Prostitution is known as the world’s oldest profession, and yet, the women who engage in the profession are demeaned and marginalized. Women who work in the sex industry, are often frowned upon and looked at as lower class because of their profession – whether it’s phone sex, exotic dancing, or porn stars. This, unfortunately, has a number of negative repercussions such as these women feeling unable to report an assault, missing out on employee benefits, and isolation from friends and family because they have to keep their profession a secret. Why do women who work in a profession that has been around for millennia have to hide it in secrecy or face harsh consequences? This question is especially troubling when we ponder the fact that men who patronize the services of these women are not demonized in the same way women are.
While women compose the largest group of those working in the sex industry, it is men who are the biggest consumers and patronize their services. Men will openly discuss going to a strip club to celebrate a bachelor party, a promotion at work, or even just to blow off some steam after a hard work week. They are rarely given disapproving looks and comments about engaging in this behavior. Many musical artists make strip club images a major part of their persona. The big spender who can “make it rain” at the strip club is seen as powerful and take charge type of person, while the women who work in these industries are called a number of impolite names. Why is this? Why do women who engage in the profession or even like patronizing the services of the sex industry deemed “impure” or “tainted” while the men are often bestowed with a level of respect?
One cannot deny there are a number of issues wrong with the sex industry as a whole. Unfortunately, there are some people who end up forced into it due to circumstances, and this is unacceptable. However, there are a number of women who willingly choose to work in this industry for a number of reasons, and those women are just as deserving of respect as anyone else. Regardless of your reason, I #support you! People are sexual beings, and we all deserve to have our decisions acknowledged and` respected.
Today, something like 60% of households are headed by women. This means a lot of women are raising children either on their own, or are the main breadwinners for their families. Long gone are the days when we assumed it was the men who went out and “earned the bacon” while women stayed home and took care of the children and household. However, if we really look at historical evidence, very few women lived in a situation in which they were able to stay home and raise their children.
The rise of the middle class in the 20th century, saw many women were able to stay home, raise their children and be housewives. However, women of lower socioeconomic status rarely enjoyed this benefit. These women—poor women and women of color—were often tasked with having to work a variety of jobs such as cleaning homes and caring for other peoples’ children in order to make ends meet. The working woman is nothing new, yet the opportunity for the types of jobs women have today is relatively new. Today women are rising the ranks in corporate offices, opening their own businesses at higher rates than our male counterparts, and still a strong majority of the “helper” professions, such as teaching, nursing, and social work. But are women getting the respect we deserve?
There are a number of studies that have come out, that show while women are working just a much, if not more, than men, when it comes to domestic responsibilities, they often fall on our shoulders. We are still expected to be the primary caretakers of the children, cook, clean, and take care of the number of other responsibilities that come along with running a home. Is this fair? To many, it seems as if this is not fair to women. Our grandparents’ way of life is no longer an option for many of us. Many homes have to have two incomes in order to comfortably survive. If women are expected to work to help support our families and shoulder all the domestic responsibility, it stands to reason we are not receiving the respect we deserve.
Women have fought hard to have equal access to education and employment opportunities. The fight continues even today, especially when you look at inequities in pay and fields such as science and technology. For generations, we have been expected to take care of domestic chores, while the men brought home the bacon. Things are different today and in a world where women make up nearly 50% of the employment rate, it is time we get the respect we deserve, both in the workforce and at home.