Saturday, May 05, 2007

It seems I also owe the Wheelock Conference folks an apology.

I'm eating a lot of crow lately, and it's not very tasty.

I posted about the Wheelock Conference a while ago and suggested that their DVD did not constitute fair use. I have since been in contact with Gail Dines, one of the conference organizers, and I asked her about this as well as about the use of images of performers in pornographic media, without their consent, to argue against pornography. Here is her response:

"These are good questions, ones we discussed at considerable length as we developed the slide show. On the question of permissions: We consulted an attorney and other experts, and we have no doubt that our use of these images constitute a "fair use" in copyright law. On the issue of the performers: The feminist anti-pornography critique has been rejected by some women in the sexual-exploitation industries, of course. We go forward recognizing that it's a difficult choice, but believing that without the images many in the audience would not understand the systematic misogyny and racism in pornography. Below is the part of the script where we acknowledge that. In the script we make it clear that we focus our critique not on the women who perform, but on those who make and distribute --and reap the profits from -- the material.

From the script:

In what follows, the women's faces are not blurred and are often recognizable. We cannot know how these women would feel about having their images used in this presentation. We have made the difficult decision to show them, because the women's facial expressions are crucial to understanding these images. We ask you to recognize with us the moral complexity of this decision, keeping in mind that these
women are human beings with dignity."


So, first: as I am not an expert in copyright law, I cede to the lawyers and experts the conference committee consulted on the meaning of fair use.

And second: if, then, the DVDs constitute fair use, then legally, consent from the performers is not necessary. In fact, it is most likely the publishers of the original material that would need to be consulted for permission to use the images, though again, this is not necessary if the usage falls under fair use.

Finally: I realize that Dines' explanation does not resolve the tensions around the conference (see here (scroll down to the comments) for sex workers' responses to it); nor does it resolve the issue of using pornography - and therefore, the images of sex workers - to argue against pornography; nor does it resolve the issue of anti-porn websites and DVDs publishing images of pornography and thus becoming, in a sense, pornographers. These are all sticky issues. As an educator and researcher, however, I recognize the need to use pornographic images in order to teach about pornography, whether it be to argue against porn or for it or for a more middle-of-the-road critique. Simply to analyze it requires being able to study the images. (I suspect that, had the conference been a critical examination of porn rather than an anti-porn conference, sex workers would not have been concerned about these images being used.)

In one of my sexuality classes, I paired Kamala Kempadoo's Global Sex Workers: Rights, Resistance, and Redefinition with Rebecca Whisnant's and Christine Stark's Not for Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography. This, I felt, was the most ethical approach I could take to the issue (and I'm not holding myself up here as an example of how to be ethical re. pornography, I'm just explaining how I personally have tried to resolve the contradictions I've been talking about). There are images in Not for Sale that are hard to look at. One of the things I asked my students to do was to critically analyze these images, to see them apart from the specific critique that accompanied them and to discuss whether or not they'd necessarily draw the same conclusions. This was a way of testing the strength of the argument (and generally, we found that the arguments were strong - as were those in Global Sex Workers). But, as Dines states above, it is also important to look at several examples of porn in order to draw conclusions about porn as an industry. Sometimes, we hear "scare tactics" about what is represented in pornography - but other times, the conclusions, particularly about issues such as how race is represented, are right on.

(Incidentally, this is also true for advertising in general - not a bad connection to make, I think, in the classroom.)

I'm sure this post will upset some people, and I'm sorry for that. I continue to see value in both sides' analyses of sex work (though my use of the term "sex work" would, for some, already place me in the non-anti-porn camp, despite whatever my feelings might actually be). I also continue to give particular weight in my own considerations to the voices of sex workers, while I still keep up with what researchers on either side have to say. That's the best I can do.

Edited to add: Some folks have argued that, instead of using the images, it would be more ethical to simply use testimony from sex workers, whether they be guest speakers or, I presume, written testimonies. I've done this, actually. I've also allowed students to go to a strip club to interview folks who worked there (this was an option they came up with and asked permission to do). One of the problems here is that management doesn't always like this, and it's possible that 1) the interviewer could get the employee in trouble, or 2) the employee might not trust the interviewer or want to talk in the club. Also, in this smallish town, there is perhaps more stigma attached to dancers, and so it's not easy to find dancers who are willing to be identified for research projects - understandably!

