Let’s talk about “sex work,” i.e., porn, prostitution, and stripping and whether or not they are legitimate forms of work (spoiler: they are NOT).
Now radical feminism – and I agree wholeheartedly with this – says that they are not “work,” that these “jobs” exploit and objectify women for men for a little cash. They create a demand that can only be filled through trafficking, turning women out, forcing them into it, getting them hooked on drugs so they are more cooperative with the rapes they have to endure all day, every day, for years, if not their whole lives.
For every woman who says she “chose” to be a stripper, porn star, or prostituted woman there are 10k, if not 100k stories of women being forced into that “work” against their will.
Also, let’s step back for a second and talk about choice. Now libfems (short for liberal feminists, what we call “fun fems” or “choicey choice faux feminism”) believe that any choice a woman makes is ok because she is the author of her own book. It also tells us that every choice a woman makes is feminist because women are making those choices. But, where libfems just scratch the surface, refusing to look more closely at or see the bigger picture, radical feminists go into more deeply by understanding that almost every choice a woman makes is not really a choice. Not when it comes to patriarchy and the male supremacy in which we are living.
Like, for example, makeup. Women never really needed makeup – but it was what men wanted. So while women who wear makeup will tell you that it is their choice and they like to do it, it really was never their choice because it gets drummed into little girls’ heads that they need to wear makeup to be pretty. We call this performing for the male gaze – and even Lesbians can get caught up in this shit. The same can be said for shaving – and this is where women police other women by calling not shaving unhygienic, dirty, or gross. This, again, is performing for the male gaze – even if we’re not consciously deciding to perform for the male gaze, we are doing it bc we were conditioned to do so from birth.
So back to “sex work.” Women who are trafficked into it and have been forced to perform for men or have sex with men, well, we understand that it is not their choice – and that is the VAST majority of cases. But what about those who choose to do it, you ask? Well, I can guarantee that every single one of those women have had to do something they didn’t want to do to or with a man paying them to do it. They didn’t have a choice, they had to do it. Also, that number of women is minuscule compared with women forced into it.
Think about this: is it *really* her choice if she has to sell her body or strip or do porn so she can pay bills, pay rent, and eat? No, that is not a choice. If she is having sex with dudes who she wouldn’t be having sex with unless she was being paid, that’s not a choice. That’s what we mean when we say that consent cannot be bought.
Prostituted women are in danger. They need a way out, not middle class white women supporting their “choice” to sell themselves. Paid rape is still rape and porn is paid rape on tape – except a lot of sites, like pornhub, show videos of women and girls ACTUALLY being raped. They are not getting paid, just raped and then humiliated by that rape being viewed and searched for by millions of disgusting men. Oh, and then, even when sites like pornhub know it is actual rape, they refuse to take the rape off of their site because: money (which is one reason why radical feminists are also anti-capitalists, but that’s another thread).
A lot of women roll up in here thinking they are radical feminists because they are gender critical (GC) and they know men cannot become women. But they are perfectly ok with “sex work” and think they are centering women with that warped pov. They’re not, they’re centering men, men’s needs, men’s wants.
So think deeply about “choice” and agency and whether or not women’s choices are *actually* their own.
“Sex work” is not work, it is exploitation, it is objectification, it is using women’s bodies for men’s pleasure. This is why we support the Nordic Model: legalization of prostitution creates more demand, which creates more trafficking. But by criminalizing the pimps and johns/punters while not criminalizing the prostituted women and in fact helping them to get out of that life, that is how we deal with this issue. Until every last woman and child are out and we can abolish the “sex trade” once and for all.
For those who think “sex work” is legitimate work, like a career or something, would you want your daughter, sister, niece going into that “line of work?”
Notice that I only talk about women here. Number one, because men actually HAVE a choice (and frankly, Idgaf about them) and because child prostitutes are NOT a thing – that’s called raping children.
Julie Bindel wrote a great book on prostitution – it helped a friend of mine who was GC, but still mostly a libfem, see the truth about “sex work.” It’s called The Pimping of Prostitution: Abolishing the Sex Work Myth.