Helping Women Who Sell Sex: The Construction of Benevolent Identities

Abstract: Social interventions aimed at helping the group positioned as most needy in Europe today, migrant women who sell sex, can be understood by examining that time, 200 years ago, when ‘the prostitute’ was identified as needing to be saved. Before, there was no class of people who viewed their mission to be ‘helping’ working-class women who sold sex, but, during the ‘rise of the social,’ the figure of the ‘prostitute’ as pathetic victim came to dominate all other images. At the same time, demographic changes meant that many women needed and wanted to earn money and independence, yet no professions thought respectable were open to them. Simultaneous with the creation of the prostitute-victim, middle class women were identified as peculiarly capable of raising them up and showing the way to domesticity. These ‘helpers’ constructed a new identity and occupational sphere for themselves, one considered worthy and even prestigious. Nowadays, to question ‘helping’ projects often causes anger or dismissal. A genealogical approach, which shows how governmentality functioned in the past, is easier to accept, and may facilitate the taking of a reflexive attitude in the present.

2 thoughts on “Helping Women Who Sell Sex: The Construction of Benevolent Identities

  1. cat este de convenabil faptul ca in toata poliloghia asta aspectul violentei si degradarii la care prostituatele sunt supuse, plus faptul ca circa 90% dintre prostituate si-au exprimat dorinta sa paraseasca prostitutia nu este considerat suficient de important pentru a fi mentionat. Vezi pentru mai multe detalii.

  2. eu nu cred ca se uita aspectul asta… exploatarea pe baza de gen, din care asta e una principala, face parte din preocuparile feministe si e exact motivul pentru care lumea isi imagineaza ca toate feministele sint automat “anti-prostitutie” (sau “anti-pornografie”). si majoritatea feministelor chiar sint impotriva acestor institutii in masura in care exploateaza si oprima femeile (si nu doar femeile) implicate. insa asa cum arata si lucrarea de mai sus problema e complexa si nuantata, tocmai pentru ca uneori a infiera/demoniza practicile respective inseamna in primul rind o dubla-victimizare a sex-workerilor (e de fapt asemanator cu felul in care sint tratate prostituatele, dpdv al ilegalitatii: criminale sint ele, nu si clientii – si asta e aspectul pe care suedia l-a adresat criminalizind cumpararea serviciilor sexuale, nu vinzarea cum e in toate celelalte tari). au fost ceva discutii pe blog despre porn – poate sint de interes: se pot accesa de-aici.

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