A disadvantage of being slightly more open with friends and family about the existence of my blog is feeling like I must censor myself on contentious issues.
Bearing that in mind, I have decided to say a massive f&#k you to consequences and discuss my thoughts on the sex industry.
I have grown up in a relatively sex positive environment and consider myself a liberal at heart. That is why I am a strong proponent of you do what you want, and I do what I want and we will mutually respect each other because we’re decent human beings.
Whether you choose to experience sex before marriage or abstain because you do not feel ready, only do it with one person or do it with a dozen, if it’s something private and exclusive or if you sell it as a commodity, it’s ultimately your choice and nobody else should give a fuck about said choice, unless you want them to… 😉
In a perfect world, everybody would hold that sentiment and we could live happily ever after, content that nobody wants to police our sex life, loving each other from the bottom of our hearts despite our different viewpoints.
Unfortunately, we live on planet earth in the 21st century and that is not a reality. Instead, welcome to a time period where discrimination against anyone that deviates from so-called ‘normalcy’ is shunned by all.
I am in no way promoting a society saturated by sex. In fact, I think that the media is grossly over-sexualised. However, people should have the freedom to provide pornography, telephone sex, nude dancing, prostitution etc. as a market to those who seek it out and believe me, there will always be people seeking it out.
Those are *legitimate* jobs and they should not be associated with the ugly stereotypes we have tolerated or even created. Here are a few examples:
There is this belief that by allowing women to work in the sex industry, we are promoting the abuse of women or that sex work is inherently “exploitative, degrading and undermines any attempts being made elsewhere to secure women’s place in intellectual and professional spheres”.
Andrea Dworkin has the audacity to say that “prostitution in and of itself is an abuse of a woman’s body […] in prostitution, no woman stays whole. It is impossible to use a human body in the way women’s bodies are used in prostitution and to have a whole human being at the end of it, or in the middle of it, or close to the beginning of it. It’s impossible. And no woman gets whole again later, after”.
I disagree completely.
- Sex Work is a Choice (by Both Parties)
In no way is the abuse of women promoted through sex work (unless we are talking about women who are coerced into the business which is a whole other conversation) because ultimately it is just a job where you provide a service and in return, receive payment. Sex is not abusive, so why would the job be abusive?
Obviously abuse is a potential danger of sex work however it is in no way a given, just like there are associated risks with other jobs such as building a house, where a brick might fall on your head and kill you, abuse is a possibility, not an inevitability.
When men seek out women in this industry, the goal is not to abuse them. Most people recognise that if the workers believe that the risk outweighs the gain, it will become harder to find people willing to provide the service. Not to mention, just because someone seeks out this trade, it does not instantly mean they’re an abusive jerk either.
The woman, in an ideal situation (which we can get closer to if the concept is less shunned and thus secretive/underground) can say no to things she is not comfortable with and terminate activities at any time, meaning she can control where her limit is and ensure it is respected.
Keeping that in mind, why should we not allow people to engage in whatever consensual behaviour they choose?
- Sex Work is Not Degrading
Andrea’s belief that having sex with a man will result in you ‘never being whole again’ perpetuates the belief that sex is sacred and implies that if you have a lot of sex you are a ‘slut’.
No! By having sex with someone, you are not selling them your soul just, well, the sex.
In the same way, being a prostitute does not mean you become a slave to the man temporarily. You sexuality is simply a part of who you are, it does not define your entire existence. When you sell sex, you sell just that: sex. Not yourself. Just like how manual workers are not slaves to their bosses and comedians are not selling themselves when they sell their humour.
Sex work is in no way a ‘bad’ job, just like being a cleaner isn’t a ‘bad’ job either, its only these negative stereotypes associated with these types of jobs we need to recognise and remove, rather than trying to push the jobs themselves into the black market.
- Sex Work is NOT Anti-feminism
The fact of the matter is, sex does and always will pay well. A market exists for this type of activity. In terms of prostitution, if it is legal, then there is more protection for the prostitute, making the experience more profitable and enjoyable for both parties.
It is a great way to allow people to safely explore their sexual desires that are “suppressed by current social norms of heterosexual, monogamous relationships” or if you just want a no strings attached experience.
Lastly, women should not feel like other women that are in the sex trade are affecting their ability to establish themselves in the ‘intellectual and professional spheres’ because firstly, one woman’s choice should have no effect on another and secondly, there is a direct implication that sex work is somehow ‘lesser’ which is a dangerous school of thought to live by.
The goal is to not group women together in one comfortable stereotype. Entering ‘intellectual’ fields breaks the stereotype, and so does being confident in the sex industry. These are independent from each other and both contribute to what I view as feminism.
DISCLAIMER: I accept that there are a lot of people, immeasurable in fact, that are coerced into the sex industry maybe due to circumstance or past experiences and for that I am sorry. There is a legitimate problem that exists when I can’t answer the question below:
“If prostitution is a free choice, why are the women with the fewest choices the ones most often found doing it?”
I recognise that is something we need to find a solution to. I do know however that demeaning the sex industry is not the right path to take.
I am a feminist, I support the sex industry and anyone that freely participates. We have fought and fought for a woman’s right to say no but we mustn’t be hypocritical and limit her right to say yes.
Empowerment should never be selective, that’s selfish and egotistical, it should always, always be absolute. Lets keep working on that.