'thay say a black man is a pimp
Well let me tell you the biggest pimp
on planet motherfuckin Earth, is her momma
It's her MOMMA that told her,
"Get a man that got a good job girl!
Make sure he got a good car girl!
Make sure he can take you out and buy you somethin girl!'
I do not usually turn to Dr Dre for political instruction yet i think that this well written passage is very relevant to the current dicussion on sex work. With these words Dre shows that sex work does not merely exist because of the immorality of a small number of outcasts. Instead he shows that certain aspects of prostitution exist very widely within society at large. We may not be a society if pimps clients and sex workers. However, when we use conspicuous symbols of their wealth in order to attract the opposite sex, or alternatively when look for those symbols as a criterion for choosing a sexual partner, our behaviour is not a million miles away from those practices which we condemn as prostitution.
The point here is that prostitution is not something that emerges out of the personal immorality of a minority but out of the social structure. It is in the context of massive inequality, of economic insecurity that people turn to sex work. And what of the clients? Well if people can use their economic power to jump the cue for healthcare, or to have someone else scoop the shit out their toilet, then why expect them to feel morally obliged not to use their money to pay for sex. My aim here is not to exonnerate the clients, but to suggest that, like CEOs and debt collectors, clients are a product of the way things are.
Max Horkheimer, i believe, once said that those who are not prepared to talk about capitalism should remain quiet on the subject of fascism. On this matter i would suggest that politicians whose governments are not prepared to do shit about capitalism and inequality (that means you harriet harman) should remain quiet on the matter of sex work.