I Search the Internet So You Don’t Have To

Ali Kirby is a mixed media artist who is exploring feminism, Freud and taboo. She’s asking women to submit photos of their underwear with menstrual stains. Clicking on her site will probably get you fired and definitely make you queasy. I really don’t understand art.

Gloria Allen is a transgender woman who has started a charm school for the LGBTQ community in Chicago. I think I love her.

How a physicist used math to beat a traffic ticket. Warning: Extreme nerdiness alert.

An Indian Man used Google Earth to find his long lost mother.

Section 265 of the Constitution of the State of Mississippi declares that “No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.”

Ooh, and I’m trying my hand at eBay for the first time in a while. I’ve got a pair of Louboutins as well as a pair of Cole Haans for sale. I’m a horrible photographer so they’ll likely be less expensive than they out to be.

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Also, for the women I know you think you don’t want to watch this video but you do. It’s a MUST watch all the way to the end.

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  • avflox

    I hate that video.

    The inability of activists to see the difference between trafficking victims and sex workers who engage in prostitution by choice hurts everyone involved. Knee-jerk reactions to campaigns conflating the two invariably lead to the criminalization of prostitution, creating environments where exploitation, abuse, coercion and trafficking are made easier, not harder. 
    Politicians pat themselves on the back for taking down Craigslist, which does what? Trafficking doesn’t stop because a site is gone, and it certainly doesn’t improve the situation if half the organizations fighting for abolition can’t tell the difference between a slave and a sex worker. This is how you end up with things like the Anti-Prostitution Pledge which denies funds to governments and non-governmental organizations who “support prostitution” (i.e., work with sex workers, even if that means only providing them with condoms and other health services). This is what happens when we throw the best intentions into sensationalism: we end up with policy that helps no one and hurts everyone involved.

    Trafficking won’t stop until we learn to tell the difference between those who are coerced into prostitution and those who aren’t. Painting the entire red light district in Amsterdam — one of the few places where sex work is legal and sex workers have rights — as a trafficking zone will only result in criminalizing prostitution, putting all sex workers at risk of exploitation. How is this a better option that working with sex workers there to find trafficking victims? The sex workers who work there by choice know their rights and are much better able to educate those who come in about them and to sniff out those who are victims than any foreigner across an ocean who is up in arms over a sensationalist video about all the dancers who are turned into hookers.

  • Jane

    I love the video. Over the years, I’ve spoken with more than a dozen “sex workers”, all of whom initially told me that prostitution was their choice. Upon digging deeper, I found that untrue in the larger sense.

    It’s not that they were all kidnapped and then forced into it by organized crime. It was more subtle than that. Without exception, every one of the women I interviewed was raped or molested when she was young. Some became runaways and were encouraged by pimps or “boyfriends” to sell their bodies. Others thought they’d just strip for a while until they “got on their feet”, but it became a lifestyle, sometimes with alcohol and drugs involved, and where else can a woman make $300-$1000 on a Saturday night? 

    At Mustang Ranch and other “safe” places like it, women are charged exorbitant prices for room & board and then the house takes 50% of whatever a trick pays. 

    Women who’ve been in the lifestyle find it hard to imagine that life holds much else. They see that prostitution as the dead, often dangerous end it is, but feel like their histories rule their futures. 

    Men like to believe that prostitutes feel empowered in some way. That they’ve actually made a conscious choice to have sex with strangers in exchange for money. This is part of the deception. While there may be a few Sydney Burrows or Heidi Fleiss’s out there, the rest are victims of a culture which has told them that sex is their only real value  — that men are their way out (oh so many believe that a married trick is going to take them back to the suburbs) — and that they are only worth what some man is willing to pay. They’ve bought into it because men have been willing to buy them, absent love, absent closeness, absent care. 

    • http://jessicagottlieb.com JessicaGottlieb

      When anaiis talks I tend to agree with her but when I read what you’ve written Jane I sit and nod.
      Fwiw Heidi Fleiss is not in good shape. She recently did a documentary about her life in the desert with a bunch of birds and a debilitating meth habit.

    • http://lastshredsofsanity.com ShanLastShredsOfSanity

      Jane, I couldn’t agree with you more! But the same also goes for porn stars. Yes, they make big money, but how many of the women were raped, molested or generally beaten down by the men in their early lives that led them to their “career”? Male porn stars are just in it for sex and I can almost guarantee you that they weren’t abused.

      I have tried to explain these facts to many people I know that believe the women made a choice and it’s “empowering” for them. It’s all a crock. No woman should ever sell her body in that way. Then again, I’ve known people who believe that marriage is just legalized prostitution! I think you have just inspired a new blog post for me. Can I quote your comment?

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