I’ve recently been impressed with a few articles and opinion pieces coming out of some of the most unexpected places, including some of our Canadian mainstream news media sources. It seems they’re coming around, and “getting it”. :) This is a good thing. There is still a lot of trash out there, but I really have been noticing a bit more balance. Here are a couple over the last week or so that I particularly enjoyed:
By Anthony Furey, The Toronto Sun
“…When I first became politically aware, I leaned quite left. Many can relate to this, no doubt. You see, I wanted good things for people. Good outcomes and results. Because I cared.
But it didn’t take long for me to figure out that people often disagree on what those good things are. And that there are some people out there who, in spite of this disagreement, still want to force their version of good things on others. Even if the others object.
I then realized that what I wanted for people wasn’t good results after all. But for everyone to have the freedom to pursue whatever their version of good results was. A key distinction often overlooked today.
There seemed to be two perspectives of government: those who viewed it as a mechanism to force people to live the way they thought they should live, and those who thought the point was to maximize liberties.
I realized I believed the latter. And if you believe that we created government to serve us and not the other way around, I hope you agree.
. . . . .
By Kate Heartfield, The Ottawa Citizen
“If you believe that selling sex means selling women, you believe that a woman’s value equals her capacity to have sex.
Framing this as a gender-equality argument is ironic, because that same notion underpins many of the world’s most sexist ideas — including the idea, still in place in some parts of the world, that rape is a property crime. We in Canada don’t generally talk about rape that way any more, but we still use that language when we talk about prostitution. We use phrases like “selling her body” or even “selling herself” — rather than “selling sex.” Break out “sell herself” to “sell her self” and it becomes clear just how much we have wrapped up a woman’s identity with her sexual activity. This conflation of a physical activity with a woman’s body or even a woman’s selfhood is particular to sex. We don’t say that a hairstylist “sells her hands” or that a doctor “sells herself.”
To assume that prostitution commodifies women, we have to also think a certain way about heterosexual sex. We have to think of it as male access to a woman’s body — not as something a woman does with her body. This is the “why buy the cow when you’re getting the milk for free” way of seeing women’s sexuality. Again, not exactly a gender-equality argument.
. . . . .
By the way.. in case you were wondering about the red umbrella that you keep seeing here on my blog, and elsewhere, here is a bit of background about it from The Honest Courtesean, The Red Umbrella:
“The red umbrella was first used as a symbol by Venetian prostitutes for a demonstration against human rights abuses in 2001; it was then adopted in 2005 by the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) as a symbol of resistance to discrimination. After this it was natural that the red umbrella become associated with the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers as well, and it appears in the event’s logo; in the last few years the red umbrella has become the symbol of sex worker rights and resistance to oppression.”