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Real Men Don’t Buy Girls Campaign: Problematic?

Real Men Don’t Buy Girls Campaign: Problematic?

As you can see from the conversation/reblogs below, there are varying viewpoints. My kneejerk reaction on seeing the pictures (without any context) was that I appreciate the sentiment while feeling extremely skeeved and worried about the way this issue is now framed. 










The Demi & Ashton Foundation (DNA) works toward the elimination of sex slavery worldwide. We believe that the right to be free is a building block of our DNA.

this is really really problematic. i know its supposed to be about sex slavery but the signs? problematic. sex workers. hello?

just sayin…

Also, how come 

males = men
females = girls? 

Infantilization anyone? 

I mean, maybe they are referring to children who are trafficked, but adults are trafficked too. 

And not just women are trafficked…

I really fucking hate it when people kick a mother fucking dead ass horse. Yeah the phrasing may be A TAD problematic (depending on what you think they should be talking about, not necessarily what they’re referring to). Yeah, it’s wrong for MEN (Male-identified people, legally defined as over the age of 18) to purchase (referencing sex slavery, or slavery of any kind) GIRLS (female-identified people definely legally as under the age of 18).

We are all fucking aware the NO ONE SHOULD PURCHASE ANYONE ELSE. We get that. I don’t see anything inherently oppressive here. In fact, I think it’s fucking awesome that people who are presumably from the demographic that is referenced in the campaign (Men) are speaking out against other men.

Also, I don’t believe that when you are engaging with a sex worker you are purchasing the ENTIRE personhood. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Purchasing a persons entire body for your ownership implies a lack of consent.

I’m really tired of people getting up on their fucking high horses.

SO WIERD that this just rolled up on my dash.

Spent a good hour of my Transnational Sexualities class today talking about how fucked up this campaign is (in the context of a global trafficking discourse).

What did they get right? Putting a lens on people who produce the demand for trafficking*

What did they get wrong? Pretty much everything else

  • underscoring constructions of “real” men and “not real” mean, thereby reinforcing the same patriarchal structures that produce the situations they’re supposedly resisting? CHECK
  • centering the Western “savior”? CHECK
  • participating in a “trafficking” discourse that positions “trafficked” peoples as “objects” without agency being moved, bought, sold, and used? CHECK
  • reiterating the focus on “helpless, trafficked girls,” when the reality of who moves through “trafficking,” forced migration, globalized locations of abuse and exploitation is much more complicated? CHECK
  • shifting the paradigm of masculinity, rather than dismantling it; by saying “boys will be boys,” they just shouldn’t cross this line? CHECK    (see also this Chilean campaign for another example of keeping hetero-cis-sexist patriarchal notions of masculinity mostly in tact, while shifting it just a little)

I’m not trying to say that men should engage in what they problematically call “buying girls.”  Or that its not important to turn a lens on the Western, male demand for “girls.” 

I am saying that this campaign reinforces systems that produce “trafficking.”  Like Patriarchy and Western imperialism.  This campaign does little to question the way that the West benefits from the same globalization that produces the economic pressures that shape “trafficking,” forced migration, etc. 

Among other things…

*i hesitate to use “trafficking” without comment.  It is a loaded term thats gendered and racialized, erases agency, and largely functions to reduce “trafficked” peoples to objects without agency who are in need of white, western “rescuing.”


What delisubthefemmecub said.

From The Angry Black Tumblr | Comment below or Reblog @ Tumblr

One thought on “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls Campaign: Problematic?”

  1. Bless says:

    I’m not familiar with the campaign, and maybe thats why I don’t get it,
    but if real men don’t buy girls, then they do buy what, exactly?

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