Monday Reads

Some things to check out this afternoon:

The Argument for Paying Moms Less. This is on my “to write about” list, but I’ll say now that the author of this piece clearly hasn’t done much research into discrimination against working women. Mothers don’t get paid less simply because they “work less.” There’s a motherhood penalty that women face — numerous studies have shown that indicating motherhood on a resume (by listing activities like the PTA or other parenthood identifiers) results in fewer interviews and a starting salary offer that is thousands of dollars less than the offers made to male candidates. Candidates who are fathers are actually offered higher starting salaries, even with comparable resumes. So no, it’s not that mothers are less productive.

Thinspiration on the internet. Particularly interesting: “The major aesthetic theme is fragility. Many girls write about their desire to become ‘fragile’ or ‘delicate.’ … it’s about dainty rather than dangerous.”

Ann Friedman asks, why are we ok with a hierarchy of “acceptable” abortions?

Young women and porn: A look at how the pervasiveness of internet porn impacts adolescent girls and boys. Key quote: “This is the paradoxical fear of many heterosexual 14-year-old girls: that the Internet is making boys more aggressive sexually—more accepting of graphic images or violence toward women, brasher, more demanding—but it is also making them less so, or at least less interested in the standard-issue, flesh-and-bone girls they encounter in real life who may not exactly have Penthouse proportions and porn-star inclinations. (“If you see something online, and the girls in your neighborhood are totally different, then it’s, um … different,” one 14-year-old boy tells me.) This puts young women in the sometimes uncomfortable position of trying to bridge the gap.”


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74 comments for “Monday Reads

  1. February 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    … is this replacing Shameless Self-promotion Sundays?

    Re: ‘Young Women and Porn’: I don’t think this is an argument for why porn needs to be less pervasive, but for why Internet regulation needs to be greater– not regulation of content, but regulation of users. Since I was a young teen but 5 or 6 years ago, this has already improved so much. It’s difficult to find chat rooms where you don’t have to be a registered user, thus cutting down on the number of kids in adult chat rooms and, more importantly, adults in kid chat rooms. Unregistered commenting is also on its way out, cutting down on hate speech. Thanks to the rise of Facebook, I think that all of our Internet activities will be tied to our real IDs in one way or another soon enough. In fact, I predict that in twenty years there will be ID numbers issued by internet providers that we’ll need to use to log on in order to verify our ages, and that will track our Internet activity like EZPass. The gov’t will subpoena them from time-to-time to track down the culprits of illegal online activity, and instead of people freaking out about how this is all so Big Brother-y, they’ll remember what it used to be like in the Wild West days of the Internet where people posted threats and child porn with relative impunity and predators stalked victims and kids watched porn, and they’ll be all, “Eh, Tea Party government distrust is so 2011.”

    • February 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      … is this replacing Shameless Self-promotion Sundays?

      No.

  2. February 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    OK, I actually checked out the article for that story and, oh man, this is their deck? “I wouldn’t mind if [boys] said ‘Send me a picture of you.’ But it’s like the way they ask for it. Naked?” An after-school conversation with girls about sex and the Internet.”

    I want to read this, I really do, but I am just not in the mood for another article that completely erases (pubescent) female sexual desire. Newsflash: sometimes girls sext not because boys made them or porn made them, but because they want to.

  3. February 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    re: the thinspiration article, is there another way of accessing it? That link takes me to some iPad thingy I don’t understand and can’t read. I tried Googling, but couldn’t find a relevant result and I really don’t have the Sanity Watcher points available to go trawling through a lot of “daily thinspiration” webpages.

  4. RD
    February 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Re: the “young women and porn” quote (I did not and do not wish to read the article)- I think porn is not really the main issue here. The issue is sexual empowerment for girls with no shame from the outside world, and boys learning sex isn’t all about them.

    That said I HATE porn standards, and the expectations that puts on sex workers especially, but also from before that. I think cum is absolutely disgusting. I wish it was standard in porn to use protection…and that does mean no “money shot,” and covered bjs. Who wants a world where insisting on using protection means losing customers and/or gigs (eg amateur porn or whatever)…not a small thing when you NEED them. I’ve given plenty of uncovered bjs for money…and I sure as hell didn’t WANT to. Worse when they say they won’t come and then “accidentally” do. I’ve gotten over this, but shaving, even hearing about shaving, used to be seriously traumatic for me from having been forcibly shaved. So, yeah, don’t get me wrong, porn standards absolutely suck.

  5. William
    February 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    not regulation of content, but regulation of users.

    One necessarily leads to the other. While having your name attached to something you post might have the effect of stopping some harassment (although I think Anonymous, Tor, ubiquitous free wifi, neighbors who don’t realize they have open networks, widely available free internet addresses, and the international nature of the internet undercut that argument considerably) it also has the effect of silencing people who don’t want their name attached to something.

    The anonymity of the internet has allowed for an enormous amount of communication and mutual support for a wide range of minorities. Trans communities, genderqueer communities, BDSM enthusiasts, furries, all sorts of people who could face real danger trying to express their identities or satisfy their kinks in public have made use of the internet to help create safe spaces. Tie that to facebook and you’ve opened whole groups of people to harassment and silencing. More importantly, you’ve cut off young people who feel very alone and very alienated from the kind of support and kinship that would allow them to be happy and healthy.

    Don’t ever allow yourself to forget that regulation and identification mean giving the Henry Hyde’s of the world access to our generations equivalent to library records. The government is not the friend of oppressed peoples and giving them the power to know what oppressed persons are up to isn’t likely to reduce oppression.

  6. RD
    February 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Sex workers too.

  7. RD
    February 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Lori, even if you are out to friends and family, they could inform your *landlord*, future employers, etc. (child services, ICE, etc.).

  8. RD
    February 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Oh and in your world? Say goodbye to online advertizing of any kind, and prepare for a mass exodus of sex workers to the street.

  9. RD
    February 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I mean there would prolly be more print advertizing too, but overall shutting that down really hurts, it doesn’t help.

  10. RD
    February 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    “And, etc.”

  11. RD
    February 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    You know you can see this happening (closure of craigslist, backpage, and targeting of indoor venues, not the decimation of online sex worker communities) right now…the result is situations like this – article itself is shitty of course but really demonstrates this (notice it was due to cops cracking down on a nearby popular hotel).

  12. Tony
    February 7, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    (…) studies have shown female doctors are less productive than male doctors.

    That’s not what the study says. The study says women doctors saw fewer patients of the course of a year. It contains a quote from a radiologist who says the results can be explained by the fact that the women have to work fewer hours because of more home obligations. Once again, it’s about hours worked, not productivity.

    That might also explain the “PTA penalty”. If salaried mothers, on average, tend to work fewer hours, then employers might be compensating for this by offering lower starting salaries and fewer interviews to people they know are mothers. In this way, even employers who don’t intend to discriminate end up discriminating. And if mothers know that they’ll be discriminated against by being paid less, this of course lessens their incentive to work more and work well. Which feeds into a vicious spiral. The problem here is asymmetrical information. The well-intentioned employer is driven to rational discrimination even if the mother in question would work just as hard as a non-mother, because the employer doesn’t know this before hand. The employer only knows she is a mother.

