Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Dutch sex industry is dying

Main

The Dutch prostitutes' rights organisation the red thread has published a new report. It is called Sekswerk in 2011 – trendrapport. You can download it here:

http://rodedraad.nl/fileadmin/user_upload/documenten/Sekswerk_in_2011__Trendrapport-1_def.pdf

It is a follow-up of an older report, called rechten van prostituees, published in 2006. I have written about this report here:
http://fleshtrade.blogspot.com/2006/11/new-red-thread-report.html
http://fleshtrade.blogspot.com/2006/11/red-thread-report-2.html
http://fleshtrade.blogspot.com/2006/11/red-thread-report3.html

The red thread has done some fieldwork among prostitutes, and they also received questions or complaints from prostitutes via telephone or e-mail.

They already noticed in the 2006 report that the number of prostitution businesses is decreasing over the years. They estimate that in 2000 there were approximately 800 clubs, privéhuizen and massage parlours (remember: a club is a brothel with a bar where alcohol is served, a privéhuis is a brothel without such a bar). They estimated that in 2005 there were fewer than 500 clubs, privéhuizen and massage parlours in the Netherlands (they collected a list in 2005 of 633 addresses, of which 147 turned out to be closed). That number has dropped to around 340-350 in 2011. Also window prostitution has declined (judging from my own countings the number of windows has dropped from over 2000 to around 1100).

The red thread also notices that the number of customers who visit prostitutes is dropping. That was also true in 2006, and this trend has continued up until 2011. According to the red thread this is also the reason why the number of brothels is going down. The red thread also notices this during their field trips to window prostitution areas and brothels. When they are in brothels or window prostitution areas, they notice a very low number of (potential) clients. They name the Achterdam in Alkmaar as an example. A number of windows have been closed down in that area, but according to the red thread the municipality has unwittingly adjusted the supply to the demand. Several women in Alkmaar tell them that business is slack, but that was nothing new. This was already the case since a long time. Closing down several windows didn't have an influence on that. Others however said that they were actually happy that 50 windows have been closed down. "I don't have to work such long days anymore because there are a lower number of windows. Now we are allowed to share a window." Another woman said that there are an equal number of clients, but a lower number of women. One of these women, a Hungarian, said that because of this she didn't have to work seven days per week anymore. According to another woman, the ones who weren't able to work in that area, worked in little apartments in the neighbourhood of stations.

The red thread also worries about the exploitation of Hungarian prostitutes. They also noticed this during their fieldwork. A Hungarian fieldworker of the red thread, clearly notices the perceptible presence of Hungarian pimps in the window prostitution areas. They name some examples (but I will not repeat them here, I'm sick of lampooning the sex industry even further).

The red thread also notices that: the number of Chinese massage parlours has increased, the role of the internet is steadily increasing in the sex industry, in politics and in the media there is only attention for forced prostitution, and the discussion about the Swedish style criminalisation of clients flares up in the Netherlands.

The red thread also names some examples of the complaints they receive from prostitutes. I cannot help it to name one particular example of a prostitute who says:
I have the feeling that I have no place to work anymore without being exploited. It is as if all these places have the same accountant or something. They supposedly withhold taxes while they put our share of the money in their own pockets. When you ask for a real pay slip then they give one with a different address and name of the business on it, and with something different regarding numbers on it and so-called payment of expenses. They say that if you don't like it then you have to work somewhere else. What must I do now?
Final conclusion: beware where your money goes to when you visit a prostitute, the prostitutes are tricked and exploited by the brothel owners. And it doesn't matter if brothels are closed down, the clients are staying away anyway. And prostitutes won't have to work so hard anymore when brothels are closed down. It is a win-win situation.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Review: Andrea Dworkin's 'Intercourse'

Main

I now have completely read the book called 'intercourse' written by Andrea Dworkin. You can download the complete collection of all her books here:
http://radfem.org/dworkin/

After reading this book, I must say that I have found a person who is completely like me. She has the same mindset, and I feel that I have found a soulmate. Andrea Dworkin describes sexuality exactly the way I feel it. Andrea Dworkin's idea is that sexual intercourse is the basis of women's oppression. Women's oppression starts with intercourse, and all other oppression towards women derives from that. She rejects the idea that men should insert their erect penises into the vaginas, anuses or mouths of women. My impression is that she doesn't reject cuddling, kissing, snuggling, caressing etc, but she doesn't believe that penetration can ever be done in a situation where men and women are totally equal. This is exactly what I believe, I believe that people can never have sex with each other in a respectful way, while at the same time objectifying each other, or to use the other as a blow up doll.

