Saturday, July 12, 2014

Naked Truths on Women's Rights


[Image credit]
Marlise Richter, a self-described “Sex Positive Feminist”, writes on the apparently vexing question of whether women should be 'allowed' free agency:

"Stripping the tears of bleeding-heart feminists and other sex abolitionists":

"Liberal feminist Emma Powell visited Mavericks Revue Bar to investigate two pressing questions. One was how “places like this” could exist under the South African Constitution. The second was whether the stripper “girls” looked happy. Her impressions were captured in a Daily Maverick article dramatically titled “House of the Rising sun, built on misery” ...

I ask to meet some of the dancers.

Early one evening, before their work starts, I sit with four well-groomed women. They are from the UK, Romania, Brazil and South Africa. I give them copies of Ms Powell’s article. (Yes, they can read! Yes, they have opinions!)

Indignation and annoyance reign. With voices high in irritation, they describe the advantages of the job. These include making lots of money, meeting a range of interesting and well-connected men, having fun, growing their confidence, and being appreciated.

Samantha has a degree in commerce and worked in retail. She tells me she is financially independent for the first time in her life. She wished she started dancing 15 years ago. She provides me with a well-argued feminist critique of stripping, and how she is empowered by her work. There are good days and bad days, but so it is with everything in life, they say philosophically.

With some trepidation, I ask if they have been trafficked. Elizabeth shakes her head. Vehemently, she explains how no one could be forced to dance here, since they would speak up. “You could just open the window and scream across the road to the police,” she says.

One refrains is: “Why did the writer not speak to us and ask?” "

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Myth of the "Cycle of Abuse"

It's a commonly held belief that victims of child abuse are somehow 'pre-destined' to become abusers themselves. Research shows, however, that only a minority of abuse victims go on to become abusers, and that this is thus (in short) a myth: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11731348. A related comic:

http://www.tencentticker.com/somethingterrible/

Thursday, July 3, 2014

On "Generating Discussion"

"Generating Discussion" is not per se virtuous - after all, Hitler also "generated discussion" - a lot of discussion. It's only a virtue if you generate useful discussion.