  13. saurus
    February 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Jadey: re: the thinspiration article, is there another way of accessing it? That link takes me to some iPad thingy I don’t understand and can’t read. I tried Googling, but couldn’t find a relevant result and I really don’t have the Sanity Watcher points available to go trawling through a lot of “daily thinspiration” webpages.  

    I can’t find it anywhere else either, and I don’t have time to transcribe it, and it appears to be in the most inaccessible format ever with no alternatives. But here is a summary that covers all the points:

    – Pro-ana online communities were “driven underground” years ago, and have resurfaced on Tumblr.com (my note: this is bull, they were never driven underground in blogging communities like Livejournal and Xanga, and Tumblr is just a more modern variation on those)
    – The postings are primarily photos of very skinny women with taglines like “were the fries worth it”
    – Most users are 120-160lbs, and want to be 100lbs or less
    – Contrary to feeling like they have an eating disorder, they feel like they’re eating “healthier” and mention things like fruit and veggies
    – They want to be delicate, fragile, “light as a feather”, dainty (my note: would be interesting to explore the negative connotations we, as a culture, give to embodiment – a lot of anorexia-themed memoirs have touched on this too; escaping the self and it’s embarrassing unlikable traits by trying to escape the body and its weight, its fluids and flesh)

  14. February 7, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Thank you, saurus. The points about daintiness and a particular body experience are very interesting, as Jill’s original comment indicated as well. It reminds me of Jewel’s “Fat Boy” (TW on that song, for anyone looking it up, for a lot of reflections of our fat-negative reality), which I always found compelling and touching as a teenager. I remember the urge to be light and invisible – I still identify with feather imagery for that reason, but I no longer project it on to my physical body. Instead, I strive for lightness of spirit.

    (The inaccessible format thing is a huge pain. I assume it’s deliberate to keep information locked only to subscribers who’ve paid for a specific type of platform, like an iPad, and that somebody out there would love to be able to define your synopsis as copyright infringement.)

  15. February 8, 2011 at 12:06 am

    LoriA: Thanks to the rise of Facebook, I think that all of our Internet activities will be tied to our real IDs in one way or another soon enough. In fact, I predict that in twenty years there will be ID numbers issued by internet providers that we’ll need to use to log on in order to verify our ages, and that will track our Internet activity like EZPass.

    And you’re *happy* about this? If this happens, I will have to withdraw from social media, including blogs, entirely. As a trans woman with mental disabilities, I cannot afford to have my real name connected to my blog comments and the like; not only will I be risking my employment prospects – already low enough for being visibly trans – but risking my safety.

    I use a handle that is consistent across the (non-FB) social media that I’m a part of; people get to know me, my status, and my politics through that handle, they can moderate or ban me through that handle if they so choose, and that should be good enough. I shouldn’t have to risk my ability to find work or physical safety to satisfy anyone’s “real name only” desires.

  16. February 8, 2011 at 12:08 am

    William: Trans communities, genderqueer communities, BDSM enthusiasts, furries, all sorts of people who could face real danger trying to express their identities or satisfy their kinks in public have made use of the internet to help create safe spaces. Tie that to facebook and you’ve opened whole groups of people to harassment and silencing. More importantly, you’ve cut off young people who feel very alone and very alienated from the kind of support and kinship that would allow them to be happy and healthy.

    So MUCH this.

  17. William
    February 8, 2011 at 12:18 am

    I shouldn’t have to risk my ability to find work or physical safety to satisfy anyone’s “real name only” desires.

    Haven’t you learned by now, your desire to create your own identity is subordinate to the right of people with power to know who you are if you offend them.

    /vomit

  18. haley
    February 8, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Yeah I completely agree with GallaGalla and similar commenters. Also, The more the government tries to close/limit/censor the Internet, the more ways people will find to bypass said limits (fake accounts, private servers, encryption, etc). The cat is out of the box…so to speak.

    That said, I reeeally found the “young woman and porn” article to be atrocious. Truly and utterly awful on so many levels. I am going to avoid the super obvious about why and instead say this.

    Yes, the Internet has a lot of porn, and it is easy to see. But with Internet porn comes sexual and yes, pornographic diversity. 50 years ago, whoever you were chances were, if you wanted porn you looked at Playboy. Playboy for a long time was about mostly white, skinny, big boobed, heavy makeup naked ladies. That set the precedent.

    Though porno movies were pretty diverse in the 60’s and 70’s primarily do to the more radical culture, many fell by the wayside with the rise of the Hollywood porn industry.

    But what has the Internet done? Well, certainly you can still see “mainstream” porn, but you can also see porn of women who probably look more like me (or you?). More women and men are sharing pictures of their bodies, sharing ideas of sexuality, sharing video of them having sex and so forth.

    And thats what’s wonderful about the Internet; its not about Hollywood’s version of what sexuality looks like. People are sharing all sorts of fantasies and sexualities and genders and sexual preferences. People should see this as a liberating force.

    The youth will not be harmed anymore by Internet porn than my parents generation where harmed by VHS porn. Hell, the young generation will probably be more sexually educated and diverse than their parents because of the Internet.

    Adults, such as this author, should stop using the “think of the children” shtick to shield their own reactionary fears.

  19. February 8, 2011 at 1:52 am

    @RD “That said I HATE porn standards”
    Oh, I totally think there needs to be a complete revolution in porn, but that’s besides the point.
    “I wish it was standard in porn to use protection…and that does mean no “money shot,” and covered bjs. Who wants a world where insisting on using protection means losing customers and/or gigs”
    The solution isn’t only porn that you like. It’s simply a wider variety of porn.

    @William, RD, and GallingGalla
    Woah, woah, woah. I think you’re misunderstanding me. I enjoy the benefits of using a psuedonym myself, and I don’t want to take that away from anyone. I didn’t mean to imply we’d all be commenting under our real names or something- I was just using facebook as an example of the normalization of online accountability. I’m simply envisioning that our internet providers will be age verifiers and they’ll have more detailed private records about online activity that can be subpoenaed when there are threats made or child porn posted etc. As it is, they can track you down via IP address but it’s something of a roundabout process.

  20. February 8, 2011 at 1:59 am

    @Haley

    Sorry, but no. Porn is hardly diverse, even in the vast reaches of the Internet. You have to dig really, really far to come across something it isn’t a faux Hollywood version of sexuality. The Internet hasn’t democratized the porn industry so much as simply expanded its reach. Don’t get me wrong: there are alternatives out there, and homemade porn is on the rise, but it’s absolutely buried in search results by large distributors and aggregators.

    Also, it is most certainly a lot easier to see porn as a child now than it was before the Internet. That’s inarguable.

  21. RD
    February 8, 2011 at 2:09 am

    I never said that kind of porn shouldn’t exist! I said I hate the *standards*.

  22. RD
    February 8, 2011 at 2:44 am

    Also, you’re an asshole.

  23. Sonia
    February 8, 2011 at 4:30 am

    RD: Oh and in your world?Say goodbye to online advertizing of any kind, and prepare for a mass exodus of sex workers to the street.  

    Most authoritarian types, and I suppose the person wishing for that kind of world is one, would prefer that.

  24. Tony
    February 8, 2011 at 8:18 am

    LoriA: of @William, RD, and GallingGalla
    Woah, woah, woah. I think you’re misunderstanding me.I enjoy the benefits of using a psuedonym myself, and I don’t want to take that away from anyone.I didn’t mean to imply we’d all be commenting under our real names or something- I was just using facebook as an example of the normalization of online accountability. I’m simply envisioning that our internet providers will be age verifiers and they’ll have more detailed private records about online activity that can be subpoenaed when there are threats made or child porn posted etc. As it is, they can track you down via IP address but it’s something of a roundabout process.  

    Yeah I got the sense that was what you were saying. The Commerce Department is already developing a National Internet ID. The goal seems to be more of making it easier to sign up to different sites and spend money without remembering a dozen different passwords to login, rather than to have *all* your activity tied to your real identity. They emphasize that it would be voluntary. Of course, tools like KeePass and Password Vault already help you manage passwords.

  25. Tony
    February 8, 2011 at 8:29 am

    On the flip side, it’s interesting how much weird cultural stuff can be going on in the background. In Japan, for example, people have embraced social network that allows them to keep impersonal avatars over sites like Facebook. 4chan’s famous Anonymous style was also cribbed from Japan.

    In a survey of 2,130 Japanese mobile Web users by the Tokyo-based MMD Laboratory, 89 percent of respondents said they were reluctant to disclose their real names on the Web. Specialists say that while Facebook users in the United States tend to recreate real-life social relationships online, many Japanese use Web anonymity to express themselves, free from the pressures to fit into a conformist workplace.

  26. RD
    February 8, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Sonia:
    Most authoritarian types, and I suppose the person wishing for that kind of world is one, would prefer that.  

    Well her linked blog says she is herself a sex worker so that’s why I brought that up.

  27. Athenia
    February 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    That article on Young Women and Porn is FULL OF FAIL.

    The article is full of 18+ year old models mimicking underage girls taking sexy pics of themselves. I’m speechless. Let’s promote and fetishize the very thing that these girls are pressured to do.

    How disrespectful.

  28. haley
    February 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I’m in no way trying to be disrespectful towards LoriA, this is clearly just a matter of difference. But I find it mind boggling to hear someone say that “Porn is hardly diverse, even in the vast reaches of the Internet.” REALLY?????
    REALLY??????

    Once againn, yes your going to find status quo, misogynistic pornographic crap. Yup. Same as you would get on DVD or in a porn mag. But wow, you really DON’T have to dig to find alternative sexualities on the Internet.

    I think the difference in perception comes down to whether you think pornography is inherently oppressive. I do not.

    Even though kids certainly saw porn 30 years ago (I found my mom’s boyfriend’s playboy stash at the age of 8), to be honest, yes, kids today are going to have easier access to it because of the Internet. But I don’t think that is an awful thing.

    I think its acceptable for young people, privately or with their peers, to consensually explore their sex identity and to expose themselves to visual medias of sexuality. Regardless of the Internet or not. But I see the Internet as a positive tool for this.

  29. Jim
    February 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    haley: But I see the Internet as a positive tool for this. haley

    That’s how they hook up a lot of the time.

    LoriA: Sorry, but no. Porn is hardly diverse, even in the vast reaches of the Internet. You have to dig really, really far to come across something it isn’t a faux Hollywood version of sexuality.

    That’s not true of staright porn, it just isn’t, and it’s wildly hilarious to say that about gay porn. A goodly sector of both is amateur.

  30. Paraxeni
    February 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    re: the Friedman article – I know, I know, I’ve asked this before – but I just cannot grasp the rationale behind “Taxpayers money shouldn’t be used toward abortion.” Why not? Obviously I know that the real covert reason is controlling the bodies and sexualities of poor people in the US, but what is the official reasoning behind such a measure?, why are those in charge officially decrying the use of govt. health programs in helping to secure choice? Women pay tax, poor people pay tax, and allowing them to secure an abortion will often save money in the long-term.

    The only things I can ever seem to tease out of the US abortion debate is “It’s icky, I would never…” or “God is against it”. It’s more than confusing.

  31. Anniecat45
    February 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Re working mothers — I think the working mothers and their employers have to be careful and try to be fair to the employees who don’t have kids. I suffered through this as one of 2 support staff in a small office. I started out being happy to help the other support person, who had a small child and could not usually work overtime, even when we had a big project. So I did the overtime. I also worked overtime doing her work when she was absent because of her child. I was also the person who tooke extra training to stay current with developments in our field, since my co-worker did not have time, which in turn meant I was asked to take on more work since I was learning more.

    This was OK with me for a very long time, I figured it was a way I could help out my coworker. Then we had a HUGE seriies of projects for 2 months. At the end of the 2 months of insane rush work, including working til 10 at night many nights and also at least one day on week-ends, I asked if I could have a week off before the next big project began. I was told no, because the secretary’s child was off school during that week and so the secretary had already said she had to take that week off. Given the requirements of the upcoming work, that one week was the only time I could take off.

    I went back to my desk, sat down, and cried. Then I started looking for another job (and found one, at a much bigger organization where our supervisor coordinates the time off). And I suspect I’m not alone in having begun by wanting to help and ending in resentment.

  32. Kaz
    February 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Re: diversity of porn – if we’re including written stuff, we only have to look at fandom to get some porn that really, really does not fit into standard narratives. In fact, because I’m enough a member of fandom that things like explicit slash are the first things I think of when I hear “porn on the internet”, I usually find myself hopelessly bewildered by pornography discussions.

    Re: real-id stuff… okay, here is my issue. Suppose that in the future internet use happens through some linked-to-offline identity. Now, either this is totally sacrosanct private information in such a way that marginalised people talking about marginalisation and especially stuff they’re not out about offline do not have to worry about being outed. First of all, I find this incredibly unrealistic and unlikely. I do NOT trust my internet providers or the government, I do NOT want them to be keeping detailed records about my online activity and everything I do and say. Second, however… if this information is so sacrosanct and private, how exactly are internet trolls and harassers supposed to be held accountable? By making that your stated goal of the “realID” stuff, you’re already calling for a way for people to connect online to offline identity if they don’t like what that person is doing… and I guarantee you that that will get used against marginalised people.

    I’m trying to argue this rationally, but honestly I’m having trouble – the environment you described in your first comment is one of my worst nightmares. Internet anonymity has allowed me to talk about a multitude of things I am silent or have been silent about in RL – fandom, mental health, autism, asexuality, feminism, most recently my questioning my gender and iding as genderqueer. I am not out about most of this stuff in RL, and for a lot of it being out about it would carry some degree of risk. I could not have untangled this stuff without some degree of anonymity. If it weren’t for the internet, I have no idea where I’d be. And the way things are going, I have no idea where queer kids, trans* kids, non-NT kids, etc. will be in a few decades’ time.