She states that most women are often not aware that they are being oppressed while having sex with men. Women in her opinion, are conditioned to enjoy the kind of sexuality that oppresses them. I believe her views are too radical for most people. Most people will say that not all men see all women as filth, and not all men disrespect the women they have sex with. But for me, the way that Andrea Dworkin describes sexuality exactly applies to how I look at the issue. I believe she describes sexuality the way it really is deep down, although most people wouldn't feel it this way, because it is so normal to them. They don't know better.

I have decided more than two months ago to become a complete asexual. This worked out fine for six weeks, but I fell back into my old behaviour of visiting prostitutes and porn sites. I still have to find a way to break the vicious cycle of abuse. I must absolutely stop visiting prostitutes and porn sites. But it feels good nonetheless to have a comparison between not thinking about or acting out sexuality, and doing the opposite, immersing myself into it, masturbating for two hours while watching pornography etc (and visiting a prostitute). I feel that being asexual is far more preferable, being sexual makes me feel dirty and sad. But there is still a little voice in my head which says that being asexual is just mad, that sex is actually a good and healthy thing! For me it is not, perhaps for other people it is, but it is difficult to imagine. I cannot imagine sexuality in any other way than transgression, humiliation and oppression. It is nice to have found some people who also believe that sex is bad. I can clamp myself to them. And one such person is Andrea Dworkin (another such person is Sheila Jeffreys). I believe after reading Andrea Dworkin's book, I understand my sexuality even better.

While reading Andrea Dworkin's book, I found out that she confirms all that I concluded about sexuality, independently of hers. She also concludes that sexual arousal is largely stimulated by the feeling of making a transgression of some kind. She says that the law stipulates which sexual acts are permissible and which not. These laws are not to protect women, but to keep them subjugated. At the same time, the laws indicate to men how to become sexually aroused, that is: which taboos are to be broken. To become sexually aroused, is to transgress a boundary, set by yourself or by the state. When there are no taboos, there can be no sexual arousal. Taboos and sexuality are two sides of the same coin. Taboos can differ from culture to culture. In one culture it could be a taboo to be naked in public, or to be naked in the office, or to be naked at all. Other cultures have no problems with nudity, but could have problems with that kind of sex between a man and a woman, with the woman on top. Other cultures have problems with men having sex with other men, as if these other men were women. But Andrea Dworkin is a much better writer than I am, so I will quote from her book (pages 210-211):
Anyone whose legal status is that she exists to be touched, intimately, inside the boundaries of her own body, is controlled, made use of: a captive inside a legally constructed cage. A man’s use of his wife follows the law, obeying it. He can also break the law by having illegal intercourse. The breaking of the law itself becomes an eroticized part of the sex: sex is intensified as a violation of boundaries when laws are violated. “If I had no consciousness of taboos,” wrote Kobo Abe in The Face of Another, in the persona of the man with the new face who wanted to fuck his wife as if he were a stranger, “it would be doubtful whether I could feel such shuddering fascination. ”36 Not only does the law, then, create gender, female inferiority, and an ecology of male power; it itself is the guideline, the signpost, for sex outside the law. It says where, how, when, in what ways to be lawless. Sex exists on both sides of the law but the law itself creates the sides. One side emphasizes the utility of sex for power; the other side emphasizes the utility of sex for pleasure. “It [is] quite impossible,” Abe writes, “to be aimlessly erotic about one’s wife.”37 The right that one has to her is lawful, in the service of the state, no matter what one does to her. Raping her, with rare exception, is lawful. Brutalizing her is within the spirit of the law. To be outside the law, breaking the law, breaking so-called taboos, is a practice of pleasure or many pleasures that appears to be in opposition to legal intercourse. There is a false appearance of freedom from law when one is simply following the sexual topography the law itself has created. The law says what is lawless with precision, in detail, drawing lines the lawless adhere to. In keeping men or masculinity supreme in value or in subordinating women through sex, legal or illegal, one does the law’s real work. The law lets men work both sides of it and uses both the legal and the illegal fuck to create conditions of inferiority for women; conditions that not coincidentally keep women divided from one another. The illegal fuck, for instance, keeps the prostitute incarcerated in a ghetto hellhole of sexual subservience while the legal fuck keeps the wife used, controlled, sexually subservient, in the home. The legal and the illegal fuck create the legal and the illegal woman; but the law controls what is created, how, in what circumstances, under what conditions — the kind and quality of subordination each is subjected to; the inferior status of each; the role of intercourse in the subordination of each. Law creates lawlessness, and, in each sphere, intercourse is political dominance; power as power or power as pleasure.
She further explains the strong links between arousal and transgression on page 225:
Women get raped anyway because they are women: all the same in that regard. The rape of a woman by a racist excited and incensed by her race is in the realm of ordinary sexual desire, the kind all men feel, part of a continuum of sexual desire in which hostility always plays some part; the hostility is usually seen as innocuous; even when identifiable as racism it is not distinct from normal kinds of sexual arousal. As Sartre wrote in Anti-Semite and Jew: “In Berlin I knew a Protestant in whom sexual desire took the form of indignation. The sight of women in bathing suits aroused him to fury; he willingly encouraged that fury and passed his time at swimming pools. The anti-Semite is like that, and one of the elements of his hatred is a profound sexual attraction toward Jews.”
I recognise myself in this Protestant man described by Sartre. Seeing a woman naked arouses my fury, my indignation, so I become sexually aroused. Seeing a woman in pornography being fucked in the ass, and then the unwashed penis removed from the anus, and then immediately thrust into the vagina; this causes shock in me, this arouses my fury, and this way I become sexually aroused. Walking through the red light district, being shocked by the open exposure of scantily dressed women, of whom probably most are coerced by others; that arouses my fury, and I believe in some embarrassing way, that this sexually arouses me. I'm beginning to completely understand now.
Andrea Dworkin also confirms that sex happens compulsively, and that men have to objectify or dehumanize women in order to have sex with them. That’s what I find the most awful characteristic about sexuality. How could you do that to a person whom you love? How can you develop an erection without dehumanizing her? What transgressions are there to be broken? Sex and love have nothing to do with each other, in my opinion. What I find bothersome is when something arouses me, that after some time I don't get aroused by it anymore. I have to go to a higher level to reach the same high. At first, watching women's buttocks is very arousing, but after a while it isn't enough anymore, and you end up watching anal sex or even anal fisting on the internet. What will happen when I fall in love with a woman, and have sex with her? Do I first have to stare at her ass, and then have anal sex with her? I will quote from the book (page 159):
Intercourse as an act often expresses the power men have over women. Without being what the society recognizes as rape, it is what the society — when pushed to admit it — recognizes as dominance.
Intercourse often expresses hostility or anger as well as dominance.
Intercourse is frequently performed compulsively; and intercourse frequently requires as a precondition for male performance the objectification of the female partner. She has to look a certain way, be a certain type — even conform to preordained behaviors and scripts — for the man to want to have intercourse and also for the man to be able to have intercourse. The woman cannot exist before or during the act as a fully realized, existentially alive individual.
Despite all efforts to socialize women to want intercourse — e. g., women’s magazines to pornography to Dynasty, incredible rewards and punishments to get women to conform and put out — women still want a more diffuse and tender sensuality that involves the whole body and a polymorphous tenderness.
Andrea Dworkin often refers to male writers, and how they think about sexuality, how they write about sexuality in their books. She refers to the writer Mario Vargas Llosa who wrote a book called In The War of the End of the World, a novel about a fundamentalist revolution in the backlands of Brazil. In the book, a freedom fighter rapes a woman. Andrea Dworkin describes (pages 234-235):
