Thursday, March 6, 2008

Why do you keep referring to sex work as accepted when many forms of it aren't even legal?

Diehard social conservatives oppose sex work and usually sex workers. In fact, diehard social conservatives are very nearly the only people who systematically oppose sex work, as well as being the only ones who ever get any sort of meaningful forum in which to publically air their views. I do believe that diehard social conservatives are scary people who are opposed to sex workers as human beings in addition to being anti-sex work.

The problems with arguing that the hatred the extreme right has for sex workers constitutes a general persecution within our society are:

1. They aren't very sincere about it. The practice of arch-conservative social views usually amounts, for those who have observed these people in their natural habitat, to the saying of one thing in public and at church while a completely conflicting lifestyle is practiced in one's private life, Monday through Saturday. Most of my clients tended towards the social conservative. Social conservative men are just about famous for secretly frequenting prostitutes for sex acts which liberals would actually consider extreme.

The reasons for this are clear in the myriad other practices of social conservatives, from anti-choice activism to insistence that two women can't love each other to the belief that men who are effeminate deserve to be beaten horrifically. Social conservatives are taught to hate women from the day of their birth, regardless of gender.

Again, the vast majority of johns, custys, obsessive porn-watchers, and clients are openly abusive woman-haters in addition to being social conservatives. There are very few conclusions one could draw except that woman-hating actually makes one incredibly compatible with sex work. Social conservatism actually makes one very compatible with sex work, no matter what ideologies you pay lip service to in church.

I don't believe for a second that the majority of extreme right men actually want sex work to stop. I think the majority of them see or have seen sex workers on a regular basis.

2. Diehard social conservatives are a vocal minority in most countries in the world, pretty much in all countries well off enough that sex work is ever discussed as a "choice" rather than the result of kidnapping and slavery. They are in fact a very small minority. Even in America, a well-off, resource-rich, highly-educated superpower with an inexplicable leaning toward fundamentalism, arch-conservatives are not as common as those who believe that any sex act not involving them personally and not meeting their very narrow definition of rape is none of their business. There are many more people who believe that sex work is okay than there are that believe it is not.

3. Diehard social conservatives are not actually all that powerful. While anti-sex work rhetoric, anti-gay rhetoric and anti-abortion rhetoric works its way into the mainstream discourse, this is usually just a way for fiscal conservative politicians with social libertarian views to whip people into a frenzy of distraction from the actual issues. In America, sex work has been lumped in with sex in general as a wedge issue that causes poor people to vote against their own interests and for a war that kills the poor.

This does not necessarily mean that the powerful politicians claiming to be against sex work actually are. In fact, they probably use sex workers.

The best arguments against using sex workers involve empathy for those lower in social status (women) and those lower on the socioeconomic ladder than oneself. This is simply not common among elites. One does not become powerful in our world by actually caring for the downtrodden. Elites use sex workers at an alarming rate. Elites are usually either as hypocritical as the conservatives they represent, deploring sex work while secretly taking advantage of and protecting it, or in many cases, openly advocating for it.

Elites support sex work, or we wouldn't have superexpensive escort agencies catering to them. Those in power include Larry Flynt. To claim that those in power are rabidly anti-sex work and trying hard to repeal sex work worldwide is delusional and shallow. At worst, they are trying to make life harder for the sex workers they love to hate while limiting access to sex workers by disadvantaged men.

In short, sex work is opposed by a small minority, most of whom don't seem to actually mean it. Those in power actively support sex work and patronize the sex industry, prefering to abuse sex workers rather than actually limit sex work in any meaningful way.

In this environment, sex workers are in danger. But to claim that sex work itself is in danger is just stupid. Sex work itself is flourishing and constantly gaining in acceptance.

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