August 14, 2008
3,067 views
11 Comments
Yes, I Did Pick Up Your Daughter. And She Was Lovely.

SUBMITTED BY GARRETT: This picture is from an ad campaign by a group in Chicago called “STOP SEXUAL EXPLOITATION.” Catchy, isn’t it? It’s the usual fear mongering and generalizations about sex work that have become the norm. Did you know that 86% of prostitutes are the victims of “some form of domestic violence”? Or that 66% are victims of incest? Those numbers come from the group’s website and are completely unsourced. The site also has a section on “Why Men Buy Sex” that is again filled with the usual “men who buy sex are all lonely, grubby porn-addicted losers” generalities.

But let’s focus on the ad. There’s a paternalistic tone right off the bat. Plus the, again unsourced, statistic that the majority of women involved in prostitution start before the age of 18.

First off, an adult having sex with someone underage, regardless of whether money is involved, is considered statutory rape. There’s not a sex worker group on the planet advocating that underage teens start getting involved in sex work.

Second, where is this mysterious dad figure while his daughter is being sold off into the night to all these lonely, grubby desperate johns?

Then there are the handcuffs. This is just bad design, because when I first saw this ad on a bus I thought BDSM, not prostitution. Yes, I have a filthy mind, but still.

This ad gets on my nerves because it’s so very simple-minded about sex work. All women involved (let’s ignore male sex workers, because this group sure does) are damaged, degraded people, eeking out an existence on the periphery. The men are all just addicts and losers, many of whom are a few more hook-ups away from committing some terrible sexual assault.

Nowhere do they address the sex workers who choose this profession. Nowhere do they talk about how the criminalization of sex work makes pimps more powerful and prevents sex workers from reporting crimes committed against them. Nowhere do they talk about the men (and women) who engage with sex workers and lead healthy normal lives.

Nope. This is about shaming you guys for picking up “someone’s daughter” and doing your horrible sex thing to them. You monster.

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Comments

  • nitpicker says :

    Nitpick: This is the second time today I’ve seen “eeking” … spellcheck doesn’t catch that?

  • BOINKOLOGY | This Week In… says :

    [...] Garrett picked up your daughter tonight. He says she was [...]

  • wrongo says :

    Prostitution is not a profession. It’s a human tragedy. You can fool yourself if you like, but there’s nothing respectable or admirable or about renting out your mouth vagina and anus. It’s just pathetic.

  • Lux Alptraum says :

    Wrongo:

    Wow, you feel so strongly about that that you posted an anonymous comment with a fake email address! It must feel great to stand behind your convictions.

    Frankly, I think that there’s nothing admirable or respectable about getting paid to sit at a a desk and stare at a computer all day, but hey, I don’t go around shit talking office workers!

  • Monday’s Moan-Worth… says :

    [...] Yes, that’s often why the dinner is free - here [...]

  • Christina says :

    Whilst I’m not against the idea of the exchange of sex for money between two consenting adults in theory, it seems that in practice it’s too often an act of exploitation.
    (http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=618)

    (And if you have a minute you should read this piece of research into men who use prostitutes attitudes towards the women: http://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/documents/Challenging_Men's_Demand.pdf)

    Whilst I’m sure there are people out there are people out there for whom sex work can be a postitive thing, for the majority research seems to indicate it’s pretty grim. That’s why I’m for the Swedish model of criminilisation of the buyer, where they’ve had a 80% drop in prostitution and sex trafficking has dropped to almost nil.

    (and for the record I’m not a fan of the ‘Hey, what do you think you’re doing with my daughter approach either).

  • Nine says :

    Here is a commentary, by numerous academics, on the extremely flawed Challenging Men’s Demand report: http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/A%20commentary%20on%20challenging%20men's%20demand%20for%20prostitution%20in%20Scotland.pdf

    The Swedish model is far from the success that its government makes it out to be. See for example http://www.petraostergren.com/content/view/44/108/ and http://www.theskinny.co.uk/article/42967-safety-before-ideology-comments-on-the-swedish-model
    Personally I can’t advocate a model which puts vulnerable people at even greater risk.

  • Laura says :

    I’m interested that you assume the ad is ‘paternalistic’. I suppose men reading the ad would assume the parent figure to be male, but, as a woman (and a mother of teens and a young adult), I internally assumed the parent was a mother. You know, that “mama bear”, protecting her young. (My 15-year-old daughter, reading over my shoulder, tells me she made the same assumption - the parent was a mother.)

    While I can accept, in theory, that sex work can be a career choice like any other, I suspect it rarely is; the risks of this particular career are great. As a mother, I’d be horrified if one of my children (boy or girl) chose it. Not because of the moral issues, but the health and safety ones.

    If you read the ad and assume ‘paternalism’, you’re reading it through a particular (paternalistic?) lens.

  • $pread Blog » Blog … says :

    [...] Paternalism As Argument Against Prostitution - I love this write up because I've always hated the appeal to paternalism is all its forms, and for some reason, lots of feminists replicate it. It's insulting to men to assume that they're so devoid of empathy or logic that the only way they could support a just cause (such as the right to abortion, or a law against rape, or more serious consequences for domestic violence) it to "imagine it's your wife/sister/mother" in the position of needing that justice.  [...]

  • Being Amber Rhea » … says :

    [...] BOINKOLOGY | Yes, I Did Pick Up Your Daughter. And She Was Lovely. “Nowhere do they address the sex workers who choose this profession. Nowhere do they talk about how the criminalization of sex work makes pimps more powerful and prevents sex workers from reporting crimes committed against them. Nowhere do they talk about the men (and women) who engage with sex workers and lead healthy normal lives.” (tags: sexwork annoying sexindustry women paternalism stereotypes stigma) [...]

  • Alexa says :

    That’s why I’m for the Swedish model of criminilisation of the buyer, where they’ve had a 80% drop in prostitution …

    Not sure where you come up with that figure. Perhaps the reporting of arrests for prostitution have dropped 80%, but that does not equate to a drop of 80% in prostitution. All the Swedish law has done is force the activity further into the shadows (and further endangering the sex workers), much as the two articles Nine posted pointed out.

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