Dont put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthington.

Posted on August 5, 2013


The sixth in our series on problematic languge, this post addresses the “But would you want your daughter to be a sex worker?”

When the antis plan their next line of attack the “Would you let your child be a prostitute?” masterclass must be packed to the seams, since it is brought up every time someone looks like loosing an argument. They have fallen at the hurdle of agency, tripped over the loose shoelaces of freedom of choice and fallen head first into the steaming vat of harm reduction. This is when they play their trump card, with all the flourishes of a mustache twirling Victorian villan

“Aha! “They cry; “But what if your (insert age here) daughter came to you and announced she wanted to be a sex worker?”

They then sit back, confident in the knowledge that the evil of whoredom has been eradicated from the kingdom, after all no one is going to say that’s OK are they? There is a very good example of someone using this line to trump all those nasty facts here . (Content note, it links to MamaMia, it is vacuous and your brain may hurt thinking down to Mia Freedman’s level.)

There are so many strawmen here that the argument really should look like this. I am going to list just a few of the problems with what the anti’s seem to think is their killer punch. Feel free to add anymore in the comments.

Firstly, your 7 year old daughter wants to be a sex worker and you do not immediately think WTF how do you know what a sex worker is? There is something very wrong with your parenting style here! My eldest child knows what a prostitute is, he heard the word on the radio, he asked. There is a huge difference though between answering in a non judgemental way and a very young child declaring they want to do it as a job.

Who are these families that discuss the intimacies of sex with very young children? I write that as someone who has answered every single question my kids have put to me in an age appropriate manner, as well as teaching informed and enthusiastic consent, the importance of contraception and body positivity. If your young child says they want to be a prostitute what the hell have you been letting them watch? Either that or they meant substitute because they just get to sit at the side and watch the game. (Genuine ambition of my youngest son at one point.)

The anti’s seem to think they have found a sick worm of hypocrisy lurking at the heart of everyone who supports sex workers rights here. This reached its apotheosis recently when a lovely gentleman on twitter said that if sex work was acceptable I should be OK with a father teaching his daughter technique, as parents pay for piano lessons and ballet.

Thing is all he was doing was pushing the If your daughter question to it’s logical conclusion, unless it seems sex workers are having sex all day and night in the presence of their children while chanting whores rights slogans we are hypocrites. Fine I would rather be a hypocrite than a sick fuck.

There is a wider issue here than sex though, about ambition, parenting, and how we view our children. A question dear reader, and answer honestly  how many of you with children want your children to do your job? I don’t, not because it is sex work but because I don’t want them to do any job! I want them to live Utopian lives where food magically appears, no one is ever hateful or tired or overworked and they can pursue whatever makes them happy. Failing that I will just go with the last, I want my kids to be happy. If you are planning their career path you are not doing it for them, but for you. Too many parents live through their children, hiding their resentment at their own failures and struggles by pushing their kids to succeed. Success here is defined by the parent, and limited by their own experiences.

Too many adults struggle with the results of this, deeming themselves failures because their parents defined their lives by strict limits, rather than loving their children for who they are, not what they might be. The job of a parent is not to set the path but to guide a child as he or she walks their own path.

How would I react if my child became a sex worker? I would hope they absorbed the lessons I have taught them, the important ones about choice, self respect and money being the least important thing in the world. Then I would ask them if they had clean underwear and if they had eaten, because that’s what Mums do. We fuss and we worry and want the best for our kids.  Wanting the best would also include wanting them to work in the safest possible environment, whatever job they do.