When Everyone's Wrong in the Debate over Prostitution
Traditionally, an activity of female bondage and corruption is now being called by some an expression of female liberation. This writer received an advertisement from Oxford University Press offering me a complimentary copy of a book on a supposedly "hot issue" in philosophy entitled Debating Sex Work. The publisher appealed to me to request this book, which outlines two positions held by two different females philosophers regarding the "world's oldest profession." One position supports what is called the "Nordic Model," whereby the female prostitute (euphemistically called "sex worker" rather than "whore") is de-criminalized, but the buyer of her "services" (her body to be used for self-gratification) is criminalized. This has been tried in various parts of Scandinavia. The other point of view is total decriminalization of the entire transaction. At bottom, this criminalization is an infringement on human freedom. Intercourse with whomever, wherever, for free or for money, is apparently the quintessential freedom or cornerstone of human liberty.
There is a third view not presented in this book: that both of the above views are wrong. The woman and the john (her customer) are totally immoral, and their behaviors deserve to be deemed criminal and to be punished.
Prostitution is wrong from every angle. It is using a woman as a toy (same as if one purchased a sex toy at a store). A woman, like a man, is made in the image of God. There is also the Golden Rule: do to others as you would have others do to you. Do you want your wife, sister, or daughter to be making a few extra bucks on the side by selling her body? Further, there is an antiquated custom (sarcasm intended — it's not antiquated) called the sanctity of marriage, where a man and a woman are bound together by love and commitment, and this unity is considered the sine qua non of fulfillment, sexual and otherwise.
So this author rejects the premise of the book that a sophisticated discussion of prostitution is contained within the defined boundaries of these two schools of thought, or even that these two schools of thought deserve our discerning attention. Not only that, but as a teacher of philosophy, this writer has to wonder how the great ideas of philosophy going back thousands of years could have reached such a low point that the subject of prostitution should be debated by two well-positioned persons in the philosophy field. Philosophy traditionally has covered metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, ontology, teleology, axiology, and aesthetics. Am I to believe that there is new ground being broken in a branch of philosophy to be called "vaginology"?
What about those who think prostitution should not only continue to be criminalized — both "sex worker" (if it's work, maybe it should be unionized) and "john"? Perhaps there should be a beginners, intermediate, and advanced certificate for prostitution with wage levels defined and enforced by the government? A young lady at a local community college might be asked, "What are you majoring in?" And she could reply with a clear conscience, "I am majoring in prostitution. Our course work is guided by the Nordic Model, so if the police arrive, only the customer will be arrested for the scum he is. My inherent dignity will be affirmed."
The Nordic Model is wrong because the woman is responsible for her actions before God. To criminalize the John only is a direct repudiation of God and a repudiation of the honor and respect due to women. It is always the stinking man's fault that the woman is selling her body. The male has only to insist, "Open, sesame," and she opens. To be a john or not to be a john, that is the question.
A prostitute is not a sex worker. She is a slave worker. She is morbidly de-emphasizing her soul and over-emphasizing her body. She is putting her private parts before her conscience, or she is being forced into this trade. If she is being forced under threat of torture or death, then that is a mitigating circumstance that should be taken into account if she is arrested and goes to court, but in most cases, she still bears some responsibility. She is not only spreading disease; she is spreading immorality.
The timing of this volume by Oxford Press is especially good for those living in New York. The district attorney of New York recently announced that he will no longer be prosecuting cases of prostitution. Since the laws against prostitution are still on the books, police may of course make arrests, but they will know ahead of time that prosecution will not follow. "While the office had, since 2016, not prosecuted prostitution cases if the defendant went through mandatory counseling, under the new policy all offers of services will be voluntary and all charges dismissed by the office's Human Trafficking Response Unit."
So please, Oxford, keep dignifying this type of behavior by publishing the work of "wise women" (sic) who are feeding off their own perverse imaginations, and perhaps (who knows?) have some other commitments to the sex industry. I will not speculate here what those commitments might be. This philosopher is really chagrined and disappointed to see that a great publishing house like Oxford would succumb to this modern aspect of libertinism and so-called "women's liberation."
Image via Pxhere.
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