oh lovelies

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I was thinking about what Simone de Beauvoir wrote about when she described the ennui, the boredom, of the upper middle classes, Hollywood, the "tiresome duties." Because she nailed it: I used to be dragged out to Mother and Sonny's house in the Hamptons and the boredom out there is overwhelming--it just enveloped...well me anyway....like a rape. Harsh, you can say, but that's what it felt like. The boredom of people with too much money, too much time on their hands, and no real creativity or intelligence. I mean, what is the point of a 15 room mansion? Seriously....

I could never rest easy if my money came at the expense of others. I couldn't enjoy it. It would always be in the corner of my eyes. The people I went to junior high with, who gave me so much shit about my animal testing protests--it's like, they don't care. They don't care about anyone except themselves, and believe that is the right way to live. Maybe that's what is written about on that Stargods Web site--sociopaths, people with no empathy. Am I too daring writing about this? I've heard their sentiments over and over again, my whole life.
I decided to mess around today and go for a walk around Columbia University. I just needed to get out of the Village where I am every day and to a place where I don't have to deal with harassment from men. So I took the A to 125th and just started walking. It's very bizarre, that area. Part of it is so incredibly boring, another part is absolutely gorgeous. I love Harlem: it has so much history.

I came across a demonstration that depressed me, about Huntingdon Life Sciences

and their connection with the NYSE and Euronext. The paper I worked for wrote about them every day.

This has to be stopped.

men are disgusting slimy pigs

I have to remember there are some decent men in the world. But there are too many who aren't. I can't go out and have a good time at night because I and every other female have to deal with these guys who are trying to "score" --the aggressiveness--basically having to ward off unwanted advances. There's all this talk about sexual harassment in the workplace-- some people still try to call it harmless flirting--but it's everywhere. I don't even want to call it "street harassment" because it's sexual harassment--the same thing. I'm emotionally warped because of it. I'm mad. I walk around in this state when I should be doing other things with my time. Whether it's happening to me or someone else is not the point it's that it's happening period. Whether it's a guy getting out of a car going, "Pretty ladies!" or men in groups trying to stop us, "lines" it's enough, enough. I don't even want to go out anymore. I don't remember dealing with these extremes when I was younger, in high school. I was thinking about it, and I believe there is a reason the Street Harassment Project started when it did--as there are no coincidences. It's the Central Park incident--interesting how all this anti-woman aggression happens in parks, where people go for relaxation and "outdoor therapy"--but a sign of the times, and there's a reason it started in New York City. Because here there are people crammed together in small spaces, and one of the drawbacks of nice weather is that people want to hang around and unwind, outdoors, lay back--and check out all the babes. It's not fun and flirting, it's a method of control and intimidation. The problem is....women are responsible for women's oppression as well, but that's another topic I don't have time to go into. I know, I've heard the pro-woman line and I see the logic, but I'm sorry it is true--women oppress women. It's not only women doing it but it's reality. Like the women who took over SHP, kicked out the founding member, and....according to some....pretty much diluted the original message, made it non-political, and even, to an extent (my opinion anyhow) infused it with a new kind of class bias . Whether that was deliberate or not is anyone's guess. This is my take on how things went down, but I'm not going to deny what I feel. SHP was supposed to be a safe space for women and I, and other women, didn't feel safe there.

more on this later....

Friday, April 27, 2007

NY incident

My friend and I were walking down St Marks around 2 AM. This guy approached us, one of these Williamsburg/Ramones types with stringy black hair and tight black jeans. He said, "Excuse me....uh....I'm ....re..e...e....a...ally disoriented......uh.....can you....spare some change...?" We both said in unison, "I don't have any change, sorry." He walked of saying, "Stupid fucking yuppie bitches."