  33. February 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    @RD “I never said that kind of porn shouldn’t exist! I said I hate the *standards*. ”
    Okay, fair enough. Totally agreed.

    “Also, you’re an asshole. ”
    I… what? Seriously? I’d ask why, but I actually don’t think I care
    to know. Frankly I’m just surprised ‘you’re an asshole’ is an allowable comment here.

    @Haley
    I know that there’s every kind of porn out there if you look hard enough, but the fact of the matter is that that shit is really buried and certain things are few and far between. Porn for straight women, for instance. I’ve only come across a total of maybe eight smaller sights and one or two large ones geared towards straight women, and none of them are to my tastes. Even queer porn I’ve only been able to find so much, but then I haven’t really looked. I’d love to hear your recommendations. And for the record, no, I don’t think porn is inherently oppressive. I just think the industry is not nearly as democratized as you make it out to be, at least not yet.

    @Jim
    I’ve been thoroughly unimpressed with the superficial diversity of all the porn for men, but then I’m not a man so that’s not really what I look for.

    @Everyone in this porn conversation
    Maybe I need to clarify what I mean by ‘diversity.’ I don’t just mean different body types or fetishes, but stylistic and, if I may be so bold, philosophical differences. The *vast* majority of the porn I’ve seen is from and for the male gaze, cares little to not at all about the sexuality, desires, and pleasure of the performers, invariably fetishizes difference (can we have a porn movie of an interracial couple where the fact that they’re interracial ISN’T a huge deal?) and decontextualizes sex from the rest of the person and, frequently, from a culture of sex-positive consent. This is one argument I would actually be thrilled to lose, so if there’s a whole bunch of porn out there you can recommend for me, please do.

  34. February 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    @Kaz
    Re: Porn diversity: I wasn’t including written erotica in ‘porn’. I do agree with you there that stories have far more variety (especially in terms of ‘gaze’) and they seem to be the one area of porn besides quick-share, low-quality video clips that’s truly democratized. The fact that it’s so low technology is the key, I think. Also the fact that written erotica has long been the domain of women and people with ‘alternative’ sexualities. I personally only use erotic stories to masturbate at this point, because they allow me to imagine a female POV (they also allow for a male POV, and a neutral POV- I’m talking about hetero stories, just for the record).

    Re: Internet ID: I do think this information would be really ‘sacrosanct’ as you put it, because privacy would be of such paramount concern that it would be one of companies’ main marketing points and areas of competition. And I don’t see the government having much interest in going after or even monitoring marginalized groups. Only other private (usually hate) groups would care about that, but any company that leaked that information to the public would fail miserably.

    What people seem to be forgetting is that you can already be tracked via your IP address (unless you’re using some sophisticated and possibly illegal re-routing technology). What I’m suggesting isn’t much different than this, except instead of one ID per computer, it would be per user.

    When I brought up facebook it wasn’t to say we should be using our real names all the time online, just pointing out how online accountability has evolved– six or seven years ago a social networking site where everyone used their real full names was kind of unimaginable. The more the Internet becomes a part of our lives, the less we’ll look at it as a domain with completely separate rules. Which, again, is not to say anonymity will vanish, just that accountability will be far more paramount, like how you see more and more sites requiring all commenters to register an account with an email address.

    I myself am a disabled (mentally ill) woman part-time sex worker with personal information and explicit pictures online. I am sympathetic to the fears of being outed. But I’m also someone who lost her virginity to a psychiatrist she met in a teen chat room at 15. There are already horrible abuses of marginalized groups going on thanks to complete Internet anonymity (*cough 4Chan*). I don’t see how my proposition could make things so horrendously worse.

  35. February 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    @Tony

    Thank you! Yes, something like that.

  36. RD
    February 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Dude, the govt *already* goes after sex workers. You have a couple explicit pictures online…well some folks are selling sex. Sisterhood goes both ways – you want to ID as a sex worker, you ought to care about the effects of your ideas on more marginalized sex workers.

    Also I don’t use my real name on facebook – I use my “sex workers rights” pseudonym (Robin Dunn) which most of my friends know me as anyway, since I know most of them through doing sex workers rights organizing.

  37. February 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    @RD For the record, ‘sex worker’ isn’t a label I fully embrace (for reasons I discuss here) though it is technically true. I don’t want to appropriate an identity that isn’t fully mine. And I do of course care about women who work as prostitutes though I don’t support the full legalization of prostitution. Rather, I’m a supporter of the Swedish model of criminalizing the buying of sex but not the selling. I don’t think the way to advocate for change, though, is by making it easier for women to do an illegal activity but by changing the legal status of that activity. I really don’t think this is the place to argue about prostitution, though. If you want to discuss it further, feel free to e-mail me.

    Oh, and, uh, it would be kind of nice to get an apology for being called an asshole.

  38. Paraxeni
    February 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    @Lori – re, anonymisation – my government has stipulated very vocally that the majority of disabled people in receipt of state benefits are fraudulent scroungers who should be punished for driving the country into bankruptcy. One politician in particular has stated that people falsely claim so that they can go on the internet all day rather than working, and that anyone well enough to use Twitter is well enough to work full time!

    They have been known to check facebook etc. to ‘prove’ that people are fraudulent.

    Without anonymity I’d be completely silenced. I cannot go out and protest so I do it online. I cannot go out and socialise, or shop, it’s all done online. I do things which have been deemed by bigots to be incompatible with being unfit for work due to disability (I have sex, I’m a gamer, I debate, I learn, etc) and all of this could be used against me to somehow prove I’m not really disabled.

    Anonymity online, for me, is the difference between being completely alone, and having support 24/7. It’s the difference between being politically active, and being silenced. Most importantly – this anonymity is the one thing keeping a roof over my head, because none of the things I do can be linked to my real ID, and used against me to deny me my rights.

    I don’t use Facebook and never will, because anonymity and lack of public scrutiny keep me safe. I don’t want to be in a position where defending my own rights (a la Jody McIntyre) leads to me being a target for hatred and abuse. Going by your real name online should be optional, not the default.

  39. RD
    February 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    This is not the place to talk about prostitution, but it is the place to talk about regulating the internet? More later. I also don’t believe I owe you an apology, really.

  40. February 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    @Paraxeni The solution there is disabusing people of their stupid ableist notions, not hiding what we as disabled people do. Easier said than done, I know.

    And, for the fourth or fifth time, I’m not advocating doing away with all anonymity and making people use their real names online for everything they do. I realize this wasn’t clear in my original post, but I’ve since clarified numerous times.

    @RD Well, the original article was about Internet porn, not Internet prostitution, and I don’t want to derail.

    And if you don’t think you owe me an apology, then I think this discussion is very much over. I don’t deal with people who throw out abusive ad hominem attacks in what has otherwise been a civil discussion of differing ideas.

