Doublethinking Prostitution

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

It’s a scary thing when the meaning of words are deliberately changed to mess with your mind and keep you under control. In 1949 George Orwell published his ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, a novel on a fictional future in which the political party remains in power by public mind control. ‘Newspeak’ is a restricted language used to limit free thought (you can’t think what you don’t have words for). On the outside of the Ministry of Truth (the propaganda ministry responsible for the falsification of historical events) it says “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”. The Ministry of Love handles torture, the Ministry of Peace is concerned with war and the Ministry of Plenty makes sure there’s a constant shortage of food and other necessities. A disciplined party-member uses ‘doublethink’ to hold these contradictory ideas. It defies common sense, and it’s easy to think ‘we’ would never fall for such nonsense. Read the book by the way, it’s awesome and terrifying.

But when it comes to prostitution, we see doublethink in action already. We have our own little ‘IngSoc’ slogans to control female sexuality and women’s agency over their own bodies, and it seems we’re all falling for this ridiculous Newspeak.

“Oppression is Liberation”

The sex-negative feminist movement, conservatives and well-meaning but misled people in power want us to believe they are somehow ‘liberating’ women by restricting their rights, telling them when they can and cannot have sex and punishing women when they’re not obedient. Men controlling female sexuality is nothing new, but oppression under the guise of female liberation is pretty offensive if you ask me.

Liberation means having the freedom to make your own choices. Having other people tell you you’re not allowed to have consensual sex, to decide for you what you can do with your body, is not liberation. It is oppression.

“Prosecution is Safety”

Well-meaning people lacking knowledge usually buy into the myth that prostitution is a very dangerous profession. We’re told about violent pimps (research shows pimps are very rare, but it’s popular fiction), we’re told about frequent rape (hanging out with a friend is more dangerous) and we’re told about STD’s (except for virgins, whores actually have the lowest STD rates). So to ‘protect’ women from these dangers, we…
.. eh, put them in prison.
Because that makes sense.

Prosecution actually increases the dangers of prostitution. It forces whores to go underground, work with shady people (because a regular accountant won’t work with you) and not get help when they’re in trouble for fear of, well, getting into trouble. With the police. And that’s some big trouble.

Violence is Protection

Prostitutes do encounter violence, and the number one source of violence is abuse by the police. Whores are degraded, attacked, sexually assaulted, locked up, humiliated and outed by police. There’s a nothing a whore has to fear as much as cops. But somehow the story gets twisted so that a pack of policemen forcefully entering a brothel where they grab women as they are providing their service and pulling them out into the streets to lock them up are considered heroes who protect women. Let that sink in for a moment.

“Punishment is Justice”

Women’s bodies used to be some of the most valuable possessions a man could have. Marriage was a transaction between two men, the one selling their daughter and the other buying a wife. A woman’s sexuality was guarded, because it was central to her worth and girls were damaging their daddy’s property if they didn’t obey the strict rules concerning sex. ‘Broken’ girls were punished, stoned, put in institutions or at least shunned. Only recently the definition of marriage has been redefined as a legal contract between a man and a woman. We now consider women to be their own person instead of a man’s possession.

But we feel the remains of this old way of thinking. Female sexuality is still regarded a public matter, and women are still valued by their ‘purity’. Being a whore means understanding your body is yours, that sex is not something you ‘give away’ but rather something you do with someone, that selling sex does not equal selling yourself, and that your value as a person and the worth of your love and affection have nothing to do with some sick idea of ‘purity’. It’s such a radical and feminist attitude towards your body that it freaks people the hell out.

So we punish those women. We punish them for having sex when they want to, under the circumstances they decide.

“Infantilisation is Emancipation”

It used to be men who would decide for women what was good for them. But now that we’ve had our feminist movements, we’ve got women joining the team and treating other women like infants. Women who make different choices concerning their sexuality are considered less-than-fully-adult, and we should protect them from themselves, for their own good really, because obviously they don’t know what they’re doing.

In the Netherlands, where I live, there’s talk about regulating prostitution so that there’s more room for controlli… I mean, helping sex workers. As a psychologist I don’t get yearly talks with a social worker who’ll tell me I have ‘other options’, but they want whores to annually listen to that kind of belittlement. The idea is that by treating prostitutes as mentally handicapped puppets, we’re somehow.. helping the emancipation of women?

Because we can’t let them make their own decisions. That would be such a step back for the feminist movement.

” Victimhood is Agency”

Don’t tell anyone you decided to become a prostitute and you enjoyed it, because you’ll never get a job again in your life. Whores are tainted, whores are bad, whores can’t be trusted with kids and you don’t want a whore working for your company. You see, if a woman ever worked as a prostitute she’s a whore for good. Unless she ‘sees the light’ and accepts she was really victim!

It pays to tell the victim-story. Add a little lie about a big scary pimp and you’re cleared of all blame and welcomed back with open arms. Add some trafficking and you’ll be a celebrity! Everyone will be proud and consider you a survivor. ‘Accepting’ you were a powerless victim of a pimp, trafficker, the patriarchy or an overly sexualised society is the only way to regain the right to make your own choices, if you don’t you’re still a victim who needs to be punished and controlled.

We’re now calling whores “trafficking victims”. We’re calling sex work “sexual slavery”. We’re calling women who sell a service “prostituted women” as though they had nothing to do with it and it was done to them. We’re calling supportive boyfriends “pimps”.

The meaning of words are being changed to mess with our minds and take away our rights and freedom, and we’re supposed to be thankful little girls.

Don’t support the punishment of women who have sex under their own conditions. Being a whore is one of the most radical, feminist things you can do. It’s your body. Your decision. Your sex is yours.

3 thoughts on “Doublethinking Prostitution

  1. Pingback: Dubbeldenken over prostitutie | Marijkes Praktijken

  2. Roger

    I’d be very interested in a link to the “research shows that pimps are rare”, assuming you mean academic research.

    I believe you are most likely correct, but it’s maddeningly hard to find any kind of solid research on such subjects.

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