February 25, 2009

My Daughter Could be a "Prostitute" and That Would be Okay...

Yesterday, I was at lunch with a bunch of grad student friends who aren't in Gender Studies. For some reason, the subject of sex work, or as they said, "prostitution," came up. Now, I said, "I'd be fine if my child wanted to become a sex worker." All my friends were shocked at this statement. "You're so progressive!" one said. "I think prostitution should be legalised, but I don't think I'd want to say my daughter did it."

Here's the thing, I understand a lot of people feel this way. A lot of people are okay with prostitution being legalized but still aren't accepting of the profession. Many liberal feminists aren't crazy about sex work, but they think it's going to happen anyway, so we might as well regulate it so it's safer and we can collect taxes off it. In my opinion, however, if you think something isn't so dangerous or morally objectionable that it must be illegal, then it is hypocritical to be a NIMBY about it. If it's okay for SOMEONE'S daughter to be a sex worker, just not theirs. In my case, if I didn't see how my future child could potentially want to be a sex worker, I'm not so sure I would want sex work to be decriminalized and made safer so badly. Sex workers give want many describe as a sacred sexual service to people who otherwise might not be able to experience in the act in many cases. It's also a skilled job - for proof of this, read Belle Du Jour. In many cases, it pays well, too, and if it were decriminalized, we could do more to ensure that it does as sex work would be subject to minimum employment standards. Not only this, but I think sex work would totally be a more fun and engaging job than working in an assembly line.

If my child became a sex worker, that would be fine by me. I wouldn't be embarrassed to tell my friends. I wouldn't try to push her into other fields of work. I accept that if I'm going to defend decriminalizing sex work, I really ought to be okay with the prospect my own children entering into it as a career one day. I seriously think you should feel the same way. This is not a post designed at convincing you that you really don't back decriminalizing prostitution because you wouldn't want your kids to be prostitutes - this is a post begging you to ask the question, "If you think it should be legal, why would it be wrong for your kids to do it?" After all, one of the best ways to work towards legalizing prostitution is to get rid of the stigma that surrounds it to build popular support for the cause. But countries like Canada and Great Britain will only be convinced that sex work is real work when people genuinely believe it is. Part of that process is being fine with my kid giving blow jobs for cash, and even being proud of her for doing so....

1 comment:

Steph said...

Hey Rants! I am loving the last few posts (and thank you so much for the birthday shout out! It made my day). Anyways, I am just about to embark on a 20-page about decriminalizing sex work in Canada. Do you have any sources that you might reccomend?