I have been thinking about what to write about the amazing, frustrating, thought provoking weekend that was the Melbourne feminist futures conference. I want to talk about the speakers who hit me like a brick wall, the words that threw my brain into the lurch the feminist, activist energy, that grabbed me and threw me out of my cynicism and made me feel like yes, we will fucking change the world.
But in the end there is one image that stands out to me, A feminist speaker, I am many people I knew stood with our backs to, it was a while it was a quiet, non disruptive action, it was also a powerful statement of our anger at someone who considers herself a feminist like us, and is very much a public feminist face.
I believe the actions of the sex workers as well as sex worker allies like me where justified. The speaker Kathleen Maltzahn has worked against sex workers rights, she supports the Swedish model of sex work regulation, something which Swedish sex workers argue against, and the evidence for is pretty damn poor.
Kathleen responded to the protesters by asking us to talk, by asking for a dialogue to start, I know I am not the only person who heard a politician speaking when she said that, but even more than that I thought about power, and I thought about investment, because when I stood with sex workers, I was standing there because this is not about theory, it is about the bodies of every person I stood with, about their lives and their livelihoods.
Because the theory of men buying women doesn’t help a women suffering from police harressment, removing the leverage that police officer is given because her work is criminal does. Kathleen I am sure, here would point out that she doesn’t support criminalising sex workers, as the swedish model only criminalises clients, ignoring the fact that it makes sex workers unable to rent housing and access safe working envroments
Radical feminist arguments have been cooped by conservative politicians who wish to push an anti sex agenda.
Do brothels and sex-porn shops foster sexual exploitation, dehumanisation and the abuse of women?
I do not blame radical feminists for this, but it is one of the reasons I continue to write about the damaging effects of radical feminists, because their voices are taken to support anti sex, and women legislation. I do not for a minute believe that Fred Nile gives a damn about women, or issues of abuse and interpersonal violence, or as a freind on twitter said “He does care about women. It’s important to look after your things. :/” I think many radical feminists do, but I think they are misguided, and dangerously so, and I believe they do real damage.