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This blog is dedicated to women from Sri lanka and Ethiopia working as domestic workers in Beirut, Lebano
n. These women take upon themselves great voyages to foreign countries in the hope of a better future. Their courage and endurance is outstanding.

As time passes, the issues covered in this blog have expanded to cover other kinds of specific women's work like sex work, historical ways of describing the plight of women: white slavery, human traffic or modern slavery as well identitarian politics and gender...

If you want to contact us: minainbeirut[at]hotmail[dot]com



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2 mai 2008 5 02 /05 /mai /2008 14:27

"King Kong Theory" rocks. One of Despentes only non-fiction accounts, the book discusses controversial issues in feminism like sex, rape or pornography, gives straightforward answers (well, it is Virginie Despentes) and describes her own experience.

Prostitution, a major figure in the lives of women, is stripped to its core. Basically it is described as another form of work (for money), which in cases like hers, lead to financial and personal self confidence.

Despentes cites Gail Pheterson's Prism on Prostitution, which describes the basic paradigm of prostitutional exchange between heterosexual men and women, where men pay for women's services. This might be the regular exchange between a client and the prostitute, but still holds true of bourgeois marriage. The problem of this exchange is that society wants it to rest apparently for free. Just as cleaning and taking care of children and elders, fucking men is a basic woman's instinct. Why would working for nothing in a telephone centre while your boss listens to your conversation be worse than fucking him and getting four times as much?

Women that work as prostitutes are stigmatized, they form a sole variety of women, while men that pay are not singled out, or harassed. The political decision consists in victimising the prostitutes. The reasoning, they would rather be doing something else for money also applies to underpaid cashiers in Carrefour, Despentes argues and they get much less. In this hypocrite society, women are made to seduce since they are children, their body and sexuality is for sale as another standardized commercial object, only they'd better not do it themselves. Money is independence. Masculine sexuality is not violence on women as long as it is well paid. Violence instead is the control on women's life and choices.

Although sex work has in at its core the issue of women sexuality and body, many of the things Despentes argues also hold true for other kinds of services women offer in the world. Mail Order brides, now a flourishing market is a rather crude example: buy a wife. 

Domestic workers also perform chores, which are feminine services and amongst the lowest status works around. Apparently it needs no instruction, as if it was born in a woman (like a man in a construction site, I suppose) and is thus badly paid. It is not even socially of legally considered as work.

Missing in Despentes is a description of the Madames. Most domestic workers, as well as most types of care staff and nannies, relate mostly to women as their superiors, as also do some prostitutes (house moms, madames or mamasans). Despentes depicts women collectively or in comradeship very seldom indeed, it always seems to be women alone faced with a man's world.


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