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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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128 Responses

  1. melancholia
    melancholia March 26, 2010 at 11:37 am |

    I don’t think discrimination is what is wrong with stripping. Most jobs discriminate based on some innate traits (physical prowess, intelligence, etc.) What’s wrong is that it sends a message that it’s okay to objectify women.

    But, like you said, it’s high-paying and you’d probably just drive it underground like prostitution if it was criminalized. In other words, like many paternalistic laws, it would end up harming the class it was dedsigned to benefit.

  2. April
    April March 26, 2010 at 11:50 am |

    This is a tough issue. I am just teetering on the side of “good, ban them,” but I’m not willing to totally buy into that side completely, for reasons you outlined. The thing is, while it may put a lot of current strippers temporarily out of work, what we should be considering instead (or, what the Icelandic government should be considering instead) are more employment options for women, and encouragement and accessibility of higher education. It does seem problematic, though, to just “let it be” simply because it could put some people out of work.

    Think about the tobacco companies, for example. They obviously have an interest in continuing to produce and sell products known to be dangerous to society– not only the people who use their product, but people who don’t, via secondhand smoke. While outlawing tobacco use would be stupid at this point, considering how it would just create an immediate black market for cigarettes, I could sympathize with the intiative to keep a problematic and dangerous substance away from society at large.

    Obviously the comparison is far from perfect, as strip join clearly don’t kill innocent people, and strippers surely aren’t to blame for any kind of majority of the problems that strip clubs create in a neighborhood or in society’s views of women and objectification. But… I can see some pros to this ban.

  3. April
    April March 26, 2010 at 11:51 am |

    Sorry– I didn’t make it clear that the reason I was discussing tobacco companies was because I was considering how lots of tobacco company employees would be out of work if cigarettes or other tobacco products were banned.

  4. Elana
    Elana March 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm |

    I’m an incredibly shy person and am not very physically coordinated. I can’t see how stripping could be considered low skilled work. I don’t think I could do it even if I needed or wanted to.

  5. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub March 26, 2010 at 12:14 pm |

    My bone (in general) to pick with the sex industry is that it’s so focused on serving men, not women–and that there are plenty of women who are sexual on our own terms that don’t fit into the male-identified (or pop-culture “wimminfolk need LOOOOVE & MARRIAGE” BS) industry views. (And sorry, but plenty of us love looking at hot dudes, but do you see this put out for our pleasure? No. The quest for almighty buck stops there, apparently.)

    Couple that with the shitty treatment most strippers get–paying a fee to the clubs, harassment, discrimination, no benefits or job security, etc., and I take a dim view on several levels. I don’t think the answer is banning them; I do think they need to be held to higher standards of how they treat their employees. A club here charges a fee to the dancers (or independent contractors) who must pay that fee no matter how much or how little they make that night.

  6. Elana
    Elana March 26, 2010 at 12:40 pm |

    In that case, I find the way the term is usually applied to be problematic.

    Many female dominated fields of work are considered “low-skilled” whether the job requires skill or not. It’s a sexist outlook.

  7. Athenia
    Athenia March 26, 2010 at 12:51 pm |

    I think if strip clubs work like sweat shops, then yes, you should ban them.

    And I agree with Sheelzebub—everyone likes looking at pretty people, but you don’t have to go to a strip joint to do that.

  8. Manju
    Manju March 26, 2010 at 2:08 pm |

    my own position as a right-wing male, if anyone cares, is that banning strip clubs is inconsistent with the principles espoused by the pro-choice movement: particularly the right to autonomy over ones body is so fundamental that you would need a really compelling governmental interest in order to restrict it.

    now i understand how selling ones body could be seen as anti-feminist, but the more fundamental feminist position would be that its your body and you should be allowed to do whatever you want with it, including anti-feminist things, otherwise all the other feminist positions become moot.

    now, you might re-frame this as a restriction on commerce, not women’s bodies, but then its unclear why strip clubs get singled out as sweatshops. and frankly, while we’re at it, it would help if you authoritarians would stop looking at sweatshops from the vantage point of free-market standards of living. what looks so unsavory from your vantage point, may not be for those whose choices have long been limited, often at the hands of economic authoritarians…but i digress, or maybe i don’t.

  9. erika
    erika March 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm |

    I sort of understand that this ban on strip clubs is, at least in part, a response to revelations this past year over the extent of human trafficking in Iceland (http://icelandweatherreport.com/2010/03/of-human-trafficking-in-the-land-of-the-nice.html).

    (and I might be wrong, but I think they recently outlawed paying for sex too).

    I don´t know how common human trafficking is in legitimate strip clubs in Iceland, but the Guardian article does seem to be suggesting that the workers are mostly foreign and new arrivals, which is a bit of a red flag. And Icelanders have been really uncomfortable (i.e. pretty xenophobic) about foreign workers, and foreign women.

    So I´m still very unsure how I feel about this ban, but I do think that the issues involved are slightly different than if this was happening in, say North America.

  10. Constintina
    Constintina March 26, 2010 at 2:17 pm |

    Some first thoughts off the top of my head:

    1. While this may not start a hot new trend of underground strip clubs, it will put a ton of people out of work. That’s a huge con in and of itself. Many of these people will likely turn to other sectors of the sex industry, ie prostitution. So now there will be an influx of (mostly) women facing the dangers of that field.

    2. Yeah, stripping is hard on one’s body and can favor the thin, white, implanted, etc, but discrimination based on looks isn’t endemic to stripping in particular. Many people who don’t fit the stripper stereotype work in the industry and make good money, too.

    3. I don’t see what good can possibly come of this. I don’t see how banning stripping dismantles patriarchy or empowers women. I do see how it economically disenfranchises women.

  11. Sei
    Sei March 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm |

    AFAIK, it’s been pretty well shown in studies that legalization of sex work increases sex trafficking, because the legalization (1) normalizes going to strip clubs/prostitutes, which increases demand, which is met through trafficking and (2) makes it easier to hide trafficked women among those doing it consensually.

    I think the whole “criminalization drives it underground” thing doesn’t really look at the whole picture.

  12. Dawn.
    Dawn. March 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm |

    Banning strip clubs does nothing to minimize the bodily objectification and economic oppression of women. You cannot ban these things. Furthermore, banning strips clubs could result in further endangering and stigmatizing the women in that profession. Regulation, not criminalization, can help address the exploitation inherent in strip clubs and all types of sex work.

  13. Anony Mouse
    Anony Mouse March 26, 2010 at 2:40 pm |

    The article mentions that Iceland is the first country to impose such a ban on explicitly feminist grounds, as opposed to religious or moralistic ones. I think that, in itself, is an amazing thing. Would that I lived in a country where feminists exercised considerable political clout!

    I mean, here Iceland is taking a hard and comprehensive stand that it is not acceptable to commoditize women: they outlawed paying for sex, they shut down strip clubs, and they made an action plan to end human trafficking into the country. That’s commendable.

  14. Kelly
    Kelly March 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm |

    “I don´t know how common human trafficking is in legitimate strip clubs in Iceland, but the Guardian article does seem to be suggesting that the workers are mostly foreign and new arrivals, which is a bit of a red flag.”
    —-No, not really; confusing migrant workers with trafficking victims doesn’t really help anyone.

    I worked as a stripper in Iceland for three months in 2006. Almost all strippers were foreign (I remember only one Icelandic woman) the thing is, it’s very small country with a high chance of seeing someone you know at work. This is the same reason why I never stripped in my home country.

  15. leedevious
    leedevious March 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm |

    Elana, I don’t think female-dominated fields are considered low-skill because they’re female-dominated, but vice-versa. They’re female-dominated because they’re considered low-skill.

    I’m sure stripping does require skill, but you don’t really need training and certification to be a stripper.

  16. umami
    umami March 26, 2010 at 2:55 pm |

    I think the whole “criminalization drives it underground” thing doesn’t really look at the whole picture.

    THIS. It’s a lovely theory that legalising sex work would solve the problems of human trafficking and child prostitution, but all the actual evidence is that it makes those problems worse.

    And I think human trafficking is a more important issue than the problems of women who are denied a chance of making a living as strippers. Although obviously the only way to really solve the problem is to dismantle the rape culture, and passing a law isn’t going to accomplish that. (That said, this law might have another positive impact by stigmatising the attitude that women are commodities and sex is a service women do for men.)

  17. Anony Mouse
    Anony Mouse March 26, 2010 at 3:14 pm |

    Isn’t ‘dismantling the rape culture’ precisely what Iceland is doing? Laying out in law that women are not commodities, that it is not acceptable to buy and sell people, that no one is entitled to sex.

  18. Gretchen
    Gretchen March 26, 2010 at 3:19 pm |

    I would prefer legislation that stated all women who strip have to be 35 or older. They would also have to pass (addictive) drugs tests, and be offered counseling if they failed. The number one problem with strip clubs is that young women are being taken advantage of. Older women who can psychologically deal with it should be allowed to make money.

  19. CarpalTunnel
    CarpalTunnel March 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm |

    Can anyone recommend a book or books about the legalization vs. non-legalization of sex trade and the effects on people in the business.

    I’m really interested in this ban and I’m leaning towards agreeing with Anony Mouse that this is dismantling rape culture. But there are a lot of questions.

    Is Iceland counted like Denmark (I don’t know THAT much about this) where i THOUGHT there was overall a greater respect for woman and equality between the sexes than in the U.S., including pay, sexual freedom without double-standard and intllectually on par outlook.

    It’s definitely something to be considered while thinking about what the ban means. A ban like THAT in the U.S. would have much different consequences if our society and culture had a more “each person is each person” instead of a “man / not-man” outlook. Maybe iceland is ready for this kind of a ban.

  20. RD
    RD March 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm |

    It seems less immediately problematic than outlawing paying for sex, primarily because prostitution bans drive sex work underground and put sex workers at risk. I don’t think there’s going to be an epidemic of underground strip clubs (although I’m sure there will be a few underground strip clubs), and I’m not sure that strippers will now face the kinds of immediate dangers that sex workers who sell sexual services negotiate every day.

