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Ok, my title may seem extreme, but let’s think about this a little.
We are being inundated with groups and individuals trying to rid the world of sex work in all its forms, in countless countries there has been change, multiple attempts at change, and consistent banging at the door change.
These groups are very effective; many get a lot of funding to carry out work or research to abolish sex work. Articles, papers and documents are published and distributed widely as proof to back up their aims. Much of the research that has been carried out has been done on selected groups for a selected outcome, with little or no peer review in place. There is no true evidence base; much of the so called evidence cannot be empirically tested. If the evidence or the statements issued by the interviewed individuals don’t meet the examiners “criteria”, it is dismissed, as it is “inconvenient”, and they will dismiss such findings or evidence by casting doubt on the individual’s statements.
There criteria is based on their own judgement of morality and they term it a political perspective to give it weight, but it isn’t one that can be scientifically tested based on their criteria. But their political perspective has influenced recent legislation and public policy in many countries.
These groups have moral ideals which they are passionate about, but we also know that this alters their objectivity, and yet with such altered and known distorted objectivity they have influence. The main word here for you to concentrate on is “distort”. They simply distort the truth and distort “the reality of prostitution” (Weitzer, 2010). Out of this distortion and sea of carefully selected words and phrases myths are made.
“The proliferation of myths based on the oppression paradigm is responsible for the rise of a resurgent mythology of prostitution”. (Weitzer, 2010)
They are well known to use forms of language which diminish, with the attempt to extinguish the sex worker. There is a massive play on words to scare those in decision making positions, the policy makers. These policy makers don’t *lways know the full truth on the subject matter. Don’t assume for one second that just because someone is a politician and has been given an office position that they know the subject matter. This goes for most policy voters in these situations. They read the information given to them, and obviously trust the source, and digest what is in front of them, absorbing the strong words and phrases that define the sex worker and the environment of the sex worker. What are these words and phrases? Well here are only a few examples;
Inequality of the sexes
Doles out death and disease
Lethal form of male violence against women
Coercion and domination
Prostitution is violence
Inherently oppressive and exploitative
Men’s power against women’s subordination and lack of choices
Enables men to assert power and control over women
Spectrum of men’s violence against women and children
Exploiter/predator and victim/prey
Sexually aggressive male behaviour
Women as prostitutes means that they are treated as if they are not human
Reduces all women to sex
All prostitution exploits women, regardless of women’s consent
The commercial sex trade is detrimental to a healthy society and undermines the dignity of all people
Clients are labelled prostitute users and sexual predators.
Prostitution is rape that’s paid for
Johns are regularly murderous toward women
Men who buy sex in the same category as rapists, paedophiles and other social undesirables
Prostituted women, victims, or survivors
If “any woman is assumed to have freely chosen prostitution, then it follows that enjoyment of domination and rape are in her nature”
Objects that men masturbate into
Physically or sexually abused as children
Tricked or forced
This list can go on and are some examples only, most of which have been sourced from Weitzer 2010
What we have then is a group of oppression paradigm writers that select and emphasise specific instances and construct them as the norm.
All of the words and phrases used are deliberate attempts at framing the reader’s perception of sex work. Much of the media use the same words and phrases when reporting, and hence the public’s perception is also distorted.
This is the power of words. Words can inspire or diminish. It is a choice, and this group choose to demean and diminish and make the sex worker less than whole. Remember it is their choice to distort the reality of sex work – their choice, their words, and their terms. For those that use such techniques, it is a blight from their minds and mouths.
So we have a concerted effort by many to oppress that of the sex worker and their environment, to diminish and extinguish by the use of sensational words and phrases, and they do so because it is the only solution that they have to their ideological passion and that is to oppress singularly.
It’s a one dimensional approach.
But sex work and its environment is far from one dimensional, and thankfully there are researchers who are looking at this variation, looking at the interdependence and varying circumstances of a structurally complex environment from the perspective of the “polymorphous paradigm” (Weitzer 2010).
We are in interesting times politically, and we have the opportunity to talk, so let’s talk, human to human. Or shall you, the users of the oppression paradigm, remain within your shadow of distortions and not move forward to a better understanding?
As you can see much has been sourced from “The Mythology of Prostitution” by Ronald Weitzer. It’s a great paper and one I suggest that you read.