October 26, 2008

Would you legalize prostitution?

Wouldja wouldja?

You may have to put up with me all day today...I kinda literally forgot to sleep today (I do not remember waking up) and I'm pondering whether it'd be worth it or not right now. I thought I'd get breakfast but it's friggin' 36F out. In Celsius that's 4 above freaking freezing (although I wouldn't say its 4C out...is it?).

Um anyway, enough about the weather. In my last Women's Studies session we briefly talked about legalizing prostitution. I honestly can't remember quite how or why that came up but it did. Most of the women in class were silent but I'm pretty sure I said I'd be for the legalization of prostitution. Of course to hear me say this I'm sure many of the ladies were internally outraged.

Why on Earth would I support the legalization of prostitution? You know, this is a new stance for me. Most of my life--as in, up until a few years ago--I grew up with slut shaming. I was afraid of sex, afraid of sexuality. I grew up in that kind of environment, I had to drag out sexuality from my mom by force. I had to make her talk to me about my period. I understand why I had to, because she herself grew up in that environment--that and she had no mother to discuss these issues with anyway, so I'm sure having a tenacious little girl around bugging her about vaginas and what not was distressing.

So, I guess you could say I grew up repressed. Oh I knew what sex was but not what it is: completely natural. It's totally natural, this sex thing. Women should embrace their sexuality, not run from it or let anyone take it away from them, or let anyone judge them based on it; unfortunately this is a viewpoint that took me A WHILE to finally get used to.

So I grew up with slut shaming, I think I've established that. Slut shaming and self-hatred and discomfort. So why would I be for legalizing prostitution?

I understand, as I think we all do, why prostitution now has this negative image to it even if it wasn't always that way. You'll hear about runaways being forced into it, the sex trade, serial killers preying on hookers, drug abuse, pimps, and just all this horribleness. And worst of all, it's women selling themselves--using their sexuality to make an ends!

I have to admit that last part is what irritates me so much--a woman using her body to get what she needs, dare say what she wants. I don't pretend to understand prostitution but I think I have a fair grip on what it entails and I learn more and more each day. Ergo my position that I think I would be for legalizing prostitution.

And since I'm doing this pretty stream o'conscious I just realized I've yet to give a blessed reason other than rambling. Okay, well I'm thinking about safety for one thing. Safety for the women who choose to do this, for the women that have to, and for the women that are forced to. Would we hear a lot less of these horror stories if it was a legal act (everywhere) I wonder? Would it remove the criminal element (I think that makes sense...)? Also, you know, and I think this was brought up in class: you can't police morality. Ever. There are men/women that want to pay men/women (I just realized I hadn't brought up male prostitution at all...or hell anyone-prostitution) to have sex and obviously whether it's legal or not they will. I know you saw those HBO documentaries. So I'm kinda almost falling back on the "why not?" even though I know if I were half awake right now I'd be swinging with better reasons and some real ammo.

So. Sex work rights. I'm totally on board now and thanks for having me. Umm, if none of this makes sense right now wait a few hours and I swear I'll try to clarify.

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