Updated: Jun 7
Not for the faint hearted post
Dear subscribers to The Garrulous Glaswegian - this isn't my usual soft opinion piece, or humourous anecdote, or general observation, or semi-serious rant. I understand if it doesn't interest you, and apologise if it's a little hard-hitting for you. I felt the need to write this to counter the aggressive pro-prostitution lobby on some of the websites I visit and I promise something lighter for my next article! I've also altered the publication date of this post so it doesn't come up first on the feed.
“He who controls the language controls the masses” - Saul Alinsky
The term "sex work" isn't natural or objective. It comes specifically from the well-funded and organised pro-prostitution movement and it is used by those who want to gloss over the horrifying harms of prostitution.
"The whole point of the sex industry is that it offers men the chance to buy sexual access to women who do not want to have sex with them – otherwise they wouldn’t have to pay. Masking its fundamental purpose thus becomes the primary PR challenge for the prostitution, pornography and strip club trades if they are to survive."
If you're in favour of promoting prostitution, you'll be one of the "But it's a choice innit" tribe.
But as we all know, paying your rent by submitting to grunting sweating strangers emptying fluids into you, men who regularly take the opportunity to also beat and torture you, is pretty much the opposite of an informed choice.
"If, while having sex with someone, you feel repulsed by them touching you, afraid of what they might do, degraded and humiliated by the sexual acts, hurt by the hateful words they’re whispering in your ear, sore because he’s the fifth man you’ve had sex with today, exhausted from it all, traumatised, abused – the fact that you’ll get a bit of cash at the end does not change anything. There is no invisible hand in the prostitution market that magically disappears the lived experience of sexual abuse."
It's such a great choice that every parent wants their daughter to become a prostitute.
It's such a positive choice that nobody shames women with the word whore anywhere, ever.
It's such a genuine choice that every little girl grows up dreaming that one day a grunting, sweating stranger will empty his fluids into her so she can pay her bills.
If women were choosing to have sex with you, you wouldn't have to pay them. If money changes hands, it's coerced. That's factual, simple and easy to understand.
I wonder why some men pretend not to?
"Prostitution is inherently abusive, and a cause and a consequence of women’s inequality. There is no way to make it safe, and it should be possible to eradicate it. Abolitionists reject the sanitising description of “sex worker”, and regard prostitution as a form of violence in a neoliberal world in which human flesh has come to be viewed as a commodity, like a burger."
But let's pretend for a moment that the happy hooker myth is not a myth, that the majority of prostitutes aren't in danger, abused, harmed, and desperate to escape.
It's still incredibly good news that prostitution isn't work, at least for every unemployed person in Australia. To be eligible for JobSeeker allowance while you're out of work, Centrelink obligations include applying for any and all jobs you could conceivably carry out. Job plans include a requirement to prove which jobs and how many you have applied for each fortnight.
As we all know, in the sleazy world of pornographers and pimps, nobody is spared. There's a grotty fetish for every niche. Anybody of any age, disability, mental health or physical fitness level could find a place in the world of prostitution.
Everyone, from the woman recovering from breast cancer, to the grandma who only has a few years till retirement, to the barely legal teen with PTSD, to the man who uses a wheelchair, each and every one of them would be an acceptable candidate to at least apply to become a prostitute. What a lovely interview process that would be, too.
And of course filmed prostitution (pornography) is in exactly the same category.
If prostitution was actually a job, therefore, our fearless leaders Scotty and Co. would force every single unemployed person who receives Centrelink benefits to apply for a job as a hooker.
So, thank goodness prostitution isn't work.
Because if it was, every unemployed person in Australia would have a horrific surprise coming.
Do you find the word hooker offensive? Because I find degrading, objectifying, exploiting and abusing humans offensive. And I find it fascinating that the word hooker is more offensive to you than the worldwide epidemic of women being raped, beaten and murdered so they can pay their rent. So let's agree to disagree.
The Mythology Of The “Oldest Profession”
Prostitution is not only not work, it is not by any means the oldest profession — another myth pimped by the pro-prostitution lobby. “The most ancient profession” was a phrase offered without evidence in an article published in 1888 by the profoundly talented, but sadly also misogynistic and racist Rudyard Kipling.
Prostitution certainly couldn't have existed before cities existed, and the first cities didn't exist until around 7500 BCE, whereas humans have existed for about 200,000 years. If you're trying to claim people didn't have jobs before 7500BCE, perhaps you're not defining all the skills it took to stay alive as jobs, but that's pretty much the definition of work.
