Ceramicist de-platformed for being a ‘SWERF’
Claudia Clare was disinvited from the Craft Potters Association due to her views on sex work
Getting cancelled by the Craft Potters Association (CPA) is quite a feat. You would think that to earn such an honour it would be necessary to re-enact a Greek wedding at one of its exhibitions. But ceramicist and author Claudia Clare has been told she’s been stood down, despite being booked some time ago to deliver a lecture at the Ceramic Art London event.
The letter Clare received from the CPA reads:
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I know what you are thinking — that Clare had planned to talk about something to do with the gender wars, and the organisers, as per usual, have caved into threats from trans activists. However, it would appear that Clare has been cancelled for being a SWERF as opposed to a TERF. A SWERF is, according to the cool kids, is a ‘sex worker exclusionary radical feminist’. In real terms, it actually means any feminist that considers prostitution to be abusive and harmful to women. But the blue fringe mob twists this critique of commercial sexual exploitation to mean ‘whorephobia’, as though we despise and exclude prostituted women rather than pimps and punters.
Clare, an artist of some repute, had planned to give a lecture at the event about her joint project with [email protected], an organisation based in King’s Cross that provides support and services for prostituted women. The project in question is a series of pots decorated with images of the women breaking free of the sex trade and fighting back against their own oppression. The lecture would have also included details about the HOPE campaign, led by sex trade survivors who are campaigning to have all criminal records relating to street prostitution expunged.
The survivors that inspired the artwork, many of whom I know, have loved being part of the project. The pots would have been displayed at the event, and the images and words would have been seen by a large audience of artists. The voices of these women have now effectively been silenced.
Clare wants an apology from the CPA, and for them to sign up for training from the Index on Censorship about how to deal with conflict and controversy. She is also asking for a donation to HOPE.
It is obvious that feminism is under siege here, and that the trans activists that managed to get the likes of Clare de-plaformed are the same crew that also hates any critique of prostitution. It really is as if these people are misogynists, and that male privilege is being elevated over the rights of women.
Along with other artists such as Jess de Wahls, Clare is refusing to go quietly. That the CPA appears to have caved into threats from bullies rather than defending an artist who gives a voice to marginalised and abused women, is shameful.
Should a downtrodden working class, trans-exclusionary radical feminist be described as Serf-n-Terf?
Julie, I noticed how you used the same expression – “prostituted women” – on triggernometry, your point being that there are no “prostitutes”, but only “prostitutes women” with no agency.
I am no expert on the matter, but is that REALLY the case?
I challenge anyone to watch Freddie’s interview with proud sex worker Aella and then agree with JB. Aella is a brilliant, hard-working business woman who chose sex work over factory work. A good choice for her, though she is not forcing this profession on anyone. She is hardly a victim.
JB is a one trick pony (maybe a mule, or that other horse-like animal) who hates men, and continually bangs on about who is cancelling whom and why. While it is nice to see these radical nuts rip each other apart, I would prefer to watch from more of a distance. JB is not in the same league with Aella or Jess de Wahl and never will be. They have something interesting and important to say, more nuanced than “I hate men.”
I pay to be a member of UnHerd. I don’t want my € to pay for her tosh. JB should go crawl under a rock and stay there.
And yet you read every single article she writes with such enthusiasm!
Ah, Mathilda–Hut mar du? How are things in your feminist paradise? Back to hector me–give it a go. But surely you can do better. Even with the ! your comment is still rather pathetic.
It’s called “Know your enemy”. I don’t like the Corbyn Brothers but I wade through the tripe they produce so that I am forewarned as to their intentions.
Thank you. Exactly. I will not apologise for reading and commenting on JB’s tosh, but UnHerd should apologise to me, a paying customer, for inundating me with this crap, though I agree with you that it is necessary to “know your enemy.”
And of course I hope Mathilda, safely ensconced in her feminist paradise, will up her game. If she’s going to go it a go, she should try harder, do better. I can take it!
A rather spitefully smug rejoinder from you, revelling in the superiority you believe you possess in argument.
I enjoy seeing hubris in others.
He said, hubristically.
If you mean it, a big thank you!
Leaving your emnity towards Ms Bindel to one side, you must surely accept that while some people like Aella are independent and successful, many, perhaps most, people working as prostitutes are driven to it by desperation, addiction and enslavement, and are subject to rape, assault and disease. I see no reason why Claudia Clare should be prohibited from exhibiting her work because some people wish to ignore this horrendous abuse, or pretend that it can be ameliorated by tinkering with the law.
I agree with your first sentence, but what’s your point. Many people don’t like their jobs. Aella didn’t like her factory work and made a change for the better. I am NOT saying that people who are desperate, addicted, enslaved should be exploited, or prostituted, or whatever–they should not. But really this is a powerful argument for legalization and regulation. And I have limited sympathy for people who actively assist in their trafficking–come from Uganda or Nigeria with no education or skills for extremely high paying work in London! If it’s too good to be true. Do I really need to mention that I’m also against rape and assault and disease?
As a general rule, I’m also against people being cancelled. As noted, I don’t agree with her, but if she talks to the CPA, who cares? I don’t. I won’t go. But I believe she has a right to her art, her talk, even if I disagree with it.
Of course I’m not suggesting that you are even remotely in favour of these terrible things. I’m only saying that tinkering with the legal status of prostitition is unlikely to improve the condition of those enslaved in it by either criminals or personal desperation, and that examples of exceptional characters who have remained independent and prosperous even under current laws, do not change that general situation.
Many non-white collar jobs are undertaken by people driven to them by desperation. Have you ever looked into the faces of airport or hospital cleaners?
Indeed. I’ve been such a person myself, but do you seriously believe there’s an equivalence between that and turning tricks in some seedy basement for a psychopathic pimp who may or may not let you keep some of the money, with or without a black eye, and who can’t take his eye of your eleven year old daughter?
Generalising from extreme cases does not your theory prove. Why not instead compare airport cleaners to expensive call-girls with their own flats in Chelsea?
I would suggest that the Chelsea flat owners are the extreme cases, and that many of those may not be owners at all but mere occupants, no freer than my basement single-mum even if, for now at least, more glamourous.
I’ll have to take your word for that.
I thought that was coming, ha ha.
I see no evidence, in this article, or in others that I have read, amounting to “I hate men.”
It’s in her DNA. It’s also in the articles. Look carefully. Actually, you don’t even have to look carefully. Amazed you didn’t see it.
Ah, a man who clearly fails to understand irony and who thinks one example amongst millions is sufficient to negate the main argument he rails against. Not an intellectually strong starting point.
Much as I am against deplatforming, this is surely one of the more understandable cases. For practical purposes we are talking about a political activist invited – and then disinvited – to give a talk about her activism on a highly controversial political topic. At the Craft Potters Association. Unlike Jesse de Wahls there is no question of preventing Claudia Clare from doing her job or selling her wares. And unlike universities, the Craft Potters Association is not in the business of guiding leading edge debate or promoting new ideas. You can regret that the CPA does not choose to support your campaign, and even more that they are shying away from a controversial topic for fear of possible violent protests. But surely the CPA has a reasonable right to decide that they would rather not be involved in highly combustible feminist politics, and that they may have got rather more than they bargained for when they invited a colleague to talk about her latest pottery project.
But the CPA still needs to be re-educated…
The woman is an artist. I disagree with her point of view, but hey, it’s up to her. Let her create her own art, let the market determine.
I more or less agree with Rasmus, if the CPA wants to disinvite her, it’s a bit unfortunate, but not a hill I’m willing to die on. Isn’t everyone sick of the acronyms: SWERF, TERF, who cares? Enough already.
I wish UnHerd could simply uninvite JB from this space. She’s literally like a broken record, hectoring men, those who disagree with her radical hatred of men. She is a terrible writer, has nothing original or interesting to say, and is beneath UnHerd.
Now Jess de Wahls–she is a horse of a different color. She is smart, an excellent writer, and has something to say. Please UnHerd, more Jess, less JB. Actually, no JB.
Don’t forget the Smurfs.
I thought you boasted earlier of the quality of engaging arguments and then you roll out the same old comment about the writer hating men.
You’re a wee bit obsessive here and hypocritical trying to get a writer that others may value cancelled.
You see no difference between being “cancelled” and someone simply not meeting the standards of UnHerd? Really? Cancelled? Come on, mate!
I don’t want to “cancel” JB. Let her post her tripe somewhere else. If I went to a concert, I wouldn’t want one song played over and over again by horrible musicians with instruments out of tune. That’s what JB is like. You hope for a different song, an original thought or insight, but you get the same crap.
I’m far from obsessed with JB. I just can’t help myself–I must comment on her tosh. And I’m hoping that Mathilda will raise her game and really insult me, not that weak Scandinavian rubbish. Mathilda–hope your reading…..
