Heather Mallick wrote a column last week criticizing the government’s prostitution bill, specifically the part outlawing solicitation where children may be present. If you’ve not done so already, you might give it a read: “Why did prostitution bill go off the rails?”,Toronto Star, June 10.
Prostitution laws are one rare issue where I’ve essentially no opinion. I have never even thought of visiting a prostitute, let alone amassed the knowledge or committed the time to adequately consider this complex issue. In general, though, I think that such activities debase sexual relations—the proper preserve of committed, emotionally-invested couples—whatever this might imply for its legality. So I’m not here to discuss the bill, but rather to point out Mallick’s heartless characterization of men, which undergirds her belief in punishing johns but not prostitutes: “[It] promotes gender equality,” she writes, “and shifts a legal burden from exploited women directly onto the pathetic men who buy sex.”
She goes on:
[The bill’s] online reactions were almost entirely from men . . . one letter writer saying the law should cater to men without access to “mainstream sexual outlets” like spouses or friends.
Here’s a tip. “Hi, can I buy ya a drink? I don’t have access to mainstream sexual outlets” is not a great line. It is known in the mainstream women’s crowd as a “red flag” and will result in loneliness and possible late-night weeping into a little corral of crème de menthe glasses at the bar. . .
The “need” to buy women is not a “law of nature,” as he wrote, presumably with a straight face. Me? Arrested? The overall level of male entitlement was striking.
Call me sensitive, but I detect a seething hostility here, which reflects Mallick’s modus operandi of blaming men first, for everything. It is ridiculous to say that prostitution simply amounts to “buying women”, as if prostitutes had no agency and could place no limits on what occurs in the transaction. But the conclusion drawn from her prejudice is actually less concerning than the prejudice itself.
Heather Mallick is a sexist. Her habitual derogations would almost certainly land her in a human rights court if they were directed at women instead of men. And you can forget the lame excuse that sexism by women, and this woman in particular, cannot exist because of men’s “institutional power”, code for the belief that men control everything and cannot therefore be subjects of stereotyping. Mrs Mallick has had numerous bylines—at the Globe and Mail, the Star, Chatelaine, Britain’s The Guardian, and the CBC—and is afforded an astounding level of deference. Oppression, indeed.
According to her world view, men cannot have opinions worth addressing because they are unable to empathize with women. But clearly Mallick is impervious to the way that her condemnations of others actually apply to her own prejudices.
Doubtless owing to her unchecked privilege, Mallick is incapable of empathizing with anxious and depressed men who’ve had misfortunes with the fair sex. So she dismisses the real angst of thousands, perhaps millions of men in this
country, almost all of whom don’t go to prostitutes. None of them should, of course, though perhaps we might forgive them the temptation.
For Mallick to cherry-pick some guy’s tactless comment about “mainstream sexual outlets”, and then mock all of these people on its account, is callous. In fact, the tone of her words suggests that she rather enjoys, like a schoolyard bully, making fun of men’s misfortunes. This is a truly hateful person, in other words.
A handful of male friends have confided in me their experiences with prostitution. (I guess I’m a good listener.) These guys were motivated not by a plain desire for “action”, but by perpetual female rejection in romantic, as well as sexual, relations. This rejection did not produce a mere lack of sexual fulfillment, but also an emptying of their male self-worth, which is naturally attuned to the role of protector and provider. So their johning served a desire for attention and a simulacrum of intimacy. One even paid the woman to just sit for a couple of hours and talk with him, as a caring wife would for her husband.
Some of these men didn’t possess the confidence to walk up to a woman and ask her out for a drink, a diffidence which Mallick would view as pathetic. Others had been laughed away by all women who interested them. Either way, they evidently weren’t moral monsters who derived pleasure from “owning women”. Clearly, then, the issue isn’t as black and white as Mallick believes.
Finally, it is unsurprising but noteworthy that feminism’s innate man-hating, of which Mallick is representative, has reached this irrational apex. It started out raging against the jocks, the classic chauvinists, the macho men—chaps who could survive the breakdown of chivalrous courtship into today’s vulgar “sexual marketplace”. But now feminism has turned on the very nerds who invariably helped to midwife it. For the most part, these guys genuinely care about the status of women and wish, often desperately, that even one of them would care back. It’s a shame that misandrics like Mallick unfeelingly insult them.