The Sexuality Blog: #CoolMenDontBuySex is well meaning but ultimately misguided

Coolmendontbuysex

You might not have seen this but the hashtag CoolMenDontBuySex has been trending in certain communities on Twitter, two groups vehemently arguing with each other and a third casually. Some were for, others were against, but we didn’t understand why this hashtag was even happening in the first place.

2017 was the year when women spoke up. From actresses to senators to washerwomen, women across the United States, Europe and Africa joined in solidarity, first for the women’s march and then for the #MeToo movement, that sought to expose sexual harassment in places of work. The movement slayed its biggest monster in the form of film executive and sexual harasser and rapist, Harvey Weinstein, whom over 70 women have accused of rape and sexual harassment since October.

These movements by women bringing to the fore, the injustices women are forced to endure and seeking justice for victims by publicly shaming these powerful men who abused their power for sexual gain and shaming their companies into relieving them of their jobs proved that silence was simply not enough anymore. It forced many conversations that had pretty much been swept under the carpet into the limelight and forced us all to engage with the ugliness that women face. A good number of men have stepped forward and tried to show they are firmly on the side of the women who suffer this kind of injustice, but as always instead of actually listening to the women who are fighting for visibility, they have made this fight about them. One man in particular, if we are being specific.

The Nordic Model (twitter Nordicmodelnow) is a non-profit organisation that aims to end prostitution by ‘eliminating demand’ for transactional sex. The non-profit is lobbying the United States Senate to adopt what it calls the Nordic Model, a plan that seeks to decriminalise prostitution and then abolish sex work as a viable means of business. The Nordic Model has a pretty well thought out manifesto of how it is going to achieve this abolition through a series of petitions to governments of the developed world to create legally binding laws that force pimps out of the business and women into ‘legitimate’ professions.

This is however where the problem lies, choice. Only a small fraction of the women who participate in sex work are forced into prostitution, most choose transactional sex as an alternative occupation. Even more, some women enjoy sex with multiple partners, over extended periods of times. Women have the choice to use sex as a transactional tool, the same way men use influence or the other non-financial tools at their disposal. Non-profits like the Nordic Model paint sex work in broad negative strokes at the expense of women who actually choose it as a profession.

The Nordic Model makes no effort to change the entitlements that push men into believing they can simply exchange money for sexual intimacy and focuses instead of policing the perpetrators. That has never worked, it didn’t work with racism or inter-ethnic tribalism, it won’t end with this either.

The worst part of the Nordic Model’s campaign is its hashtag. How does being able to control your sexual urges make you a greater man? What is cool about a man that refuses to give a woman a reward she considers commensurate to her time, company and vagina?

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cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail