You truly are a radical feminist aren't you? I mean that ideologically, not pejoratively, of course. That's a very radical feminist position, the idea that prostitution is inherently bad for women from a power perspective, and thus should not be legalized. I'm curious, are you against pornography as well? The same logic would seem to apply, and it is another common radical feminist position that I've seen. Well, I say common, but I haven't actually had a conversation with many radical feminists. But at least from what I've read from them.
Personally, I am pro legalization, but not in the industry's current state. Surely decriminalization of sex work would appeal to you though? As in making it not a crime to be a sex worker, but still a crime to be a pimp? I think that would help to protect vulnerable women in that industry, and would probably be my first step if I had a magic wand that changed laws and politics. But what if a women genuinely wants to be a prostitute? Not from a position where she's coerced in any sense by the power dynamics of her situation, but because she evaluated the possibility and her own feelings about it and came to a rational conclusion that she was comfortable with sex work and in fact wished to pursue it? Shouldn't she be free to do so? For that to be possible, the industry would have to change, but the only way for that to happen is for it to be legalized so that a regulatory framework can be set to ensure that women aren't taken advantage of in any way. So to your point about prostitution making women "public property", that's only if they were working under a pimp, and even then, only if they didn't have absolute power to refuse any request without fear of backlash from her employer. In my mind, it's literally her body; if she wants to sell services with her body, that's her absolute choice and no one else's. So I would think legalizing prostitution without any fear of making women public property in the way you describe would require that pimps be outlawed, so that no one but her could have any contractual or legal say in the matter. If she were self-employed as a prostitute by her own rational choice, I don't see how you could credibly argue that she had become public property. In such a scenario, she is her own property. No man can claim ownership or entitlement to her services simply because she's a prostitute. So long as she had absolute right to refuse any service with any person for any reason without legal risk to her for doing so, I don't see how you could claim that she's anyone's property, public or private, except her own.
All of this said, I don't think misogyny should be ideologically labeled. It's like labeling terrorism after its ideological source. What does it matter? It's terrorism! If you don't simply call it what it is and instead attach a political or ideological label to it, all you accomplish is to divide society along political or ideological lines for or against you, and then you typically accomplish nothing, or if you accomplish anything, it takes a terribly long time. Furthermore, you can hardly say that the right wing of politics is the sole domain of those who would view women as private property, nor that the left wing is where you would find all those who view them as public property. For example college fraternity brothers are not remotely associated with the left, quite the opposite really, yet their culture often views women as the public property of anyone attending their party, or at least that's how some of them speak and behave. On the other hand, the Democratic party elite think that simply by being the less misogynistic party, that all women in America owe them their votes, which effectively means they view women as the private property of their organization. They spoke with such indignation at white women when they saw that Hillary had "lost" the white female vote. Nevermind that she had won just barely under half of them and thus the Dems were writing off effectively half of the white female population as if they counted for nothing just because they felt owed the other half, but would have written off the other half as not existing had their half been nominally bigger. And of course, there are plenty of right wingers that support legalization of prostitution, such as libertarians, and there are plenty of possessive boyfriends that vote Democrat and probably even some that call themselves democratic socialists, even as they treat their girlfriends like a piece of property. Then you have the up and coming specters of female sex robots and VR rape experiences, which are already attracting interest across the political spectrum for public and private use, and carrying with them all sorts of troubling implications. I guarantee you that while they might eventually get polarized as well as a more clear political narrative develops around them, there will still be an audience for them across the political spectrum using them in both public and private settings, regardless of what ends up being legal in the end. Misogyny is wrong, no matter who it comes from, or what ideology they use to justify it, and we're weaker in fighting it when we apply identity based labels to it that encourage people to take sides.
You listed the beauty industry alongside the sex industry and gender identity. Do you regard the beauty industry as left leaning? I mean I'd be hard pressed to make such a judgement but I guess the elites of the beauty industry probably lean left, but what does the larger political left have in its narrative that affirms the goals of the beauty industry? Because from what I see, the left as a whole tends to regard the beauty industry with disgust. Perhaps that's confirmation bias as I'm a psychology educated left-leaning environmentalist and animal advocate so I hate the beauty industry for the harm its done to the environment, animal rights, and the mental health of people, especially women, so I might just talk to a lot of likeminded people. But from what I read from most left leaning news outlets and pundits, there doesn't seem to be a lot of love on the left for the beauty industry. I haven't seen any left motivated arguments in their favor. Like, ever.
