Research & Academics

Melissa Ditmore's picture

review of Siddarth Kara's Sex trafficking

Here is a short excerpt from my review of Siddarth Kara's book Sex Trafficking for the  Women's Review of Books.

Unfortunately, although Kara understands the variety of trafficking situations, he is stuck on sex trafficking. He meets trafficked workers in fields such as agriculture and construction, but pursues elusive sex slaves.  He never asks any of the people he seeks out—the poor women, sex workers, child carpet-weavers, or bonded-laborer families making bricks—what would actually help them. Although he is sensitive to their plights, he is insensitive and uninterested in their needs and desires. Rather than focus on structural issues, his book turns to salacious material and hero fantasies. A romantic outsider, he pushes ineffective remedies.
....

Lou FCD's picture

Jill and Phil Fell Down the Hill

Blindfold game 2 by Lee Carson @ Flickr

I was actually looking for some good sex-ed resources for linking here at SitPS when I recently stumbled across one of the most bizarre and counter-factual rants I've seen outside of the Discovery Institute's network of self-referential web-dust-collection blogs. Admittedly, I don't carouse around the right wing blogs often, preferring to have the straight stuff filtered for me by writers with a firmer grasp on reality. For that reason, I was thoroughly blind-sided by the utter credulity with which some blogger named Jill Stanek breathlessly repeated some pretty outlandish claims by a Canadian child psychiatrist named Dr. Philip Ney. I had never heard of Stanek, but after poking around it seems that she is a leading light of the forced birth/anti-sex-ed religio-political movement.

Apparently, Dr. Ney asserts not only that there is no need for comprehensive sex education for students, but that sex ed is detrimental to their mental health. Stanek doesn't really contribute much to this particular article herself, but opts to simply parrot some of Dr. Ney's "more noteworthy points".

Stanek begins her article with a rather foreboding exclamation.

With renewed debate over how to curb the rampant, irresponsible sexual activity of our youth - the other side pushing more of what sexualized our children to begin with - we thought it a good time to resurrect a good piece on Life Site News last year by Psychiatrist Dr. Philip Ney regarding sex education for children.

Right away, the tone of the article is set by the assumption the reader is supposed to take for granted - that our youth are engaging in rampant, irresponsible sexual activity. Even granting the assumption (a dubious proposition to begin with), the rational response of educating the youth in question is brushed aside without consideration by Stanek. Still, it's not unheard of for scientific findings to be counter-intuitive, so let's take a look at the "more noteworthy points" Stanek points to from Dr. Ney, and the evidence to support them. 

Melissa Ditmore's picture

Research for Sex Work 11 is online

Marthe Bouvarde "Prostitutes of Europe" Research for Sex Work 11 is online. It's the only journal like it, with contributions from sex workers, health workers and NGO staff. Articles from India, Mali, Spain, the UK and the US, illustrated with beautiful photographs by Mathilde Bouvard, discuss pleasure and sex work, the failures of raids to help trafficked persons, violence against sex workers and more.

DANAYA SO, a sex worker organisation in Mali, co-produced this issue with the Network of Sex Work Projects. Photographs were supplied by Mathilde Bouvard. This bilingual issue is in English and French. Migration scholar  Laura  Agustín was the guest editor for this issue.

Hard copies will be distributed during the IAS Conference on Pathenogenesis to be held in Capetown, South Africa, 19-22 July 2009.


If you would like to receive a paper copy free of charge, please write to
editor at r4sw dot org.

Elizabeth's picture

Bridging Communities in Sex Work Research

This is the edited version of the slideshow presentation from my talk today with Michael Goodyear at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) Easter/Midcoast joint regional meeting called "The Business of Sex."

NOTE: There appear to be some problems viewing this slideshow using some versions of Internet Explorer.

Click on this link:

Michael's picture

The Business of Sex

"The Business of Sex" is the title of this year's meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (Eastern and Midcontinent Regions) in St Petersburg, Florida June 5-7. We think it is important that there be representation from all realms of knowledge, theoretical, empirical and experiential, and that there be free dialogue between researchers and practitioners. 

Elizabeth's picture

Adding injury to insult in Vancouver: Seriously flawed study gets reported in a totally unconscionable way

"HIV/AIDS in Vancouver, British Columbia: A growing epidemic" (McInnes et al 2009) was just published in the peer-reviewed Harm Reduction Journal (PDF). The study's abstract clearly states that intravenous drug users and men who have sex with men are involved in the vast majority of HIV transmissions in Vancouver (IDUs and MSMs in the study's objectifying abbreviations). But you'd never know this from reading the Vancouver Sun.

