The feminist movement is divided on the issue of prostitution and sex work. We chose to explore some of the differing opinions surrounding sex work and prostitution including local impacts, international perspectives, history, and feminist debates. Our interest was sparked by the perspective of Live Nude Girls Unite!, and Chapkis' article The Emotional Labor of Sex, and our own differing opinions as prostitution as a feminist issue. Here are some of the various feminist perspectives we compiled from our tracking of the issue.
• It would benefit everyone to regulate sex work and legalize prostitution. Sex work can be viewed as a legitimate skill set. (Chapkis)
• Women should be able to do whatever they choose with their bodies. We should respect individual choices when it comes to using their bodies.
• Sex work is a choice.
• For those who don't necessarily choose sex work, they shouldn't be treated as criminals, but as victims.
• Sex work is a part of a patriarchal system that objectifies women.
• Sex work can have traumatic effects on the workers through post-traumatic stress disorder or health effects, as such it is not healthy.
Sex work and prostitution are fairly widespread, even in our local community there is a lot that goes on under the radar because it's illegal. While some feminists believe sex work can be a choice and a lifestyle, others see it as more complicated. Is the idea of choice coming from a privileged position? It cannot be denied that many people are coerced into sex work and abused or taken advantage of. Even for people who consider it a choice, they may be influenced on patriarchal opinions of sexuality. Could this be reinforcing the idea of how sexuality should be treated or commodified?