In a world where demand and economic interests to a large extent rule, and men sit on a structural advantage in terms of power, this will always mean that forces work to make sure that the demands of men are met. This paves the way for an acceptance of the (economic, social, mental, physical) vulnerability of other human beings being used to meet men’s demand, and that above all women’s bodies and performance of sexual acts are commercialized. Men’s sex buying as well as consumption of (misogynistic, rape glorifying) pornography is to an exceptionally large extent not about those selling and performing “wanting it” but about those buying “wanting it”, and that they have so much power that some people are forced to meet their demand. Sex buying and porn consumption create, reinforce and reproduce vulnerability. Those creating the demand do so at the expense of other human beings.
When it comes to these and similar issues, we have to talk structures, not just individuals, especially not since the individuals who are often given a voice either has an interest in maintaining status quo, or are privileged only in their capacity to make their voice heard and make a free choice. That some women choose something voluntarily does not mean that it is liberating for all women or free all women from a structural oppression. It is more important to protect those exposed to the violence and the abuse that follows for example sex buying and pornography – by for instance criminalizing buying sex, forbidding the buying of sex abroad and fighting the normalization of violent pornographic – and to eradicate oppressive structures maintained at the expense of certain people, than to protect a few privileged individuals “right to choose” something based in oppression; something that for most signify oppression. It should be a given to prioritize to eradicate destructive norms and protect vulnerable, often marginalized people who are exploited under the current system, by condemning those who through their demand make this exploitation possible, that is, those buying sex. People aren’t capable of making sure that their consumption within the sex industry only affects those who have made a “free choice”; a normalization will affect all women through the general view of women as objects and norms surrounding sex and violence, and above all, it will hit hardest against those already vulnerable.
This is about going to the roots of the structures, and creating a counter force so that no one will have to be victimized under them. We must dare to say that everything men demand really mustn’t be made accessible to them, and that everything privileged people want really doesn’t have to exist – especially not if the consequence is a violence that hits against other people’s bodies and lives.
Cecilia Samuelsson, volunteer