    Well I agree with you that strippers (web cam models, PSOs, porn stars…) don’t face the same danger people who sell sex do (tho there is overlap between strippers and ppl who sell sex). But, not sure I agree with you on what the effects of this ban will be. I think there will be 1) more (maybe illegal) private stripping for parties, bachelor parties, etc.; 2) more strippers and former strippers going into prostitution; and 3) more single mothers and other women pushed into (or further into) poverty.

    stripping seems a lot easier and a lot less messy and a lot less difficult and a lot more convenient.

    This shades a little too close to “sex work is the easy way out” for me. Makes me very uncomfortable. Plus that thought is sometimes followed up with “you went the easy way out, so you’re responsible for whatever violence and/or exploitation/coercion you experienced.”

    This isn’t just about women who work at strip clubs; it’s about social perceptions and the value of all women.

    “I’m gonna force you to be unemployed and broke so my privileged upper-middle-class ass gets more respect from men”? As tho men don’t already separate out “strippers” from “women worthy of respect” anyway.

  21. umami
    umami March 26, 2010 at 3:50 pm |

    Oh I don’t think that legalizing sex work would solve the problems of human trafficking and child prostitution. I just don’t think that outlawing it solves those problems, either.

    That’s what I was saying, apologies for not being clear.

    The situation is that sex work can either be legal, or not-legal. All the evidence suggests that “legal” makes human trafficking and child prostitution into greater problems.

    So there is nothing you can do with the law that will solve those problems. But making sex work illegal reduces their magnitude.
    (Though I’m talking prostitution here, rather than stripping, I’m not sure there’s evidence related to the effects of de/legalising stripping.)

    To the person who asked for references, sorry, it’s been ages since I read the relevant research but there’s a lot of links here:
    http://sisyphe.org/spip.php?article1596
    The best I recollect this isn’t one of those situations where the research is ambiguous. All the research into the effects of legalising prostitution in those countries where it has happened indicates that it has increased trafficking.

  22. RD
    RD March 26, 2010 at 3:52 pm |

    I think if strip clubs work like sweat shops, then yes, you should ban them.

    Uh no, you should force them to comply with labor laws.

  23. umami
    umami March 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm |

    @Anony Mouse
    I just realised you were quoting my post there. Yeah, I do think this law is a step towards dismantling rape culture.

  24. RD
    RD March 26, 2010 at 4:14 pm |

    AFAIK, it’s been pretty well shown in studies that legalization of sex work increases sex trafficking, because the legalization (1) normalizes going to strip clubs/prostitutes, which increases demand, which is met through trafficking and (2) makes it easier to hide trafficked women among those doing it consensually.

    Criminalization leads to 1) anti-trafficking funds spent on raids, which can be very traumatic, often include human rights abuses, and which lead to arrests and deportations for consensual sex workers and coerced and trafficked people alike with virtually no people actually identified as trafficked, 2) abuse of police power like beatings, forcible rapes, and coerced rapes (“suck my dick or let me fuck you and I won’t arrest you” and sometimes they are lying), 3) crimes against sex workers by customers, pimps, managers, and others going overwhelmingly unreported and not taken seriously…or even leading to the arrest of the crime victim…when they are reported, 4) trafficked people who finally are identified or identify themselves as trafficked being forced to comply with law enforcement to get status and avoid deportation, often putting them in very dangerous and difficult situations, and 5) arrests and criminal records for sex workers and trafficked people which lead to discrimination in jobs, custody, housing, and immigration.

    Under criminalization trafficked and coerced people are almost never identified by law enforcement. They get away on their own, or with the help of people they know (if they know anyone where they are) or social service agencies (more rarely I think). Consensual sex workers are much better equipped to identify and help sex trafficking victims and victims of coercion than anyone else, so yes, criminalization does drive this stuff underground.

  25. RD
    RD March 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm |

    Regulation, not criminalization, can help address the exploitation inherent in strip clubs and all types of sex work.

    Depends what the regulation is. Compliance with labor laws for strip clubs, yes. Mandatory STD testing at the worker’s expense, with people who test positive unable to work legally, registering with the government as a prostitute, and curfews and restrictions on when you can and can’t leave the brothel and go into town (i.e. the nevada brothel model), hell no.

  26. RD
    RD March 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm |

    It’s a lovely theory that legalising sex work would solve the problems of human trafficking and child prostitution, but all the actual evidence is that it makes those problems worse.

    You know, in New York we JUST got to the point of not charging CHILDREN and young teenagers with prostitution (at least the first couple times they are arrested, after that they still get charged!)…oh yeah, criminalization is GREAT for underage prostitutes. *vom* Oh and all those effects of criminalization I listed above? They apply to minors too (except the criminal record, unless they, you know, keep getting arrested as many people in that situation do).

  27. RD
    RD March 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm |

    In NY that is (the criminal record thing), and remember that is recent.

  28. RD
    RD March 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm |

    Laying out in law that women are not commodities, that it is not acceptable to buy and sell people, that no one is entitled to sex.

    Tricks are not entitled to sex. They have to pay for it. Unless they are rapists or rip you off.

  29. RD
    RD March 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm |

    I would prefer legislation that stated all women who strip have to be 35 or older. They would also have to pass (addictive) drugs tests, and be offered counseling if they failed.

    Oh hell no.

  30. RD
    RD March 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm |

    Didn’t mean it like that at all. Just meant that, for some women, sex work seems like a more rational or desireable choice given their circumstances. Kind of how for some women childcare seems like a more rational or desireable choice than being a nurse’s aid. That’s all.

    Ok. I didn’t necessarily think that was what you were saying, it was just close enough to make me cringe.

    And where I wrote “This isn’t just about women who work at strip clubs; it’s about social perceptions and the value of all women” was in a paragraph where I was summarizing a viewpoint that I already said I don’t totally agree with.

    So what do you and what don’t you agree with?

  31. karak
    karak March 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm |

    Notice that strip club *owners* are identified, and politicians banning the clubs, but no where does anyone talk to an actual fucking stripper about her job, the loss of her job, how she feels about stripping, and what she’s going to do next.

    And that leaves one hell of a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t care who it is–a man, a woman, no one should decided the lives of other people without at least fucking *consulting* the person who’s life is about to be thrown into disarray.

    I’m also worried about the law being broken–who gets punished, the stripper or those who hired her? If its the stripper, the message is that the government controls women’s bodies–and I don’t see that as much of an improvement.

  32. Peggy
    Peggy March 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm |

    And Icelanders have been really uncomfortable (i.e. pretty xenophobic) about foreign workers, and foreign women.

    I worked as a stripper in Iceland for three months in 2006. Almost all strippers were foreign (I remember only one Icelandic woman) [ . . .]

    So is part of the support for this law in Iceland due to the fact it will help get rid of disliked foreign migrant workers while paying lip service to feminism? Because it sounds like shutting down an industry with a predominantly foreign workforce that does not provide skills easily transferred to other local occupations does just that.

  33. Faith
    Faith March 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm |

    “I would prefer legislation that stated all women who strip have to be 35 or older.”

    I’m one of those people torn on whether or not banning stripping is anything anyone should strive for. That being said: I do agree that if it is to remain fully legal, the age limit should definitely be raised. But 35 is a bit much. I’d go more with 23-25, personally. And while I can’t say I’d support a ban on stripping if it came down to a vote, I absolutely would support an increase on the minimum age limit.

    18 through 21 is just too damn young to have any real understanding of the impact of such a choice on your life. I know I sure as hell wasn’t equipped to understand it at that age. At that age, I was still in the blissful “oh, stripping sounds so awesome, cool, and sexy and anyone who has any problem with it is just a woman-hater or anti-sex prude!” stage. I’m damn sure glad that I didn’t make the choice to go through with entering the sex industry when I was around that age…and I did come insanely close to it…both because I honestly thought I’d like it and because I was – and still largely am – desperately poor.

  34. Faith
    Faith March 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm |

    “We think that at 18, people can vote, sign up to fight and die in a war, own a home, operate a motor vehicle, get married and adopt children but we don’t think they can decide for themselves whether or not to take their clothes off for money?”

    I’m not particularly sure that people who are only 18 should do all of that either. They damn sure are not old enough to get married, adopt children, or die in a war. Nor are they old enough to make the decision to smoke cigarettes either, as far as I’m concerned. I’d support raising the age on most of those things as well.

  35. Kelly
    Kelly March 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm |

    Peggy: “So is part of the support for this law in Iceland due to the fact it will help get rid of disliked foreign migrant workers while paying lip service to feminism? Because it sounds like shutting down an industry with a predominantly foreign workforce that does not provide skills easily transferred to other local occupations does just that.”

    —-I’m not sure if you though that I was suggesting that, because I wasn’t. I was just pointing out that sex workers have reasons to be mobile. Heavy stigma and shaming in their own towns/countries being a big one.

    RD: Thank you for your post on the harmful effects of criminalisation. I would have liked to have written it, but I’m getting a little burned out on this battle.

  36. Sojourner
    Sojourner March 26, 2010 at 5:54 pm |

    “Many female dominated fields of work are considered “low-skilled” whether the job requires skill or not. It’s a sexist outlook.”
    Um, you mean like construction work and farm work?

  37. umami
    umami March 26, 2010 at 6:08 pm |

    Right. Criminalisation is bad. The Swedish model is bad. And legalisation is also bad.
    Let’s face it, prostitution is a sucky job. (For all but a privileged minority of sex workers.)
    The question is not whether it’s bad when sex work is criminalised. It is. It’s whether it’s a worse situation than when it is legalised.
    It isn’t.
    From the link pasted in earlier.
    The most recent research, carried out by London Metropolitan University, at the request of the Scottish government and published in 2004 on its government website, “confirms what several prior studies have shown, namely that the “sex industries”, sexual tourism, child prostitution and violence against prostituted people have increased markedly in all the countries that have liberalized their prostitution laws and turned pimps into respectable businessmen.”