31 comments:

Renegade Evolution said...

i still think it is just skeevy and inconsiderate towards the women in the slide show.

belledame222 said...

yeah, I think from the beginning people were pretty clear that it might well fall legally under "fair use;" (although it would have been interesting if it did not); the real issue is that ethically and politically, it kind of bites.

belledame222 said...

...even just that she says "sex exploitation industries" instead of "sex industry" or even "porn industry" tells you how open she is to dialogue; it's like pro-life people (see? using their term) refusing to say "pro-choice" or even "abortion rights" and instead referring to "abortion mills" or "baby murdering industry."

and "not blaming the women" really misses the damn point. The complaint isn't that they're BLAMING the women; it's that they're (yes) OBJECTIFYING the women by refusing to listen to what they have to say for themselves or take into consideration whether they would have wanted their images to be used in this manner.

I'm sure the pro-life folks often don't -blame- the women either...except when they do...but not when y'know trying to explain how they really blame the murderer doctors and feminists and secular humanists who convince everyone that sex outside of marriage is ok and abortion is just like getting a haircut or something and so on, warping the poor womens' (who clearly would not make any such "choice" if they KNEW THE TRUTH) fragile lit-tul MINDS.

belledame222 said...

btw, I've just put up a roundup/impromptu carnival thingie, a bunch of posts by sex workers on the general subject (various kinds of sex work, nothing on pr0n per se in that list I don't think).

belledame222 said...

sorry, I said "blaming," when what she said was "critiquing." It still stands.

plain(s)feminist said...

The language thing is difficult. My understanding of the anti-porn position is that sex work is not perceived as labor but as exploitation and oppression, and that it is therefore qualitatively different from the kind of labor exploitation that, say, a factory worker or service worker experiences. To call it sex WORK, from that perspective, is negating this difference.

I would argue that it is labor. I would also argue that exploitative labor shares across the board an abuse of workers' bodies, a degradation of them as human beings, and an exploitation of them for someone else's pleasure and profit. I would further argue that to focus on the sex industry particularly as exploitative, whether when discussing trafficking or not, does a disservice to both the sex workers who are being exploited AND to the laborers in other industries who are also being exploited.

I'm not saying that all sex workers are exploited, though some are. I do think that most workers (sex or otherwise) are exploited, however, to differing degrees.

belledame222 said...

I understand that that's why they use the term. I'm saying that when you're talking to or even about (when talking to someone who might be sympathetic to) people who identify by a certain label, it's really rude to refuse to use it; it doesn't speak well of one's likelihood to engage in any useful manner.

belledame222 said...

and yes, of course exploitive labor is still labor. what that framing does is ensure that NO sexual activity exchanged for money in ANY circumstances can, in their minds, ever be considered legitimate. the male masseur and holistic bodyworker is (well, besides being nonexistent or irrelevant in this worldview) lumped together with an abused runaway prepubescent girl forced by a pimp into street prostitution.

but in general, you know, if you do labor, and get paid, it's work. and if you are an adult with basically the same autonomy and degree of "choice" as most working adults (i.e. the bar isn't very fucking high, there), then...you're a worker. you may -also- be exploited; but in that case one might consider addressing the exploitive conditions and how best to rectify them; if one is -only- concerned with the fact that -sex is happening for money at all-, then one isn't going to make the fine distinctions about y'know workplace safety, or appropriate healthcare, or adequate compensation, and so forth.

but that doesn't mean the people actually doing the work aren't.

yeah, okay, so you don't believe anyone should be doing sex work. maybe a lot of people would agree. what do all those people do, once you get rid of it? even if jobs were immediately available to everyone who stopped doing any kind of sex work, what makes you so sure everyone -wants- to do the kind of work that's available? what if it's a choice between stripping or flipping burgers (scrubbing floors, working in a factory with dangerous conditions) for a lot less money? what if you actually find the other jobs even more degrading or dangerous or just plain unappealing?

plain(s)feminist said...

I'm saying that when you're talking to or even about (when talking to someone who might be sympathetic to) people who identify by a certain label, it's really rude to refuse to use it; it doesn't speak well of one's likelihood to engage in any useful manner.

