comments — without her consent.

It’s basically the foot fetishist equivalent of sending an unsolicited dic pic, or pulling your dick out in public, flasher-style. Even women who are huge fans of dicks don’t like it when dudes they don’t know drop pics of their particular dicks into their DMs unsolicited.

It really doesn’t matter why some women “go to extremes to make [their] feet look good.” Some do it because they like to look put-together in general; some do it because they like the ritual; some like the feeling of cleanliness and smooth skin; some even do it because it makes them feel sexy. And I’m sure there are all sorts of other reasons.

But, Foot Dude, they’re not doing it for you in particular, and if you want to appreciate the “sexy feet” of women you see out walking around in the world, do it discreetly. If you want to talk about your foot fetish, find some other foot fetishists to talk about it with. Google is your friend.

Now, if you want to find a woman who appreciates your foot fetish as much as you appreciate her feet, and you don’t want to pay them for the privilege, well, that’s probably going to take a little more work. No one ever said that love was easy. In the meantime, refrain from pestering women you don’t know about their feet, no matter how sexy you think they are.

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kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

@Kupo
Did you miss the part where I wrote:

And the fact that not all prostitutes are women or all buyers men doesn’t make anything better. Abuse is abuse regardless of gender.

In Sweden there’s actually a big problem with young refugee boys coming alone who gets pressured into selling sex, and it’s equally awful as all the other stuff I mentioned.

I did not, which made your repeated use of “women who sell sex” confusing to me. Could you please explain why you need a word for specifically women who sell sex to discuss sex trafficking, or are you saying it was unintentional to word it that way? I’m very confused as to what you’re trying to say and just asking you to clarify, but I’m getting met with hostility.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@kupo
It wasn’t my intention to exclusively focus on women, I initially used the term “prostitute”, but when Catalpa pointed out that it might be offensive I switced to reffering to them as “women who sell sex” instead. I suppose I should have clarified that I wasn’t exclusively referring to women, and I admit I phrased myself wrong.

It’s just hard to speak on the issue if there isn’t any non-offensive word specifically referring to people selling sex.

tim gueguen
1 year ago

@Hugh Jardon, your nym sounds like something an edgy 14 year old might use. But stuff like that has never been edgy, just silly.

You do realise that a bunch of us who post here are white men, right?

Talonknife
Talonknife
1 year ago

@Hugh Jardon

LMAO, if you think things like the concept of privilege and being aware of the bad shit we did in the past are hating on people, you should see some of the hate women/PoC/LGBTQ+ people get just for existing.

Ariblester
Ariblester
1 year ago

Scanisaurus wrote on
April 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm:

It’s just hard to speak on the issue if there isn’t any non-offensive word specifically referring to people selling sex.

Sex worker.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

It wasn’t my intention to exclusively focus on women, I initially used the term “prostitute”, but when Catalpa pointed out that it might be offensive I switced to reffering to them as “women who sell sex” instead.

Well, that’s good to know. But FYI, that word doesn’t equate to “woman who sells sex.” It’s any gender of person, and it’s really denigrating in English. As for what to use instead, Ariblester beat me to it.

Tovius
1 year ago

@tim gueguen

You do realise that a bunch of us who post here are white men, right?

Yeah, but we’re “cucks,” so we don’t count.

Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

@Hugh Jardon

Yeah and all the guys who have ever hurt me or abused me in my life have been white guys so what’s your point?

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

@Hugh Jardon – I just… Look. Someone told you that you benefit from systemic privileges, and you don’t like the way that makes you feel. You worked hard for what you have, no one gave it to you! And what you have isn’t super great! (I imagine, if you’re in the same boat as the rest of the 99%.)

Think of it this way: You’re playing in ‘normal’ mode in the game. Not easy, because nothing in this world is ‘easy’. But ‘Hard’? That’s someone with more things working against them than a (presumably) cishet white dude.

Or, y’know, keep blaming your white supremacist rhetoric on the very concept of ‘privilege’. *shrug* Your choice.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
1 year ago

@Rhuu

That makes me think — I’m not a gamer, but has anyone ever actually designed a computer game that has those settings? Making it through a normal day might be too dull, but — on the easy setting, you’re a white guy, so you can just pick up a gun and kill the baddies, then everyone cheers and gives you a medal, hard setting you’re not white and if you do that the cops show up and shoot you?

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

That might be an interesting indie game! I like the idea of finishing the game, then going to new game +, and before you start it have it go “this is the hard mode, are you sure?”

And then your encounter with the cops goes the way many PoC are worried it will.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Ariblester
I’ve already said it, sex worker is too broad of a term since it also refers to strippers, camgirls and lots of other people who doesn’t sell sex, and I think lumping them all together only serves to create confusion as to what I’m trying to say.

