17 October 2006

Ugh

This sums up how I feel about this idea of a Lunenburg misogynist posing as a businessman, as I posted on the G&M website:

Aren't there already enough shrines to woman-hating and objectification? With all the outrage that took place over the misogyny club in Dartmouth, why go through with yet another place to treat women as nothing more than sexual objects? This is a disturbing development that benefits nobody other than those men who hate women and feel as though they are entitled to naked women on command. It is both sad and pathetic that this venture is being contemplated, and I hope that the people of Lunenburg oppose it with considerable fury and passion. Women deserve better!

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Predictably, my post attracted responses from those charging me with hating sex and implying that I should just lighten up, ignore it, and forget that real women's lives are being put in jeopardy when they are forced into the prostitution business. Because, hey, putting my head in the sand and pretending something doesn't exist has always worked well before! Sadly, that's not true. I also had someone tell me that I didn't have the right to push my morality on people, which is funny because I never said anything about morality, and last I read the Charter of Rights, I do have the right to express an opinion. Oh yeah, and there was the guy who said that if had a better body he would totally choose to become a male stripper. Oy. Sometimes it's almost not worth trying to get through to the ignorant. Anyways, this is what I said in my response to the responses (still awaiting to be posted on the site by the G&M's folks):

[Responding first to a fellow who said I must have aced Feminism 101. I've taken many university courses, but sadly] I've never taken a feminism class in my life. I've read a lot of literature on the subject, though, and I find women's efforts to be treated as equal human beings deserving of our unmitigated support, not snide, glib comments from those who don't understand what feminism is really all about.
Also, Mr. Jones, notice that at no time in my post did I mention the word "morals." That's something you chose to do all on your own in a typical attempt to shout down someone who disagrees with your perspective. However, since you brought it up, your relativist position of "dont go to, work at, or support them in any way. and thats all you have a right to do" not only puts women's lives in danger by not taking a stand against their exploitation by pimps and others who would harm them, but it's also blatantly false. I have a right to express my opinion, particularly on a subject that involves the basic human security rights of "life, liberty, and security of the person" for a segment of our society that men prey upon, use, abuse, manipulate, and ultimately destroy. This isn't like a video game or a terrible television show, these are actual living, breathing human lives being jeopardized, and you want to sit here and proselytize to me about what my rights are in a discussion forum? Talk about having your priorities out of order!
Moreover, your idealized concept of having a choice as to whether or not to degrade yourself is far divorced from the reality for far too women who are forced into prostitution. Since strippers and their prostituted colleagues don't walk around with stamps on their heads saying whether or not they chose their profession, it is overwhelmingly likely that they did not choose that life with legitimate alternatives. For many, it is either strip or die. That is not a choice. The great majority of strippers would enjoy the luxury you have expressed here, because I can assure that [presented with true options] most women who strip would choose otherwise.

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Then I ran out of space for my comment. It's distressing for me, the blithe ignorance that I always encounter when I venture a feminist opinion in a public forum. It's to be expected that there will always be men who seek to preserve their precious pornstitution institutions, either through relativist acquiescence or outright defense of the indefensible. I think that may well be what I find most distressing: that I expect men to take a position that doesn't embrace women as equals and flippantly dismisses anyone who says that they should be equals. I don't expect everybody to agree with everything I say (that is a bridge far, far too far), but the vociferous opposition to something that, to me, seems like common sense and decency is stunning. And sad.

I hope that the folks in Lunenberg stand against this concept and stand hard against it. Not the phony, NIMBY-based, pseudo-argument used by some when Sensations opened up in Dartmouth, but a real opposition that says, "Not in my backyard, not in my town, you will not use our daughters." Get to it, Lunenbergians (Lunenbergites?)!!!

8 comments:

Anna Schmoobies said...

Wonderful post, as always. I always enjoy your feminist entries. It sure is annoying to deal with people who are so protective of their right to objectify women...people can be downright mean when you challenge them to accept that what they're doing is disgusting and unfair to others. Lucky for you though, you get SOME people who applaud you for being a feminist (or pro-feminist as some like to say). Because you're a man, you're such a "sweetheart" and "Tasha's so lucky to have you" because you're so respectful to women. Whenever I post something feminist related, I'm called a hairy legged lesbian prude, or it's just ignored by those who might agree with it.