Ironic because both of us are about as far from being "yuppies" as it's possible to get. One of my heroes is Joe Strummer. I was called a JAP by the punks I knew when I was in junior high because I didn't dress punk. This one time my friend and I went into one of these 8th street shops and a girl with her face plastered in makeup and eyeliner started yelling at me...."JAPPIE!!!! Get out of here!" I grew up poor. All her makeup must have cost money, not to mention her $300 Doc Martins....

Do people distort stuff?

Monday, April 23, 2007

For anyone who needs some cheering up


I don't suggest the above article. In case you're wondering what some of our brave boys are up to overseas.....

Thursday, April 19, 2007

From Desiree Alliance

End Demand Fact Sheet
A coalition of advocates and sex worker rights organizations have produced materials critiquing "end demand" style programming. Proponents of "end demand"-style programming such as "John's Schools" or increased arrest of clients of prostitution, claim that the measures only punish the men who purchase sex and protect women who sell sex. However, programs working with sex workers across the United States have found that intensive "end demand" programs increase law enforcement activities against all people in public space. Furthermore, these programs allow conservatives to channel hard won social service funding into policing efforts. This downloadable fact sheet cites research that illustrates the real results of "end demand" programming. We were able to do this analysis and produce these fact sheets via a grant from the Urgent Action Fund in early 2006. Groups involved in developing analysis of changes in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act include: the Desiree Alliance, Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA (SWOP-USA), the Woodhull Foundation, Bayswan, Best Practices Policy Project and local service providers in the District of Columbia. Below is the fact sheet. You can download the fact sheet here as a Word document. You can view the text of the End Demand legislation here. You can download the End Demand legislation here as a Word document.
Initiatives to “end demand” for prostitution harm women and undermine service programs
The Bush Administration is aggressively pushing the idea of ending demand for prostitution, claiming that programs oriented toward an “end to demand” are evidence- and rights-based, protecting “vulnerable” women and girls exploited by men. For example in December 2005 new provisions about “ending demand for commercial sexual services” were incorporated into the Re-authorization Act of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).[1] In reality these programs do not stop men from seeking sexual services, but rather, they harm women and channel social service funding into policing efforts. This frequently harms sex workers by pushing them, and their clients, to adopt strategies that heighten their risk for violence, HIV, and more.[2]
What are “end demand” programs?
Typically when people speak about “ending demand” they are referring to a range of efforts such as diversion programs in the court system and increased policing of men often accompanied by the imposition of new laws. Diversion programs such as “Johns’ Schools” and public shaming campaigns (i.e. naming people caught for solicitation on bill boards or on websites) are thought to deter men who might consider purchasing sexual services, thus “ending demand.” These programs are often developed in tandem with heightened policing of poor neighborhoods where sex workers reside and work, in order to enforce anti-prostitution laws. These policies are construed as “progressive” because rather than targeting and policing sex workers, they instead target anyone, including clients and organizations working with sex workers. The new legislation thus “punishes” men while “helping women,” an approach developed by Swedish conservative legislators and feminists in the 1980s. Claims have been made that sex workers are provided health care and training in other forms of work with the funds obtained from arresting men (i.e. fines). Police also claim that they arrest fewer women because they are focusing on male clients of sex workers.
Do these programs work?
Proponents of end demand style programming claim that they reduce prostitution without harm to sex workers, deterring men from purchasing sexual services and helping women.[3] Swedish proponents claim that criminalization “will affect relations between women and men in the direction of greater gender equality.”[4] They also that claim statistics on reduction of arrests of both sex workers and their clients prove these programs are working and improving the lives of women and girls. Evaluations of end demand style programs reveal a very different picture:
