As a Communication Studies professor, I believe I have heard nearly every subject matter on the planet there is designed to inform and/or persuade others. If I were to identify just a handful of the, “If-I-Hear-This-Speech-One-More-Time-I-Am- Going-To-Kill-Myself-And-Innocent-Bystanders-In-The-Process” type speeches, the list would go something like this:
- Give Blood
- Learn CPR
- Legalize Marijuana
- Practice Safe Sex
- Legalize Prostitution
Of course I kid with the killing myself part…and there are good reasons these subject matters are on the most common list–as they are really poignant and important. I suppose I just love original topics…yet I realize students in the class have not heard these topics delivered over 10,000 times, as I have, so they are certainly allowed to deliver such topics. In spite of the fact I personally abhor the redundancy, I realize these topics NEED to be addressed, particularly giving blood and CPR –as CPR saved my father’s life nearly 3 years ago.
Therefore I find it strange that I feel compelled to write a blog on one of these topics that so bore me…so why now?
I was at the gym on the treadmill (shocking!) watching an MSNBC show on the horrors of Prostitution. Of course it was an overly dramatized, one-sided view that painted all women as victims and all men as scumbags, but what else is new? Our eyeballs are drawn to drama…whether it is true or not. My point of view is this: When will the “World’s Oldest Profession” be honored and acknowledged as such? When do we finally accept it as part of the human condition and let it work better for everyone…solicitor and solitcee alike?
Why are so many human beings such self-serving, goddam hypocrites when it comes to issues of a sexual nature? If one more anti-gay Senator gets caught fondling his young male intern, the only standard we will have left to serve in government is double, as in double-standard.
From Maxine Doogan of the Erotic Services Union: “There…needs to be a shift in attitudes to agree that sexual expression, for the mature, can take the form of negotiating and paying for sexual services; that this activity is a privately protected right and is subject to the equal protection laws, for starters. If someone poses as a prostitute and rips off a customer, that should result in a prosecution for theft. Which is not the state we’re in right now.” These laws hurt everyone involved–from the abused prostitute to the one ripped off by the abusive prostitute.
Do I believe that human trafficking and abuse among prostitutes exists? Yes. Of course I do. Just as I believe exploitation and abuse exists in EVERY industry, be it religion, politics, the workforce, etc. This is why Samuel Gompers, so many years ago, created a union as human beings carry a natural propensity to exploit others. When and where do they exert this propensity of abuse? Whenever they can in whatever circumstances they can.
Yet there is no easier context for exploitation and abuse than the unregulated sex industry. Why? Because it is illegal.
If one were to use the exploited and abused argument to argue against prostitution–which is severely more pronounced in the sex industry than most others–I would contend that this argument provides an even stronger reason to legalize prostitution and allow them to form unions and benefit from law enforcement when needed. Why? Because regardless of one’s personal moral stance on prostitution, it is going to happen anyway, with or without government protection.
Well, one could safely argue that an anti-legalization stance on prostitution is a stance AGAINST the protection and safety of women.
Consider the analogy of abortion, (please do not misunderstand, I hate abortion more than I hate divorce…but this is a different blog for a different day) regardless of one’s stance on this issue, they are going to happen anyway. We can either make it safe for women or not.
I often then get the question, “Well what if one of your daughters wanted to be a prostitute?” Like any job one of my children wanted to pursue, I would definitely want to make sure they have thought it completely through and are certain it is the right path for them. It would be no different for prostitution. I would want to be assured that she has thought it through completely and it is the correct path for her.
“But we cannot just legalize immoral activity just because people are going to do it anyway. People rob banks, should we legalize that?”
Thanks omniscient arguer –though even you cannot argue successfully with Jimmy. Prostitution is a mutually consenting act between adults that benefits both parties–activities like robbing banks hurts other people.
But, hey, don’t take my word for it and why should you? I am not a prostitute. So I went to interview a real, live “escort” of about 3 years, who works in the Southern California area. She happens to be an acquaintance of mine and gladly gave me permission to use her experiences in this blog…as long I did not mention her name.
So, prostitute, what about all those shows like MSNBC who show the dark side of prostitution?
“In every industry there is going to be an exploitation of labor. I am sure it happens in prostitution but it is a small percentage. It has never happened to me. I love my job,” she explained.
And what kind of ratings would a television show get if they interviewed people who are really happy and have no complaints and the fear of the universe was not coerced upon them? Pretty lousy.
So, Lady Of The Night, have you ever had a bad experience?
“Yes, once. About a year ago when a guy started to creep me out a bit. But it was not a problem. I just ran out the door.”
Not a bad batting average for an escort whose encounters are deep into the hundreds.
She explained that the key to successful escorting is finding the right madam (read: pimp) who screens all “Johns” and knows how to make the correct matches.
Of course, since all of this now has to be done in secret, it makes this process much more difficult and far riskier.
“I know this is something I can only do for a small window in my life,” explained the mid twenty-something escort, “I will probably be out of it in a couple of years. But it is good for me right now.”
Wow. She has never been hit, nor pressured, nor hurt, nor trafficked…in fact she is one of the happiest people I know who happens to make really good money. She is not scared, alone, uneducated, nor exploited. Quite the contrary, this self-empowered woman has a Bachelor’s Degree from one of the most prestigious Universities in the world.
Some might contend this particular escort is the exception. Perhaps…but would not the abused and exploited sex workers benefit from being able to climb out from under their rock and report abuse to authorities?
And what’s the downside to prostitution again?
Oh, yes. It’s illegal.
These are my thoughts on college students’ fifth favorite topic to speak about. The best part is that now if you ever want to speak on this matter, you have a really reliable source.