Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category
Is this Going to Work in France? Really?
France’s National Assembly has just voted today to penalise the clients of prostitutes.
With 268 votes against 138 a law, which will make a customer of Prostitutes liable to a fine of 1 500 euros (stiffly increased for a second offence) will now go to the Senate before becoming law.
The legislation will also cover Internet sites, hosted in France, or in other countries.
In France, the law currently states that prostitution is legal, although brothels, poncing, and soliciting sex are not. The law will abolish the offence of ‘racollage’ touting for sex.
Minister for women’s rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, who has pushed for the reform, argues that prostitution in any form is unacceptable and has said the aim of President François Hollande’s Socialist government was to suppress the trade altogether.
Proponents of the reform point to a rise in human trafficking as a key reason for more restrictive legislation. Some 90 percent of France’s estimated 20,000 to 40,000 prostitutes are victims of Nigerian, Chinese and Romanian trafficking networks, the government says.
Those figures represent a dramatic jump from just over a decade ago, when only one in five prostitutes was foreign.
But the proposed reforms have prompted street protests, and some prostitutes say the law will rob them of their livelihoods.
Government ministers, including Interior Minister Manuel Valls, have also expressed reservations about being able to apply the law as it stands. Hollande’s Green coalition allies voted against the reform, as did the opposition centre-right UMP members.
If the debate on France’s elected Left has been largely consensual – from the Front de Gauche to the Parti Socialiste a majority have backed the legislation, this has been far from the case amongst feminists and social movement activists.
Respected feminist, philosopher and activist, Elisabeth Badinter has declared that it is not right for the “state to legislate on the sexual activity of individuals.”
This ‘penalisation’ is prohibition. I prefer to speak of prohibition rather than abolitionishing protstitution, because that is the objective l of the authors of the bill. They comprae their legislation to the abolition of slavery! But the sale of an individual is not comparable to prostitution , which is a provision of the body for sexual purposes.
A person may accept or reject this sale, if, that is, they are not entrapped by a ‘network’ (by a criminal gang AC). The argument is that we must we must dry up the demand for sexual services so that that there is no more supply.
I do find it normal that the new legislation allows women to be prostitutes, but the law will prohibit men to make use of their services. This is not consistent and it is unfair.
The second reason for my opposition is that they claim that there is the prostitution is dominated by networks, in which women are placed in situations where they cannot say no. But amongst prostitutes there are those who are independent and casual, who practice this in order to make some extra money.
The ban – in effect to do what women want with their bodies – would be a step backwards from one of the important achievements of feminism. That is the struggle for women top do what they like their bodies. This applies, even if it is a minority of women.
It is not a matter of quantity but of principle. (Le Monde)
By contrast Caroline Fourrest has argued that there is little “choice” involved in Prostitution, nor more than for women who “choose” to wear the symbol of oppression, the veil. She perhaps does not help matters by asserting that those defending prostitutes rights are often those who back reactionary Islamists. But her main point is that issues of power are involved.
There are a host of other arguments, about the safety of sex workers, the risks that the law will drive them into clandestine lives, and the view that prostitution will simply not be ‘abolished’.
For those concerned with this debate the pages in le Monde, notably, the dossier, Une nouvelle guerre des féminismes ? (which appeared at the end of last week) are essential reading.
BBC Four’s Storyville documentary about Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist punk group, and founders of a new feminist movement, was extraordinary.
AS Wikipedia describes them, “they stage unauthorized provocative guerrilla performances in unusual public locations, which are edited into music videos and posted on the Internet. Their lyrical themes include feminism, LGBT rights, opposition to the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they regard as a dictator, and links between the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church and Putin.”
“Art is not a mirror to reflect the world, but a hammer with which to shape it” ran the Bertolt Brecht quote at the programme start.” notes the Telegraph reviewer.
They also cited Guy Debord.
The great merit of the documentary was that it showed the strength of their movement, their personal courage, and their ideas without forgetting some of the doubts people may have about their actions.
The film makers pointed out that the very Cathedral where they staged their most famous protest (Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Russian: Храм Христа Спасителя, Khram Khrista Spasitelya) was demonilished on 5 December 1931, by order of Stalin’s minister Kaganovich, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was dynamited and reduced to rubble.
It was rebuilt long after the Soviet era, in the 1990s.
That the believers come in different kinds, and that they have rights too.
At a time when Christians are under physical attack in many lands, we should not forget this.
