The mainstream media censors the truth about prostitution while pimps masquerade as advocates

The following is a translation of an article published on the German feminist website Emma. The article was originally meant to be published elsewhere but was censored, as the introductory paragraph explains. You can find the original here (without introduction, which was on the main Emma page).


On Monday, the ‘taz’ paper published a harsh polemic in favor of prostitution and against Alice Schwarzer, signed by Doña Carmen, Juanita Henning’s Frankfurt “whore’s association”. She was last in the spotlight in June 2009 when she demanded the right to flat rates in brothels on behalf of “77 whores.” She bought large ad space in several daily newspapers (which costs 25,000 euros in the SZ paper alone). Now Doña Carmen claims in taz that speaking of “poverty prostitution” is “xenophobic” and “racism in disguise.” To Henning, migrant prostitution is a kind of “entente cordiale from below” (verbatim; orig. “Völkerverständigung von unten”). After the text was published, taz editor Heide Oestreich asked Sabine Constabel whether she would be prepared to write a response. The social worker has been working to help prostitutes in Stuttgart for 22 years. Approximately 90 percent of those she works with are in forced prostitution or poverty prostitution and come from Eastern Europe, while the “self-determined whore” that Doña Carmen likes to speak of is a rare sight. Constabel wrote the demanded response to Doña Carmen for taz. But taz did not like the text. Editor Ines Kappert rejected its publication – and editor-in-chief Ines Pohl, who was also informed, did not react at all. She probably has other things to worry about: she has to explain why she removed a piece by a taz editor that criticized the relationship of the Green Party (die Grünen) with pedophilia. So here is the piece by Sabine Constabel that was supposed to be published in taz.

Where is the conscience switched off?

The first time I encountered Juanita Henning of Doña Carmen was in 2009, after she had organized a panel discussion in Stuttgart. She criticized the raid of the ‘PussyClub’, the closure of the flat rate brothel and the arrest of the owners. And she lamented a “conservative, fundamentalist coalition with xenophobic resentment.” She was mainly talking about the police and public prosecution. Her reaction to outrage over a flat rate in the brothel: “The women arrived at an hourly pay of 10 euros; that’s completely okay.”

That sentence is still ringing in my ears. Henning thought ten euros per hour were adequate payment for the prostitutes. Two of the women were only sixteen years old! Ten euros for lying on a bed, enduring one john after the other. Johns who were waiting in line behind the curtain that was used for a door, waiting until the man in front of them was finally done and it was their turn.

The tone is the same now as it was then. Still the former social worker only sees the independent autonomous prostitute who has freely chosen this, free from any coercive force. Age, where they are from, education, experiences of violence, none of it counts, none of it means anything.

But what about Ancuta, the 24-year-old who just called in tears because her abdomen hurts so badly and she can’t work anymore? She still owes rent for the last three days. That’s 240 euros or 7 johns. Letting yourself be penetrated seven times and seven times oral. Seven times too many for Ancuta. But if she loses her room now and has to return to the brothel, she will have to pay twice that.

Or Angela, who so badly wants to learn to read and write. Because she doesn’t want to be a “slut girl” anymore. Or Donka, who is pregnant again and now needs money for her third abortion. She is only 19 and really wants to go back home, to her 4-year-old son. She shows pictures of him all the time and says she thinks only of him day and night. She says he is the only reason she endures this “horrible work.”

And Rajna? She has been walking the street for three days now. Because it’s cheaper. Before that she worked in a sauna club and paid 70 euros every day as an entrance fee, 40 euros for staying the night, 25 euros in tax and 30 euros for the accommodation of her husband, who was there to protect her. And that’s without her having eaten anything and without money for the husband to spend in cafes and arcades. And without having sent anything home yet. Then there was trouble, her husband used his fists and now she has a black eye. Yet again.

And Noémi? Does she count for Doña Carmen? Noémi has a sore throat and is terribly afraid she may have syphilis again. Many have that here. Because the johns don’t want to use condoms. Especially not for ‘French’. Noémi gets tested every couple of months, brushes her teeth all the time and has a sore throat anyway.

Noémi says it took her a whole year to get used to this work. For the first year, she was so disgusted she vomited after every john. Now she doesn’t cry every day anymore. Only sometimes, when she thinks about everyone at home waiting for her to send money. At least 500 euros every month. She has two unemployed brothers and a mother who all demand support. “What should I do? Everyone is counting on me.” Intercourse without a condom, including oral? Everyone has to decide that for themselves, says Henning in an interview with Stern.

And Monica, Ruska, Veronica, and all the others? One story is much like the other. They are everywhere: in the brothels, the clubs, the apartments, on the street, in escorting – wherever you look, you find women like them. And they are not the pitiable exceptions. The percentage of foreigners of the newly registered prostitutes in Stuttgart is at 90. And Eastern Europe is leading the top ten.

Alice Schwarzer says, prostitution is about power. Yes! It’s down to the existing power relations that many men think they have a right to buy women. And to do with them whatever they feel like. The younger the better, why not from an Eastern European ghetto and who cares if she speaks German. What good would that do, after all?

