A researcher from the Council of Disobedient Women held a focus group meeting with a bunch of woke lads and woke-adjacent folks about prostitution.
Well, it’s more that I wandered into a lefty discussion forum and asked them to read ‘Sex Work – why we aren’t buying it‘.
“Anti-working class propaganda” was the edict within 5 seconds of posting the link.
A strong whiff of 1950s authoritarian manhood lingered in the air. His was supposed to be the final word but there are always contending alphas in a troop. Sure enough, they sauntered in for a look.
Most were very confident that there was no difference between prostitution and working at a burger joint. A couple of women who joined the discussion were less sure but they all opposed the Nordic model, because they said it moved the work into the ‘Shadows’.
I ask, if the Nordic model is so bad for sex workers why does it not show up in statistics? The general murder rate in Sweden is 1.08 per 100k population. In the Netherlands it is 0.5 per 100k population. (UN stats on murder rates, 2019) Since the Nordic model was introduced in Sweden in 1999 no prostitutes have been murdered. In contrast, since legalisation of prostitution in the Netherlands in 2000, there have been 127 prostitutes murdered while at work, despite that country having a lower overall murder rate than Sweden. The numbers tell a story.
No, they would not believe those figures could be at all indicative of anything. Nor did they think the work was particularly dangerous. They were very worried however about prostitutes working in the ‘Shadows’. More worried about that than the number of women getting murdered.
What safety gear would you suggest to make sex work as safe as possible I ask? If I asked this question about a timber worker I am sure they would have some ideas. What were their ideas for safety in sex work?
Well, not quite silence, but a long rant about it being impossible to be specific about safety gear.
It’s tricky isn’t it when you have to work in the nude. So I move on and ask, why do some men choose to buy women’s bodies?
A ridiculous question. No reason given, however, for this response from them.
Your objections must be moralistic, prudishness, misguided, ignorant.
Must be a SWERF, a TERF.
It seems the little lady has a bad case of ‘Internalised Patriarchy’ according to the man who had declared the article anti-working class propaganda.
With the exception of one feminist bystander, not one person stepped forward to agree that the sex is not consensual, it cannot be consensual because it is unwanted. The transaction is the use of a body in exchange for money.
If someone wants to sell their body in an environment in which they feel safe (as some people ACTUALLY WANT TO DO) – why shouldn’t they be able? How is this different from any other form of employment? Why do people buy junk food? Why do people buy comic books? Why do people buy anything? That’s an absurd question to ask, they said.
No, they protest, that’s not what was meant. It is a service that is bought.
No, I don’t think it is a service that is being sold, I think the punter is buying access to someone’s body. Why is a young female sold for more than an older one? Why is a young inexperienced prostitute worth more than an older more experienced woman? The law of value is not operating as it usually does.
Again we return to the notion of women being purchased to service the sexual needs of men.
They protest that price is fickle, particularly with services – pop stars for example. It could be an indication of misogynistic attitudes, sure, but if it obliterates the law of value then heaps of other industries do as well.
This is not analogous as most artists don’t make a living, while some make fortunes. So the price of labour power may well average out and the law of value may operate in the arts. Most sex workers do not end up wealthy, but the key difference with many jobs is that the prostitutes command a higher price when young. This is about misogyny.
No, they keep insisting that sex work is not any more or less exploitative than any other form of work.
So are they willing to walk the talk?
Most were silent. One was keen to be a gigolo.
There’s always one isn’t there! (Although I remain skeptical he really was keen to be screwed in any available and every available orifice by some greasy old businessman, as prostituted women are. I suspect he was fantasising about being kept by a wealthy older woman in her plush apartment. A whole other thing: male fantasy rather than the reality of prostitution for the vast majority of prostituted women.)
It was a ‘No’ from the chap with the externalised patriarchy patter. He had no interest in doing it, he also could not get involved in it due to family matters and he had “body image issues” holding him back!
What is it about woke guys always making out they are a victim? Body image issues have not stopped millions of women being used and abused by punters so that seemed a rather feeble excuse to me. And don’t a lot of prostitutes have “family matters” to attend to? Then I try to jolly him along with my opinion that he’s cute looking and still young enough to fetch a good price. It might help you with your body image to get pummelled up the arse and in the throat by strangers, I helpfully suggest.
“You don’t even know what I look like, that’s a disgusting comment on your part. Why are you being so creepy?”
To sum up their argument: “Can I have a big mac and fries and a large coke please” is the same as “I am going to fuck you so hard you’ll be screaming you dirty little whore”. But when it comes to doing the work themselves their attitudes show they were just recycling the double standards, male chauvinism and moral hypocrisy of the most backward men of two generations ago.