    There may be more recent research than that which contradicts this finding. Like I said, it’s a while since I read about it. But I seriously doubt it.

    The Swedish model of criminalising clients seems to be the least awful, though obviously you’ll still find plenty of research showing that Swedish prostitutes aren’t having a great time either.

  38. umami
    umami March 26, 2010 at 6:18 pm |

    prostitution is a sucky job

    *headdesk*

    sorry. Pun not intended.

  39. Lyndsay
    Lyndsay March 26, 2010 at 7:28 pm |

    “I’d be willing to bet that most strippers strip because it pays pretty well…But the ladies will be the ones who are dead broke because of it.”

    First thing I thought of when I read this was yes it might pay well but it sounds like Iceland doesn’t have the poverty America does. They have free health care, free university, child care etc.
    Second thing is I read in the article, “100 foreign women travel to the country annually to work in strip clubs”. That’s interesting. I do wonder where these women will go after strip clubs close. The whole article about this is interesting. I recommend reading it.

  40. Josh Jasper
    Josh Jasper March 26, 2010 at 7:38 pm |

    What’s interesting about the law as it’s written is that it seems to allow for women to make money taking clothes off directly, just not for other people to profit off of that. It’s “illegal for any business to profit from the nudity of its employees.” Great, so what if there’s no “business” and it’s all independent operators who get 100% of the profits they make? Put a bar in, sell drinks, and that’s that. You’ll make money selling drinks, trust me.

    Jónsdóttir says the ban could mean the death of the sex industry.

    Oh Suuuure. That worked so well in America. Back when stip clubs were illegal, we never had a sex industry. Honest *snerk*.

    Bashing strippers is a sideshow unless the more important issues are dealt with. If Iceland has an ERA type law then it can talk. Does anyone know if that’s the case?

  41. Josh Jasper
    Josh Jasper March 26, 2010 at 7:39 pm |

    Sorry for not consolidating this, folks –

    Lyndsay – it sounds like Iceland doesn’t have the poverty America does.

    They do now. Google for Iceland Economic Crisis.

  42. ClevelandLass
    ClevelandLass March 26, 2010 at 7:57 pm |

    “I’m not particularly sure that people who are only 18 should do all of that either. They damn sure are not old enough to get married, adopt children, or die in a war. Nor are they old enough to make the decision to smoke cigarettes either, as far as I’m concerned. I’d support raising the age on most of those things as well.”

    I’m calling you out on ageism. As a young woman, my decision making skills function JUST FINE thank you. I feel confident to make my own decisions about my life. Being “young” is not a condition of being that inhibits me from deciding that I want to join the military or vote or strip. People make decisions they regret at EVERY AGE. Not just 18-24.

  43. Elana
    Elana March 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm |

    leedevious –

    I think its cyclical. Discrimination/sexism forces women into lower paying jobs, but when women do start entering higher paying jobs the prestige and salary of those jobs go down.

    I think the reasoning, conscious or not, is basically “well, if women can do it then it can’t be a high skilled job.”

  44. Dawn.
    Dawn. March 26, 2010 at 8:33 pm |

    Regulation, not criminalization, can help address the exploitation inherent in strip clubs and all types of sex work.

    Depends what the regulation is. Compliance with labor laws for strip clubs, yes. Mandatory STD testing at the worker’s expense, with people who test positive unable to work legally, registering with the government as a prostitute, and curfews and restrictions on when you can and can’t leave the brothel and go into town (i.e. the nevada brothel model), hell no.

    I 100% agree with you. When I said “regulation,” I meant things like compliance with labor laws. The Nevada brothel model is dangerous, shaming, and exploitative. I should have specified.

    Laying out in law that women are not commodities, that it is not acceptable to buy and sell people, that no one is entitled to sex.

    Tricks are not entitled to sex. They have to pay for it. Unless they are rapists or rip you off.

    Thank you, RD. That needed to be said. I don’t understand why people say that the existence of a commercial sex industry implies that men are “entitled” to sex. It makes no sense, for the reason you just provided. Doesn’t the fact that you have to pay for it mean you’re not entitled to it?? If you were entitled to it, you wouldn’t have to pay. Also it’s a seriously heterosexist claim. I know the majority of debates about sex work revolve around cisgender heterosexual commercial sex, but plenty of it is not heterosexual and/or cisgender. Could we please acknowledge that sometimes commercial sex isn’t cis hetero female sex worker + cis hetero male client?

  45. Dawn.
    Dawn. March 26, 2010 at 8:36 pm |

    P.S. One problem with Unless they are rapists or rip you off: If they rip you off, they are rapists. You wouldn’t have had sex with them if they weren’t paying you, so it’s both theft and rape IMO.

  46. jane brazen
    jane brazen March 26, 2010 at 8:44 pm |

    RD: I’d also like to thank you for posting what you did. As a sex worker, I feel like the constant debates and getting caught in the rhetoric about “good” and “bad” is just so frustrating and beside the point.

    I want to say that I think there’s way more to this than presenting women’s bodies as objects to be sold. I’m a former stripper and there was way more to the frustration and harm of the job than the fact of appearing naked for men for money (my exploitative bosses, for example).

    I also want to agree with the idea that you can’t make a law to fix a complex social issue.

    (On that note, why is the debate legalization versus criminalization? Why not decriminalize prostitution? Not perfect there either, but I believe the State needs to GTFO out of regulating sex work.)

  47. Anony Mouse
    Anony Mouse March 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm |

    Does Iceland have an ERA-type law? I’m not sure. But they do have a parliament that is half female, an openly gay woman as PM, an extensive social safety-net that includes national healthcare, free university and state-provided daycare. Iceland is ranked #4 in gender equality. The population of the entire country is around 300,000. And when polled in 2007, less than 10% of the population opposed legislation banning strip clubs. So I do think it is fair to say that the culture there is very different from, and substantially less misogynistic than the culture in the U.S.

  48. Dominique
    Dominique March 26, 2010 at 11:00 pm |

    The idea of prohibiting anyone but the workers from benefiting from their nudity is, in fact, very progressive – and no, it doesn’t ban stripping. It just makes sure that the woman is the one getting all the money. That’s something I support. It would very definitely turn the industry on its head. This way does not spell the end of strip clubs. Instead, it makes sure that strip clubs will have to be constituted as co-operatives of stripper-workers who are also owners. In fact, I was pondering exactly the same model for the legalization of prostitution, to prohibit trafficking and related problems: outlaw pimps and brothels, including escort agencies. Just make sure that no one but the prostitute can benefit from selling sex. This would also prevent businesses like restaurants and massage parlours from demanding prostitution services as a condition of employment, which is something I have always worried would be an inevitable outcome of legalizing prostitution outright.

  49. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe March 26, 2010 at 11:51 pm |

    Did Iceland solve all their banking problems, that they can devote time to something like this?

  50. 3P
    3P March 27, 2010 at 4:59 am |

    “Society also has an interest in securing the rights of women, and in not presenting women as items to be bought and sold. This isn’t just about women who work at strip clubs; it’s about social perceptions and the value of all women.”

    so those sluts are letting down the sisterhood? niiiiiiiice. way to moralise. this is so fucking typical of middle-class liberal feminist crap.

  51. Susan
    Susan March 27, 2010 at 7:08 am |

    But it does offer paid work that can be significantly less unpleasant than a lot of other jobs.

    Are you certain this is true in Iceland? I often find judgments on progressive actions taken in other countries that are being viewed through the lens of conditions in the US are usually inaccurate. The legislators may just know their country a bit better than we do.

  52. Faith
    Faith March 27, 2010 at 9:28 am |

    “I’m calling you out on ageism. As a young woman, my decision making skills function JUST FINE thank you. ”

    Clevelandlass,

    I suppose it is a form a ageism. But the fact of the matter is that the younger you are the less likely you are to understand the impact of decisions that will permanently impact your life. I’m not that much older than 23-25 myself. The average 18 year just does not have the life experience and knowledge base to make decisions that will effect them for the rest of their lives. An 18 year old is highly unlikely to understand the full ramifications of stripping. I have a 17 year old niece who is soon to be 18. She flat-out has no real understanding of the complexities that surround sexuality and the sex industry. If she were to enter the sex industry right now, she would be chewed up and spit out. I can’t recall meeting a single 18 year old that did understand the full ramifications of the impact that sex work will have on their lives.

    From my understanding, the human brain isn’t even fully physically developed until somewhere after the age of twenty. That is part of the reason for the growing belief that 18 is not actually the age of adulthood.

    One of the many reasons that men like to target really young women to groom for the sex industry is because they know that the younger a woman is the easier it will be to control and manipulate her. That is a fact that there simply is no getting around, much like the fact that human brain development is not what it was once believed to be. Misogynist men love very young women for the very fact that their decision-making skills and wisdom base is just not as developed as that of an older woman.

    I don’t expect very young people to be happy to hear that they aren’t mature enough to make certain decisions. They never are. I didn’t like hearing it either. It doesn’t change the fact that now at only a few years past the age range that we are speaking about, I wish there had been someone who cared enough to stop me from making certain decisions until I was more mature and able to understand the ramifications of my actions.

    So, yes, ClevelandLass I will and do support raising the minimum age to participate in stripping, marriage, and picking up a weapon and going to war and killing people or getting yourself killed. Don’t like that? I’m sorry because there is absolutely nothing you can say to change my mind about that.

    (Note: I don’t have time right now to search for anything really substantial on brain development at the moment, but here’s a link to an article that states what I have stated about the human brain not being fully-developed until between the age of 20-25…

    americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/our-aversion-to-the-unfamiliar

    “For example, human frontal lobes (which, as Wexler points out, are “thought to be closely associated with values, morality, emotion, and other personality traits”) are not fully mature until the age of 20 to 25 years. This late maturation may provide an evolutionary advantage, he says, in that it affords more time “to incorporate the growing collective wisdom and latest innovations.””

