Skip to main content.
August 27th, 2009

John Schools-Really?

John school

From CNN:
‘John schools’ try to change attitudes about paid sex
” About 40 men somberly entered a classroom on a recent Saturday morning. About half of them wore shiny wedding bands.

All had tried to buy a prostitute’s services and were caught by police. It was their first offense, and a county court referred them to a one-day program called the John School. It’s a program run by volunteers and city officials in conjunction with Magdalene House, a nonprofit that works to get prostitutes off the streets.

“Prostitution doesn’t discriminate,” said Kenny Baker, a cognitive behavioral therapist who is the program’s director. “Most of these men don’t have a prior criminal history, so our goal is to help these folks understand why they put themselves in a bad position, to prevent it from happening again.”

Set in a church in Nashville, Tennessee, the John School is led by former prostitutes, health experts, psychologists and law enforcement officers who talk to — and at times berate — the men about the risks of hiring a prostitute.”

I have several problems with these “John schools”. First up is that the one in Nashville is set in a church. How blatantly biased can they get? Want to bet that religious moral messages are laid on thick at these meetings? The judgemental comment about the men being married lets us know what? These men are sinners! I knew as soon as I got to that sentence that I’d be blogging and ranting about it here.

Next up-the former prostitutes lecturing the men. Notice how the article of course mentions the woman was sexually abused as a child. Not all sex workers were abused as children! Nor are we all drug addicts or have men pimping us out. Gah, I hate it when they prance out the stereotypes in these kinds of stories.

Speaking of stereotypes, the article continues the myth of how prostitutes are exploited and how prostitution isn’t a victimless crime. Yes, some prostitutes are exploited but not all are. When Mr. Radical and I were first married we were dirt poor. I worked as a cashier at a generic retail store. The customers treated me so shitty and made such rude comments. That made me feel exploited. But you don’t see “Consumer Schools” teaching customers that capitalism isn’t a victimless economic model. Erm, I’m losing my point here so let’s move on…

Back to the prostitutes. I would love to get their side of the story. Are they speaking to the classes as part of a plea bargain? Are they coached on what to say? I can’t imagine a pro-prostitution former working girl giving a lecture on how whoring put her through college.

The story makes a big deal about these schools changing attitudes about sex. But they’re not. They’re just reinforcing all the tired beliefs that continue to keep prostitution illegal. If these schools were really about changing attitudes they’d be pro-prostitution and give the johns tips on being a good client.

Posted by Vixen as News at 11:33 PM CDT