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Miranda is 22 and has the wavy bobbed hair and clipped mid-Atlantic accent of a s movie star; she grew up in a Texas suburb. He gave me money to help out with my living expenses. Do you like everyone at your job? But you still work with them, right? I get paid for it. I do it for the money. And not only the money. People who make seven dollars an hour are oppressed by the patriarchy. But I was held back because of the stigma if anyone finds out. You just need a computer. As the debate over whether the United States should decriminalize sex work intensifies, prostitution has quietly gone mainstream among many young people, seen as a viable option in an impossible economy and legitimized by a wave of feminism that interprets sexualization as empowering.
In broad terms, the drive for decriminalization says it will make the lives of sex workers safer, while the so-called abolitionist movement to end prostitution contends the opposite. The Times Magazine piece elicited an outcry from some feminists, who charged that it minimized the voices of women who have been trafficked, exploited, or abused.
A ripple effect may already be in motion, but it looks more like a wave. A string of feminist-sex-worker narratives have been weaving through pop culture over the last few years, as typified by Secret Diary of a Call Girl —11 , the British ITV2 series based on the memoir by the pseudonymous Belle de Jour.
Christine likes sex work so much she leaves law school to do it full-time. Both shows feature graphic sex scenes that sometimes look like porn. Since Seeking Arrangement launched in , practically a genre of sugar-baby confessionals has emerged. On Tumblr, babies exchange tips on the best sugaring sites and how much to charge. They post triumphant pictures of wads of cash, designer shoes, and bags. On Facebook, there are private pages where babies find support for their endeavors as well.
In interviews, young women and men involved in sex work—not professionals forced into the life, but amateurs, kids—in Austin, New York, and Los Angeles, talked mostly about needing money.