Archive for September 11th, 2012

Every girl who worked for me was someone’s daughter.  It would be hugely hypocritical for me to say, “It’s good enough for their daughters, but not for mine”.  –  Becky Adams

Last week Becky Adams, a retired brothel owner, once again ignited controversy among busybodies, moralists and hypocrites by reiterating her statement (first made publicly seven weeks ago) that like many other people, she wouldn’t mind if her daughter followed in her footsteps:

…Becky Adams, 45…insists she would be happy if [her 16-year-old daughter] Emilia chose to be a “high class escort” — and says she would even help to get the teenager started…“Society may judge her but I wouldn’t.  At least prostitution is an honest profession.  I’d much rather she work as an escort than a banker.  I couldn’t understand her wanting to do something morally wrong, something that could jeopardise someone else.”

…Emilia, who is currently working in a shop and at a car showroom while studying travel and tourism, agrees with her mum.  She said:  “I don’t have a moral problem with having sex with strangers…I’m not promiscuous but sex isn’t a massive thing for me.  I certainly don’t regret losing my virginity at 14…One of mum’s girls in particular became more like an aunt to me.  I loved being surrounded by these nice, glamorous women.  It was a happy family.”

Becky is glad that her youngest daughter grew up surrounded by her girls and the tools of the trade, claiming that it has made her more open-minded and relaxed about sex…“I think my work showed Emilia that the reality of prostitution is just very ordinary.  The girls have their shifts and they go to work.  They can have a bad day or a quiet day, just like anybody else…prostitution is a service…Emilia has seen…how it can save marriages — how a man whose wife is fighting cancer will visit a prostitute rather than start an affair.  She’s not shocked by anything as a result…”

Those who can’t understand Adams’ position appear to be suffering from what we might call the Fallacy of Universal Mores, the false belief that everyone feels the same way about sex as they do.  These people, of whom the “no woman could willingly choose prostitution” crowd is a subset, apparently imagine that those who choose sex work are ashamed of ourselves and hate our lives, and would therefore never want our children to make the same choices we did.  They just can’t get it through their thick skulls that some women really don’t find sex work horrible and degrading, and therefore would not oppose daughters taking up the trade if that was what they wanted to do.  Here, for example, is a short film of Ouled-Nail dancers taken in 1938; as I explained in my column of one year ago today the women of this Berber tribe often worked as dancers and prostitutes, and daughters were trained by their mothers.  As you can see, this little girl is already learning her dance moves:

Even among well-adjusted sex workers who say they would mind their daughters taking up the work, the usual reason is not anything prohibitionists imagine, but rather the stigma and the dangers resulting from criminalization.  Some others (myself included) object not on principle, but because of the belief that a specific daughter is not suited to the work; Adams states in the interview that she believes Emilia would do well as an escort but not in brothel work.

But there’s another aspect to the “shocked” reactions which is even more indicative of disordered thinking; as I pointed out in “Mother’s Day”,

…People who [ask, “Would you want your daughter to do it?”]…aren’t concerned with the danger of prostitution, because if they were we’d hear it used as an argument against women joining the military, doing police work or participating in dangerous sports like boxing…Let’s set aside for a moment the obvious point that there are lots of things people wouldn’t want their daughters doing (smoking, excessive drinking, getting pregnant out of wedlock, working at Wal-Mart, going into politics) which aren’t illegal, and the equally obvious fact that we don’t get to choose our offspring’s occupations (though some certainly try).  Let’s consider only that people do lots of things their parents wouldn’t like, and that most prostitutes have parents who would be upset and appalled at the choice.  It’s not your decision whether your daughter becomes a hooker; it’s hers.  And if she does make that choice (which 1% of all Western daughters do for some portion of their lives), do you really want her hounded by cops, forced into dangerous situations, unable to seek legal recourse if she’s robbed or raped, and branded as a pariah for life because of it?  Or would you rather she have the ability to repent what you see as her mistake and leave the job later if she chose?  Finally, is it worth rejecting your own flesh and blood for making a decision with which you disagree, and which hurt nobody except (in your opinion) her?…

Presumably, those who cannot comprehend why a whore would accept her daughter’s decision to practice the same profession believe that the mother should adamantly denounce her own decisions (thus demonstrating that she has poor judgment and is therefore incompetent to give advice on the subject).  Or perhaps they think she should be a hypocrite, indulging in the common parental “Do as I say, not as I do.”  In either case, they apparently hold that a mother should reject her daughter for making a decision she disagrees with.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at the lack of thought demonstrated by their reactions, though; after all, these are the same people who support paternalistic laws whose consequences are far more damaging than those of the behaviors they supposedly “protect” people from.

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