Love & Sex Magazine

Very Like a Whale

By Maggiemcneill @Maggie_McNeill

Hamlet:  Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius:  By th’ mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.
Hamlet:  Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius:  It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet:  Or like a whale.
Polonius:  Very like a whale.

Rorschach_blot_06A fantasy is in many ways like a cloud formation or a Rorschach inkblot; because its form is unmoored to anything concrete, the shape the human mind imposes upon it is determined by the patterns of the mind rather than any external phenomena.  A psychologist can sometimes tell something about the workings of a subject’s mind by the shapes he imagines he sees in inkblots and the stories he tells about those shapes; likewise, it’s possible to tell something about a fabulist’s mind by the content of the fantasies she spins about the lives of people she knows absolutely nothing about.  This recent “sex trafficking” article from Alabama is a fine example; we’ve seen all theses tropes before, but this time let’s think about what they say about a person who either believes them herself or expects everyone else to believe them.

Eliminating Homewood’s prostitution problem isn’t about going after the girls, said Tajuan McCarty–founder of the Birmingham-based anti-trafficking organization The Wellhouse–it’s about going after the pimps and Johns…

The first thing we can tell about McCarty is that she has little or no capacity for original thought; the “end demand” nonsense spewed here is the cant du jour among prohibitionists, so espousing it takes roughly the same level of cognition as “Support our troops!” or “Smash the Patriarchy!”  It’s nothing more than a shibboleth to demonstrate that she belongs to the “us” group.

…Homewood resident Andy Conaway…is spearheading efforts to eliminate issues that plague their neighborhood—including prostitution.  McCarty…said…Birmingham is a hub of prostitution…

As I’ve pointed out before, dysphemisms play an important part in the demonization of peaceful, consensual transactions; sex is a “plague” (later it’s referred to as an “epidemic”), and a rather unremarkable American city is cast as a “hub” from which the imaginary pestilence spreads to nearby, smaller towns (“…the area…is known for prostitution well outside Alabama’s borders…“)

…both grown women and children [are] being trafficked in plain sight…a 17-year old girl rescued in Homewood…had been kicked out of the prostitution ring she was part of…because she was “too old”…”Pimps will talk about how they can walk into any middle school and leave with five girls who willingly run away with them,” said McCarty…

Nearly all “sex trafficking” propaganda relies heavily on the fetishization of pubescent girls; believers dwell upon lurid descriptions of the bondage, humiliation and rape of teenagers, and the “average debut at 13″ myth is lovingly and obsessively repeated despite its evident absurdity to anyone with even fifth-grade mathematical ability (much less that expected of actual 13-year-olds).  But McCarty goes much further than usual; while it’s not unusual for prohibitionists to vomit out the vile, misandrist fantasy that literally no man wants a woman over some arbitrary age, I’ve never seen that age set below 18.  Moreover, the idea that a “victim” would actually be released from her supposed “slavery” because she had reached that age is not only novel, but also contradicts her earlier statement that “grown women” (a term usually considered to refer to people of at least 18) are “being trafficked in plain sight”.  But the most telling content is what follows next; it occurs in several places in the article, but I’ve gathered it together here for ease of demonstration:

…”These women are victims…whether they are willing participants or not.  She is a princess; she is someone’s daughter”…They are always viewed as commodities and not people…Asked if there are ever any cases where women work for themselves, McCarty said absolutely not.  “Somebody’s got her…every single time”…

Very Like a WhaleThe defining characteristic of McCarty’s weltanschauung is her shocking disregard for the intellect and capacity for the self-determination of her own sex.  Even if a woman decides to sell sex, McCarty tells us, her decision cannot be trusted; she is not a rational actor but a pawn of malevolent “pimps and johns” and a passive “princess” to her parents, no matter how old she may be.  That doll-like view of women is echoed a few sentences later, where we are told that “prostitutes sit and wait under the watchful eyes of their pimps“, like toys unable to move until someone fully human – i.e. a male – winds them up and sets them in motion.  Nor does she imagine this to be merely a common or even typical situation; she insists in no uncertain terms that it is a universal one.  In McCarty’s view, no woman is ever capable of self-determination, ever.  She believes that cops should actively hunt sex workers, trap them like animals and then transfer ownership to her organization like dogs sent to the pound; meanwhile, men who violate what she considers to be the proper usage for these mindless playthings should be utterly destroyed without even a semblance of due process:  “It should be about helping her and arresting him…Send her to us and plaster his face all over a billboard.”  McCarty’s mind is a horrifying landscape of self-loathing and reality-denial, and she wants the state to use violence to force everyone else to live in it with her.


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