Thursday, April 5, 2012

Prostitution Rhetoric

Better people have written better pieces about all the (many) things that are wrong with the way the moral majority speaks (uneducatedly) about prostitution, so this will hardly be robust or comprehensive, but I wanted to express a few personal thoughts I had about what's wrong with a specific piece of rhetoric that I read in a recent article (which is otherwise very good - it's concerning how easily even the 'good guys' can slip and feed into the dominant paradigm a little bit here and there, possibly without realizing it).

Here's the phrase that caught my attention:

"statistics which point to most prostitutes being abused early in life"

And here are my thoughts:

Where do you get these statistics and how were they acquired? Are they reliable?

When you say "abused early in life", do you mean physical abuse or sexual abuse? If the latter, do you mean rape, or sexual experimentation beyond what abstinence advocates and prudes consider "appropriate" for children? Remember that all sexual activity below the age of consent is legally (and often morally) defined as abuse.

Are you drawing a line of causation between "early abuse" and prostitution when there may only be correlation? Are you suggesting that abuse leads to prostitution? Are you suggesting that prostitution is related to abuse in a fundamental manner? That prostitution is a form of further abuse? That prostitution is a symptom of abuse, and should be treated as such? Do you realize how this marginalizes prostitutes who have not been abused and do not view their work as abuse?

This kind of thinking is majoritive, as it seeks to punish all prostitutes and all forms of prostitution for an interpretable statistic that feeds into an ideological worldview that views prostitution as an evil vice. Is there not any room in this world for people who have an alternative worldview, or do they just have to shut up and secede to the demands of the moral majority for the good of mankind? Without hard evidence that prostitution actually facilitates rape and ruins people's lives and decays the moral fabric of society?

And if it's the case that persons exposed to more sexuality earlier in life (defined as, but not necessarily, "abuse") end up being more sexually involved later in life, and adopt alternative views towards sexuality (like the belief that prostitution is a valid profession) - which is not hard to imagine - then why is this cause for alarm? Except in the context of having people in the world not brainwashed by the moral majority view that prostitution is bad, and that sex is evil unless engaged in in whatever certain form your ideology permits (e.g., with a married partner). Is there no room for variety when it comes to the morality of sex? I sure as hell think there should be.

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