And there are quite a few among the johns who buy fair trade products. Their breakfast eggs don’t come from chickens in battery farms and they avoid factory-farmed meat. This they owe themselves; for this they have enough of a conscience.

Where does that get deactivated while your own cock ravages the body of the woman? The conscience. While interpreting the prostitute’s efforts as ‘taking joy in her work’? Where is the conscience placed in temporary storage when you overlook the cosmetic fault of a discolored eye or badly covered-up burn marks on the skin–you’ve paid for it, after all?

And who stands for these women? Who is still at their side?

Certainly not Frau Henning with her Doña Carmen – which seems to be a one-woman operation. These people negate the experiences of prostitutes, deny their reality, oppose every help and every protection these women so urgently need.

Because it is very convenient for them that the police cannot enter the brothels and rented apartments, since law enforcement authorities took away all right of access and all right to intervene with the reform of 2002. Now Doña Carmen, which calls itself a “whore project”, is demanding that the following sections be dropped from the German criminal code: Section 180a, which criminalizes “the exploitation of prostitutes”, Section 181a against procurement, and even Section 233a against “the facilitation of human trafficking”!

Obviously it still isn’t enough for the lobbyists that the reform of 2002 made criminal proceedings dependent on the testimony of victims. Far too often meaning young women would have to testify against parents, husbands, brothers, neighbors. It’s no surprise that dedicated police offers have been calling the reform the “Pimp Protection Act” for a long time.

Henning presents herself as Doña Carmen, “Association for the Protection of the Social and Political Rights of Prostitutes”. Wouldn’t “Brothel Owners’ Lobby” be a whole lot more honest?

In 1988, a woman could say the following in the Hydra publication “Beruf Hure” (Occupation: Whore): “However, I find that exiting prostitution, getting out of the milieu, is the most important thing in the life of a prostitute.” A sentence like that would get you blacklisted in today’s circles. Just like this one: “I had a certain measure of inherent pressure, after all, namely my revulsion for any kind of john […] and my ever-diminishing identity and the loss of my self-assurance.”

Between all these lobbyists, the only thing I can do is trust in the tenacity of Alice Schwarzer. Trust that she won’t stop fighting against the trivialization of prostitution, and against the slave market that is spreading among us and which is a disgrace. It affects all of us.

Sabine Constabel, EMMAonline, 21.8.2013

[emphasis the author’s]


Here is another very insightful text on prostitution in Germany by Sabine Constabel, translated by Ulla Wojciechowski.


Some Men

This poem was inspired by a recent influx of tweets from men saying, “Don’t tar us all with the same brush, only SOME men are like that” when women were discussing the prevalence of violent pornography or the rape threats feminists receive on a daily basis. These men consistently fail to see that there is a difference between saying ‘men’ and ‘all men’, and their complaints about women’s language tend to be their only contribution. As I said on Twitter earlier, the average male reaction to women discussing our violent oppression at the hands of men is to get angry about the talking and not about the violence. They have nothing to say about the harm men inflict on women every day. They would tolerate our discussing our oppression if only we could be more polite about it and promise that we love men and believe in their basic goodness with every other sentence we said — that is to say that no free discussion of the topic is tolerated at all.

Thankfully, some men don’t feel the need to make every discussion of male violence about how they themselves are innocent of said violence. So this poem is dedicated to the few men who get it and who confront their fellow men instead of harassing and guilt-tripping women.


Some Men

Some men are not all men

Not all men are like that

Not all men rape and pillage

But they are not all men


Some men are not all men

And some men are like that

Some men rape and pillage

And they weigh more than all men


Because they do it to all women

While all some men have to say is

Not all men are like that


…Men are like that




Trinity’s Disgust-o-rama

I took some pictures while in London for Radfem2013. No, not of the Eye or the Shard or Westminster. Of disgusting things, of blatant misogyny being peddled in the street. Because I am a fun person like that. There are also some pictures from locations that aren’t London towards the bottom of the post.


They say you can tell a lot about someone’s personality from their shoes.


This is not subtle.


Women=consumable body parts. These shirts are no doubt popular with rapists.


Females are things and they must be cute. Males are people and own females.

This concludes my little trip around Camden Market (where I was also subjected to some horrible dancehall-like music about ‘tight pussy’). Now check out these disgusting magazines they try to sell you at Sainsbury’s:







Hey-hey! Women being tortured, mutilated, raped and slaughtered…it’s fun for the whole family!

Then, on my further travels through this world, I encountered these disgusting things.


These paintings filled an entire storefront in a city center. Asian fetish porn paintings.


Fugly Fugly2

These are pen holders, I think. Quite suggestive of prostitution. At least they scream power imbalance, and the cigar-smoking man is shown basically consuming an unwilling/passive woman.

There is misogyny and pornification wherever you turn, and men tell women to just look away, to turn the page, to ignore, block, rise above it and laugh.

Fuck that. That’s what we have been doing and it’s not working. At least I don’t see how ignoring these things will make me happy or safe. If you too are sick of these things, take a first step by showing your disgust as openly as possible. Being opposed to pornification and indeed porn itself needs to become normal for girls and women.


