Why Sex Work And Feminism Can Coexist
“...her wings are cut and then she is blamed for not knowing how to fly.”
― Simone de Beauvoir
To disregard the profession of a sex worker holding the sole argument that the nature of such work is intrinsically immoral is not only incorrect, but it fails to take into account many important aspects that are at play. If sex workers are slaves to what many would call a dehumanizing practice, where do the rest of us stand, active participants in this oppressive system called capitalism? While consent is a central part in the contract that bounds a sex worker with her client, does consent play a role as big in the work we supposedly do as an act of freewill everyday?
If sex workers are regarded as victims of a system that exerts a dominance over them, doesn’t that make us victims of that same system too? Is the nature of one’s job a sufficient enough argument to prove that we’re in the “right” and that they’re in the “wrong”, because they use their own selves as a means of getting paid?
The fact still remains that many people hold jobs they hate, perform tasks they resent, and all of this is being done under the threat of potentially losing their precious weekly paycheck if they stop consenting to the rules by which they are forced to abide. Isn’t what would one consider an attack to someone’s dignity? You don’t have to touch someone’s body to exert some psychologically destructive form of power and control over them.
On the other hand, to the face of a coin some would rather not see, sex workers are in control of what they choose to do, or not to do. Make no mistake here. I am in no way trying to paint a rosy picture of the sex industry, nor am I dismissing the fact that horrible things do not happen, because that would be nothing less than shoving down your throat a blatant lie. Nonetheless, the consensual nature of their practice is a very important part of the picture that needs to be acknowledged and not blindly thrown under the bus. It’s not because their bodies constitute their tool of work, that it means that they have flushed their self-respect down the toilet.
Rather than pointing middle fingers to the sex industry, why don’t we get to the root of the problem and place the blame on patriarchy? Women are reclaiming the power that’s been taken away from them for long enough, and getting shamed for it? Are we yet again trying to reverse the roles of the victim and the perpetrator?