I hated the movie Pretty Woman. While critics — and my friends — were raving about a charming Cinderella story, I saw a movie that glamorized prostitution and gold digging. Blech. To me, it was a totally amoral story. I was reminded of it today, though, when I read this incredibly sad article about how Europe is increasingly normalizing prostitution. It's all part of a trend that dresses up prostitution in the garb of sexual liberal and freedom of choice. After all, if Andrea Dworkin says all intercourse is rape; and if feminists classify marriage as a form of prostitution, with women selling their bodies to just one men, not many, for economic security, it's all very logical to legalize it like any other job.
Except that it's not like any other job. First off, although leftist feminists like to praise sex workers for controlling and even profitting off their sexuality (an idea especially popular at colleges), these same feminists are also the first ones to claim that women are superior to men because women demand emotional connection from sex. How the feminists square these two conflicting beliefs is beyond me.
There's also simply no way to get by the ugly fact that the only way to get sex workers is to kidnap and enslave poverty-stricken girls and young women. In a longer article about Europe's embrace of prostitution, Roger Scruton reminds us of this sordid, unromantic fact:
Official toleration is, in this matter as in so many others, the work of people largely protected from its consequences. Our legislators do not live in the areas of cities where prostitution is flagrant; they do not have to deal, in their daily lives, with the network of pimps and racketeers who live from the earnings of their female slaves; they do not have to fear for their daughters, now that the trade can be constantly resupplied from those places in the European hinterland where crime and cruelty are the norm. At the same time, so horrendous are the facts that the liberal conscience has an added reason for ignoring them. It is never pleasant, after all, to deal with the real consequences of human freedom. Prostitution in London, which was once a local industry among “fallen” women, supporting another local industry of philanthropists intent on rescuing them, is now largely run by illegal immigrants from the Balkans. These people do not conform to the standards adopted by the liberal conscience. The girls whom they bring with them are captured or purchased when too young to resist. Attempts to escape are severely punished by beating or torture, and communication with the outside world is expressly forbidden. Only in one particular do these girls conform to the ideal of the “sex worker” as now defined: Their earnings are taxed. That is to say, the pimp takes the lot, handing back what is required, as Marx would put it, “to reproduce their labor power.” If ever there were a case of exploitation, this is it.
(You can read more of the article by going to the link. To read the whole thing, you'll have to subscribe to National Review Online. However, as I always say, it's only $20, and well worth it.)
It really does yank my chain that Europe, with it's failing economy, its appalling race/ethnicity problems and, now, its increasing degradation of women, still manages to convince itself that it's morally and intellectually superior to America. Those same facts, though, make it less and less surprising to me ordinary Europeans, looking at the problems surrounding them, believe that radical Islam isn't a symptom of these failures but is, instead, a solution.