Féminisme radical vs pro-sexe (1)

Quelques termes du débat

La pornographie excite les hommes; or le viol et l’humiliation  des femmes y sont des thèmes centraux. Les hommes ne parlent de la prostitution qu’avec nostalgie, jubilation ou froideur affective  (dite « Raison » par les philosophes ou « objectivité » par les sociologues qui veulent rétablir l’ordre parmi les féministes « passionnées ») ; avant tout « clients » potentiels, ils ne s’imaginent jamais à la place de « la » prostituée. Question : la liberté sexuelle des hommes est-elle compatible avec la nôtre ?

L’excitation sexuelle et la jouissance physique ne sont pas des données de la nature, elles sont construites dans des contextes d’oppressions multiples ; or certain-e-s militantes se contentent de dire : « Jouissez, ça libère ! » ou « Tant que ça m’excite,  c’est sexuel , donc pas de problème politique ». Où peuvent mener de tels agendas politiques ?

Peut-on jouer à dominer ? à forcer ? à violer ? Jouer « avec les limites » : être excité-e-s en les franchissant permet-il de les établir au nom des droits des femmes ?

A quelle liberté accède-t-on par l’argent, c’est à dire par un système basé sur l’exploitation du plus grand nombre ?

Pour aborder les débats sur la prostitution et la pornographie :

un article introductif, par Laurie Shrage, Feminist Perspectives on Sex Markets, (2007 [1ère éd. 2004]). Doc :

Feminist Perspectives on Sex Markets, debate Mackinnon, Dworkin, Longino, etc

Pour quelques arguments radicaux contre le sadomasochisme:

* Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis. Entre autres co-auteures : Robin Ruth Linden, Darlene R. Pagano, Diana E.H. Russell, and Susan Leigh Star. Frog in the Well Press, 1982.

* Melissa Farley « Ten Lies About Sadomasochism », in Sinister Wisdom n° 50, Summer/ Fall 1993, p. 29-37. cf. ci dessous.

* « Sadomasochism : Not About Condemnation ». An Interview with Audre Lorde, by Susan Leigh Star – As published in A Burst of Light: Essays by Audre Lorde, 1988, Firebrand Books. cf. ci-dessous.

Un débat sur le SM


Un débat sur la prostitution.

22 avr. 2009, New York, un débat où le public devait se prononcer sur ceci : est-il acceptable ou non de payer pour de la sexualité ? Moderator John Donvan   / For the motion Melissa Farley, Catharine A. MacKinnon, Wendy Shalit  /  Against the motion Sydney Biddle Barrows, Tyler Cowen, Lionel Tiger


It’s wrong to pay for sex. (vidéo)

« Thank you. Thanks. Some words hide the truth. Just as torture is named, “enhanced  interrogation,” and the logging of old-growth forests is called the Healthy Forest Initiative, so also prostitution is named a choice, a job, work, a victimless crime, and on Craigslist it’s called “a wide range of personal meeting and relationship opportunities.” These pimp-messaged slogans are good for business but there’s not much truth to them. What’s wrong with prostitution is the renting out of a woman’s mouth, vagina, or anus, and what it does to her, psychologically. What’s wrong with prostitution, and what’s wrong with buying sex, are the same things that are wrong with other forms of violence against women, incest, rape, and battery. I’ve been researching prostitution for 15 years, we’ve interviewed 900 women, men, and transgendered people in prostitution, in nine countries on five continents. And over the course of that time we’ve also interviewed 500 johns. Prostitution is not a choice because the precise conditions that make a choice are absent. For example, equality with buyers, and physical safety, and real alternatives. If you imagine a pyramid, remember that only about the top 5 percent of all women in prostitution are at the top of that pyramid. These are people that are privileged by race and class. The other 95 percent don’t have those kinds of privilege or alternatives for escape. Let me give you some examples of the sex inequality, the race-ethnic inequality, and the economic inequality in prostitution that are often invisible. A woman in Lusaka, who knew that five blow jobs would get her a sack of mealy meal to feed her kids. That’s not a choice. A woman in India who worked in an office where she concluded that she might as well be paid for the sexual harassment that was expected of her anyway, in her  job. That’s not a choice. The teen in California who said that in her neighborhood, boys grew up to be dealers and pimps and girls to be ‘hos. She was the third generation of prostituted women in her family. And prostitution more severely harms people who are indigenous or ethnically marginalized because of their lack of alternatives. That’s not a choice. Or the young woman sold by her parents in a brothel in Nevada. She took six different psychiatric drugs to make it through the day, selling sex, that’s not a choice, or Ashley Dupre, who was bought by Governor Spitzer. Dupre ran away from what she called an abusive home at 17, she’d been homeless, she had a drug problem, a convicted New York pimp bragged that he turned her out. And at 17 pornography was made of her by a man who had a prostitution conviction. The Emperors Club, where Spitzer bought her, was run by pimps who charged a lot because they said it was high-class call girls. But it was the same as any other pimps, they took their 50 percent off the top. Like a majority of johns, Spitzer most likely enticed, coerced or persuaded her with money to put her life on the line by not using a condom. That’s not a freely made choice. Women in prostitution face a statistical likelihood of weekly rape. A Canadian woman in  prostitution said, what’s rape for others is normal for us. A woman at a legal brothel in Nevada said, it’s like you sign a contract to be raped. And in Chicago, the same frequency of rape was reported by women in both escort and street prostitution. Women in prostitution are seen as body parts or fake girlfriends and their feelings don’t matter, and they’re not seen as human which is perhaps why they’re murdered at a higher rate than any other group of women ever studied. The emotional consequences of prostitution are the same in widely varying cultures. Whether it’s high-class or low-class. Whether it’s legal or illegal, whether it’s in a brothel, strip club, massage parlor, or the street. Symptoms of emotional distress in all forms of prostitution, are off the charts.  Depression, suicidality, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, dissociation…

