Tag Archives: prostitution

Five Requests Of An Angry Young Man

I’m not going to pretend that I speak for all Millennials.

I grew up overseas. The 90s nostalgia over cartoons, cereal, and toys was never part of my life. I’d made plenty of trips back to the US, but never really spent any time in the culture until I was 17, arriving on the shores of the new world like the opening of some cliched immigrant story.

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Not quite so dramatically, but I was still very much a stranger in a strange land…

So maybe I’m looking at things through a strange, distorted lens. Maybe I’m alone in feeling that I’ve been seriously shortchanged on my future in the land of opportunity.

But I don’t think so.

Still, as I was writing this, I was starting to have second thoughts. Maybe my tone was too harsh, my criticisms to generalized, my frustration too warrant-less.

And then I watched this SNL skit titled “The Millennials

“Beautiful twenty-somethings (Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Miley Cyrus, Jon Rudnitsky) search for the love and success they’re entitled to on The Millennials.”

We watch a couple god-awful caricatures of Generation Y make outlandish demands of their sensible, long-suffering precursors. Near the end of the sketch, one of the smarmy Millennials threatens to jump out of a window. The two older workers stand back and say:

“Just do it.”

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Cue the applause and cheers from the audience.

So yeah, **** being nice and measured here. Let me break down what I’m sick and tired of hearing from Gen X and their Boomer counterparts:

I. Kindly Ease Up With Demanding That I Get Married/Have Kids

Yes, Millennials are getting married later than previous generations, but the average has only only gone up by a couple years. Yet to hear some folks talk, you’d think Millennials were actively attempting to dismantle the institution of marriage entirely.

I guess I just don’t understand what the big deal is.

Right along there with the pressure to get married is the pressure to spawn offspring- though again, the exact why isn’t ever really covered.

It almost seems to be presented as some kind of civic duty. That establishing the nuclear family is vital to ze velbeing of ze fatherland.

And I could deal with that.

I disagree with it, but I could deal with it as an argument. Just not one presented by the Boomers and Gen Xers.

I mean, seriously.

Boomers? Continue reading

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The Post-Racial America (That We Don’t Live In)

Well, I woke up this morning, flipped on my laptop, and had this image waiting there to greet me.

Django Unchained Actress Accosted by LAPD After Kissing White Husband

For ****’s sake, people.

Alright, lets get to it. Continue reading

Sell Sex Pt. III: Bill C-36, Human Trafficking, and Sex Work (Was I Wrong?)

In one of my early posts on the blog I shared about a fundraiser I organized with one of my best friends. The two of us had both stumbled across the shocking reality of human trafficking and been horrified. Most of my experience was just through reading about it (primarily in Benjamin Perrin’s book Invisible Chains), whereas she had met human trafficking survivors while attending Salvation Army War College.

We felt frustrated, and helpless, but we wanted to do something, anything to prevent it from happening to more vulnerable individuals.

After discussing it a few times, we decided to create some kind of event where we could raise awareness for human trafficking here in Canada. We even created a petition that advocated for the “Nordic Model” of prostitution law. This model was advocated by Perrin in his book and basically entails attacking the demand side of prostitution rather than the supply, specifically by making the purchase of sex illegal, rather than the sale. In theory, this means that the individuals who are victimized by the sex industry would be protected, while those who are perpetuating human trafficking  or contributing to the prostitution demand would be punished.

So I should be really excited now that Canada is currently debating a bill that would change our current prostitution laws to something much more in line with the Nordic Model, right?

Well, I’m suddenly not so sure.

Bill C-36 was introduced by Justice Minister Peter McKay near the beginning of June. Continue reading

Selling Sex Pt. II: Sex at the Super Bowl

In the week leading up to the Super Bowl my Facebook feed was exploding with information regarding sex trafficking.There were articles like this one, which included first-hand accounts from victimsas well as videos like this one and the one below.


I was excited to see the increase in awareness around the time of the Super Bowl because I hoped that it would prompt a crack down on trafficking activities. In fact, that’s actually what ended up happening. For example,  Attorney General John Hoffman of New Jersey “assembled a task force, which, among other things, aim[ed] to teach the public how to identify and assist trafficking victims.” Additionally, “this year’s host, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie [was] tweeting frequently about sex trafficking at the Super Bowl and his state’s commitment to stop it.” Continue reading

Selling Sex: Abolition vs Regulation

Many people were introduced to the concept of Human Trafficking via the movie Taken where Bryan Mills’ (played by Liam Neeson) daughter is kidnapped and groomed for prostitution and he has to save her by killing everyone who has an accent.

Good Luck

Around the same time I watched the movie Taken I read a book called Invisible Chains by Benjamin Perrin. The book is a well documented account of Perrin’s investigation into human trafficking in Canada, an investigation that began internationally but ended up in his own backyard when he was “shocked to learn of a case of human trafficking in his hometown.” The book delves into several specific cases, and by specific, I mean horrific: “a 14-year-old from Ontario sold for sex on Craigslist; young women from the war-torn Congo and Colombia trafficked to brothels and massage parlours in Canada; a 21-year-old from Alberta who went missing in Las Vegas in 2006.”

Continue reading

Shame Day: Rebranding

In the latest batch of lectures offered through the ISO’s [International Socialist Organization] annual Socialism conference, there is a speech regarding the issue of post-modernist philosophy. While the title and speaker escape me, as does the majority of the lecture, one particular line stood out to me, and it went a little something like this:

How do you prove a post-modernist wrong? Drop him in the middle of the ocean and tell him that his petty and self-imposed definitions are the reasons he’s drowning.

