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Archive for the ‘Perception’ Category

Today is a day to shamelessly celebrate our shameless history, not a day to cater to the precious fee-fees of amateurs by neutering our terminology so as not to offend their delicate sensibilities.  –  “Unsanitized

Last year, I observed every one of the days I usually observe with polemics by instead providing quotes from and links to all the previous essays for that day.  I did this “lest I grow irrelevant due to repetition.  Besides, I’ve already written plenty“…but I did make one exception: this one, International Whores’ Day, because for the past few years I’ve noticed some sex worker organizations and social media accounts trying to sanitize our struggle by eliminating the “nasty” word “whore” rather than celebrating our long history as sexual outlaws.  I already explained last year why this is misguided and counterproductive; this year I’m going to bring this observance into line with the others by quoting previous years’ essays.

Yes, things are very damned bad right now…and it will pass, as everything does.  And when it does we will still be here, just as we always have been.  –  “Eternal as the Sea

Politicians who up until recently coudn’t even be bothered to accept that sex workers have basic civil rights are now actively calling for decriminalization.  –  “Galvanized

It is the intrinsic nature of government to continue growing ever more tyrannous until a revolution becomes inevitable.  –  “Cornered Animals

Every day, sex workers of all backgrounds, all around the world, work to debunk prohibitionist lies and expose the ugly truth about government persecution of individuals for the “crime” of consensual sex.  –  “Whores’ Day 2017

We are winning at last.  And there’s not a damn thing the prohibitionists can do about it.  –  “Whores’ Day 2016

Most feminists of 1975 still actually supported women’s choices.  –  “The Revolt of the Prostitutes

Prohibitionists…have…in[vaded] the public’s imagination with…lurid masturbatory fantasies of gypsy whores, weeping teenage “sex slaves” and leering “pimps” with magical powers.  –  “A Day for Whores

Though the crusade was rooted in American Protestant notions of “pure and pious womanhood”…it is the poorer countries of the developing world which have borne the brunt.  –  “International Whores’ Day

The tide of history is toward greater individual and sexual rights, and those who would restrict others’ sexuality, no matter what propaganda they employ, will eventually be swept away.  –  “The Birth of a Movement

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The bourgeois bootlickers who think it would be a wonderful idea for everyone to be forced to use their “real names” (i.e. their government names) on social media are at it again.  They claim it would make the internet a nicer place, because as everybody knows Facebook is a perfect exemplar of how every social media site should look and operate.  This tweet was in response to a blue-checked cretin named David Klion opining that every Twitter user with over 10,000 followers should be forcibly outed, based on that perennial mating-cry of the smug, sheltered, and stupid, “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”.  He also belched up some sort of inanity about “democracy“, but not long after I quote-tweeted him he deleted his tweet (which is why what you see above is no longer a quote tweet).  Well, let me tell you a little story about what happens when one speaks out publicly, not even under her government name but under a very well-known nom de guerre.  I’ve never told this publicly before, but since I’m semi-retired and the damage is long done, I think it’s time.

In 2015 I made the decision to work and write under the same name.  After a momentary surge in business, I slowly lost clients who were either offended by my being something more than a pleasant, pretty façade, or were afraid they’d be arrested for consorting with a high-profile rabble-rouser.  In 2016, there was even a rumor going around Seattle that I was under direct police surveillance; even some of the clients I didn’t lose switched to paying me electronically so if they were intercepted by cops, there was no cash they could steal as “evidence” of patronizing a prostitute.  Obviously that never happened, but the damage was already done.  I don’t regret being who I am, or saying what had to be said, and I’ve never been any good at maintaining multiple personae anyhow.  So though I probably wouldn’t do anything differently if I had to do it again, it would be a lie to pretend that standing up for what I fervently believe in, under the name by which I’m known to the world, wasn’t a pearl of great price.  And while I’m hardheaded and uppity enough to have made that choice, and philosophical enough to accept the enormous financial costs, many others might not be so willing to speak truth to power if they knew it might damage their ability to make a living.  But sure, go ahead and forcibly dox everyone with over 10,000 followers; I’m sure that’ll be great for “democracy”.