I feel all arguing about semantics just serves to shut down and derail the discussion whilst no one has actually come up with any good counterargument to when I say that having sex with strangers for money should’t be treated as just any other job, and doing that will only harm all countless vulnerable people who are forced into it.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

However, I don’t know how to easily discuss the sex trade without having a word to specifically refer to women who sell sex, because “sex worker” is a broad term that also encompasses strippers and camgirls, people who perform but doesn’t sell their bodies for money. If the term “prostitute” is wrong, which term should I use?

Why do you need a specific term for a sex worker who provides physical services as opposed to a sex worker who only performs visually? What is the purpose of distinguishing the two in this discussion?

As for the article you quoted, the problem seems more to be how people will readily jump to dehumanize a woman deemed “immoral”, and using another term wouldn’t magically change that.

No, it won’t entirely solve the problem. But the terms we use do have power. For some people, hearing the term “black person” is going to conjure up negative stereotypes no matter what, since racism is prevalent in our culture. But that doesn’t mean that using the n-word to describe black people isn’t worse than just calling them black. There’s a whole lot more baggage associated with the one term over the other.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

Ah, I missed your previous post.

having sex with strangers for money should’t be treated as just any other job, and doing that will only harm all countless vulnerable people who are forced into it.

Uhhh… it certainly shouldn’t be treated as any other job across the board, I’ll grant you. Our bodies are very personal things and bodily autonomy is something that should be protected. Sex is a very intimate and personal thing for many.

That said, for some people, yeah, it just is like any other job. It’s a job with significant risks- primarily due to the stigma against sex workers in our culture and laws which force sex workers to operate on the margins of society, but it is a job that some people choose.

Are there others who are trafficked or otherwise coerced into the sex trade? Yes, absolutely. A staggering and painful number of them. And I by no means intend to minimize the suffering that is inflicted on these people. But trafficked people and sex workers are not synonymous.

That said, sex work, even sex work specifically involving intercourse, is not a job choice that is inherently more exploitative than any other job, even though the current attitudes within our culture generally make it notably exploitative. Even leaving all the extra baggage aside though, is it still exploitative? Yeah. Capitalism is an inherently exploitative system, as it necessitates people to sell their labor in order to survive, and as such all of us are under duress. Without the looming threat of homelessness, hunger, and destitution, are there many sex workers who wouldn’t choose to continue with their jobs? I’m sure there are. There are also many farm laborers or janitors or customer service staff who also would not continue with the frankly abusive situations they often need to contend with, either, though.

Wetherby
Wetherby
1 year ago

Thanks for belatedly clearing up my confusion over what was initially described as “the Das Boot TV series”, which I took to mean the six-part extended TV cut of the 1981 feature film that’s been around for decades – I watched it on BBC2 back in the 1980s and couldn’t recall anything like that rape scene, so wondered if (a) my memory was at fault or (b), more alarmingly, whether I had watched the scene in question but somehow rationalised that it was no big deal and not worth remembering.

So it was something of a relief to discover that it was a completely different production altogether.

On the subject of foot fetishism, I remember a discussion between two British film censors in a mid-1990s documentary about how to classify a video that consisted of nothing more than close-ups of feet, sometimes with stockings, sometimes bare, sometimes with stockings being applied or removed. They agreed that in terms of actual content there was nothing in it that would warrant anything stronger than a PG, but were mindful of the fact that it would be displayed on sex-shop shelves where literally every other title was rated 18 – although sadly I forget how they resolved the issue. But it’s an interesting example of how context (in this case the obvious target market) can completely transform something that is outwardly completely innocuous.

Ariblester
Ariblester
1 year ago

Scanisaurus wrote on
April 2, 2019 at 12:45 am:

@Ariblester
I’ve already said it, sex worker is too broad of a term since it also refers to strippers, camgirls and lots of other people who doesn’t sell sex, and I think lumping them all together only serves to create confusion as to what I’m trying to say.

I feel all arguing about semantics just serves to shut down and derail the discussion whilst no one has actually come up with any good counterargument to when I say that having sex with strangers for money should’t be treated as just any other job, and doing that will only harm all countless vulnerable people who are forced into it.

The people who are forced into it are sexually exploited persons. This is made quite clear in the Wikipedia article I linked to:

Sex work is different from sexual exploitation, or the forcing of a person to commit sexual acts, in that sex work is voluntary “and is seen as the commercial exchange of sex for money or goods”.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Catalpa
I think it’s important to distinguish people like strippers, phone sex operators and camgirls from people selling sex because with the former group, they can operate from within the safety of their own home or on a stage where bouncers/security guards can protect them, whereas with people physically selling sex the majority of clients will demand that they do the acts in a private place, and the murder/assault statistics are drastically lower among phone sex operators than sex sellers for this very reason.

