Max Gentle

Radio 4 Moral Maze - on prostitution

35 posts in this topic

The Radio 4 programme Moral Maze this evening (Wed Nov 25th 8.00pm) is about prostitution, according to the on-air advert I heard this morning. Michael Buerk referred to the recent furore about Dr Brooke Magnanti/Belle de Jour and asked "What should we do about prostitution?"

There's no specific details on the website at the moment:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nywwg

although I expect it will be available in BBC iPlayer after the broadcast.

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The Radio 4 programme Moral Maze this evening (Wed Nov 25th 8.00pm) is about prostitution, according to the on-air advert I heard this morning. Michael Buerk referred to the recent furore about Dr Brooke Magnanti/Belle de Jour and asked "What should we do about prostitution?"

There's no specific details on the website at the moment:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nywwg

although I expect it will be available in BBC iPlayer after the broadcast.

now there is:

As Belle de Jour, her blog titillated and fascinated the press in equal measure; now Belle de Jour has outed herself and the reality hasn't disappointed the commentators. Research scientist Dr Brooke Magnanti, 33, revealed she was the person behind the blog; she had turned to prostitution while an impoverished student.

The tale of Belle de Jour seems to encapsulate our moral ambiguity to prostitution. As a tall, blonde, attractive, intelligent, middle-class woman she commands flattering profiles; only when Dr Magnanti claimed that she enjoyed her work did she draw any kind of criticism. Is this another example of the myth of the 'happy hooker' that allows us on the one hand to get a vicarious thrill from a glamorous world where sex is on tap, but on the other to look down on a disease-ridden underclass that sell their bodies to fund a drug habit. Should we use the law to draw a clearer moral line between those who use prostitutes and those who are victims of the trade

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The whole issue of Belle du Jour has been made huge because of the selection of the fabulous:) Billie Piper to play her on TV. I seem to have missed seeing a picture of the real Belle; was she anywhere as gorgeous as BP?

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I expect that there will be many speaking about the street girls on drugs, feeding a habit and under th control of a pimp. I hope it is a fair debate taking into consideration those who are quite happy to work as Independents.

I reckon that the feminist brigade with have the loudest voice and that they will speak for all women, according to them.

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The whole issue of Belle du Jour has been made huge because of the selection of the fabulous:) Billie Piper to play her on TV. I seem to have missed seeing a picture of the real Belle; was she anywhere as gorgeous as BP?

no, she was better looking, to my mind, not girlish, more of a woman.

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no, she was better looking, to my mind, not girlish, more of a woman.

Terrible skin though. Acne scars by the looks of things.

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Just listened to a bit of this, and within a few minutes we were told, by an ex-WG no less, that 95% of prostitutes were drug-addled street hookers. She said "didn't have the exact figures to hand". By which she meant, "I'm going to make up some statistics now, because I know that nobody else has any notion what the reality is either, nor cares, as long as what they hear matches their prejudices".

That was enough for me.

I tried to start another thread about this before I saw this one -- sorry moderators....

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Well, it was pretty much as I expected.

I love Belinda Brookes-Gordon! What a star! :o

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I thought it was a pretty good programme. Very well refereed by Michael Buerk and some dynamic but mostly un-ranty panellists and witnesses. That weirdo lefty bint who wanted to stop all prostitution immediately was calmly demolished by Mr Portillo, and everyone else had a fair say. It was the sort of show that Radio 4 - when it gets it right - does extremely well.

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Generally I thought it a pretty fair programme but I'm afraid the last witness - Beverley ? - a former prostitute now working in a women's project - only added fuel to HH's stance and was the weakest link in an otherwise strong debate.

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That weirdo lefty bint who wanted to stop all prostitution immediately....

As a matter of interest, which one was it this time?

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As a matter of interest, which one was it this time?

Not had time to listen myself. It's repeated on Saturday at 10,15 and can be listened to now on the BBC web-site.

Witnesses:

Beverley Carter

Founder of charity Bridging the Gap and former prostitute.

Dawn Annandale

Editor Lifetimes Magazine and former call girl, author of Call Me Elizabeth: Wife, Mother, Escort and Call Me Madam: From Mother To Madam.

Dr Belinda Brooks Gordon

Reader in Psychology and Social Policy, whose main research interests address psychological, legal, and social policy questions on sexuality, gender and the law.

Anna van Heeswijk

Campaigns coordinator Object, an organisation which challenges 'sex object culture'.

Presumably it's the last one who's the loony?

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Presumably it's the last one who's the loony?

I wouldn't count on her being the only one. Dawn Annandale is an interesting case.

I read Call me Elizabeth & its central thesis is that she's turned to escorting to support her 6 (I think children) because her 'useless' partner couldn't support all of this brood at private school and pay the other household bills on top. Not many people could, assuming fees of GBP6-7000 p.a per child, paid from post tax income. She doesn't seem to grasp the unfeasability of her financial requirement-- only that her husband cannot deliver it.

Later -long after her time as an escort she was sentenced for making a false rape allegation, apparently seeking to delay a court hearing on rent debts!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/6324779.stm

Surely a moral maze, methinks.

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Not had time to listen myself. It's repeated on Saturday at 10,15 and can be listened to now on the BBC web-site.

Witnesses:

Beverley Carter

Founder of charity Bridging the Gap and former prostitute.

