Respecting Sex Work?
There’s a great article up at The Guardian right now about sex workers and the idea that when a man is patronizing a sex worker he is “buying her”. The article points out that in fact many people use their bodies for their work, but that we don’t consider them to be selling themselves. Similarly, it argues that we should accept that sex workers may use their bodies for their work, but that is not inherently demeaning, nor does it mean that they themselves are being bought and sold.
I personally find the topic of sex work to be a difficult one. I often find it hard to understand how a woman could allow someone to buy sex from her without feeling as if she is demeaned or as if her body is objectified, and those are both things that I aim to stop (demeaning and objectification of women). However I also realize that many women within the sex industry have used the only means available to them to be able to retain financial independence, and that some women find it empowering or practical. This article is a good reminder of the positives of sex work, which are often forgotten amidst guttural reactions against the business. I don’t want to advance any position about the inherent goodness or badness of sex work here, but I hope this article might open up some discussions. How can we challenge our stereotypes of sex workers? Is it empowering to be able to control your own future, or is it demeaning to sell your body? Should we be working to end prostitution? Should prostitution be illegal? I’d love to hear thoughts in comments.