Love & Sex Magazine

Policing Womanhood

By Maggiemcneill @Maggie_McNeill

Policing WomanhoodIt’s a sad fact that more women than men support the violent policing of women’s sexualities.  Think about that:  despite all the “feminist” rhetoric supporting a woman’s supposed right to control her body and sexuality, polls consistently show that more women than men are in favor of criminalizing prostitution; that is, more women than men believe male cops should deceive, rape, rob, brutalize, humiliate, cage and ruin the lives of other women for having sex for reasons of which these women disapprove.  Presumably-sane women, many of whom would call themselves “feminists”, think it’s perfectly OK for a state mostly run by men to make laws giving other men the “right” to guess why a particular woman is having sex, raping her if the cop claims it’s to “gather evidence”, then taking her possessions, locking her in a cage and inviting news media to splash her picture all over papers, TV and the internet…because her motivation for having sex is “wrong”.  They tacitly approve of her reputation being destroyed, her children abducted from her and any hope of a straight job forever closed to her because they wouldn’t have sex for the reasons she chooses to have it.  Oh, some of them like to pretend that they don’t want this to happen, claiming that the “Swedish model” decriminalizes sex workers (an obvious absurdity given “accessory” laws, “avails” laws, “brothel-keeping” laws, etc); however, even if it really did what the propaganda says, that would still mean they supported the principle of starving other women into homelessness and financial ruin for the “crime” of wrongthink.

There are a lot of theories, guesses and opinions as to why this might be, including mate-guarding (i.e., attacking other women their husbands might choose to fuck) and the idea that whores lower the price of sex by charging a flat fee rather than forcing men to accept a possible lifelong burden in order to get it.  And while these ideas might have some merit, they don’t explain why these same women aren’t equally upset by women who essentially give sex away, nor why lesbians are well-represented in the whore-hating crowd despite their sexual disinterest in men.  Now, it’s absolutely true that behaviors deriving from evolution aren’t logical; for example, a lot of human sexual behavior is clearly designed to increase the number of offspring that individual can produce, even if the individual has absolutely no conscious interest in producing children and even if he or she is sterile.  But given the human history of promiscuity and casual prostitution (read Sex at Dawn if you haven’t already), I’m not really convinced that whore-hating has a deep evolutionary motive, at least not directly; I think it’s more likely a byproduct of a general female behavior pattern which probably does have an evolutionary origin, but which isn’t specifically aimed at whores.

I don’t think it’s too controversial to say that in general, women tend to put more emphasis on social interactions than do men.  Baby girls stare at faces for longer than baby boys do, girls tend to travel in duos or small groups, women tend to have higher “social intelligence”, we work through difficulties by interacting with each other, we bond by sharing vulnerabilities, we emphasize consensus-building, etc, etc.  The reasons for this aren’t important to consider in this limited space; what does matter is that women have a much more pronounced tendency to think of ourselves as members of a group than men do, and a much stronger tendency to feel that the actions of other women reflect upon us.  In general, guys aren’t all that likely to be concerned that some individual dude’s behavior “makes all men look bad”, while it isn’t at all hard to find some collectivist “feminist” blathering about how the mere existence of Barbie, sex workers, sexy lingerie, kink, labioplasty or some other thing “demeans all women” or even “harms all women”.  Women trapped in this belief-system seem to imagine a deep and mystical interconnectedness of all women, as though we were all “merely the three-dimensional projections of a single hydra-like gestalt entity floating in hyperspace“; they therefore imagine that “any single woman’s sexual activities performed in private magically affect all women throughout the world as though we were one huge set of Corsican sisters, and therefore all women must submit to whatever limitations are imposed on our sexuality by our rightful leaders“.  Once one accepts the absurd premise, the anti-sex “feminist” demand for suppression of sex work actually makes a twisted kind of sense; to someone trapped in this horrifying belief-system, all the women in the world are stuck in one immense elevator together and the whores are smoking, farting and pissing on the floor.

Policing WomanhoodThe best evidence for my theory being the correct one is that, as I alluded to above, sex workers aren’t the only women policed in this fashion.  The women who demand the criminalization of commercial sex also tend to be anti-kink and bigoted toward transwomen; this cannot be explained by “mate guarding” or “sex price depression” theories, but it makes perfect sense in light of the notion that nonconforming women somehow “pollute” womanhood by our very existence.  The poison vomited out by Trans-Exclusionary “Radical” Feminists (TERFs) is especially telling (the fact that these women are in no way “radical” is a subject for another day); their screeds tend to be larded with nonsense about some imaginary monolithic “shared female experience” (as though there were such a thing) which excludes transwomen, and how that makes them not “real women” (a slur that, not coincidentally, is often hurled at sex workers as well).  Add to that the fact that TERFs are nearly always Sex Work Exclusionary “Radical” Feminists (SWERFs) as well, and I think we have a smoking gun.  But wait, there’s more:  as many bisexual women can attest, there are still quite a few lesbians out there (though, thank Aphrodite, not as many as there used to be) who insist that bi-women can’t have “real” lesbian relationships, or that we aren’t “really” queer, or whatever; when I tweeted about this last week I received no fewer than four replies to this effect from would-be Dyke Cops within two hours.  Back in my formative years in the ’80s, it was even worse; I was actually told by many older lesbians (older than me, that is; some were as young as 30-something) that “real” lesbians didn’t use dildoes on each other, that fisting was abhorrent, and that kink was basically a mortal sin (“How could you possibly want to hurt another woman?!?  What’s wrong with you?!?”)  It’s absolutely true that the latter kind of sex-act-policing has largely vanished from lesbian communities, but the fact that it ever existed speaks volumes.  There is a large and very vocal subset of women who are deeply horrified by the fact that other women are unlike them sexually, and many if not most of them are perfectly willing to use coercion – up to and including the threat of sexual violence inflicted by armed men – to punish these other women for the sin of being different.


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