First let me say how much I enjoy ZJempTV and his videos. I also enjoyed the presentation from his girlfriend Heather. I do hope she makes more videos in the future. I would also like to say that even though I strongly disagree with them on this issue, I still consider them good people and well worth not only my subscription but also yours.
You can subscribe to ZJ at anytime by clicking here
Now for those who would prefer a text version of Heather's video you may find it by clicking HERE
Heather's video started out as a rebuttal to Sex Positive Feminism. However it transitioned into a criticism on the sex worker rights advocates and that is where I strongly disagree with her position.
Let me state my position very clearly. I support legalization. I have been a John in the past and I am not ashamed to admit it. I see nothing wrong with paying for companionship. In many cases it is easier than dealing with a relationship. I do not look down on those who work in the industry, to me it is just payment for services rendered.
Now there are those who work in the industry that are pushing for not just legalization but something called decriminalization. Many people sent me this video when I asked what the difference was between the two words.
Essentially as I understand it legalization would mean legal but restricted. As in where this business transaction can take place, and who can engage in this type of business. This video embedded above pointed out that legalization would require licenses which are cost prohibitive and also excessive taxation.
Decriminalization would mean legal but no interference from government regulations. Essentially that could mean that anyone can conduct this business at any time and anywhere. If that is the case then I would have to say that I disagree with decriminalization and I would like to explain why. Before I do however, one user Divinity33372 requested that I include this definition as well.
Legalization has maximum gov interference to the point of treating the sex workers like products to be regulated as such.
Decrim has minimal gov interference stopping right around treating sex workers as laborers.
On the definition of treating workers like products I would have to disagree. There are many industries that regulate who can conduct business and there are even industries that regulate where such commerce can be conducted.
The first one is the Trucking Industry. In order to be a truck driver in this country you have to pass a physical that meets the standards set by the Department of Transportation. Those with high blood pressure need not apply. Furthermore, you can be disqualified if you vision poorer than 20/40.
Truckers are further regulated in the hours that they may drive each day, and are even regulated as to where they can travel. Many cities have mandatory truck routes that a truck driver must follow, unless he has a delivery in the area. The idea behind this regulation is to limit the traffic into downtown.
Those in the medical field are also regulated. They must pass a background check. Many places require workers to obtain a fingerprint clearance card. In addition to checking for criminal past, workers must also be tested for and immunized against several communicable diseases.
Restaurants is another regulated industry. You just can not open a restaurant in a residential neighborhood. Zoning laws are designed to keep home areas quiet and free of commercial traffic. Safety inspectors must come in and verify that your establishment is clean and suitable for serving food.
As a person who has been a John in the past I would have to say I would favor legalization over decriminalization. The reason is because it would help ensure that the person I am conducting business with has been tested recently and is properly licensed. Like any business I would prefer to do business with people who have a reputation for good customer service. Those who do poorly can be reported to the Better Business Bureau or another government agency.
A person who conducts business poorly could lose their license to conduct that business. That, in my opinion, would be an incentive to offer good customer service. Furthermore, I would prefer licenses because it would mean that the person I am dealing with was recently tested to be disease free. It would also mean less physical danger to me from being attacked or robbed by a pimp.
Now some may ask why is it that only the sex worker be tested. The reason is the sex worker sees far more clients than a client would see a sex worker. So the risk for them is much higher. However, I see no objection to having a paying customer be tested as well. This could happen in several ways. One the sex worker could open up shop and have on staff a lab technician who would then test each client. The cost of this would be included as part of the fee the client pays. For those who prefer to do strictly outcall services (going to the clients home or hotel) they could require that a client have a health certificate no older than 30 days.
Now of course testing is not 100 percent accurate. HIV for example can lay dormant for years. However mandatory testing is better than no testing. If a sex worker tests positive for an STD then her license is suspended. If the disease can be treated and cured then she can start up again as soon as she is clear. One of the problems I see with not having sex workers licensed is that it puts clients at risk because they have no way of knowing if the sex worker is clean or not. (Unless she has visible signs as some STDs have them.)
I do understand that some in the sex worker rights crowd may disagree with me on this but remember my point of view comes from that of a client. Furthermore I have stated I have no objections to requiring the men to be tested. It further reduces the risk to the client of the sex worker only does business with tested and clean clients.
Now I can certainly understand the frustration the decriminalization crowd has with the idea of legalization. I certainly agree that to have licenses be cost prohibitive is a bad idea. I believe that anyone should be able to pay a reasonable fee for a license and as more people buy licenses it would allow the government to hire more inspectors.
