Feminist Current 7 November 2013
. . .when our work is to normalize the industry rather than to provide exiting programs, social safety nets, public education programs, and other options for women who find themselves without a way to support themselves or who are vulnerable, I do think that we are giving up.
Decriminalization seems to assume that prostitution is inevitable and that, therefore, male power and dominance is inevitable and, as such, all we can do is to make the best of it.
Why are progressives giving up on women? And not only that but why are they giving up on men? Why is there an assumption that men must treat women as things to be used for their pleasure? Is the message we want to send out in Vancouver and, more widely in Canada: “this is what men do” or “this is what we expect from the society we live in”?
Not only that but when we frame sex as work, we work from an assumption that sex can be something that exists only for male pleasure. That sex can be something that happens to women but does not require that women feel pleasure as part of the act.
…We want women to be safe, but we also want women to be human. We want women to have rights, but we also want women to have real choices. We want respect and equitable treatment for women but we don’t believe that johns will ever provide this. No man who thinks he has the right to purchase women is a man who believes in real equality and a man who can legally do this is a man who thinks that this is what women should do for him. No woman should be thrown in jail for having to do what she needs to in order to survive, but certainly we don’t need to accept and legalize exploitation from men in order to decriminalize the women?
Simply, no person who views themselves as progressive and who believes in working towards an equitable society should, from my perspective, also believe that an equitable society can exist in one where women are prostituted.
Meghan Murphy is the founder and editor of Feminist Current. Launched in July 2012, Feminist Current is the most-read feminist blog in Canada and won Best Feminism Blog in the 2012 Canadian Blog Awards