I’m not sure we should be, given Robinson’s suggestion that this isn’t the first time men affiliated with the United States government have collectively engaged in this type of behavior (and we’ve all seen the news reports, TV dramas, and tabloid headlines to support his assertion). Obviously there is the argument that women have the right to do with their bodies as they please. If they want to sell their sexual services to make ends meet, it’s their business and no one else’s.
Trafficking a factor too
This basic concept may be true, but the issue of prostitution in general seems far too complicated to be dealt with in a vacuum. For one thing, not all prostitutes enter their profession consensually. Human trafficking is a growing concern in Latin America; in addition, many sex-workers suffer from physical, financial and/or substance abuse at the hands of gangsters and pimps. The Christian Science Monitor reports that 500,000 Latin American and Caribbean women are sexually exploited every year. A pretty alarming statistic. I sure don’t want anyone, especially men representing my government, pumping those numbers up any higher.
Another problem is that the more this “boys-being-testosterone-laden-boys” attitude persists, the more normal it will become for women to be just another good or service available for the amusement of men. Over-reaction? Maybe. But take a look at an advertisement for alcohol. Leaf through an issue of Vogue or Marie Claire, or any other top fashion magazine. I guarantee that you’ll find several prime examples of women being draped and displayed in ways that make them no less of an object than the perfume or fruity alcoholic beverage featured in the next page’s ad. Majorska Vodka doesn’t even bother to include women’s heads in their ads. Just breasts, bottoms, and booze are all that’s needed for a good time. No brains necessary.
Ultimately, if we dismiss incidents like the recent Secret Service debacle, we run the risk of perpetuating a tendency to subjugate and objectify women that has only recently started to change for the better. Of course both men and women will continue to have sexual needs. Perhaps they just need to go about fulfilling them in a responsible, non-expoitative, 100% consensual way.
What do you think?
Photo Credit: Paul Evans
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