A controversial topic - yet one that is popping up more and more - is the discussion of legalizing sex work. Many view it as a wrong and immoral career, while others believe that it is a valid path for those who choose to take it.
While many people believe sex work is merely just prostitution, there’s a variety of paths one can take. There is of course prostitution but there’s also more legalized pornography, web camming, stripping and other more personal forms of using one’s body to make money. And sex workers more often than not do it for their love of sex or for their want for money, similar to many other professions based off of a passion or love for something.
Many claim that sex work is nothing but “selling your body”, but is hard manual labor for cheap pay not selling your body already? Is working in a factory or meat packing facility making pennies per hour somehow not selling your body as well? And what about the consistent oversexualization of women in and around every workplace? Is the oversexualization of people in movies and shows not selling their body? It’s a similar concept, just giving more power to people.
Take someone like Megan Fox for example, who became a late 2000s and early 2010s sex symbol from roles in movies such as Transformers and some of the posters for Jennifer’s Body. She was extraordinarily oversexualized in the Transformers movie, and in the advertising for Jennifer’s Body (albeit in the movie she was not really oversexualized and the movie itself had strong tones of women taking control of their bodies). Was teenage her having softcore erotic scenes and imagery taken not selling her body? Is it only selling your body when you are given the true power to determine what you do, make, or perform? Is it only selling your body when you are the one making most of the money?
While the majority of this article is extraordinarily opinionated, here’s a fact: The average sex worker in the U.K takes home £27,271 per year- with the majority earning under £20,000 while also working 10 or less hours per week (mirror.co.uk). Obviously, they don’t do it for the money. So why do prostitutes in the UK do it? Well, the same mirror article states that 72% were self employed and that they were satisfied with their job. A similar article written by moneyaftergraduation.com stated that one woman made “almost $2,500 per month while working part time”. Doing the math on that and you get $30,000 per year if that woman kept the same work rates. That’s roughly half of what the average American household makes. So, to semi-contradict the sex workers in the U.K, here in the United States some sex workers can make a lot of money and be satisfied while doing so.
Now I will stress that after reading this I don’t want anyone to become a sex worker, I want you to read this and realize there’s more to it than just selling your body. Some people are absolutely passionate about sex and it shouldn’t be much a problem to let them be passionate and make money off of it.
Not only is it a good career path, but legalizing sex work can have great external effects too. By allowing it to become a genuine career for some people, it becomes simple to tax them for that and not have them worry about possibly committing tax fraud which could throw them in prison.
Speaking of prisons, according to hg.orh, there are between 70,000-80,000 prostitutes currently in jail right now. As well as costing $200,000,000 alone for those prostitutes, sex workers make up roughly 5% of the prison population.
Now, with sex work being legalized there do need to be some other forms of legislation introduced. Sex work needs some major protections for the workers - such as allowing them to be protected on the streets (with some sort of weapon or some sort of personally appointed body guard) as well as some legislation restricting certain aspects of the career.
There shouldn’t be any sex workers entertaining in public places (such as parks, parking lots, beaches, etc.) and there needs to be some specific regulations on where they can look for clients. Prohibiting workers from finding a quick job from notoriously busy or public places would help bring an end to many issues and questions posed by many who oppose the legalization of sex work.
Now as if the economic and social reasons weren’t already enough, and seeing how it’s pride month, let’s look at someone who was a sex worker and is undoubtedly one of the most important people in U.S history: Marsha P. Johnson.
Marsha P. Johnson was a black, bisexual trans women who was a sex worker. She started the stonewall riots which ultimately helped give the LGBTQ+ community certain basic rights in the U.S. She lit the match on the powder keg and blew certain homophobic laws away. Without a sex worker, there wouldn’t be a pride month.
So, in my opinion, sex work should be legalized so at the very least one of the most important women in U.S history can be honored mure thoroughly. It should be legalized to help lower the amount of people in prison, as well as lowering costs towards prisons, and to help better the economy - even if just slightly. It should be legalized because people have a passion for sex and that isn’t something to be ashamed of.