Monday, September 19, 2011

Strip clubs, pornography and feminists

The United States is an easy target when it comes to narrow-minded attitudes toward sexuality. Here's Texas, the heart of the Bible Belt:
In 2007, state legislators passed the Sexually Oriented Business Fee Act, which imposed the fee ["pole tax"] on nearly 200 establishments that feature live nude performances and allow the consumption of alcohol. The $5-per-customer entrance fee, which is imposed on the business and not the patron, is intended to raise money for sexual assault prevention programs and health insurance coverage for low-income people. (NYTimes)

This a form of collective punishment, which is kinda perverse in a country that values individual responsibility. The tax assumes that everyone attending strip clubs is responsible for the actions of a few rapists. 

Moreover, open attitudes toward adult entertainment have actually been found to reduce violence against women. So, if the aim is to reduce the incidence of rape, Texan lawmakers should consider subsidizing strip clubs rather than taxing them.

But at least it's still legal in Texas to take your clothes off for money. In the so-called progressive Nordic countries women's rights and liberties are being curbed by feminists (a female supremacist movement that opposes individual liberties and equal rights) to a much, much greater degree than some conservatives in the United States ever could. Here's Julie Bindel, a feminist author, writing about banning strip clubs and pornography in Iceland:

Iceland has passed a law that will result in every strip club in the country being shut down.

Even more impressive: the Nordic state is the first country in the world to ban stripping and lapdancing for feminist, rather than religious, reasons.

So, feminists are united with religious extremists in their contempt of women's right to make decisions about their own lives. Only their reasons differ.

Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir, the politician who first proposed the ban, firmly told the national press on Wednesday: "It is not acceptable that women or people in general are a product to be sold."

This is just idiotic. How is selling "yourself" at a strip club any different from selling "yourself" at an office? Nearly every profession is a mixture of inherent talent and obtained skill and those are the things you're selling. The labor market consists of people selling themselves. So, the problem is not that these people are selling themselves as "products"; the problem is that feminists don't happen to like this particular product even though it's none of their business. Feminists, like religious extremists, have a vision of what a proper woman is like (even their rhetoric is similar: "It is not acceptable that women..."). Any deviations from this standard are to be looked down upon. Feminists perceive women not as adult individuals capable of using their own discretion but as child-like members of a collective who are to do what the collective tells them to do.

Supporters of the bill say that some of the clubs are a front for prostitution – and that many of the women work there because of drug abuse and poverty rather than free choice. I have visited a strip club in Reykjavik and observed the women. None of them looked happy in their work.

What an idiot. If "not looking happy" or "working just to make ends meet" is a qualification for banning an occupation, I guess all of us are to be unemployed in the not-so-distant future. Simple-minded authoritarians like Bindel are not really helping the situation by not showing much of any respect for these women. If feminists and cultural conservatives actually respected women working in the adult industry (and taught their children to respect them as well), these women might have a better time at work and life in general. I'd guess that a big reason why some women in the adult industry don't feel appreciated is precisely because narrow-minded people like Bindel don't appreciate them as adults capable of making their own decisions. Instead, they're trying to force-feed the "you're a victim" mantra. This could also explain why drug abusers and poor people are overrepresented in the adult industry; only they've really got nothing to lose. Mainstreamization of pornography would attract more "mainstream" people. In fact, it's not surprising anymore to find that an adult entertainer holds an academic degree. Of course, feminists probably consider well-educated women who choose to work in the adult industry as traitors.

Let's end this post on a positive note:
Let’s look at attitudes towards women – studies of men who had seen X-rated movies found that they were significantly more tolerant and accepting of women than those men that didn’t see those movies, and studies by other investigators, female as well as male, essentially found similarly that there was no detectable relationship of the amount of exposure to pornography and any measure of misogynist attitudes. No researcher or critic has found the opposite, that exposure to pornography – by any definition – has had a cause and effect relationship towards ill feelings or actions against women. No correlation has even been found between exposure to porn and calloused attitudes toward women.

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