‘My sex work pays for my rescue chickens and other animals.’

Now there’s a headline hard to miss eh? On further reading this is the story of a twenty something woman who has created her own animal sanctuary in her back garden and pays for this by being an online stripper and sex worker.

Somehow the article is praising her for her compassionate endeavours, congratulating her on her financial independence earning £3k a week, whilst playing down the way she does this. This is yet another example of how we are normalising prostitution – we have done this with teen pregnancy, self-harming, poverty porn, cosmetic surgery, drug use and whole load of other modern day social challenges so why not prostitution??

I know prostitution is not new and been part of the darker side of our society for an eternity but let me assure you, so far I do not see girls leaving school with career aspirations to be a prostitute, but if we carry on praising the job and hailing those who do it as heroes, it won’t be long before vulnerable girls who fail to make it academically will be enticed into the sex industry for all the wrong reasons and with little idea of the real deal and inevitable mental health issues. And I hate to be the bearer of even more bad news but maybe we have already waved the train from the station as twenty something girls compete to be Reality TV stars, glamour models, porn stars and/or Instagram sensations. Let me ask you if the prize on Love Island is £50k and the couple most likely to win are the ones who have sex live on TV is this not a form of prostitution or does it have to happen on a street corner to qualify? Believe me, it’s a slippery slope…..

Let me just expand on what I mean by normalising this. Prostitution has always been something we know exists but we have always treated it like a dirty secret. It is something women are driven to through poverty, drug addiction, grooming or simply the need to feed their kids. And the women who fall prey to this were victims and marginalised from society.

Today we are in danger of congratulating these women for their choices. We discuss this as right, an easy way to earn big money; We expound about the safety of it now as you can set up your own channel online, in the comfort of your own bedroom; We positively celebrate the entrepreneurial options of sex work as it leads to independence and financial security. We position it as a key aspect of female empowerment.

It saddens me the message this gives our young girls. It says it is OK to demean yourself, sell your body and your honour to fund your lifestyle. In my opinion there can be nothing empowering about performing sexual acts for money or stripping to order online. As a society we seem to go out of our way to position sex as simply a commodity – Reality TV is a race to the bottom to see who jumps into bed with who first; every dating show is a sexfest and soap storylines get darker by the week. And don’t get me started on game technology!

So why are we surprised when the average age to lose your virginity gets younger and younger; girls have little self-respect for their bodies or intimacy and boys demand girls to be mini porn stars before they hit puberty.

Whilst I recognise we all have choices and if you choose to sell your body for money I have no right to judge you, I have to tell you, everything I have ever read about prostitution tells me this is not a choice made willingly, nor is it an empowering one and very rarely does it end well.

Hats off to said lady who funds her own animal sanctuary but please do not hail her as a role model nor suggest her life choices warrant widespread acclaim.

If you are in any doubt about the validity of my argument here, how would you feel if your daughter decided to enter the sex industry as a prostitute or an online stripper? Let this be your benchmark.

I live in hope that our media will be more responsible with the stories they choose to tell and the way they tell them. Yes I may be deluded but………


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