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Regular readers know that every Friday the Thirteenth, I ask those who aren’t sex workers to stand up for us.  If you’re one of them, you already know the sorts of things I’m going to say; if you aren’t, you can simply go back and read the essay for the previous occurence last August, which contained quotes and links for every occurence of this particular day and date combination.  And if you value all the work I’ve done fighting for sex workers over the past 13 years, a concrete sign of that would be very much appreciated.

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Says the man hiding behind a pompous title who would totally send cops to destroy the lives of many people on Twitter if he knew their government names.  The concept of a “real name”, as promoted by authoritarians, is asinine.  Try Googling “William Henry Pratt” and see what pops up.  Which is his “real” name?  If you Google “Maggie McNeill” you get pages and pages of stuff relating to me, including books, pictures, videos and a huge number of essays.  If you Googled my government name, you’d get a couple of property tax records and maybe a 17-year-old arrest record.  Which is my “real” name?  Here are a few more “real” names:

Marion Morrison
Robert Zimmerman
Neta-Lee Herschlag
Farrokh Bulsara
Maurice Joseph Micklewhite
Demetria Gene Guynes
Reginald Kenneth Dwight
Krishna Pandit Bhanji
Caryn Elaine Johnson
Marvin Lee Aday

Calling the name on government records “real”, rather than the name by which people are widely known, the name they chose for themselves and built a career on, is a sickening obeisance to the State.  Anyone who uses the term unironically can be safely dismissed as an authoritarian stooge.

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Unless you’ve been incommunicado for the past week, I’m sure you’ve heard the news about the draft SCOTUS opinion which would overturn Roe v Wade, written by the court’s arch-authoritarian, Samuel Alito.  I’m not going to attempt to analyze the opinion myself, because others who are far better at such things than I am have already done so.  I will, however, point out that, given that the government has been undermining civil rights for decades and has repeatedly refused to recognize women’s right to self-ownership in any matter related to sex or reproduction; and given that so-called “feminists” have been fighting against women’s sexual autonomy in every way but abortion since the 1980s; and given the increasingly-barbaric manifestations of Americans’ collective descent into child-cultism; and given the unrelenting efforts to use women’s biology as a means of subjugation; that this is hardly surprising, platitudes about “settled law” notwithstanding.

Predictably, the leak has already spawned a wave of opportunistic authoritarianism, some examples of which didn’t even wait for the annoucement:

The Oklahoma House approved a…bill…that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.  The law would take effect immediately, cutting off access for patients from Texas who have flooded into Oklahoma since a similar law passed there last fall.  Coming ahead of a highly-anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion…the Oklahoma measure shows that states are not waiting for the high court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision enshrining abortion rights before acting to restrict the procedure within their own borders…

Naturally, my native state couldn’t allow anyone else to outdo it in totally bat-shit-crazy violent authoritarianism:

…the Louisiana House advanced a bill…that would classify abortion as homicide and [encourage] prosecutors to criminally charge patients…the bill could also restrict in vitro fertilization and emergency contraception because it would grant constitutional rights to a [zygote] “from the moment of fertilization.”  Discussing the legislation less than 48 hours after the leaked Supreme Court draft proposing to overturn the 1973 ruling that has protected abortion rights, [politicians and other authoritarians] who spoke in support of the bill appeared energized by the prospect of a long-sought imminent victory [against women’s bodily autonomy]…

And of course, “sex trafficking” fetishists are attempting to hitch their collapsing fantasy to this dramatic expansion of the police state by reviving a long-moribund myth that never gained much traction:

A Florida [politician fantasized aloud] at a town hall meeting that a ban on abortion can help victims of human trafficking escape their captors…Ileana Garcia…[wa]s seen [making furtive movements in her crotch while] answering a question on why she didn’t support an exception to the state’s new 15-week abortion ban for women who are victims of rape, incest or human trafficking…“When the girl or the woman gets pregnant, and they can’t make her get an abortion or she doesn’t want to get an abortion or they can’t get her to a place to get an abortion, they…release her from the human trafficking ring,” Garcia [pant]ed…

And how could any expansion of the police state succeed without a corresponding expansion of fascist surveillance?