Also, as someone who’s been struggling to find a job for a long time, people saying “sex work is just like any other job” or suggesting sex work is a great way to pay for college and so on makes my stomach turn, because the implication is that it should be OK to let people be forced into sex work to pay the bills, and it shouldn’t ever be. In Stockholm there is a housing crisis, and there has recently been reports in the newspapers on male landlords trying to pressure young women into sex in exchange for housing, and that stuff happens exactly because of the mindset that buying sex is just like any other transaction.

And comparing it to working at call centers or janitors is ignoring that as tiresome and abusive those jobs are, you aren’t forced to intimate sexual contact with strangers at those jobs, and to compare the two is just as bad as comparing car theft to rape, because sure, car theft is a bad crime, but it’s nowhere near as traumatic to the victim as rape.

Where I live social security only goes so far and after a while you’re more or less forced to take whatever work the job center offers you or you loose your allowance. Could you honestly say that you’d want prostitution to be one of those jobs and that you’d want people to be forced to choose between that or to end up on the street? Because that’s what would happen if the idea that “prostitution is just any job” was taken to it’s logical conclusion and treated as just any job.

@Wetherby

Thanks for belatedly clearing up my confusion over what was initially described as “the Das Boot TV series”, which I took to mean the six-part extended TV cut of the 1981 feature film that’s been around for decades – I watched it on BBC2 back in the 1980s and couldn’t recall anything like that rape scene, so wondered if (a) my memory was at fault or (b), more alarmingly, whether I had watched the scene in question but somehow rationalised that it was no big deal and not worth remembering.

So it was something of a relief to discover that it was a completely different production altogether.

I’m glad you could put your mind at ease knowing that it was a different production, the series I’m complaining about certainly wasn’t made in the 1980’s.

However, upon re-watching several movies I’ve myself have been alarmed at how many of my childhood classics contained implied rape or attempted rape, such as this scene in Pirates of the Caribbean where Elizabeth is almost raped before Will rescues her, and so many other movies, and I’ve also realized just how many kid’s movies feature plotlines where villains want to marry or otherwise force himself on the heroine, the only difference from adult movies is that the threats aren’t explicit and the heroine is always rescued, but all the rapey implications and misogyny is still there.

I’m genuinely frightened at the thought on just how ubiquitous this stuff is, and how it normalizes women being sexually violated to the point it’s just background noise and people barely even think about it or question why it’s there.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

And comparing it to working at call centers or janitors is ignoring that as tiresome and abusive those jobs are, you aren’t forced to intimate sexual contact with strangers at those jobs, and to compare the two is just as bad as comparing car theft to rape, because sure, car theft is a bad crime, but it’s nowhere near as traumatic to the victim as rape.

You’re equating forced sex work with voluntary sex work, which is not the same thing.

People who engage in voluntary sex work are not forced into intimate sexual contact with strangers. They choose to engage in sexual acts in exchange for money. What people choose to do with their own bodies should always be left to their discretion.

And I feel like calling me a rape apologist for pointing out the fact that voluntary sex work exists is pretty out of line.

Where I live social security only goes so far and after a while you’re more or less forced to take whatever work the job center offers you or you loose your allowance. Could you honestly say that you’d want prostitution to be one of those jobs and that you’d want people to be forced to choose between that or to end up on the street? Because that’s what would happen if the idea that “prostitution is just any job” was taken to it’s logical conclusion and treated as just any job.

Literally the first paragraph I wrote said that sex work shouldn’t be considered the same as other jobs for the vast majority of people. I don’t know why you’re asking me this question.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

In Stockholm there is a housing crisis, and there has recently been reports in the newspapers on male landlords trying to pressure young women into sex in exchange for housing, and that stuff happens exactly because of the mindset that buying sex is just like any other transaction.

No. This happens because people are taking advantage of a desperate person, not someone who is a sex worker, as sex work is (as Arbilester pointed out above)

(…)voluntary “and is seen as the commercial exchange of sex for money or goods”.

(emphasis mine)

VOLUNTARY
. You are, once again, describing *exploitation* and trying to equate it with all sex work.

Am I saying that anyone should be *forced* into sex work? (A, no, because that removes the ‘voluntary’ aspect.) So, obviously, no.

But also, I’m not saying that you *must* be a janitor, or you *must* work customer service, or you *must* wait tables. All of those are things one does, perhaps because they enjoy some aspects of the job, but also because they *need to make money*.

Welcome to late stage capitalism.

Clearly sex work is not for you. It’s not for me, either. But for those who have managed to find a way to support themselves using their bodies, good on them.

If they were bakers instead, would you have a problem with them?

Also, I don’t know if you noticed, but you are *again* focusing on women.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Catalpa
@Rhuu
I’m sorry if I phrased myself badly or the things I wrote came out badly. I’ve had a lot of stressful stuff to deal with lately and have had a hard time thinking straight and not feeling in control over my life.

