Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: They Have the Best Rides

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  • Bart Janssen,

    I really really wish you had put a definition of

    NSFW

    at the TOP of your post.

    I know I should have remembered the FLA but I forgot

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3264 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    abbreviations NSFW, has an interesting ambiguity.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2600 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    abbreviations NSFW, has an interesting ambiguity.

    Good grief. What could you possibly describe as being 'not safe for women'? I've never seen it used that way, but then, well, I wouldn't.

    I really really wish you had put a definition of

    NSFW

    at the TOP of your post.

    Sorry. Sometimes I run columns past someone else so they can spot assumptions I might be making that I can no longer see. This one I didn't.

    I also should probably have censored the swearing out of that last quote I put up. I'm always uneasy doing that, though. Do you rip it out completely, and change the voice you're quoting? Do you take out the rude word and insert $%#& so people know there was a swear but not what it was? Or just remove some letters - 'f*ck' - so it's still perfectly obvious what was said, which seems utterly pointless?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    <quote>Good grief. What could you possibly describe as being 'not safe for women'? I've never seen it used that way, but then, well, I wouldn't.<quote>

    Not suitable. And buggered If I know ether.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2600 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Ok late to this and really glad I found it (even if I did get a fright when I stupidly autoclicked a link :). My bad not yours Emma :).

    This is a great discussion and there isn't much that hasn't been said and very well said.

    For me porn is one of those things in life that comes in the complete gradation from purely evil to "good". And for those who don't believe in good porn think about using it to help Pandas breed.

    And the sex industry is also filled with that complete gradation as well.

    So how do you figure out how to stop the evil and keep the good that is done? And how do you stop yourself from making the connection between the industry and the evil that is done sometimes within that industry?

    And how do you do anything without limiting what we perceive as peoples freedom of choice?

    Keeping porn and the sex industry in the legal economy is very important to make sure we can access those that need help and to allow us to collect real data about what harm does occur. From some of that data you can start to figure out that things like stopping child abuse would go a long way to preventing some sex workers from feeling that is the only career they have. That kind of indirect connection is only revealed when you get good data.

    I don't think there are any easy answers in dealing with the harm that undoubtedly occurs in association with the sex and porn industries. I guess for me that is the key - for some things in life there are no simple answers just hard complicated mistake ridden answers that require hard work and good will from everyone.

    The pay-off is that we might be able to keep the good bits.

    cheers
    Bart

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3264 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I've struggled amidst work over the weekend to find a story that would add something here, and I haven't. Here are some broader thoughts instead. Sex work is not something I know much about, so I'll leave that for others.

    We still live with the traces of a time when women were property and men weren't supposed to feel in public. It comes to the fore when we're talking about power in the sexual domain and the commercialisation of desire. It's played out in our daily lives and the sense we make of them.

    Power is tricky and far-reaching. Negotiating it always involves more than one voice, even if most of them are echoes. In more collective or authoritarian communities or groups (like some in this country) it is not the individual's choice that is most important. Autonomy and personal choice are concepts that just do not mean much in some cultures but they shape the story for the ones who write most of the history, latterly the United States.

    The best definition of power I ever heard was the ability to control resources on which another's life depends. When you consider all basic human needs, then emotional, social and sexual resources also count.

    Women have more control of those resources than is often acknowledged, and they remain a site of contention long after other domains like the workplace. Sexuality is often reduced to reproduction, which is subject to social factors like the basic wish of any human group to perpetuate its existence.

    It is no accident that debating sexuality and the shape of social relationships brings out the fundamentalists. It's not something we discuss enough, and many other voices deserve a hearing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16495 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Do any of you watch Coro St?

    I never miss it. I also have a passionate defence of it prepared for any naysayers. :)

    Poor Leanne. She should have been honest about her line of work to begin with... she would have had the ovarian fortitude to carry it off.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3628 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I'v been thinking about this thread. There has been allot of discussion about the sex industry. There's been some good arguments for and against the acceptability of, particularly pron. But also prostitution. What I'v been thinking is how best to formulate an opinion about this stuff.

    What I've taken out of Emma's blog is that this is not necessarily an argument. But if it was an argument, due to its nature, personal experience is paramount. But then, this isn't the ideal place to share personal experiences involving sexual exploitation. After all that would amount to putting oneself on the block as the specimen in question. all things considered.

    My personal experience tells me that nothing, when we talk about things like child hood abuse, drug addiction or prostitution is quantifiable, It's not as simplistically yin yang as the traditional feminist movement has argued. Personal experiences, are the key, As Emma pointed out.

    The thing about political opinion, when we talk about child hood abuse victim/survivors, drug addiction and prostitution is that it will always alienate some people, which can have devastating consequences, for society as a whole.

    I hope I paraphrased what Emma said appropriately, I have no doubt I'll be corrected if not. ether way, my opinion is that this line of discussion, on this occasion, is more important than winning ideological arguments. I'l bet there is at least one person in this forum thats feeling less ashamed of them self, in some way.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2600 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Cheers, Stephen, that's a lovely thoughtful post. It's very easy to articulate blind certainty, somewhat harder to express a complicated view in a complicated way and hope other people can pick up the complexities.

