Thanks to Harpy reader heykoukla, who emailed me today on the subject of the British sex-work blogger Belle de Jour, pointing me to a recent post on Belle’s blog about the recent Shapely Prose post quoted far and wide, entitled “Schrödinger’s Rapist.” The SP post is itself worth reading, on the subject of the near-constant low-level awareness of sexual violence women live with. If only I could say the same for Belle’s, wherein her general agreement with the SP post is qualified by the following:
If you’re reading my blog, then you know I’m a long time, dyed-in-the-wool A-number-1 Fan Of Men.
I’m glad she got that out of the way, though I can’t imagine myself saying I’m a Fan of Women because I’m a feminist (it would be absurd, right?), but no matter. Onwards:
Let me state for the record that if being a man was easy, hookers wouldn’t exist. Fact.
She gives no support for this statement and I’m not even sure what this means. Is it her contention that men seek the comfort of sex workers to… escape the violence of the outside word? Baffling.
But fear not: her idea is that the problem here really truly is privilege, because otherwise there is, in her view, no basis to the claim that women face a particularly high level of physical danger:
Bottom line, it takes a particular kind of self-consciously middle-class gynecentric view of the world to imagine that the only physical danger men face is in a war zone. As someone who has lived in more than a few dodgy neighbourhoods – because sponging off my parents was categorically Not An Option – and been privy to the secrets and fears of my male friends, I do not think they have it easier than we of the XX-type. Different, yes. Easy, no.
Ooooohkay. You can sort of imagine how it goes from there. But I’m not really interested in doing just an interblogular hit piece today. No, what’s interesting to me about this sort of thing is how it dovetails with my general skepticism of feminist discourse surrounding sex work.