Friday, October 21, 2016

When De-Stigmatizing Becomes Demoralizing

That there is any discussion at all about prostitution not being immoral is just appalling to me. Now perhaps this has to do with some naiveté on my part, but I've always assumed that the response to prostitution was quite simple, at least, from those who were neither sex workers nor clients: prostitution objectifies persons, the objectification of persons is wrong; therefore prostitution is wrong. Personally, my objection to prostitution would be more religious, however, if I am correct in what I assume to be a quite common response, then this indicates that many people, religious or not, hold a deep intuition that prostitution is wrong.

But for some, this belief is 'not good enough.' "Sex workers need to be defended against stigmatization," they might say. I don't see this idea as a problem in itself; my problem with this, however, is what is being implicitly said.
If the perceived solution to ending stigmatization is that I must stop thinking of prostitution as being immoral, then I will not succumb to that. These social philosophers, policy makers, etc. seem to think that it's so easy to get people to stop thinking about something in a certain way. Since when was it human to just shut down intuitions and judgments at the demand of another? The correct thinking of either side is a can of worms I'm unwilling to open at the moment, but what I want to emphasize is this weird notion of humans being able to simply dim their beliefs as if their mind is some unconscious light switch.

I'm also surprised at the deterministic flavor of some of the commentary on this issue. In theological terms, I would agree that transgressions are not wholly personal troubles, but that sin committed by an individual can have an interpersonal effect. That being said, this idea of defending the lifestyles of these sex workers as if they are entirely unable of getting out of their situation is just as hopeless as it is disturbing. If you're a social reformer, don't you at least think it's a possibility that these (mostly) women could live better lives? Aren't you the one who emphasized the social construction of all this? If it can be constructed by humans, it can also be deconstructed.

Another interesting point: the prostitute is defended but the customers are not. The customers are certainly stigmatized, I would imagine, so why aren't they defended? I guess you can't get mad at humans if they're just sub-atomic particles who are void of freedom.

"All the controversial issues in the culture war are sexual," says Peter Kreeft. It used to be a stereotype that young men thought sexually about everything; this was rightly referred to as perversion. But this way of thinking is now entirely acceptable, being promoted under the guise of cultural capital on behalf of the zeitgeist of the Western intelligentsia. I guess that's what you get when you keep Freud and forget about Jung. A shame indeed.

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