February 22, 2013

If It’s My Body, Then Why Can’t I Sell It? ~ Mel Johnson

Source: saviirose.tumblr.com via Michael on Pinterest

“Pro-Choice” as “Pro-Prostitution”

Years ago I was thinking about “pro-choice” and what it means for a woman to “own” her body and not let the government tell her what she can and can’t do with it.

I then thought of how liberating it’s been for women—the ones who are burdened with pregnancy when it’s an accident—to no longer be ostracized by our culture, to have the law on their side. Just because some people think abortion is immoral doesn’t mean it is. I’ve also lamented about women being victims of men who take sex from them without their permission. Sex—something that’s very enjoyable. And then I thought about the oldest profession. Do these career girls have any friends? They’re criminals for using their bodies to make money.

Why is the government involved? It’s a business transaction.

I just got back from the Dominican Republic where I saw the most beautiful women for sale. They were sexy, confident and had huge bodyguards. They were also in plain sight and the resort obviously knew about them. All I could think of was “You go girls. Good thing you’re here because you’d be criminals in The States.” Sometimes our country’s uptight morality causes more damage than good.

If it’s my body, then why can’t I sell it?

A few semesters ago I asked that very question to a room full of feminists in a feminist theory class. Most of them looked at me like I was crazy. I expected this response, but I was prepared. I knew that a room full of women who fight for the “right to choose” would take issue with what I was proposing, but I’ve got a background in philosophy, not sociology.

“No, really. Let’s take morality out of it,” —something I fully believe is relative as hell—”and look at prostitution purely as a business transaction. These girls are criminalized for doing something that, let’s be honest, is quite enjoyable. I’m not talking about sex slaves who are obvious victims. I’m talking about women who love sex and want to make money having it. Prostitutes, as it stands in the United States, have enemies everywhere they turn: the cops, the johns, the wives and even their bosses are often horrible to them. If we were to legalize prostitution and get these girls 401K’s and some health care it would protect them and their clients. If we decriminalize “sex for money” then it won’t only be the white, upper class girls who have protection. It’ll be the ones who really need the money—sometimes maybe for college—and can use it as a stepping stone for a different life.”

One girl in class nodded her head in agreement. She mentioned that it would be a good way to “reclaim the body,” which happened to be the topic of discussion. This girl is a liberal Muslim. I was stoked to have her approval.

I know my view isn’t the popular view and I also understand that saying prostitution is okay seems especially shocking coming from a woman, but logically, it makes sense for prostitution to be legal.

What is so wrong with f*cking for money? What is so wrong with taking advantage of your looks or of your zest for fellatio? Why not protect these women who enjoy sex and be honest about how awesome sex is? Stop pretending that all prostitutes are insecure victims of objectification and admit that some of them might be having a ball.

Give these girls police protection, retirement benefits and health care. Make prostitution a taxable income—solutions all around.

Mel Johnson: As a student of some fabulously—and sometimes brutally—honest girlfriends, world travel, my awesome adviser, various yogis and yoginis, yogic philosophy runs through my veins and lungs. I am a graduate teaching assistant at George Mason University, teacher of critical thinking and writing, yoga entrepreneur, paddleboarder, hiker, Buddhaphile, oenophile and smartass.


Editor: Maja Despot/ Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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