Feminists and Prostitution

Feminists And Prostitution

As a society, we have grown so much. The world is slowly getting closer and closer to true gender equality and inclusivity. 

In the past, women were not permitted to vote nor to hold public office. In some communities, they were not even allowed to work. Fortunately, that has changed now. Women can now do all of that.

There was also a stigma surrounding women and sex. People, especially men, expect women to keep quiet about sex. In some cultures, a woman who has lost virginity is also judged as impure. But again, thankfully, things are different now. Women are now allowed to talk about sex without being shamed. Today, people have already realized that, like men, women also have desires that need to be satisfied.

Take a look at the market for sex toys. It was once dominated by masturbation sleeves for men. Now there are also plenty of toys for women, such as vibrators. Also, sex doll manufacturers have started creating male sex doll models.

Feminists And Prostitution

Don’t get this wrong. All of the things mentioned above prove that women today are in a better place than where their ancestors were. However, the fight for feminism has not ended yet. There are still areas in life where men are put above women. Feminists’ mission is to end this.

Women & Sex Work

Unless they are incredibly fortunate, adults living today know how impossible the economy is. It is rare to find a job that pays well. Most of the ones available barely make people able to make ends meet. Some workers in the US even have to rely on tips just to make it through.

Needless to say, they are constantly on the look for jobs that could help them pay bills. And there is one type of work that is always open for new workers. It is called sex work.

It’s easier to become a prostitute than to become a doctor or a lawyer. One would not need to study for years and pass examinations. The baby-making process – without actually making a baby – is all they have to know. Unless you grew up in a religious family who have managed to keep you in the dark about sex, you’d know about it.

There are online platforms that can help escorts find a client, making business easier for them. The best part about this is prostitutes can charge as high as they want. And if their client really wants to have sex with them, they will pay. There are also these wealthy old men called “sugar daddies.” They pay young women a large sum of money for sex and companionship.

Feminists are divided on their views on prostitution. One-half of them are against it, while the other says it’s okay.

Pro-Prostitution Feminists

“My body, my choice” – this has been the mantra of many people, especially the sex workers. If they want to film themselves getting intimate with sex dolls and earn from it, they have the freedom to do so. Pro sex work feminists see this as empowering.

Furthermore, these feminists believe sex work provides women with opportunities for financial advancement. These opportunities should not be taken from them by anyone. As liberal feminists argue, taking them away is interfering with the rights of both the clients and the escorts.

Radical feminists also have a say. They admit that sex work may not be the ideal job for women. However, it allows them to live a life that they would not be able to experience if they work in another field. They argue that compared to a minimum wage-paying job, sex work gives women more benefits.

Feminists who support sex work fight for the decriminalization of prostitution in places where it is still not legal. Also, they want the law to grant escorts more freedom, so making a living will be easier for them. But, they do not want all laws against prostitution to be removed. They believe prostitution is only good if it is voluntary. So, the laws that protect people from being forced into the industry should be kept.

Some notable pro-prostitution feminists are Annie Sprinkle, Margo St. James, and Carol Leigh. 

Anti-Prostitution Feminists

The other faction of feminists believes that women prostitutes bring them back to square one. They argue that prostitution supports the patriarchal societal order. It emphasizes male dominance over women. 

The anti-prostitution feminists say this type of work is objectifying women. They are treated like sex dolls – objects that, as they point out, can be abused by men. These women are humans who have feelings and emotions. While their clients enjoy their sexual intercourse, they struggle psychologically. Sex is supposed to make someone feel good, not like that. Accepting this type of work is accepting that a woman’s feeling during sex is irrelevant. That does not fit with what feminists are fighting for.

Feminists And Prostitution

Pro-prostitution feminists say being a prostitute is a choice women can make if they want to. Feminists against it beg to differ. They argue that it was not freedom to choose that brought them to the industry. Instead, they were forced.

Anti-prostitution Catherine MacKinnon asks a question. She queries: if it was a free choice, why are the women with the fewest choices the ones most likely to do it? The answer is simple, anti-prostitution 

feminists would say. “Because it is not a free choice.”

 McKinnon says that the money acts as a form of force and not as a measure of consent. It is coercion, and thus, prostituting is not voluntary.

Feminists And Prostitution

This group of feminists also say that if the impoverished, women prostitutes are forced into this life by pimps. They were victims of sex trafficking – and some are still being trafficked. The ones who have survived the experience make them believe that there are no other places for them but the escorting industry. And hence, they become prostitutes. Again, not because they want to but because there’s no other choice.

Because of how complex the topic of prostitution is, the divide between these two groups will likely never disappear.

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