I also agree with them that it is an unreasonable demand that the licensee have no criminal history. Most industries do not place that type of demand on their workers. A reasonable requirement is no criminal history in the past two years. Most industries require 12 months to three years of clean backgrounds.
However I am in favor of regulation. I don't want my neighbor setting up shop from his or her home. I support the idea of the industry being regulated by zoning laws. In my opinion the best solution, coming from a John, is that anyone is free to open up shop and be able to afford a license.
Now let's get to Heather's video and ZJ's responses to questions via twitter.
My first beef with Heather's video starts about halfway through when she says this:
The idea that any sexual preference whatsoever is legitimate and natural, and is probably only considered bad because patriarchy, is to deny how overwhelmingly the current ideals benefit heterosexual men at the expense of the rest of us. How awkward and out of place would it be to hear a heterosexual man say that he was not in fact oppressed or anything, but simply wanted to burn his hair with styling tools, then put on those crippling shoes, revealing short shorts, and daily face paint because he thinks it's sexy and therefore women think it's sexy, and he likes women and sex? No one would mistake such an individual for empowered. If it seems absurd to expect from men, then it ought to seem absurd to expect from women.
Do I have to call out the obvious?
Recently ZJ came out and announced that he was a lesbian. This was shortly before he announced that he was moving to live with his partner.
Now I am not trying to be mean here. I fully support ZJ's right to identify himself sexually as he sees fit. If he wishes to identify himself as a lesbian and have a girlfriend I am happy for them and I hope that they have a long happy life together. However, for Heather to attack men who dress effeminately, is hypocritical on her part.
The second point that I disagree with Heather on is when she said this:
...this focus on expanding the ideals of beauty and sexiness so that everyone can have a slice to further empowerment for women is doing exactly the opposite of what feminists have been working toward for decades, and not for nothing. It keeps us locked in this asinine prison of a value system that teaches women they must be aesthetically pleasing to be sexually desirable and sexually desirable to be whole.
This is to deny basic human sexuality. People wish to copulate with people they are attracted to. Some people prefer tall and skinny, others enjoy a larger partner to be with. For every body type out there, there is a group of people who are into that. In order to be sexually desirable you MUST be aesthetically pleasing. The difference is that everyone no matter what they look like is aesthetically pleasing to a group of people.
My final disagreement with Heather is when she said this:
The stories of hundreds of thousands of women who worked in the sex industry and experienced emotionally painful objectification, dehumanizing treatment, addictions, and abuse should not be dismissed as problems that can be erased by simply erasing pimps, and cannot be replaced with the assertion that sex workers are adults and therefore have agency and consent freely... Safe working environments and emotionally healthy consent simply are not components of most sex workers' realities. Sex workers are overwhelmingly female and overwhelmingly unsafe. Scrawling the word "empowerment" over the sex industry is by far the sex positive movement's largest insult toward women.
This quote sadly demonstrates that Heather has not taken her time to read up on what the sex workers rights crowd has been saying. The sex worker crowd recognizes that in it's present state there are dangers and that is what they are wanting to change. What they essentially want is to be free to engage in commerce without the risk of arrest, and to engage in business safely where they do not have to be in fear for their lives or worry about being attacked.
One of the problems with the current system in the United States is that making it illegal pushes the industry underground. Because they can not legally operate out of a storefront they must either walk the streets in the bad part of town, or advertise online and in both cases they can be attacked at any time. Because the industry is illegal, it is a disincentive to report attacks to the police. Some women turn to pimps for protection but the only thing the pimp is protecting is his money. Because the business is underground it comes with the worst parts of the criminal element.
Furthermore those who work in the adult film industry readily admit there are many bad apples. One of the most notable is Max Hardcore whose real name is Paul Little. Sorry I just have to point and laugh at a man who works in the adult film industry who has the misfortune of having Little as his last name.
The law finally caught up with Max and he did hard time. He was recently released from prison. Now before you consider him a martyr for free speech in the way that Larry Flynt was, read up on the type of videos that Max Produced. His scenes were so graphic and brutal that some women went to the hospital. I would encourage people to read THIS BLOG POST which describes some of the things he has done. There is also a 2001 British documentary about him. A copy of this documentary can be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/Hulsie/ I can not embed the videos here due to their graphic content.
Another current vocal critic of the adult film industry is former actress Desi Foxx who I first met on BlogTV. She was formerly one of the freakiest women in the industry including doing a scene with her own daughter Eli Foxx.
