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In the thread that billowed out of my last post, I was informed that by comparing a woman who gives frequent birth to (in my original wording) an exotic dancer who ejects ping pong balls from her vagina, I was calling both women "whores."

In a response, I said that the exotic dancer was not a prostitute, but a sex worker. I was then told that a comparison between a sexually active women and a sex worker is generally intended as neither neutral nor flattering.

So let's clear up my intentions right here and now, since my rewording of that disgusting term doesn't seem to have made my intentions clear.

First things first. Exotic dancers and/or strippers are not prostitutes, as has been alleged elsewhere. They dance for a living; they display their bodies; they perform the oft-touted "lap dance" for extra cash, and yes, that is supposed to arouse the client. That is each person's choice. This is what feminism is about. And it doesn't make these men and women prostitutes. They are workers in the sex industry.

The men and women who perform in sexually explicit movies are sex workers. Yes, they perform sex for money. It can be all kinds of sex. This is also true of men and women who have pornographic websites and telephone chat lines. (Many of these people work with their partners, by the way.) This is their choice. They are sex workers.

Then there are prostitutes, women and men who sell the act of sex--many kinds of sex, or certain specialties of sex--to those who will pay them.

For those who have not been and are not forced to do this by exploitative others, this is their choice. This is true of other sex workers as well. If they do their work of their own free will, with no one else to force them, then they have the right to do it. They have the right to equal protection under the law. They have the right to medical care and respect as human beings.


Do you want to be outraged over the sex trade? Do you want to punish someone and slap them in jail? Round up the pimps who batten on the women and men who don't have the tools to see them coming, who turn them out and control them through violence and drugs. Round up those who turn out children as prostitutes and create sex tours to the countries that give such tourists access to child prostitutes. Round up those who make their money on women, men, and children used violently, against their will. Go after the customers who leave a battered sex worker who refused a service or an instruction to bleed.

I do not believe that sex of any kind between consenting adults is a crime. I believe coercion is. And it makes me angry to hear those in the sex trade treated like dirt by those who don't know them, their lives, and their choices, but who are quite willing to despise them all the same. I know some really decent people who are sex workers. They have the right to pursue their trade and/or avocation without risk, with proper medical care, with legal rights.

Feminists will never be free of the past until we stop turning on our own. ANY of our own.

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