  53. jane brazen
    jane brazen March 27, 2010 at 10:46 am |

    Dominique, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. The language of the bill suggests two things to me: maybe only an independent worker can profit (which is pretty cool) and what about photographers or others who “profit from nudity” through art?

    On the other hand, having worked in strip clubs and agencies, it was a decision that made sense to me. It seemed a lot safer than striking out on my own (especially because I was young!), even though eventually, it got to suck because of the lack of control I had over my working conditions. Which is why I moved on. But I’m in the US where criminalization reigns supreme.

    So I think this bill, if it’s intended to make it so that only independent workers profit, better have a safety net built in for workers who end up seeing violent or abusive clients. (Which, in my opinion, is the real problem when we talk about sex work: people who think that we’re just whores and that they can do whatever they want to us.)

  54. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth March 27, 2010 at 11:03 am |

    I feel that 99% of the comments and Jill’s original post suffer from a major flaw of being totally US-centric. I mean, we can debate the merits of outlawing strip clubs or not, but pretty much most of the arguments made here don’t really apply to this particular situation. Iceland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world with a population of about 300,000 and extensive social welfare policies (including free education through the PhD level) that not even the banking crisis could dismantle, as well as a strong history of economic and gender equality (for Icelanders, at least. Iceland also has a less savory history of xenophobia).

    It is not the case that low-income Icelandic citizens are turning to stripping to avoid other types of unpleasant poorly paid work. As the article and former strippers from Iceland have pointed out, strippers in Iceland are all foreign, and my guess is that many of them are from Eastern Europe. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a combination of desire to eliminate human trafficking (a HUGE problem in Eastern Europe, with Western Europe being a main destination) + a bit of xenophobia mixed in. Also, I wonder if Iceland serves as a sex tourism destination at all, what with its “exotic” location, and if the locals perceive the sex industry as a socially undesirable institution “by and for outsiders.”

  55. William
    William March 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm |

    But the fact of the matter is that the younger you are the less likely you are to understand the impact of decisions that will permanently impact your life. I’m not that much older than 23-25 myself. The average 18 year just does not have the life experience and knowledge base to make decisions that will effect them for the rest of their lives.

    The rub, of course, is the question of who gets to decide how young people who have been legally defined as adults get to live their lives. What we’re talking about isn’t just restricting what choices a young person cannot make but actively requiring them to make certain other decisions as a result. Frankly, thats a precedent I’m really uncomfortable with.

    I’m against raising the age restriction on stripping for the same reason I’d be against requiring parental consent for abortion or raising the age of sexual consent. Every restriction like that is, in effect, creating a precedent that the bodies of an individual are owned by some authority figure (generally either parents or the state). By saying “you are not allowed to strip until you’re 25″ what you’re also saying is “I am requiring that you not engage in this set of activities.” If you’re implementing a law what you’re also adding is “if you disobey you will be punished until you learn your place.” What happens if a 15 year old is caught with a case of beer? What happens if a 25 year old is caught with a bag of hash? What happens if a woman is seen by police offering sex for money?

    The reality is that, in our society, when we restrict the bodily autonomy of an individual we make a threat. By suggesting an increased age limit for stripping what you’re also doing is suggesting punishing those you intend to protect for disobeying your will. You’re suggesting using guns, prisons, (often sexually) violent police, and the entire apparatus of state coercion to “protect” someone from the potential consequences of their actions.

    I know that regulation isn’t a cure all, and I know that it fails in a great many areas, but one of the good things about good regulation is that it tends to punish victimizers and protect potential victims. Its imperfect, but its the only tool we have that won’t mean throwing young women in prison for violating the will of a predominantly male legislature.

  56. Chally
    Chally March 27, 2010 at 4:06 pm |

    ‘The average 18 year just does not have the life experience and knowledge base to make decisions that will effect them for the rest of their lives.’

    Neither does anyone else. That’s how life works.

    ‘An 18 year old is highly unlikely to understand the full ramifications of stripping.’

    You can’t know that. I’m kind of amazed at how little credit you’re giving 18 year olds here.

    ‘I have a 17 year old niece who is soon to be 18. She flat-out has no real understanding of the complexities that surround sexuality and the sex industry. If she were to enter the sex industry right now, she would be chewed up and spit out.’

    Assuming that is the case, that’s one teenager you’re using to question the decision-making capacity of every teenager out there.

    ‘I can’t recall meeting a single 18 year old that did understand the full ramifications of the impact that sex work will have on their lives.’

    I started working on this blog at 18. We haven’t exactly “met,” but… hi.

    ‘That is part of the reason for the growing belief that 18 is not actually the age of adulthood.’

    Well, I don’t believe 18 is the age of adulthood, I believe it’s much younger, but that’s a cultural thing rather than something innate, something provable by sciencey science, as is any other determination as to when adulthood begins.

    Faith, I am sorry that you have had bad experiences as the result of your decisions. Please consider not pulling ageism on younger women because of that, and this teenage moderator would tell you to not derail this thread anymore. You know, if you can accept a teenager’s moderating decision, made with her developing brain.

  57. William
    William March 27, 2010 at 4:25 pm |

    You know, if you can accept a teenager’s moderating decision, made with her developing brain.

    Its probably worth pointing out that our understanding of the brain is, to put it charitably, primitive. We don’t really know what does what, we can’t explain why some people’s brains are organized in a different way than others or why some people regain function after certain kinds of injuries while others do not. We don’t know exactly what all the pretty colors in different kinds imaging mean. We don’t have a good understanding of brain development (although we do know that it can be highly idiosyncratic). The nature vs. nurture argument is still one being fought even out in the realms of “sciencey science.” Leslie Brothers (a neuroscientist) gave a pretty good takedown of what passes for neuroscience these days in her book “Mistaken Identity: The Mind-Brain Problem Reconsidered.”

  58. Chally
    Chally March 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm |

    No argument from me on that front, William.

    So, folks! Back to the banning of those strip clubs in Iceland, perhaps?

  59. RD
    RD March 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm |

    I agree that sending the message that women’s bodies aren’t for sale is a laudable goal.

    I don’t understand what this means, unless you are trying to say that sex should never be offered for sale. You think that would be the ultimate goal in a “perfect world”? That is not that interesting to me, since there is never going to be a “perfect world” anyway. Unless you are referring to slavery? Literally selling women? Somehow I don’t think that’s what you mean.

    I agree that, in theory, stripping and sex work generally do tie to the status of and perception of women in society.

    Sex work stigma. Is the reason for that. And misogyny.

    I don’t agree that banning stripping or sex work actually does work to send the message that women’s bodies aren’t for sale. I don’t agree that banning stripping and sex work is for the greater good of all women.

    Same confusion for the first sentence. Agree of course with the second.

  60. RD
    RD March 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm |

    Sure thing Kelly, Dawn, and Jane. :) Thank YOU for backing me up on this stuff.

  61. Anony Mouse
    Anony Mouse March 27, 2010 at 5:01 pm |

    I think it’s kind of telling how many non-Icelanders simply cannot imagine a world without a strip clubs and prostitution, and I think that says a lot more about our culture than about Iceland’s.

  62. Sarah
    Sarah March 27, 2010 at 5:09 pm |

    I’d agree with Dominique’s idea that the way forward is to ban all but those doing sex work from making money from it, except that I’m not sure how that would really play out–all-stripper-owned cooperative clubs that treat their worker-owners fairly? or no more strip clubs, which for all their owners’ exploitativeness at least provide a physical space where the stripper can be protected by being at least somewhat in public, having co-workers and/or bouncers around etc., and a rise in private outcall stripping, which has no such guarantees?

  63. RD
    RD March 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm |

    18 through 21 is just too damn young to have any real understanding of the impact of such a choice on your life. I know I sure as hell wasn’t equipped to understand it at that age. At that age, I was still in the blissful “oh, stripping sounds so awesome, cool, and sexy and anyone who has any problem with it is just a woman-hater or anti-sex prude!” stage.

    LOL. I wasn’t. (I’m 24 now, yeah, I do feel old…not too young to strip LOL). I was in the stage of actually working in and having experience in the sex trade OMG. I had periods of being in school, being in the mental hospital, living with an abusive partner, and being shuffled around and homeless. I stripped during this period. I had sex for money. Etc. I didn’t need stripping made illegal. JFC.

  64. RD
    RD March 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm |

    The most recent research, carried out by London Metropolitan University, at the request of the Scottish government and published in 2004 on its government website, “confirms what several prior studies have shown, namely that the “sex industries”, sexual tourism, child prostitution and violence against prostituted people have increased markedly in all the countries that have liberalized their prostitution laws and turned pimps into respectable businessmen.”

    Wow that sounds REALLY REALLY OBJECTIVE. You know the only people I have ever heard use the phrase “prostituted people/women” and “sex industries” in quotes are RADICAL FEMINISTS ON THE INTERNET.

    So, the best sex work research I could probably direct you to was done by the Young Women’s Empowerment Project in Chicago, an organization by and for young women and girls (including young trans women and girls). It was participatory action research, meaning the data was collected, compiled, analyzed, etc. by girls in the sex trade, about their peers. Here is the report.

    The research done by the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in NYC is not participatory action research but it will probably also be informative for most of you.

    Kicking Down the Door on raids and trafficking in NYC.

    Behind Closed Doors on indoor prostitution in NYC.

    Revolving Door on street prostitution in NYC.

  65. RD
    RD March 27, 2010 at 5:55 pm |

    The idea of prohibiting anyone but the workers from benefiting from their nudity is, in fact, very progressive – and no, it doesn’t ban stripping. It just makes sure that the woman is the one getting all the money. That’s something I support. It would very definitely turn the industry on its head. This way does not spell the end of strip clubs. Instead, it makes sure that strip clubs will have to be constituted as co-operatives of stripper-workers who are also owners.

    Well, most people who strip don’t plan to make a long-term career of it (also one of the major reasons strip clubs get away with blatantly violating labor laws). They want quick cash, not a long term investment with a permanent record of it on their credit report. Also, this kind of thing takes capital. Is the government going to provide loans to start up these businesses?

