August 18, 2009
Feminists have a long history of ambivalence about working girls. I mean, “independent contractors.” It’s an issue that ties them into philosophical knots.
On the one hand, independent contractors are bad because their business involves gratification of male desire, treatment of women as objects for pleasure, and sometimes brutal physical abuse, sexual disease and even murder. They also dress in heteronormative high heels and hot pants, and wear too much lipstick. That suggests independent contractors are tools of patriarchal oppression.
On the other hand, independent contractors stand for female empowerment. They do make money and there is nothing that warms the heart of a feminist more, or inspires her to wax more eloquently about equality and freedom, than a bit of hard cold cash. Prostitution, to the extent that it is a professional field for women, is good. That’s why feminists have openly campaigned for the legalization of independent contractors.
Generally, however, the average feminist takes a stand similar to the one displayed by Oprah yesterday in her interview with Brooke Taylor. She was alternately bemused, curious, mildly concerned, and mildly repulsed. Altogether, Oprah’s attitude was distant, as if all this was part of a world to which she would never belong. “So strange [male organs] don’t bother you?” the interviewer asked with a smile. How does Brooke go to work when she doesn’t feel like sex? Oprah appeared to think prostitutes are aroused by their clients.
In a world lit by feminist lights, prostitution is destined to become more common. That’s because the feminist, either male or female, can never muster true condemnation or even genuine concern. The idea that what a woman does with her body defines her life’s meaning and spiritual destiny is foreign to the neutered feminist mind.