Dawn Annandale

Editor Lifetimes Magazine and former call girl, author of Call Me Elizabeth: Wife, Mother, Escort and Call Me Madam: From Mother To Madam.

Dr Belinda Brooks Gordon

Reader in Psychology and Social Policy, whose main research interests address psychological, legal, and social policy questions on sexuality, gender and the law.

Anna van Heeswijk

Campaigns coordinator Object, an organisation which challenges 'sex object culture'.

Presumably it's the last one who's the loony?[/QUOTE]

Yup

Anna van Heeswijk Grassroots Co-ordinator for OBJECT.

http://www.object.org.uk/files/OBJECT%20Stripping%20the%20Illusion%20student%20pack.pdf

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Just listened to a bit of this, and within a few minutes we were told, by an ex-WG no less, that 95% of prostitutes were drug-addled street hookers. She said "didn't have the exact figures to hand". By which she meant, "I'm going to make up some statistics now, because I know that nobody else has any notion what the reality is either, nor cares, as long as what they hear matches their prejudices".

That was enough for me.

I tried to start another thread about this before I saw this one -- sorry moderators....

Just listened to it on the BBC website this morning as I was dining with a lovely escort while it was on! The 95% was balanced by Dr Brooks Gordon quoting Teela Sanders as finding that the street scene was about 10% and that the vast majority of sex workers work indoors. The Beverly woman at the end was seriously lacking credibility as she was almost incoherent and cl;aimed not to have known till afterwards that what she was doing was prostitution, which made it all the fault of the punters for exploiting her!!!

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Not had time to listen myself. It's repeated on Saturday at 10,15 and can be listened to now on the BBC web-site.

Witnesses:

Beverley Carter

Founder of charity Bridging the Gap and former prostitute.

Dawn Annandale

Editor Lifetimes Magazine and former call girl, author of Call Me Elizabeth: Wife, Mother, Escort and Call Me Madam: From Mother To Madam.

Dr Belinda Brooks Gordon

Reader in Psychology and Social Policy, whose main research interests address psychological, legal, and social policy questions on sexuality, gender and the law.

Anna van Heeswijk

Campaigns coordinator Object, an organisation which challenges 'sex object culture'.

Presumably it's the last one who's the loony?

Correct.

Even though Mr Portillo got her to acknowledge that there are many thousands of women who prostitute themselves freely and happily and without coercion or control, she still wants them to be legally prevented from working, for the greater good of all womankind.

What sort of mindblowingly puerile argument is that?

No doubt Ms van Heeswijk is on a reasonably paid grant or stipend from the public purse. Socialism, huh!

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[quote name=

No doubt Ms van Heeswijk is on a reasonably paid grant or stipend from the public purse. Socialism, huh!

Her website shows a lottery grant amongst other things!!

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In the time allowed the issue can only just begin to be debated. For example, no man interviewed (even if voiced by an actor to preserve his anonymity) or someone from a country where it is legal, such as Germany.

I didn't believe some of the stats, though with any industry that is undercover, how can you ever find out.

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She was ridiclulous, her statements made very little sense, lot's of references to men 'buying' women, just about every woman I've known as refered to renting herself, not selling herself. The last witness made an arse of herself, 'I didn't realise I was a prostitute@?????????????

The problem was it went from viewing things either as the top end, top money market to virtually down to the street market, not recognising that the there is a massive part of the market inbetween, (I must admit I missed the first 10 or 12 minutes). I've known and know quite a few women who are independents, who like the good money for relativley short hours of work which they mean to spend time on things that matter, kids etc.

I'm sure there are plenty of agency and parlour girls who view the job the same way. Some will have been sexually abused as kids, some will have drink and drug problems, so lots of people in other businesses. Overall it was quite an interesting program, My biggest suprise as a life long Labour man was how much I liked Michael Portillo and his attitude.

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My biggest suprise as a life long Labour man was how much I liked Michael Portillo and his attitude.
The best leader the tory party never had

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The best leader the tory party never had

Given his heritage, potentially also one of the best leaders the Labour party never had.

B

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The Beverly woman at the end was seriously lacking credibility as she was almost incoherent and cl;aimed not to have known till afterwards that what she was doing was prostitution, which made it all the fault of the punters for exploiting her!!!

She seemed to be a sort of split personality. One moment, she'd be talking in a broad Somerset (?) accent about her abusive home life and how she didn't know what she was doing and then she'd reel off what sounded like very well-rehearsed phrases about social deprivation, psychological impact etc etc.

My thought was that she'd been "saved from a life of sin" by some "God-fearing Christian folk" and had had her brain adjusted to suit them. ;)

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The Beverly woman at the end was seriously lacking credibility as she was almost incoherent and cl;aimed not to have known till afterwards that what she was doing was prostitution, which made it all the fault of the punters for exploiting her!!!

More about her here:

http://womensgrid.freecharity.org.uk/?p=3816

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/oct/28/prostitution-rehabilitation-social-exclusion

Bridging the Gap seems to a bit of the Southampton-Based New Community Charity, a church-based group

http://www.newcommunity.org.uk/Group/Group.aspx?ID=42942

A perusal of New Community's accounts with the Charities Commission suggests that Ms Carter accounts only for a small part of the charity's activity.

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/ShowCharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1072645&SubsidiaryNumber=0

A deconstruction of her views is to found here:

http://feministwhore.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/i-feel-quite-rude-doing-this/

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