Random Thoughts

I’ve been throwing around ideas for posts for a few days, but have had little motivation to complete a thorough post about any of these ideas in their potential entirety with all the holiday business (busyness? Huh?), so I thought I’d throw out some discussion-starters:

I’ve been thinking about the post I wrote about prostitution, and how I was so adamantly anti all sex-for-money actions. I realized that my anti position was contradictory to my pro-legalization position when I considered many women’s opinion of abortion.

Many women say that they could never have an abortion, and therefore they are against it. But every woman’s circumstances are different and women who have had abortions haven’t done it for the same reason. It’s okay to say you’ll never have an abortion, but support other women’s right to legal and safe access to abortion.

So, I realized that, ultimately, even though I don’t see myself entering the sex industry, I support giving other women the legal option of doing so if they want or need to. And that’s really all I needed to know to realize that I was supportive of sex-worker’s rights, and that I didn’t need to preface the argument or add a disclaimer.

I have been seeing many ways in which feminism and environmentalism et al mirror religions, namely the evangelical Christian movement. I allow the “tenants” of feminism and anti-oppression ideology to frame my behavior and filter my actions in many of the ways a person might make decisions within the framework of the teachings of Christ. This creeps me out quite a bit, but I don’t really know what to think about that. Do all passions or schools of thought have the power to become evangelical? Is it inherently bad to be evangelical, or am I just feeling this way because of the associations with evangelicalism and anti-progressive legislation and rhetoric? I don’t appreciate being evangelized at, so I’d hate to be associated with the same behavior. What does this say about claims that all humans naturally seek out an idea of a higher power or purpose? If we don’t follow a mainstream belief system like Christianity or Judaism, do we replace it with something else, like astrology or feminism or yoga? Or is spiritual belief a learned trait?

I’m personally conflicted about the “tone argument.” It’s apparent that tone is important when attempting to educate people and pass legislation, but is one ever required to mind their tone when addressing or engaging with a group of people about the ways in which they suffer oppression? Is it ever appropriate to require “good manners” or the dreaded reasonable, logical approach when having a discussion with someone about (a) ways(s) in which they experience oppression, especially if you can identify with the oppressor in question (i.e. black woman discussing racism with white woman)?

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5 Responses to Random Thoughts

  1. N says:

    Is it a matter of “requirement” or effectiveness?

    • April says:

      I think that’s where people get hung up. Most people who make the “tone argument” cite effectiveness as the reason, and the people accused of a bad tone argue that they shouldn’t be expected to make the oppressor in question feel more comfortable by watching their tone.

      I think it’s all dependent on what kind of space the argument takes place in. Is it a community atmosphere, or an activist or political atmosphere? For the former, I’d say tone shouldn’t be scolded. In political or activist spaces, tone should be monitored by the people who are actively fighting, because this is where effectiveness is desired, and needed, and it can be safely argued that a bunch of people yelling, swearing and insulting isn’t going to really work so well.

  2. EGhead says:

    Sorry, but the comparison between abortion and sex work is way off. The dynamics of the actors involved in both kinds of transactions are very different, as are the industries themselves. So even if abortion and sex work are similar on an intra-personal level (and I don’t deny that in many ways they are), they are very different on the inter-personal and macro-sociological levels. Examining these wider implications of individual acts of sex work are of pretty huge concern to most anti-sex-work feminists like myself… not just in terms of how they affect society as a whole, but also in terms of how they affect other people on the individual level.

    Which is to say that the main difference between pro- and anti-sex-work feminists is the importance they lend to individual rights vs. ‘the greater good’; ‘pro-‘ feminists emphasize a woman’s right to do what she wishes with her body, while feminists like me ask women to weigh their right to autonomy against other women’s rights to autonomy. Anti-choicers, meanwhile, ask women to weigh their personal rights against fetuses’ rights. Furthermore, the kinds of personal rights ‘anti-‘ feminists are asking women to give up are quite different from those requested by anti-choicers. There is simply no meaningful comparison between asking someone to enter into any career but one of the few that propagates an industry which thrives on the rape of the underprivileged and asking someone to carry a pregnancy to term no matter what.

    I know ‘pro-‘ feminists will disagree with how I’ve characterized the sex-work argument– because it’s an extension of the argument itself– and that’s fine; I don’t mean this to be objective. I just wanted to offer my p.o.v. from the ‘anti-‘ side of the line.

    • April says:

      The only reason I compared it to abortion is because while I maintained an “anti” stance about prostitution, I still support legalization (and thus, regulation) of prostitution and sex work for the safety of sex workers. I’m not naive enough to believe that because something is illegal, it will stop happening (like we know is the case with abortion). I don’t have to like the idea of the sex industry in order to be in support of sex workers’ rights.

    • April says:

      Do you have any links or a blog or anything that further goes into your position? I agree with a lot of what you said about the negative implications of the sex industry, but I have a hard time going back over to that “side” without abandoning the idea that sex work should be legalized (or at least decriminalized), and abandoning that idea would be futile, in my opinion. My entire argument is based on the idea that I believe that legalizing prostitution is the way to go.

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