It’s been 25 years since the movie “Pretty Woman” came out, starring Julia Roberts. The anniversary has sparked conversation and debate among feminists on how the movie portrays sex work.
Women’s site, Mamamia has portrayed both sides of the debate; one decrying the victim status often given to sex workers and one telling of the brutality of it (sorry, can’t post either at the moment… really hate that!).
Last night, “The Project” did a story also portraying contrasting experiences by women who are, or had been in the sex industry. So, what should people make of it?
I think there is validity in the argument that we should separate sex trafficking and forced prostitution to women who make a choice to get involved in sex work. I don’t think doing things like outlawing prostitution will really work. I think there’ll always be loopholes that could always be passed through. From a completely legal point of view (not moral), I think it’ll be somewhat better to have it legal and regulated.
Will that make the situation 100% safe? No. Prostitution has been legal in Holland since the early 2000’s (2001, i think) and they still have an issue with trafficking, particularly from Russia and Eastern Europe.
There is one more thing I think needs to happen. I think some young women get into prostitution to get some “quick” money, usually for study or tuition fees. I think this is something that needs to be looked at by the Government. Why do young women feel like they need to turn to sex work for money? Does there need to be more help for fees? Does there need to be more work for young people to choose? Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about women who actively choose to be sex workers. I’m talking about women who feel compelled to do sex work because of a lack of a cashflow. For some reason, it doesn’t seem right.
How should women, particularly self – claimed “feminist” view sex work? If it’s a genuine choice, then it’s their choice. However, I think there is something to be said about it when young women feel like they need to get into prostitution as a last resort to make money, whether to fund their current lifestyles or, more seriously, a drug addiction. It’s these women, I believe, should be guided to another path and get the help that they need.