Sex work has been a controversial topic for a very long time. On one side, prostitutes are viewed as a shame often, and people tend not to talk about it. On the other side, sex work can be viewed as simply a job that mothers do to take care of their babies or girls do to pay the tuition. In this chapter, how sex work cause STDs and HIV and the way that prostitutes are viewed by different genders and different people throughout history are discussed.
The graph below is a poster from AIDS Foundation to teach prostitutes about sexually transmitted diseases and how to have safe sex. The title goes prostitutes, ex-prostitutes and their lovers which is an indication of the poster caters to them. Then the subtitle says to protect yourself from AIDs and learn safe sex. The main paragraph uses bullet points to highlight the contents that will be covered in the lecture, and readers can tell that they are all about protecting themselves and having safe sex. (Prostitution, December 15, 1791) Unlike how people typically view prostitution, the poster excludes a positive and informative sense. The foundation seems to view prostitution as simply a job that women do to make a living, and the lecture is just to make women know how to protect themselves. The poster is a reflection of how prostitutes and women view themselves even in the last century when it’s a difficult time regarding gender equality. It helps protect the sex workers since it shows respect and care to them.
Even though there are some organizations and people who positively view sex worker, a majority of society still consider sex work as something evil and uncomfortable, but they are slowly improving. As an example, the Swedish government is now targeting pimps and johns instead of sex workers themselves. This is a huge step in protecting women from abuse since many of them enter prostitution involuntarily. On the other hand, the Swedish government has a prostitution law that punishes people who buy sex works which are also protecting sex workers. (off our backs, July 2008, 7) By doing so, women doing sex work will be safer, and society would open up more to view sex work in a less prejudiced way. It’s also a punishment to pimps and johns and people who buy sex work. Pimps and johns deserve to be punished since they make women earn money using their bodies and people should be punished to pay for a woman’s body.
Same as other parts of society, women are reflecting on the concept of sex work. It’s still against the opinion of some feminist advocates. They sometimes find the idea of sex work degrading but this idea is based on the thought that women lose value due to certain behavior. However, showing respect and understanding is what should be done since sex workers enter the field for various reasons, and thinking sex can cause degradation is somewhat against the idea of feminism. (Shane, Charlotte Summer 2017) Instead of criticizing sex workers, the better thing to do is to discuss how can society improve to reduce exploitation and stereotype on it.
In all, sexually transmitted diseases are serious to sex workers but there are positive ways to educate them to avoid that. Sex workers and their lovers will be more informed on how to have safe sex to protect themselves. Society is also improving the way they view sex workers. They now target people that sell and buy women instead of women themselves which is a huge step. Beyond that, women and feminist organizations are also reforming the way they see prostitution. They now see it with more understanding and want to protect them.
"Sweden government targets pimps and johns instead of prostitutes." off our backs, July 2008, 7. Gale OneFile: Contemporary Women's Issues (accessed November 15, 2022). https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A187406857/CWI?u=nclivewfuy&sid=bookmark-CWI&xid=230ee070.
Shane, Charlotte. "Saying it for themselves: sex and work as analyzed by sex workers." Artforum International, Summer 2017, S29. Gale OneFile: Contemporary Women's Issues (accessed November 15, 2022). https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A497908721/CWI?u=nclivewfuy&sid=bookmark-CWI&xid=1f94b98b.
Prostitution, December 15, 1791-November 6, 1989 and undated