Daily Archives: April 16th, 2009

20/20 Documentary on Prostitution

(also found via Quit the Compromise)

Some brief thoughts and observations:

Decriminalising the women themselves who are involved in prostitution is an urgent priority; the constant cycle of drug addiction, arrest and poverty serves no purpose and is basically just punishing women for being poor and desperate.

All of the women interviewed who were working on the streets were drug addicts, most of them had been sexually abused as children; they were working after dark and early in the morning, out in freezing cold temperatures.

As one of the talking heads pointed out, the men who use prostitutes are rarely punished, because they might be someone important, the women never are.

All of the women featured in the documentary were amazingly strong and wonderful human beings, especially the homeless/vulnerably housed drug addicted women who took care of each other like family (better than family), particularly the woman in her 40’s/50’s who took in a homeless teenage girl so she wouldn’t have to start prostituting to survive.

On the ‘menu’ at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel: ‘salt and pepper party’ one black woman, one white woman; ‘Neapolitan’ one blonde, one brunette, one redhead. Please see this definition of objectification, particularly the point on fungibility.

While the men visiting the Ranch were apparently screened for sexual health, I’m willing to bet it’s no where near as invasive as the gynaecological exam the women working there have to undergo every two weeks.

When the women at the Ranch were talking candidly, none of them said they enjoyed the sex.

Many of the women, whether on the street or in the brothel, seemed to be suffering from emotional burn-out. This can happen in many jobs, for example being a doctor or nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit, or a homicide cop, but these are considered worthy jobs, it’s harder to justify women in their early 20’s burning out in service to men’s penises and men’s egos.

This is what is so strange about the ‘sex positive’ response to prostitution. As far as I can tell, ‘sex positive’ means that anything involving sex – or rather patriarchal, male supremacist, subject verb object (man fucks woman) constructions of sex – cannot be bad; but, if you are the one it is being done to, sex means almost nothing.

The Pimps. We are shown footage of three women following behind their pimp silently and with their eyes downcast. This is what slavery looks like.

The two women interviewed who were under the control of their boyfriend/pimps while they prostituted only entered into prostitution because of their boyfriend/pimps, they did not choose to be prostitutes then fall into the hands of pimps.

The ECP and the UKNSWP tell us that pimps are just the partners of prostitutes. If you only recognise control and coercion at the exact moment violence or the threat of violence is used, you won’t see much control or coercion.