There's a great deal there to respond to and I don't think I can get around to it all today, so I'm just gonna skim the surface here:
Responding to your first paragraph, yes, I plainly describe myself as a radical feminist. (More specifically a lesbian feminist.) It's worth pointing out though that a lot of the views that are today consigned to the radical feminist movement used to be embraced by virtually all feminists decades ago, including the liberals. If you go back to the late 1970s, for example, you'll find that it wasn't just radical women like Kate Millett, Germaine Greer, and Janice Raymond who opposed prostitution, pornography, what we today would call transgenderism, etc., it was also the leading ordinary liberal feminists of the day like Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Smeal, and Betty Friedan. The radicals were distinguished not by their opinion of things like the sex industry back then, but by their prioritization of cultural change over legal reforms. They worked to create an autonomous women's culture that could raise the class conscious of women toward the goal of radically transforming society and abolishing and replacing most of its existing institutions of male privilege, among which were commonly counted marriage, religion (especially faiths centering on the worship of male deities), heterosexuality, capitalism, and so on. That's what distinguished feminist radicals from the liberals back then; institutions that the liberal feminists have simply sought to reform, not abolish. Today, the differences have grown larger and more fundamental.
Regarding your second and third paragraphs, personally I'm in favor of what has become known as "the Nordic model" of prostitution policy, which is to say that I strongly believe that purchasing sex, as well as brothel ownership, pimping, that sort of thing, should be treated as criminal offenses punishable by jail time, not as civil offenses punishable by mere fines like we typically do here in the U.S. The Nordic model, as it has come to be known, is the policy endorsed by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and has been adopted by many countries over the last 20 years, with the Nordic countries famously leading the way. (This policy recognizes prostituted women and other sex trade "employees" as victims of exploitative industry and accordingly doesn't penalize survivors of prostitution. This is also a better approach to prostitutes themselves than we typically use here in the U.S. (most of which are informed by the conservative idea that prostitution is a danger to family life, not to females as a class) in that punishing prostitutes discourages them from coming forward and reporting abusive treatment and in that way helps keep them trapped in the business.)
I don't believe in identity politics and I'm not a "choice feminist". I fully believe that a given group can, even in its majority, be dead wrong about what is in their better interests. Prostitution is a major problem in my community (and I don't just mean among younger women) for two basic reasons: 1) because drugs are a major problem in my community, and 2) because, resulting in no small part from the former, sexual abuse is also not uncommon.
Most of the prostituted women here had experienced both drug addiction and sexual abuse at the hands of a loved one before entering the field, and both of those things really seem to play a role. Pimps often pay women in drugs, for example, to keep them trapped in the business and rape is something that I can attest to from first-hand experience tends to tell you a lot about what you're worth to the world. Personal liberty is not an appreciable factor in the equation, in my observation. Most of them hate working as prostitutes, and indeed many investigations have born out that prostitutes tend to survive by dissociating themselves from their situation in the moment (as in pretending that they're somewhere else, doing something else), which I think tells you just how much "fun" they're actually having. I mean it ought to tell you something that a recent survey of American high school students found that most wouldn't have sex with someone they didn't want to for less than $2 million, while the average prostitute does so for less than $200. What does that tell you about the level of self-worth that's involved?
Around the same time frame that Sweden adopted what has since become known as the Nordic model at the turn of the century, a rival approach revolving around properly legalizing the prostitution of women also gained some traction in Europe as well and was adopted in such places as Germany and the Netherlands in the early 2000s. The Nordic model continues to be adopted by more countries all the time. Full legalization, by contrast, hasn't had any new takers in over a decade now. That's because it's proven to be a disastrous, self-defeating experiment. In the Netherlands, for example, most of the legal brothels have now been closed because they've been caught trafficking sex slaves in (which isn't legal) and the same is true of those famous communities in Nevada where prostitution has been formally legalized here in the U.S. Likewise, Germany's "brothel king", Jurgon Rudloff, is currently serving a five year prison sentence for similarly trafficking sex slaves in from abroad to service the heightened demand for prostitute services that resulted from legalization. Indeed, Amsterdam's new mayor, Femke Halsema of GroenLinks (a left-leaning environmentalist party similar to the Green Party here in the U.S.), who is also the city's first female mayor, will be banning tours of the city's (in)famous red light district starting next year in a policy move supported by 80% of the city's prostitutes and is actively weighing other major changes such as banning prostitute windows. The city has been overrun by wealthy, foreign partiers, who now outnumber actual citizens on any given day of the year, as a result largely of legalizing brothels. That's how well it's going. One senses a definite policy direction here away from limitless permissiveness and toward cracking down. Perhaps this is why the project of full legalization hasn't had any new takers in quite some time now.
Concerning the beauty industry, I would simply ask if you have ever read their publications like Vogue or Cosmopolitan before. It's very clear that their politics are Democratic Party-aligned today, as one can readily sense not only by their rhetoric, but also by their formal candidate endorsements. I mean even the former Miss Universe Pageant owner Donald Trump is himself, until recently, a formerly pro-choice, left wing Democrat who championed Medicare for all, beat most Democratic members of Congress to calls for exiting the Iraq War.
Last edited by Jaicee - on 07 July 2019