I was thinking more last night and this morning about the asks I was getting last night about the inherent oppressiveness in sex work and how it is an institution that thrives on marginalization, trauma, violence, and abuse. How when confronted with the information that 95% of women who work in prostitution would do something else if they had the option, we’re still asked to focus on the “plight” of the 5% who wouldn’t, because they’re consenting to what they are doing, and so shouldn’t be “shamed” for it. Because their consent, which comes from a place of having the privilege of options, is more important than the 95% of women who can’t and aren’t consenting because nothing is consensual when there is no other choice.
How is celebrating sex work as a valid, even feminist “choice” not the epitome of ignoring the oppression of women who are economically disadvantaged, who are psychologically struggling from abuse and trauma, who are racial minorities, who are children, who are being trafficked and exploited, in favor of focusing on the happy, shiny experiences of a few well-off, usually educated and mostly white women who did sex work because they wanted to?
I will not support institutions that rely on a stable population of exploitable women and girls for the overwhelming majority of their workers.
I will not support institutions that teach us that women’s bodies and women’s sexuality are commodities that can be purchased at will by men who are entitled to them.
I will not support institutions that remove agency from sexuality by teaching girls that you need to behave a certain way in order to please men, or else those men will go elsewhere for their pleasure.
I will not support institutions that spread their version of sexuality into the culture as a whole, pushing humiliating and sometimes dangerous sex acts into the mainstream as a necessary part of “good sex,” that compels women to sculpt their bodies, inflate their breasts, mutilate and bleach their genitals to meet a pornified standard.
I will not support institutions that teach women that their pleasure is an afterthought in sex.
I will not support institutions where one person’s ease of orgasm is treated as more important than another person’s life.
If you focus on that 5%, if you pretend that 5% is what’s important, if you pretend that expanding that 5% is the primary goal instead of defeating that 95%, than you do support those institutions. You are complicit. And no amount of “anti-shaming” or “sex positive” rhetoric will cover that up, when anti-shaming means you will not talk about what is wrong, and when sex positive means you refuse to recognize when sexuality is being warped beyond recognition.