· Prostitution in general is not reduced by “Swedish style legislation” and sex workers are made more vulnerable to violence. An evaluation of Sweden’s legal experiment concluded that it did not greatly reduce the number of women engaging in street sex work: figures from Stockholm show that the total number of women on the street remained stable from 1999-2003.[5] However, the report found that during this period street sex workers were increasingly exploited, pressured to reducing prices and to provide unprotected sex.
· Highly touted end demand style programs, such as “Johns’ Schools,” have little or no deterrent effect above and beyond the effect of arrest and criminal proceedings.[6] One study found that before and after participating in the program, 1 in 10 men said that they would likely seek commercial sex services again. This rate is 4 times higher than the officially reported recidivism rate of 2.4%.[7]
Rather these programs end up targeting and arresting clients who are poor, people of color and immigrants.[8] These men plead guilty even though many of them may not have been doing anything illegal at the time of arrest and would have been found not guilty had they gone to trial.
· End demand programs rely on fear tactics that endanger women’s safety. Researchers observing Johns Schools in action found that presenters cautioned participants that “drug addicted prostitutes… have stabbed their clients with AIDS infected needles”[9] as a way of “scaring men straight.” Consequently sex workers are portrayed as violent, dangerous and diseased, thus increasing stigmatization and making prostitutes more vulnerable to violence.
· End demand programs that are financed by “user fees” paid by participants lead to corruption and conflicts of interest between the police and NGO service providers. Often funds obtained by arresting people are insufficient or are used by the city for other purposes. Research shows that close relationships between policing and funding undermine service providers’ accountability to communities served. In one case, numerous police joined the board of directors of an NGO overseeing a Johns School program. Eventually a police representative became Chair of the board. The researchers noted that “[s]ince the social service organization’s financial welfare depends… on the number and volume of prostitution offenders diverted to the ‘John School’ programme [sic], and given that this volume largely depends on the level of prostitution enforcement, it becomes apparent how… considerable conflicts of interest can arise.”[10]
What can you do to help sex workers in your area?
We are a coalition of sex workers, service providers, advocacy groups and concerned community members who are concerned that “end demand” style programming is undermining service provisions for women in need. We are also concerned that all people engaging in commercial sex (men, women and trans-people) be provided with real social support. If you are concerned about these issues we ask that you join us by contacting representatives of the following organizations in our coalition:
Desiree Alliance, http://www.desireealliance.org/
Sex Workers Outreach Project http://www.swop-usa.org/
Best Practices Policy Project, http://www.bestpracticespolicy.org/
[1] See complete text here.
[2] For example, carrying condoms can be cause for arresting someone for prostitution. Condoms are needed to practice safe sex, yet policing policy makes this practice problematic.
[3] The developer of the John’s School program, Norma Hotaling of SAGE, claimed that 98% of men going through the program were “rehabilitated” (Jerome and Rowlands, 1998).
[4]Working Group of the Legal Regulation of Sexual Services, 2004, Purchasing sexual services in Sweden and the Netherlands: Legal regulation and experiences: pp14-15
[5] Working Group of the Legal Regulation of Sexual Services, 2004, Purchasing sexual services in Sweden and the Netherlands: Legal regulation and experiences:
[6] Wortley, S., Fischer, B., & Webster, C. (2002). Vice lessons: A survey of prostitution offenders enrolled in the Toronto John School Diversion Program. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 3(3), 227-248: 394. Monto, Martin A. and Steve Garcia. 2001. "Recidivism Among the Customers of Female Street Prostitutes: Do Intervention Programs Help?" Western Criminology Review 3 (2). [Online]. Available: http://wcr.sonoma.edu/v3n2/monto.html.
[7] Wortley, Op.Cit: 389
[8] Fischer, B. , Wortley, S., Webster, C., Kirst, M. (2002). The Socio-Legal Dynamics and Implications of Diversion: The Case Study of the Toronto 'John School' for Prostitution Offenders. Criminal Justice, 2(4), 385-410: NEED PAGE #.
[9] Wortley, Op.Cit: 373.
[10] Fischer, Op. Cit: 393.

