What kind of woman?

A man says to a woman, “Would you sleep with me for $1 million?”

“Yes.”

“Would you sleep with me for $25?”

“What kind of woman do you think I am?” She asks indignantly.

“We’ve already established what kind of woman you are, now we are just settling on a price.”

I never found that joke funny.

Why does the man get to look down on the woman?  In my mind, the buyers have more power and therefore more responsibility.  They aren’t being coerced into buying anything – at least not on an individual level.  Why is the demand for the service OK, but the selling of it disgusting? 

What do we know about what kind of person would sell sex?

In Canada, the average age of entry into prostitution is 13.  Average. 13.

So, what kind of person would be selling sex?

Naive.  Vulnerable.  At least to start with.

And once you get in, how do you get out?  Listening to some women who have escaped, there are precious few resources available.  There are many places for men who are addicts to go to get off the streets, but not so many for prostitutes who are addicts. 

So lets finish off the list…

What kind of woman?

Trapped. 

Trapped by drug addictions, lack of a decent resume, lack of access to help, and lack of legal documents.  Human trafficking is estimated to become the highest grossing industry in the world.  That is ahead of the drug trade.  Women, girls and boys are kidnapped or lied to, shipped to another country like Canada or Nigeria and kept hidden in basements or in ghettos.  They are told that if they escape terrible things will happen to them and their families back home.

Desperate. 

To put up with the kinds of abuse that go along with prostitution – harassment from police, outcast of society,  susceptibility to disease, assault, robbery, kidnapping, prey to the likes of Robert Picton – you have to be desperate.

Low self-worth. 

Which translates into being vulnerable to abuse.

Now, I know that there are people who say they enjoy working the sex trade.  That they enjoy the money and the power they can get from it.  I don’t know any of them and would suspect that the services they provide are more along the lines of escorting, dominatrix, or phone services.  Something a little safer than standing on the street.  I’m not talking about them or discussing why they would defend their ‘choice’ if it was that. 

My version of the joke:

A man asks a woman if she will sleep with him for $1 million.

“What kind of person are you?” she asks.

3 thoughts on “What kind of woman?

  1. Ahab says:

    People really need to discard the assumption that prostitution is a “victimless” crime. In reality, the victims of trafficking are too numerous to count. At least there are more resources for trafficking victims now than there were fifteen years ago, and more public awareness to boot.

  2. atimetorend says:

    I’ve heard that story used in order to make some other moral point, something about compromising ourselves, or something, I forget. I don’t remember how I felt about it at the time, but I very much appreciate your pointing out how degrading the assumptions it makes are, whether it is used as an lesson or a joke. Your version at the end of your post is excellent.

  3. Excellent post. Simply elegant.

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