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Prostitution is a viable lifestyle, no lack of emotional connection

Julian Hock-Beaty

Prostitution is a viable lifestyle, no lack of emotional connection

December 12, 2017

Sex work. It’s probably the most uncomfortable subject anyone could put in a high school newspaper. But there’s no reason for something that is so ingrained in human beings to be shoved away into allies and the dirty part of the Internet. Sex work can include prostitution, stripping and porn. Most of it is illegal or highly regulated, and while there should be certain regulations, the illegality and certain “precautions” can be harmful to the men and women in the multibillion dollar industry.

For being the world’s oldest profession, prostitution is surrounded by taboo. Chimpanzees, capuchin monkeys and Adélie penguins all exchange sex for things like food and nesting material. Many leading human rights’ organizations support decriminalization of prostitution, including the World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch and UNAIDS. Right now, prostitution is completely illegal in most of the world, including the United States in every state but Nevada. In the Nordic model, in place in much of the Netherlands, buyers who are caught are charged, but not sellers. The US should decriminalize prostitution in all states. However, it should not be legalized. When prostitution is legalized, it can be taxed heavily and unreasonable regulations can be placed on the workers.

Decriminalization of prostitution can protect the workers and their families. Even in the Nordic model, brothels are completely illegal. Because of this, workers are at risk of landlords evicting them and their families for fear of being prosecuted as a brothel. The medical journal The Lancet claimed that decriminalization “would have the greatest effect on the course of HIV epidemics across all settings, averting 33-46 percent of HIV infections in the next decade. Such a move would also reduce mistreatment of sex workers and increase their access to human rights, including health care.”

Stripping and other erotic dancing is much more legal. There are about 4,000 strip clubs in the US. Everyone has heard of someone who’s stripping their way through college. As it turns out, a third of strippers really are paying their way through higher education. Strippers’ earnings vary from shift to shift, so salary depends on night, location, and how many times per week they work. Some women in

this branch of the sex work industry see stripping as a form of feminist empowerment, and it should be seen as that. Self-proclaimed feminist stripper Antonia Crane believes that the men who go to her club are mostly there to seek a connection that doesn’t have emotional attachments and that it can be an emotionally helpful experience. She said, “I have, many times, felt like the more powerful and needed one in that context.” It’s one of the problems with feminism today. Some “feminists” claim that the empowerment is meant to encourage women to take up traditionally masculine jobs and throw away seemingly sexist careers like sex work. In reality, women should feel empowered enough to do things like sex work because they honestly want to.

Pornography may be the most used form of sex work. Yet, it’s treated as something to be shoved away and hidden. While there aren’t very many consequences for those who consume porn, the men and women who make the videos are strictly regulated. Most of the regulations are good; porn stars are routinely given health check-ups and policies are put in place to ensure their boundaries are respected. However, other state-issued regulations can be harmful to the actors’ career. Proposition 60 was a ballot proposition in California. The proposition would allow the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration to prosecute workers and firms anytime a condom is not visible in a porn film. The proposition would have allowed California citizens to sue pornographers ad receive their personal information. Excessive law suits, actor safety and the taxes it would take to enforce it caused Proposition 60 to not pass, but by the thin margin of about 8%. If that proposition had passed, it would have been very detrimental to the industry an everyone who works in it. If pornographers were allowed to just make their films, the workers would be much better off and would never worry about having their personal information in the open.

Sex work, while often seen as dirty and obscene, is the source of work for thousands of men and women. Those men and women should be respected as much as anyone, regardless of the nature of

their profession. For many women, sex work is empowering and a way to express feminism. This writer chooses to side with Amnesty International, saying sex workers’ rights are human rights.

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