Disclaimer: If you are sensitive to subjective opinions this article is not for you. I say that from a loving place because as openminded as I thought I was, it wasn’t until recently, that I realized perhaps at one time, I wasn’t always so openminded. I love the film Pretty Woman, because in my mind, it is a beautiful romance. Which may not be the traditional perception for everyone else, when you factor in prostitution. Does that mean whores are not respectable and the film devalues romance because Edward “bought” Vivian’s love? Or is paying for sex disgraceful?
In the world we live in today, whether legal or not, prostitution is happening everywhere. It’s not only women selling themselves but men are as well. There is a stigma around prostitution and the opposing opinions. This past weekend a buddy of mine tagged a photo of a woman on Instagram — who was fully naked in the picture. He was showing his support for her choices as a woman, standing up against the masses, in defense to the ridicule she’s received for having an abortion.
A feminist myself, in support of empowering women, I clicked on the woman’s page to see what her story was. My first impression: How do I get a body like that? Followed with: She is a woman who likes to be naked and shares very valuable information. The majority of her photos were, what some might call, provocative and erotic; but I saw a mix of content focused on art– she is a ballerina and a playmate. As I scrolled through her pictures each caption was raw, honest and empowering. Until I got to the one picture that highlighted the “Me Too” movement. Her caption about men objectifying women stopped me in my tracks. Currently experiencing the same misperceptions both personally and professionally because of the photos I share on Facebook and Instagram. That’s when I realized as different as she and I are, we are alike.
Like this woman, I’ve had similar experiences with the “Me Too” movement. My heart is empathetic for her. I could tell she was so much more than other people saw her for. But my empathy wasn’t completely focused on the men who thought it was okay to objectify her, both in person and in comments. Which compelled me to speak up and write this article to protect people’s right to be themselves. My confusion brings me back to Pretty Woman. Why is Vivian the one with the stigma and not Edward? Edward is the one who hired her and paid for the transaction — sex. Vivian did not hide the fact the she was a prostitute, but Edward wanted Vivian to pretend to be someone else. Why? Is he the reason behind the stigma? He’s being dishonest by portraying himself as the perfect man, when he bought the whore.
That’s where my open-mindedness shifted. Here I believed prostitution was wrong for selling your body for money, and “whoring” oneself out, giving — in this case– women a bad reputation, when in reality it wasn’t. It’s the people that think having a job to support themselves and being honest about whatever that job is deems them disgusting, disingenuous, or not respectable. What about the people, in this case men, who claim to be the perfect man, father, dad but solicit prostitutes? What’s more disingenuous: Someone who is honest or someone who lies? I sat with this for awhile because I truly wasn’t sure how to make anything involving selling or buying sex seem “right.” Then it dawned on me what angered me the most about the “Me Too” movement. It was deeper than just the victims affected by this. It was all of the dishonest people getting away with it.
That’s when my opposing moral and ethical views married. It clicked in my mind what had to change for me to respect someone’s choice– aside from the simple fact that this is THEIR life and they have to do what’s right for them. Just like I have to do the same. What needed to change was not perception, it was truth. If a woman told me she was a prostitute, I would have respect for her honesty. It does not mean I have to agree, but I don’t have to judge. The same is true about a man. These are just examples, the gender roles can be switched. If he told me he pays for sex, I would respect him. Sure it would be unsettling, but I would appreciate his honesty more.
The issue for me is the people who are leading with one foot and demonstrating another. They are the ones creating the stigma’s. It’s interesting you can commit a crime and plead guilty and get less time than if you pleaded innocent and were found guilty. Truth carries weight. For those of you who are misperceiving the woman on Instagram because of your ignorant or uneducated perception of truth, try being real with yourself, and your truth. Just because she shares her real truth about being promiscuous should not demoralize her advocacy for equality and financial freedom.
Everyone is free to their own opinions, which I fully respect, but take a deeper look at the full story before you judge a book by its cover. People are more than objects.