Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Face of Oppression

We live in a culture that oppresses women. Many women have internalized that oppression. It is sold us every day on tv and in womens magazines, in social interractions, in common views and myths about gender differences and rape, in the mainstreaming of pornography. We are told how to look, how to dress, how to please our men. We have filled our breasts with silicone, turned our bodies orange, starved ourselves, learned what is expected of us in the bedroom (everything) and waxed our bikini lines to nothing to be what we’re told men want us to be. We now say we do it to make ourselves feel good. We are taught we’re not good enough as we are, we change ourselves and sexually objectify ourselves to be accepted and we say that say we choose it. It makes us feel good: we’ve done what we’re told that we ought to.

Does saying that we choose this make us powerful or powerless? Where do we get our norms and ideals? If the sex industry tells us that when a woman looks a certain way, acts a certain way - always sexually available - and ‘uses’ her sexuality by selling herself, that this is the height of women’s liberation and empowerment, does that make it true? Or have we been conned by a change of goalposts and a change of language?

In such an environment of oppression, is it fair to say, as do those who argue in favour of porn and prostitution, that individual women freely choose to engage in ‘sex work’? The word ‘choice’ implies an even playing field, a number of feasible options to be chosen from, freedom from financial, physical and mental constraints, the possibility to reverse a decision and quit at any time without repercussions. The statistics around porn and prostitution clearly indicate that this is not the case*. What the pro-sex industry lobby term ‘choice’ I call internalised oppression. That’s the very opposite.

       *  See:


  1. Thank you for telling us your suffering - the reality of millions of women.
    Here in Brazil there is a lot of middle class people (women and men) who defend prostitution as "freedom", or as a job like any other.
    Could I translate your post in my blog?
    There's a proposition in Federal Congress to legalize pimping in Brazil (pimping today is a crime punishable by law). An absurd and powerful lobby setting the stage for exploring and enslaving women during World Cup 2014.
    (hope my english is understandable - don't worry, translating is much easier than writing - with a little help from an internet translator)

  2. Hi Thata,
    It would be awesome if you translated this in your blog. Feel free to use whatever you want. We have much the same situation in the UK of people defending an industry they know nothing about, which destroys women. I'd appreciate it if you'd put my blog address and name with it.
    In solidarity

  3. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with your blog.... I love that you tell it straight, but I hate that a woman in this civilised country I call home has seen this crap.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for posting those links, and say keep up the good work.

    God bless,