I'm having conflict in my feminism. Between the kind of old-school feminism that dovetailed nicely with my prudish LDS upbringing: ie, cosmetic surgery is selling out, high-heels are tools of subjugation, and sex workers are to be pitied, verses a growing appreciation (fascination?) with the sex positive movement: ie, sex toys are fun, dressing up is fab, and strippers aren't bad people.
Um, yah, I'll have to come back to this later when I've collected a whole bunch of links, or at least can organize my thoughts better. But in the meantime, I have yet ANOTHER quote from Marriage, a History:
"The cult of female purity created a huge distinction in men's minds between good sex and 'good' women. Many men could not even think about a woman they respected in sexual terms... Many men found it unnatural if a woman enjoyed sex 'too much'. Frederick Ryman, who in the 1880's wrote frankly and joyfully about his encounters with prostitutes, was taken aback when any woman took the initiative during sex. He described one young prostitute as a 'little charmer' but commented, 'I usually prefer to have a woman lie perfectly quiet when I am enjoying a vigil. This 'playing up is not agreeable to me but she was truly one of the finest little armfulls of feminine voluptuousness I have ever yet laid on top of."Okie dokie, Mr Ryman is disturbing... and life for that 'little charmer' of a young woman might have been a horrible life which she did not choose, and in which she had few options, and which ended too soon of disease or abuse....
But the idea of the woman (or person of any gender, for that matter) who enjoys sex and perhaps makes it as a career choice is one I support. And that lifestyle should be respected and taken seriously as well.
Well, actually I didn't intend for this to be a post about sex workers per se, but since it's wound up that way, here's a few links:
~from the University of Texas, an overview of 2 centuries of prostitution;
~from Societal Images, the disheartening collective support for the dehumanization of sex workers;
~an excerpt from Moriah Jovan's upcoming novel which features Cassie, unrepentant high-dollar prostitute.
~a sobering review of Kristof's book Half the Sky, about the forced prostitution of women in the world today being on par with genocide.
~SWOP tucson, the local outreach program trying to get better rights and recognition for people who identify as sex workers.
~an interesting article about Strippers who are protesting in front of a fundamentalist christian church.