A friendly blog where feminists and their male allies can come together and discuss methods, tactics, and strategies for use in toppling White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.

4.15.2007

Patti Smith

So I got lost in the Craigslist malay last night; am now trying to decide whether boycotting craigslist will be fruitless, futile, or just alienate me from cheap used furniture.

Anyhoo, seeing all the ads in the "erotic services" section triggered me. To utilize the lingo.

See, I get depressed pretty frequently but usually am engaged in work and so can avoid my own feelings, unhealthy as that may sound. Thing about my feelings is that they make me do stupid, self-destructive stuff sometimes, when the *bad ones* start to manifest I get real wack-o. Can't afford that anymore, literally and figuratively. So stuffing, avoidance, distraction, all that's what I tend to do to work around it.

So stupid me had never ever seen the "erotic services" section on the craigslist. So I notice it last night, think, "what the fuck is that? Is that what I think it is?" And click. Oblivion, almost. Right?

Generally, when I ask myself, "Is that what I think it is?" the answer is usually "YES!" Gotta learn to trust my instincts better, I guess.

The thing about Greater Metro Orlando is that it's a convention/tourist-trap/vacation town. Used to just be orange groves, before the Big Rat built his nest here. But as the economy's changed, prostitution has become a bit of an epidemic. You can drive up and down Orange Blossom Trail and see this play out in real-time. A couple months ago I nearly had a wreck with a guy who was scoping the women- a Rich White Guy in a Big Fancy Car. Couldn't get more typical. I rolled my window down and yelled at him "Go home to your wife you stupid fucker, what would your mother think!!!!" and he turned down a side street. Presumibly to pick up and exploit the woman he'd nearly caused a wreck over.

Anyways. Craigslist.

I'm sure it's probably similar in metro areas all across the country, but I was disturbed by the ads in the erotic services section, to say the least. All kinds of fucked-up questions generated; the ads are in a sort of menu-format of white-male-supremacism.

I mean, why the hell would men even bother to try and respect women, why when there's just apparently a gaggle of them out there, an "endless supply," in the words of Andrea Dworkin, presumably ready for them to rape at will, who look like "perfect" women according to the Gringo Macho cultural hegemony? Why?

And then there's the self-hate that comes from seeing all this, the immediate drop in self-worth and self esteem, to know that I've been frightfully close to this, to know that there have been times when I damn near did what the women you see in the ads are doing; the inner struggle to not strive to BE LIKE them to gain men's approval. There are more contradictions than we know that comes from this side of white male supremacist culture- the side where we are literally ONLY MEAT. Where we're bought and we're sold and we're brainwashed to think it's perfectly acceptable, that it's all a matter of choice and free will, where we try and try to get the men in our lives to see where they're a part of all this and they just shut us out.

So after my craigslist trauma I took a shower, sat down to look at my emails, and found this, and it helped me remember that I'm part of a movement to rebuild perception and notions of power, and it made me feel a little better, a little bit less wacko.

2 comments:

Jon said...

I'm a man. I've never seriously considered dealing with a prostitute. As best as I can understand my motivation it has something to do with the idea that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Men who can conceive of women as commodities really think that everyone and everything is a commodity, including themselves. The whole business of buying someone else like meat is an acceptance of the notion that one is, or could be 'meat' for someone else, not necessarily in a sexual hierarchy, but in some kind of hierarchy.

I'm not claiming that men are equally exploited by prostitution, but that prostitution implies a degraded and dehumanized consciousness on the part of the 'consumer'.

Am I making any sense?

I came across your blog through Stan Gow's blog. I check in occasionally but rarely feel the need to comment. I really appreciate the fact that you are working class, labor oriented and that you are able to go back and forth between the personal and the political in your writing. I'm a worker and a trade unionist, an old lefty, looking to improve my understanding of feminism.

TNTrash said...

Thanks, Jon, for leavin' a thoughtful comment. Are you the Jon of "It's No Accident" fame?