  66. RD
    RD March 27, 2010 at 6:15 pm |

    The reality is that, in our society, when we restrict the bodily autonomy of an individual we make a threat. By suggesting an increased age limit for stripping what you’re also doing is suggesting punishing those you intend to protect for disobeying your will. You’re suggesting using guns, prisons, (often sexually) violent police, and the entire apparatus of state coercion to “protect” someone from the potential consequences of their actions.

    YES.

  67. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse March 27, 2010 at 6:36 pm |

    I think it needs to be pointed out that the Scandanavian model of prostitution criminalizes johns and pimps, not prostitutes. Similarly, Icelandic law prohibits businesses profiting off their emplyee’s nudity. It does not criminalize strippers.

  68. RD
    RD March 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm |

    Are you the same person as Anony Mouse, Anonymouse?

  69. Anony Mouse
    Anony Mouse March 27, 2010 at 6:56 pm |

    Yes, sorry for the confusion. I was on a diff. computer and mis-typed my name.

  70. RD
    RD March 27, 2010 at 7:09 pm |

    No worries, just wondering.

    I just realized, actually two abusive relationships/partners, during that time period. One when I was 18, one a few years later.

    Plus a pimp.

  71. RD
    RD March 27, 2010 at 7:36 pm |

    OK, Anony Mouse:


    The article mentions that Iceland is the first country to impose such a ban on explicitly feminist grounds, as opposed to religious or moralistic ones. I think that, in itself, is an amazing thing. Would that I lived in a country where feminists exercised considerable political clout!

    I mean, here Iceland is taking a hard and comprehensive stand that it is not acceptable to commoditize women: they outlawed paying for sex, they shut down strip clubs, and they made an action plan to end human trafficking into the country. That’s commendable.

    ___

    Isn’t ‘dismantling the rape culture’ precisely what Iceland is doing? Laying out in law that women are not commodities, that it is not acceptable to buy and sell people, that no one is entitled to sex.

    ___

    Does Iceland have an ERA-type law? I’m not sure. But they do have a parliament that is half female, an openly gay woman as PM, an extensive social safety-net that includes national healthcare, free university and state-provided daycare. Iceland is ranked #4 in gender equality. The population of the entire country is around 300,000. And when polled in 2007, less than 10% of the population opposed legislation banning strip clubs. So I do think it is fair to say that the culture there is very different from, and substantially less misogynistic than the culture in the U.S.

    ___

    I think it’s kind of telling how many non-Icelanders simply cannot imagine a world without a strip clubs and prostitution, and I think that says a lot more about our culture than about Iceland’s.

    ___

    I think it needs to be pointed out that the Scandanavian model of prostitution criminalizes johns and pimps, not prostitutes. Similarly, Icelandic law prohibits businesses profiting off their emplyee’s nudity. It does not criminalize strippers.

    Hmmmmm…so, what’s your dog in this fight?

    You start off with a post about how great it is that Iceland is doing something on feminist grounds. More power to feminism! It looks like it is more important to you that the upper-middle class female parliamentarians are expressing their feminism than how this affects sex workers. You then post something ideological about how this is “dismanteling rape culture” because of the “message” that it sends, without mentioning anything about how it might affect rape, rates of rape, etc. (hint: it probably won’t, or they’ll go up as more strippers go into prostitution). Then you post about their social safety net (which sounds wonderful), and cite an intolerance for strip clubs as “unmisogynist”. Thing is with that safety net, they probably police who gets on it pretty heavily, do foreign strippers qualify? Then some “ideal world” crap, followed by liking models that criminalize buying sex and profiting off nudity, again apparently without caring much how they affect strippers and prostitutes.

    Upper middle class American who likes Nicholas Kristof and/or read about this stuff in a book?

  72. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth March 27, 2010 at 7:52 pm |

    Um, for the most part (though not entirely) people are still missing the point here. In this case, it is NOT about bodily autonomy, or Icelandic women needing cash, or Icelandic attitudes towards sex/sexuality. This is about IMMIGRATION and HUMAN TRAFFICKING. RD, you are still talking about prostitution/stripping in the US. This is NOT the same situation. Please everyone, try to be less US-centric when you talk about a foreign country with a radically different history, set of values, social/political structure, etc. You obviously don’t have to be an expert, but at least read the article Jill linked to, or a wikipedia page on Iceland, or something.

  73. Dana
    Dana March 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm |

    Banning stripping strikes me as a deeply unlikely solution to human trafficking. And I don’t think banning an industry because you don’t like immigrants coming from poorer countries to strip is really a good thing.

    As for legislation that does not appear to have had a negative effect, you could try little old NZ?

    http://www.nzpc.org.nz/page.php?page_name=Law

    http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy-and-consultation/legislation/prostitution-law-review-committee/publications/impact-health-safety/8.-conclusions

    I believe when the Prostitution Reform Act was passed it was with a clause to follow up on the effects I think 5 years later. I recall the Sergeant(?) in charge being supremely surprised at the positive response from prostitutes.

    No, this is not about stripping, but I just find it absolutely shocking anyone could think sex work being illegal could remotely help sex workers. The fact that the US has fucking Vice Squads to perform fucking raids and have sex workers utterly at their mercy makes me want to vomit.

    I cannot see how anyone with any sense of realism sees that kind of set up as helpful for anyone. Legalising non-trafficked workers in no way prevents you from being able to do raids, it only makes it a bit harder for cops to rape prostitutes at their leisure.

    Yeah, I am completely emotive and reactive when it comes to this subject, but that’s because it makes my blood boil. No matter how you want to twist it, anything that criminalises sex workers in the context of the attitudes most goddamn countries have to sex workers (can you think of any that are not negative? I sure as fuck can’t) is a bad fucking idea.

    Re: this specific law, I don’t know. But I am dubious. And the fact we very quickly start talking about how, well, it might be a good idea – it WILL fuck with real people’s lives but it MIGHT have some impact on an overarching social structure that has endured for centuries, so let’s see what happens! makes me veeeeeery uncomfortable.

  74. RD
    RD March 27, 2010 at 10:33 pm |

    Ok for the most part yes I was being US-centric (so were the ppl I was talking to for the most part).

    But I DID read that column Jill linked to. read it on an activist listserv I am on actually. That column is by JULIE BINDEL, transphobe and sex worker-phobe extraordinaire. And, I have to say this part reeally cracked me up: I have visited a strip club in Reykjavik and observed the women. None of them looked happy in their work. lololol.

  75. S.L
    S.L March 28, 2010 at 12:55 am |

    Then some “ideal world” crap, followed by liking models that criminalize buying sex and profiting off nudity, again apparently without caring much how they affect strippers and prostitutes.

    I think a major part of this ban is to eliminate or at least decrease human trafficking in Iceland. And one problem with the buying sex and profiting off of nudity is that is isn’t always voluntary. We aren’t talking about the U.S women that choose to strip to pay for school. We are talking about people that are buying and selling women as commodities. Without the consent of the women. In Iceland.

  76. Sonia
    Sonia March 28, 2010 at 1:50 am |

    I can think of plenty of countries where any kind of sex work is illegal, objectification of women is also illegal (you can’t even see them), but aren’t really places where most feminists would like to live.

  77. Natalia
    Natalia March 28, 2010 at 5:05 am |

    What RD said. In a nutshell.

  78. RD
    RD March 28, 2010 at 8:46 am |

    SL – fuck you you fucking asshole. Do you know what I’ve been thru? Obviously fucking not.

  79. estrobutch
    estrobutch March 28, 2010 at 9:06 am |

    Lots of ppl keep pushing this idea that its about stopping human trafficking. can you connect the dots on that for me please? not just how its symbolically good. but how is that really going to play out for a trafficking victim? and how is it going to play out for an immigrant looking for work. If your going to support something that will have radical effects on women’s economic situations or physical and mental well being you better have some facts to back it up. these “feminist parliamentarians” are wielding ALOT of power over very marginalized women. That power difference can be just as significant for women in the sex trade (including victims of it) as patriarchy is.

  80. Vanessa
    Vanessa March 28, 2010 at 9:51 am |

    I guess it’s because I have Asperger’s, or I just don’t think like most people, but I think this law is great. I really don’t think sex is necessary and it looks like most of these women are trafficked into the country. This sounds like a good idea, Besides, all the money guys spend on strippers could be put to better use and the men could do something productive like reading books and learning stuff. I think sex is necessary for being in a relationship or for procreation, but it shouldn’t be a hobby, we’d be better off as a species because of it.

  81. Kelly
    Kelly March 28, 2010 at 11:02 am |

    “I have visited a strip club in Reykjavik and observed the women. None of them looked happy in their work. lololol.”

    —–I sure wouldn’t have been happy if I’d seen Ms Bindel walk in to my old Reykjavik club.

    “Upper middle class American who likes Nicholas Kristof and/or read about this stuff in a book?”

    —- Ha! SO accurate!

    S.L – have you even been reading?

  82. William
    William March 28, 2010 at 11:29 am |

    I can think of plenty of countries where any kind of sex work is illegal, objectification of women is also illegal (you can’t even see them), but aren’t really places where most feminists would like to live.

    A cynic might suggest that the reason for that is because governments which control the bodies of their citizens (subjects) always do so in order to enforce a certain system of power and to create a certain discourse. When you restrict what a woman can do with her body you are saying that her body is the property of the powerful individuals who enforce such a restriction. Iceland can frame it however it wants, but at the end of the day what you’re talking about is the government saying “we will not allow you to use this body that we own in this way.” Iceland says their new law is designed to stop human trafficking, all I see is one group of slavers using force to ensure their monopoly. Sure, one has the smiling face of Big Brother and is less overtly abusive (for now), but that doesn’t change the basic fact that they are exerting control over the bodies of individuals.