  41. Tony
    February 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    @RD, you called her an asshole and now you want to talk about sisterhood? Bizarre. I don’t think it’s appropriate to be using this comments section as a platform for personal attacks on other people based on what they reveal on their blogs. The comments policy is pretty clear on this. Also, did the two of you just come to an agreement that you didn’t think child porn shouldn’t exist? I understand *I hate the standards* but I believe that we must draw the line somewhere – usually involving nonconsent or people who are not a position to truly consent (i.e. children). I am however curious as I feel that, as a sex workers’ rights advocate, there may be a deeper explanation to your behavior that I’m missing.

    Re: porn, I know nothing about porn b/c it turns me off. As for erotica, I write my own erotica, for my own use only. I’ve never found the erotica that is written online to be very interesting, nor does it seem very erotic to share one’s own fantasies with complete strangers. If there is demand for something though, it seems that someone out there would be willing to make it.

  42. February 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    @Tony …. wait, what is this about child porn? Was someone arguing somewhere it *should* exist? I’m going to go ahead and assume that whatever RD’s deal is, she is not in favor of child porn.

  43. Tony
    February 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I have two options 1) blockquotes explaining what could lead me to ask such a question, 2) let RD respond. I think you’re right, though.

  44. Paraxeni
    February 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    @lori – government ministers are openly and shamelessly ableist. Nothing will change that. The current Prime Minister’s late son was disabled, but he himself is still ableist and supports the statement that the workless are worthless. So as condescending as it is to say words to the effect of “Don’t hide, work to crush ableism even if it is difficult”, you aren’t the one facing homelessness, death, and a barrage of govt. press releases that state that 95% of disabled benefit claimants are lying and work-avoidant.

    you don’t appear to realise that I’m not talking about outdated stereotypes of PWD, but giving you actual reasons why people I know personally have had their income taken from them. If I were to admit online now, on Facebook under my real name, that I have sex, volunteer on a sexual health forum, play video games and tweet – I could lose my income tomorrow. People have already committed suicide because it’s happened to them. People with terminal cancer are being passed as ‘fit for work’, people with incurable illnesses are being forced to prove yearly that they are worthy of help. Using my real name to criticise the people who decide my future would be very unwise.

    I can be just as accountable for things said under a name I use all over the internet, more so in fact because people know who ‘paraxeni’ is and I have that reputation to maintain. If I posted vitriolic filth under Really Realname it would never come back to bite me, because nobody knows who that is. I’ve been on the internet for 16 years, and been paraxeni for 10 years, googling my given name leads nowhere. I’d like to keep it like that.

  45. RD
    February 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Ok people.

    1) she links her blog to her name here, and its easy to see she’s a sex worker from skimming post titles. I did not bring it up as a personal attack. I brought it up to point out that what she’s advocating affects people she IDs with in some pretty horrible ways.

    2) “sisterhood” was referring to IDing under that umbrella term.

    3) if you call yourself a sex worker you’re iding as a sex worker. I’m not actually a fan of the term but I think this “complicated relationship” to it is kinda beside the point.

    4) the article was not about regulating the internet. It relates somewhat. So does what affects that regulation would have on sex workers.

    5) I think its contradictory to say that you “care about sex workers” and “support the swedish model” in the same breath, but apparently that’s derailing (bringing it up in the first place didn’t?).

    6) if you can’t see why she was being an asshole, its probably a waste of time to explain it to you.

  46. RD
    February 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    And no people, of course I’m not in favor of child porn, and I don’t know where that came from either.

  47. RD
    February 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Also I agree with paraxeni. This shit has real world consequences. I’m in a similar situation to paraxeni because I’m applying for disability and the US govt uses any excuse to deny you also. And there’s what I already brought up about affects on sex workers.

  48. RD
    February 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    All right. I will Explain why I called Lori an Asshole.

    My comment was not about what kind of porn I “like.” I went into some detail about why I hate porn standards and some short, very personal examples of *some* of the ways they have affected me. It was a comment where I talked about some trauma. Lori responded as though I was talking about my preferences as a porn consumer. Now, I guess you might belittle that, or call it a misunderstanding, which is why this was probably a waste of time, but you know, you can think whatever you like to think.

    I AM a sex workers rights advocate. But on this forum I am mostly just another commenter, and I talk about other things. Yes I try to advocate for sex workers rights here, but this is not some Sex Work Advocacy Plan. Especially calling someone an asshole…I’m at a loss for why that’s related to me being a sex workers rights advocate.

  49. William
    February 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    I’m simply envisioning that our internet providers will be age verifiers and they’ll have more detailed private records about online activity that can be subpoenaed when there are threats made or child porn posted etc.

    I get that thats what you’re suggesting, I just think its horrifying because I don’t trust anyone in a governmental position to use such subpoena power to go after actual threats rather than people who the government has decided are dangerous. A good test is to think about how Dick Cheney would be likely to use a given power and then go from there.

    As it is, they can track you down via IP address but it’s something of a roundabout process.

    Not necessarily. Anyone with Tor and an internet connection can frustrate all but the most sophisticated police departments. Throw in a Starbucks hot spot and just a little bit of selective node selection and you’re pretty close to completely anonymous. Just as with gun control, all you’ll end up with is a means of tracking people who abide by the laws while any criminal with just a tiny bit of savvy can sidestep whenever they please.

    I do think this information would be really ‘sacrosanct’ as you put it, because privacy would be of such paramount concern that it would be one of companies’ main marketing points and areas of competition.

    Combining trust in the government and trust in market factors leading to corporate responsibility in the same argument? Wow…

    And I don’t see the government having much interest in going after or even monitoring marginalized groups.

    Tell that to the legion of peaceful left and right groups that have been targeted by aggressive government surveillance, and sometime even agent-provocateur activities, since at least the labor movement.

    What people seem to be forgetting is that you can already be tracked via your IP address (unless you’re using some sophisticated and possibly illegal re-routing technology).

    Nothing sophisticated about it. If you’re using firefox you can download Vidalia’s (completely legal) Tor package which doesn’t require any sophistication beyond clicking a button. It ends up routing your information through a series of nodes all over the world. With only a little bit of tweaking its strong enough to even bypass China’s firewall.

    There are already horrible abuses of marginalized groups going on thanks to complete Internet anonymity (*cough 4Chan*). I don’t see how my proposition could make things so horrendously worse.

    Sure, Anonymous has done some terrible things, but so has Larry Flint and the Westboro Baptist Church. In a free society we tollerate the terrible in order to allow for the rights of the oppressed. Thats especially important in an environment in which many identity groups have only been allowed to grow and exist in meaningful ways due to the anonymity of the internet. The same thing that lets 4chan attack 12 year olds on YouTube allows very small communities to grow and have a name. It allows people to step forward, without fear of retribution, and admit who they are. The benefits of this for small groups, for isolated people, for groups who are in real danger of being killed just for being out, is inestimable. Create a useful identification system for the internet and that all goes away because subpoenas will be issued in perversion prosecutions, obscenity prosecutions, custody hearings for people’s children, in order to gather evidence about someone’s need for a legal guardian or confinement to an institution. This isn’t a maybe it will be the primary and most common use of any legislation designed to identify people on the internet.

