walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Newsweek article on "men who buy sex"

This should be in the running for Worst Journalism Ever.


See that URL? Growing demand for prostitution.

The headline is "The John Next Door".

What's the article about?

"“We had big, big trouble finding nonusers,” Farley says. “We finally had to settle on a definition of non-sex-buyers as men who have not been to a strip club more than two times in the past year, have not purchased a lap dance, have not used pornography more than one time in the last month, and have not purchased phone sex or the services of a sex worker, escort, erotic masseuse, or prostitute.”"

Really? Lumping all the twice-a-month porn users with the people out breaking the law? No _wonder_ you had trouble finding "nonusers". Then they went on to treat all the "sex buyers" as "johns".

I'd get into the heterocentricity, only what's the point.


Just to put this in perspective, about a decade ago, I decided that if the statistics about prostitution (and this was _before_ the current round of white slavery fear mongering got going) were true, I _must_ know at least one and more likely a few people who had hired prostitutes. I tried _really_ hard to get anyone to admit to ever paying for sex, and for the record, I found people who were willing to admit to selling sex so it's not like I was terrible at this particular project. It was easy to find people who had been in a position to buy sex (hey, I've gone through De Wallen, too, and I've talked to people who've been at the door of legal brothels elsewhere in Europe), and I seriously bullied some of them, deriding their character and more or less calling them cowards for not being willing to 'fess up, and, and they honestly acted tremendously embarrassed that they hadn't gone in.

I know there are guys out there buying sex. In the summer of 1987, I decided not to wait for my bus transfer, but instead walk home along Aurora Avenue in what is now Shoreline, Washington, but was then unincorporated King County. This was around the time of the big crackdown that forced all the prostitution in the region down towards SeaTac. In the space of a quarter mile, I gave up on my plan and found a pay phone to get my friend R. to come give me a ride. I was completely mortified by the number of men who had stopped to offer me a ride. I was wearing stirrup pants (hey! It was 1987!) and a short sleeved, loose, paisley top that came down to about mid-thigh, and I was carrying a big tote bag -- at the time, I was utterly shocked that this would look enough like a prostitute to generate that many offers of rides (I suppose some of these offers might have been innocent. Okay, maybe not).

The only point of contact between my efforts to identify even one person who had paid for sex and my experience as a teenager is an ex-boyfriend, who was willing to admit that he -- along with a huge group of guys -- attempted to hire a prostitute for one of their number who was a virgin, when they were all undergraduates in college. That book I read recently about white fraternities suggests that hiring-a-hooker-as-a-group is a not-unusual activity for white fraternities, at least in the past. (The ex-boyfriend claims that their drunken efforts were unsuccessful because they were unable to collectively come up with enough money for the project, which I actually believe, and if you knew him, you would believe that, too.)

That article says: "No one even knows what proportion of the male population does it [buying sex]; estimates range from 16 percent to 80 percent."

The idea that even 16% of men in the US have hired a prostitute is ludicrous -- but the idea that 80% of men in the US have looked at porn twice in a month is so boring it's hard to maintain focus on it. I don't know _why_ people like Melissa Farley think it's useful to lump these two groups together. I'm trying to decide if I want to know.

ETAYA: There's a substantial wikipedia entry on Melissa Farley. I don't know that it constitutes an explanation of why she engages in intellectual skullduggery, but it does supply further examples of her misbehavior.

ETA Still More: The horrifying equation of buying porn with breaking the law is repeated in secondary commentary.


"it seems like a redundant no-brainer that men committing a crime- paying for sex from a prostitute- were more likely to commit a crime."

First, paying for sex is _not_ a crime everywhere (hello, Nevada). Second, the group of men called "johns" or "men who buy sex" in the study include anyone who gets a lapdance or pays for phone sex or _uses_ porn more than twice a month. NONE of which are crimes anywhere in the US, to the best of my knowledge.

Words are failing me. I am horrified. I am _looking_ for coverage, or comments threads, that are willing to call Farley out and I am _not_ finding them.

Please help me. If you can find commentary on the Farley piece that isn't just piling onto the anti-men and/or anti-porn or sex-negative meme, I'd _love_ to read it.

ETA Even More: I feel a little better now:


This one helped _a lot_:


About Melissa Farley, but from a few months ago, which may explain what this inexplicable descent back into the Bush years is all about:


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