Portrait of Eight Paying Rapists

People say prostitution is necessary. Some even go as far as saying it’s a necessary evil, but even those people still insist it is necessary.

If men can’t buy access to women’s bodies, these people say, whatever will they do?

Yes, I would like to ask them, what exactly is it you think men will do? Rape women?

What that means is that either men get to rape for money or they will rape for free. Or in other words: “rape is inevitable, let’s outsource the victim role to someone who has no options.”

If you think these men are rapists who by definition don’t care whether the woman or girl they are fucking wants any part of them (which is what you’re saying if you think they will rape unless they can ‘buy sex’), then why do you support their right to throw down a few bills and take that attitude out on an actual woman’s or girl’s body?

If men couldn’t buy access to women’s bodies, what would they do? Spontaneously combust?

Of course not. They’d do what women are doing: live their lives without buying access to people’s bodies to sate their sexual greed. Sex is not a need. It’s a want. Financial transactions are not a natural part of reproduction either, so arguments about how this sort of behavior is natural ‘because men’s hormones’ (or the ominous-sounding ‘men have needs’) are completely idiotic anyway, save your breath. Prostitution also hasn’t existed in every culture there ever was, even if pro-pornstitution liars try to make it look that way.

If we can admit that prostitution isn’t actually necessary, it’s just something men WANT, and if we then look at the unspeakable harm that we KNOW is being inflicted upon millions of girls and women worldwide, to the tune of billions upon billions of dollars, who can justify any of it? Who can say, but that’s integral to our society, let’s keep this up? Only a total sociopath, or someone who is so deeply in denial about the horrors being committed on women’s bodies and souls that their view has little to do with reality.

All this said, let’s look at a few statements from johns/punters that I read on photographer Bettina Flitner’s website and that I’ve translated into English.

I encourage you to click on the link and look at the photographs as you read the statement of each man on his prostituting. I have added some comments of my own for each of them.

Please beware that these statements are dehumanizing and misogynistic and what follows is upsetting if you care about women at all.


Christian, 23, freight forwarding agent, single

“Why do I pay for sex? Women often get on my tits. They nag you if you don’t spend enough time with them. That’s why I come here when I just feel like I fuck – and then I leave again. That’s it. It quickly gets boring to me with a girlfriend. And anyways: paying for it gives it that special something. Then you own the woman. You can do whatever you want with her. That’s power when you think about it. My last time? I come here about every six weeks. Sometimes I do it with one I already know, sometimes with a different one. I like it a little harder, no vanilla sex.”

This man is a rapist and he knows it. He wants to own a woman who has no rights, no power, no way out in the face of his ‘a little harder’ (really rough, sadistic, degrading) treatment. He undoubtedly watches rape porn when he’s not acting out his sadism on a woman directly.


Dung, 28, works in parental restaurant, single

“My first time in a brothel was four years ago. A date is always stressful and costs a lot of time. In a brothel, everything is much more open. There are no lies and no illusions there. I can freely admit it — I am single after all and I’m not hurting anyone. My type are women with black hair and brown eyes. But definitely no Asians. Don’t like them at all. There has to be good chemistry, then the woman enjoys it too. But sometimes they look at the time already when you enter the room. You don’t really feel like it anymore when they do that.”

He believes the brothel to be the most honest place because it’s the only place where he himself is honest. Those two things are very different. Does he really believe there are women who enjoy him using their bodies? He does it anyway even when he knows they don’t want to — evidence that he doesn’t see the women as actual people at all (he isn’t hurting anyone, after all, even when women show clear signs of just wanting it over with and him gone). Why can’t this Asian man stand Asian women? Internalized racism meets misogyny.


Günther, 55, bar owner, divorced, 1 son

„I just need a lot of sex. It excites me to always have new women. I also go to swingers clubs. But there are often old and ugly ones there. Sometimes I book an escort service. My type? Black or very light skin. So mulatto or from Latvia. No silicone breasts and pumped-up lips. I also don’t like them too professional, I prefer those who just do their job normally and only do this now and then. My last time was one week ago. She said it was the most beautiful sex of her life. The usual 50 euros. The price/performance ratio is simply right here.”

No, you do not need, you want. Such ugly words from an ugly man who believes himself entitled to an unlimited number of women’s bodies, picked for their hues and shapes like fruit in a shop. Look at him. Look at the contempt he has for the women who do what he makes them do — as evidenced by the fact that an actual ‘professional’ is not good enough for him, he needs the illusion that women with regular jobs moonlight at brothels for fun and have ‘beautiful sex’ with disgusting, unfeeling rapists like him.


Ingo, 43, tax accountant assistant, single

“Outside I’m too shy to talk to anyone. I work from home and hardly get out. But of course this is a fantasy world. The men here are chasing after an illusion, and so am I. Sometimes the women say, ‘I love you’ afterwards. That’s pure customer retention. Twice I fell in love with a woman from the brothel. There is this Samaritan Effect, where you want to take them out of the mire. That’s over for me, I don’t fall in love anymore. Now I only come here because of one of them. Everything is the way it should be. At least inside the room. I don’t know anything else about her.”