Eh...yes and no. I don't feel I'm being rude by saying "anti-choice" instead of "pro-life" to talk about the people who are blocking every piece of legislation that would actually help women prevent unwanted pregnancies or help women to be able to afford to choose to bear children. (I call some people "pro-life," but those are generally not the same people.)

But in general, I would also agree with you - it's much more polite and conducive to conversation to call people what they want to be called.

so you don't believe anyone should be doing sex work.

Just for the record, though I don't think that comment was directed at me, personally, that is not my position.

maybe a lot of people would agree. what do all those people do, once you get rid of it? even if jobs were immediately available to everyone who stopped doing any kind of sex work, what makes you so sure everyone -wants- to do the kind of work that's available? what if it's a choice between stripping or flipping burgers (scrubbing floors, working in a factory with dangerous conditions) for a lot less money? what if you actually find the other jobs even more degrading or dangerous or just plain unappealing?

Exactly. This is the point that the anti-porn side is unable to address because they won't call sex work "work." In Kempadoo's Global Sex Workers, there's an article that explores child prostitution in one Asian country (I can't remember where, offhand) and that makes the point that, given the choice of having sex with a person who will then act as the family's benefactor - or of picking up garbage for 10 hours a day, every single day - and still making far more money in prostitution - the children choose prostitution. Now - I'm certainly not defending child prostitution, nor am I saying that children are able to make choices about such things in the same way that adults are capable of doing. But I am saying that in order to really deal with the particular problem of child prostitution or forced prostitution, we need to first deal with the reality that in much of the world - including parts of the U.S. - prostitution or other sex industry work is perceived as the best alternative for women and children (and of course, this reminds us that in many parts of the world, children must work full days in order to survive).

If we approach this as a systemic labor problem, we could enable people to survive (without losing their health) and to have more agency in their decisions about what they do to survive. That would eliminate a significant percentage of the people who don't want to be in the sex industry, including children. It wouldn't eradicate the sex industry, but then, I'm not advocating eradication.

Renegade Evolution said...

"The language thing is difficult. My understanding of the anti-porn position is that sex work is not perceived as labor but as exploitation and oppression, and that it is therefore qualitatively different from the kind of labor exploitation that, say, a factory worker or service worker experiences. To call it sex WORK, from that perspective, is negating this difference."

Meh, let them do it for several hours and THEN decide if it is "work" or not.

Rolling of eyes, gnashing of teeth, still annoyed with the exploitation of non-consenting women and the use of their images without permission by folks who are against the explotation of women and so very concerned with consent...

belledame222 said...

and the thing of it is--sexual abuse/rape/etc. happens in OTHER CONTEXTS, including exploitive labor, besides prostitution; the fact that someone is no longer officially being "pimped" doesn't mean she's not being raped or otherwise coerced into sexual relations. see: garment workers in i'm currently blanking on the name of the island, where rape resulting in pregnancies and then coerced abortion is just part of the deal--fuck, sorry to be so vague at the minute, i need to eat, you probably know the reference, anyway i'll be coming back to that later

belledame222 said...

and, not to be rude myself, but: yeah, i'd argue that saying "anti-choice" is rude; it's a deliberate choice, besides saying what you think of the policy, it's saying "I do not deem these people worthy/capable of respectful/honest dialogue."

I'm not saying you don't have a right to do this; just, it says how strongly you feel about your position, and how you feel about people who...well, i don't know whom you call "pro-life" and whom "anti-choice;" i can guess based on my own distinctions, i expect i probably share your feelings wrt reproductive rights in general; but, well, just, people on the opposition are gonna bristle.

i mean, it already suggests: talking ABOUT, not talking TO; yeah?

point being:

that is the same thing that people like Dines are saying about people who defend any aspect of sex work or the sex industry. i.e.: there is no common ground, they don't buy it, and they don't see a point in dialogue with the people they've given that label.

belledame222 said...

please note here i am not arguing that it IS necessarily a good use of energy to try to hold dialogue with staunchly "abolitionist" let's say (a term both the anti-abortion and anti-porn folks have adopted) people; just that it's (one of many) signals people use to indicate how much respect for the opposition they have, and/or how much hope they hold out of/interest in having any sort of productive dialogue/compromise WITH them

Trinity said...

"and, not to be rude myself, but: yeah, i'd argue that saying "anti-choice" is rude; it's a deliberate choice, besides saying what you think of the policy, it's saying "I do not deem these people worthy/capable of respectful/honest dialogue.""