Two thirds of the women we interviewed, and all of the people we interviewed in prostitution, two thirds of them had PTSD at the same level of the most emotionally traumatized groups ever studied by psychologists. That would be combat vets, women who had just been raped, women seeking shelter from batterers, and also state-sponsored torture survivors. What’s wrong with sex is what johns themselves tell us about it. For example, if you look at it, it’s paid rape. She has to do what you want. I use them like I might use any other amenity, a restaurant, or a public convenience. It’s like renting an organ for ten minutes. In research interviews with johns, we found that their abuse of women extended to women who had not been prostituted yet. The johns that bought the most women in prostitution were the most likely to commit sexually coercive acts with non-prostituting women. When women are turned into objects that men masturbate into, it causes immense psychological harm to the person acting as a receptacle. Please don’t be fooled by people who tell buying sex is just another job. It’s wrong to set aside a special class of women, those who are the most vulnerable among us, for men’s sexual use. What’s wrong with paying for sex is it’s the business of  sexual exploitation. Thanks.


It’s Wrong to pay for sex. (vidéo)

What I know about prostitution I know from the prostituted women that I work for, representing them because they asked me to. We have found the sanctimoniousness and the superiority of the moral position against prostituted people, that is that they are bad, to be insulting and insufferable. And we have also found the rescue impulse to be demeaning and typically ineffective. But, no one opposes the normal business of prostitution for money, that is of sex for money, more, or more eloquently than the women who really know what it is because they’re living it. That is the women who are living in this industry, most of whom are trafficked by international definition, because they are being pimped. And they want to get out, and they can’t. Thus fitting the international definition of slavery. When you want to get out of marriage there’s a term called divorce. Eighty-five percent of women, when asked what they most want, that is women in prostitution, say what they want is to get out, but they don’t know how to. Usually they got in as children. Normally they got in as children. The majority. They were, most of them, sexually abused, actually, even before that. This is in the ninety percent plus range. That is, they were treated as a thing for sex before they ever had a chance to become a person first. And usually they are women, meaning their economic options are limited already by sex discrimination, precluding a vast majority of what men do for better pay, leaving, for the women who end up in prostitution the one remaining thing to be called her choice. This is a myth that one woman described for herself as, to be able to get out I had to believe I chose to get in. Sex, when it’s right, like friendship, is its own reward, it’s mutual, it’s equal in its diversity. You can’t buy the real thing. In prostitution, women have sex with men they would never otherwise have sex with. The money thus acts as a form of force, not as a measure of consent. It acts like physical force does in rape. And as Kathleen Barry put it, the only difference between rape and prostitution is time, one ends, the other doesn’t. And then she is stigmatized and deprived of dignity by society, and criminalized by the legal system. So for her, what’s wrong with it is, it’s abusive, it’s intimately violative, it’s destructive, it’s damaging, it’s dangerous, it’s exploitative, and it’s unequal. It’s up to you to decide if this is right or wrong. We’re not here, actually, to discuss the proposition “it’s wrong to be paid for sex.” We are here to discuss the proposition, “it is wrong to pay for sex.” I’ve just been talking about what’s wrong with it for her. What’s wrong with it for him is, he’s using her, he’s exploiting her, he’s exploiting his inequality to her, which is usually a desperate economic inequality. In order to have access to her person in a form of bodily invasion, while he gets off on the illusion that he has chosen this freely, when he is taking more than can ever be paid for. And what he is buying is not only that chunk of her humanity called self-respect… And it isn’t sex only, it’s : You do what I say, sex. Now, to be against this is why those of us who are today supporting this proposition support the Swedish model. In this model, the seller is, well, the buyer is strongly criminalized. The seller has, is also strongly criminalized. In criminalizing the person who is the one who’s buying the sex, you are criminalizing the one that my desperately poor Indian clients, from India, call the real criminal. And you de-criminalize the sold. You couple this with real education, real employment opportunities, real jobs, real money. Women are entitled to real equality and real choices. Men presumably also need to pay for household expenses to put themselves through school, and you don’t find them, in general, not in anything like the numbers you find women, selling themselves on street corners. Women need real equality and real choices. We’re asking you to vote yes for the proposition as a way to weigh in on the side of the view that women and children are not for sale. And I’m going to reserve the balance of my time for my rebuttal. »

Transcription de tout le débat, ici.

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