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To all the girls who envy my life -

Stashed in: Women, Young Americans, Awesome, Power!, Sexy!, inequality, life

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"It’s the persistent symptom of a society that still insists sexual desirability is a woman’s duty, and wealth is the most important hallmark of success. A young woman who is desirable is a young woman who wields power, and that power is often bestowed in the form of cold, hard cash."

Sadly, the national debate on prostitution could more accurately be described as a shouting match. Any sex worker’s account of his or her own life that doesn’t involve drug addiction, abuse and tragedy is often immediately derided as sensationalistic, dishonest and dangerously misrepresentative by those who are categorically opposed to the sex industry. Prostitution is denigrated as a soul-crushing, life-ruining choice, but it’s simultaneously acknowledged to be deeply alluring. If these critics are to be believed, one positive story about hustling a businessman for some cash is so dangerous that virtually nothing will stop hordes of young women from shimmying into cocktail dresses and hitting hotel bars to taste that thrill for themselves.

And maybe the critics are right. Women are still burdened with astounding, disproportionate pressure to be both attractive and sexually willing, so they look for arenas in which to prove themselves as such. I don’t think many of these curious women envision themselves prostituting for years or even a full 12 months. They don’t think about lying to their parents and their friends, or telling their friends and suddenly feeling even more alone. They certainly don’t envision the problems presented by trying to date while working or the necessary efforts they’ll have to take to avoid law enforcement. They can only imagine those candlelit moments over pricey dinners when a well-dressed man slips them an envelope and they know for a moment that they are good enough.

There’s something profoundly human about wanting to be sexually valued, and it transcends genders. More than one young man has told me he envies my life, too. I suspect these young men are hinting at the same longing for affirmation as the young women who e-mail me. We all want to know that we matter, and being paid is one way of knowing we have value. It may be inelegant and often impersonal, but because money is quantifiable, its message is indisputable. Where do you go for reassurance if you doubt your physical and sexual desirability? Talk is cheap, so you take cash instead.

Remind me again why it's illegal to get paid for something you're allowed to give away free?

bible says so?

I've always considered it to be a function of power in caricature.. i.e. if 'they' get a taste of the power 'they' genuinely have over men, then it's all over for 'us' ....

I was under the impression all 3 holy books don't look at prostitution in a positive light? Women's rights groups tend to focus on the fact that while there are women who enter the profession and aren't exploited, there's many more that are forced into it and sex trafficking is a huge international problem.

Trafficking is illegal but I see your point: exploitation is more insidious because we can't necessarily incarcerate someone for it.

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