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5 questions for people who advocate legal prostitution

(289 Posts)
AskBasil Mon 25-Aug-14 10:23:53

Made me fink

CaptChaos Mon 25-Aug-14 11:33:55

Thanks for the link, it does make you fink.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 25-Aug-14 12:44:33

Now try applying those questions to any low-paid, low-status, dangerous jobs you can think of.

AskBasil Mon 25-Aug-14 13:55:22

Can't think of any low paid, low status dangerous job where rape is an occupational hazard tbh.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 25-Aug-14 14:51:55

Well, many of them, actually. People trafficked for domestic service, catering, agriculture etc are often at risk of sexual assault. People working in any marginalized type of job may suffer sexual assault from their employers and be unable to seek justice, because their status isn't legal, for instance, or they desperately need to keep the job, no matter how horrible.

Whereas some sex workers have decided that sex industry work is what currently suits their circumstances and have arranged a way of doing it at minimal risk to themselves. They also may percieve themselves as entitled to justice if robbed or assaulted, though sometimes they may get a shock if they encounter a bigot who can't cope with the idea of sex workers as autonymous human beings and reckons that they deserve everything they get.

AbortionFairyGodmother Mon 25-Aug-14 16:59:11

Prostitution is quite literally the most dangerous job in the world. This fact, which has been demonstrated repeatedly by studies, is mysteriously absent in every list of "most dangerous jobs" that are always topped by traditionally male-held professions.

AskBasil Mon 25-Aug-14 19:45:26

Oh really SGB what percentage of waitresses/ fruit pickers etc. do you think are at risk of rape in the exercise of their job, as compared to prostituted women?

Slarti Mon 25-Aug-14 20:16:38

AskBasil What percentage would be acceptable?

AskBasil Mon 25-Aug-14 20:20:15

No percentage is acceptable.

Why do you ask?

Slarti Mon 25-Aug-14 20:22:31

If no percentage is acceptable, why make an obvious reference to the fact that one percentage is lower than the other?

scallopsrgreat Mon 25-Aug-14 20:29:32

Just because there are problems in other occupations does not mean we shouldn't point out how disproportionate the problems are facing those in prostitution. I think question 3 mainly covers this anyway. Other jobs that involve mainly oppressed groups e.g. people who are trafficked, are considered unjust.

AskBasil Mon 25-Aug-14 20:33:08

Don't be disingenuous Slarti.

If something is undesirable, then the place it is happening more, is less desirable than the place it's happening less.

Aside from which AFAIC rape is actually built in to the concept of buying the use of someone's body, which it isn't to the concept of fruit-picking, waitressing etc.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 25-Aug-14 20:45:06

I agree, many jobs should be made illegal. It's not just prostitution.

I do not think, for example, it should be legal for a woman to be paid to have babies for someone else - but it's legal in the US and I am currently arguing with a mate of mine who thinks it's 'just nine months sitting around'. hmm

I don't think workers should be forced to be exposed to carcinogenic pesticides without consent (or with, really).

I don't think workers should be sold into slavery as children, then conned into believing they have to stay to keep their families safe.

There are many jobs that should be illegal. No one campaigning against prostitution thinks these other things are ok, so I don't know why they're being brought up.

caroldecker Mon 25-Aug-14 21:02:34

Do we believe that eliminating prostitution is possible? I am not sure.

Is legalisation 'better' than being illegal, ie is perfect the enemy of least bad?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 25-Aug-14 21:08:56

Oh, yes, I think it's possible.

I don't think legislation is better. Much worse, really - and elimiating prostitution wouldn't be 'perfect' either, as women will still be sexually exploited. It'd be a tiny start, really, I think. sad

Imagine it in terms of race. Imagine someone saying 'well, we could eliminate slavery, or we could just make it illegal to geld slaves - that'd help! And we could ban whipping ...' you could go on a long time, and it'd still make most of us sick to imagine that 'compromise'. And we'd all know that the elimination of slavery - the 'perfect' in your book - didn't in the least equate to 'good' or even 'liveable' for many, as there was still huge prejudice.

If you eliminated prostitution tomorrow, there'd still be a stigma against ex-prostitutes, and not against the men who exploited them.

sausageeggbacon11 Mon 25-Aug-14 23:52:23

LRD I am surprised that you think it is possible. Sweden is supposedly working to get rid of it but it seems that all they have done is take it off the street. Detection rate of men committing the crime has gone down but there are less police actively looking (I read that somewhere but can't think where). This is a relatively small population which should be easier to police. Unless there are thousands of police actively hunting the crime we will never know just how much is going on.

Now migrate that to larger countries like the UK or US and all we are going to get is the same as we have now. Considering only 20% of prostitutes work the street (american sociological association 2007 here we probably will never know how much is actually going on behind closed doors. So under those cercumstances I doubt we will ever get rid of it.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 25-Aug-14 23:54:15

Oh, I absolutely think it's possible.

Seems very odd you belive we wouldn't - why?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 25-Aug-14 23:54:47

I mean ... I don't believe men are fundamentally abusive or rapists, and I doubt you do.

caroldecker Tue 26-Aug-14 00:18:17

LRD you are reliant on education of men and women. Prostitutes sell their wares to men and encourage them to think that this is ok, as do all sex workers. I find it difficult to believe (although I would like to) that we can have a position where sex work would not be an acceptable option to some women.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 26-Aug-14 00:21:22

carol, when I said I don't think men are fundamentally abusive or rapists, I meant, I think they're not innately those things.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 26-Aug-14 00:22:52

But it simply isn't inherently rape or abuse to exchange sexual services for money. Nor is it inherently wrong to exchange money for sexual services. It's not an industry that everyone would like to work in, but nor is obstetrics, farming or being a window cleaner responsible for going up 50 floors in one of those lairy tin bath things.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 26-Aug-14 00:24:08

No, it isn't inherently rape or abuse.

But it is in our current society. And men aren't inherently rapists or abusers.

Therefore, I think it more likely society will change, than men's innate natures (if there is such a thing) will change.

caroldecker Tue 26-Aug-14 00:30:42

I think i mean that unless we provide benefits to all women to cover all wants and desires, there will be a proportion who will see sex work as a viable option (even if only at the high end). There wil also always be a group of men who will utilise this supply. do we say that it is ok if the women earn enough?

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 26-Aug-14 00:33:34

No, no ok if the women earn 'enough' - because who defines 'enough'?

We shouldn't ever say jobs are ok if they earn 'enough'. Else you go back to a situation where people will volunteer to be prostitute knowing they'll die before 30 in agony, but having provided for their families. Or you look at current situations where people work with carcinogens for high pay.

Economic models help, but what we need is a change in attitude. That must happen first. I can believe that, in a radically different sociey, selling sex could be quite normal and fine. But we'd have to change society first, not try the shortcut.

CKDexterHaven Tue 26-Aug-14 00:58:08

The way to eliminate prostitution would be to make sure that all women on the planet have financial independence and true options. When women have options they don't 'choose' prostitution. Men as a class want there to be an underclass of women too poor or optionless to avoid sexual abuse and so have a vested interest in denying women access to education and above-subsistence level work.

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