From the Right
To avoid being super redundant, it kind of goes without saying that if people think sex work is inherently wrong, they don’t want their loved ones anywhere near it. That’s ok, but it’s separate from the issue of whether it should be legally banned.
If you don’t like sex work, don’t consume it. If you don’t like pot, don’t consume it. But if you’re asserting that making it legal would cause more harm that making it illegal, that’s a tough position to justify. Driving sex work underground has a lot of terrible consequences, not least of which is bolstering the sex trafficking industry.
From the Left
Story time: During the 2016 election, I was getting really exasperated seeing left-wing folks posting slut-shamey stuff about Melania nonstop.
No matter how you feel about Trump, or whether you’d be game to marry him yourself, Melania is smart AF. She figured out how to get out of her small town in an economically depressed area and become the friggin’ First Lady of the most powerful country on earth. That takes some major grit and savvy. Also, I couldn’t learn five languages fluently even if I had five lifetimes to do it.
One of my friends took issue with this, beat around the bush for a while, and finally said, “But wouldn’t you be upset if your daughter took nude photos for a living or worked in porn? Wouldn’t you rather she become a doctor or a lawyer?”
There’s a lot to unpack there. What’s the matter with a woman being a sex worker? Is it a fear that she’d be taken advantage of in the workplace? Well in that case, a great thing we can do is to de-stigmatize sex work, and encourage more women to become business owners and leaders in that industry. (Also, I’d much rather my daughter work for Stoya than for some of the male law firm partners that I’ve encountered.) Is it a fear that she’d ‘just be using her body / looks’ instead of her ‘brain’? We adore Meryl Streep and understand the difficultly and finesse of her craft; we deeply value women who work in fields like physical therapy / counseling / massage that help provide physical and emotional support to clients; yet we think that women who perform comparable roles in sex work aren’t using their ‘brains.’
I don’t really have a bigger point to make here, except just that it makes me sad that progressives are contributing to the kind of problematic stigmatization that has gotten us to a weird spot in the first place. I wish they’d cut it out.