He knows that he is only a customer and not a ‘loved one’. He also knows the women in the brothel are suffering, to the point of feeling like a ‘Samaritan’ for wanting to keep them to himself and get them away from the brothel. Selfishness is the main motivator and always was; the Samaritanism is just in his head, since obviously there was no desire to free the women he didn’t fall in love with…and he has now successfully desensitized himself even beyond the point of imagining he has romantic feelings at all. Just fucking a stranger who you know doesn’t want to be there. Rapist.


Iwan, 65, auto mechanic, single

“One does it once. One does it twice. And then at some point one is just in there. One gets used to it. Normally I have to take a pretty woman out to dinner twice, costs 100 euros. And then maybe it doesn’t go anywhere. Here it works immediately. I like southern women – Spaniards, Italians, those from the Dominican Republic. I also had a Colombian here for a few months, a Bella, nicely built. She was really into it. Or she was a good actress. But she was suddenly gone. Pity.“

Note the impersonal, generalizing language. This way of expressing things is a common pattern in German, especially used by men when trying to disguise their emotional investment in something or their responsibility for something negative. He switches from that to ‘Normally I have to…’, i.e. a more personal tone, when trying to get sympathy for the plight of having to buy pretty women dinner in hopes of getting them to spit out sex like a slot machine showing three pineapples…or some other exotic fruit. Racist rapist. (Who knows what happened to the woman who was suddenly gone, but don’t expect him to have any worry beyond his loss of purchase options.)


Joachim, 58, engineer, separated, 1 daughter

“Ten years ago I woke up one night and couldn’t get up anymore. I had bad pain in my heart, the emergency doctor came, they took me to the ER. And back then I thought: my life could be over tomorrow. I come here about once a week. For three months now I have booked the same one. I spent two hours in the room with her today. It’s true: when you go to a club, you are no longer satisfied with normal women. The figures! They wear a size 6 or 8 here. [US; UK 8/10, Germany 34/36]”

I’m currently reading a book about resuscitation medicine and death experiences (Erasing Death by Sam Parnia, MD, PhD) and while there are many people who come close to death and change their lives after the experience, this is the very lowest life-change I have ever read of. His life could be over soon, so he better stick his dick into as many women size 6 or 8 as possible before he croaks (hurry up, for goodness’ sake). For “you are no longer satisfied with normal women”, read, “you lose the last of your ability to empathize with or care about women”. Rapist.


Kai, 49, bank employee, divorced, 2 children

“Why do I come here? I would normally never get women like the ones here. And I can also cross boundaries here. Anal for instance, I would probably not dare to ask a woman outside for that. Costs 100 euros more. I’m not for the really young ones or the skinny-bones. It’s fine if they have completely normal breasts, even a little tummy. You know, a womanly figure. I’ve been going to the same one for three years now, twice a month. My last time? A week ago.”

Women are a collection of body parts. A personality or emotions do not even figure into it when this guy thinks about women. He pays to cross boundaries and to do things to women that he actually instinctively knows women don’t want. So the women he pays for are a different class of (not-)humans to him, absolving him of the need to respect their boundaries and feelings. He feels like a really generous and humane punter for not going after the “really young ones” and ‘allowing’ the women to have ‘normal breasts’.


Ralf, 28, computer scientist, single

„I went to a brothel for the first time when I was 17, with my very first paycheck. Going to a club like this is deep relaxation to me. There’s no chitchat, the girls are clever and adjust to your preferences. That can become addictive. I had a relationship for four years, but at some point it always comes out. And then the shutters go down. Now I’m also here for professional reasons. I am developing an online platform together with a friend where men can buy punter alibis: traffic accident, hospital – we can do anything.”

I struggle to find words for this specimen because the personality he presents in one short paragraph is so hideous. He believes men have a right to use as many women’s bodies as they want, while keeping girlfriends and wives as deceived domestic servants. He has obviously understood there is money in facilitating rape, so now he wants in on it.


For all these men, note how utterly self-/man-centered their entire concept of reality is, how they have fetishized power imbalance including racism, and how the things they tell us about themselves clearly show that women in general and prostituted women in particular are less-than-human, not real people, to them. To them we are animated body parts for men’s use. If you can’t see that in their words, I suggest you look a little harder and take off the rose-colored porn glasses. These eight men are rapists and should be criminalized.

For more insight into how johns see the women to whose bodies they buy access, see the incredibly revealing and commendable The Invisible Men Project on tumblr and Twitter.


Exited Women: Prostitution is Violent and Unfree

The following is my translation of an article published on the Danish website Politiken.dk on March 9, 2013

Selling yourself is disgraceful, violent and unfree

Written by

Tanja Rahm, sexologist and author

Alice Viola, mentor and therapist

Christina Christensen, educator

Lita Malmberg, unemployed social educator

Pia Christensen, cand.mag. (BA in Denmark)

Odile Poulsen, author and psychotherapist

All authors are formerly prostituted women

We are six women who have been in prostitution. In many ways we are similar to the women Politiken described in the series of articles ‘The Brothel – A Workplace in Denmark’. Their words were our words when we were in prostitution.

