Thursday, June 17, 2010

Im pretty sure this is what feminists are talking about

You thought I had forgotten about the "This is what feminism is talking about" posts didn't you? Nah. Just hadn't used them in a while. But I think I just found a good reason to blow the dust off of it.

Okay sex in and of itself is a hot button topic in gender discourse and the ante goes up quite a bit when you mention sex for money. I'm gonna go straight to it.

Is there a such thing as consensual prostitution?

Now yes there are certainly people in this world who are forced into sex work by others and I am not questioning that. However to leap from there to claiming that sex work can never be consensual is bit much. And it looks like someone over at Toy Soldier's place jumped:
Men and women who pay prostitutes for “sex” are raping those prostitutes, whether those prostitutes are men, women, children, transgendered, transsexual, or queer.

There is no such thing as non-coercive prostitution. Prostitution is coercive. Coercive sex is rape. The end.

Now this is pure speculation (because the commenter in question is pretty much a coward and is claiming "I’m not a feminist 101 resource, and I certainly don’t believe you’re asking those questions in good faith. As you’ve been over this ground before, elsewhere, with many a radfem back in the blog we’ve in common, I’ll refer you to those discussions. Cheers.") but I get the feeling I know where this person was going.

You see like I said sex is a powder keg and adding "for money" is a lighter. I wonder if this person was trying to imply that even people who engage in sex work for money of their own will are only doing of their "own will" as in they really only agreed to do it because they had no other choice.

I have a small problem with that. Who is to say that sex is such a special act that no one could possibly choose to engage in it for money unless they had no other choice? What is so wrong about the idea that someone, man or woman, may have other options but choose to engage in sex work? If I quit my IT job tomorrow and because a sex worker does that men I didn't choose it? And speaking of other jobs here's another thought. I perform IT work for money. Does that mean that I'm not consenting to helping people solve their technical problems because I'm going it for money? What's the difference between my IT skills and sex in terms of money?

Why would anyone try to hold sex up on such a pedestal that implies that as soon as money comes into the equation consent goes out the window?

I'm sure that most reasonable people would agree that such a thing is not so and I'm pretty sure that even a reasonable feminist would not jump to the conclusion that money means sex can't be consensual.