Monthly Archives: December 2011

Diamonds vs Prostitution

Two weeks ago, I read this fantastic article at the Crunk Feminist Collective about the brutality of the international diamond trade. Eeshap proposes a method to end the violent conflicts and suffering this industry has caused – target the source.

“we can actually stop this. Diamonds are not food. Diamonds are not required for survival. A change in cultural attitudes can actually stop these conflicts. It can stop the violence in communities where these diamonds are found. If the desire for diamonds were to vanish, these conflicts would lose exactly what fuels them.”

“We can actually stop much, if not all, of the violence that is a result of the demand for diamonds. They way that our cultural attitudes about buying fur have changed within a generation, so can our cultural attitudes about diamonds, I propose. It’s not really going to be easy, they are a beautiful and powerful symbol of wealth and status. Increasingly, I hear many politically conscious people say they want a “vintage” diamond. This is clearly an effort towards detangling oneself from the trade of conflict diamonds. My point here, though, is about the cultural cache of diamonds. While purchasing a vintage one might not support the blood diamond industry directly, it certainly does nothing to challenge the value that diamonds have in our society.”

“Harm reduction” is not enough, and trying to find diamonds that aren’t a result of exploitation doesn’t actually do anything to help those who are harmed by the desire for diamonds.

END DEMAND.

So, this article got me thinking further about how this sort of political consciousness seems to vanish in feminist circles when we talk about prostitution. Eeshap’s words mirror abolitionist arguments almost exactly.

“we can actually stop this. Sex act x is not food. Sex act x is not required for survival. A change in cultural attitudes can actually stop the violence that happens to women as a result of this industry. It can stop the violence in communities where these women are found. If the entitlement to sex act x were to disappear, no women would have to be forced to provide them.”

“Increasingly, I hear many politically conscious people say they will only use “feminist” porn. This is clearly an effort towards detangling oneself from the trade of misogynist pornography. My point here, though, is about the cultural cache of misogynistic porn. While purchasing feminist porn might not support the mainstream porn industry directly, it certainly does nothing to challenge the value it has in our society.”

So, Eeshap, if you read this, can I ask you if your logic extends to the sex industry? If you don’t feel comfortable posting here, you can shoot me an email at othersideofporn@gmail.com.

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