“Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers.” ~Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)~
So, I am writing a paper for my Feminist Philosophy class entitled, “Racialization: The Feminist Argument for the Criminalization of Sex Work: Al-Saji’s Mirror,” wherein I metonymically propose that “the liberal discourse of “women’s equality with men,” not only enables patriarchy, but directly—if not deliberately—contributes to the oppression of ‘women by women’ through the ideological mechanics of male domination.”
Due to the scope of this paper (1500 – 2000 words) I am restricting the discourse to “hetero and trans” sex workers. Notwithstanding, indigeneity, ability, and race alter this framework drastically.
I am drawing from (journalist and former Sex Worker) Melissa Gira Grant’s article “The War on Sex Workers” and Alia Al-Saji’s “The Racialization of Muslim Veils” to articulate what Al-Saji’s identifies as cultural racism by associating the veil with gender oppression; “other-ing” Muslim women. I am seeking to articulate the class racism of liberal feminists by equating sex work with violence against women as a means of controlling the behavior of “other(ed)” women. In both cases, the so-called victims of oppression are stripped of any agency to speak for themselves.
“Rather than representing the Muslim women (read: sex worker) these images [of oppression] fulfill a different function: they provide the foil or negative mirror in which western constructions of identity and gender can be positively reflected.” ~Al-Saji~
At this point I go out on a limb with a re-telling of Snow White and the Mirror on the Wall through which Snow White’s step-mother, the Queen (who I believe represents patriarchy and class distinction) attempts to use the mirror on the wall to produce the positive reflection of herself (western women) by simultaneously criminalizing her step-daughter (who I am framing as working class) for being sexually desirable as the fairest in the land.
Of course, I sprinkle some ‘bell hooks’ pixie dust over the essay, garnished with references to both pro-sex work and anti-sex work dialogue, served with a nicely chilled flute of my own self-stylized poeticism.
Any feedback? Good idea? Incoherent?
When I heard the news that Margaret Thatcher took her last breaths yesterday I was confused as to my sorrow. Why should I grieve for Ms. Thatcher? How could my heart be troubled by her earthly depature?
But now it has come to me that maybe it is not her for whom I lament, but for the people I call friend and comrade and the host who *rejoice* at her death. All this time I’ve been under the impression that we were fighting for a better world–one without hatred. How can I trust my allies whose hearts beat in concert with oppression? How can I know those who love me when love cannot exist in the same space as hate? And if we are not fighting in the name of love, what then are we fighting for?
Who am I to condemn Ms. Thatcher? I do not know her story. She was somebody’s child who must’ve loved her, right? She was certainly not born to commit atrocity. Was she not a women negotiating the same obstacles of patriarchy as any other woman? Maybe she dreamed of being something and someone different than how she will be remembered. Could it be that as a young girl her heart had been broken by someone she loved? I know what that feels like. Is there no one who laments her passing? Is there no one who loved her? No, I cannot rejoice in their sorrow nor anyone’s pain.
Who among us is worthy to pass judgment? Is it not true that:
“We are easily shocked by crimes which appear at once in their full magnitude, but the gradual growth of our own wickedness, endeared by interest, and palliated by all the artifices of self-deceit, gives us time to form distinctions in our own favor.” ~Samuel Johnson~
Good night Ms. Thatcher, may those who have long awaited you grant you mercy, forgiveness, and a resting place!