    It's also nice to see that people can see that I'm NOT saying 'PRON IS GRATE YAY!'. Just, y'know, listen.

    But if it was an argument, due to its nature, personal experience is paramount. But then, this isn't the ideal place to share personal experiences involving sexual exploitation. After all that would amount to putting oneself on the block as the specimen in question. all things considered.

    When Georgina Beyer spoke on Prostitution Law Reform, and she spoke from personal experience of being raped as a prostitute, I cried like a baby. We were incredibly lucky to have somebody elected to our parliament who had that personal experience to draw on.

    I admire her courage enormously. But I'd never recommend anyone do this if they were at all dubious about it. Some people will never change their minds no matter what you say. Theory is all that matters, and rather than adapt the theory, they'll find a way to explain away your personal experience if it contradicts what they believe.

    Basically, it's like witch trials and the fall of the Roman Empire. If someone has a simple answer, they're wrong.

    IMO.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    Poor Leanne. She should have been honest about her line of work to begin with... she would have had the ovarian fortitude to carry it off.

    But if she had been truthful, the gorgeous Liam wouldn't have fallen for her!

    It gave Janice a chance to take the moral high ground for once. But she didn't turf her out - she still loved her.

    Someone at work had the temerity to say that Coro St was low culture today. Welllll!

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 508 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Excellent post Emma, and even better comments thread everyone!

    FWIW, I think that Jolisa's comment at the top of page 2 articulates exceptionally well what I would say if I tried to post anything of substance on this topic. And since I am not really up to that, here is her comment again, because it is worth repeating, IMHO:

    Thanks Emma and Anjum for both sets of links. I'm tending to Anjum's side of things, if only because I'm old-fashioned and useless at pole-dancing.

    Which is not to say sex-negative. Just questioning the excessive public commodification of desire, which has always struck me as a largely private thing.

    And the commodification of pretty much anything will tend to map onto already established isobars of power, as inflected by gender, race, socioeconomic status, etc etc etc. Or is it a chicken and egg thing, and those fault lines create the commodification in the first place? In any case, claims of empowerment inside that structure might well be approached sceptically.

    I also think the commodification thing is particularly relevant.

    And finally, Stan Goff
    is the feminist writer I respect the most.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 630 posts Report Reply

  • Carolyn Skelton,

    I also think the commodification issue is important. However I don't think that older configurations of gender, race etc. map neatly onto the changes that have come with the intensification of commodity culture.

    The debates over Madonna and girl power come to mind. Madonna (and a few other women in the entertainment industries/media) has/have become quite powerful. There have been feminist arguments for and against this. However, it does seem to be a different configuration of gender and power than previously existed.

    The main questions that occur to me are: how much potential is there for large numbers of, and diverse kinds of, women to be equally powerful/successful? I also have a half formed question somewhere in the back of my mind, asking about the significance of women using their bodies to achieve success/power.

    Also, at the same time as the rise of more possibilities for women to succeed within commodity culture, there has been a rise in young women's anxieties about their appearance and intensification of pressures to conform to a narrow, and difficult to achieve ideal. I have in mind here a book written by an Aussie woman, which was talked about on nine-to-noon recently. It reported on research that showed some pretty scary stuff about negative outcomes for large numbers of women, as a result of pressures towards bodily conformity.

    Since Nov 2006 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    But if she had been truthful, the gorgeous Liam wouldn't have fallen for her!

    Liam, Schmiam! I've read ahead and I know who *he* ends up with!

    Someone at work had the temerity to say that Coro St was low culture today.

    Well. I don't have a problem with the concept of 'low culture' - I think I just have a problem with people being snobbish about it. I hate to bring up Dickens again, but isn't Coro St just the televisual equivalent of an extremely long, serialised epic novel? I really don't think anyone gives it enough props for the acting, which is about 90% superb. I also appreciate the way it gives the elderly and the visually unappealing real plotlines and real love lives.

    It's also wonderfully campy in parts. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3628 posts Report Reply

  • anjum rahman,

    I have in mind here a book written by an Aussie woman, which was talked about on nine-to-noon recently.

    the author is maggie hamilton, the book is "what's happening to our girls". it was based on her talking to girls around australia as well as teachers, counsellors etc. the findings were scary and quite sad, including low self-esteem, an increase in bullying behaviour, the normalisation of self-mutilation (including cutting, pulling out of hair and others). pity the interview is no longer on-line, but the book is no doubt available and well worth a read.

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 129 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Anjum ... John Taylor Gatto has written extensively on the source of low self-esteem, bullying, hyper-conformity, and so on in modern schools.

    In that, breaking naturally independent people down, turning them into obedient workers and blind consumers is largely the point of the modern structure. It's interesting to look at social engineering that way for me, considering my own school-years experiences.

    Since Nov 2006 • 366 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    breaking naturally independent people down, turning them into obedient workers and blind consumers is largely the point of the modern structure.

    I reckon. Saddling young ones with massive student loans so they have to get a flash well-paid job(s) and partnering up, so they have the requisite double income to enter mortgage heaven, not to mention never getting unplanned-for pregnant, caught drink-driving, on drugs or even smoking (if one wants private health) so they are suitably clean for the job market.

    It's not a recipe for independent, creative, joyful people.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

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