Global and Transnational Sexualities

Global and transnational sexualities are used as a source of capital by means of employment, media and neoliberalism. The standardization of beauty, which has emerged because of globalization, effects the opportunities of employment and the way immigrants are viewed especially in Lebanon and the US. Continue reading

Buying Sex

In the film, Buying Sex addresses many women identifying themselves with the role of prostitution. As the video begins, a woman simply states that prostitution is about sex and money, so unless we stop money and stop sex it will never end. Women choose this lifestyle for many different reasons. Maybe because they enjoy it, or they are in need of financial support and that is the only option they have. It is proven that young and poor women are the main women who choose these actions for themselves.

Trisha Baptile, a former prostitute, speaks out saying that many hookers make prostitution their identity; others lead a double life keeping it hidden from those that they love. She chose to hide it from her children, telling them that she worked at a bar. Eventually her daughter figured it out when she was constantly coming home at two o’clock in the morning  In addition, she had not received child support while she was involved in prostitution. A very powerful point made by Trisha was that there is no talk of what forces women into prostitution.

Trisha’s argument was that the men are the reason these women are at harm. There should be criminalization of demand for paid sex, pimping, and trafficking and decriminalization of the women to stand up for the violence resulting in so many of these cases.

Angel is a daughter of one of the victims taken to a farm and murdered by Robert Pickton. She admits that she was not proud to be her mother’s daughter and that she had hatred for her mother for choosing “that life over us” Evidently, Angel’s mother was leading two identies involving prostitution which resulted in losing her life. Angel says, “I have to forgive her now because that was not who she was.” At the time, Angel could not understand why her mother would choose prostitution, but after meeting up with Trisha she took a stand to try to help regulate the laws.

Sex workers can work for themselves, in brothels, or on the streets. The business that the woman owned containing sex workers was a major standout for me. Whether people view prostitution as moral or immoral is their decision, but to teach these young women certain acts is astonishing to me. She states that she is like their mother, but would a mother actually want their daughter to be a prostitute? If a client attends the business eleven times, they receive a free session. At one point the boss compared these sessions to receiving a free coffee after purchasing a certain amount of cups. She views her job as a sort of recruitment during the time period in which she is in search for another worker. She generally looks for girls under 20, blonde or brunette, with a body type of a six to an eight.

When the clients called, they mainly had a preference of young women (as young as they can get them) and they want the new worker because they aren’t as familiar with the rules. The session is very expensive, 160 dollars for a half an hour or 180 for an hour, which was a Christmas special at the time of this video. They have different types of rooms for the client to choose from including: an erotic room, or a room providing a girlfriend experience.

We are searching for a brunette near the age of twenty:

Riley Parks

Buying Sex correlates with a Lifetime drama, The Client List. Riley’s husband walked away from her and their two children leaving her with many financial issues. She applied for a job at a day spa to find out that there were sexual favors on the side. Riley had to accept the offer because she had no other way of producing the money she needed to be able to afford her two children. Riley knew that her family would be disappointed so she keeps the sexual aspect of the job away from them. However, that is not the only reason she is leading a double life. The spa she works for is not known for giving sexual pleasure to men and if police find out then the spa will be shut down and the owner will face extreme repercussions. It’s interesting that in the film the men described that attend the business are often corporate and-clean cut. Riley is also a pretty, young brunette whose body is within the size of the expectations by many. She also plays many different roles and incorporates S&M in order to satisfy the man who is generally a business man or in this case, a professional football player.

Should business owners be teaching and encouraging young girls to be prositutes? Do you think it is challenging for these sex workers to lead a double life? Do you think it is common for them to make prostitution their identity? Is it discriminative to expect certain sizes or looks from women who work in these businesses? Should media be an influence on the issue of leading a double life? Will girls who watched this show will be influenced by these sex workers?

