Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Letter of the Week

To the editor:

What is going on with you people? First you publish an article about the demise of strip clubs ("Stripped bare," Feb. 6), with much moaning about how SAD that is, and then, this week, your cover story is about a "happy" hooker ("The happy hooker," Feb. 27)?! Come on. You can't be serious. "Carol," the woman featured in this article, started into prostitution because of poverty.

Her partner left her, and her income plummeted. This is the main reason that MOST women enter prostitution, and even Carol said that if she gets into a long-term relationship again, she will stop. In addition, she doesn't want to tell men that she might date the whole story about her income sources. Her "friend," Jeff, agrees with that strategy.

Some friend. He's happy to advise her to allow other men access to her body, and at the same time, agrees that other men will be reluctant to commit to a woman who has been prostituted. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Both Carol and Scarlett Lake, Carol's pimp, claim that decriminalizing prostitution is a lot like securing access to abortion for women, or to birth control. Not even close, I reply, not even close. Securing access to women's reproductive freedoms is about women having control over our bodies.

Decriminalizing the prostitution industry is about giving MEN more access and control over women's bodies. C'mon. The sex industry is not about women's liberation, or about giving us opportunities to explore and embrace our own sexuality. Clearly, it is about men's commodification of women's bodies, and the exercise of control over women's bodies. All women are harmed when one woman is sold, or who allows herself to be sold. It does not appear to me that Carol has many options available to her to supplement her income. It is important that Carol's and Scarlett's stories are told, but not so that prostitution can be justified. Rather so that we can imagine something better for and from them, and each other.

– Erin Graham,

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Created: March 12, 2009
Last modified: June 20, 2009
CSIS Commercial Sex Information Service
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