Five of us told ourselves and the world around us that we were choosing to do it. That we enjoyed sex, earned good money and received lots of recognition. That we were completely in control of what we did.

The media often describes women in prostitution as strong and free and as having a healthy, hungry relation with sex, most recently so in ‘The Brothel’. The story of the sex-loving woman who liberates her sexuality in prostitution is also the story most people want to hear. Especially men who buy sex.

Those like us are the complete opposite. When we take part in the public debate about prostitution and point out the destructive forces and consequences of prostitution, we are told that something else must be wrong with us.

For it cannot be the years in prostitution that have given us insomnia, depression, memory loss, suicidal thoughts, self-hate, pain, arthritis, anxiety, problems with intimacy and so on.

Even though hundreds of women in our situation speak of the same painful consequences of prostitution, this knowledge does not count in the current debate. ‘The Brothel’ conveys the dominant narrative: prostitution is liberating and harmless.

But what is not made clear at the same time is that it can look very different when one has exited the trade. This can contribute to the normalization of prostitution and lure young women into thinking that it is a danger-free way of earning money. It is not.

Many are we who have had to realize that prostitution is not a free or liberating choice, but boundary-crossing, violent, unfree. We lost touch with ourselves. So that we would be able to take it.

‘Satisfied sex workers’ are treated with a rare, uncritical political correctness by the media.

The journalist in ‘The Brothel’ accepted all the contradictions unquestioningly. But women in prostitution aren’t made of glass. So why shouldn’t they answer critical questions? How, for instance, are they going to avoid being exploited by pimps with the help of a telephone operator and a security guard? How are they going to get men to stop buying the foreign women who have no access to the famous ‘rights’—they are cheaper, after all? How does being a member of a union protect you from being assaulted by the buyers? How can you be an unemployed prostitute?

After all, you could just stand out on the street. ‘The Brothel’ gives the impression that the stigma lies in the fact that some people disagree that prostitution is an okay profession. The degrading view of women that sex buyers have is described by the interviewed women as them being sweet men who long for a little closeness and intimacy.

There is much discussion about freedom of choice. But this seems meaningless to us, for prostitution eats your dignity, free choice or not. When society does not want to give up on the notion that some women should be for sale, the stigma remains. And our pain is brushed aside by saying we chose it ourselves.

Below we have each listed our experiences and our views on being in prostitution:

Tanja: “I was superior, strong. But the façade was crumbling. I became addicted to cocaine so that I could go on. Was I too weak, a spineless victim? No. I survived and built a worthy life for myself. But I see how women in my situation constantly have to fight psychological problems, go to the hospital, get operations.” (…) «Women who exit prostitution tell a different story than that of orgasms and sweet men. Our experiences are the most stigmatizing. Because other women don’t want to realize that their men are possibly sex buyers and cheaters. Men don’t want to lose their illusions of constantly horny women who love to have sex for money. And society fears being seen as judgmental and frigid if we don’t embrace all sexual excesses with wide open arms. The cost of saying what no one wants to hear is condemnation.”

Alice: “As a mentor in ‘Swan Groups’ I meet many who find the media’s generally one-sided idealization of prostitution hard to deal with. In a Swan Group, you gain a better perspective of the issue. For who among us wasn’t happy, right up until we discovered something different? Very many of the Swan Women only discovered the painful reality afterward. Almost all of them have problems with closeness, intimacy, trust and sex. This has serious consequences for relationships with partners, children and others. Freedom in prostitution is an illusion, a quick fix of power and a lie that keeps both the sex buyer and the woman going around the ring.”

Christina: “I went talking to the media, praising the joys of prostitution when I was in prostitution. It was a huge self-deception that I used to survive. Many times I have since wondered about the question of rights. Would I have avoided PTSD, memory loss, depression, sleep disorders and general anxiety if I had had the right to be seen by a health professional every other week or been a member in the union and had the right sick pay? No. Sex buyers differ from other men in only one respect: they can justify to themselves that it is okay to buy sex. They were pitiful when they thought they were entitled to use me because they paid for it. They justified their actions by saying, “Wow, it’s so cool that you are so strong; I could never have sex with one of the weak ones.” I could not possibly be one of those who were being hurt. How wrong they were. Pretending that you’re strong is just the way you sell the goods. ”

Lita: “The rights should be the right to get out of prostitution. Help for the treatment of the problems that women in prostitution typically get, help with education or work. People should have the right not to have to sell themselves. And make no mistake: It is selling yourself. It’s not just a performance. You are alone and naked with a stranger who lies on top of you and groans and sweats, who sucks on your breasts and finally empties himself into you. That’s what it is to be a prostitute. Yes, there was always one who said, ‘I’ll be quick so it’s not so bad for you’. But if he thought it was so bad for me, why did he do it? That lack of self-control repelled me. The only thing they were really interested in was the size of our body parts–and what it cost. We were described and sold as if we were sandwiches.”

Pia: “I was violently forced to prostitute myself. That Danish women can also be forced into prostitution is never spoken about, but I am far from alone. My situation resembles that of foreign prostitutes, who also often have pimps—yes, even the ‘willing’ Danish prostitutes sometimes have those. Many women are ashamed, even if they’ve chosen to prostitute themselves, and would very much like to quit. So why are some politicians so busy trying to make the sex industry so that as many as possible can remain in prostitution for as long as possible? A lot more should be done to get women out of prostitution.”

Odile: “It’s not acceptable to talk about the damage we take away from prostitution—that destroys the common notion of prostitution as mutual, free-spirited sex. Women who haven’t been in prostitution and who don’t think that prostitution is good for society, for the prostitutes or the sex buyers, are called frigid, sexually repressed, moralizing spinsters. So how is it possible to discuss?”


French version of this article, translated from English by Martin Dufresne.

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Cold Crystals

I ate cold crystals

they ate me back

them is both freezing and fever

depression starvation

death wish despair

decades of undiagnosed illness

purged from me

from the trinity

from a well-fed slave to parasite systems

to starving broken resistance

rebuild, reflect, regain

in revolution


I ate them

they ate me

now learning to be

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Important read.

Recognizing the class enemy, by the way, doesn’t have to have anything to do with hatred. It’s simply a matter of facing reality. Rain doesn’t fall up.


There’s quite a buzz around today. All’s been a bit quiet on the direct action front after a burst of imaginative activism in 2011-12 by UK uncut. I liked a lot of it, I joined in for a while. I like the “non-hierarchical” fluid nature of it because that reminds me of radical feminist activism in days gone by. I became disillusioned after a short time as, gradually, my role, and that of the few other women involved, was increasingly sidelined and I found myself, instead, acting as “appeaser” to stop male aggression and violence breaking out during actions (from all parties of men – security, police, passers-by and male activists on the left). This was aggression because they were, or felt, “provoked” by other men, for whatever reason. There are numerous accounts of sexual violence and aggression towards women as part of the occupy movements (other feminists have written…

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Sister Trinity’s Feminist Q & A

Sister Trinity’s Feminist Q&A

Everything you always wanted to know about (radical) feminism but never dared to ask


This here is the introduction post to the Q & A. It isn’t necessary for you to read all this to participate in the Q & A, but if you are interested, read.

If you are more the impatient sort, go straight to the Q & A page.


Lately I have seen a mountain of evidence that there are countless women on the Internet who are afraid to even say what’s on their minds or to ask a question. Because girls and women have been relentlessly attacked and bashed not only by the usual suspects, the misogynist trolls out there, but by supposed fellow feminists.

Now, I’m for not mincing any words here: it is mostly radical feminists who have been attacked online by other feminists and by trans activists—in addition to the usual misogynist suspects, because of course those don’t take time off. Many of these attacks have been utterly frightening, with threats made against women and their children. (And now, most recently, trans activists have undertaken efforts to have the radical feminist conference Radfem2013 kicked from the venue that was booked, supposedly because we’re the fascist danger to free speech and feminism…)

While there may indeed be a few women who identify as radical feminists who have engaged in abusive online behavior of their own, this is nothing like a feud or a war. The greater mainstream side has declared radical feminists the Bad Guy, and one of the huge reversals that has conquered the mainstream perception is that radical feminism is about being hateful, exclusive, about bullying and putting down other women (and killing all men, I guess)—all terrible lies.

As this relentless barrage of smears, sabotaging and harassing shows, it’s a clear reversal. Those vilifying, shaming and bullying are actually the same ones claiming to be the victims of radfem bullying. This is why they feel justified in their behavior. I have literally been told I am ‘evil’ (just for having a Twitter profile that says “radfem” and wanting to attend a radical feminist conference that’s only for radical feminist females) and thus deserve to be treated like shit when talking about my rape on my blog and Twitter. The same people would be outraged should a radfem even suggest that a rape survivor could deserve different degrees of sympathy based on how much you agree with their political views. Outraged doesn’t even come close. I suspect they would revoke all feminist membership cards and call them pariah.

Note how radfems become the misogynist antifeminist stereotype incarnate in people’s minds. It’s a convenient way of showing oneself as a ‘progressive’ feminist to throw those stereotyped “hairy manhating lesbians” under the bus. The backlash against feminism and all the misogynist baggage is rolled off onto radical backs so that others can appear enlightened (when in fact they question the status quo far less than radicals do, than everyone should).

The result of all this witch hunting is that radfems often can’t speak properly or safely with other women who do or don’t share their identification with radical feminism, and young feminists are scared speechless, lest they be tarred and feathered and called names like radfem sisters have been in front of their eyes.

Take it from me: we don’t believe in the things we believe because we are bitter and hateful. Quite on the contrary, you have to be very committed to making the world a better place to put up with everyone rejecting and hating you and still stand by what you know. Almost everyone who doesn’t identify as a radical feminist hates us and treats us like shit. But I have yet to see a radical feminist utter a single threatening sentence toward someone else on the Internet. Weird, considering we’re these dangerous, unhinged witches who abduct and eat children.