The rapist, a political man of the idealist left, recognizes the rape as oppression, himself as the oppressor. He is deeply disturbed by having raped: “It was that sudden, incomprehensible, irrepressible impulse that had made him rape Jurema after ten years of not touching a woman that was troubling his sleep”; the ten years of chastity the result of a vow made with a political comrade who “could take his pleasure with a woman only by inflicting punishment on her . . . make love only when he saw a battered, bruised body.”51 The friend used prostitutes whom he brutalized. To stop the brutality, they made a pact that neither would touch a woman again, an oath of political brotherhood around sex, comprehended as oppression of the poor. Now he himself had committed a violent rape, provoked by the smell of a woman, not the perfume of a lady but the flesh smell of a woman. Her smell triggered the violence, foreshadowed the sex, announced the genitals hidden from view, created for him the urgent necessity of penetration. In the ten years he had not needed sex. Now he recognizes that he needed rape; the oppressor needs to commit the oppression — not tepid consensual sex but violent sex. The smell of the woman is direct contact with her inferiority, her dirt in relation to his worth; as the oppressor, he expresses his need for her inferiority through rape.
I recognise myself in the rapist and his comrade. I too have abused prostitutes, and I recognise that I have abused them. I have made the vow again and again that I will never abuse prostitutes again, that I will never abuse a poor woman. And after a while, I do it anyway. I am a rapist, just as the man described above. I have made the vow to never think about sex to get aroused, or to act it out. And then I visit a prostitute anyway. And not a happy hooker, but a young Eastern European window prostitute, who probably is coerced to do this work.
I said that love and sex can never be combined. When I am in love with a woman, I don't fantasise about sex with her. Once my father told me the same thing. When he was in love, his fantasies about the girl he was in love with were purely platonic. In my opinion, sexuality is about transgressing boundaries, usually related to shame, humiliation, and desecration. Andrea Dworkin describes sex as dirty, I will quote (page 217-219):
D. H. Lawrence tried to reinvent the use of so-called obscene words; he believed that the use of sexual euphemism created the dirty connotation of the more direct language: “If I use the taboo words, there is a reason. We shall never free the phallic reality from the ‘uplift’ taint till we give it its own phallic language, and use the obscene words.”4 The phallic reality he intended was ecstatic, not dirty, a sacrament of fucking, human worship of a pure masculinity and a pure femininity embodied in, respectively, the penis and the cunt (another word favored by Lawrence). Lawrence himself was forced to recognize “how strong is the will in ordinary, vulgar people, to do dirt on sex. ”5 Even regular working men, whom he had idolized, “have a disgusting attitude toward sex, a disgusting contempt of it, a disgusting desire to insult it. If such fellows have intercourse with a woman, they triumphantly feel that they have done her dirt, and now she is lower, cheaper, more contemptible than she was before.”6 Dirty words stay dirty because they express a contempt for women, or for women and sex, often synonyms, that is real, embedded in hostile practices that devalue and hurt women; as Lord Byron wrote in a letter — “I rather look upon love altogether as a sort of hostile transaction.” 7 Dirty words stay dirty because they express a hate for women as inferiors, that hate inextricably, it seems, part of sex — a hate for women’s genitals, a hate for women’s bodies, a hate for the insides of women touched in fucking. Dirty words stay dirty because they express a true dimension of women’s inferiority, a forced inferiority, the dirty words part of the ongoing force; the penis itself signifying power over women, that power expressed most directly, most eloquently, in fucking women. Lawrence’s phallic reality meant power over, and his “ordinary, vulgar people” had the same religion. Women stayed dirty because women stayed inferior. Lawrence wanted to reform an attitude and a vocabulary, but he wanted to keep the power relations between men and women the same. Worshipping “cunt” and hating women were not, in real life, exactly distinguishable anyway — as Freida, Lawrence’s own wife, battered, might have testified had she not valued his life, as he did, more than her own.
Change requires a change in power relations, a redistribution of power, an equality of worth that is socially true. The meaning of words that express derision of inferiors does not change until or unless the hate and power they signify change. Current dogma is to teach by rote that sex is “healthy” as if it existed outside social relations, as if it had no ties to anything mean or lowdown, to history, to power, to the dispossession of women from freedom. But for sex not to mean dirt — for sex not to be dirty — the status of women would have to change radically; there would have to be equality without equivocation or qualification, social equality for all women, not personal exemptions from insult for some women in some circumstances. The next question — a real one and a fascinating one — then is: with women not dirty, with sex not dirty, could men fuck? To what extent does intercourse depend on the inferiority of women?
Racially degraded people — women and men — are also devalued as dirt: experienced as deep-down filthy; sexualized as dirty; desired as dirty for fucking and for genocide. Racist ideology spells out how the degraded race is filthy and intensely sexed, dirty and sensual, contaminating. Dirty provokes the sexual interest, the fuck itself, the sexual humiliation, the sexual exploitation, the sex-murder of the racially despised. Inferiority — sex-based or race-based or both — seems to be the requisite context for fucking.
Andrea Dworkin refers to another male writer, Leo Tolstoy. In his book the Kreutzer Sonata (1889), he describes a fictional man who has killed his wife. The man has some very interesting political ideas, which are very close to mine. This is a feast of recognition for me. The fictional man says to the narrator, after a political discussion in a train with an emancipated woman and an older man (on page 12 of Andrea Dworkin's book):
“the enslavement of woman lies simply in the fact that people desire, and think it good, to avail themselves of her as a tool of enjoyment. Well, and they liberate woman, give her all sorts of rights equal to man, but continue to regard her as an instrument of enjoyment, and so educate her in childhood and afterwards by public opinion. And there she is, still the same humiliated and depraved slave, and the man still a depraved slave-owner.
“They emancipate women in universities and in law courts, but continue to regard her as an object of enjoyment. Teach her, as she is taught among us, to regard herself as such, and she will always remain an inferior being.”
On page 15 of her book he says:
“Of all the passions the strongest, cruellest, and most stubborn is the sex-passion, physical love; and therefore if the passions are destroyed, including the strongest of them — physical love — the prophecies will be fulfilled, mankind will be brought into a unity, the aim of human existence will be attained, and there will be nothing further to live for.”