    Most importantly, it won’t do a damned thing to the Goons and Anons and Redditors looking to ruin someone’s day. All you’ll get is more oppression masquerading as protection. The internet isn’t like a public road or even airwaves. Its international. The US tamps down on something? Just route your traffic through a country that doesn’t and suddenly you’re fine. The feds looking to prosecute child porn? It takes virtually no expertise to gmask or encrypt your collection and only a few bucks to store it somewhere the US can’t subpoena and the local government doesn’t give a shit. The government can’t legislate as quickly as the legitimate open source community can innovate, to say nothing of communities who have an active and vested interest in avoiding the law. This isn’t CSI and you can’t stop the bad guys. Thats just a line people in power use to convince you to support expansions of the kyriarchy.

  50. Tony
    February 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    RD: All right.I will Explain why I called Lori an Asshole.My comment was not about what kind of porn I “like.”I went into some detail about why I hate porn standards and some short, very personal examples of *some* of the ways they have affected me.It was a comment where I talked about some trauma.Lori responded as though I was talking about my preferences as a porn consumer.Now, I guess you might belittle that, or call it a misunderstanding, which is why this was probably a waste of time, but you know, you can think whatever you like to think

    Thanks RD… I feel I better understand where you’re coming from now, which was one of my main goals from that post.

  51. haley
    February 8, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    William —YES. yes and yes to 99.99% of what you said (.01% margin of error)

    I really find it disheartening when I hear people support censorship. You do not need to have the government or corporate providers censor or install “privacy” settings on your computer.

    If you care about privacy, don’t support legislating it on everyone, encrypt your info! you can do it now, you can encrypt your I.M your emails etc. But encryption only works if the people your are communicating with online are also encrypting their data. So everyone who wants privacy needs to encrypt. Its like a vaccine…its only effective if the majority of the population have it.

    You can switch to Ubuntu Linux which offers unlimited free software to download, is not susceptible to viruses like Windows, and has good security. It is also allows user participation, you can write software, share ideas, fix problems as part of the Ubuntu Linux community. Please look into the free software movement.

    Seriously, we have a huge amount of power and potential power at our finger tips. Learn how the command line on your computer works, learn how to write simple codes. Take control of your technology, because if you don’t, you won’t understand what your losing when the State decides to legislate on technology. (which they already are).

    I’m not a tech. guru, but I’m trying. I am learning to do everything I’ve written above and it makes a huge difference in not only how efficient I am in my computer work, but how informed I am in the technology I use.

    And as a woman, if feels great to break the stereotype and statistics about woman not knowing a lot/being active about computer technology.

  52. RD
    February 9, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Yes also the things william said – confinement to an institution (another one that could easily affect me), custody, housing, immigration, spying on activists, etc etc etc.

    I’m fairly “out” in my personal life, there aren’t really any people who I care about who someone could “out” me to. My mom knows, my sisters know, all my friends know. I also have plenty of explicit pictures (and some videos) that could be anywhere really and I don’t give a shit. And STILL there’s a lot of ways this could fuck with my life AND YOURS.

  53. Azalea
    February 9, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Long story short, being available for overtime, weekends, travel etc is sometimes a dealbreaker for many demanding career choices with various companies/corporations or firms.

  54. February 9, 2011 at 7:10 am

    My response to that article about working mothers, in which I ask, should we pay men less for their inability to juggle their libido and work? (It’s all in the questions we ask…)

    http://dandelionfield.wordpress.com

  55. manager
    February 9, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Re: working women.

    Most of the arguments that support discrimination against women are efficiency based: they work less, they develop less experience; they don’t have the same willingness to work unusually long hours; etc.

    Most of the arguments which go against discrimination are morally based: we shouldn’t penalize women for personal choices; we shouldn’t penalize them for actions which are the result of a sexist society; we shouldn’t require ANYONE to work long hours; we should support families; men should do more childcare; society should provide childcare; etc.

    The problem is that the second category–while entirely true–isn’t a direct response to the first category. That’s because the first category represents costs borne by the employer, while the second category represents benefits accrued by society at large.

    The solution IMO is to try to get those fixes through legislation which (a) places the costs on society and not on the employers; and (b) takes into account any realities underlying discrimination–even the unpleasant ones–and deals with them.

  56. February 9, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I re-blogged the thinspo article on my tumblr (because I love tumblr, I love blogging about being a hobbyist dancer on tumblr, and I wish tumblr would take down the thinspo blogs) and as a result, I’ve noticed an increase in traffic from… thinspo blogs. :/

  57. William
    February 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Yes also the things william said – confinement to an institution (another one that could easily affect me),

    This is perhaps one of the biggest pragmatic reasons why true, absolute, even extra-legal anonymity on the internet is vital to oppressed persons and minority groups. Most people don’t realize just how easy it is for someone to be stripped of all their rights with a few signatures, how hard it can be to “prove” oneself sane when the way we define madness both legally and medically boils down to deviation from the mean. Even in the absence of malicious intent, people who are judged “weird” or “gross” are open to all sorts of well-intentioned hells. Thats doubly true when they’re old enough to think about who they are and what their experiences mean but still young enough to have virtually no medical sovereignty or privacy.

    Take these thinspo blogs. They squick me out but say I, in my capacity as a psychologist who has the power to sign petitions and certifications, decided that the people writing them needed to be saved from the danger they present to themselves (and others by advocating such behaviors). With anonymity all I could do is write an article or otherwise complain in public. Without anonymity I’m just one friendly judge or prosecutor away from silencing people “for their own good.” That shit happens often enough with nosy, judgmental people in my profession who know the names of their victims, we don’t need to expose whole new communities to those kinds of abuses in the name of protecting people from bullies. 4chan might make you cry, but a doctor with a strong opinion and an argument could put you in an institution.

  58. February 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    @Paraxeni You’re making a lot of assumptions about me and my experiences. I’m disabled myself, and also dealing with the very real effects of ableism, although under different circumstances. I’m American, I’m in college full time rather than working and I’m still dependent on my sometimes-abusive parents financially and for health care. Right now I’m fighting both with my insurance company to get a doctor in my area who meets my needs and with my college for the proper accommodations, because, without them, I’ll have to drop out thus losing insurance coverage altogether. I am very much aware of the very real affects of ableism. I simply have a different opinion than you on Internet accountability, one I’ve clarified elsewhere several times but will do one final time to say that I am NOT insisting everyone use their real names all the time.

  59. February 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    @RD
    “3. if you call yourself a sex worker you’re iding as a sex worker. I’m not actually a fan of the term but I think this ‘complicated relationship’ to it is kinda beside the point.”
    Thanks for explaining to me what I am and am not and how I’m allowed to identify, but I still maintain that ‘sex worker’ is only a minor descriptor for me and I don’t feel comfortable fully claiming that identity (more here for those who are terribly interested)

    “4. the article was not about regulating the internet. It relates somewhat. So does what affects that regulation would have on sex workers.”
    I agree. What the article doesn’t even remotely relate to is whether or not prostitution should be legalized, so I’m not having that discussion here no matter how much you want to bait me with the assertion I don’t care about sex workers as you do in your next point (which I’m not bothering to copy and paste).