If you think I’ve been focusing too much on women, it’s because these issues disproportionately affect cis- and transwomen, but that doesn’t mean that I think it’s any less bad when it happens to men and non-binary people and I’ll try and avoid further gendered language on this point.

However, I still think buying sex shouldn’t have any place in a civilized society and I’m a staunch proponent in the Nordic model for the following reasons;

I’m aware there are people out there who want to sell sex, but because having one’s bodily orifices penetrated could be incredibly painful if done wrong, a great deal of humans find it stressful to commit sexual acts with persons they aren’t attracted to and a job that requires the workers to be alone with their clients will always pose a certain physical risk, the number of people who’d want to sell sex without coercion will always be a very small percentage of any given population even if you could remove the social stigma attached.

And in a society where buying sex isn’t illegal or even considered particularly immoral, the demand for buying sex will always be a lot higher than what could be covered by volunteers alone, and not just to their small number but also because even the people who would volunteer would have sex acts they wouldn’t want to do and limits to how many clients they could serve at any given time. And so, in places where buying sex is legal, the number of victims of trafficking, coercion and abuse goes up, and it’s been shown time and time again that the vast majority of clients don’t care weather the people they are buying sex from chose it, or they are willfully ignorant of the abuse, and with sex purchase being legal it’s much harder to prosecute those who rape trafficking victims since they could claim that they thought their victim entered the sex trade willingly and that it was a perfectly legal transaction.

Therefore, I believe that whilst normalizing buying sex could make it easier for volunteers to ply their trade, it would be to the cost of increased abuse of vulnerable people, and therefore it’s wrong, and as for those who truly do sell sex out of their own free will, if they aren’t doing it out of coercion or financial desperation then they should be able switch to other forms of sex work like stripping or phone/online services if they still want to rely on their sexuality for money.

I also linked to these two articles before, but I’ll post them here again:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/violence-drugs-sexual-diseases-managed-zones-prostitution-failing/
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/prostitution-decriminalisation-new-zealand-holland-abuse-harm-commercialisation-a7878586.html

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

However, I still think buying sex shouldn’t have any place in a civilized society

Please take a look at the comments policy on sex workers. Thanks.

Jesalin: Clit-o-centric Lesbian Goddess
Jesalin: Clit-o-centric Lesbian Goddess
1 year ago

Particularly this bit:

Whatever your opinion of sex work, don’t disparage sex workers, or use words like “whore” as a pejorative.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@kupo
@Jesalin
That sentence was on people buying sex, not selling it. Did you miss the part where I mentioned the nordic model?

I whish people would read my full comment before replying rather than take things out of context and willfully misinterpret them. I don’t see how I’m breaking the policy just for pointing out that de-criminalizing sex purchase leads to increased trafficking and abuse, and I provided links to articles supporting my point.

Jesalin: Clit-o-centric Lesbian Goddess
Jesalin: Clit-o-centric Lesbian Goddess
1 year ago

That’s disingenuous bullshit, and I highly doubt you don’t know it.

It’s attacking selling by the back door, as if there were no buyers there would obviously be no sellers in short order.

Also, Canada uses the Nordic model, it’s bullshit and only serves to make life more dangerous for sex workers.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

You called it uncivilized (or heavily implied it). I’ll ask David for a ruling.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
1 year ago

In Stockholm there is a housing crisis, and there has recently been reports in the newspapers on male landlords trying to pressure young women into sex in exchange for housing, and that stuff happens exactly because of the mindset that buying sex is just like any other transaction.

Yes. Also? We should entirely resist the normalization of agricultural work as the same as any other work, covered under the same minimal wage laws and labor, and labor organizing protections as any other work.

It is exactly and precisely because of the mindset that buying agricultural labor is just like any other transaction that made white force Black slaves to harvest their fields in exchange for housing (but no money). If only we can keep agricultural work stigmatized as fundamentally different, we will never have agricultural slavery again – just as we will certainly never have sex slavery in the world if only we can sufficiently stigmatize personal sexual services.

Stigmatization: it’s not the hero we deserve, it’s just the hero we need right now.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

In Stockholm there is a housing crisis, and there has recently been reports in the newspapers on male landlords trying to pressure young women into sex in exchange for housing, and that stuff happens exactly because of the mindset that buying sex is just like any other transaction.

That happens in the US too. It’s not because of decriminalizing sex work. It’s misogyny and entitlement.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

I’ll provide an alternative viewpoint: https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/decreasing-human-trafficking-through-sex-work-decriminalization/2017-01

https://web.stanford.edu/~perssonp/Prostitution.pdf

Just in case Scanisaurus feels like we’re only arguing against the criminalization of sex work from a point without supporting arguments.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

In my baby barristering days I spent a lot of Saturday mornings at the old Bow Street Magistrates Court. It’s hard to describe the atmosphere there; but there was a nice community of ‘regulars’.

For example, the police would arrest a couple of the Covent Garden buskers each weekend (it was practically on a rota); and all the other buskers would turn up, in full costume, to support them.

Similarly, the working girls (as they self described) would be picked up and charged with the charming offence (now thankfully abolished) of “being a common prostitute”; and their friends would also come along.

It was ridiculously, and almost embarrassingly, performative. The women would plead guilty, they would get a nominal fine, and the court clerk would add it to their account with the court office; which they’d service at £5 per week.

But we’d all chat about every subject under the sun. One thing that occasionally cropped up were variants on the ‘how can you represent someone you know is guilty?’ theme; but especially in relation to people like paedos etc.

I would explain about our “cab rank” rule; that is, that barristers aren’t allowed to pick and choose clients. We have to represent anyone who asks us.

The women thought that was horrible, and really felt sorry for us. It was an interesting perspective.

It was a real lesson to me though that sex work is a complicated issue. No one knows that more than the women themselves. They had systems in place to try to take care of each other; both whilst at work and generally. Some stories of how people ended up in the profession would break your heart; others were as free a choice as any other job. As mentioned, it’s complicated. But whatever the objective reality of the situation, I’m a firm believer that the only opinions that matter are those of the women themselves.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

Out of the studies Catalpa linked, one didn’t mention the nordic model at all, and the other did acknowledge that it was the best of the systems currently in use at combating trafficking and coercion. That study did suggest a combination of the dutch and swedish models, where there are licenced sex sellers but buyers are still penalized from buying it of those who aren’t, and if a community were to implement this model and it proved better than the nordic model at combating trafficking, I’d be willing to change my stance on sex purchase.

However, even if I were to accept that it should be legal to buy sex and for volunteers to work in the open, I will never be able to accept that “selling sex is just another job” or saying that all jobs in capitalism technically involves selling your body, because I don’t find being forced to work as a janitor or window cleaner comparable to someone being forced to sell sex, because sex without consent is rape, and comparing it to any random job with health risks or bad work hours only serves to diminish rape.

Also, I’ve never denied that there exist people who sell sex of their own choice, and I wouldn’t consider a person who choose to sell sex rape, but if they’re forced into doing so it is, and I don’t consider people who only technically agree to it due to the threat of crushing poverty truly consenting any more than someone “consenting” to sleeping with their boss due to the threat of being fired.
But if there are persons who sell their bodies without any underlying abuse or poverty, I’m not denying that they are truly doing it out of their own free will.

Lastly, the last study Catalpa linked have done far more to make me understand your position than any of the complaints on my wording and picking apart my word choices instead of my arguments, and I will not defend my stance on sex work further here if you can acknowlage that I was arguing in good faith out of what I genuinley believed to be the best approach to protect vulnerable people, and if you think I’m wrong I can accept that, but I don’t want to be labled as a hypocrite or hear that my arguments are disingenious just because you disagree with them.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

Lastly, the last study Catalpa linked have done far more to make me understand your position than any of the complaints on my wording and picking apart my word choices instead of my arguments,

Asking you not to use a slur was not an attempt to refute your arguments, but rather because sex workers deserve basic human decency. Asking you to stop focusing on women was because this is a feminist space and I hope I don’t have to explain why using ‘women’ instead of ‘people’ in your discussion of people exploited for sex is problematic and makes us uncomfortable. None of this was about you or your arguments, it was about protecting the groups you’re slurring and making sure this is a space they feel comfortable.

and I will not defend my stance on sex work further here if you can acknowlage that I was arguing in good faith out of what I genuinley believed to be the best approach to protect vulnerable people, and if you think I’m wrong I can accept that, but I don’t want to be labled as a hypocrite or hear that my arguments are disingenious just because you disagree with them.

So if we don’t acknowledge that you were arguing in good faith (which is irrelevant to the discussion), you’ll continue to violate the comments policy?

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@kupo
I feel as if you are deliberately trying to read malicious intent into everything I write, regardless of what I write

I was genuinely unaware that the word “prostitute” was considered a slur, as the similar equivalent isn’t considered that in my homeland and I’ve constantly seen that word used in mainstream english-language news and articles, even in text written by feminists. But most importantly, I stopped using that word to refer to people selling sex when you asked me to.

And If I’ve defaulted to women too often for your liking, as I’ve said, it’s because this issue predominantly concerns women. I’ve seen Alan Robertshaw referring to people selling sex as women or girls several times in his comment, and the study Catalpa linked exclusively wrote of the sex workers as women, yet I haven’t seen any comment on them.

I consider myself a feminist, and I have been making the arguments I have because after seeing so many misogynist comments both in the sites this blog documents and plenty elsewhere where MRA’s and Incels demand the right to have a female body for their disposal on demand, and it has made me feel that treating the right to buy sex as something normal would only increase these people’s entitlement towards women’s bodies. If you can tell me why my concerns on this point are unfounded I’m willing to listen.

So if we don’t acknowledge that you were arguing in good faith (which is irrelevant to the discussion), you’ll continue to violate the comments policy?

I’m sorry if I worded myself poorly, I have no intention of defending my stance further here, however, I feel the fact that I am arguing in good faith should matter to the discussion, because I’m actually trying to hear your counter arguments out when you come up with them, and if you’d read my comments in other threads you’d know I’m not here to try and troll anyone and I sought this place out exactly because I was hoping for civil discourse on feminist topics.

I’m not demanding anything from you, I’m just asking that you try and please acknowledge that I didn’t want or intend to de-humanize sex workers, and if I did I apologize, but it wasn’t my intention and I hope I can still share my thoughts on this blog without facing hostility if I say I have every intention to follow the comments policy and listen to the arguments you make if you disagree with me on something.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

I feel as if you are deliberately trying to read malicious intent into everything I write, regardless of what I write

How would you prefer that I approach voicing my discomfort with what you say, then? Because you read into my asking you to not slur people as an attack on you, and it’s not. It’s just asking you to show respect. Your intention doesn’t have to be malicious for your words to be harmful. I don’t imply malice by asking you to stop.

Alan was talking about individuals he knows, not sex workers as a whole, but he’s pretty damn sexist himself in a lot of things and I do call him out when I see it happening. But since he was talking about specific people he knows, there was nothing to call out here. I was a bit uncomfortable with the way he seemed surprised that sex workers are goid conversationalists, but I don’t have the energy to fight every little thing and I have given up on Alan giving a fork what I have to say.

As for whether you’re here in good faith, I personally am not trying to have a conversation with you about whether sex work is valid. I don’t want to change your mind or debate it with you, I just wanted to ask you to treat sex workers with respect and dignity because your comments were making me uncomfortable.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

@ kupo

I was a bit uncomfortable with the way he seemed surprised that sex workers are goid conversationalists,

Where did I expressed any surprise that the women were good conversationalists? I’ve had friends in that profession since I first started going to pubs; and that was from a scandalously early age. No one understands more than I that people are just people; and you can find great conversation anywhere.

If I was to find anything surprising, it would be that the women felt sorry for barristers because they thought we were being coerced.

Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

Dude you said something shitty about a group of people that are already shit on enough and got called out for it. Apologize, stop doing it, and move on.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

How would you prefer that I approach voicing my discomfort with what you say, then? Because you read into my asking you to not slur people as an attack on you, and it’s not. It’s just asking you to show respect. Your intention doesn’t have to be malicious for your words to be harmful. I don’t imply malice by asking you to stop.

I’m sorry, but it came across that way to me when you kept telling me about it even after I stopped using that word.

But I fully understand how bad harmful words can be. The main reason I’ve reacted so strongly to those saying “prostitution should be just like any other job” or that “all jobs are exploitative in capitalism” is because I’m a woman whom have been struggling a lot with depression lately, and this depression is due to me having been unable to find an entry-level job for a long time now, and at this point I’d gladly take a job as a janitor or at McDonalds if I could, and the implication that people in my position might as well give up hope of any better work and could just as well start selling our bodies instead, and that people buying sex from people only selling it out of poverty aren’t doing anything wrong made me uncomfortable. I realize that’s probably not how they meant it, but that’s how it came across to me when I first read it.

With the whole depression and all, I’ve felt like I don’t have any skin lately and it’s been hard for me to find a good place to vent my feelings without fear of being harassed or creeped on, and I came here hoping it would be a safe space. If I’ve made you feel uncomfortable, I understand and I apologize, and I hope that if I word myself badly in the future you can bear in mind that I don’t want people here to feel uncomfortable when you correct me on my wording.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@Alan
Re-reading your comment, I think I misinterpreted the part where you said it was an “interesting perspective” and “a real lesson.” My apologies; I should have read the comment again before posting remarks about it. I will work on that.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

@ kupo

No worries! And I do appreciate you stopping me putting my foot in it. Well, as many times as I would otherwise. 🙂

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

if you’d read my comments in other threads you’d know I’m not here to try and troll anyone

Believe me, if we thought you were a troll, you would be receiving a significantly different reception.

I sought this place out exactly because I was hoping for civil discourse on feminist topics.

In general, you’re right. This place is wonderful for its nuanced discussions on all sorts of topics.

However, no one owes you a debate. You cannot expect to barge in on a discussion with whatever topic you please and demand that people spend time and energy to refute your points before they are permitted to request you use more inclusive language.

This topic in particular is a complex one, and one that may cause distress to many, and it is not acceptable to expect the commentariat to put in the emotional labour to dig into every spurious claim you put out and provide you with sources that meet your specific standards.

the study Catalpa linked exclusively wrote of the sex workers as women

The study was not written by me, and also uses the term prostitution. I never claimed the study was completely unproblematic. You cannot expect the same standard of expected linguistic care to be applied to sources written by outside parties as you can of words you personally wrote right this very moment.

I’ve never denied that there exist people who sell sex of their own choice, and I wouldn’t consider a person who choose to sell sex rape, but if they’re forced into doing so it is, and I don’t consider people who only technically agree to it due to the threat of crushing poverty truly consenting any more than someone “consenting” to sleeping with their boss due to the threat of being fired.

Except that you are denying that voluntary sex work exists. Under this paradigm you’ve established, you’re claiming that all sex work is rape (at least within a capitalist society). Since all labour under capitalism is to some extent coerced, all sexual labour must be considered rape. (And therefore sex workers must be protected from themselves by having this choice forcibly taken away from them.)

Though even if this premise is accepted, what makes you think that people who are in a situation where they are forced to engage in sex work in order to provide for themselves would be in any way protected by laws which force them to operate in secrecy? How are they protected or helped when their options are limited to work outside of society’s protection?

I will never be able to accept that “selling sex is just another job”

Why do you keep repeating this as though anyone here is trying to argue for this point of view?

Dalillama
Dalillama
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

I’m a woman whom have been struggling a lot with depression lately, and this depression is due to me having been unable to find an entry-level job for a long time now, and at this point I’d gladly take a job as a janitor or at McDonalds if I could,

Counterpoint: I’m a woman, I’m unemployed and depressed over that fact, and if it weren’t for the police sting operations, I’d be sucking dick for cash. I’ve been a janitor, and I’d go on the game in a heartbeat before doing that again.

and the implication that people in my position might as well give up hope of any better work and could just as well start selling our bodies instead

A janitor sells their body too, and at a much poorer rate. Moreover, janitorial work actively and inevitably damages the body in question by its very nature, while the physical risks of selling sex come near entirely from the criminalization of the activity.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Catalpa
@Dalailama

Except that you are denying that voluntary sex work exists. Under this paradigm you’ve established, you’re claiming that all sex work is rape (at least within a capitalist society). Since all labour under capitalism is to some extent coerced, all sexual labour must be considered rape.

You have completely misunderstood what I’m trying to say, did you miss the point where I wrote:
But if there are persons who sell their bodies without any underlying abuse or poverty, I’m not denying that they are truly doing it out of their own free will.
Also, not even under capitalism is all labor forced. Yes, not having an income of my own has been stressful, but an even bigger reason for my depression is that it’s taken a huge toll on my mental health to sit alone in my home with nothing to do, no one to interact with and not feeling like I have a purpose in life, and I’ve tried seeking out volunteer work. I get that it can be hard for people who haven’t been unemployed for a long time to understand, but work is more than just getting a wage and I believe that even if society would give out a universal basic income, a great deal of people would still chose to work. Maybe not the worst and most physically or mentally draining jobs, but they would still want to work with something, and even now I there is plenty of people whom could live off their family or savings and don’t need a wage to support themselves yet still work.

I’ll try to be as simple as I can:
I don’t think a person with other income options of equal monetary worth available to them choosing to sell sex is abuse or rape, but I still think people feeling that they must do it out of poverty and lack of other income options is abuse.

Though even if this premise is accepted, what makes you think that people who are in a situation where they are forced to engage in sex work in order to provide for themselves would be in any way protected by laws which force them to operate in secrecy? How are they protected or helped when their options are limited to work outside of society’s protection?

My original answer would be to have better social security and a social safety net to prevent them from ending up in that situation in the first place, and even if you think all forms of sex work should be legal, that doesn’t automatically mean people driven into it by poverty should be considered acceptable.

I hope this clarifies what I meant.

However, no one owes you a debate. You cannot expect to barge in on a discussion with whatever topic you please and demand that people spend time and energy to refute your points before they are permitted to request you use more inclusive language.

I didn’t want to start a debate, and if i’d known beforehand I’d never have posted my honest opinions on the matter in this comment section. And I wasn’t trying to barge in or derail the conversation in any way, if you go back to the first page you can clearly see that my first comment mentioning selling sex, after several comments on a completely different topic, was a few short sentences in reply to Otrame’s comment, and then I went back to the first topic I was originally discussing again.

I only started writing long comments on this subject after everyone left here switched to arguing against me, and I tried to explain my position and back up my arguments, but after realizing my opinions on this matter aren’t welcome here I promised that I wouldn’t try and defend them further in this forum and I have already tried to apologize for any discomfort my comments have caused, what more do you want from me?

I still disagree with you on many of your arguments, but all this arguing has been just as stressful and draining for me as you feel it has been for you, and I don’t want to argue it more either. I already tried apologizing in my previous comment and I’ll try it here again:

I didn’t want or intend to derail the conversation or cause discomfort for the people here, but if I did, I apologize.