She now maintains a blog critical of the adult film industry. She also occasionally appears on BlogTV to read pre-written scripts in front of the camera. Below is one of her recorded BlogTV shows
My point, however, is this. Despite people such as Max Hardcore in the industry, there are people who can make a decent and good living doing this type of work. Prior to the Internet, most of the money was in the hands of men. Now with websites such as Clips4Sale and others, just about anyone can produce their own work from home. Here is me giving a tour of the home of one such lady who runs her own site as well as posting on Clips4Sale
KimberlyKupps is a woman who used to work for others but now works for herself. Sadly though, due to laws in her own state, she was arrested.
Asia Carrera is another woman who now makes good money from her own website. With the Internet and the low cost of high quality video equipment, anyone can get into the business and not have to rely on signing a contract with a film company. These women who work at home now get to chose which talent they work with and what kind of scenes they perform. There will always be people like Max Hardcore in the industry, however people like him are no longer the only way to start out in the business.
What sex workers want is a safe working environment. They also want to be free from being hassled by the police. What people like myself want is to conduct business with licensed and tested businesswomen.
Now lets go on to the tweets ZJ has put out defending her girlfriends position. You can read these tweets for yourself at http://twitter.com/#!/ZJemptv
Here is the first one I want to point out
@Divinity33372 Selling sex doesn't seem like something most people would do in the presence of viable and accessible alternatives.
Followed by this tweet
@Divinity33372 Hence I tend to doubt that for most sex workers, it was a choice that was equally preferable among a variety of options.
I have one response. Ice Road Truckers
For those who have not seen this show let me lay it out for you. This is a very dangerous route. These truckers actually do drive on ice that is only available for a small part of the year when it is cold enough. The drivers put themselves at risk of frostbite and even death if the ice breaks and the truck falls in. The question is why would anyone put their life on the line for a truck driving job. The answer is money. These people earn in weeks what the average truck driver makes in a year.
I myself have taken many jobs I did not really like. One job that I attempted to train for when I was in Community College was that of a Central Service Tech. It is the job of these people to clean and maintain medical equipment and surgical instruments. You are at constant risk of catching all sorts of foul diseases because the hospital treats everyone. It was not a job I was especially looking forward to, but it was going to pay some good money.
There are many who work at jobs they do not like. There are many who even work very dangerous jobs putting their life at risk because of the better pay they receive. Here is another example
You can see by the 1:46 mark you have to leave the safety encasing and basically climb up the rest of the way with nothing holding you except your harness.
Let us also not forget those who put themselves in danger every day and that is our fire fighters and law enforcement. Are these people looked down upon because they accepted a job that comes with danger just because it pays more than Burger King?
The people who chose to enter the sex industry do so because of the ability to make good money and they are no different than anyone else who takes a job just for the money. All these people are asking for is the recognition that making their business illegal will not make it go away. It only pushes it underground and forces it to mingle with the criminal element.
People such as myself would love to enter a business where I know I am in a safe and sterile environment and the ladies are licensed and tested. However with the current structure of the Nevada model it is not working. The high costs of licenses and taxes makes the average visit cost in the hundreds, something most people are not willing to pay. Lowering the price and availability of licenses would allow anyone who is tested and no recent criminal history to open up shop and have reasonable fees for clients. At that time who would the Johns do business with, a safe and sterile environment or a street walker and a cheap hotel with stained sheets. It is basic economics of Supply and Demand.
Here is another tweet that ZJ sent out
@Divinity33372 Forgive me for imagining that most people would not want to have to sleep with buyers of sex in order to have money.
While I probably agree, most people would prefer not to have sex with people for money, I would also state most people would prefer not to have any job that they don't like. Work is called work for a reason. Red Forman gave a great explaination about work.
Here is another tweet from ZJ
@rubydynamite If the hazards of sex work can't be mitigated, then eradicating it should be the goal.
ZJ it is called the world's oldest profession for a reason. Outlawing it doesn't make it go away. It just pushes it underground. With legalization it can be a victimless crime. Consenting adults engaging in a business transaction. However, making it illegal does create victims. By making it illegal, the prostitutes are at the mercy of whatever client they encounter. They can be attacked at any time and are at great risk because many of these transactions take place at a parked car or in a seedy hotel where the sex worker has no security and nobody to come to her aid if a client loses control.
However by making it legal, women can set up shop and ensure the place is clean and secure not only for themselves but also for their clients. This is one of the reasons I am not yet sold on the decriminilization as it has been presented to me. Decrimininalization does not appear to offer any kind of protections for the clients. As I former client I would prefer to do business with people who were licensed and tested and could offer a safe environment not only for themselves but also for me. I will concede that it is possible that I just have not heard the right arguments. However I can only go on by what I have learned so far.