    “Also I agree with paraxeni. ”
    So do I. Please see my response to hir.

    “It was a comment where I talked about some trauma. Lori responded as though I was talking about my preferences as a porn consumer. ”
    I didn’t intend to come across that way, and I don’t want to belittle any traumatic experiences you’ve had. Instead of calling me an asshole, you could have pointed this out so I could have clarified earlier, or you could have simply said I was acting like an asshole. Instead you chose to go the most immature route possible.

    “Yes also the things william said – confinement to an institution (another one that could easily affect me), custody, housing, immigration, spying on activists, etc etc etc.
    I’m fairly “out” in my personal life, there aren’t really any people who I care about who someone could “out” me to. My mom knows, my sisters know, all my friends know. I also have plenty of explicit pictures (and some videos) that could be anywhere really and I don’t give a shit. And STILL there’s a lot of ways this could fuck with my life AND YOURS. ”
    Yes, it could affect mine, because a lot of those consequences could apply to me as well. I’ll reply to what William said elsewhere.

  60. February 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    “I get that thats what you’re suggesting, I just think its horrifying because I don’t trust anyone in a governmental position to use such subpoena power to go after actual threats rather than people who the government has decided are dangerous. A good test is to think about how Dick Cheney would be likely to use a given power and then go from there”
    You do realize the government already has this power, right? That I’m not suggesting anything new except that IP addresses will be traceable to a person instead of a household (something they can already do with enough external evidence)? Also, I can’t speak for Dick Cheney, but I’m pretty sure he could care less about progressive online communities.

    “Just as with gun control, all you’ll end up with is a means of tracking people who abide by the laws while any criminal with just a tiny bit of savvy can sidestep whenever they please.”
    Ah and so your true colors come out. Frankly I have no interest in continuing to debate someone who thinks gun control is just a way for Big Brother to get you, but I do just want to make a few further points:
    -The potential for fascistic abuses of something don’t make it useless in protecting the public’s interests. Are you also against net neutrality? Because that requires regulation too.
    -Whatever you believe, you can’t say that the current system is working. Talking about potential future abuses does nothing to stop the very real abuses occurring right now because of lack of regulation.

    @haley
    “I really find it disheartening when I hear people support censorship. ”
    Nowhere in this thread did anyone argue for censorship.

    @everyone
    Please see the bolded sentence above. Since everyone is so concerned with the abuses you think I’m trying to subject you to, which you assume I wouldn’t also be subjected to even though I’m also a pseudonymous semi-sex worker psychologically-disabled progressive activist, I’m truly interested in hearing what the solution is to the kind of abuse that is already occurring, like the kind I experienced at 15 thanks to zero chat room regulations.

  61. RD
    February 9, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Jesus. Ok, we’ll take the “complicated relationship.” If you don’t want to consider yourself part of this larger community, and consider the needs of others in it, why use “sex worker” at all? Why not call yourself a nude model and aspiring porn actress? That’s what I was getting at. Other than that, I really, really, really don’t give a flying fuck how you identify.

  62. RD
    February 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Its not about whether prostitution should be legal, no, but you were the one who brought that up not me.

  63. RD
    February 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Re: “asshole” – you said you didn’t care to know. if you had been thoughtful about it you probably would have realized you shouldn’t have said it in the first place. Finally, the fact that the government already has some powers around this is not a good reason to give them more. I do realize this shit affects you too…that has been my main point the entire time.

    Re: chat room rapist. There are predators everywhere. Everywhere. Some of us had a predator parent. Predators we met in the park. Predator clients and pimp. Predator porn actor friend of a friend. Predator friend. Predators on the train. Shutting down the internet doesn’t make them go away. He should get his license revoked and be in prison. I realize he is probably not, and that’s not anyones fault (except maybe society), prison is just where he *should* be in a better world.

  64. RD
    February 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Oh and you’d be surprised about how much the govt cares about progressive activists. Take the recent FBI raids on peace activists.

  65. RD
    February 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I’ve been confined to an institution – for a month and half that time – for as little as having a history of suicide attempts and admitting to someone in a day program I was still cutting. Seriously. Not suicidal, really didn’t want to be committed. Oh and I’ve been committed just for being dissociated and “worrying” a psychiatrist because of it. While I was in there (the first example) I met someone who was getting electroshock treatments against his will. The court had ordered them based mostly on drummed-up bullshit (example – they said he had been on disability since 1992, which was true, but they didn’t say that it was for medical reasons not psychiatric; they said he was homicidal because one time he got sick of the daily robotic list of questions and decided he’d answer yes to all of them).

  66. February 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    @RD
    “If you don’t want to consider yourself part of this larger community, and consider the needs of others in it, why use ‘sex worker’ at all?”
    I do consider others’ needs, though I may come to different conclusions than you about how best to meet them. Not wanting to be a part of the sex worker community is not why I don’t use the term. Did you read the link I included? It’s a term that’s technically accurate for me, but I feel it’s unfair to really claim an identity that’s based on what is currently such a small part of my life.

    “Re: “asshole” – you said you didn’t care to know.”
    That’s because I figured asking was pointless. But thank you for explaining, and I apologize for minimizing your trauma. I assure you it was not my intention.

    “Re: chat room rapist. There are predators everywhere. ”
    Believe me, I know this. But it’s not a reason not to try for better regulation to weed them out where we can. No one wants to “shut down” the Internet.

    “I’ve been confined to an institution – for a month and half that time – for as little as having a history of suicide attempts and admitting to someone in a day program I was still cutting. Seriously. Not suicidal.”
    That happened to me as well, twice, though the longest I’ve been in a hospital is two weeks. I know how fucked-up they can be.

    Again, I don’t disagree with you about any of these problems. I simply disagree about the solutions.

  67. RD
    February 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Well “shut down” the internet as it exists now anyway…

    I’m not really interested in an apology but thanks I guess.

    You keep saying you think the “solutions” are different but then you don’t explain yourself. Kind of hard to engage with that. And every point anyone brings up against your proposal you just say “I know! It affects me too!” which is actually an argument against your own position. So.

  68. February 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    @RD Well, I think the ‘solution’ to the kind of abuses that goes on online is registering individual users with a kind of traceable ID similar to computers’ IP addresses. I do of course understand the anxieties this brings up about potential abuses, and I simply feel differently about the cost/ reward ratio even though I might have to pay some of the costs myself. When it comes down to it I don’t think a vague hypothetical like the one I proposed can be proven right or wrong– people just feel differently about its potential effects.

    If you’re referring to my other ‘solutions’ about prostitution, then, yeah, we can talk about that privately.

  69. RD
    February 9, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    LoriA: If you’re referring to my other ‘solutions’ about prostitution, then, yeah, we can talk about that privately.  

    We will probably get to it eventually. :)

  70. William
    February 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    You do realize the government already has this power, right? That I’m not suggesting anything new except that IP addresses will be traceable to a person instead of a household (something they can already do with enough external evidence)?