A location data firm is selling information related to visits to [abortion] clinics…including Planned Parenthood facilities, showing where groups of people visiting the locations came from, how long they stayed there, and where they then went afterwards…customers could include [the cops, governments of oppressive states, opportunists looking for people to target with Texas-style lawsuits, and] anti-abortion vigilantes as well…The company selling the data is [called] SafeGraph…[it] obtains location data from [spyware secretly included in ordinary apps installed on peoples’ phones…[among its existing customers is] the CDC, [who] bought $420,000 worth of SafeGraph data for a laundry list of COVID-[excused surveillance schemes]…Google banned SafeGraph from the Google Play Store in June

Obviously, this is just the beginning; expect a lot more stories under this heading in the next few months.

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A friend told me that when he’s out of town, his girlfriend goes on paid dates with other men.  She claims that there is no sex involved, but he’s unsure and asked me if compensated dates without sex are really a thing.  My response was that if he can’t trust her, that’s the bigger problem, but I figured I’d ask you about the sexless dates.

The short answer is “no”.  That isn’t to say that some compensated dates don’t involve genital-diddling; however, it’s not really possible for an escort to make a living by putting “no sex” in her profile or repeatedly disappointing clients’ expectations.  Sexless escorting is mostly a fantasy of white bourgeois American women which is not found in nature; my tag “Delightful Conversation” collected cases, but I haven’t seen one in six years and figured it had mostly dried up.  But most importantly, your advice to him was correct.  The problem isn’t that she’s an escort; the problem is that she doesn’t trust him and vice versa, which doesn’t bode well for a relationship.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Though it has been a very long time since I’ve written about guest post solicitations, that doesn’t mean it has been a long time since I’ve received one.  On average, my e-mailbox is polluted by at least one or two of the noisome things a week, on any number of topics, along with “offers” to interview nobodies and “press releases” which are actually mere PR scams.  Few of them have even the most tangential relationship to anything I might write about, so I assume a large fraction of the few remaining bloggers on the internet get them as well, and that the solicitors are using the “If one throws enough shit at a wall, some of it is bound to stick” strategy of finding someone, anyone, desperate or foolish enough to publish these things for the pittance they offer (which generally falls somewhere between “pocket change” and “bupkis”).  Of course, my infamously-aggressive email filters consign most of these to the trash, so I forget them almost immediately (except for the ones which are deleted without my seeing them at all due to the presence of some word or phrase in the subject line which I’ve banned from assaulting my sensibilities even for the moment it takes to scan down the garbage list just to make sure nothing worthwhile ended up in there by mistake, due to the fact that my email filters are, in fact, infamously aggessive).  But I recently (OK, it was actually January 27th, but I’ve had better things to write about for the past two and a half months) got one which was so shockingly stupid, on multiple levels, that I saved it for a slow news day, which has now arrived.  And so I present an exercise in nonsense, pseudoscience, and sexological inanity the author calls a “study”, which is about as accurate a description here as when used to describe the propaganda erupting from the likes of Melissa Farley, Gail Dines, or Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz.  The idea that there could be a single “best sexual position” for all individuals born in a particular month is already shockingly stupid, but it’s downright reasonable compared to the notion that 2/3 of these pointless exercises in gymnastics could be the “best sexual position” for anyone with normal human anatomy; the whole thing reeks of the amateur obsession with trivia and stupid bed tricks which takes the place of honest communication, individual exploration, and making the effort to learn what one’s partner actually wants.

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I’m a virgin who will soon be 40, and I’ve been wanting to engage the services of an escort.  I read your piece on the topic in Reason, but I don’t know if going the sex worker route would make me feel any better.  I realize she wouldn’t be hot for me, but I dread the thought that she’d just not want to be there at all.  Sensing that I’m just a chore to get through would make me feel worse. I don’t want to rent a living sex doll, I want…I don’t know how to articulate what I want out of the experience.  I know I want a woman to have sex with me for free, just because she wants to, but it isn’t happening.