Agreed – her art is quite provocative compared to Wahls, so why invite the controversy?
Just another example of the Revolution devouring its young. Who would have thought 5 years ago that a feminist would be publicly shamed for opposing female prostitution. It is almost like all the things we warned about are happening.
I wish we could put all these people in one room together and let them fight it out amongst themselves, while the rest of us go about our daily business without being constantly reminded how misogynistic, racist, or bigoted we are.
pots decorated with images of the women breaking free of the sex trade and fighting back against their own oppression
Is the aesthetic quality of the pottery ever a factor? Why are “pots” and “women breaking free of the sex trade” even in the same sentence?
The inner life of these pond life must be just fascinating.
“What shall we do today, Milo?”
“Well, Freya, I’ve booked tickets for us to go to an exhibition about women breaking free of the sex trade and fighting back against their own oppression.”
“Sounds lovely. So they are women struggling to express a vocabulary of resistance to male oppression?”
“Well, yes, Freya, if pots can have a vocabulary.”
“Yes, I think it symbolises fragility, or Mother Earth, or something. And the Greeks had pots so pots must be good.”
“Lovely! And I assume there’s a vegan cafe, Milo?”
I mean seriously, it must be roughly like that, right?
Yeah what happened to the subtleties and nuances of art since the Renaissance onwards that had very strong messages ‘hidden’ in the art, maintaining an appealing aesthetic but without beating you over the head with the obvious.
I’m stunned at the nastiness that always comes out when people come on JB’s articles. Why do people hate this woman so much? Do you fear her? She’s a decent person writing about important issues. Argue with her ideas, but don’t rip into her as a person.
“It is obvious that feminism is under siege here, and that the trans activists that managed to get the likes of Clare de-plaformed are the same crew that also hates any critique of prostitution”.
I take it from this sentence that it is not women who are prostitutes that are protesting against Clare but men who claim to be women and are engage in the sex trade that are kicking up a fuss.
I image the Ceramicists are nervous about attracting bulls into the China shop as it were. When faced with with potentially violent and disruptive activists one can understand their concern. Unfortunately they are probably right that the forces of law and order are likely to be rather limp wrested when it comes to dealing with trans activist disruption. So effectively a tiny bigoted minority is able to prevent the work being exhibited. Unfortunately I can’t say I think the works involved greatly merit wider exposure being themselves fairly crude agitprop.
I can’t remember who it was that said, “you may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you”. Was it Trotsky? I remember the phrase being parroted by the left in the 80s when they were trying to make everything political.
As much as I dislike the tactics of trans activists, I sympathise with the CPA on this one. It seems like they are being dragged into a culture war that they have no interest in. Admittedly the threats from the trans activists are the greater crime, but maybe Julie’s outrage at the trans activists just inflames things further. Why can’t the CPA just be left in peace to talk about … pottery? There are legitimate fronts to fight the culture war on, but don’t involve civilians.
I love the text on the plate. I intend to use that in future arguments over the prostitution of women.
So the current left-wing thought offers a choice between woman hating trans-activists and man hating radical feminists. This all the while despising the majority of the poor people (who happen to be white), and seeing liberalism as an antiquated right-wing ideology. As the final cohorts of millennials leave their 20s moving towards their middle age, I predict a sea-change where left-wing thought will become an irrelevance for quite a while.
Your first sentence sums up the situation perfectly. Unherd it seems has decided to take the latter’s side.
‘Whorephobia’. Jfl. It would be funny if these lunatics weren’t in control.
Female whorephobia comes from feminists viewing sex workers as scabs in the sexual marketplace. They are afraid that if men are allowed to easily and safely buy sex they won’t commit to financially supporting any one woman for life.
All a bit potty.
Well done Julie, keep up the good work. Prostitution is generally a dangerous, degrading and sad business.
Sounds a bit like being a professional terf.
CPA, SWERF, TERF? Honestly, who cares??? I haven’t bothered reading the article. Jess de Wahls seems however to be an interesting person according to recent articles.
I would feel bad, but it was feminists who perfected this tactic in the first place. They are having to take their own medicine. Even when I agree with them, I find it amusing to see their frustrations that they no longer decide who is to be silenced. Between them and the trans mob, I’ll admit I sympathize with the feminists in the basics of their arguments. But when it comes to the fights about canceling and who the true victims are, my views are kind of like Israel’s regarding the Iran-Iraq war: i wish both sides the best of luck.
A nutter rites.
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