Saving Women from Themselves Silliness
by Carol Leigh 9/8/06 highlights

Why so many have to leave the U.S. to find adult freedoms (Canada close example Dave so much enjoys vs U.S.)

In the name of protecting sex workers, a few San Francisco activists have adopted the rhetoric of antiprostitution advocates and taken their case to the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women (COSW). The commission, following this lead, has adopted a controversial strategy opposed by the vast majority of dancers, activists, and sex educators to close down VIP rooms, private booths, and private areas in adult clubs and repeal "encounter studio" permits, claiming that privacy in commercial sexual contexts must be stopped because it causes prostitution, sexual assault, and AIDS.

The legislation put forward by the COSW echoes contemporary moral panic. This law uses terms that have historically been used to curtail our freedom under the guise of protecting women. For example, the proposed bill claims that prostitution is "coerced"

Forced labor and coercion are serious crimes in the legal framework. But economic coercion is the motivation for many types of work, and the fact that women are coerced or forced into this work is being used to justify prohibitions that affect all sex workers. The term "sexual exploitation," which also comes up in the legislation, has been used to describe (and curtail) the voluntary commercial activity of sex workers.

The commission claims it based the proposal on testimony from dancers but omits the fact that the vast majority of dancers rejected the approach, showing up in droves at hearings.

Carol Leigh, author of Unrepentant Whore: The Collected Works of Scarlot Harlot (Last Gasp), is dean of academic studies at Whore College. To read the legislation, go to