Desiree Alliance is a coalition of sex workers, health professionals, social scientists, professional sex educators and their supporting networks. We seek to encourage a better understanding of human sexuality by promoting ethical and unbiased research into sexual subcultures; to promote saner and more sensible approaches to policies relating to adult sexual health and behavior. We use this information to educate and empower the public to have healthy and rational attitudes about sexuality.
Desiree Alliance is a Project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE), a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I don't know

if these men are innocent or guilty. I don't know the situation. Maybe I'll never know. But there's a strong likelihood that-- if it wasn't these men it was someone else--somewhere someone was assaulted and the perps got away with it. It happens. It's all part of the backlash. It's overwhelming. Every time I step outside I have to face this.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Duke Case

I don't know what went on here, if she was or wasn't raped (apparently she was, just it's unknown by whom) but those Lacrosse players, or at least (shit I forgot his name) the big one, he is a pompous asshole in my opinion, and it's completely wrong to go after the District Attorney and say he "fabricated" rape charges or whatever he did.

I'm so mad about this. Whether or not these guys did it, it makes me think that I could be raped or killed out there, and it's likely nothing will be done about it.

My friend said in her neighborhood these frat boys desecrate the streets every night, throwing beer bottles, pizza, knocking over trash cans, screaming at the top of their lungs. Or a bouncer in the club scene talked about these guys who "come in here and throw their money around...." and that he had to break up 20 fights in three days. What is happening here? Has it always been this way? What can I do?

I love my sister, but I'm mad that she chooses to associate with these people. It's the environment she grew up in, I guess.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

he is eating chicken wings in slow motion

tries to button his pants. The button pops off because he's gained so much weight. There's a half-drunk pitcher of beer on the table....he starts to cry.

The Christina Aguilera song "Beautiful" is playing....

He said,

How did you feel, the last time we were together?

I said, it was good, but I was a little afraid at times, like I didn't know what you were going to do.

He said, well, to be honest, it's kind of a turn on that you were afraid.

I need to stop thinking about D, but I still have feelings for him although I am really, really mad at him. He did "trap" me. He got away with it.

But in any event, it looks like I will be going somewhere: LA LA LA yippie! I have to brush up on my driving....

Beat It

I've become obsessed with music videos, and have been watching the above mentioned one over and over. It's fascinating to me, and superbly acted. Love it, love it.

Others worth mentioning: Madonna/Britney Spears Me Against the Music, Gwen Stephanie What You Waiting For, Hollaback Girl, Madonna Sorry, Maroon 5....well, Adam Levine is cute so, for that reason.

I read Indymedia on the way home on the train and maybe I need to read something else. It's relentlessly grim. I'm glad Bush was greeted by protest after protest: I have to hand it to people in their ability to organize, against obstacles, in the face of other people's wrongdoing. But it's depressing to read about all the money that the US has given to these fascist and corrupt military dictatorships and to think anyone would support that----it just put me in a really foul mood. So I'm mad but it all makes sense; because every day I brush up against people whose energy is just in plain English horrid. I see, in certain people, the same narcissism, year after year and realize they'll never change. These are all the same people who created the Iraq war and Halliburton....what is it: narcissistic personality disorder, sociopathy? There was another article about how a squat, or something like that, in Denmark was brutally raided and the people evicted....all of which has been protested throughout Europe and a thousand or so people have been arrested....I could go on about this when I have more time--just that there's something really, really wrong going on here. Conspiracy? I can't say definitely, but look what happened to the Street Harassment Project. I don't know all the reasons I only know the ....manipulation that went on, I don't know yet....but somehow all this intense energy was snuffed out. I felt terribly alienated in my last days there, out in the wilderness, it's hard to describe, maybe because it was winter, but the whole atmosphere was bleak. Something went really, really wrong there. But this is for another article.

On to another topic: another place I recommend visiting in my neighborhood is Connetitcut Muffin, on the corner of Myrtle and Waverly. They make fabulous lattes, muffins (including lowfat) and have a wide selection of alternative news. Go, go, if you're in the area.