  83. Anony Mouse
    Anony Mouse March 28, 2010 at 2:19 pm |

    William, you are wrong. This law does not prohibit people from doing whatever they please with their bodies. It prohibits businesses from profiting off the nudity of their employees.

  84. William
    William March 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm |

    William, you are wrong. This law does not prohibit people from doing whatever they please with their bodies. It prohibits businesses from profiting off the nudity of their employees.

    Ahh, yes, you’re correct. This law doesn’t make stripping illegal, exactly. What it does do is make it virtually impossible for women to find an ostensibly safe place to strip. It bans strip clubs, would seem to ban bouncers, and essentially tells women that if they choose to strip they must do so alone and without a neutral place in which to ply their trade. I suppose the law doesn’t quite say that women cannot do whatever they choose with their bodies, it simply makes the most common ways of protecting them while they do what they choose illegal. You’ll forgive me if I fail to see the distinction.

  85. al
    al March 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm |

    Will there ever be a day when *somebody* isn’t there to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies? Will there ever be a day when people stop insisting that only men can handle sexuality that isn’t in the context of a committed heterosexual relationship? Will women ever be seen as equal to men, and equally able to make their own decisions? Will there ever be a day when we stop pretending that some capitalist enterprises are more holy and righteous than others? When that happens, will we finally stop assuming that female labor is automatically less “real” and “legitimate” than male labor?

    Somehow, I doubt it. But I’m gonna try.

  86. RD
    RD March 28, 2010 at 6:07 pm |

    ;) @ Kelly.

    I guess it’s because I have Asperger’s, or I just don’t think like most people, but I think this law is great.

    Oh yeah, I’m sure that’s because you have Asperger’s and not because you know jack shit about this. (/sarcasm) Tho to say you know jack shit may be an understatement.

    I really don’t think sex is necessary and it looks like most of these women are trafficked into the country.

    Because they are not Icelandic? Not saying none of them are trafficked, but migrant does not automatically equal trafficked. Besides which, what estrobutch said. Would someone who was going to be trafficked to Iceland to be a stripper (theoretically) be better off being diverted to Dubai to be a hooker? Or, being trafficked to Iceland to be a hooker or a private outcall stripper? What effect do you think this law will actually have on trafficking victims? Why do so many people think outlawing sex work solves trafficking and/or coercion in sex work?

    This sounds like a good idea, Besides, all the money guys spend on strippers could be put to better use

    Strippers don’t deserve to get paid for their work. Men should just hoard even more of their often undeserved money, or maybe they’ll magically grow consciences and donate it all to worthy causes! (/sarcasm)

    and the men could do something productive like reading books and learning stuff.

    Men who go to strip clubs spend absolutely 100% of their time there and do absolutely nothing else ever. This is why they can afford to spend money there. (/sarcasm) Also, sorry, this law doesn’t have anything in it about controlling men, just controlling women.

    I think sex is necessary for being in a relationship or for procreation, but it shouldn’t be a hobby, we’d be better off as a species because of it.

    Rick Santorum, is that you? Even better…David Vitter? (/sarcasm…maybe)

  87. Anony Mouse
    Anony Mouse March 28, 2010 at 7:03 pm |

    With respect, RD, calling a commenter a “fucking asshole,” saying another person knows “jack shit,” and making unfounded conjectures about me is uncivil. My “dog in this fight” is that I’m interested in feminist issues and I like having discussions and hearing other opinions and perspectives on topics over which reasonable people can disagree.

  88. S.L
    S.L March 28, 2010 at 8:02 pm |

    RD your words and insults are unnecessary. Obviously this is personal for you, but calling names and insulting others is definitely crossing a line. No I don’t know what you have been through. I wasn’t commenting on your life, I was commenting on the article.

    I wasn’t attacking you. I was trying to point out that alot responses here seem US centric and the article isn’t about the U.S. Different policies, different culture, different system.

    Yes Kelly I have been reading. From the article:
    According to Icelandic police, 100 foreign women travel to the country annually to work in strip clubs. It is unclear whether the women are trafficked, but feminists say it is telling that as the stripping industry has grown, the number of Icelandic women wishing to work in it has not. Supporters of the bill say that some of the clubs are a front for prostitution – and that many of the women work there because of drug abuse and poverty rather than free choice.

    So the legislation WAS in part due to concerns over trafficking. That’s what I was trying to point out. And no RD, Iceland isn’t silly enough to think that victims will be better off getting trafficked somewhere else. They are trying to cut down on trafficking IN ICELAND.

    Your comment to Vanessa is unbelievable. Just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t make them stupid or unknowledgeable. It just means they disagree.

    I think alot of this has less to do with class and more to do with personal views of the sex industry. Some people object to women’s bodies being sold like commodities. As did the politician who proposed the ban in Iceland.

  89. GA
    GA March 29, 2010 at 2:16 am |

    I think it is telling that the primary voices on this issue are the politicians and the business owners. What effect will the law have? I don’t know, but if I were a journalist, my first thought would be to ask a sex worker – the people most impacted by this law. I don’t really care about what politicians think is best for everyone and business owners crying about lost profits.

    I find it especially offensive that Bindel “observed” strippers and commented about them not looking happy but never thought to ask them their opinion and then listen to their answer. If they had appeared happy due to business owners threatening to fire strippers who don’t smile enough – as happens in many service industries, would that have made things better?

    As for stopping trafficking – here’s a good article about the problem of criminalizing all workers in an industry in order to ostensibly protect trafficking victims:

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/09/03/criminalizing-sex-work-combat-trafficking-rhode-island-considers-wrong-solution-wrong-problem

    CarpelTunnel asked in a comment about resources for information about legalization. A good book is ‘Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry’.

    I must say that I’m turned off by the whole debate about whether sex work degrades or empowers sex workers. Either answer to the question seems to deny the reality of anyone that has to work for a living.

    A better question is what is the most effective way to support and empower people who are being exploited? And the first step for that is to listen to them.

  90. Li
    Li March 29, 2010 at 3:20 am |

    With respect, Anony Mouse and S.L, you’ve both just made tone arguments. You’ve also both made comments that attempt to decenter the experiences of sex workers in this thread, including someone who has worked as a stripper in Iceland. Instead of telling RD they are “uncivil”, maybe you should carefully consider what it is about this discussion that is pissing them off so effectively.

    /derail.

  91. Natalia
    Natalia March 29, 2010 at 4:04 am |

    Vanessa, I expect extreme wank surrounding these issues, but this really takes the cake:

    I guess it’s because I have Asperger’s, or I just don’t think like most people, but I think this law is great. I really don’t think sex is necessary and it looks like most of these women are trafficked into the country. This sounds like a good idea, Besides, all the money guys spend on strippers could be put to better use and the men could do something productive like reading books and learning stuff. I think sex is necessary for being in a relationship or for procreation, but it shouldn’t be a hobby, we’d be better off as a species because of it.

    Yeah, and “every sperm is sacred,” etc.

    You may have your personal preferences, but the political implications of what you’re saying here would be funny – if they didn’t so directly affect people’s working conditions, personal safety, ability to earn a living, etc.

  92. Martine Votvik
    Martine Votvik March 29, 2010 at 7:35 am |

    RD –
    sorry for the shit you’ve been trough and good luck with your crusade.

    I guess living in scandinavia/iceland is a strangely different reality than living in the US and many other places, but should it really be that difficult to realise that laws function differently depending on in which culture they are practiced?

    And it really pisses me of when somebody pushes their sad experienses in front of them like som kind of holy badge, that’s just like saying that people who have experienced less doesn’t have the right to say anything.

    And just to up the irony, what about ‘my experiences’? What about the experiences of all the scandinavian and icelandic women that has somehow lead us to viewing these kinds of laws as an instrument of feminism and equality? Don’t we count? Are our oppinions less valuable because we havn’t experienced the level of misogyny that you have?

    And what about the unique experiences of such small societies? Where the change in mens actions and attitudes have been quite easy to detect after the introduction of the strip clubs?

  93. estrobutch
    estrobutch March 29, 2010 at 11:02 am |

    “And it really pisses me of when somebody pushes their sad experienses in front of them like som kind of holy badge, that’s just like saying that people who have experienced less doesn’t have the right to say anything.”

    *smh* or maybe it just means you have less to say?

    And just to up the irony, what about ‘my experiences’? What about the experiences of all the scandinavian and icelandic women that has somehow lead us to viewing these kinds of laws as an instrument of feminism and equality? ”

    Your the expert on that part. I’m going to assume what you saying is true. This law will have a positive effect on *you.*

    “Are our oppinions less valuable because we havn’t experienced the level of misogyny that you have?”

    yes. women who are much more vulnerable to the effects of this law there voices count more. cuz when they don’t then ppl like you end up building your little feminist utiopia on the backs of more marginalized women. thats pretty fucked.

    yeah life is a little more complicated then what you read in your women studies class.

  94. estrobutch
    estrobutch March 29, 2010 at 11:11 am |

    who were not hearing from in this thread are the women in Iceland who just had there livelihoods banned (yeah I heard, not technically banned just in *reality* banned). I guess there kind of busy right now being collateral damage to other women’s progress.

  95. RD
    RD March 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm |

    Anony Mouse-

    With respect, RD, calling a commenter a “fucking asshole,” saying another person knows “jack shit,” and making unfounded conjectures about me is uncivil.

    I call em like I see em. The “fucking asshole” is a fucking asshole who made me angry and upset. REALLY angry and upset. The person who I said knows “jack shit”…I was being charitable and assuming she was mostly ignorant rather than stupid. As for you, I think the fact you haven’t answered is a pretty good answer.

    My “dog in this fight” is that I’m interested in feminist issues and I like having discussions and hearing other opinions and perspectives on topics over which reasonable people can disagree.

    So basically this is an intellectual exercise to you. Its not an intellectual exercise to everyone.

  96. RD
    RD March 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm |

    S.L.-

    I wasn’t attacking you. I was trying to point out that alot responses here seem US centric and the article isn’t about the U.S. Different policies, different culture, different system.