YES.

I call 'em pro-life. I figure not respecting people enough to call them by chosen names is... not something I wanna get involved with. Makes me feel *slimy*, however much I agree with the view that they are against allowing women vital choices.

It's like the arguments I used to get into about BDSM with this person here . When in the past I asked her "please don't call it 'sadopatriarchy'" it's not that I was telling her never to argue that what we do IS patriarchal. I was merely asking her to do so without making it into a name to call people like me to insult us.

I don't think we need to be name-calling. Much less justifying it by pseudo-political blah blah blee about "reframing the issue." Reframe the issue by actually discussing what "choice" and "life" mean, not by cheap shots at people.

Trinity said...

It'd be like if I called the APRFs "Victorians" and refused to dignify them with any other term... when I could just say "APRF" and *argue* (if I wanted, which I don't; it's all kinds of NOT PRODUCTIVE) that they are sexually repressed and actually *defend* my view.

plain(s)feminist said...

My general principle is to try to call people what they want to be called. The pro-life/anti-choice arena is one in which this breaks down.

i'd argue that saying "anti-choice" is rude; it's a deliberate choice, besides saying what you think of the policy, it's saying "I do not deem these people worthy/capable of respectful/honest dialogue."

Reframe the issue by actually discussing what "choice" and "life" mean, not by cheap shots at people.

I think it's important to remember where the term "pro-life" comes from. It's not because people who revere life decided that would be a good thing to call themselves. It's smart marketing. If one side is "pro-life" then the other side has to be pro-death.

Like I said, I do call people pro-life if they are consistently (and actually) pro-life. I can think of several individuals who call themselves pro-life and I respect that. I don't call people who are anti-abortion pro-life because they want the phrase to be shorthand for "anti-abortion". (I can't think of any way possible that our President could be considered "pro-life.")

And frankly, no matter what I call a certain select group, they are not about to engage me in dialogue about these issues. They are definitely not interested in any reframing of any issues. They have already denounced me as a tool of Satan (I am NOT kidding), and it's really not a matter of me thinking they aren't worthy of or capable of honest and respectful dialogue. I cannot tell you how many times I've opened myself up to that dialogue. The folks I'm talking about? Dialogue for them is a Trojan Horse. So, no, I'm not discussing with that group, nor am I particularly concerned about hurting their widdle feelings.

I figure not respecting people enough to call them by chosen names is... not something I wanna get involved with. Makes me feel *slimy*, however much I agree with the view that they are against allowing women vital choices.

This actually really pisses me off. Not respecting people enough? Huh. I'll try to remember that the next time I'm being harassed by people who care so much about life that they literally don't give a shit if women die because they've just outlawed abortion in my state. Especially when they call me pro-death, or when they walk by me and tell their kids that I kill babies, or when they make snide comments about what "judgement day" will be like for me, or when people suggest that women who have abortions should be put into wood-chippers outside of Planned Parenthood offices. No - that is not what "pro-life" means, and again, there are people who are consistently and deeply pro-life and that is a whole 'nother animal.

Regardless, from the anti-porn perspective, language is not the problem at all, and that is why they don't engage with the issue of how choice is framed and why they don't use terms related to labor. From the sex positive side (and I know those words have their own baggage, but I'm also tired of defining myself by what someone else is, as in "not anti-porn), language is at the heart of the matter.

Trinity said...

"This actually really pisses me off. Not respecting people enough? Huh. I'll try to remember that the next time I'm being harassed by people who care so much about life that they literally don't give a shit if women die because they've just outlawed abortion in my state."

PF --

going to the march for women's lives and hearing people scream at the counter-protesters at the top of their lungs "Pro-life is a lie/You don't care when women die!" MADE ME SICK.

Perhaps you'd think it shouldn't have, but it did. If we are working to end violence how do we do it by telling people to their faces that they don't care when people die, as if they've never lost a mom, a sister, a lover, a daughter?

Even if what we mean is "you don't care when women die from back alley abortions, it's not what we're saying when we say "you don't care WHEN WOMEN DIE."

IT MAKES ME FUCKING ILL. Yes, I know what people mean by it. But I believe, deep down to the core of me, that it's THE WRONG THING TO SAY.

