Assume that some old guy gets horny and picks up a hooker. She then ejaculates, fellates, or otherwise sexually pleases him. For most young women, the prospect of drawing semen out of an old, wrinkly man (who probably smells like sweat and vodka) is revolting. Sure, some prostitutes deal with horny-but-attractive clients, but for the sake of argument let’s assume the client is repulsive.
If an old guy has a heart attack while with her, she goes to jail, and he goes to the hospital. In jail, the hooker is charged with prostitution. Back at the hospital, the old guy is assigned a nurse who will take care of him. She will shave his genitals, clean and wipe his butt, and insert a catheter into his penis. If, in the course of this procedure, the nurse ejaculates the man for medical reasons, she is still considered a worthwhile and decent part of our society. No crime committed. In fact, she is considered saintly for attending to the needs of an old man.
For two weeks of shaving pubic hair, administering catheters, and cleaning the feces out the man’s anus, the nurse would earn roughly what the prostitute earns in a single night. Yet both jobs deal intimately with the same man’s bodily fluids. Still, the prostitute (who is earning a hell of a lot more money) is usually dealing with only one fluid that is relatively clean. The feces, urine, puss, and mucous that the nurse deals with are, in my humble opinion, considerably worse. Yet she is paid far, far less. In a strictly fiscal sense, the nurse is getting ripped off.
The disparity is basically one of ethics. The prostitute is considered a criminal, where the nurse is not. In a best case scenario, religious folk look on the prostitute as the unwilling victim of a cruel and unjust society that drove her to prostitution. (There are also those that see prostitutes as ‘evil doers’ who should be stoned to death, but we usually find out that the men who advocate this stance also tend to frequent them when no one is looking).
Normally, in our “enlightened” age, the prostitute is considered ‘the victim’. Oddly enough, I couldn’t agree more.
Let there be no doubt: Abused, screwed up girls get into prostitution. They spend a lot their life freezing on street corners so they can get picked up by sleazy men who will pay them money for permission to spew un-nice bodily fluids all over them.
That said, there are also a lot of abused, screwed up girls who get into nursing as well. They spend their lives dealing with the same crude bodily fluids, and worse. Both careers (and many more like them) involve doing jobs are gross, disgusting, and vile.
Prostitution is a scummy, rotten job that you’ll probably get screwed over doing. Unfortunately, it is only one of many scummy jobs out there that people are resigned to. While the right wing expound endlessly and how bad the sex trade is for the girls who work in it, they totally ignore the fact that there are many, many jobs that are equally (if not more) demeaning, crude, and disgusting.
The truth is, life sucks. A lot of jobs that women get suck. If they’re not disgusting, they’re demeaning. If not demeaning, then they’re underpaid and under appreciated. There is nothing special about the misery many prostitutes feel with their work. There is, however, something unique about it: it is illegal. Unlike the nurse who works in a well-lit, sanitary environment, the prostitute is condemned to negotiate prices on dark curbsides with men they have never met; men who have never been screened or vetted.
Even the most ardent, right-wing Christian has to admit that prostitution will always be with us. They’ve tried for thousands of years to rid the world of the ‘evil’ of the world’s oldest profession, and they have failed. It’s time to at least recognize that, though they may feel the job is “sinful”, their own actions in restricting and criminalizing prostitution have resulted only in making a bad job worse.
If what they are really worried about is the care and morale of the women in this industry, they need to take a long, hard look at the effect they are having on the lives and futures of those who work the streets of every major city in the world.