The concept of “free sex” is largely a male fantasy.  As Billy Crystal once humorously expressed it, “Women need a reason to have sex.  Men just need a place.”  Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, but waiting for a woman that you personally find attractive who just wants sex with you because she’s “hot for you” to come along is kinda like refusing to demolish that old barn on your property because you figure that that sooner or later it’ll be struck by lightning and burn down.  The great majority of women are going to want something else other than the mere physical act, partly because we’re wired that way and partly because it’s so easy for most women to get sex from men that the chances of one picking you in particular, without any effort on your part, resemble those of winning the lottery.  For the typical woman, the “something else” is likely to be some kind of romantic relationship; for the more pragmatic sort, it’s likely to be money or some other means of support.  And women who are specifically looking for a husband rather than a mere boyfriend combine the two.  You haven’t given me enough to determine why you’ve never stumbled into a romantic relationship over the past two decades, so I’m going to guess you’re shy and lack the self-confidence to ask girls out on traditional dates.  And I further suspect (unless there’s something you aren’t telling me) that the origin of your fear that an escort would view seeing you as especially laborious is that same lack of self-confidence.  Truly professional escorts, women who view sex work as a career and proceed accordingly, have professional ethics and standards; they are no more “living sex dolls” than boxers are “living punching bags”, and the only reason you believe otherwise is all the anti-sexwork propaganda permeating American culture.  Given that, I think you need to adjust your thinking a bit if you’re to correct your problem.  I suggest you peruse my column “From the Top”, which includes links to a number of columns for newbies; also this essay from a guy in a similar position to yours.  If you don’t find anything to help you there, I suggest buying my book Ask Maggie (both volumes) and reading all the essays whose leading questions speak to you (there are probably more of them than you think).  And once you do stop making up excuses to avoid seeing a professional (because that is what you’re doing, honestly), I think you may find the mystique around sex will start to evaporate, and your problem with it.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Maybe it’s spreading so quickly due to the rich soil provided by the 20-year bipartisan crusade to pretend supporting sexworker rights is harmful to children.  If you supported “sex trafficking” hysteria and laws (including censorship) targeting sex workers, you helped create this.  So you can squawk out “THE RIGHT!” all you like; your pet politicians have been working on creating this for two decades, and the blood is on your hands just as much as the hands of “conservatives”.  Maybe you should’ve opposed bigotry and censorship vs sexual minorities from the start instead of setting your own ilk up as judges of which sexual minorities are “good” and deserving of rights, and which “bad” and therefore undeserving.  But I’m sure the worst offenders will just keep flapping their “left wing” and running around in circles squawking “TRUMP!” rather than actually taking a hard look in the mirror.

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Scapegoating Gen Z…belies the enduring hold of sex-negativity on our culture.  –  Asa Seresin

To Molest and Rape

It’s gradually becoming slightly less rare for reporters to describe the actions of rapist cops as rape:

A [typical and representative Kansas cop] is facing over two dozen charges…[for] raping a woman while [wearing his magical clown costume]…Jonathan Gardner…[is mostly being] charged with…official misconduct…[because he stalked potential victims using] Kansas [cop shop computer]…systems…

Disaster (#996)

A timid but possibly important challenge to FOSTA from inside Congress, take 2:

…a few members of Congress are…at least willing to consider the possibility that they messed up in passing FOSTA.  To this end, they’re backing legislation that would further study [its] effects…and of the Justice Department’s shutdown of websites—like Backpage and Rentboy—popular for sex worker advertising.  First introduced in 2019, these measures promptly flopped.  Now, their sponsors—Ro Khanna…Barbara Lee…Elizabeth Warren…and Ron Wyden…are trying again…In the findings section of the bill, the [politicians] explain (with a shocking lack of moral panic) how the government’s war on sex work advertising has caused a number of reported harms, and how FOSTA…increased it…Khanna—one of just 25 House members and two senators who voted against FOSTA—[said that]…he hoped getting more data on FOSTA’s effects would be unobjectionable—and useful for eventual repeal…Techdirt editor Mike Masnick…is skeptical. When it comes to sex trafficking, Congress just “wants to pretend to care about these issues so it can get headlines and go on TV to look serious about how it’s ‘solving’ these problems”…

I’m at least as skeptical as Masnick is, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Ron Wyden actually tweet that “Sex workers deserve equal and full labor protection and dignity under the law.

