What’s sex have to do with … Ed Sheeran?

Rape Culture is a phrase used to represent the normalization of rape. It categorizes people who don’t take responsibility for sexual assault but rather accepts it. There are many factors that help contribute to rape culture and one include prostitution. Sexual labor is a norm for people of the rape culture. Most people who participate in prostitution are/were forced into it. Human trafficking is an example.

In the interview with Elizabeth Bernstein on “The political economy of sexual labor,” she gives her point of view on prostitution. She thinks that practices of sexual commerce ought to be situated squarely within contemporary economic and cultural currents, rather than regarded as exceptions to be judged apart (319). She wants people to see past the social and moral parts of prostitution but focus on the economic and intimacy views.

Here is a link to the Ed Sheeran “The A Team” music video.



In Ed Sheeran’s music video called “The A Team”, he tells the story of a girl who was born into prostitution. She has a home but doesn’t have a job, so the rent doesn’t get paid. She lives out on the street selling magazines and newspapers. At night, she puts on her fancy clothes and becomes a sex worker. In the lyrics, “Struggling to pay rent. Long nights, strange men”, it means that due to her addiction to drugs, she can’t keep a job to pay for the rent. She spends long nights with men she doesn’t know, as a part of her sexual labor.

In the morning, she wakes up with a bittersweet expression on her face. The viewers think she is upset for her having to hand her body over, but also satisfied to have money for rent. The lyrics state “Slowly sinking, wasting. Crumbling like pastries,” meaning that her life is crashing down on her. Everything that she once dreamed about is no longer possible, and she is starting to see that life isn’t important anymore. At the end of the music video, it shows her using the money from her sexual labor to buy drugs. In her room, she takes the drugs and kills herself.

When you see the story of this prostitute, how does your view of prostitution change? Or does it? People have reasons for their actions and it isn’t our job to judge them. Although I feel like these situations can be avoided, we don’t know her childhood. Should prostitution be legal? The fact that it made her kill herself mean anything?

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