What would you think to hear someone scream that in your face? You'd immediately think "what the fuck are you saying? were you there when my sister was sick with the brain tumor? fuck you."

As wrong as they are, and as dangerous as their ideology is, WE DON'T NEED THAT. WE DON'T NEED TO STIR UP COMPLETELY RANDOM HATE.

Anna said...

Yes, Trinity, because I am sure the anti-abortionists standing along the street holding enormous bloody photos of dead babies and screaming about how we were going to hell were totally offended.

I mean, seriously.

plain(s)feminist said...

going to the march for women's lives and hearing people scream at the counter-protesters at the top of their lungs "Pro-life is a lie/You don't care when women die!" MADE ME SICK.

But who here is arguing in favor of doing that? You are conflating two things: tactics used in a particular situation (a protest in which the two sides are side by side and screaming at each other) and the larger issue of how to determine what labels appropriately express a particular position.

If we are working to end violence how do we do it by telling people to their faces that they don't care when people die, as if they've never lost a mom, a sister, a lover, a daughter?

I'm sure they care when members of their families die. But people who care about women's health and safety don't threaten to put them into wood chippers, and they don't send them death and rape threats (which is what happened to Biting Beaver when she wrote about trying to get Emergency Contraception).

Obviously, part of the problem here is that the people who go to a protest run the gamut - some are the people who bomb clinics, and others are peaceful and just want to protest abortion.

Even if what we mean is "you don't care when women die from back alley abortions, it's not what we're saying when we say "you don't care WHEN WOMEN DIE."

In SD, many of the people who call themselves "pro-life" - in fact, SPECIFICALLY the people who authored legislation to outlaw abortion and who blocked legislation to make EC available, to make pharmacists supply EC and birth control, and to make comprehensive sex ed available in schools - they DON'T care if women die. From pregnancies. They have said flat out that mothers should sacrifice themselves for their "babies" when these issues come up. They have said that it's fine not to aggressively treat cancer in a pregnant woman and thus kill the fetus (an unavoidable side-effect of aggressive cancer treatment) because any mother would want to put her baby first. I am not kidding.

What would you think to hear someone scream that in your face? You'd immediately think "what the fuck are you saying? were you there when my sister was sick with the brain tumor? fuck you."

As wrong as they are, and as dangerous as their ideology is, WE DON'T NEED THAT. WE DON'T NEED TO STIR UP COMPLETELY RANDOM HATE.


Random hate? There is plenty of hate. PLENTY of hate. It isn't random at all. It's targeted. I know several people who have received death threats and had their houses vandalized simply because they are visibly pro-choice. (These are not people, by the way, who would ever say anything like the phrases you find so offensive.) And if you go to the Nuremburg Files website, you will see there photos of men and women here in SD who walked into the clinic and had their photos, and photos of their license plates, put up on the web on a website that still lists the names of slain doctors who provided abortion. You know why they do that? They do it to scare the hell out of people and to intimidate them into never going to Planned Parenthood ever again. And they used to advocate violence against doctors and clients and supporters. So, you know - not random.

Getting back to your point - people are advocating legislation that will cost women their health and their lives (I mean that literally - I'm not talking in campaign slogans). Some don't get that it will result in women's deaths. More often (and this is evidenced by the numbers of letters to the editor that continually make this point), they argue that these women's deaths are a small but necessary sacrifice in order to preserve the lives of "innocent babies." They can get offended all they want. That doesn't make it untrue that their actions are killing other people and that, when faced with this reality, THEY DEFEND THEIR POSITIONS.

Getting back to your point, again - when Operation Save America came to Buffalo after Dr. Slepian had been murdered, tensions were high. OSA targetted not only the women's clinics but the gay community, and the bars received death threats. Further, in front of the clinics, these folks from out of town set up loudspeakers and took it upon themselves to preach to us, since, as they said, "we didn't see you in church on Sunday" (a pretty snide comment, since his church was in KY, not NY). Even given that, I really hated the way that a couple of the people around me yelled "Fuck Jesus" at him. Not cool, not nice, certainly not a way to model good behavior. But you know, as someone who has been on both sides of this issue and who has gone to protests on both sides of this issue, the pro-choice people as a whole have it all over the pro-life/anti-choice people as a whole. This is not to say that there aren't some wonderful, thoughtful, people who are pro-life and assholes who are pro-choice. But I think you need to consider who is provoking whom, really.

