Foreigners who try to learn our language will tell you the process is confusing because so many words can mean their opposite. To screen is to look closely at an object or it can mean to hide it. Peer suggests equality unless you are referring to nobility which refers to great inequality. Cool we all know can sometimes be hot. And, until recent times, prostitute was a term of human enslavement. But no more. Some young Americans see entering the sex trade as liberated choice — the natural extension of the Woman’s Movement.
In the words of one young women who is making her way through college working as a “sugar baby” for $700 an hour: “I reject it when people say I’m oppressed by the patriarchy. People who work for seven dollars an hour are oppressed by the patriarchy.” (“The Young and the Rentless,” by Nancy Jo Sales, Vanity Fair, August 2016, pg.88.)
Though Abigail Adams, early proponent of women’s rights, (Click) never intended it, the current generation of liberated women have taken prostitution mainstream. One positive, I suppose, is that these women no longer need a pimp. All they need is a computer and enough money to sign up on a “professional” website. Yes, prostitution sites have gone mainstream. I won’t list them here, but the Vanity Fair article I quote above does.
What’s more these gals insist that “networking” with older men can give them insights on how to foster their careers outside prostitution. They insist they find the work “empowering” as they chose their clients, set the price and the hours. Some of them have even established “professional” social networks where they share tips on how to succeed in the sex business, including advice on how much to charge, how to avoid law enforcement and most important of all, what weapons to carry for personal safety — knives, pepper spray, box cutters. (Ibid pg. 90.)
Despite the professional gloss, what drives these young people, men and women, into the business is the is the high cost of an education, middle class parents who can no longer afford to help with tuition, loan debt and outrageous rents. Notions of empowerment are largely imagined. The work is as dangerous as it ever was. Rape and violence is “51 times higher than that of the next most dangerous job, working in a liquor store.” (Ibid pg. 91). What’s more, the thriving industry diminishes respect for every women. It perpetuates the illusion all women are prostitutes and, though they may protest, they like being raped. (Ibid pg. 91)
Young women today may attempt to recast the age old “profession” as empowering, but any woman who is referred to as “baby” isn’t getting the respect her education deserves. Any women who turns herself into a commodity in the bedroom isn’t likely to command respect in the board room. I’m not talking about morality. I’m talking about reality. A woman who drops her Channel suit for a man who pays her well remains a prisoner of the patriarchy. (Blog 10/27/15)