I am trying to apologize an move on, can you accept my apology, bury the hatchet and not keep making more posts on how wrong I am if I say that I will not try and defend my arguments further here?

If you still feel that these opinions have no place on this site, feel free to ask David to delete my comments on sex work if my apology for making the comments isn’t enough for you.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

Also, not even under capitalism is all labor forced.

Coerced and forced are not the same word. I don’t doubt that there are many, many folks who would happily pursue work outside of a capitalist framework, and even outside of a culture which indoctrinates us to associate our self worth with the value we are able to produce.

However, that does not remove the coercive threat of destitution which looms ever present within a capitalist system (nor the pressure exerted on us to be productive and self-sufficient).

For example, if there was someone who really, really wanted to sleep with their boss, and had some really great sex, and then afterward the boss was like “great, I won’t have to fire you”, the situation would still be coercive, even if it wasn’t forced.

I don’t think a person with other income options of equal monetary worth available to them choosing to sell sex is abuse or rape, but I still think people feeling that they must do it out of poverty and lack of other income options is abuse.

Given that there are currently incredibly few job opportunities which pay an hourly rate even remotely comparable to sex work, I expect that almost all sex work would still be considered rape under this definition.

have better social security and a social safety net to prevent them from ending up in that situation in the first place, and even if you think all forms of sex work should be legal, that doesn’t automatically mean people driven into it by poverty should be considered acceptable.

I by no means believe that people being driven into sex work due to poverty is acceptable.

However, the fact that there are people driven to sex work by poverty is not an argument in favor of legislation against sex work. It’s an argument in favor of a more equitable economic system and better protections for the vulnerable.

Arguably, it’s also an argument in favor of the legalization of sex work, since laws which drive sex workers into underground operations result in much higher rates of violence towards sex workers. Otherwise, on top of being sexually abused, the people forced into the business due to poverty also must endure being physically abused if in a system that stigmatizes sex work.

I am trying to apologize an move on, can you accept my apology, bury the hatchet and not keep making more posts on how wrong I am if I say that I will not try and defend my arguments further here?

Sure thing, can do. I accept your apology. No hard feelings. I will stop arguing with you as soon as you as soon as you stop trying to defend your arguments in this thread.

But I’m not going to give you the last word if you tack your apology onto the end of a post that is full of you defending your arguments here. Sounds fair?

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
1 year ago

@Alan:

If I was to find anything surprising, it would be that the women felt sorry for barristers because they thought we were being coerced.

I noted that. It is, indeed, a funny juxtaposition of the workers who take the principled stand that the service worker in their own profession must be able to pick and choose clients and the workers who take the principled stand that the service workers of their different profession must not be allowed to pick and choose clients.

Both stances are ethically defensible. Indeed, I see the first one as ethically mandatory. This grows out of the very different jobs and the very different contexts in which the work is performed. But it’s still a funny juxtaposition.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Catalpa

Given that there are currently incredibly few job opportunities which pay an hourly rate even remotely comparable to sex work, I expect that almost all sex work would still be considered rape under this definition.

I realize I made a bad definition, what I should have said was “other options with a wage you could reasonably live on“, as opposed to equal value.
My mistake.

Now I didn’t realize me writing clarifying explanations to stuff I felt was misinterpreted came off as defending my arguments, but if you see it that way I’ll just leave this topic on the note that whilst a lot of different work situations can indeed be coercive I still think forcing a person to have sex against their will is a worse crime than forcing a person to do physical labor against their will.

But I’m not going to give you the last word if you tack your apology onto the end of a post that is full of you defending your arguments here. Sounds fair?

Fair enough, and I hope this post doesn’t come across as defending my views on the matter.

If not feel free to correct me.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

I still think forcing a person to have sex against their will is a worse crime than forcing a person to do physical labor against their will.

That’s a reasonable viewpoint to have. I’m off the opinion that sex work is a more complicated issue than could be encompassed by that viewpoint alone, but I can see where you’re coming from. There are definitely horrifying abuses present in the system.

It’s fairly apparent that continuing this discussion will just cause more bad feelings on both sides. So we’ll leave it there.

Thanks for at least considering the other point of view and taking a look at the links I provided, even if you disagree. I hope this experience doesn’t sour you to this community.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

That’s a reasonable viewpoint to have. I’m off the opinion that sex work is a more complicated issue than could be encompassed by that viewpoint alone, but I can see where you’re coming from. There are definitely horrifying abuses present in the system.

It’s fairly apparent that continuing this discussion will just cause more bad feelings on both sides. So we’ll leave it there.

Thanks for at least considering the other point of view and taking a look at the links I provided, even if you disagree. I hope this experience doesn’t sour you to this community.

Thank you for being willing to listen to my explanations and accepting my apology, I don’t have any hard feelings.