NOW and Marxism

Xyxyxyyx (Xyxy) Xyyxyx xyxy at
Sat Aug 10 22:33:39 MDT 2002

>The commodification of sex is quite logical under capitalism.

It's quite logical under any economic system in which men hold power over
women. Or I suppose you believe that rape and relationships formed on a
material needs basis were blissfully non-existent before the First Man put
a fence around a piece of land and boomed, "This is mine, and the name I
will give it is my PROPERTY".

>Xyxyxyyx mentions the magnitude of sexual prostitution in the USA (if
>that's what she means by "this country"), but its exponential malignancy
>in the erstwhile Eastern Bloc states really should be highlighted,
>emphasized and reiterated as the results of market relations' rough
>intrusion.  Whole peoples are in the process--NOW!--of being
>effectively, and materially raped by capitalism.

Men rape women. Capitalism rapes workers. Get it straight. I really hate it
when people deconstruct rape or (prostitution) such that it is not "men"
who are raping women but rather conditions, systems, or other entities.
This dilutes the power imbalance between men and women (FYI this is
otherwise known in feminist circles as "the patriarchy") and allows the
male reader or academic not to feel involved in the power structure in
question. It's a no-guilt mechanism.

Did I mention the bourgeois feminist who told me that prostitution was
>"empowering" for hookers?  Sheesh!

Did I mention the Marxist who wants to assume that they have knowledge of
the apparently monolithic experience of women in the sex-trade industry?

Okay, so her statement was monolithic in scope as well, but yours makes me
just as uncomfortable.

Talk to street workers who feel more empowered hustling than working at
McDonald's. As a matter of fact, talk to me about that. That was my take on it.

This "bourgeois" feminist probably would make many men very uncomfortable.
The idea that prostitution can be more empowering than non-sex-for-pay
relations with men, is a threatening thought, isn't it?

Prostitution can be both empowering and dis-empowering. This changes by
context. And let's be clear that context is far more complex than
"prostitution is empowering for white women but not women of color" or
"call-girl work can be empowering but street work isn't".

Here's a story for you all. I have a Greek Orthodox icon of St. Mary
Magdelene (I'm such a good Jewish girl). I got it, superstitiously, to keep
myself safe. I took it everywhere, and I often fingered it on the bus or
train before I worked. Often people would confuse me for a good little
Christian girl praying to Mary the Virgin and say nice things to me about
how good I was.

This was, in my mind, the ultimate metaphor of the Virgin/Whore complex.

I'm telling you this story to remind you to keep in mind that the
"prostitute as exploited victim"/"prostitute as empowered woman" dichotomy
is no more real.

I'm not really sure how much longer I want to struggle with people about
this. In all your years as activists and Marxists (speaking now generally
older men on this list), did you folks ever really explore these feminist
issues? Did you talk to prostitutes? Did you take up decriminalization as a
battle that you held to your hearts? And if not, why not?


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