It serves no purpose to me as a tax payer to spend several hours arresting women and paying for their time in jail only to have them be released and return to the business. Well some people may propose rehab. I say this. Not every sex worker needs rehab. Not all of them are strung out on drugs. Many of them just do it because it pays the bills. It feeds their families. When the woman is sent to jail who takes care of the bills? The pimp? No, he has already moved on to other women who can bring him money. So when the woman is finally released, she may have lost her apartment because the rent was not paid. Well what is the quickest way to make money again?
ZJ posted another tweet
@BobChaos23 If, as some say, prostitution can't be ended, then yes, I'd go with whichever policy reduces harm the most.
Well ZJ, prostitution CAN'T be ended. Goodness knows people have tried. It is not going away. Simple laws of supply and demand. Economics 101. However I am glad to hear that you would be in favor of policies to reduce harm. The thing is the video posted by your girlfriend and your follow up posts on twitter is nothing but a strawman argument against the sex worker rights crowd.
For those who do not know a strawman argument is when you are in a debate and you assign a position to your opponent that he or she may not necessarily hold and attempt to argue against it. A classic example of this is the often heard claim that Evolution teaches that lizards can turn into birds. Or the classic Crocoduck strawman as seen in this video
In the case of how Heather's video strawmaned the sex workers rights crowd in my opinion is this. From those who I have talked to, the sex workers rights number one goal is WORKERS RIGHTS The right to work in a safe work environment free from danger of abuse or arrest.
Those that I have talked to simply want sex workers to be treated as human beings not commodities to be bought or sold. Such a demand is reasonable in my opinion. However, Heather's video argued against the view point that
Scrawling the word "empowerment" over the sex industry is by far the sex positive movement's largest insult toward women
Well Heather, that is not necessarily what they are doing. They are simply asking to be treated as human beings and to have a safe working environment. Is it Feminism, maybe but it certainly is a reasonable demand.
ZJ then went on to tweet
@DreamersEopykJK If prostitution was no longer harmful, then sure, I'd be okay with considering it just another "consenting adults" matter.
This is what the sex worker rights advocates are fighting for. Simply arresting them will not make the problem go away. People enter the business to make money, and there are people willing to pay for their services. What the prostitutes and clients want is a safe clean environement where business can be conducted.
ZJ tweets again
@BobChaos23 I'd hope that a way could be found to ensure that no one ever had to choose prostitution out of necessity.
I am sorry ZJ but that position is arrogant in my opinion. Many people chose jobs out of necessity. Many of us chose to do jobs that they do not enjoy and even come with health risks just to earn a bigger paycheck. The people who chose sex work are no different than any one of us who ever worked at a job we hated. Now is it possible that some people might actually enjoy sex work. Of course. However I must also acknowledge that there are many people who do the job and they hated it. Trust me I have done business with a few of them.
Here is another tweet from ZJ
@BobChaos23 Sure I would. Dangerous jobs should be replaced with automation.
I don't feel comfortable calling ZJ ignorant, I have a lot of respect for him. However I am at a loss to come up with another word that fits. There are many dangerous jobs that can not be replaced with automation. How to you automate ice road trucking which requires that the driver be alert at all times for changes in the ice to not only ensure the load arrives safely but also can react to instant changes in the road.
How do you automate a police officer who must use his or her judgement when dealing with a suspect who may or may not be dangerous? Sure you can build robots but part of an officer's job is to know when and why to use force. If we used robots then this might happen LOL
There are dangerous jobs that can not be automated. Furthermore, I know I would not want to have relations with a robot.
In response to this part of this blog post ZJ pointed out to me that he is a transhumanist and this video clarifies his position regarding the above tweet
However, I still maintain my position that some jobs can not be automated because they require human judgement. While we certainly agree that several jobs can and have been automated such as manufacturing or bomb defusing. Too many jobs rely on human judgement to be automated. I still do not want to have relations with a robot.
In conclusion I believe that Heather's video strawmanned the sex worker rights crowd and that ZJ's follow up tweets in my opinion showed a side of arrogance and ignorance on a subject he may not fully understand. Now the most important thing to remember is that ZJ and I can disagree on this and I will still consider him a wonderful person and I hope he feels the same way towards me.
Furthermore I hope that ZJ does not take offense to my claims that his views on this issue are arrogant or ignorant. Ignorance is not necessarily an insult. Ignorance simply means that you lack knowledge. Furthermore I did not say that ZJ was arrogant, just that one of his tweets displayed an arrogant view. I judge people on the whole not just over one issue.
That being said I do hope that ZJ and Heather take the time to read up on what sex worker rights advocates are fighting for. You may not always agree with their positions. For example, I am sure some of them will not be happy about my views of Legalization over decriminalization, however hopefully they will take the time to learn from my perspective as a former client.
For those who wish to discuss this issue further I suggest contacting me HERE