Friday, May 9, 2008

Double Entendre: X Does Not Equal Y

Just recently, a story hit the news about a D.C. MADAME that “threatened” a US senator, a deputy secretary of state, and the man who created the doctrine of “shock and awe.” And just how did this woman “threaten” these and other powerful men? She ran an escort service they used. Now, given the ignoramic double standard in this country—prostitutes go to jail and the johns go free—I have to cogitate very hard to understand in what way this woman was a threat. It was certainly in her best interests to keep the matter quiet, and as far as I can tell from the news coverage of the case, and as business sense would dictate, discretion would be an asset.

Now for some reason, this one was considered so dangerous, that despite the numerous other escort rings in the area, hers has been the only one prosecuted. And why? Supposedly, she was laundering money: a total of $2 million over 13 years. In an attempt to legitimize this courtroom theatre of the absurd, an IRS agent produced records of a lower than middle class lifestyle bought by this “high crime” Madame. Oh, please, give me a good production of Lysistrata any day!

And all of this supposedly required a full investigation into the sexual acts performed along with the release of 132 women’s names, some who hadn’t worked there for years, including being subjected to vituperative, fatuous questions demanding a need to know bodily-function-details such as, I kid you not, asked of a 63-year-old former escort by prosecutor Catherine Connelly, "Did you specifically discuss what happened when you went in the shower?"

The witness explained, "I was having sex."

"What would happen if you were menstruating?" Connelly then asked.

A travesty of justice? A mockery of it? NO, that and a vilification of women.

X Does NOT Equal Y in this system:

These women, including a naval officer who worked there for only a few months and the now 63-year-old with a Ph.D. will lose their jobs, and according to most of the blogs I’ve seen, both men and women think they deserve it.

SEX….Euwww! Women having sex for money……….Euwww! And the men, or “johns,” including Senator Vitter, a GOP family values crusader, what happens to them? NOTHING. That’s right, nothing. No jail, NO names published, NO fines. Kinda warms the cockles of your heard, doesn’t it, to see the patriarchy in such great form protecting its own. But of course, we all know it’s the woman’s fault; she’s evil [Eve’s to blame]; men can’t help it; women ought to be pure. Or is it, how dare women have power over men; how dare men have to pay for sex; how dare women be able to decide what to do with their bodies when they are supposed to belong to men! I forget, is it the evil woman, sex is bad or the need to keep women in their place and control what they can and cannot do with their bodies or a mishmash of the two?

Gender inequality is an inescapable fact. I witnessed it firsthand only a few years ago as a teacher, as if the women’s movement had never taken place. My female students constantly worried about their looks, felt inadequate if they didn’t have a boyfriend, were made fun of by the males if they weren’t attractive, and were pressured by their peers to have sex to be cool, then labeled sluts, whores, bitches, tarts, teases, etc. And the boys, they bragged about having sex, were studs, operators, stud muffins, with not one bad word for one who slept around. While if a female tried to assert her own will, she was quickly cowed by being called a “feminazi.” In fact, none of them wanted to be associated with being a feminist—though they wanted all the rights from the fruits of the movement. Such a hatchet job the powers that be have done, once again, on women.

I could overwhelm you with stats that back up my assertions of discrimination women face, from studies done where the exact same paper got an A when signed by a male and a B or lower when signed with a female name to FBI Crime Statistics of 2003 where 63.2 in every 100,000 women were raped [and that’s only the reported ones] to the fact that we still do not receive equal pay for equal work. What I find most disturbing are the women who perpetrate 2nd class status onto their own daughters and other women, as in the treatment that Anita Hill received during Justice Thomas’ hearings; her information was not put on trial, but she most certainly was with such rabid emotional responses, giving immediate clues that a deeper issue has been triggered than innocence or guilt.

So let me leave you with what should be two troubling, thought provoking trends:

In India and China, where the status of females is at the level of about what it was in the 1800s here [remember, it took women over 100 years to get the vote and we didn’t get it until 1920; read about the political prisoners conveniently “lost” in women’s workhouses for protesting for the right to vote], 90% of known female fetuses are aborted or killed after they’re born, and in India, married women die in deliberate fires set by husbands rather than divorce and give back the dowry while the police look the other way.

In parenting books for Christians that have become quite popular, the advice given for parents of girls, honored for their ability to give birth and suckle the child, is to adamantly stress obedience, for they must learn to honor their fathers and then transfer that obedience to their husbands.

One last, but not to be overlooked nor forgotten, note; this “dangerous,” “powerful,” “threatening” Madame excoriated in our not so just justice system, committed suicide after her cold and wicked betrayal. For that is what it was, a betrayal. Legalize prostitution and regulate it, as is done in sane countries and parts of Nevada, and truly honor a woman’s right to control her body instead of giving the notion lip service. And please, spare me the moral outrage. Going out to dinner and a movie in which the man pays and then going to bed with him is prostitution. Negotiating the amount or time allotted for sex in a relationship is prostitution. Selling your body at a job every day IS prostitution. Capitalism is prostitution, and we’ve seen what unregulated capitalism looks like.

D.C. Madame, Ms. Deborah Jeane Palfrey, I promise I will not forget what you have suffered at the hands of an unjust society.

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