How easy it is to tire of trying for equality.

I have taken a risk on twitter…
I have had the temerity to wonder why someone could be so sure that Amnesty International was utterly wrong. Not just any old Amnesty International issue – that of sex workers, and how their human rights might be better protected. 

AI is an organisation I have had issues with in the past that led me to resign membership – but which I still believe does some essential worldwide human rights work.
So what could have led to this statement..?


I have had a good look at what Amnesty International have done, what they have said regarding the sex industry worldwide.
I know they have said some dumb things about genital mutilation, as being “cultural practices” rather than abuse, so I was ready to see a shitstorm heading their way.
I looked at their presentation of their report.
Then I looked at their Q&A page.
I picked out this paragraph by way of a contrast with the statement from “The Groganator”.
AI disagreeThere is an organisation called SPACE that a twitter friend steered me towards – and they took issue with AI in the way that made me believe they are seeking a dialogue and to make AI change their minds over the wisdom of their position statement.
They finish their statement thus:

“We put it to you, Amnesty International, directly and publicly, that you are on the brink of an enormous public failure, and if you vote to decriminalise human rights violations, that failure will fall heavily on all those abused in the Sex-Trade, on your own human rights principles, and on yourselves.”

Having looked at both orgs experience and statements I can make an observation on where they disagree on basic facts:
The Norwegian model is hailed as a success by SPACE and described as a failure by Amnesty. They cannot both be right.
Someone could probably do a good comparison piece of research and writing on the Swedish and Norwegian models – Oh, someone has.

The biggest noticeable difference in views appears to be based on interpretations of narratives from sex workers in Norway, Sweden and the west – and those in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Amnesty seems to be the only organisation that is not focusing purely on the western experience.

I have seen the various statements, by individuals and groups, some positive, some searching, some glib, some too narrowly focused – and some attempting to produce policies that cover the whole world. This last one is the bold attempt made by Amnesty International.
I think it is this boldness that has tripped them up. The world is too big for one set of laws, and the principles are too easily misinterpreted when laws in certain countries are cited as examples. Fem3

Very few “Angry Feminists” want to have it “mansplained”(or explained by women they disagree with) that perhaps the sex worker view in the developing world might be actually very different from that in the western world.
So I am on a hiding to nothing –
I want to be a force for good in the world but apparently I am not allowed to comment on a world issue of equality such as this.

I genuinely believe that this extreme edge of feminism is barking up a wrong tree.
Some describe this behaviour as radical but I see it delaying or even negating the very equality they say they are aiming for.

“Men like me” founded “Crèches against sexism” – providing much appreciated crèche services for Women’s Aid conferences in Wales in the 1980s.
“Men like me” have campaigned for genuine equality for over 35 years in the sincere belief that the restrictive roles that go hand in glove with patriarchy are a destructive force that hurts men far more than some misinterpretations of equality ever could.
“Men like me” have taken positive action, in groups, arranging conferences, demonstrations, projects, – not just made statements or researched all that agrees with our own cognitive biases.

“Men like me” may want to see an end to gender wars altogether
– doesn’t everyone want to see them ended?
I doubt anyone is really ready, and it may take much longer than my children’s lifetimes, but I would most happily live in a world in which the absence of gender as an identity meant the end of male entitlement.

Women like those engaged in dismissing Amnesty International’s report as denying human rights to all women,  “supporting pimps and the enslavement of women”, are shooting other women in the foot, by splashing a Tabloid style exaggeration of an angry dismissive stance when engagement and dialogue are the only way to tackle an issue like this.

The feminism of people like Janet Radcliffe-Richards that I admired in the 1980s seems to have been lost in the chasm between the loud and rigid post millennium radicals and the ladettes betraying the history they fail to study.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.