March 12th, 2005 | Published in Uncategorized
Salon had an OK article about the porn industry today. It’s not especially notable, except that all semi-sane coverage of the sex industry is notable. The left seems to have a problem understanding how to deal with sex work. Either you condemn it as an exploitative abomination which must be done away with immediately, or you think it’s everyone’s right to do what they wish with their bodies. The first is puritan moralism; the second is individualist libertarianism. But whither socialism?
Certainly, sex work can be exploitative, degrading, and humiliating. But so can many other kinds of work. The problem is that we live in a sexist society which specially stigmatizes women who sell sex, in a way we don’t stigmatize sweatshop workers, say. Rather than issuing moral condemnations of the sex trade, maybe we could try advocating for the decriminalization of sex work, and argue against the stigma around pornography. If we did that, we could then advocate for the rights of sex workers as workers. Then we could address the very real exploitation that happens in the sex trade, without implicitly condemning women who do sex work.
Thesis: sex work is bad!
Antithesis: women have the right to control their own bodies!
Synthesis: decriminalize prostitution, support sex worker rights! (Also, support this magazine).