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RadFems… Yep I Went There

March 11, 2014

I don’t know how many of my blog followers are also twitter followers (@not_one_story) but if you do you may have noticed my blowing up my twitter with tweets about RadFems and my opinions about them Well I want to talk about that in more than 140 characters.

RadFems stands for radical feminists. These “feminists” are generally privileged women- always cis, often straight. Most of them are white. In the scope of what I’ll be talking about they are very against sex work. They see damn near all sex work as violent acts and often fail to recognize male sex workers at all. They brush any positive experience of sex work to the side. They want to rescue you and get pissed off when you don’t want to be rescued.

Why am I talking about them now?

Because I faced one down last night.

If you remember my post “Neutral isn’t so Neutral” I talked about starting training to be a sexual assault victims advocate. Well I am currently in that training and last night we talked about prostitution/sex trafficking (please note that was their phrasing not mine.)

They said several things that I’m not ok with.

I’m only going to be focusing on my issues with RadFems and their commonly held views on sex work as this is what I was confronted with at training last night- just so we’re clear.

One of the instructors kept saying only 3% of full service sex workers are in it consensually.

EXCUSE ME? Question 1- where the hell are you getting this number?  Please if you’re in the position of authority and knowledge and you throw out numbers state your fucking sources. Question 2- even fi this number was close to being correct you cannot use that to invalidate the experience of those women. LGBTQA people only make up about 5-10% of the population- don’t they have the right to have their lives and experiences validated? That’s what I thought.

Another thing that happened was the presenter -who heads the organizations trafficking department- baited me. Repeatedly. She started of directing the conversation directly at me, moved to trying to bait me and ended with almost flat out attacking me without opening the conversation to anyone but the two of us. Essentially making me the bad guy in the conversation.

I really don’t appreciate that.  I know myself- I’m quite articulate. I’ll try to not rise to the bait but poke a bear long enough and I’m going to rise to the occasion.

The final thing that really really bothered me at the end of the conversation they gave resources to support their point. They told us about Melissa Farely. Her website can be found here.

I knew I recognized this name from somewhere so when I got home I got my google on.

I have so many problems with this woman and her studies. The biggest issue I have is that in a study she did in New Zealand looking at the complete legalization has come under a huge amount of international criticism. Criticism to the point that Dr. Calum Bennachie (PhD) has filed a complaint about her with the American Psychology Association asking that the RECIND her membership.

Dr. Bennachie’s complaint can be found here– all 115 pages of it.

Another (shorter) critique of her New Zealand study can be found here.

To give an example part of her study defines non-sex-buyer men as

“men who have not been to a strip club more than two times in the past year, have not purchased a lap dance, have not used pornography more than one time in the last month, and have not purchased phone sex or the services of a sex worker, escort, erotic masseuse, or prostitute.”

Ok wait what? I don’t think I know 5 men that fit this description. Also this definition is so broad it is impossible to find ANY conclusive evidence about men who purchase sex. Male readers be honest- by this definition I’m willing to bet most of you would be considered sex buyers.

However it isn’t only her New Zealand study that has been called into question.  Here you can read a critique of Farely’s work in Scotland.

Not only are her methods in constant critique on ethical standards (including her saying she competently diagnosed PTSD in 15 minute interviews) but so is her wording and use of language.

To quote Dr. Bennachie in his complaint “Dr. Farely has appears to have read the complete report, but has only reported or critiqued those parts that match her ideology… it was discovered that Dr. Farely had completed research in New Zealand in 2003 WITHOUT SEEKING ETHICAL APPROVAL from the New Zealand Psychological Society”

That’s a problem. That’s a big problem.

The fact that this person’s work was used as a valid source calls many things the organization said into serious question.

All this being said I do believe that this organization does do great work when working with sexual assault victims and they do have a great task force for women and children who are truly trafficked. However I will enthusiastically and consistently critique them for equating all full service sex work to sex trafficking for I feel that is extremely dangerous.

I add this youtube video at the bottom not because this is how I feel about the organization but because it is how I feel about RadFems. Enjoy!

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From → Who Knows What

2 Comments
  1. Brian permalink

    Dammit! I am a sex buyer! Where has my life gone? How far have I fallen? Where does it end? Lol.

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