It’s My Body, I’ll Sell It If Want To

The documentary “Buying Sex” provided a detailed, in-depth, and compelling look into the Canadian legal systems attempts to make the legal system safer. It was quickly made apparent that not all parties agreed on the best way to make safety a reality, with advocates in favor of legalization (at least for bawdy-houses) heavily clashing with advocates in favor of criminalizing the purchasers of sexual services. While both sides desire the same end result, both vehemently believe that their opponent’s methods will cause more harm to the sex workers. Each method has precedent, with legalization having been successfully implemented in the Netherlands, New Zealand, and even 11 counties in Nevada and criminalization of those who purchase sexual services having been successfully implemented in Sweden. Canada’s desire to make sex work safer for the women, and men though they are fewer in number, involved was driven by the findings on the farm of Robert Pickton, where body parts and DNA of 33 different women (many were identified as prostitutes at the time of their disappearance) were found. When looking at the different sides of the debate, it was extremely interesting to see what the women who worked in the sex industry called themselves. Valerie Scott, who was in favor of legalizing prostitution, called herself a sex worker whereas Trisha Baptie, who was in favor of making the act of purchasing sex illegal, referred to herself as having been a hooker.

The documentary tied in directly with the transcript of the interview with Wendy Chapkis entitled Sex Workers. Just like in the documentary, during the course of her work Chapkis found that there were many different views on prostitution amongst those advocating for women. Chapkis discussed a political alliance she created in California between sex workers and feminist activists, stating ” Regardless of our views on prostitution (and they were very mixed within the alliance), we all agreed that closing women’s places of employment did nothing to empower them and, in fact, meant that many of them had to resort to working in more isolated and dangerous settings” showing the same issues faced in Canada are faced here in the United States (Chapkis 329). Activists have the same goal, safety for women, but there are always greatly varying view points on the best way to achieve that goal. The question that comes to mind is how do we achieve greater safety for sex workers? Do we follow the Swedish model or the the Netherlands model? Should this be an issue for the states or an issue for the federal government?

If we look at the United States there is precedent set in Nevada that states will determine their own laws on prostitution where, as the map above shows, there are 11 counties in which sex work is legalized. In Nevada, legal brothels can only exist in counties with 400,000 or less people, prostitutes must be 21 (except in two counties where they must be 18), sex work can only be done in a brothel, earnings are split evenly between the sex workers and the brothel owners, and mandatory health checks for STIs are required weekly. This is one procedure that has been put into place to legalize sex work in the United States and some of the regulations it involves, but it certainly isn’t the only option. Each state has very different issues to address in relation to sex work, and therefore must determine the best way to make sex work legal based off of the issues the state faces. I firmly believe that the first step towards making sex work a safe job is to legalize prostitution. It is only through legalization that proper regulation and safety standards. Indeed, as stated by Carol Leigh of the Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network, “If prostitution were not an underground activity it would allow us to much more effectively address the serious problem of forced prostitution and juvenile prostitution and the other abuses which are part of an industry that operates completely in the shadows”. It is through legalization that regulation can be made possible, that women and men won’t be forced into the sex trade and that health care and methods of prevention against STIs can be consistently administered.

Prostitution goes on in the United States, according to information from 20% of men have admitted to paying for sex at least once. This is a huge amount of men, and indeed generates a huge amount of profit for an industry that can’t be taxed. For purely economic reasons, the United States would be better off if prostitution was legal and therefore taxable like any other service and industry. Sexual health for sex workers and clients of sex workers would be improved if the industry was legalized and put under health code laws and protections to prevent the spread of STIs, with studies around the world showing that legal sex workers have better sexual health than their illegal counterparts. Finally, sex work should be legal simply so that women have the right to use their bodies as they see fit and make money in the most profitable ways they can find. It seems illogical that an athlete can sell their body to the dangers and pains of athletics, with injuries such as concussions being revealed as more damaging the more information the scientific community uncovers, but people can’t sell their body to a partner for safe, consensual sex.

There is no clear answer regarding how to make sex work safely legal nationally, but it is clear that prostitution must be legalized for safety to be an option and women to be allowed full control over their bodies. Why wouldn’t we legalize an industry if the rate of STIs would be lowered? Why wouldn’t we legalize an industry the could be taxed and regulated? Why is it that women can choose to get paid to have sex in a film the world can see, but cannot make the choice to get paid for sex behind closed doors in a private transaction?