Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sex trade legalized

And about time.

But the shocked and appalled Miss Kay of the National Post
, her lorgnette falling from her trembling hand, sniffs loudly and writes:

Being a prostitute is a shameful, indecent activity, and any sex worker who demands respect as a matter of course is fooling herself. She is not respectable. Politically correct people will say she is, but she isn't.

And to bolster her priggishness, she continues with falsehoods and non sequiturs:

The danger will continue, the pimps will still control the desperate girls and society as a whole will think less of itself. And all because nobody really takes a good look at the word "harm" and asks themselves what a healthy society looks like, and what kind of newly designated "normal" behaviours, stamped kosher by the courts, bring harm to that healthy body.

The far Right, resolutely anti-statist until it comes to banning things they don't like, never, ever learns: prohibition (alcohol, drugs, prostitution) doesn't work. It never has. It creates underground markets.
It encourages crime and hypocrisy. It sickens and corrupts society.

Working women in one city some time ago formed a co-op and looked after each other. They were shut down by the cops. Now the operation is run by a biker gang. Score another hit for the Mrs. Grundys of the world.

When sex work is legal there are fewer pimps. If a pimp or a john is abusive, the women can now freely call the cops.

"Respectable?" Is Babs Kay respectable? It's all in the eye of the beholder. Women who wore pant suits used to be refused service in restaurants. Before that, "women doctors," as doctors of the female persuasion were once called (they were spared "doctoress"), were considered "shameless and indecent" in some parts of the world.

A hooker once told me that she moved to her new vocation from working in a nursing home. She saw it as a more enjoyable and lucrative helping profession. I don't know, one way or the other, but those embarked upon "the life" are far from being all drug-addled, diseased, exploited women. Some of them, at least, know what they're doing. They have dreams, they think about the future, and they make more than secretaries.

If we really believe in the inherent right of women to agency, we should greet this court decision as long overdue. Leave the hand-wringing and faint scent of lavender to the old biddies of both sexes who were never quite right in the head after the advent of feminism--and miniskirts. Whether it was abortion or prostitution, the notion of women going about living their lives unchecked by the state, controlling their own bodies, just didn't sit well with them.

I'm aware that feminists are divided on this question. But, once again, dare to imagine women with agency, women deciding their lives for themselves, free of moral strictures enforced by the various members of our own Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. In a society where commodified emotion is perfectly acceptable on the part of servers ("Hello, I'm your waiter Dave") and flight attendants, why should sex trade professionals be treated any differently under the law?

Discussion welcome.


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