“A shivering young Thai woman in a wet T-shirt, sitting in a cage waiting for someone to strike the 'bang me' target on the image of a woman bent over. Freezing, soaked, alone, disconnected, in an enclosure, to be ogled by men.”(http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/c-prostitution-pop-culture.html)
According to the website, Prostitution: Research and Education, prostitution is defined as: “… a slave-based system of sexual exploitation” http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/c-prostitution-advocacy.html
An elaboration of the above definition can be felt in the following definition as defined by a group from Minnesota called Breaking Free, Inc
"We define prostitution as systematic sexual violence and oppression against women and girls. This system is institutionalized in the sex industry: stripshows, nude juice bars, massage parlors and saunas, brothels, adult book and video stores, peep shows, live sex shows, sex rings, escort services, mail order brides, streetwalking, and pornography. Each of these forms of prostitution provides men with unlimited sexual access to women and girls based solely on their ability to pay." (from it’s "Philosophy Statement" posted on the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) website (accessed Apr. 20, 2007), stated, http://prostitution.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000116)
When you look up the word "prostitute", not surprisingly, all the main entries are about women, and describe women as "harlots", "whores", etc. If men are mentioned, terms like whore etc., are never used. In the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, two examples are given for the word. Notice how the first example relates to a woman prostituting herself. The second is non-offensive, and is used with a male pronoun.
- She was arrested for prostitution.
- Writing commercials was a prostitution of his talents.
The Free Dictionary (on-line), defines a prostitute, as:
1. A woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money
2. A man who engages in such activity, esp in homosexual practices
Dictionary.com’s primary definition of a prostitute is:
“A woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money; whore; harlot.”
The “sex industry”, as we have affectionately dubbed everything to do with the coercing, shaming, using, buying, and selling of women’s and girls’ bodies for sex, is not the empowered “sex worker” who chose the industry as a viable option, but a terrified, oftentimes addicted woman who was lured into it at the hands of a predatory man.
In 2012, Israel passed a law making the buying and selling of sex illegal. The shift of focus will now be placed on the “customers”, rather than on the women who have been forced into the position to sell their bodies in order to live. You can read an article on this in the link provided:
Scandinavia, has been, and continues to be a world leader, with respect to women’s equality. In Scandinavia, laws have been created to mandate equal-pay for women, to give mothers paid maternity leave, and more recently, criminalize sex for sale. Much like Israel, Scandinavia also puts the blame on the "customers" rather than the prostitutes.
In the 1980s, Scandinavian countries developed, and put into practice what has been termed "The Nordic Model", which emphasizes gender equality, human rights and egalitarianism, among its other progressive actions, and it puts the burden of guilt on the users of prostitution rather then the women.
“Beginning with the passage of Sweden's Sex Purchase Act in 1999 and adopted by Sweden, Norway and Iceland, the Nordic model of law decriminalizes prostituted women, but criminalizes pimps and johns. It combines a central goal of gender equity with support for women who wish to leave the sex industry, also known as "exiting services." http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/04/11/Nordic-Prostitution-Laws/
This past year, Iceland continued along the gender-equality path, by banning strip clubs. Not for nothing, Iceland’s PM Johanna Sigurðardóttir is female, that she’s also openly queer is just a wonderful bonus. Said Sigurðardóttir, “It is not acceptable that women, or people in general, are a product to be sold.” (http://www.thefrisky.com/2010-03-27/iceland-bans-all-strip-clubs/)
In 2010, after only a year on the job, Sigurðardóttir's government successfully banned strip clubs, the paying for nudity in restaurants, and all other forms of employers profiting from employees' nudity, and prostitution. Sigurðardóttir said "The Nordic countries are leading the way on women's equality, recognizing women as equal citizens rather than commodities for sale."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B3hanna_Sigur%C3%B0ard%C3%B3ttir - cite_note-salon1-35)
North America has a lot to learn from Scandinavia. The most recent political action by Iceland, being spearheaded by its Interior Minister, Ögmundur Jónasson, is to have all porn banned from the Internet. Men journalists are not responding well to having violent porn removed, and are saying this is the work of ..."Feminists"!, which is supposed to somehow disparage the work that is being done. Not for nothing Iceland's Interior Minister is a man.
If America were to take even a small page from Iceland's book of progressive, feminist politics, it would need to include banning music that encourages violence towards women, specifically glamorizing the pimp/prostitute ethos that is sadly so prevalent.
To that end, a pathetic excuse for a man rapper has a violent, disgusting song, the title of which is a deeply offensive way to talk about a strip bar, or any other place where women expose their breasts. The song is called Rack City. I have written to TV stations and to the CRTC telling them how offensive, misogynist and pro-prostitution the song is and that I want it banned. If more people wrote to their CRTCs, these types of songs wouldn’t be allowed to spawn, as readily.
The song talks about forcing women into prostitution, forcing women into sex, and, of course, using pejorative language to talk about women, and their bodies. What kind of mainstream rap song would it be if women were seen as people? Here is a sample of the most disturbing lyrics:
“Tell that bitch hop out, walk the boulevard
I need my money pronto” (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tyga/rackcity.html)
I need my money pronto” (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tyga/rackcity.html)
Those two lines alone make me feel sad, sick and furious.
When I typed in the maggot’s name that sings the above song, as well as the song’s name, here are a few samplings of what came up:
“A truly artful song that illustrates tyga's true proficiency in the english language.”
(http://urbanthesaur.us/urban-dictionary-rack-city “Tyga's "Rack City" is number two on the Billboard's Hip Hop Chart.”
And from the mouth of , hmm, what’s lower than a maggot, a predatory misogynist? Here is a quote about the song in question, from the predators who made it.
“It's very beneficial to so many young women across the country," "The strip clubs are stress relief. Welcome to Rack City!"(http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1677474/tyga-wale-fabolous-rack-city-music-video.jhtml)
“Nobody really wants to be sold,” a woman in a Nevada legal brothel explained to me. Even if you know that simple fact -- that prostitution is an abusive institution for any human -- maybe you still think it can be made not so bad. Maybe you think that if prostitution happens under a roof, it is better than outside on the street.”(http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/how_prostitution_works/000219.html)
“Another T-shirt depicted a woman bound, with a red ball stuffed in her mouth and the slogan 'Silence is golden'. "I look at that and see fun!" said the cheery saleswoman. (http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/advocacy/000301.html)
There is no difference in the harmful, hate-filled, sad, violent imagery of the song rack city then there is in a restaurant like Hooter’s, using misogyny coupled with “acceptable” prostitution, or the woman who is being forced to “walk the boulevard”.
It’s up to each one of us to do something more than simply turn the channel when an offensive song comes on.
Write to the CRTC, and tell them you are disgusted by songs that encourage misogyny and prostitution.
Contact, and get involved in a project with The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.
Here’s another site by a sex worker turned activist