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On the Map: This is Why I Love Prostitutes

"Be sustainable - Don't buy sex!" exhorts a postcard that is being distributed to guests of 160 hotels in Copenhagen during the UN Climate Summit. The proprietors of the lodging establishments received the postcards along with a letter from Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard requesting they not facilitate transactions between the COP15 guests and the city's prostitutes. In response to their local representatives' attempt to thwart a potential bump in business, the Sex Workers Interest Group (SIO) has co-opted the postcards as a marketing tool by announcing that anyone who brings one to the group along with their COP15 ID badge will get to indulge in sex workers' services for free!

SIO spokesperson Susanne Møller says, "This is sheer discrimination. It is reprehensible and arbitrary that the Copenhagen politicians have chosen to use the Climate Summit as a platform for a smear campaign against sex workers. But now they have done it, we have to defend ourselves."

Bjerregaard fires back, "As mayor I have a duty over which image of Copenhagen will be shown during the summit and I think it's deplorable that you can buy a woman for sex."

I'm sure the Mayor finds a lot of things deplorable, but given that prostitution is in accordance with the law, Bjerregaard's personal ethical compass is neither here not there. She is allowing her own sensibilities to interfere with sex workers' legitimate right to make a living. She is abusing her position as a government official in order to push a moral campaign and present her preferred view of Copenhagen to the international community.

Perhaps Bjerregaard should have seen this as an opportunity to combine environmental advocacy with sex work instead of keep the two separate. One example is being provided by prostitutes in Germany. Go green and support working women. That's the kind of message that should be put on a postcard.

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Comments

13 comments have been made. Post a comment.

She sucks out loud

My Danish partner put it best when he looked over my shoulder and said, "Is this about the postcards? That lady's been sucking since the '70s! I'm glad we don't live in Copenhagen [we live in a suburb] or we'd have paid for those! You either make prostitution illegal or get the fuck out of their way!"

There are so many female politicians here who don't make such a mockery of their positions. Thankfully Bjerregaard is out soon.

sustainable?

Maybe I'm not that bright but why is going to a prostitute non-sustainable?

good question

My thought was that it is also a veiled HIV reference, but I don't know enough about the socio-political climate in Denmark to write that in the blog post itself.

Brittany, you (or your partner) have any insight you can share?

Not really

My partner says (since I don't know much about the history on this one) that HIV has never really been a part of the public discourse related to prostitution. I always think it's interesting when Danish politicians here get all up in arms about sex work though. Denmark was one of the first countries to legalize prostitution (not to mention porn, which is far more prevalent in everyday life than sex workers!) and has kept it that way since. (It's worth noting that sex work in DK was tolerated long before it was officially legal). There isn't a whole lot of moral policing here in my opinion, so when it comes up about something like this, it seems out of place and suspicious.

i think perhaps the idea

i think perhaps the idea that paying for sex is not a sustainable system of sex acquisition? i support the legalization of prostitution mostly because the alternative is much worse for women, and do think that, seeing as it is legal in this case, this does amount to discrimination against women. however, i would say that the fact that the industry exists at all speaks to a larger, systematic problem in the way that men view women as consumable/disposable and that the message of the post cards speaks to that in a clever sort of way.

It doesn't get much more

It doesn't get much more sustainable than sex...a closed loop system if I ever saw one. More power to the prosties of Copenhagen.

Great Culture Jamming

I LOVE the co-opting of this postcard! I am going to share this with everyone I know in hopes that the Sex Workers get some new clientelle with these silly coupons.

Somewhat tangential, but: I

Somewhat tangential, but: I wonder what the psychological ramifications of having sex with a sex worker for "free" might be for the people who hand in these postcards. Will it make these women's (predominantly or solely male) clients more or less likely to view these sex workers as commodities?

I can't fully articulate quite why the notion of having sex with a prostitute for free seemed particularly jarring for me. I guess because, without the passing of money from hand to hand, I wonder how the female body and the "purposefulness" of it as dictated by society in terms of personal and economic worth are defined or viewed in this particular circumstance.

When work - is not work.

"I can't fully articulate quite why the notion of having sex with a prostitute for free seemed particularly jarring for me. I guess because, without the passing of money from hand to hand, I wonder how the female body and the "purposefulness" of it as dictated by society in terms of personal and economic worth are defined or viewed in this particular circumstance."

The idea of giving prostituted women and girls away for free is as old as Rome.

Article: INTERNET PIMP; EXCLUSIVE Businessman offers his girls as sex prizes in internet competition.(News)
Article from:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland) Article date:February 12, 2006

That's Britain - and Denmark is a pimp's toilet. The early years child care is also worth avoiding - a bit risky, pedophiles and what have you.

Tazia

danish sexworker's response

The danish Sexworker Organisation SIO has responded to the city councils discriminating campaign with a website.
http://www.cop15-prostitution.dk/

hello !!??? is no one here

hello !!??? is no one here concerened about the commodification of intimacy? Conferences are prime times for the sex trade. I'm really really happy to see that the Danish authorities are trying to combat this. I'm sick and tired of having sex work being pushed as liberated. For whom?

under capitalism, intimacy is already commodified...

so the question becomes: who owns and who gains from our commodified bodies? Many sex workers argue that by engaging in sex work, they are subverting patriarchal ownership of the female body by calling attention to the way sexual exchange is commodified and demanding equitable benefit from their own, a relationship that is obscured when literal money is not involved yet still exists.

""Be sustainable - Don't buy

""Be sustainable - Don't buy sex!" exhorts a postcard that is being distributed to guests of 160 hotels in Copenhagen during the UN Climate Summit. "
I think this might backfire on the sex workers union because who would want to show their ID and postcard (identifying themselves as a delegate), which could be used in future campaigns or some accidental information leakage to the press.
You know I've met quite an interesting title on a blog concerning this news:
"Hookers are killing polar bears and now you can't water your lawn"