    That’s not all you said. Basically, you talked down to me about some sex work not being voluntary. I think I know more about that than (I hope) you ever will.

    So the legislation WAS in part due to concerns over trafficking. That’s what I was trying to point out.

    Bindel doesn’t even come out and say that she knows for a fact ANY of these women were being trafficked. That part you quoted reads like a bunch of speculation to me.

    And no RD, Iceland isn’t silly enough to think that victims will be better off getting trafficked somewhere else. They are trying to cut down on trafficking IN ICELAND.

    I think any kind of “solution” to trafficking needs to center the needs of trafficking victims. Apparently not everyone agrees.

    Your comment to Vanessa is unbelievable. Just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t make them stupid or unknowledgeable. It just means they disagree.

    Did you read her comment?

    I think alot of this has less to do with class and more to do with personal views of the sex industry. Some people object to women’s bodies being sold like commodities. As did the politician who proposed the ban in Iceland.

    Which has EVERYTHING to do with class, and sex work experience.

  97. RD
    RD March 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm |

    Martine-

    RD –
    sorry for the shit you’ve been trough and good luck with your crusade.

    Wow that sounds SO SINCERE. Sorry you don’t have much relevant experience and good luck continuing being so condescending, hope that goes well for you.

    I guess living in scandinavia/iceland is a strangely different reality than living in the US and many other places, but should it really be that difficult to realise that laws function differently depending on in which culture they are practiced?…And what about the unique experiences of such small societies? Where the change in mens actions and attitudes have been quite easy to detect after the introduction of the strip clubs?

    Your blog says you live in Oslo, Norway. The Google says the metropolitan area of Oslo has a population of 1.4 million. Do you spend a lot of time in Iceland or something?

    I already acknowledged being US centric. I don’t think Kelly is being US centric tho.

    And it really pisses me of when somebody pushes their sad experienses in front of them like som kind of holy badge, that’s just like saying that people who have experienced less doesn’t have the right to say anything.

    Not what I was doing. If I wanted to go on about every crappy experience I have had I would write a fucking novel like those other sex worker tell-alls.

    And just to up the irony, what about ‘my experiences’? What about the experiences of all the scandinavian and icelandic women that has somehow lead us to viewing these kinds of laws as an instrument of feminism and equality? Don’t we count? Are our oppinions less valuable because we havn’t experienced the level of misogyny that you have?

    See my response to Jill saying basically the same thing (only she apparently didn’t agree completely with what she was saying).

  98. Martine Votvik
    Martine Votvik March 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm |

    RD –

    Yes I live in Oslo which is in Norway, which is in scandinavia, I never claimed to come from Iceland. But I know enough about the country and it’s culture that I have no problem counting it among the scandinavian countries culturevise.

    I’ve only lived in Oslo for 5 years, most of my life has been spent in the countryside and most of that again in the north of Norway. I’ve got sami and gipsy blood in my veins I’m surprised I managed to stay for as long as I did.

    As for Kelly, she hasn’t said anything I disagree with so far, she’s only stated facts, you on the other hand state opinions.

    But yeah, I’m pissy, condesending and I know it all, I bet I could write a book or two about the shit I’ve been trough to get me here too. You’re personal experience is not irrelevant, insignificant or invaluable, but that doesn’t mean you can generalise from it. How many studies have you read on the relationship between prostituion, stripping, porn and trafficing? That hasn’t been written by americans or about america? Not that I recomend it it’s depressing and jarring. But there is a growing amout of them out there and even though they don’t all agree with each other two questions spring to mind:

    1 is it really possible to create a society that runs so smoothly and transparently that we could stop traficing through regulations alone?

    2 can we really fight this shit without striking at where the moneys actually made?

  99. dragnet
    dragnet March 29, 2010 at 2:38 pm |

    Just because the gov’t has banned something doesn’t mean it won’t happen anymore. Sure Iceland has banned prostitution…but do we really think there are no more men buying and women selling sex in Iceland? Really??

    The proper thing to do would have been to regulate it to make sure the women are kept safe in this line of work. Banning it will just drive it underground anyways.

  100. RD
    RD March 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm |

    I’m sick of this. Jesus fucking christ people.

  101. GA
    GA March 29, 2010 at 3:28 pm |

    Why is it that the only options the powers that be seem willing to allow are outlaw it, criminalizing the sex worker (even if not explicitly), or legalizing it giving employers the full protection of the government complete with lax enforcement of limited labor laws?

    Why not ask the people most directly affected what sorts of aid and protections would most empower them and then give it to them. There are countless workers rights in all countries that not allowed because they would be “unfair” to business owners and cut into their profits. Why not enforce these rights for workers in industries where we don’t care about owner’s profits?

  102. William
    William March 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm |

    The proper thing to do would have been to regulate it to make sure the women are kept safe in this line of work. Banning it will just drive it underground anyways.

    Yet that isn’t what has been done. I hate to keep beating a dead horse here, but you can tell a lot about the motives of a behavior from it’s effects. This law serves to marginalize women who strip, to make them less safe, to push them underground and deny them the basic labor protections that a legal employee would be able to claim. This might not be the stated purpose of the law, but it is certainly the effect of the law. Women will continue to strip in Iceland and they will now have less legal recourse. If there is a concern about women being trafficked to strip in Iceland, within the context of an insular society, then what this law does is make women who are already socially undesirable further stigmatized. The implication is that Iceland’s government is shockingly short-sighted (possible, given their recent history), dangerously naive (again, recent history makes this plausible), very poorly educated (unlikely), or dishonest and willing to wrap misogyny and racism in feminist rhetoric (given their status as politicians, also quite likely). The actual state is probably some combination of the above, but somehow I doubt that will be much comfort to the women who are now measurably less safe in their profession.

  103. jane brazen
    jane brazen March 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm |

    Hey, I get how difficult it is for feminists to wrestle with the place of experience, but with all respect intended, this is a post about a law that directly effects sex workers and indirectly effects Women As A Class. I’d think it would behoove all feminists to agree that prioritizing the experiences of the marginalized group effected is important.

    As the saying goes: nothing about us without us. Why aren’t more conversations on blogs and in politics about policies that effect sex workers trying to include us?

  104. maja
    maja March 30, 2010 at 2:46 am |

    Iceland is a very small country, and I would bet that 100% of the strip clubs were located in Reykjavik, there were probably only one or two of tyhem, anyway. They found quite a few cases of women that had been brought in illegally from other countries not knowing what they were getting themselves in for and not being able to get help when they needed it. I think it’s a practical solution to ban strip clubs altogether when there aren’t very many in the first place. These places are not really giving people a lot of jobs, so it’s a very small number of people that are affected.

  105. Martine Votvik
    Martine Votvik March 30, 2010 at 5:15 am |

    maja –

    where did you read about the cases of women brought there illegaly and unknowingly? I’m sure many people would appreciate a link.

  106. Henry
    Henry March 30, 2010 at 11:58 am |

    It’s surprising to see the number of commenters who think of the ban on strip clubs (and similar bans on prostitution) as a great victory for women and feminism.

    Since when was it a good thing that the state decided what you did with your body? Surely it’s a great loss for feminists when we see bans like this passed into law. The liberal ideal—that there are many paths to the good life, some which we will find unsavoury—surely demands enforcing maximum corporal freedom for all so long as it doesn’t harm others. The faulty war on drugs is just the other side of the same coin; banning things because the state deems they’re bad for you (ignoring the fact that prohibition, of drugs and of prostitution alike, causes most of the harms we see with these ‘vices’) is authoritarian and illiberal.

    Again we see the issue of trafficking and stripping/prostitution conflated. They’re not the same thing. No-one is arguing for sexual slavery. We’re arguing for the right for people to do what they want with their bodies. Feminism is about embracing one’s sexuality (sure enough, there are many strippers and prostitutes who take their work very seriously and are proud of what they do—or would be more proud if it weren’t for law enforcement constantly hounding them) and about empowerment, and this law is entirely disempowering.

  107. estrobutch
    estrobutch March 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm |

    sorry Henry but I don’t think women need you telling them what feminism is about.

    and I don’t think the problem with this ban is about political ideology either.

  108. Henry
    Henry March 30, 2010 at 1:19 pm |

    “sorry Henry but I don’t think women need you telling them what feminism is about.”

    I think it’s a shame that my sex has immediately been given some sort of relevance. The fact that I am physically male is no more relevant to this discussion than the fact that I am not a stripper. My comments are entirely academic.

    In any case, your comment hasn’t addressed anything I’ve said so far. You’ve simply stated your disagreement.

  109. Henry
    Henry March 30, 2010 at 1:19 pm |

    “sorry Henry but I don’t think women need you telling them what feminism is about.”

    I think it’s a shame that my sex has immediately been brought up. The fact that I am physically male is no more relevant to this discussion than the fact that I am not a stripper. My comments are entirely academic.

    In any case, your comment hasn’t addressed anything I’ve said so far. You’ve simply stated your disagreement.

  110. becky
    becky March 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm |

    no, henry, in my view, your comments are entirely mansplaining. so i guess that’s why some people, including myself, do not feel inclined to further respond to your “educational hour with henry”. ever.

  111. Henry
    Henry March 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm |

    Becky, I wasn’t intending to patronise or to ‘mansplain’. Neither of the definitions on urbandictionary [http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mansplain] (the second of which is extremely offensive) describe my comment as far as I can tell.

    I was only hoping to opine on the post—which is what comments are for, are they not?—but you seem to have taken great offense to my comment. Unless you care to explain why, I shall remain forever uninformed. I find it disappointing that you’ve chosen to resort to naked assertions rather than engaging with anything I’ve written.

  112. estrobutch
    estrobutch March 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm |

    really henry you can’t parse out mansplaining?

    the problem is that your a *man* whose *explaining* to women what feminism is about. *get* it?

    speaking for myself I engaged everything I thought was worth responding to. the rest was just wanking off. some things are better off done in private.

    you want to know what i think good reasons to oppose this ban are then read my other comments.