    I don’t think you understand the technology very well. Right now IP addresses are something of a trap for the most irresponsible of offenders. If you use a hot spot in you college library or your neighbor’s unsecured wireless connection (linksys routers don’t usually have a password) you’ve sidestepped the capabilities of most government tracking abilities. A browser proxy (and there are a ton that aren’t any harder to use than Google) can sidestep most of the rest. Tor/Vidalia is even better and anyone who can read simple instructions can get it running well (you can even put it on a memory stick for anonymous browsing from any computer). Thats before we even begin to talk about more sophisticated spoofing.

    What you’re suggesting is something far more identifiable than an IP address. Tracing to a person rather than a router removes a lot of the ambiguity of the internet, it removes a lot of the protections that poor documentation can provide. More than that it creates a system in which information is easily accessible and and observed. Beyond that it creates a very good means of silencing people once this tracking system becomes something static and irrevocable. Can you imagine what it would be like if trying to get on the web without a Personal ID was like trying to get a job without a Social Security Number?

    You’re also suggesting far more oversight and involvement in the internet because creating a mandatory scheme like that would require significant changes in the way the internet works. Right now its international and, aside from top-level domains, pretty much unregulated. One of the strengths of the government is that, with just a little savvy, anyone on the street can access information anywhere in the world without anyone being the wiser. The only way to really restrict access is to shut off communications (as Egypt did) which is quite a visible move. Even with the resources of a country like China you can’t really effectively control access for long. Personalized ID would change that and would likely require regulation at the international level. Ugly implications, there.

    Ah and so your true colors come out. Frankly I have no interest in continuing to debate someone who thinks gun control is just a way for Big Brother to get you,

    Let me get this straight…you have no interest in debating with someone who disagrees with you?

    I didn’t say anything about big brother. What I said is that gun control isn’t effective at controlling violence but is very effective at controlling people likely to follow the law. I don’t think its coincidental that gun control laws in the American South were primarily aimed at disarming recently freed slaves and that the city I live in, Chicago, still has frankly unconscionable amounts of gun crime despite some of the strictest laws in the country. I’m not saying gun control is a bad idea, I’m saying it has historically failed and been abused in the same way that internet regulation is likely to fail and be abused with much of the same rhetoric.

    But hey, its your right to refuse to engage in a conversation with someone because you suspect that they disagree with you about something unrelated to the conversation at hand. Just as it’s my right to point out that I think you’re avoiding the points that myself and others have made because I suspect that your privilege is getting in the way of imagining how badly the government is likely to fuck oppressed people who look different or love different.

    The potential for fascistic abuses of something don’t make it useless in protecting the public’s interests. Are you also against net neutrality? Because that requires regulation too.

    Its not a potential. Goddamn, we live in a time and place where cops still raid gay bars and the PATRIOT Act stands unchallenged. We live in a country that tortures political prisoners in secret prisons. We live in a country where trans* people have no legal protections and disgust is often treated as an affirmative defense when they’re beaten or murdered. We live in a world where forced birth activists in positions of power try to subpoena women’s medical records in order to harass them for exercising their constitutional rights. We live in a world where the news that the FBI has been brazenly breaking wiretapping laws since 9/11 makes less news than Justin Beiber’s biopic.

    There isn’t the potential for fascistic abuses here, there is the near certainty.

    Talking about potential future abuses does nothing to stop the very real abuses occurring right now because of lack of regulation.

    And trading the perception of security in exchange for the certain abuse of less powerful people is as repugnant when a progressive suggests it as when a flag waving, born again, artifical Texan conservative posterboy for mediocrity suggests it.

    As is generally the case, the solution to people abusing other people isn’t to give one group of people with a long track recording of abuse more power. Its to pursue legislation that would force the government to do it’s damned job and prosecute abusers. I’m a sexual assault survivor, I’m a fourth generation victim of police abuse, I’m a mad person, I’m disabled, I’m a religious minority. Some of my closest friends are queers, freaks, perverts, and the kinds of people who didn’t used to get to use the front door. When I was raped I saw that the courts didn’t give two shits about it. I live in a city where a top cop was just sentenced to four years in prison for torturing suspects for years and sending innocent men to prison while our current mayor made his career prosecuting those cases and theres a good possibility he’ll get to keep his pension. You’ll forgive me if I’m not exactly thrilled at the idea of giving a government that has shown me nothing but the back of it’s hand a little bit more power to control me on the promise that maybe they’ll protect someone in the future.

    And yeah, for the record, I’m against gun control because I’ve learned the hard way that no one is going to protect me, especially when theres a good chance that threats might come from the police. Sorry if that offends your politics.

    Since everyone is so concerned with the abuses you think I’m trying to subject you to, which you assume I wouldn’t also be subjected to even though I’m also a pseudonymous semi-sex worker psychologically-disabled progressive activist, I’m truly interested in hearing what the solution is to the kind of abuse that is already occurring, like the kind I experienced at 15 thanks to zero chat room regulations.

    Its not much but I’m committed to making my community a better place. I heal people, its my job. I focus on populations that don’t have a lot of resources, that couldn’t ever afford the kinds of services they need. I’ve done other things too, that I’m not proud of but that I think helped. I do what I can on a personal level to take some of the pain away from the world because I know that our elected officials won’t bother unless theres a campaign contribution or a free lunch involved.

    As long as there are people there will be abusers. Our governments haven’t shown much interest in mitigating that unless the victims are pretty, white, rich, and socially desirable. All we can do is be committed to not being abusers, to making abuse unacceptable in our communities, and to helping those who have been victimized. Hoping that George W. Bush or whatever it is in office at the moment is going to make it all better is a long wait for a train don’t come.

  71. William
    February 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Erm…that shoulda said Barack W. Obama at the end. Got a little worked up.

  72. February 10, 2011 at 5:58 am

    And I suspect I’m not alone in having begun by wanting to help and ending in resentment. – Anniecat45

    I don’t get it. You were in a work environment wherein your supervisors clearly didn’t take your needs into account – but your response is to resent a particular colleague, and, by extent, all working mothers? I.e. they all “need to be careful”, because of your negative experience?

    If I realize that one of our correspondents is working absurd overtime, for whatever reason, then it becomes a problem to solve – not something to ignore. Working schedules can get messed up due to a number of reasons, both personal and work-related. I know someone who must take a week off every month to take their turn caring for an extremely ill relative, for example, and employers have been understanding (and fair to the other colleagues) – of course, the person in question is also a man, and does not have to face the stigma of “silly mommy, first she has lots of babies, then she wants everyone to take care of her needs!”

    Imagine if you, heavens forbid, wind up in a situation where you have to cut back on work a lot due to an illness – lots of doctor’s appointment, in-treatment, pain, etc. Would it be fair for other people to lecture you on how you really should have been more “careful”? Would it also be fair for your employers to approach this issue unprofessionally? Kids are not some unique, otherworldly phenomenon – they’re part of a host of life issues that human deal with. For some (dare I say – sexist?) reason though, it’s mothers who bear the brunt of this sort of resentment you describe. A harried dad, particularly a single one, would be praised as a hero for being there for his kid.

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