I Just Can't Help Myself

I Just Can’t Help Myself:
Framing The Third and Fourth Taboo

Let’s see if this stirs you up. It’s a stretch, and a pretty volatile subject. But maybe, just maybe, I’m trying to stir us all up.

We’re all familiar with what they refer to as “the oldest profession”. And we’ve all got our ideas and fears on the evils that arise from such a profession. In our society, prostitution is illegal. It’s connected to drugs, violence, disease, abuse, and other problems. That’s the frame. We can all agree on that, right?

How about looking through someone else’s frame? A former student and acquaintance of mine sent me an e-mail recently with a link and all it said was, ‘Check out this frame.’ The link was to the International Committee for Prostitute’s Rights. http://www.walnet.org/csis/groups/icpr_charter.html

I did a little further research and found that there’s an organization called C.O.Y.O.T.E. It stands for Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics. This is a ‘sex worker’s’ rights organization. (Notice the shift from ‘prostitutes’ to ‘sex workers’.)

There is a strong movement in many major metropolitan cities in the USA and, in fact, all over the world, to decriminalize the profession and give ‘sex workers’ rights and protection by regulating the industry.

Wow. Talk about a changing perspective. I had definitely never heard of such a thing and it totally blew me away.

The idea is to differentiate between people who are being victimized and people who feel empowered in this industry. It’s a hugely complex issue with the added emotional intensity that only religion, politics and sexuality, can incite.

One of their arguments is that this kind of work is an important part of the economy and that just looking to the legalized prostitution in Nevada and in other countries, points to how some of the dangers can be taken out of the industry by way of regulation. Get rid of the pimps, the violence is cut down. Mandatory monthly medical treatment and safe practices, nearly eliminate the medical and health dangers.

The proponents have taken this highly charged issue out of the frame of morality, and put it in the frame of ‘important part of the economy’. Advocates of legalizing drugs use the same argument. And, as with prostitution, point to Amsterdam as an example of how a shift in strategy can work.

How much is spent each year on imprisoning petty pot growers/users, and ‘working girls’? If no violence or pain to another human being takes place, these are ‘victimless crimes’. I’m absolutely not advocating this, but just showing, yet again, where once we thought ours was the only belief possible to have, there are intelligent, thoughtful opponents to our construct of reality.

Again, this is just an exercise in framing and when you can reframe a very strong argument with another strong argument, whoever has the better frame, wins.

For more framing, instigating, cajoling, stirring up, and prompting, call Kim at kim@MAXpersuasion.com.

Until next time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Ramin - October 10, 2007

Hi Kenrick,

the lines between “framing”, “spinning” and “positioning” are kind of blurry in my mind. Could you turn the contrast a bit up and help me to draw some clear distinctions between these three concepts?


Kenrick E. Cleveland; Affluent Activator - October 15, 2007

Hi Ramin,

Those words are for the most part interchangeable. It depends on who is using them and on the context that we can draw meaning.

Here is more for you.

I usually see framing as what is done early on to establish the frame of reference we want the other person to see from. This establishes the greatest probability of us winning right off the bat.

Spinning I see as changing the frame others set to our advantage.

And positioning is another way of saying framing.

All this said, the terms are still largely interchangeable.

I hope this helps.


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