Pamela Fayerman's article, "Local study sheds light on HIV: More than a quarter of female sex trade workers in city infected with virus" begins with a headline that is not just sensationalistic headline but is also false. The study doesn't show that at all. The study isn't based on the sort of data that could even begin to sort out what proportion of female sex workers in Vancouver have HIV because it is based on data collected only from prostitutes working on the street doing what is called "survival sex work." Fayerman's article ignores the majority of the study's findings to focus on one small and inaccurately presented piece of information.

Click here to read more.

Elizabeth's picture

OutHistory.org Needs Your Help!

OutHistory.org screenshot

OutHistory.org is an educational web site on LBGT history developed by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the

City University of New York Graduate Center . Part archive, part museum, part encyclopedia, it is a rare resource in that it makes scholarship on LGBT history widely accessible outside of academic journals. 

This very important project needs your help. Please make a donation if you can! Because of the economic crisis and its impact on public higher education in New York, CLAGS  can't continue funding the project, and the grant that established OutHistory expires on December 31, 2008. In an email sent out today by CLAGS director Sarah Chinn and OutHistory director Ned Katz, the importance of the site and its need for funding is put like this: Continue reading after the jump

Elizabeth's picture

Consciousness-raising 2.0, the New View, and a special issue of Feminism and Psychology

cover of feminism and psychology I recently published an article, "Consciousness-raising 2.0: Sex Blogging and the Creation of a Feminist Sex Commons," in the journal Feminism and Psychology. I was invited to submit the piece by Leonore Tiefer , chief advocate of the New View Campaign against the medicalization of sexuality. She was putting together a special issue of the journal looking at the uses the New View has been put to since it's inception ten years ago. I immediately agreed because, while I believe in the importance of expert research guiding policy and knowledge, I think it is important for that research to be grounded in the experiences of real sexual people and should attend to their social environments and not only to their chemical and genetic components. Over-medicalization, and the privatizing of knowledge about sexuality distances us from our bodies and our experiences and frames our issues in terms of diseases instead of seeing the way that social and cultural factors influence our ability to experience sexual pleasure.

More on what's in the issue, on my contribution and how you can help me expand my article below the fold.

Elizabeth's picture

Feminist researchers challenge UK anti-prostitution Big Brothel project

We are advocates here for solid research on sex work, especially on working conditions across the many sectors of the sex industry. It is especially galling when bad research, often bad enough to be called "research"-in-quotes, gets passed off to support public policies that make working conditions more dangerous (e.g., driving sectors of sex work further under ground or making it harder to report crimes or workplace dangers). 

Recently the UK has been taken by a storm of anti-prostitution "research" that is being used to support policies that would criminalize the purchase of sex. There was Melissa Farley in Scotland "studying" men who purchase sex (we debunked that here) and now there is the Poppy Project's "Big Brothel" investigation by Julie Bindel and Helen Atkins, purporting to look at the workings of establishments where women sell sex to men. I am glad that a growing number of well-organized feminist researchers are publicly challenging these projects. They clearly highlight the ethical and methodological flaws in the studies and the sensationalistic ways that they overgeneralize from flawed findings. It seems sometimes that the anti-prostitution "researchers" are so disgusted by their topic that they can't take it seriously. Below is a summary provided by the UK researchers who are most actively challenging this kind of work and who need the support of everyone who takes sex workers seriously.

Click here to read more.

Elizabeth's picture

Feminist sociologist seeks feminist bloggers

Dr. Jessie Daniels, a sociology professor at Hunter College, is looking for bloggers who consider themselves feminists (any sort) to participate in an interview-based research study. (Please click here if you are interested!) Her book, White Lies (Routledge 1997) is a well known investigation of the intersections of race, class and gender in white supremacist groups. Her new book, Cyber Racism (Rowman & Littlefield 2009) continues that investigation as such groups move their interactions to the internet.

I met Dr. Daniels when we were on a panel together at the Eastern Sociological Society meetings this past spring. She was presenting an excellent critical analysis of race and gender on sites like the Holla Back NYC blog I think her work is fabulous and I hope that some of you will help her in this new project. She also discussed Racism Review, the blog she maintains with Joe Feagin.

An overview of her feminist blogger project, in her own words, below the fold

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