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Buying Sex

2.3 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Buying Sex looks at the contentious debate over pending reforms to Canadian prostitution laws, which are being challenged by both pro- and anti-prostitution forces, with no evident consensus about which way forward is either best or likely. Would decriminalizing prostitution free sex workers to take more control over their activities, run legal brothels and manage their own procurement businesses without fear of punishment, or would it give male buyers and sex-trade business owners even more power and opportunity to benefit from and possibly exploit the sale of sexual services?

Buying Sexbrings forward the voices of sex workers, formerly prostituted women, policy-makers, lawyers and even the male buyers. All agree that they want to improve the workers safety, but have polarized philosophies about how that can be best achieved. Respecting differences of ideology and opinion as Canada works its way toward an uneasy consensus Buying Sex challenges us to question whether prostitution is the oldest profession or the oldest oppression.

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Review

"Buying Sex brilliantly zeroes in on two radically different visions at the heart of these debates through the stories of those who have most at stake: the buyers and sellers of sex." --Lynne Fernie, Hotdocs Film Festival

"Meticulously made. Guaranteed no two people will walk out agreeing on the issue." (Four Stars) --Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

"Buying Sex does what many films on the topic don t: it lets the women speak for themselves." --Kiva Reardon, Torontoist

Product Details

  • Actors: Valerie Scott, Trisha Baptie, Alan Young, Janine Benedict
  • Directors: Teresa MacInnes, Kent Nason
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: December 3, 2013
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00F64PA0A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,704 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 25, 2013
Format: DVD
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada and directed by Teresa Macinnes and Kent Nason, "Buying Sex" is a documentary film that explores some of the issue surrounding the legalization of prostitution. Litigation over Canada's prostitution laws provided the impetus for the film. In 2010, a Canadian court invalidated laws forbidding the operation of brothels, forbidding individuals from living on the earnings of prostitutes, and forbidding communication on the street for purposes of engaging in prostitution. The plaintiffs in the case are sex workers represented by a Canadian law professor. They argued that the laws contributed to the risk of brutalization and violence and disease of the women engaged in prostitution. In 2012, a Canadian Appeals Court agreed with the lower court on the issues of brothels and earnings; but it reversed on the issue involving communication in the street. Both the Canadian government and the plaintiffs are in the process of pursuing appeals to Canada's highest court.

The film features academics, politicians, members of the public, and the women themselves and their customers offering their views on whether prostitution should be legalized. There is extensive discussion with the litigating teams in the case and with their clients. Broadly, those in favor of legalizing prostitution argue that the women will be safer if the trade is regulated, that many of the women in the business are articulate and knowledgeable and enjoy substantial independence and that prostitution cannot be stopped in any event. The opponents in this film consist of academics and former sex workers, among other people. They argue in this film from a broadly feministic perspective.
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Format: DVD
The 2013 documentary BUYING SEX follows a Canadian court battle over laws restricting prostitution. Presenting original interviews with sex workers - some active, some retired - whose views, to say the least, differ, directors Teresa MacInnes and Kent Nason keep it moving along quickly, even for a 75-minute film, especially considering much of it is talking heads.

Whatever opinions the BUYING SEX filmmakers have are not apparent. If sex is an elephant in the room to some then prostitution is an elephant stampede in the room, and I give credit to this film for nudging people into facing reality while keeping its creators' opinions quiet.

To me, the most salient point of view in BUYING SEX comes from a sex worker who says, in so many words, "If you want to call me exploited and rescue me from this, then next you'd better save all the underpaid and abused fast food restaurant and discount store workers, too." Now you're talking.
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On Amazon, 5 stars means "I love it" for the film you've watched or the product you've purchased; I wish I could say that "I love it" for such a heavy-hearted issue this film explores. I rated it 5 stars because I believe every single person should watch it; I've read the other reviewers - mostly men - said that this is a boring film, waste of time... etc., then I remember a particular point made by a Swedish film maker in this documentary that says the society has desensitized and stigmatized men for feeling emotions - emotions that truly resonates with one's heart deep down when no one else is talking to us; emotions and feelings that when we truly to speak to ourselves from within, is as clear as crystal.

I for one used to think along the lines that prostitution can be an empowering experience for the women, and as a feminist myself, my thoughts were - and still is - that women should be able to do whatever they so choose to do (like the application to the rest of the society, so long as this freedom doesn't include harming others); however, after reading articles after articles, watching films after films, the picture really became clear: if there is not the demand for objectification of women's bodies, women will not feel the need - just as men rarely feel the need in our society - to value themselves in accordance to the rest of the society's judgement. You can argue the demand for sex is biological, yes, but money isn't; to argue that sex and money always go together is fundamentally wrong. Sex and money goes together like peas and carrots is a result of hundreds and thousands of years of human society, of political and social struggle; no other animal on this planet will exchange an artificially created value - aka money - in exchange of sex.
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I think this is the best documentary I have seen evaluating the issue of prostitution. It seemed to do a good job of presenting both sides of the argument, presenting multiple "solutions" that are being tried, and being relatively balanced without devolving into much name calling. This is not a skin flick, and you will be disappointed if that is why you watch it.
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For those of you hoping to see some R rated scenes or if you are already so closed minded on the topic, don't bother. But if you are interested in a documentary that touches on a forever debated issue, then watch it with an open mind. I learnt something new and I am glad this film provided narratives from the sex workers' point of views. I recommend it to the open minded people.
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