Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The End of the Semester Schedule

Thursday, November 19th: Essay 3 is due
Tuesday, November 24th: NO CLASS

Thursday, November 26th: NO CLASS

Tuesday, December 1st: Extra Credit Day

Thursday, December 3rd: Portfolios are due

Tuesday, December 8th: Catch Up Day

Thursday, December 10th: Last day, Portfolios are returned

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

We ended the semester with a bang. Literally. Our fearless discussion leaders - Dave, Aaron, J.J., and Ryan-kicked off our final talk, asking the question: "Who in here would pay for sex?" Surprisingly, more than a few people felt comfortable enough to raise their hands.

The discussion was on Kate Butcher's article, "The Confusion between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking." To start, Dave summarized it for us. "She's arguing against a US bill that treats prostitution and sex trafficking like they are the same thing." Butcher believes that prostitutes should have rights. We talked about whether we agreed or disagreed with this. We also talked about whether prostitution should be legalized, and if so, how it might be regulated.

Some of us felt that prostitution could be regulated and should be legalized. Maria said that it's a person's choice. Josh pointed out that prostitution is illegal because it puts women at a disadvantage. A prostitute gets in a car and offers herself up to be robbed, raped, or murdered. Ryan and J.J. brought up prostitution in Europe, where women work out of houses, because it's safer.

We all admitted that there's no surefire way to regulate it. Every day, people slack off at their jobs. Prostitutes can forget condoms. Johns can get out of hand. The important thing is that we figure out what's best for everyone in the US. Would legalizing and regulating prostitution help or hurt Americans?

Justin added that the difference between a prostitute and a victim of sex trafficking may not be that easy to see. This is especially true if women are working out of a house. A sex trafficked woman might be too scared or too drugged up to let on her status. The sex trade is an illegal business. The world of crime is dark and unclear. C'mon. It's not called the "shady underground" for nothing.

Ultimately, we found that the overall argument is not solely about prostitution. Jan pointed this out by highlighting one of Butcher's concluding points. Lawmakers and social workers deal with prostitution and sex trafficking from the perspective of someone who's NOT a prostitute or a victim of sex trafficking. They project their own understanding of the trade onto the people actually working in the business. It's slightly imperialistic. One person is forcing his or her viewpoint on someone else. In our discussion, that's what we were doing as well.

So we discovered something about prostitution. It's incredibly hard to regulate, because we don't know what it's like to be a prostitute. We don't know if prostitutes choose to be prostitutes or not. As a human race, we have not yet figured out if prostitution is morally right or wrong. It's in the grey area. Perhaps that's why it has stayed illegal in the US for so long.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Homework for Thursday, November 12th

Prepare for Discussion 6.

Please read "Confusion Between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking" by Kate Butcher on page 307. Also read the introduction to the chapter, as it will help you understand the topic of sex trafficking.

Be ready to discuss and write on it!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Homework for Tuesday, November 10th

Please use your Grammar Worksheets to edit Essay 1.

Study your Grammar worksheets as well. There will be a quiz on Tuesday, testing you on what you learned from our "Speed-Teaching" class.

Essay 1 and your Grammar Worksheets are due on Tuesday, November 10th.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Don't Forget!

This upcoming week, bring "The Everyday Writer," or a comparable grammar and style book, to class. You may also want to bring a current draft of Essay 1. We will be honing our editing skills. Don't get too excited!

Go Phils!