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Prue Watson

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The Daily Grind

Posted: 23/12/11 00:00

For a liberal twenty-something feminist there is not much that resonates so little I am unsure how I feel about it. There are few things I am uncertain about: racism - pointless. Homophobia - stupid. Gender equality - lovely idea. However, my view on the latter couldn't be more unclear.

In a radio interview, Estelle Hart from the National Union of Students suggested that an increasing number of students are turning to sex work to fund their education.

With fees on the verge of increasing further, these figures are likely to go up.

At the same time, the Office for National Statistics published its monthly labour market statistics which painted a gloomy picture. Part of that gloomy picture was that more women are out of work since 1988.

There is, of course, no reason why women that want to strip for a sex-hungry male shouldn't. It can give women power and money, in turn giving them the clout to live their life how they want.

But with these shocking unemployment figures, will more women turn to sex work to help feed their family and fund a lifestyle they might have become accustomed to?

The UK likes to talk if itself as a liberated and equal society - but is it really? Are women really making the choice to strip or work in the sex trade from a position of power? After all, men tend to own lap dancing clubs and so hire lap dancers and strippers. And we haven't heard about many, if any, men funding their education by selling themselves.

What makes this issue so worrying, is that men cannot see why there is anything wrong with this, and women don't understand why men just do not get it.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule but women's instinctive reactions are right when boozed-up men pay for the right to treat women as sex objects.

Lap dancing clubs are sleezy, scary places. There are a number of studies which show that rapes in and near lap dancing clubs are significantly higher than across the country. And for those that work as prostitutes, we can only guess what sort of figures these are. So do we really want so many students, and what could be a surge of unemployed women, working in the sex trade?

I know perfectly decent men that have been, or regularly go, to lapdancing clubs. Just because I don't get it doesn't mean that I should disapprove. I don't understand why so many men gather to watch football anymore that I get why they go to look at boobs. Nor should I stop them from doing so. Yet, in the latter case that is all I want to do.

If a woman is genuinely pursuing a career that she enjoys and is making money out of it, then I congratulate her. If that is through selling sex within lap dancing clubs or on the street, who am I to judge?

But men do not have to do the same. And nor would they if they lost their job. Which is why this is so worrying. Why should women have to sell themselves to men through sex to ensure they have food on the table for themselves and their family, when men can go to a regular day job?
None of these reasons escape the fact that I feel men who visit lap dancing clubs are at the very best sad, slightly creepy and, more often than not, sexist.

 

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