Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sex livelihood

A girl walks by me while I was standing at the bus stop waiting for the next bus to arrive. There was something strikingly peculiar about her. She wasn’t any girl from next door. The way she was dressed up, was provoking enough for any man to turn heads. It seemed as if her body was screaming, paint me red. It didn’t take me long to identify that she was one of those unfortunate ladies of the night. I could use all kinds of bad words describing her, but I want to refrain from it.

How unfortunate she could be that she resorted to these means? Or are these means really used by those who are unfortunate? That’s was precisely the topic of debate, 3 years back, when I came up with a paper on anti-prostitution. The underlying idea that I had built in was that it was exploitation of women that we must stop in the form of prostitution. Prostitution in it self is not evil. It is like any other job. Every thing boils down to how lowly or how pristine you think sex is? If sex is really an ordinary thing then there is no problem with using it as means of earning money. However a lot of us think very lowly about sex. We think it is something even worse than the job of a sweeper. But still lots of people think that this job should be banned! We are totally confused, since if we go by this logic tomorrow we will have to justify the job of a peddler. All kind of relationships that involve exchange of money for services should be justified.

See, human beings have a survival instinct. And the society we have developed, here every one has to earn their bread. Different people use different means to do that, but on moral grounds they are justified.

Some people might argue that prostitutes are forced into this kind of business. Then I would say I was forced to become an engineer. We are actually slaves of the situation that society presents us with. We are slaves of the environment engulfing us.

Problem is not at the front of morality of prostitution as an occupation, but from the point of view of the extent of exploitation that is involved in it. I would say exploitation is present in all kind of jobs. The jobs where least exploitation happens are the high end jobs. Surely prostitution qualifies as a low end job. Doesn’t necessarily mean that we eliminate them on the basis of their being low end jobs, since, they surely are means of livelihood for someone.

If someone asks me would you like it to see your own daughter or may be your own mother working as a hooker? I would say yes. Given no other option for bread they might have to resort to this. Sex as livelihood would never be the first choice. It’s asking oneself this question. Would you like to see your daughter as a sweeper? No man, I would want her to become a doctor, may be a scientist, because I believe that these are jobs which require intellect and they from psychology point of view are healthier than the job of a sweeper or a prostitute. Choice of jobs at times is not in your hands. That’s what happens with people doing low end jobs. Who wants to do something that offers lesser returns, but nevertheless it is a JOB.

Crux, here is that the job of prostitute is morally correct, but may be a low end job. We should not hate them for doing that job. No one has the right to look down upon anyone who is at least self-reliant.


Sasikanth Manipatruni said...

"Would you like to see your daughter as a sweeper? No man, I would want her to become a doctor, may be a scientist"

Swara, you nailed it man! You made your case superbly.

Ps said...

Prostitution is completely legal in many countries.Recently a Dutchman was in the news in the national dailies because of the strange nature of his complaint.In his country, prostitution is completely legal.On the basis of what he had read about the "Hot Indian girls", he had booked his tickets to kolkata, and upon landing, had asked the cabbie to take him to a place 'where there are lots of girls'.I was rolling on the floor with laughter when I pictured the place where the cabbie had taken him to.Anyway, the Dutchman struck a deal with two 'Girls',paid the money and took them back to his hotel.The hotel authorities refused to let the girls enter.The Dutchman then wanted a refund and the girls refused as he was supposed to provide the place.They got into an arguement and the Dutchman felt cheated and enraged, and he lodged a complaint.The cops didnt know what to do!
Religious prostitution has existed in india for centuries.Men and women look at sex so differently. I really DO NOT look down upon the women who indulge in it--hey, for them, its just a job.(which they make out of choice or lack of it--I dont know)Who am I to judge or look down upon it? (and I dont)I'm sure you have read 'Eleven minutes'by Coelho.He has handled it so well--and I am amazed at his sensitivity.
More than anything I feel sorry for the children of these commercial sex workers.(i had blogged about it.Click on the blue word which will take you to the post)

misti said...

Hey Abhinav, I am Asha, visiting from P’s blog. Dnt know if you remember, we met during Rahul’s office get together.

