If We have Such A Great Economy, Why Are Women Selling Sex To Survive?

Samantha Inesta
Human Rights Fellow

When we turn on the television big news media tells us over and over how unemployment is down which translates to everyone is working and the economy is recovering. It’s the details that they refuse to let leak out because either it will make the president look bad (if your watching FOX) or it will decrease morale of the country. But we all know the reality is that unemployment may be down but people are working at jobs that are barely paying them a living wage forcing them to seek government assistance to fill in the gaps that the current employment is not providing. This is a crisis that affects everyone-but mostly women and very much so, single women. This past decade has been a difficult one for a lot of people and it seems to be bleeding into the new decade that has just begun keeping everyone at a standstill. As the job market gets tighter, the need for sustainable employment becomes harder to obtain. The need for food, housing, medical insurance and other basic needs have become out of reach for a lot, especially young women who are idealists and felt there was a world of opportunity out there for them. Even those that were privileged enough to get a college education find themselves in the same boat as the underprivileged.

So is this a problem of the economy? Or is this a tactic to keep young women trapped in desperate situations where they must make decisions that will negatively affect their future? What ever it is, it has become not only a public health crisis for them but a breakdown of how they are viewed in this new age of misogyny and male patriarchy. In the current economic climate what was once accepted and welcomed has now morphed into special and preferential treatment of the elite and well connected. Many young women are wondering what went wrong, why are they having to resort to a money making decision that degrades and dehumanizes them while hurting their future should they decide to stop? This hurts women of color the most, they are the most marginalized and more often then not the ones who are kept from a better education or quality of life. Because of this, it has pushed the hand of the sex worker lobby to put out the damaging message of “Sex work is work”. This suggests that women have no other recourse, if they can’t get a job that pays them a living wage whether they’ve gone to college or not, they will have to walk into something they never thought they would ever have to do.

Getting into and staying in a prestigious school is also not as accessible as it is to those who have the financial means or support rather than those who don’t. It has opened a door to the “SugarDaddy” phenomenon where young women are paired up with rich older men (all married) that will “fund” their education or career in exchange for their “companionship”. They call themselves SugarBabies but really they are an escort for men who will most likely ask for more than just a dinner partner. It also makes these young women subservient and controlled by these men who probably have daughters at home the same age and also attending college. This whole concept and the usage of the word Daddy basically alludes to the whole porn message that having a Daddy isn’t a positive father figure but an incestuous male who requires sexual satisfaction in exchange for his help and support. Every time young women are seeking any type of assistance that will help them succeed, there is always a male entrepreneur starting a business that will force women to prostitute themselves for a better life- a systematic plan to derail their success. Getting back to sex work, as much as this is a hotly debated subject, it’s no wonder that desperate and marginalized young women are calling it “work”, they feel they have no other choice.

They say prostitution is the oldest profession, that’s because male dominance has kept it alive for so long. The payoff for them is access to a variety of women that are at there will whenever they are in the mood for something they can’t get anywhere else. This economy is failing because of this, if the women in the country fall, everything else will too. If society and government really want to see the economy boom, they need to help all women flourish no matter the educational, cultural or ethnic background they come from. If the only outlet they have for surviving is sex work, everyone loses. There needs to be an end to the great lie of prosperity that is spoon fed to the masses by the news media. Capitalism is sacrificing young women and making them collateral damage in an era of low wages, poverty and unattainable opportunity. How can the United States send a message of freedom for women when they are kept in sexual bondage in exchange for survival? This is the great stain of the country that they will never be able to wash out, especially on the world stage.

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