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Thread: Documentary film "Les Criminelles" on the Stigmatization of Sex Work

  1. #1
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    Documentary film "Les Crimiellis" on the Stigmatization of Sex Work

    The documentary film, Les Crimiellis, by Quebec film maker Jean-Claude Lord, which was first introduced at the Abitibi-Témiscamingue International Film Festival in October 2012, opened Friday in Montreal, playing in French at Quartier Latin and Cinema Beaubien, Here is the film trailer:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=uA5oei4D0rg

    The film features interviews with various Montreal sex workers, including strippers who work at Kingdom, as well as escorts, erotic masseuses, a street worker, a tantric goddess, personnel at Stella, a sexologist and others. The documentary asks several questions: Why is sex for money illegal when sex in return for a meal at an expensive restaurant or a trip is perfectly acceptable? Why is nudity so offensive to so many people when portrayal of graphic violence is perfectly acceptable? What are the consequences for society of such hypocrisy?

    The film argues against the stigmatization and criminalization of sex work and deals extensively with the fact that a good part of the demonization of sex work is spearheaded by feminist groups. The film points out that the laws against prostitution were written by men and date back to a time when women did not have full right rights, could not vote, and were not considered as full citizens. The film goes on to to highlight the fact that, ironically, today it is feminists who are in the forefront of the fight against prostitution, and that feminists who refuse to accept the fact that there are sex workers who have chosen their profession of their own free will, are essentially portraying these women as infantile, immature and incapable of making the right choices on their own, which is not much different from how men viewed women before the birth of feminism. The film makes mention of radical feminist groups who campaign for the abolition of sex work by shaming and humiliating sex workers in an attempt to get them to leave the profession, and compares the actions of these radical feminist groups to the witch hunts of the 18th century.

    The film deals with the consequences of the stigmatization and criminalization of sex work in terms of compromising the safety of sex workers and the impact it has on their lives in general. The film is well worth seeing.

  2. #2
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    Hello RX,

    I agree Feminists in general have behaved grossly by handling every aspect of the industry with wholesale demonization of all involved including the women, clients, and agency managers/owners. Feminists are too extreme in that they will probably never accept that any woman could make a willing free choice that is not based on duress, coercion, or immaturity. Their wholesale stigmatization of the industry may be based partially on outdated stereotypes such as "portraying these women as infantile, immature and incapable of making the right choices on their own", but until the industry is organized and regulated strictly with reasonable assurance that the women are really choosing with free will the activity by Feminists does keep focus and pressure against all of the real abuse that remains frequent in the industry, even if it hurts legalization that would bring greater safety.

    It's regrettable that the Feminists view is 100% negative. But, their de facto influence on protection of the women is as positive as their stigmatization is negative. Legal industries are often full of exploitation. A legal sex industry would remain a magnet for gross abuse. Even though Feminists will always be unyielding on the idea that free choice can exist, they are a strong force pushing law enforcement to act against gross abuse in the industry whatever it's status. If or when the sex industry ever becomes legal and as safe as it can be made I don't see Feminists changing their view. But that's not always a bad thing since gross abuse will remain even in a legalized sex industry with the best possible safeguards. While Feminists will always be a force against the industry as a whole, that influence against it also pushes everyone involved to keep on the pressure to protect sex workers.

    Cheers,

    Merlot
    Last edited by Merlot; 02-23-2013 at 11:22 AM. Reason: phrasing

  3. #3
    Lily from Montreal
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    You are so right!
    It really makes me angry to be treated like a an idiot who cannot decide what I want to do in life,as if one cannot without being an escort willingly.
    I'll admit have my doubts about an 18 years old girl choosing this way of life yes, not all 18 years have the maturity to see all implications, but a grown lady ?Makes me want to write back to in the end they see and hear only what they want to so I refrain to...
    As always Merlot, you express beautifully what I think, merci.

  4. #4
    Actually, the feminists are divided into two very polarized camps. One is totally against sex work and is as described by RobinX. The other says that women have a right to choose, jut like in the case of abortion, and that legalizing will help secure their work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LilyForYou View Post
    It really makes me angry to be treated like a an idiot...
    Hello Lily,

    I hate and can't understand wholesale branding of any group. Most Feminists don't seem to base their view on Biblical taboos against the industry, which makes their policy less understandable. They seem to have adopted the other extreme from Chauvinists regarding male interaction with women by becoming excessively defensive and protective, but consequently extreme Feminists label sex workers in almost the same demeaning ways as Chauvinists and Misogynists, basically as idiots who should not be in control of their own decisions...ironically. Yet, the other effect is the great pressure Feminists put against industry abuse and exploitation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Our Affair View Post
    ...feminists are divided into two very polarized camps[/B].
    No group, especially a large one, is entirely of one mind on everything...if most things.

    Cheers,

    Merlot

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    Question

    Is it only me that finds this documentary beeing rated 16+ kinda ... ?

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  7. #7
    wow looks like a good film. i'll check it out

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Our Affair View Post
    Actually, the feminists are divided into two very polarized camps.
    This is very true. In fact, the sex workers in the film also described themselves as feminists. The two feminist camps are sometimes referred to as radical feminists, who are totally against sex work, and liberal feminists, who say that women have a right to choose. Here are some articles discussing the differing viewpoints of feminist groups on sex work:


  9. #9
    I saw the documentary last night and fell in love with each and every participant. Everyone familiar with the Montréal scene should go. It’s all about dignity and the attacks on sex workers, not from their clients (even though they happen), but from anti sex work opinion and groups. Leave us alone, we do not want to be salvaged, we’re able to take our own decisions and seek help, if needed, all by ourselves. Stop attacking our agency.

    The film received pretty harsh critics in the media last week. I agree with one: the first part dealing with nudity is unnecessary. Lord links our discomfort with sex work with our discomfort with nudity. However, cultures all over the world do not deal with prostitution the way they deal with nudity, except where some religious leaders impose constraints, varying in time. They did here up until the Révolution tranquille. Lord was twenty when Lesage took office in 1963. The church was led out of the public affairs in less then four years. They controlled the schools and the hospitals. Everything was freed from them: sex, education, nudity, health, women, arts, etc. Lord lived all this thoroughly at an age of consciousness, in his mid twenties. So I can excuse him.

    The second critic is his use of a comedian to play a sex worker that tells things provided to her by sex workers who did not want appear on the screen. We learn who she is, but it is quite obvious, only at the end. I don’t care personally. Others feel betrayed. They legitimately expect to see real people in the documentary genre. There’s a simple solution to that: to say who she is at the beginning.

    The third critic drives me mad. They are not representative. Of course they are not! They are all, but one, over 25, they were all, but one, involved in sex work for quite a while. They are all self-employed. That’s fine with me. Michel Désautels, the most respected radio journalist in Montréal, even succeeded in saying to Lord he dug out the 4 or 5%. NO! for God sake, especially if you think Eve Lamont’s l’Imposture is the 95%. The journalists did not care about the representativeness of her film.

    I command Émilie Laliberté, and Lord himself, to refuse to provide any answer to that question. For one simple reason: there is just nowhere to draw any line. They see human beings as individuals. Categories are barriers when dealing with people.

  10. #10
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    After viewing it last year i contacted one of its main participants whom i had met several times many years ago. To my surprise, she remembered our time together. Some people sure have better memories than mine. Heck, i can barely remember what i did 5 years ago and that's why i now take notes. What can i say? Too many concussions from my years in amateur boxing (and other incidents) have taken their toll over the years.

    Anyways, i liked the documentary.

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