There are a number of other reasons why prostitution can’t possibly be considered work
Sometimes people try to compare prostitution to cleaning toilets. But toilet cleaners don't face rape, beatings, murder, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies as a standard part of their cleaning contract. I bet if you've ever scrubbed a toilet you know the difference between that and having sex.
People sometimes try to compare prostitution to coal mining or other hazardous jobs.
But we try hard to reduce the harms caused to workers in hazardous jobs by the use of safety equipment, while harms inflicted on prostituted people are expected and intentional. No safety equipment can be used in prostitution. Harming women is not only not discouraged, it is considered a goal for prostitute abusers.
Sometimes prostitution is compared to fast-food work. But Hungry Jacks employees don't need help to escape from pimps, they can just hand in their notice and go to the next job where they won't be raped and assaulted to pay their electric bill.
Sometimes people try to claim it's a service job. But the age, race or sex of service employees isn't relevant. You don't care who your cashier, window cleaner or car detailer is, they're just there to offer you their services. Whereas prostitute abusers will only accept sexual services from very specific people, for example a man who wants to abuse a young woman won't allow an old woman or a young man to take her place.
Occasionally people try to compare prostitution to boxing, since the aim of boxing is to cause harm. However, boxing offers equal opportunity harm. If prostituted women could force Johns to do the same thing they're being forced to do while calling the Johns filthy names there might be some basis for comparison.
You cannot possibly manage to include any basic WHS conditions in prostitution, yet WHS protections are mandated by law for genuine employment. You can't use goggles, latex gloves or any other Personal Protective Equipment regularly and be a prostitute. All legitimate jobs allow for PPE in work where you experience occupational exposure of bodily fluids or other materials to the eyes, mucous membranes etc. Prostitution requires constant and regular exposure to blood, mucous, sperm, saliva and disease.
The working conditions required for prostitution would be considered unacceptable for real jobs.
Prostituted people don't have unions and cannot have unions. Pimps and pornographers call themselves sex workers because they are employed in the sex industry and spend their time lobbying for no protections for prostitutes and deregulation.
Why Do Pimps and Johns Pretend Prostitution Is Work?
"The discourse surrounding prostitution has changed in that we’ve tried to sanitise the industry. “A job like any other” makes prostituted women into service providers."
Making money out of human abuse is the entire point of the sex industry. If they can change the narrative and control the discourse they can hide the horrifying truth, minimise concerns over prostituted women and make more money. It’s just that simple.
When you can legalise prostitution you massively increase the numbers of prostituted women. It's not in any way a demand/supply situation. The demand to abuse women will always increase with the access to women you can abuse.
"Trafficking of women into New Zealand into legal and illegal brothels is a serious problem, and for every licensed brothel there are, on average, four times the number that operate illegally. Violent attacks on women in the brothels are as common as ever. “The men feel even more entitled when the law tells them it is OK to buy us,” says Sabrinna Valisce, who was prostituted in New Zealand brothels both before and after decriminalisation. Under legalisation, women are still murdered by pimps and punters.
When prostituted women become “employees”, and part of the “labour market”, pimps become “managers” and “business entrepreneurs”, and the punters are merely clients. Services helping people to exit are irrelevant because who needs support to get out of a regular job? Effectively, governments wash their hands of women under legalisation because, according to the mantra, “It is better than working at McDonald’s.” As one sex-trade survivor told me, “At least when you work at McDonald’s you’re not the meat.”
More Mythology - The Happy Hooker
Pro-prostitution arguments are very occasionally made by a privileged minority of prostitutes. But the majority of prostituted women are well aware of how horrifying prostitution is.
"In certain social circles, praising “sex workers” has become fashionable. How has prostitution — an outdated, slavery-like industry — been made to look so modern?"
"Some tolerant, sophisticated and urbane folk — even those who bang the drum of human rights — get angry when faced with empirical evidence that demonstrates prostitution is not harmless. Defenders of prostitution often attack ad hominem. On social media, critics are variously described as “hairy legged-lesbians” (apparently lesbians are only cool when pro sex-work), “whorephobic,” “sex-negative,” “man-hating,” “fundamentalist feminists.”
When people are forced to resort to insults and logical fallacies, you know they have no argument.
