Ashton Kutcher seems intent on being the anti-Charlie Sheen. He hopes to start a movement against guys who buy sex. Not content with eschewing prostitutes, he wants every male to do so, and thus deprive sex work of its lifeblood of cash. His excess of virtue hasn’t prevented a split with Demi Moore, but it’s probably manna to his PR people.
Melissa Gira Grant discusses why his twittery campaign hurts, rather than helps, women.
Meanwhile an interview with a Canadian feminist deals, somewhat superficially, with her conversion to supporting decriminalization of sex work. Although the private sale of sex is technically not criminal in Canada, “communication in public for the purpose of prostitution” (among other ancillary acts) is — leading not only to rampant prosecutions for personals ads, but to a general furtiveness about sidewalk whispers, and possibly some nervous discussions among buyers of TV time for the Conservative Party. The Ontario Supreme Court recently found this unconstitutional; the decision is under appeal. Stephen Harper’s government wants to strengthen sanctions against sex work. The existing ban serves only to jail women and johns for the crime of speaking. Its sole advantage to the national interest is that it helps keep Charlie Sheen out.