[Re: “Selling sex,” Micheal Kudlow, Sept. 21, 2006]
This was an interesting story, and I am a bit surprised by the author’s conclusions. Clearly Mr. Kudlow’s contacts for his piece came from varied backgrounds–from the pimped woman working on the streets to the upper class woman who owns a few pieces of real estate. So how can he come to the conclusion that transactional sex is victimization of women across the board? Perhaps he didn’t meet a male companion, or he dismissed the autonomy of the budding real estate mogul.
Mr. Kudlow also seems conflicted in his own assessment of professional sex; on the one hand he seems to express admiration for some of the women he met, and then on the other he falls back into the professional ‘sex equals victimization’ belief. Perhaps he needs to deconstruct the profession for himself.
Any human who lives under the coercive and violent control of another is a victim, and Mr. Kudlow himself compared the situation of the pimped woman to that of women in abusive relationships. Yet I don’t see Mr. Kudlow bemoaning the existence of marriage. Furthermore, the people who find themselves under the control of another are not victims of transactional sex; they are victims of forced labour or slavery. People can be forced to perform all kinds of work–from agricultural to domestic.
The truth is that some of us actually choose to perform erotic services for money and–shock!–many of us enjoy it, too. We don’t sell our bodies, we sell services. Most of us are well compensated for our time and efforts. How many people can say they had an orgasm at the office today?
And there are more of us than you think. Just Google escorts and see how many of us come up. Often we will have websites, require deposits and extensive screening information and are quite in command of our little businesses.
I think few would disagree about the parasitic nature of your garden- variety pimp, but by Mr. Kudlow’s own admission, not all of the women he met seemed to be under the control of another person. I myself am not–nor have I ever been–and neither have most of my friends.
Many of my friends in the industry have degrees–sometimes two of them–and as the young lady in the story said, we make more money doing this than we would with what we could do with our degrees.
I myself have a graduate degree, and the job I perform with that degree is more altruistic than profitable. This is the same for several of my degreed friends. Professional companionship allows me to fund a more comfortable lifestyle, travel extensively and invest for my future. It also allows me to spend more time pursuing my volunteer and non-profit endeavours. It also paid for my education at two rather expensive universities. For many of my friends who are single mothers, it allows them to spend as little time away from their children as possible while providing them with a much better lifestyle than most other jobs would allow.
Professional erotic service provision can be a fun job or it can be a drag. We all have good days and bad days. Like cleaning toilets or practicing law, all jobs have their drawbacks and this one is no different. We just have the benefit of more independence than most. We also have the burden of providing for our own security, pensions, insurance, etc.–like any entrepreneur would.
We’d like the public to understand that most of us, no matter what our educational background or socioeconomic status, just want to get on with our lives and provide for our families. We don’t enjoy the lurid and prurient scrutiny we are subjected to in articles which attempt to remove our autonomy by painting us all as victimized individuals with few options. We also don’t appreciate how our choice of employment is somehow deemed to be indicative of our character. Are waitresses judged for choosing to serve food? Is this used to characterize them and surmise all manner of things about their childhoods?
Most of us don’t find our jobs degrading. We’d appreciate if your articles didn’t serve to give the impression that we do.