sights & sounds

April 15, 2010

strange bedfellows

Some recent upsetting news from Alas, a blog.:

“Sometimes people try to tell me that no one has a problem with S&M; that all stigma against S&M is in our heads and that if we BDSMers would just get over our victim complex, we’d discover that society has no real problem with us. I’ve got tons of counterexamples, but today I’m only going to talk about one: my friend maymay, a sex-positive activist and kinkster who has now been painted as a child molester, starting with an attack from the Salvation Army (specifically, two women named Margaret Brooks and Donna M. Hughes).”

More information on Donna Hughes:

“Hughes has received criticism from sex workers’ rights activists for her view that laws against prostitution are necessary to combat human trafficking and sexual slavery, and what many see as personal attacks against other academics and activists who support decriminalization of prostitution.”

“In 2009, Hughes has been a leading figure in the campaign to end the decriminalized status of indoor prostitution in Rhode Island. She was a prominent member of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Human Trafficking (RICAHT), but later left the group and founded a new organization, Citizens Against Trafficking (CAT) when RICAHT did not lend its support to an anti-prostituton bill that penalized those who sell sex.”

Don’t worry! It gets even better.:

“In addition to her activism for a new prostitution law in Rhode Island, Hughes was credited for stopping the opening for Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (CSPH) in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. CSPH would offer classes on sexuality and the latest from the nation’s medical journals, until Donna Hughes sent a letter to all the members of the city council that “A center for ‘sexual rights’ and ‘sexual pleasure’ is opening in Pawtucket”.”

So, does this sound like the resume of a patriarchy-fighting feminist? ..or of a right-wing, moralizing busy-body à la Phyllis Schlafly?

I really can’t tell; and if someone were to tell me about Hughes’ history without otherwise informing me about her, I’d assume she were the latter.

I’m usually reluctant to police labels, and I’m loathe to eject someone from the feminist ‘clubhouse’ simply because s/he disagrees with me. ..but when you look at a “feminist’s” sexual politics and they’re basically indistinguishable from those of any authoritarian cultural conservative1, and when that “feminist” devotes so much time & energy to defaming people who promote sexual freedom, and when that “feminist” is willing to silence the very women whose bodies she seeks to police2, you know something is wrong and that these ‘feminists’ are strange bedfellows, indeed.

1. I find a disturbing degree of overlap between typical ‘radfem’ sexual politics (e.g. largely unfriendly towards BDSM/kink and polyamory; often eager for legal restrictions on sex work and porn) and cultural conservatism; and I’ll probably make a meatier post about the topic later.

2. Decrying patriarchy while presuming that you somehow know “what’s best” for another woman better than she does and then imposing your will upon her is the height of hypocrisy. If you’re repeatedly arguing that sex workers all need XYZ, while sex workers themselves are saying, “No, no, we really need ABC!”, it’s time for you to STFU and listen for once.


1 Comment »

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by maymaym. maymaym said: "When [Donna M Hughes] devotes so much time & energy to defaming ppl who promote sexual freedom," is she rly "#feminist"? […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention strange bedfellows « sights and sounds -- — April 28, 2010 @ 4:06 am | Reply

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