Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Proposition K

I'm not sure what the "K" in San Francisco's Proposition K stands for (Kink? Kunt? More likely just a random name.), but what I do know is that if I lived in SF, I would be totally for it. Proposition K would decriminalize prostitution, which, in laymen's terms, means that prostitutes would be treated like real people, as people with real jobs. Its passage means that the city won't be able to use public funding to criminalize (read: arrest) women who are working as sex workers. In addition, it means that violence against sex workers will no longer be ignored. For too long, the rape of a prostitute has not been prosecuted, not only because the "justice" system didn't care enough to allot the time needed to carry out a prosecution, but also because the rape wasn't considered a crime in the first place. "You're a prostitute. You're parading around for sex. You are asking to be raped. You deserve to be raped."

For a job that's considered the "oldest profession", prostitution sure doesn't garner a lot (or any) of the respect that comes with seniority. And that's a shame, because not only has it been around since, essentially, the beginning of civilization, but it's going to stay around until the apocalypse comes (and I'm not evolutionary biologist, but I would propose that in the time of cave-dwelling, cavewomen would concede to sex as a form of trade for resources owned by cavemen). If only for that reason, prostitutes deserve the rights that should be held by all workers (unfortunately, they aren't...but that's another post altogether). Although there are some women who enter the sex work force in search of empowerment or a new experience, many women are forced into prostitution because our society has institutionalized sexism. Think about the glass ceiling: women get lower wages for the same work, women are expected to do unpaid domestic labor at home in addition to their day (and/or) night jobs, women are expected to raise the next generation successfully...yet, in return, women get shit. It should be no surprise that women of all walks of life often turn to prostitution or other forms of sex work (eg: college students in need to tuition money, taking on a stint as an amateur stripper). If you're going to make the system shitty, you might as well give the strippers a fighting chance, treat them like people. Ideally, of course, women would be on equal footing with men AND sex work would be legalized.

In spirit, I am "voting" for Proposition K because its passage will decriminalize the most negatively stereotyped form of sex work. It seems that selling one's sex is conceived by our society to be the most horrendous form of "self-exploitation" there is--far worse than selling the sight of one's body, as in stripping, or one's sexual fantasies, as with sex writers. So by legalizing, and thus to some extent destigmatizing prostitution, the gateway for acceptance of all types of sex work will be opened. Let the violene, the hate, the stereotypes stop!

As of this post, it seems that those voting AGAINST Proposition K have a 13 point victory; I hope it isn't definitive but hope is no match against the actual statistics. If it doesn't pass this time, I hope the people of San Francisco will work hard to put it on the ballot again and again until it does. Give people their rights.


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