Human rights have no exceptions, none.
Free Pussy Riot!
“Obscene Outfit” says Mélenchon.
Birmingham Metropolitan College was similarly cowed and had to reverse a directive forbidding students from covering their faces. One hooded lady crowdsourced a protest against the college. Some overexcited student union members, Muslim objectors and online petitioners have forced a U-turn. Shabana Mahmood, MP for Ladywood, Birmingham, welcomed the capitulation. Happy days. Muslim women can now to go to courts and college in shrouds.
That all-covering gown, that headscarf, that face mask – all affirm and reinforce the belief that women are a hazard to men and society. These are unacceptable, iniquitous values, enforced violently by Taliban, Saudi and Iranian oppressors. They have no place in our country.
In this passionate and well argued piece Alibhai Brown continues,
None of our sacred texts command us to cover our faces. Some branches of Islam do not even require head coverings. These are manmade injunctions followed by unquestioning women. We are directed always to accept the rules of the countries we live in and their institutions, as long as they are reasonable. For security, justice, travel, education and health identification is vital. Why should these women be exempt? We Muslims are already unfairly thought of as the enemy within. Niqabs make us appear more alien, more dangerous and suspicious. If it is a provocation for Ku Klux Klan to cover up so they can’t be recognised, it is for Muslims too.
This is a struggle between the light of the faith and dark forces here and also in Islamic countries. The clothes symbolize an attempted takeover of the religion just when believers are looking for liberty, autonomy, democracy and gender equality. Malala Yousafzai doesn’t hide her determined face. Nor do our female Muslim MPs and peers or civil rights lawyers.
So why do we get this gang announcing in Socialist Worker, the following,
Students celebrate beating Birmingham college niqab ban
The successful campaign in Birmingham should serve as a warning to college bosses everywhere – students will not allow their Muslim friends to be scapegoated.
‘Islamophobia’ Watch has joined the fray.
Bob Pitt is, amongst his usual forth, particularly exercised over a Tory MP’s Twitter comments,
Pitt and the SWP would have heart attacks if they were on the French left.
This is what Jean Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the Front de gauche, and their presidential candidate, said on the Face veil (during the 2010 debate on French laws in 2010).
Full veil: Mélenchon “for a general ban”
The chairman of the Left Party (PG), Jean-Luc Mélenchon has called for a total ban of the full veil in the Figaro.
According to him, the restriction prohibiting the wearing of the full veil in public services alone is “an incredible cowardice.”
He added that the law “must be of universal application.”
In more detail Jean Luc Mélenchon set out his position (2010) on his Blog.
Why is he wearing the full veil degrading for women? Firstly, because it is obscene. It reduces the wearer to the status of sexual potential prey. As it is not proposed to blind men, it is designed to hide the object of desire from natural desires of all those watching. It’s worth noting how it is insulting to men who are deemed as being that are predatory and obsessed. In any case, the fully veiled woman bears a humiliating statement of that she has the status of property of another. is attached to the veiled woman.
A human being can not be the property of another. This is contrary to the human rights principle, that all are born free and equal in rights.
Mélenchon wanted a law that would not just ban the full face veil in public places but for legislation to guarantee ” it would give “ l’obligation de mixité des lieux publics et services publics.” – the obligation to have women and men together in all public places and services. That is, to refuse all demands for single sex treatment.
Mélenchon has done far more defending French Muslims and “métsisage’ (cultural mixing) than the likes of the British Islamophiles.d.
What passes for defending Muslim women’s rights for the SWP and Bob Pitt, is deeply misguided.
Some liberal-minded people may think that people can do what they like (Harry’s Place), a way of presenting the issue is profoundly misleading terms.
The face veil is there to maintain the wearer’s ‘purity’ and to treat others as ‘unclean’ because they do not have the modest dress that their interpretation of a religion demands.
This is to accept the installation of a group of people with what are close to a racist form of religious intolerance inside public institutions.
This is not about ‘choice’ but a right to demand the restriction of choice.
Let us be clear: there is no right to be oppressed.
The face veil is dramatically opposed to the progressive goal of “métsisage’ (cultural mixing).
An important place where there should be taking place, in education, has become a battle field, pitting progressives against those from the extreme-right and the Islamists, who oppose this.
The full face veil is as Yasmin Alibhai Brown says, a reflection of “unacceptable, iniquitous values, enforced violently by Taliban, Saudi and Iranian oppressors.”