Friday, May 25, 2007

Why is it so bad to have sex with a prostitute?

Maybe I am missing something, but I really cannot understand why everyone is gaaning aan about claims on a Blog by a purported sex worker that he had sex with some vaguely well known South Africans like Simon Grindrod.

Why are they all so upset? Why do they say this is the most dreadful defamation and slander imaginable? Is it perhaps because of ingrained societal homophobia, or is it because they harbour puritanical prejudices against prostitutes?

I eagerly read through these supposed confessions, looking for the “slanderous and defamatory” statements that Patricia de Lille spoke about earlier this week. What I found was relatively funny descriptions – in rather formal Afrikaans – of how the purported sex worker provided sexual gratification to several minor South African male celebrities.

Now, we know that it cannot be defamatory to allege that a man is homosexual or that he has had a sexual experience with another man. Our Constitution now guarantees equality for all and the Constitutional Court has stated that the whole notion of “normal” heterosexuality and “abnormal” homosexuality must be rejected. People are different and nothing should turn on such differences.

While some men might be deeply offended by allegations that they had sex with another man, this would say more about their own sexual insecurities and homophobia (yes, Mr Grindrod, I am referring to you too) than about any alleged defamation. I cannot imagine that Patricia de Lille or Simon Grindrod would have gotten all upset if the Blog had said that Grindrod was black, so why would it be upsetting to be called a homosexual.

Of course, those who think this is a terrible slander will say that the defamation really comes from the allegation that the men had sex with a male prostitute – that they paid for the sex. Now, it might be embarrassing to have to admit that one has paid for sexual gratification because it suggests that one has not been otherwise successful in securing a longed for happy ending or two, but that is surely not defamatory.

The best shot would be to argue that these statements are defamatory because sex work is illegal. But until the new Sexual Offences Act comes into operation, it is really only the actions of the sex worker that is criminalized. Some judges of the CC think the client can also be prosecuted, but this has never ever happened in South Africa, so it is purely academic speculation. The “defamation” is therefore really supposed to be based on allegations that one has provided one’s body for use by another for the commissioning of a crime. In other words, one has done something that is frowned upon because of the sad remnants of Victorian morality still so prevalent in our bigoted society.

What is wrong with having sex with a sex worker? It is time efficient, contributes to the economy and keep men off the streets. It can also be less abusive and exploitative than many a marriage.

It seems to me Patricia and Simon were really so upset because they were horrified that people would think Simon is gay and that he is so ugly or unlikable that he could not even get a date on a Saturday night. Or maybe they have deep-seated prejudices against marginalised and vulnerable sex workers – exactly the kind of people politicians are always said to want to help.

Either way, the so called slander seems to me not in the initial statements by the sex worker, but in the responses to those statements by Patricia and others. They seem not to have realized this, but through their actions, they have really exposed themselves as thin-skinned, how shall I put it, well, bigots.

9 comments:

protocolinpractice said...

I was quite amused by it too especailly the M&G story that said:

""Our legal team has advised us that in terms of the law anyone who republishes, reprints or rebroadcasts defamation of this nature, published on any blogging website, is liable for civil and criminal action. The only way to put a stop to this is to use every legal option to hold not only the website, but also the perpetrator responsible. This kind of thing must not go unchallenged,"
http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=309159&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__business/

They've obviously put the frightners on the bloggers and journos who truly believe they can be prosecuted for spreading this alleged "defamation".

Surely it would first have to be proved untrue- and remember what happened to poor old Oscar Wilde!

This is not about freedom of speech, it is about gay sex, hypocrisy, stigma and political opportunism.

Pierre de Vos said...

Yes, when I first read of Patricia de Lille's outburst I thought the website must contain really serious defamation, like allegations of child molestation. So I was very surprised to discover its about allegations of sleeping with a prostitute. really, who cares. If Simon Grindrod actually did sleep with sex workers it would make him a more interesting and less obnoxious person in my eyes....

protocolinpractice said...

I also immediately though child molestation or incest - I thought we were over the gay skandes.

But you know with antie Helen getting so much shine, maybe Patricia felt she had to kick up some dust - she threw the whole works at it - broken families, paedophiles, cyberstalkers...

Africannabis said...

Eeeeish - reaching for a joint!

I sometimes wonder how South Africa works - each day brings new amazing things.

Pierre - I think you are right - who cares what who does in the bedroom?

It does point to a social problem - again...

What are we going to do about those whores... in the streets of Cape Town?

They really don't seem to go away, luckily I can easily find other amusement:

patriciadelille.blogspot.com

Africannabis said...

protocolinpractise...

here's a blurry one, if you watch TV or listen to the radio I'm sure you've heard the:

DO YOU WANT HOT SEXY TIPS? advert...

then a child's voice says "3-13-12"

I'd like to know... is that a girl's voice or a little boy's voice?

The BCCSA tell me they don't deal with adverts... the ASASA ask me to keep a log of when I've heard the offending advert... (I started... but I've heard it about 20 times since... so I don't know really if that's worth the effort [besides I'm sure the offending company knows how they paid for advertising and when...] but I'll do it..

I think - if children can advertise HOT SEXY TIPS on national electronic media - then Patty - has her head up her arse!

Masgruva said...

Pierre, you seem to have a highly inflated view of prostitution, while having no qualms about disparaging the concept of family. I'm tempted to ask which you were the result of, since by your logic they're on a par.

Anonymous said...

What is the URL of the offending blog?

Pierre de Vos said...

The URL to the offending Blog is in my original post. Masgruva, as I do not see sex as dirty and perverted I don't think its ethical to condemn sex workers. It is probably more ethical to be a sex worker than the MD of a tobacco company, say, which helps people to smoke and kill themselves. Morality in my book should not be centered on sexual behaviour but on respect for others.

johan swarts said...

ag nee wat. tant patricia kan gaan skyt. ons het nié sulke verkrampte leiers op hierdie stadium in suid-afrika nodig nie.

met liefde gesê.