As Rachel Moran, a survivor of prostitution points out:
"Men buy sex because they think they can treat prostitutes differently than they can treat their wives, girlfriends, and dates. They buy sex in order to project what Moran called “evil arousal” onto a human being, guilt and consequence-free. They buy sex to experience dominance and to make rape and abuse “consensual” (as we’ve convinced ourselves that payment = consent). Indeed, most johns derive sadistic pleasure from that power imbalance."
To be clear, if you reply to me claiming you’re a happy hooker who just loves being used as a sperm receptacle by strangers, or claiming that your best friend is that same mythical creature, I don’t believe you.
Many comment threads have a "but as a single father whose ex-wife was a trained assassin" type of unproven anecdotal comment.
Nobody believes them either.
Slavery Is Slavery Even If You Personally Endorse It
And even if by some miracle you were telling the truth, if you are in a tiny privileged minority who enjoys having men empty their bodily fluids into your various orifices so you can pay your rent, that doesn't change how abusive, dangerous, harmful and degrading the industry of prostitution is.
And it doesn't change the fact that implementing the Nordic Model (which has been proven to work despite what pimps and Johns would tell you) would improve the lot of hundreds of thousands of women, save lives and give prostituted women some sort of hope for escape and for their future.
In the days of slavery in the USA, and for a time after slavery became illegal, you could find slaves who had been apparently contented and didn't want to be emancipated, who even missed being enslaved. That didn't change the fact that slavery was a diseased, debased degradation of human beings.
The point being not that slavery is exactly like prostitution, as obviously there are differences as well as parallels. The point being that just because rare individuals are in favour of a horrible, abusive practice does not make that horrible, abusive practice any less horrible, or any less abusive.
The Nordic Model
Calling prostituted women prostituted women is not remotely offensive, phobic, cruel, unkind or harmful. It's just reality. Reality sometimes hurts people's feelings, and that's ok.
And no, you didn't help her by having coercive sex with her so she could afford food. If you can afford to coerce women into sex, just give her the money anyway and masturbate like a normal person.
What will lessen harms to prostituted women is not pretending that prostitution is not harmful, dangerous and abusive, or making it easier to coerce more women into prostitution, but criminalising the pimps and Johns who use prostitutes and accepting that when we see women as human beings we will no longer consider it normal to use g women's bodies as somewhere to deposit fluids and violence.
The only rational, fair and workable model to minimise the harms of prostitution is the Nordic Model. In the Nordic model, prostituted women are not criminalised, but the men who use them are. The pro-prostitution camp is well aware that decriminalising prostitution always increases human trafficking.
"So, when a country decriminalises the sex trade, it is announcing that buying sexual access to other people and profiting from their prostitution are now considered acceptable. This inevitably leads to more men buying sex more frequently, and more pimps and brothel keepers wanting to get their hands on all that extra money.
But there aren’t enough women to fill this increased demand, because women who have genuine choices don’t generally choose to go into prostitution. This means that those who want to cash in on this extra money have to use coercion, force, trickery, or taking advantage of (mostly) young women’s vulnerabilities to recruit and retain women and girls in prostitution. This fits the United Nations definition of sex trafficking."
For that reason, pimps and Johns and their enablers and supporters try hard to discredit the Nordic Model.
Men who use prostitutes cause women immense suffering and harm.
The myth of the happy hooker and the lonely man is just that, a myth.
Behind every person using the term "sex work" is a man promoting the abusive degradation of human beings.
If you're claiming to be a happy hooker, you can call yourself whatever you like. I don't believe in compelled speech.
But I won't ever call a prostituted woman a sex worker.
And if you think of women as human beings, neither should you.
I refer throughout to prostituted women because at least 80 percent of all prostitutes worldwide are women. I am interested in helping prostituted males too, and if you wish to write an article on the abuse suffered by prostituted men and link it to me, I'll gladly read it.
If you disagree with my well-evidenced, argued and resourced conclusions, please read (or at least skim) the articles I have listed below. If you still choose to prom0te prostitution and use the harmful, dangerous euphemism "sex worker" after reading those articles, we really don't have much to say to one another anyway.
And for those of you who might feel the need to resort to ad hominem fallacies making claims about my dried up lady parts - prostitution isn't sex, it's abuse.
Sex, however, is great.
As well as these further sources, credit should be given to the comment section on this article, as I took some of the commenter's points and elaborated on them:
As always, comments are appreciated. However, if you feel a pressing need to comment upon something I didn't say, that you wish I had said or that you think I might have been implying, or use straw men or other logical fallacies in your comments,
please read this article first: