I think the whole third-wave liberal notion of choice needs to be dropped. I don’t think that any woman - and certainly not any woman who has to work for a living - has any kind of a free choice that is not heavily constrained by patriarchal capitalism So rather than looking at the choices of women, which results in dividing prostituted women into poor women who are victims to be saved and rich women who have ”chosen” sex work and can therefore be condemmed, I think we should look at those people who do have a choice:
The pimps and managers and abusive partners and others who make profit on prostituted women (these are mostly male, but some women do take on these roles) who choose to exploit women and girls (and sometimes boys and men) in this way. Who choose to facilitate the economic coercion/rape of women and girls. Who choose to rape women. Who choose to kidnap women. Who choose to abuse women. Who chose to turn a blind eye to this rape and abuse. Who choose to beat women. Who choose to traffick women. Who choose to force women. Who choose to manipulate women into believing it was their choice all along. Who choose to physically and psychologically terrorise women. Who choose to kill women. And all while making money.
And the male punters who chose to economically coerce women and girls (and sometimes boys or men) into sex. Who chose not to ask questions about whether the sex they are economically coercing is with an underage girl. Who chose to not ask questions about whether the sex they are economically coercing is with a woman or girl who has been trafficked or pimped. Who chose not to ask questions about how much of what they pay goes into the woman’s pocket and how much is passed on to a pimp or brothel manager or abusive husband or boyfriend. Who chose to use physical violence and extreme sexual violence to add to the economic coercion. Who choose to believe that they have the right to use women’s bodies for sexual purposes. Who chose to push past what they had negotiated to do for money and enact more sexual violence and rape. Who choose not to consider the feelings or needs or comfort or pain of the woman they economically coerce into sex. Who choose to ignore the risks (of disease, pregnancy, physical injury, psychological trauma) they are exposing the women they economically coerce into sex to. Who choose to rape. Who choose to abuse. Who choose to torture. Who choose to kill. And all because they believe it is their right.
Can we concentrate on those choices please?
in response to this quote: “A rich woman’s right to sell sex is not more important than a poor woman’s right to not get raped. Sort out your priorities.”