Trinity said...

"But I think you need to consider who is provoking whom, really."

I don't think I'm not.

I just don't think stooping to that level is a good thing. It bothers me to see us doing that because we're right, as if that excuses it. It feels to me like "They did it first, Mommy!" playground fighting.

That can feel good. But I don't like it. Like I said, it made me sick.

Me. Not every feminist in the world. Me.

It makes some feel pretty damn good. I remember hearing them. I remember reading and talking to them after and hearing they loved that chant.

Still makes me ill.

"tactics used in a particular situation (a protest in which the two sides are side by side and screaming at each other)"

Like I said elsewhere, I haven't liked the vast majority of rallies I've been to.

I don't like seeing people turn into mindless frenzies of bile and spit when what we're trying to do, supposedly, is fix. the. world.

plain(s)feminist said...

Trin, I understand that you are saying that real dialogue is more valuable for peace and social change than returning fire and I would even agree with that. But you're making huge leaps here from me using the term "anti-choice" to describe extremists to people at a protest yelling out mean things.

Me. Not every feminist in the world. Me.

But that's not how you've presented it. You're taking issue with my terminology. You've been quite clear that some of the things other feminists do are not ok with you. That's fine, I'm just not getting why all of a sudden you're switching horses to say this is just about how you personally feel. Even your repeated point that trying to fix the world doesn't work if we're simultaneously stirring up hate DOES implicate other feminists.

I think we basically agree that in general, what we want is to be in respectful dialogue with others, including those with whom we disagree. That governs the way I mostly interact with people along lines of political difference. What I'm saying is that this breaks down for me when it comes to certain extreme elements in the abortion debate. But I do think the analogy from our earlier discussion re. sex work is a good one, because I think that the issue is just as polarized and politicized.

belledame222 said...

I believe trinity was trying to make the point that...

well, no, anyway, here's -my- point.

that i can understand why people who consider themselves "pro-life," who may or may not be aware of the origin of the phrase, may or may not be genuinely "pro-life" by your standards (which I suspect would be similar to mine as well)...but, if you don't -know- each other, just passing through as it were, if someone's not using the preferred term...it's, well, a signal right from the git-go.

look, i think what you're saying is basically kind of in line with my point: that you feel very very strongly about this issue and so aren't very inclined to give the benefit of the doubt toward people who represent the opposition.

and that's how the APRF people see the "pro-porn" people. because it's -too important- for them to worry about whether they're alienating people they've already decided are probably hopeless cases anyway.

you may not feel that way about -porn-, and I'm not trying to say that you -should- do, or that you -shouldn't- feel that way about abortion;

just, that's where they're coming from. and, they see or feel about "us" approximately the way you do about anti-abortion/self-ID'd pro-life folks. I'm not saying they're RIGHT. I'm saying: that's why it Dines' response sounds the way it does, and no, we aren't going to be able to come let us reason together, that is a -sign-, if there weren't plenty already.

as per "pro-life:" you know, i don't know if you were around for that rather ugly business with rootietoot and jane awake and a couple of other people, but...

yeah. all things considered, i'm not sorry, even though position-wise i tend to agree more with Jane.

and at this point i just...don't even care who started it. or feel like screaming across an aisle. of course P.R. terms are made up in back rooms by greasy weasels. it still isn't gonna make any damn difference to someone who -believes- it's just The Right Thing.

meh. anyone else flashing on "Citizen Ruth" right about now?

plain(s)feminist said...

BD -
I was there for it and I blogged about it:
http://plainsfeminist.blogspot.com/2007/01/pro-choice-v-pro-choice.html

look, i think what you're saying is basically kind of in line with my point: that you feel very very strongly about this issue and so aren't very inclined to give the benefit of the doubt toward people who represent the opposition.

Not exactly. What I'm saying is that there are certain people whom I refuse to call pro-life. Most individuals I know who call themselves pro-life - fine, I'm down with that. Trinity is arguing that saying "anti-choice" is always wrong and always insulting. I'm saying, sometimes it is a statement of fact. Sometimes, it is a rational response to a situation in which that group is the violent aggressor.

That's really my entire point re. the use of the phrase "anti-choice."

belledame222 said...

yeh, sorry, after i wrote that i remembered you were there. it all sort of runs together after a while. sorry, though.

Octogalore said...

"I'm saying that when you're talking to or even about (when talking to someone who might be sympathetic to) people who identify by a certain label, it's really rude to refuse to use it; it doesn't speak well of one's likelihood to engage in any useful manner."

I think this is generally true. The only exception I can think of is where, by choice of a certain term, one is definining incorrectly the other side's position. Take "pro-life." The main difficulty many have with this term is that it suggests the opposing side must be "anti-life." That's manipulative, and therefore "doesn't speak well [the term's user's desire] to engage in any useful manner." So objecting to the term doesn't, to me, seem problematic.

Re querying strippers in strip clubs -- doesn't ring a good bell for me. For one thing, it's self-selective to a degree. Someone willing to engage AT WORK, at any job, might be someone with an axe to grind or who isn't particularly productive. When I was a stripper, I would never take a break to talk to any non-paying individual, and many of my similarly time-sensitive cohorts wouldn't either. I would be happy to set up a phone conversation for a later point (not sure if that was an option), but especially during peak hours, taking twenty minutes off could cost a hundred bucks. It seems disrespectful expecting this of any sex worker, where you woudn't walk into a law firm and ask lawyers to take unpaid billable time to answer questions without at least setting up an appointment to do so.

belledame222 said...

Take "pro-life." The main difficulty many have with this term is that it suggests the opposing side must be "anti-life." That's manipulative, and therefore "doesn't speak well [the term's user's desire] to engage in any useful manner." So objecting to the term doesn't, to me, seem problematic.

well--that's the same argument some people have about "sex positive."

whaddya gonna do.

plain(s)feminist said...

The only exception I can think of is where, by choice of a certain term, one is definining incorrectly the other side's position. Take "pro-life." The main difficulty many have with this term is that it suggests the opposing side must be "anti-life." That's manipulative, and therefore "doesn't speak well [the term's user's desire] to engage in any useful manner." So objecting to the term doesn't, to me, seem problematic.

I agree.

well--that's the same argument some people have about "sex positive."

True. That's why I prefer "sex radical." There is still the argument that this implies others are not radical, but I think it's better than implying that others aren't positive. Even worse are the terms "pro-sex" and "anti-sex."

Re querying strippers in strip clubs -- doesn't ring a good bell for me. For one thing, it's self-selective to a degree. Someone willing to engage AT WORK, at any job, might be someone with an axe to grind or who isn't particularly productive. When I was a stripper, I would never take a break to talk to any non-paying individual, and many of my similarly time-sensitive cohorts wouldn't either. I would be happy to set up a phone conversation for a later point (not sure if that was an option), but especially during peak hours, taking twenty minutes off could cost a hundred bucks. It seems disrespectful expecting this of any sex worker, where you woudn't walk into a law firm and ask lawyers to take unpaid billable time to answer questions without at least setting up an appointment to do so.

Yeah - I wasn't happy with the way that went. I was co-teaching that course and had limited power to influence the parameters of that assignment. I think I did ask the students to ask the dancers if it would be possible to talk with them at another time when they weren't working.

IIRC, the students approached management first and asked if they could do interviews and were first welcomed and then turned away. I think they ended up talking to a dancer who was on a break, which I was angry about b/c I felt that, in that situation, they were putting her at risk for getting fired.

Octogalore said...

Gotcha. I would also wonder, too, if the guys didn't ask about this as a way to hang with strippers without paying the freight. But that could be because I'm a cynic. Personally, I would have attempted to charge them for the time -- which may not've gone over too well. I used to do this whenever someone would ask if we could "just talk" -- some completely embraced the concept of billable time, others not so much.

Because in some clubs strippers mush pay management a sizable fraction of every transaction (eg lap or table dance), I can see how management would not be thrilled with the idea either.

Anyway, sounds like a very interesting course. Any thesis emerging from this work that we can check out?

Octogalore said...

I'm also not a fan of "sex-positive" for the "defining the other side's position" reason as well. Even if in some cases, snark alert, it's accurate. I don't know about "sex radical" as I think both sides could feel radical about sex, just in different ways. I don't know what a good phrase would be, come to think of it. Sex-liberal?

belledame222 said...

I think from now on I'm "smut positive."

and/or "slut positive."

and "anti-Puritan."

Octogalore said...

LOL