Stripping is not all glitter and girl power. Sex work is dangerous and in many cases psychologically and physically damaging.
Of course, women should be able to do what they want with their bodies. It is every woman’s own personal decision if they want to dress provocatively or cover every inch of skin. A woman who has 100 sexual partners is no worse than a woman who has only one.
However, deciding whether or not to join the sex work industry is a more serious matter than issues of bodily autonomy. It’s not a morality matter, but rather a problem with how women in the sex work industry are being treated.
Young women in college are seeking to better their lives. Entering a sex work job may give women money, but it puts them in an environment where they are objectified, harassed and disrespected on a daily basis.
Sex work can be a viable career for many women who are willing to face the unbelievable and often terrible circumstances. But to offer such a hard and dangerous job to a naive college freshman as just an “easy way to pay off debt” is manipulative and a downright lie.
One study found 100 percent of exotic dancers had been physically assaulted in the clubs where they were employed. These attacks occurred not once, but on average three to 15 times.
The abuse does not stop there. There have been accounts of sex workers being raped, stabbed, forced to engage in degrading sexual acts, threatened with a weapon, kidnapped, stalked, verbally abused, tied up, tortured, beaten with objects and worse.
Many women often find it very hard to leave the sex work industry because of the stigma surrounding its workers. Encouraging college students to enter an industry that could hurt their chances of getting a job after college is completely inappropriate.
Groups attempting to destigmatize sex work do exist, however the way society sees the industry doesn’t change how people working will be affected by such an intimate job. Even if it will drop violent crime rates.
Many sex workers are severely traumatized by their jobs and even suffer from severe PTSD. Even if sex work is fully decriminalized in the United States, the detrimental, emotional and psychological effects of the job will remain much the same.
Women in sex work jobs often don’t have control over the money they receive when working within clubs or brothels and are often taken advantage of. This is not true autonomy.
No woman should be encouraged to enter a dangerous, manipulative, disrespectful and emotionally draining workplace. There are better, less intrusive ways a woman can pay off debt and move on to the career with her degree.