Thursday, December 22, 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism

Please visit. Please.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Civil Partnerships

My building is holding its first civil partnerships (gay weddings) today. The place is all scrubbed up, with flowers leading up the stairs, and the security guards looking all polished. BBC London are on the steps looking bored and waiting for couples to start turning up. I feel strangely proud of our little island today. It will be better once we have one type of wedding which is open to all, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Girls Girls Girls

I've just got back from Amsterdam. It's possibly one of the most surreal places I've ever been - a fusion of sex, drugs and beautiful architecture.

Amsterdam is so liberal that it even makes me, with my beardy-lefty-onward Comrade views, question myself. The prostitution debate keeps going full circle in my head. I fully accept that legalising prositition can mean that the government can protect women working in that industry. I understand that it's going to happen anyway, so it might aswell happen out in the open. I think that sex is natural and not something to be ashamed of.

Window prostitution in Amsterdam (which accounts for about 20% of all prostitution there) allows women to make their own choices. They rent the appartments themselves on a 12-hour basis. There are no pimps involved. They decide who, what and how much. It all seems quite laudable when you've been there a few days and are fully used to walking down a street with red-lit windows either side of you in which there are women in white bikinis, smoking a cigarette and talking on their mobile.

I think there are two main things that bother me about it. The first is that many of these women (you could argue all, but I'm too scared of them to do that) are vulnerable, poor or have mental health issues. Would anyone really chose to do that as a profession?

My other issue is that so much of prostitution seems to be about men paying for women. Why? Because men don't want to be prostitutes? Because there isn't a market for male prostitution? I think the answer has much more to do with a long-standing attitude towards women: that their primary function is to serve men. Well, if that's the ethos behind prostitution, then suddenly it becomes something I'm not happy with at all.