But the problem is of course not limited to those who identify as radfem, not by far. When we engage with people, sooner or later we face someone’s attempts to silence us, whether for being female or for being a feminist or for being the wrong kind of feminist or offending someone’s all-important sensibilities. All these little attempts–some successful, some not– add up, and before you know it, smart, eloquent and kind girls and women are sitting in front of their screens like tongue-tied spectators, with questions swirling in their heads or criticisms to add, but no courage to communicate.

This is what the patriarchy wants. It’s inbuilt into oppressive systems that those who question them, who work to dismantle them and who visibly reject the system’s values, face intense pressures to ‘go away’: change to fit in, withdraw from society, descend into mindlessness or self-destruction.

This is what feminists and radical feminists in particular are supposed to do for this Death Machine system of ours to continue unchecked. The patriarchy needs females who are afraid, insecure, and uncritical, who police and fight each other and drag their sisters back down into the mud every time.

This ends here. At least in this space, nobody will be dragging anyone anywhere.

I’m not the godmother of good feminism. I’m not even that experienced or anything, since I haven’t been around all that long. But I like to believe I know a thing or two, and I’m also very well connected with a network of other women who know A LOT about feminism, who live it. Many women, most of them radical feminists and all of them wonderful people, are more than happy to answer your questions (and even if they weren’t, I’m also here and I’m certainly going to do my best).

A place where your intentions do matter and nobody’s feelings trump your right to ask questions

I once thought I was just asking a question (with the intention of becoming a better feminist and just wiser and more understanding), but found that it made me the object of hate and ridicule and that no answer was forthcoming (also no explanation for the offense I’d caused). It was very intimidating and painful because my intention was never to be hurtful, disrespectful or anything like that, and I didn’t understand how my behavior was seen in such a light (otherwise I would have behaved differently, that’s a no-brainer). Of course we still have to watch what we say and do, we can’t just say “I didn’t mean it” and that makes everything okay. But to a certain extent, people’s intentions do matter. Ignorance is not a crime. It’s clinging to that ignorance when someone has shown you the error of your ways that deserves scorn, maybe, but certainly not a lack of understanding and a wish to remedy that condition.

I don’t want to see anyone punished for not understanding something and striving to understand it better. If this person steps on some toes in the process, then, sure, that can be part of the learning process. But I seriously need to get biblical for a second and say that none of us get to cast the first stone in this. None. We’ve all learned the things we’ve learned at some point, and we didn’t choose many of the things we learned. It’s not where we come from that people should judge us by, but rather where we’re trying to go.

This is the very same reason I don’t judge anyone who eats animals, even though I do actually regard it as something horrible people shouldn’t do. How can I think that and not think of individual people as ‘bad’? Well, how was I any different some years back? Did I deserve to be judged because I hadn’t understood something that I understand now? No. Was I, if not callous, then at least a stupid person? No. I was just raised in this world in which things are done a certain way, and I did what I had been raised to do. People do that. It’s possible to condemn the whole damn system without being angry or hateful toward any single person (not that there aren’t people who deserve for others to be angry at them; that does happen).

I can deal with hate from men, because everyone knows many men hate women and hate feminists in particular. I expect their misogyny. I wear thick armor against it that fits me snugly, that I don’t even feel. But what can really rob us of the last bit of confidence is when not even our sisters treat us decently.

So, if you have thoughts and questions on feminism (and radical feminism in particular), dear sister, bring it on. You will get nothing but our best intentions, collective knowledge and my fierce protection from all rudeness, anger and abuse. You’re welcome here, anonymous or not, as long as you mean well, too.

You have a brain and it is a wonderful thing. Use it, talk to me, let us know what you are thinking. You are worthwhile and I want you to speak up.


  1. You will be able to post anonymously, but it would be wisest to pick some kind of handle, or things may get a little confusing on here.
  2. You may ask absolutely anything you want, provided it has something to do with feminism. That’s a really wide range of topics and that’s good.
  3. Everything will go through my moderation. Slurs will only be allowed if you are talking about what others have said to you; nobody here is to use them against anyone else.
  4. Absolutely NOBODY is going to be accused of being ‘ignorant’, ‘bigoted’ or a ‘bad feminist’, no matter what they write. You can criticize what someone has said, but you do not attack the sister speaking.
  5. If you are being deliberately abusive with your words, I will either edit or delete your comments. This is so everyone else can feel safe.
  6. This discussion space is for females. If you were born male, sorry, this here is not for you and it’s nothing personal. This is about females finding their voices after being pressured and intimidated to shut up since the day they were born. Many of us struggle to even reach the conclusion that we are allowed to have our own views and express them. Females are being silenced and its females I’m trying to engage and encourage and hopefully enlighten a bit with all this. Since this is the Internet and I’m letting people be anonymous, I will just have to appeal to you to be respectful of this.

Now go to the Q & A page to take part!