Way to go, though. You owned that guy quite well, and I hope there are a lot more people who are willing to open their minds and take it to heart. I have no idea where Lunenburg even is, but I definitely agree that they don't need a strip club. Get a life, people.

RGM said...

I do get those comments sometimes, but most often I get my masculinity challenged or told to get off my high horse. It's a tough road, but it's the right road, and I'm very lucky to have you helping me along the way. I'm just doing what I think is common sense and "the right thing to do," I certainly don't think that's something that deserves applause other than a quick thumbs up and then on to the next challenge.

Anonymous said...

Do you think that strip clubs should be illegal? Are you just opposed to them on a personal basis or does your opposition goes as far as desiring laws to disallow their existence completely.

If so, do you feel the same way about pornographic materials such as videos, magazines etc etc…

I read your blog with great interest but I want to understand your perspective a little more before I comment further.

Thanks

RGM said...

A good and fair question. My view on pornstitution is that it should not be banned because, while its very existence is dangerous to women, forcing it underground only makes it even more dangerous for those women who are still involved in sex slavery. My preference is to have people (obviously, primarily men) educated so that they can realize the harm caused by pornstitution and thus choose to avoid it and stand against it. So doing lessens the demand, which is what drives the supply; currently, the demand is almost insatiable, and thus the supply is distressingly high (as an example, there are approximately 11,000 new pornographic movies released every year).
The problem, as I see it, is that unless men come to realize the harm of their actions and the consequences they have--on the women in their lives, the women they encounter, and all of society--the demand will remain high. Censorship and banning, sadly, will work as poorly in this case as it did for Prohibition back in the 1920s, making the "business" all the more dangerous and (because of lower supply but still a high demand) profitable for those who continue to participate in it.
I realize that this sounds like an intractable problem, and maybe it is, but it's a problem that deserves far more attention than it receives. Every great journey begins with a single step, and if even one person's opinion is changed, that's a good single step.
Also, as somewhat of an aside, when it comes to prostitution, I'm a believer in the Swedish model: criminalize johns, not the women, since women are more often than not not responsible for their predicament, and it is the male act of procurement that is at the heart of the problem.

Hope that helps a bit...maybe you can reveal your identity too so I know who it is I'm sharing ideas with.

C. LaRoche said...

Richard, I understand what you mean about forced prostitution -- it goes on all the time. But I don't understand your link between stripping and similarly "enslaved" lifestyles when it comes to Lunenberg, N.S. ... are you implying that the women who strip in strip clubs cannot, in essence, find better work? Because, in as much as N.S. is concerned, this is not the case whatsoever.

susie said...

i think it was Oct 16 1929, women actually became people in canada.
i heard that on the radio.
thought that was interesting, being that it hasnt been that long..

RGM said...

I'll say this: there's virtually no chance it's a "career" of first choice, and probably not second, third, fourth, or even tenth choice. Bear in mind that for a lot of these prostituted women, a stable street address and access to things like a computer to print off a resume aren't readily available.

Anna Lou said...

are you implying that the women who strip in strip clubs cannot, in essence, find better work?

It's sort of like that. Strippers (have the potential to) make a lot of money in one evening. Minimum wage here in Nova Scotia is $7.15/hour, and I'm pretty sure that a woman can make a hell of a lot more in one night of stripping than she can in one shift of work. That's an attractive job opportunity, especially for a university student who is only available to work part time as it is.

Whether women are forced into it or not, it's not an enjoyable or even a safe working environment. I'm sure even the ones that say they like it have their share of drunk morons who grab at them or do/say things that threaten them. It's not something any woman should do, forced or not. With the absence of a strip club, you don't have to worry about the "supply" or why they're in there, because there will be no demand.

There's also the whole issue about women in their chosen careers...they get paid much less than men do, for doing the same job. I read that women are paid fifty nine to sixty six cents per male dollar. This doesn't have a ton to do with this conversation, but I just thought I'd throw that in there. Apparently people like women better if they're dancing naked, instead of giving people financial advice or something.