Letters The Guardian, Monday November 17 2008
Feminist contempt for prostitutes
What is most striking about feminist reporters who single out prostitution as worse than any other industry is their contempt for prostitute women. Zoe Williams describes sex workers as either “better at sex than they are at anything else” or “so disadvantaged that they may as well have been kidnapped” (Turned off by tart-lit, November 13).
There is no sisterly understanding of, no identification with, women who for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of pressing economic need, work in the sex industry; no appreciation of the social skills required for a job that deals not only with men’s egos, but with the constant threat of arrest and its dire consequences, especially for women’s safety and keeping families together. (Who would risk reporting a violent man if you may end up in prison yourself and be separated from your children?)
Being good at sex (or at faking it) does not mean you have no other skills; being disadvantaged does not mean you are not a caring mother.
Many clients are more respectful of the women whose services they pay for than feminists who claim to speak for us. If these feminists spent as much time looking at what we have in common as women as they now spend distancing themselves from us, feminism would be less arrogant, repressive and out of touch. And feminists in government would worry about our rights rather than our “rehabilitation”.
English Collective of Prostitutes