Disaster (#1151)

They’ve chased this ambulance from Austin to Washington and back:

The [US] Supreme Court declined…to settle a question presented by a[n opportunist and her lawyers] looking to [cash in on a novel theory of] Facebook’s [legal] liability in a case where she [claim]s that she was “sex trafficked as a minor” because the social media platform “[allowed her to communicate with someone she now says was] a sex trafficker.”  The case had already gone all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court, although that tribunal’s decision pointed out the issues with trying to determine Section 230 protections, particularly in a case that also invoked FOSTA-SESTA.  [Though] the Supreme Court denied the request to take up the question…Justice Clarence Thomas added a statement opining that “although the case was not appropriate for court review, Congress should revisit the scope of Section 230”…

I Spy (#1166)

It looks as though at least one court is attempting to grow a spine:

[So-called “geofence”] warrants reverse the expectations of probable cause by turning everyone in a[n]…area into a suspect before investigators work backwards from the location data to generate a list of most likely suspects…[cops] have used these for years…[but] courts are paying more attention now…cops were investigating shootings at a motel in Fairfax County [Virginia, and]…had no suspects so they asked Google to generate them a list of people who had been in the area at the time of the shooting…[including] identifying data…the court…reject[ed] this warrant…Probable cause is the baseline and geofence warrants don’t even try to approach that constitutional guideline…Law enforcement either needs to do a whole lot better crafting these so-called warrants or, better yet, go back to the basics and start looking for suspects first, rather than trying to blunder their way into them by sifting through tons of unrelated data.

Why I Wait (#1177)

Somebody whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill is actually applying critical thought to this claim:

…a widely-held belief [holds] that…Gen Z, like the porn-sceptic feminists of the 70s and 80s, is a sex-negative generation.  Evidence routinely cited to support this belief includes the so-called “sex recession”…and the annual intergenerational battles over kink at Pride.  The idea that young people are abstaining from sex has even crystalised into a neologism: the Puriteen…young people who profess to avoid sex [do so] for a number of reasons: because they find it “objectifying”, “dangerous”, “uncomfortable”, “fucked up and scary”; because they are “exceptionally concerned with trauma and consent”; because casual sex makes them feel “used”…such statements have a political history…that risks falling from view when sex-negativity is treated as if Gen Z invented it.  By invoking objectification, instrumentalization, trauma, and consent, these young people – consciously or not – are using terms handed down to them by feminism…While it might seem like a paradox that [even] some young queers are expressing sex-negative views, the historical legacy of lesbian feminism proves that it isn’t paradoxical at all…

The Cop Myth (#1178)

Another cost of America’s sick worship of state-sanctioned violence:

…more than 7,600 [cops’ violent incompetence]…has more than once led to payouts to resolve lawsuits…[the] Washington Post…collected data on nearly 40,000 payments at 25 of the nation’s largest [cop shops] within the past decade, documenting more than $3.2 billion spent to settle claims…The total amounts further confirm the broad costs associated with police misconduct, as reported last year by FiveThirtyEight and the Marshall Project…more than 1,200 off[enders]…had been the subject of at least five payments.  More than 200 had 10 or more.  The repetition is the hidden cost of [police] misconduct: [cops] whose conduct was at issue in more than one payment accounted for more than $1.5 billion, or nearly half of the money spent by the departments to [sweep reports under the rug]…

To Molest and Rape (#1209)

Another specimen of the garbage the state pays to violate kids:

A [cop paid by the state to stalk, harass, and spy on students] at Auburn High School [in New York molested]…a student…William T. Morrissey, III has been charged with first-degree sexual abuse, official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child…Auburn [politicians found out about the molestation via]…an anonymous written complaint in the mail…

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