Query from a reader

C writes:

I am teaching an ethics class and while they have a reading against prostitution in their books, there is nothing taking the other side. I was hoping for a short video that would take the other side so as to give them something else to think about and some other way to get the information than to do more reading. (I already ask a lot of them in that regard.)

Any suggestions?

Leave your ideas in comments!

13 thoughts on “Query from a reader

  1. Not a video, but blogs (hope the excess links don’t send this to /dev/null )

    In the same ‘feminism’ feed folder as you:
    sexinthepublicsquare.org
    sexgeek.wordpress.com

    Porn rather than prostitution (though the arguments against are the same):

    Buck Angel does excellent videos on both porn and trans*
    buckangel.com

    Sugarbitch Chronicles
    sugarbutch.net/2008/02/sex-work-trafficking-and-human-rights/ (which links to Sex in the Public Square)

    Enough to start with, anyway…

  2. You should be able to find something relevant here:

    http://www.iusw.org/ (International Union of Sex Workers)

    http://www.iswface.org/ (International Sex Worker Foundation for Art,
    Culture and Education)

    http://www.sexworkeurope.org/ (The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe)

    http://www.xtalkproject.net/ (“The x:talk project is a space to organise and empower workers in the sex industry and to encourage critical interventions around the issues of MIGRATION, GENDER and LABOUR”)

    And http://www.feministfightback.org.uk/?p=19 (A statement from the organization “Femnist Fightback” in the UK)

    Now none of this is really “in defense of prostitution” as such. It’s all, though, in defense of prostitutes and their rights.

  3. the NZ prostitutes collective is very very helpful and Catherine Healy, National Coordinator of the NZ Prostitutes Collective has spoken in a parlimentary debate on the topic in london.
    Hope this helps.

  4. Martha Nussbaum, “`Whether from reason or prejudice”: Taking money for bodily services’, Sex and social justice. Nussbaum argues that sex work is similar to other kinds of blue-collar work; hence arguments that prostitution as such should be illegal either don’t work or parity of reasoning considerations imply that working in coal mines should be illegal. I’d probably assign this with some first-person accounts of sex work and possibly also a first-person account of working in a coal mine.

  5. A graduate thesis was completed by Kathy Rosser (Harper) in 1975 at Tulane University. Very well done, erudite, articulate, and many 1:1 interviews done in French Quarter and various areas of the city of New Orleans are very thorough. Tulane keeps copies of all “A” theses. I am sure you can request one, from Tulane School of Social Work. If permission is needed, contact Kathy Harper at 217-364-5355, or 709 W. Iowa, Urbana, Illinois. Highly recommended resource. Either way, an interview with Ms. Harper would be quite illuminating. Short of this, sending questions you and your students are interested in to her, or invite her to lecture. Ms. Harper is an experienced and well respected psychotherapist in this community of students from the University of Illinois, in Champaign. I understand she has also taught classes, given lectures at U of I.

  6. I don’t have the book with me, but I seem to remember that Primoratz, ‘Ethics and Sex’, has a helpful chapter on this.

  7. I was referred to this thread, I posted comments with my own unique (more or less?) angle over the past couple weeks…I have an issue with people ignoring or suppressing the sexual needs of special needs and/or mentally disabled (but still relatively high functioning) men such as myself, who don’t desire to hurt anyone but are very lonely for physical intimacy with another person but have no outlet. Yes I see prostitutes from time to time and I’m not ashamed of myself for it because I live within my morals of treating them with respect to my ability (as in I might not pick up on subtle hints anyone might try to give me), and I don’t have intercourse with any, I do foreplay type activities instead. I purposely posted my 2 cents in a forum where I would expect everyone be anti-prostitution no matter what and see what they say regarding what I have to post. No one has the right to sexually assault a woman, but at the same time I also feel no one has the right to dismiss or ignore the sexual needs of anyone within reason. There needs to be a middle ground common sense solution somehow.

    I go into more detail in this thread:
    https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/why-men-use-prostitutes-sic/

  8. Jon, there are many who may not agree with my response to your post. Your comments set you apart in a fundamental way from the majority who seek out women as sexual objects. How the majority of men see prostitutes, use them, degrade them, while married and having sexual outlets available to them is different from your description. You speak of lonliness, of not having the freedom of sexual intimacy available to you, of feeling respect for yourself and for your sexual partner, for that is what you are experiencing, intimacy and partnership, by your description. I believe you and the women you see have a very different personal and sexual experience. I would go further and say this, to the extent that your response to this activity fills a normal and reasonable, and perhaps, need for human touch and healing, so might the way you describe your experience influence that of the woman you are with. I am sure prostitutes experience the pathology of men who desire violence and degradation of women. The men who pay them to act out the role of objects of pathological ambivalence and hatred of women. Countering this, their experience of a man who seeks satisfaction and healing through sexual intimacy must surely provide some women with a very different and perhaps positive reference of sexual contact with men. This can be true no matter how perfunctory, or not, they may seem in their regard of you and their sexual interactions with you. Perhaps you might consider that for some women, experiencing respect, a desire for a woman’s emotionally intimate company in the context of sexual contact, may be healing for them as well. I say may, for some women may have the ability to register the difference, while some may not, at least not consciously, but there is a difference in your nature toward them, no matter if it remains outside their consciousness. At the very least, these women are not the objects of a male’s need to compartmentalize women into the madonna wife and whore lover categories. These men, unlike what you have described about yourself, are unable to experience sexual intimacy along that stretch of middle groud you referred to. I’m glad you posted this. I’m glad you provide women who often are demoralized and degraded a counter experience of what men are capable of, igniting in them over time, perhaps what they are capable of. Regards, Valerie

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