Well, these are the same ideas that I have! I believe that we will be living in a far better world in such a case; as true equals, without rape, forced prostitution, etc. Abstinence will do all that. The fictional man and the narrator believe that humanity will die out in such a case. The fictional man believes that this would be a good thing. But I believe we don't have to die out, because we can use all our modern technologies to remove the semen from men's testicles, and then to insert it into the vaginas of women, with their consent obviously. The fictional man goes on to say that he wants to beat spears into pruning hooks. Andrea Dworkin explains (on page 24):
He wanted to beat spears into pruning hooks, this phallic imagery being as close as the nineteenth-century author could come to talking about explicit genital violence — the penis itself as a weapon in intercourse with a social inferior. In art, he articulates with almost prophetic brilliance the elements that combine to make and keep women inferior, all of them originating, in his view, in sexual intercourse, because sexual intercourse requires objectification and therefore is exploitation.
Andrea Dworkin says that a woman's capacity to feel sexual pleasure is developed within the narrow confines of male sexual dominance. Women have internalized their oppression when they have sex with men voluntarily. I believe this statement is the most difficult to grasp for most people. Even I feel doubts rising within me when I read it. How could you be against something that a person enjoys, no matter what the original meaning of it was in the past? However, I believe from a man's point of view, to be an equal of a person is not to have sex with that person, even when that person enjoys it. I believe that you must tell that person that you respect that person, even if he or she enjoys it to be humiliated. She explains in her book (page 83-85):
This reality of being owned and being fucked — as experience, a social, political, economic, and psychological unity — frames, limits, sets parameters for, what women feel and experience in sex. Being that person who is owned and fucked means becoming someone who experiences sensuality in being possessed: in the touch of the possessor, in his fuck, however callous it is to the complexity or the subtlety of one’s own humanity. Because a woman’s capacity to feel sexual pleasure is developed within the narrow confines of male sexual dominance, internally there is no separate being — conceived, nurtured somewhere else, under different material circumstances — screaming to get out. There is only the flesh-and-blood reality of being a sensate being whose body experiences sexual intensity, sexual pleasure, and sexual identity in being possessed: in being owned and fucked. It is what one knows; and one’s capacities to feel and to be are narrowed, sliced down, to fit the demands and dimensions of this sentient reality.
Therefore, women feel the fuck — when it works, when it overwhelms — as possession; and feel possession as deeply erotic; and value annihilation of the self in sex as proof of the man’s desire or love, its awesome intensity. And therefore, being possessed is phenomenologically real for women; and sex itself is an experience of diminishing self-possession, an erosion of self. That loss of self is a physical reality, not just a psychic vampirism; and as a physical reality it is chilling and extreme, a literal erosion of the body’s integrity and its ability to function and to survive. The physical rigors of sexual possession — of being possessed — overwhelm the body’s vitality; and while at first the woman is fierce with the pride of possession — he wants her enough to empty her out — her insides are worn away over time, and she, possessed, becomes weak, depleted, usurped in all her physical and mental energies and capacities by the one who has physically taken her over; by the one who occupies her. This sexual possession is a sensual state of being that borders on antibeing until it ends in death. The body dies, or the lover discards the body when it is used up, throws it away, an old, useless thing, emptied, like an empty bottle. The body is used up; and the will is raped.
But I still have the feeling that she has become too extreme. There are very masochist women who like to be fucked hard. Perhaps it’s just silly play. Perhaps the motto should be: indulge, but moderately. That could also apply to me. However, I am a very compulsive person, so perhaps it’s better for me to abstain from sex altogether. When I indulge into something, I often overindulge. Perhaps sadomasochism isn't so bad. But still, how could you have sex with a person, if you respect that person? It is one thing to enjoy your own humiliation, but it is so much more difficult and embarrassing to be on top, to be the one who humiliates a person you love. I believe to be the masochist is morally better than to be the sadist. She explains the idea of internalized oppression further on pages 175-182:
But the hatred of women is a source of sexual pleasure for men in its own right. Intercourse appears to be the expression of that contempt in pure form, in the form of a sexed hierarchy; it requires no passion or heart because it is power without invention articulating the arrogance of those who do the fucking. Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men’s contempt for women; but that contempt can turn gothic and express itself in many sexual and sadistic practices that eschew intercourse per se. Any violation of a woman’s body can become sex for men; this is the essential truth of pornography. So freedom from intercourse, or a social structure that reflects the low value of intercourse in women’s sexual pleasure, or intercourse becoming one sex act among many entered into by (hypothetical) equals as part of other, deeper, longer, perhaps more sensual lovemaking, or an end to women’s inferior status because we need not be forced to reproduce (forced fucking frequently justified by some implicit biological necessity to reproduce): none of these are likely social developments because there is a hatred of women, unexplained, undiagnosed, mostly unacknowledged, that pervades sexual practice and sexual passion. Reproductive technologies are strengthening male dominance, invigorating it by providing new ways of policing women’s reproductive capacities, bringing them under stricter male scrutiny and control; and the experimental development of these technologies has been sadistic, using human women as if they were sexual laboratory animals — rats, mice, rabbits, cats, with kinky uteri. For increasing numbers of men, bondage and torture of the female genitals (that were entered into and occupied in the good old days) may supplant intercourse as a sexual practice. The passion for hurting women is a sexual passion; and sexual hatred of women can be expressed without intercourse.
There has always been a peculiar irrationality to all the biological arguments that supposedly predetermine the inferior social status of women. Bulls mount cows and baboons do space are whatever; but human females do not have estrus or go into heat. The logical inference is not that we are always available for mounting but rather that we are never, strictly speaking, “available. ” Nor do animals have cultures; nor do they determine in so many things what they will do and how they will do them and what the meaning of their own behavior is. They do not decide what their lives will be. Only humans face the often complicated reality of having potential and having to make choices based on having potential. We are not driven by instinct, at least not much. We have possibilities, and we make up meanings as we go along. The meanings we create or learn do not exist only in our heads, in ineffable ideas. Our meanings also exist in our bodies — what we are, what we do, what we physically feel, what we physically know; and there is no personal psychology that is separate from what the body has learned about life. Yet when we look at the human condition, including the condition of women, we act as if we are driven by biology or some metaphysically absolute dogma. We refuse to recognize our possibilities because we refuse to honor the potential humans have, including human women, to make choices. Men too make choices. When will they choose not to despise us?
Being female in this world is having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us. One does not make choices in freedom. Instead, one conforms in body type and behavior and values to become an object of male sexual desire, which requires an abandonment of a wide-ranging capacity for choice. Objectification may well be the most singly destructive aspect of gender hierarchy, especially as it exists in relation to intercourse. The surrender occurs before the act that is supposed to accomplish the surrender takes place. She has given in; why conquer her? The body is violated before the act occurs that is commonly taken to be violation. The privacy of the person is lessened before the privacy of the woman is invaded: she has remade herself so as to prepare the way for the invasion of privacy that her preparation makes possible. The significance of the human ceases to exist as the value of the object increases: an expensive ornament, for instance, she is incapable of human freedom — taking it, knowing it, wanting it, being it. Being an object — living in the realm of male objectification — is abject submission, an abdication of the freedom and
integrity of the body, its privacy, its uniqueness, its worth in and of itself because it is the human body of a human being. Can intercourse exist without objectification? Would intercourse be a different phenomenon if it could, if it did? Would it be shorter or longer, happier or sadder; more complex, richer, denser, with a baroque beauty or simpler with an austere beauty; or bang bang bang? Would intercourse without objectification, if it could exist, be compatible with women’s equality — even an expression of it — or would it still be stubbornly antagonistic to it? Would intercourse cause orgasm in women if women were not objects for men before and during intercourse? Can intercourse exist without objectification and can objectification exist without female complicity in maintaining it as a perceived reality and a material reality too: can objectification exist without the woman herself turning herself into an object — becoming through effort and art a thing, less than human, so that he can be more than human, hard, sovereign, king? Can intercourse exist without the woman herself turning herself into a thing, which she must do because men cannot fuck equals and men must fuck: because one price of dominance is that one is impotent in the face of equality?
To become the object, she takes herself and transforms herself into a thing: all freedoms are diminished and she is caged, even in the cage docile, sometimes physically maimed, movement is limited: she physically becomes the thing he wants to fuck. It is especially in the acceptance of object status that her humanity is hurt: it is a metaphysical acceptance of lower status in sex and in society; an implicit acceptance of less freedom, less privacy, less integrity. In becoming an object so that he can objectify her so that he can fuck her, she begins a political collaboration with his dominance; and then when he enters her, he confirms for himself and for her what she is: that she is something, not someone; certainly not someone equal.
There is the initial complicity, the acts of self-mutilation, self-diminishing, self-reconstruction, until there is no self, only the diminished, mutilated reconstruction. It is all superficial and unimportant, except what it costs the human in her to do it: except for the fact that it is submissive, conforming, giving up an individuality that would withstand object status or defy it. Something happens inside; a human forgets freedom; a human learns obedience; a human, this time a woman, learns how to goose-step the female way. Wilhelm Reich, that most optimistic of sexual liberationists, the only male one to abhor rape really, thought that a girl needed not only “a free genital sexuality” but also “an undisturbed room, proper contraceptives, a friend who is capable of love, that is, not a National Socialist. . . ” 18 All remain hard for women to attain; but especially the lover who is not a National Socialist. So the act goes beyond complicity to collaboration; but collaboration requires a preparing of the ground, an undermining of values and vision and dignity, a sense of alienation from the worth of other human beings — and this alienation is fundamental to females who are objectified because they do not experience themselves as human beings of worth except for their value on the market as objects. Knowing one’s own human value is fundamental to being able to respect others: females are remade into objects, not human in any sense related to freedom or justice — and so what can females recognize in other females that is a human bond toward freedom? Is there anything in us to love if we do not love each other as the objects we have become? Who can love someone who is less than human unless love itself is domination per se? Alienation from human freedom is deep and destructive; it destroys whatever it is in us as humans that is creative, that causes us to want to find meaning in experiences, even hard experiences; it destroys in us that which wants freedom whatever the hardship of attaining it. In women, these great human capacities and dimensions are destroyed or mutilated; and so we find ourselves bewildered — who or what are these so-called persons in human form but even that not quite, not exactly, who cannot remember or manifest the physical reality of freedom, who do not seem to want or to value the individual experience of freedom? Being an object for a man means being alienated from other women — those like her in status, in inferiority, in sexual function. Collaboration by women with men to keep women civilly and sexually inferior has been one of the hallmarks of female subordination; we are ashamed when Freud notices it, but it is true. That collaboration, fully manifested when a woman values her lover, the National Socialist, above any woman, anyone of her own kind or class or status, may have simple beginnings: the first act of complicity that destroys self-respect, the capacity for self-determination and freedom — readying the body for the fuck instead of for freedom. The men have an answer: intercourse is freedom. Maybe it is second-class freedom for second-class humans.
What does it mean to be the person who needs to have this done to her: who needs to be needed as an object; who needs to be entered; who needs to be occupied; who needs to be wanted more than she needs integrity or freedom or equality? If objectification is necessary for intercourse to be possible, what does that mean for the person who needs to be fucked so that she can experience herself as female and who needs to be an object so that she can be fucked?
The brilliance of objectification as a strategy of dominance is that it gets the woman to take the initiative in her own degradation (having less freedom is degrading). The woman herself takes one kind of responsibility absolutely and thus commits herself to her own continuing inferiority: she polices her own body; she internalizes the demands of the dominant class and, in order to be fucked, she constructs her life around meeting those demands. It is the best system of colonialization on earth: she takes on the burden, the responsibility, of her own submission, her own objectification. In some systems in which turning the female into an object for sex requires actual terrorism and maiming — for instance, footbinding or removing the clitoris — the mother does it, having had it done to her by her mother. What men need done to women so that men can have intercourse with women is done to women so that men will have intercourse; no matter what the human cost; and it is a gross indignity to suggest that when her collaboration is complete — unselfconscious because there is no self and no consciousness left — she is free to have freedom in intercourse.
When those who dominate you get you to take the initiative in your own human destruction, you have lost more than any oppressed people yet has ever gotten back. Whatever intercourse is, it is not freedom; and if it cannot exist without objectification, it never will be. Instead occupied women will be collaborators, more base in their collaboration than other collaborators have ever been: experiencing pleasure in their own inferiority; calling intercourse freedom. It is a tragedy beyond the power of language to convey when what has been imposed on women by force becomes a standard of freedom for women: and all the women say it is so.
If intercourse can be an expression of sexual equality, it will have to survive — on its own merits as it were, having a potential for human expression not yet recognized or realized — the destruction of male power over women; and rape and prostitution will have to be seen as the institutions that most impede any experience of intercourse as freedom — chosen by full human beings with full human freedom. Rape and prostitution negate self-determination and choice for women; and anyone who wants intercourse to be freedom and to mean freedom had better find a way to get rid of them. Maybe life is tragic and the God who does not exist made women inferior so that men could fuck us; or maybe we can only know this much for certain — that when intercourse exists and is experienced under conditions of force, fear, or inequality, it destroys in women the will to political freedom; it destroys the love of freedom itself. We become female: occupied; collaborators against each other, especially against those among us who resist male domination — the lone, crazy resisters, the organized resistance. The pleasure of submission does not and cannot change the fact, the cost, the indignity, of inferiority.
That was a really big quote. I am a very bad reviewer am I not? Anyway, I will also quote from another book written by Andrea Dworkin, from ‘Letters from a War Zone’ – The Night and Danger – 1979 (pages 13-15). I think it explains it a bit more:
We women are especially supposed to be afraid of the night. The night promises harm to women. For a woman to walk on the street at night is not only to risk abuse, but also —  according to the values of male domination — to ask for it. The woman who transgresses the boundaries of night is an outlaw who breaks an elementary rule of civilized behavior: a decent woman does not go out — certainly not alone, certainly not only with other women — at night. A woman out in the night, not on a leash, is thought to be a slut or an uppity bitch who does not know her place. The policemen of the night — rapists and other prowling men — have the right to enforce the laws of the night: to stalk the female and to punish her. We have all been chased, and many of us have been caught. A woman who knows the rules of civilized society knows that she must hide from the night. But even when the woman, like a good girl, locks herself up and in, night threatens to intrude. Outside are the predators who will crawl in the windows, climb down drainpipes, pick the locks, descend from skylights, to bring the night with them. These predators are romanticized in, for instance, vampire movies. The predators become mist and curl through barely visible cracks. They bring with them sex and death. Their victims recoil, resist sex, resist death, until, overcome by the thrill of it all, they spread their legs and bare their necks and fall in love. Once the victim has fully submitted, the night holds no more terror, because the victim is dead. She is very lovely, very feminine, and very dead. This is the essence of so-called romance, which is rape embellished with meaningful looks.
Night is the time of romance. Men, like their adored vampires, go a-courting. Men, like vampires, hunt. Night licenses so-called romance and romance boils down to rape: forced entry into the domicile which is sometimes the home, always the body and what some call the soul. The female is solitary and/or sleeping. The male drinks from her until he is sated or until she is dead. The traditional flowers of courtship are the traditional flowers of the grave, delivered to the victim before the kill. The cadaver is dressed up and made up and laid down and ritually violated and consecrated to an eternity of being used. All distinctions of will and personality are obliterated and we are supposed to believe that the night, not the rapist, does the obliterating.
Men use the night to erase us. It was Casanova, whom men reckon an authority, who wrote that ''when the lamp is taken away, all women are alike. "1 The annihilation of a woman's personality, individuality, will, character, is prerequisite to male sexuality, and so the night is the sacred time of male sexual celebration because it is dark and in the dark it is easier not to see: not to see who she is. Male sexuality, drunk on its intrinsic contempt for all life, but especially for women's lives, can run wild, hunt down random victims, use the dark for cover, find in the dark solace, sanction, and sanctuary. Night is magical for men. They look for prostitutes and pick-ups at night. They do their so-called lovemaking at night. They get drunk and roam the streets in packs at night. They fuck their wives at night. They have their fraternity parties at night. They commit their so-called seductions at night. They dress up in white sheets and burn crosses at night. The infamous Crystal Night, when German Nazis firebombed and vandalized and broke the windows of Jewish shops and homes throughout Germany — the Crystal Night, named after the broken glass that covered Germany when the night had ended — the Crystal Night, when the Nazis beat up or killed all the Jews they could find, all the Jews who had not locked themselves in securely enough — the Crystal Night that foreshadowed the slaughter to come — is the emblematic night. The values of the day become the obsessions of the night. Any hated group fears the night, because in the night all the despised are treated as women are treated: as prey, targeted to be beaten or murdered or sexually violated. We fear the night because men become more dangerous in the night.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Checkmate

Main

As you all might have guessed, I have visited a prostitute again. Obviously it was one of these young Eastern European prostitutes on De Wallen.

I must conclude that all efforts of not visiting a prostitute have failed. This makes me wonder, where I stand now. The fact of the matter is that there are two persons living inside of me: one person who is totally against prostitution and sexuality, and the other person who is very enthusiastic about visiting prostitutes. My moral-crusader me is totally convinced of the immorality of prostitution, of labour and of sexuality in general. My moral-crusader me knows precisely how prostitutes are abused in the sex industry. On the other hand, there is also a very strong other person within me, who enjoys sexuality and visiting prostitutes. The other person makes detailed plans, when and how to visit a prostitute. The other person believes in the theories of extremely nice persons like Laura Agustín, Maggie McNeill (The Honest Courtesan) and Dina Siegel, who deny or trivialise the existence of forced prostitution. This other evil person within me doesn't worry at all. These two people within me sometimes fight a war with each other. But often they live side-by-side, not interfering with each other's business. The worst thing is, is that my sex-positive me visits exactly these prostitutes of whom my moral-crusade me believes that they belong to the most abused group of prostitutes in the Netherlands. That is: young Eastern European prostitutes working in window prostitution. My moral-crusader me knows exactly how these women have to pay high window rents to the brothel owners (usually 150 euro per day, so they have to at least serve three customers before starting to earn money), then pay 50% of the rest to the intermediaries, and then have to live in a house with multiple other prostitutes, paying a rent of between 1000 and 2000 euro per month. Often they don’t have many clients at all. Perhaps five a day. At the end they leave the Netherlands empty-handed. My moral-crusader me sees how many prostitutes he visits clearly hate their work, judging by their body language. For these prostitutes, their work must be like being raped repeatedly.

This sick pattern keeps on repeating itself. How can I stop it? I can promise myself again and again never to abuse a prostitute again. But after a couple of weeks or months, I do it anyway. It makes me feel sick to the stomach.

How could I have gotten this far? I must derive at no other conclusion that I have become an evil rapist.

I am truly a sick and evil person.

I am a serial rapist. :'-(