Now that’s not exactly how the line went- but that’s pretty much the gist of it. The whole point of the speech was to point out the flaw in post-modernism, that while we do tend to make problems for ourselves with our adherence to self-imposed definitions (you can hear a lot of this reasoning used in the whole debate over sexual orientation), there are nevertheless certain inescapable truths regarding our situations that can’t be overcome by changing our attitudes. Your refusal to adhere to any preconceived notions of health doesn’t stop cancer from killing you. An oncoming train doesn’t care one way or the other if you choose to accept society’s standards.

All of that’s just to say: perspective isn’t everything; some facts are simply immutable; which brings us to the topic of this fine Shame Day.

Rebranding.

I recently came across this collection of shots taken from a Family Guy episode.

As much as you can rail on the show, you have to admit that every once in a while it manages to make some pretty clever points. Obviously the joke here is that we have a pretty twisted double-standard in this country. Simply paying for sex is prostitution, but add a camera and a few loose titles and you suddenly have a completely legal act. Pretty much nothing has actually changed, and as ridiculous as it is, this idiotic mentality is actually taking sway.

You may have heard of the rather clever bars in Minnesota (and England, though I can’t confirm the Brits) circumventing anti-smoking laws by declaring their patrons to be actors, and their cigarettes/cigarillos/pipes/cigars/etc. to be props. Obviously this isn’t actual theater, but because the law prohibits smoking in some situations but not in others, the bars can pretty easily get around the issue (which, by the way, I applaud them for). This isn’t meant to be an example of this mentality going wrong, just an example of it being used (even if somewhat sarcastically). But don’t worry, the uglier side of this is just ahead.

You may also have heard of cadmium, a toxic chemical sometimes used in paint, being used in the making of Shrek glasses sold by fast food empire McDonald’s (though other companies were complicit as well). Upon being discovered, many of these companies simply rebranded their products as being “adult collector’s items,” the FDA having separate standards for acceptable cadmium levels in products geared towards adults. Obviously these items are not “adult collector’s items” and would still wind up in the hands of kids, but hey, what do these guys care? They can get away with it by ducking through this little definitional loophole.

That even goes for the commander-and-chief, who drew fire (rightly so) from most every side of the political sphere when he, to reduce the embarrassment of collateral damage from drone-strikes, simply expanded the definition of militant to include anyone within the bast radius of the strike. There are inner-party members of IngSoc who would call that “a bit much.” I mean, think about it. The single most powerful individual on the planet has declared that the weapons of his country have something that resembles a cross between the logic of a four year old and the papal bull of inability. “We only kill terrorists, we killed that twelve-year old, therefore, we killed a terrorist. High-fives all around.”

My view of pretty much everything the president does

Look, rebranding can be sleazy, but this is simply insane. Naming a fish a bird will not result in different results when chucking it off of a roof. Some things simply are. A smoker is a smoker, cadmium is toxic, and a dead kid is only ever a dead kid.

And that’s just a shame.

Miss Travel is both Lame and Prostitution

I found the worst thing.

Gary Arndt, the blogger at Everything Everywhere, posted about a new site called Miss Travel.

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So, as you see, attractive women are paid by rich (mostly married, it seems) men to be “companions” during travel.

I’m tired, so I’m going to let you all think about this and come to your own snarky conclusions.

The site was founded by Brandon Wade, who founded the similarly designed and also terrible whatsyourprice.com.

So obviously, I signed up for the site (which was free) so I could look more into it. The process itself was unsettling – I guess it’s just because I’ve never signed up for a dating site before. It was eerie when they asked my eye and hair color, but then when I saw the options for “relationship status,”

Adventures in creating a fake dating website profile

I remembered that this was a dating website. Very odd. Also, the displayed option of having an internet-sanctioned marital affair was a weird thing to see. I guess I just haven’t had many internet affairs.

So once I filled out – with not a small amount of shame – my fake account, I went and looked at some of the featured “Generous donors”. Jezebel was right – a large amount of married men, most of them (at least reportedly) millionaires (I didn’t even KNOW that there were that many millionaires in the world). Their profiles ranged from the obvious (photos in front of expensive cars – and one that was just a helicopter) to the sort of sad (a 34-year-old, “little bit on the shy side with women. but confident when working,” whose profile photo was just him in an empty white room taking a picture with his iPhone in a mirror) to the amusing (“Want to travel the world before 12/21/12 … all the girls I know have jobs and arent willing to quit there jobs”).

The relationship-seeking options on MissTravel.com

And yes, people are looking for sex. I mean, I’m not surprised – people are often looking for sex. But the sex-looking is just so official and thinly veiled. One Generous traveler, under his description of his desired “Attractive traveler”, wrote “I hope my companion is also sensual and affectionate.”.

There is also the option for Generous travelers to just gift frequent flier miles to Attractive travelers – the dubiousness of the “gift” nature of this is described tactfully: “So why would a Travel Sponsor give you miles? For many reasons. Some may want an online friend.” The lesson is: pictures of your boobs (which most of the profile pictures of Attractive travelers are anyways) will be rewarded.

One odd aside is that MissTravel.com linked the Jezebel article under their media coverage, which is called The Dating Website Where Rich People Take Pretty People on Fancy Vacations, Which Is 100% Definitely Not Prostitutey at All. I guess any publicity is good publicity and all that. But really – the article described the site as having “a F***TON of gross married dudes.”

Also, Gary Arndt was wrong about one thing: he said that “Most of the women in the system seem like very normal women.” If normal women pose in bikinis on their knees on their beds in front of cheap webcams and use profile pictures that cut off their heads so to better display their cleavage, then yes, most of the women on Miss Travel are very normal women.

So, for your weekend meditation, I ask you to consider the impressive ability of the internet to bring all of the bad ideas and unscrupulous people into one place.