Saturday, March 20, 2010

Consensual Devaluation of a Life

In Norway we've had this strange little law for about a year now. It says you're perfectly allowed to sell sex ... but you're not allowed to buy it. This, it has been said, is because it's not the prostitutes one is out to get, but the clients who create a demand and make the sex trade a viable business. A way of life, for some.

Most prostitutes on Norwegian streets are not from here. They're immigrants, refugees from Africa, women from Eastern Europe staying a few months in each country. Norwegians have money, they hear. And the costumers are many. So they come. Hoping to sell the only thing they have on the cold streets of Norway, sending money home to a family in a much poorer land.
Does it do something to you? Selling your body time and time again, giving the men what they want and taking their money. Or is it just another job? Do you feel sad and alone, getting undressed, spreading your legs? Or is it a job you chose because you wanted to?

Do you feel respected and cared for, when talking is superfluous and your mouth is told to do other chores? Or do you enjoy the power you hold over someone?
Do you feel happy?
- and do you think anyone really cares about the answer to the question you're never asked?
It's a right, some say. Sex. A human right. Others say it's a transaction between two consensual adults. They all say slavery, trafficking and threats are bad. But that kind of thing has never happened to their favourite girl. She smiles. She dresses nice. She even seems to be enjoying herself. Probably more so this time than with the four other guys she's fucked tonight. She's lost count a long time ago. But that's ok. She has rent to pay. And with the little you paid her, tucked in her purse, she has to go out there and do it all over again.

If only she'd get paid for her efforts. Some do. They make a lot and lead good lives. Choosing what they want and when they want. And whose money to take for an hour of fun. It's a different life. A different experience when you feel worth something. Appreciated. Valued. In every meaning of the word. It's an easy way to make a quick buck. You probably enjoy aspects of it, the money, the illegality. Luxurious little treats.
Yet out there in the dark stands the girl in the short skirt. Smiling and flirting with passers-by, trying to lure one of them into her room so she'll have money for rent next week. She feels her worth with every condescending remark she receives. She feels the appreciation every time a guy tells her to flip over. And she feels her value, feels it clearly, when a few small bills are handed to her as the zipper goes up and the door closes.

Does she wonder why she does it? Or has she given up? Does she want to go back out, or would she rather not? It's her choice, they say. So why does she do it? Those who care tell her to stop. Those who don't tell her it's her choice. That she's taken the easy way out. Easy, they say.

She gets up. Off the bed. Puts on her clothes. Throws away yet another sticky reminder. And she goes out there. One more time. To do it all over again.
It's buying a service. And like with every other service, you can't expect the buyer to care about the seller. We care about what we pay for. What we get. Not the people who give it to us.
Is sex just another service ... like going to the barber shop?
Is it that easy?

Consensual adults. You've chosen your value. You're not worth anymore. It's a free market.

Just not so free anymore.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the most profound things I've read in a while.


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