  113. Martine Votvik
    Martine Votvik March 30, 2010 at 3:39 pm |

    Henry –

    I think Iceland is a bit fed up with “liberalism”, after all the Liberal party is seen as more or less acountable for the financial crisis they’re in. So now they are looking towards socialist ideals. And if you look closer at scandinavian feminism you’ll find that the greater good of the group as a whole is more often than not put in front of the most freedom to the individual. I know, very scary… :P

  114. Henry
    Henry March 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm |

    I read the accepted definitions of the term (not one I am familiar with) and don’t think my comment met them: I wasn’t intending to patronise or condescend.

    When I said that “feminism is about embracing one’s sexuality [...] and about empowerment”, I’m obviously not trying to tell people what the word means! I meant it in the sense of what I feel it should endorse: sex-positivism and individual liberty. I have no problem with women becoming strippers if they so wish, so I come at this discussion from a different angle. I have no interest in getting rid of stripping, whether through social change or by legislating it out of existence.

    In your comments here you talk of your skepticism that the ban will actually reduce trafficking, and that I agree with: the market tends to be more powerful than prohibition. Likewise, I agree with your sentiment that the livelihoods of the women who will be made jobless by this reform are of serious concern and I think it’s pretty sanguine of legislators to make moralising blanket bans without consideration of the consequences (and surprising from what is a historically liberal country, from what I understand).

    Quite why speaking my mind (is that what you meant by ‘wanking off’?) should be done in private, I am unsure. Telling me my comments are masturbatory is entirely unhelpful. I would not ask you to ‘keep your opinions to yourself’ (on an open forum, of all places!) and I don’t expect to be asked that by anyone else.

  115. William
    William March 30, 2010 at 5:09 pm |

    I read the accepted definitions of the term

    Yeah, Urban Dictionary sure is a definitive source. Hell, its so damned useful you don’t even have to bother to have enough contact with the culture using a word to know it’s meaning. If someone doesn’t square with the Urban Dictionary definition of a word, chances are they’re wrong (read: stupid) and need you to mansplain explain to them what they did wrong.

    and don’t think my comment met them

    Why bother thinking any further? You’ve got important shit to do, right?

    I wasn’t intending to patronise or condescend.

    Now I don’t know what Urban Dictionary has to say about the definition of “bullshit” but I’m pretty sure you’ll get what I’m implying here…

    When I said that “feminism is about embracing one’s sexuality [...] and about empowerment”,

    You were (as a man) explaining to women (on a feminist site) what it means to be a feminist (a term loaded with history, nuance, and debate). Unfortunately, these foolish women failed to heed your wisdom. You have my sincerest condolences.

    I’m obviously not trying to tell people what the word means!

    I don’t see how anyone could have been confused. I mean, who thinks that the act of defining a word is a statement on what that word means?

    I meant it in the sense of what I feel it should endorse:

    So you weren’t saying what the word means so much as what you think it ought to mean. I don’t see how anyone could have confused so clear a subtext for a man telling a woman what she should think about feminism.

    sex-positivism and individual liberty

    Thanks for clearing that up. Now I see that your neutral and value-free definition of feminism is clearly not one which anyone here would have any reason (either theoretical or practical) to debate.

    I have no problem with women becoming strippers if they so wish,

    Which is, I would suspect, a great relief to women everywhere.

    so I come at this discussion from a different angle.

    …have you even read the comments threat up until this point? The narcissism, it burns!

    I have no interest in getting rid of stripping, whether through social change or by legislating it out of existence.

    Notice how that isn’t really what you were called on? We get it, you like to look at boobies and you define that as feminism.

    In your comments here you talk of your skepticism that the ban will actually reduce trafficking, and that I agree with: the market tends to be more powerful than prohibition.

    Understand that I say this as someone who is a classical liberal. This isn’t about market theory. By bringing up “the market” in a discussion like this you’re showing your utter ignorance both of classical liberal theory and of the context of the discussion. Iceland is already a highly regulated nation with a highly regulated economy. It is a country with a strong history of collective action and can be easily described as “collectivist.” They’ve made their choice and it is not the free market. As such, a traditional free market response to the problems presented isn’t going to fit the reality on the ground. tl;dr: shut the fuck up, you’re making other classical liberals look bad.

    Likewise, I agree with your sentiment that the livelihoods of the women who will be made jobless by this reform are of serious concern and I think it’s pretty sanguine of legislators to make moralising blanket bans without consideration of the consequences (and surprising from what is a historically liberal country, from what I understand).

    Who is this “you” ad “your” you keep talking about? There have been a lot of commenters and an original post.

    Beyond that, you’re not adding anything to the discussion. I’d think you’d avoid that seeing as you’ve already been curt with someone who “simply stated [their] disagreement.”

    Quite why speaking my mind (is that what you meant by ‘wanking off’?) should be done in private, I am unsure.

    I hate to break it to you, but thats not really something anyone here could (or should be expected to) help you with.

    Telling me my comments are masturbatory is entirely unhelpful.</blockquote

    Because women are here to be helpful, amirite?

    I would not ask you to ‘keep your opinions to yourself’ (on an open forum, of all places!) and I don’t expect to be asked that by anyone else.

    You can keep puffing out your chest but everyone here sees past it. Take a look at the other comments (I know, its hard to focus on things that don’t revolve around you). There have been lots of people who have said similar things to you. There have been people who said them with more vitriol and people who went into further depth. None of them have faced the same response that you have.

    Perhaps, and this should come easily for you, you should consider what you did to elicit these responses.

  116. Henry
    Henry March 30, 2010 at 6:11 pm |

    Thanks for clearing that up. Now I see that your neutral and value-free definition of feminism is clearly not one which anyone here would have any reason (either theoretical or practical) to debate.

    I never claimed my opinions were neutral or value-free. (I’d love to hear such a definition of feminism, in any case.)

    I mean, who thinks that the act of defining a word is a statement on what that word means?

    Indeed, I was unclear but have attempted to clarify what I meant. The last word, then: there are many definitions and subtypes of feminism. I don’t purport to have the ‘right’ one, I am simply putting my particular view forward.

    We get it, you like to look at boobies and you define that as feminism.

    You are wilfully manipulating what I have said. Do not straw man my argument.

    By bringing up “the market” in a discussion like this you’re showing your utter ignorance both of classical liberal theory and of the context of the discussion.

    I was referring to the global market in trafficked women. Market forces are more powerful than prohibition. Evidence of this is seen in the market in illegal drugs which remains strong despite tens of billions of dollars being spent on supply-side interdiction. Referring to what estrobutch said:

    “Lots of ppl keep pushing this idea that its about stopping human trafficking. can you connect the dots on that for me please? […] how is that really going to play out for a trafficking victim?”

    …have you even read the comments threat [sic] up until this point?

    I have, and many of the commenters do not share my view. Nor does the OP. I wanted to weigh in on the argument.

    Because women are here to be helpful, amirite?

    Male or female, I’d like people to respond to my comments rather than just shoot them down. (So, thanks!)

  117. William
    William March 30, 2010 at 8:15 pm |

    Indeed, I was unclear but have attempted to clarify what I meant. The last word, then: there are many definitions and subtypes of feminism. I don’t purport to have the ‘right’ one, I am simply putting my particular view forward.

    As quite a few people have already said its not that you put forth your opinion, its how you did it and how you responded to objections.

    You are wilfully manipulating what I have said. Do not straw man my argument.

    I’m believe you’ve confused mockery with engagement.

    Male or female, I’d like people to respond to my comments rather than just shoot them down.

    Something tells me you’ll be left wanting.

  118. Anony Mouse
    Anony Mouse March 30, 2010 at 8:56 pm |

    I realize this isn’t a blog and I’m not a moderator, but, maybe– just maybe– it’s time to let this thread die, seeing as how it has degenerated into a pissing contest.

  119. S.L
    S.L March 31, 2010 at 12:03 am |

    I was going to explain to Henry how his statements about liberalism didn’t really apply to the situation in Iceland. But I see William aready did.

    So yes anony mouse I agree we should let it die :)

  120. William
    William March 31, 2010 at 8:37 am |

    Anony Mouse, sounds like a good plan.

  121. James
    James March 31, 2010 at 12:54 pm |

    I think it’s good thing. Women from Iceland aren’t the ones doing the stripping, the strip clubs are having to bring poor women from Eastern Europe in to do it. Many of them only come in temporarily. It’s clearly a situation where the strippers are being exploited for temporary gain by the employers. It’s not some building block or stepping stone from which they can further advance themselves in Iceland.

    I don’t care for the libertarian arguments against this law simply because that is largely someone else imposing their value system on Iceland. If Iceland feels this is such a terrible law they can use their democratic process to repeal it, much as they used their democratic process to enact it.

  122. estrobutch
    estrobutch March 31, 2010 at 2:12 pm |

    strippers only deserve rights if they have a bright future ahead as a non-stripper.

    James your an ass.

  123. workingrl
    workingrl April 14, 2010 at 4:34 pm |

    OK, I gave up on reading all the comments, but hello, did anyone who actually has any (GASP) EXPERIENCE in the sex trade post? As an ex-sex-worker (who might go back to the trade if I need cash, get the itch to hang with the types of fablous tough-assed women one meets in the trade, or have gone a while without any sex and want to the terms of it to be really straightforward, etc.), I find some of the tripe people spout on these topics hilarious. WOMEN DON’T SELL THEIR BODIES in strip clubs or other forms of sex work. The very formulation is SO sexist! We don’t talk about construction workers, janitors or even male models “selling their bodies”. For F-sake (literally), when I worked I RENTED my time, attention, skills and skin — like physiotherapists, day care workers or actors all over the world do. You might note that I still own my G-damned body. Why does the fact that the work involves (shriek) sex justify such hyperbolic and inaccurate framings of it?
    Why is no one here talking about the sex-phobia, prudery and general church-lady-ness of this law? Did they ban burlesque? Will they prohibit Showcase or HBO TV shows?
    What foolishness!

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