I agree with you that prostitution itself is not evil; it’s the exploitation of women that we must stop in the form of prostitution. After all, it is termed as the world’s oldest profession. Sex for money, till the time it’s for sustenance is not bad, but, in today’s corporate world, sex has become the buzzword to climb the corporate ladder. Sleeping with bosses is the quickest way to earn that lucrative promotion. What do you call such people? Do they qualify to be called prostitutes?

Abhinav said...

de example quoted by u is one of its kind....
its answer perhaps follows from...the values tat a person has....actions are sometimes not ethically justified. The means that one uses to achieve a goal, are predefined by society (most of the times). The way they are defined is socially tested and approved.
Sleeping with bosses for promotion is not an ethical route. Now why not? Its because if you are not playing the game with the predefined rules. The rule says that the promotion is available for ur proformance in front of ur boss in terms of the professional service that u provide not in terms of the personal service...
a classic example would be a sycophant...who earns favors basis personal service dan professional!

because in profession ur competition is based on professional skill not personal...

n this female wud most probably not b a person in desperate situation....

Tim Young said...

Interesting post you make some good points. In the UK we have prstitution like most major city's however what I read in your post is that Women choose to be prostitutes. I think this is not the case all the time in the UK. as most Women who are prstitute usually only do this to feen their drug addiction and not to put bread on the table.In the UK we are too quick to condemn these ladies Jesus himself had more tollence that we do. He met a prostitute who the crown wanted to stone to death, his responce we he who has no sin can cast the first stone. Then he told her to go and sin no more... wise words, not belittleing or condemning. There is a vibrate Sex trade in nottingham many in the form of massage parlours, you pay for a massage then "tip" the lady in the room for personnel services. Doing it this way in the UK is legal as you you are not buying sex.. Any ways thanks for a thought provoking post. I will be back.

Roshan R said...

i think u're absolutely right.. the circumstances play a major role in using sex to earn a livelihood... sadly, so easily we choose to deride them as sex workers or prostitutes.. perhaps if we once looked to see why they reached this stage, we'd know better

Keshi said...

Indeed a great post! Came here from PS' blog.

**I would say exploitation is present in all kind of jobs.

I totally agree. It's just that MOST ppl see SEX as a BAD thing.

And prostitutes have all sorts of stories...they all have a history that lead them to where they r today. And if they dun have a problem with their job, who r we to judge them.

I once wrote a post on this same topic and my thoughts were pretty much the same as ur's.


Abhinav said...

@ tim young

First of all, my apologies for a delayed reply, got stuck in work.

Well, seems most of us agree that we dont like down upon prostitution! but believe most of the people not reading this do.

Another higher step of testing oneself would be by answering the questions "If you would buy sex when in need or not?" And would you consider those who buy sex, desperate or something?

As far as prostitutes buying drugs with the money they earn, i still don't see any thing wrong in that. It is a personal choice, i believe drugs are a source of seeking pleasure! we all do things which at times harm us but we seek pleasure by consuming, using them. Even watching a movie would be an example of wasting time which could have been put into constructive usage. On the other, i totally agree drugs will kill u faster than the pleasure would last, but our part is till the education, rest is for them to understand. Also, who knows living on drugs is the correct way of life!

Thanks for acknowledgment.

Abhinav said...

@ Roshn

@ Keshi

Thanks guys for the acknowledgment!!

Very truly we are no one to judge them.

LMJ said...

excellent post
i agree to one thing that it is a personal choice ......mayb out of nothing to earn from etc. etc.

situation/laws have changed which now give (atleast try to give on paper) recognition to 'children' but what was their crime that they shud b brought up without a father? what r ur views?

seconly suppose that the female next doors to u is a prostitute.....then will u like to live there? bcoz ur wife or daughters may get 'corrupted' or will a person allow his children to play with her children.

i know ur genuine liberal thoughts which have also been amply portrayed here but most of the society is closed.

Ari Christianto said...

we are all the slaves of the circumstance, the slaves of the system. That's our dilemna....
We can not just escape and judge someone else, that they've done wrong. May be they're wrong in our perspectives, but we have to understand the circumstances they live. And we can try to help solving the problem without blamming them.