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Censorship from Left and Right – by bell hooks

Below is an excerpt from bell hooks’ 1994 essay “Censorship from Left and Right”

“In the early years of contemporary feminist movement, solidarity between women was often equated with the formation of “safe” spaces where groups of presumably like-minded women could come together, sharing ideas and experiences without fear of silencing or rigorous challenges. Groups sometimes disintegrated when the speaking of diverse opinions led to contestation, confrontation, and out-and-out conflict. It was common for individual dissenting voices to be silenced by the collective demand for harmony. Those voices were at times punished by exclusion and ostracization. Before it became politically acceptable to discuss issues of race and racism within feminist circles, I was one of those “undesirable” dissenting voices. Always a devout advocate of feminist politics, I was, and am, also constantly interrogating, and if need be, harsh in my critique. I learned powerful lessons from hanging in there, continuing to engage in feminist movement even when that involvement was not welcomed. Significantly, I learned that any progressive political movement grows and matures only to the degree that it passionately welcomes and encourages, in theory and practice, diversity of opinion, new ideas, critical exchange, and dissent.

This remains true for feminist movement; it is not less true for black liberation struggle. In the heyday of civil rights struggle, black power movement folks were often “excommunicated” if they did not simply support the party line. This was also the case in white male-dominated “left” political circles. Censorship of dissenting voices in progressive circles often goes unnoticed. Radical groups are often so small that it is easy to punish folks using tactics that may not be apparent to those outside the group.Usually, repression is enforced by powerful members of the group threatening punishment, the most common being some form of ostracization or excommunication.  This may take the form of no longer including an individual’s thoughts or writing in relevant discussions, especially publication, or excluding individuals from important meetings and conferences. And in some cases it may take the form of a consistent, behind-the-scenes effort to cast doubt verbally on their credibility.

Marginalized groups often fear that dissent, especially if it is expressed in public critique, will play into the hands of dominating forces and undermine support for progressive causes. Throughout the history of black struggle against racism there has been, and continues to be, major disagreement over whether or not we should rigorously critique one another publicly, especially in racially integrated contexts. Efforts to censor surface whenever marginalized groups are overly concerned with presenting a “positive” image to the dominant group.


As a professor, I continually witness fear on the part of students to express themselves openly and freely. This fear is usually motivated by the concern that their peers will not like what they say, and that this will lead to some form of social punishment. Their willingness to self-censor in the interest of being liked, of being held in high regard by their peers, as well as their often profound fear of conflict, always indicts the notion that our classrooms are a place where the democratic assertion of free speech is possible. Professors will never create a learning community where students can understand the importance of free speech and exercise their rights to speak openly and freely if we lack the courage to fully embrace free speech. The same holds true for progressive political groups.

When repression via censorship becomes the norm in progressive political circles, we not only undermine our collective struggles to end domination, we act in complicity with that brand of contemporary, chic fascism that evokes romantic images of unity and solidarity, a return to traditional values, while working to deny free speech and suppress all forms of rebellious thought and action. In recent years, feminist thinkers have fought long and hard to make feminist thinking, theorizing, and practice a radical space of openness where  critical dialogue can take place. Much of that struggle has been waged by women of color, beginning with the conflict over whether or not to see issues or face and racism as feminist agendas.

Feminist movement, black liberation struggle, and all our progressive political movements to end domination must work to protect free speech. To maintain the space for constructive contestation and confrontation, we must oppose censorship. We remember the pain of silence and work to sustain our power to speak—freely, openly, provocatively.”

Full essay here.


Activism to normalize gender transitioning now comes at children’s expense

“Live and let live,” you may say, but that’s precisely what trans ideology does NOT do.

In Oregon, the law now says that “gender questioning children and adolescents” will get “puberty suppression therapy” at the first sign of pubertal change. “Puberty suppression therapy.” Just let those words sink in. In what world does that sound like a rational, healthy thing to do to a child?

They are taking perfectly healthy children who don’t conform to the rigid patriarchal norms that are attached to sex (this is called ‘gender’) and giving them an untested treatment that isn’t medically necessary or proven to be beneficial. In fact, health problems abound. And yet this is supposed to fix the problem of being ‘born in the wrong body’ –which is such a hateful, evil notion to support and enable that I fail to understand how the critical people are the ones being labeled hateful and oppressive.

This is like buying a pair of shoes for your child, discovering that they are slightly too small, and proceeding to hack off your child’s toes to make them fit rather than getting a better pair of shoes.

Trans laws are only just getting started. And it affects every single person, not just those who identify as trans, when a country’s laws are changed to reflect the idea that males behave and think one way and females behave and think another way (codifying ‘gender identity’ into law does just that), and that feeling uncomfortable with the gender role assigned to us due to our sex is a sign that our bodies need extensive modification, or that we are in fact ‘not what we seem’.

All those who identify as trans deserve full human rights, respect, and protection just like all other humans. But legislators, medical professionals and parents need to hear this message loud and clear, before we find ourselves in a world that leaves no space at all for those who would escape the rigid, sex-based definition of what we are supposed to be:


“Do not adjust your mind, it is reality that is malfunctioning.” (Robert Anton Wilson)

“We aren’t born in the wrong body, we’re born in the wrong society!“(@ThedirtfromDirt)

The blog I am linking here is truly excellent; read it even if it’s a long post.

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