For one night, I was a Prostitute
I knew my standpoint about prostitution from the very beginning and spent weeks trying to find the best arguments to support my view, however no matter how much facts I read, I felt that there was something critical missing. I wanted more than facts; I wanted to be able to understand how it is to be in the shoes of a street worker, because in reality, most of us arguing for or against legalization of prostitution cannot relate to the every day life of one. So I decided that I should be a prostitute for a night. A night is not enough to know how it is to walk in a sex workers shoes, but I was hoping that it would give me enough insight to understand the subject better. One night three weeks ago I was sitting at a bus stop in the corner of Santa Monica and Vermont, a street in Los Angeles where many prostitutes find their clients. I had enlisted two of my closest male friends as protection, in case of any danger that might come out of my experiment, and they were safely positioned in a car across the street from me. Even though I had no intention of performing any sexual favors in exchange for money, I was feeling extremely nervous and anxious, sitting there in high heels and a dress, which was very out of place compared to the tiny outfits on the three women and a male transvestite standing not very far from me. It took me about half an hour to gather enough courage to engage in a short conversation with one of the women. Her name was Norma, was in her early thirties and told me she had been a “working” girl for three years now. She asked me if I was new, since she had not seen me around before. Being a terrible liar, I told her the truth, I am here to do some research. She gave me a glance up and down and then laughed at me, “Yeah, you don’t really dress like us” and then walked away. That was the only conversation I had during my four hours as a prostitute. During this time I received two invitations from men driving pass the bus stop. I didn’t want to push my luck and encourage any of these invites so I just looked the other way each time a car passed by. At 4 a.m. I decided I had had enough and went home. My experience that night comes no way close to the real life of a prostitute, and the feelings I had sitting there, are probably a tiny fraction of what goes through the mind of a street worker every night. Truth is, I was scared out of my mind. The fear of getting arrested while trying to deal with the judgmental stares of people driving by, as well as the cold of the night was too much for me, and I can only imagine the desperation any woman must feel to endure these conditions and the dangers that comes with, such as violent crimes, sexually transmitted diseases and drug abuse. It is safe to say that working on the streets is not a pleasant environment for any person, yet the focus lies on the moral issues of the sex industry, and very little is done to help the women that are currently working in this unsafe environment. No matter what one thinks about prostitution, we need to realize that it is an occupation as old as civilization and will most likely never cease to exist. By legalizing prostitution in forms of controlled brothels, we would be able to provide a safer environment for everyone involved.
Many people that are against legalization of prostitution claim that legalization will automatically contribute to a moral down fall in society. It will send out the wrong message that sex work is acceptable. I believe that the reasoning behind this logic is directly related to the taboo of sex. The sexuality of people, and more so women, has always been viewed upon with more scrutiny than that of men. A woman who enjoys sex is often considered to be a bad girl, with or without the exchange of money. It seems that not many people would actually consider that there are women who enter the business by own choice, simply because they do enjoy sex. These women often feel condemned...
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