You would have thought that the two women on the Bill O’Reilly show were from the Sisters of Mercy, wanting to help the poor and hungry—at least that’s the way two “entertainers” from a “gentleman’s club” named Scores in New York presented their case. They were “hurt”—and a bit surprised--that the money they had raised for charity was being rejected. After all, we live in a time when suburban moms take lessons in pole dancing, undergraduates write term papers on pornography, and eight-year-old girls dress like little tramps.
Neither of these women is a Sofya Semyonovna, the pious heroine of Dostoevsky’s tale, forced into prostitution to feed her family.
In fact, one guest named “Morgan” claimed that if those who work at this “very legitimate business” wanted to give “back to the community” they should be allowed to. The other entertainer, Kelly Branton, exposing a little bit of the cleavage that customers would see at the club, claimed that many of the targeted charities were involved with the “empowerment of women.” She closed her presentation by claiming that dancing naked “empowered her” and that she was “very proud” of what she does.
Kelly Branton sounds like she has been taking classes in women’s studies at the local community college. It is in the academy that the term “sex worker,” used for exotic dancers and prostitutes, has gained currency, and Ms. Branton was presenting herself as a respectable professional. Ever since Madonna started strutting across the stage in underwear, feminists who have rejected patriarchal linear thought (read logic) have undertaken to “claim” female sexuality as a form of “empowerment.” An entire academic industry has grown from this school of thought. One of the papers I heard at the American Literature Association conference this year was about Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s sex life. Trampiness, as long as it is on the woman’s terms, is seen as a form of empowerment. This phenomenon arose naturally from the earlier feminist revival of goddess religions that involved temple priestesses initiating men with sex--this to counter the “oppressive” Judeo-Christian patriarchy. Such a regressive move could only be considered revolutionary by those schooled in feminist thought. But feminists, in their Marxist style leveling, have undertaken the project of making stripping and prostitution as legitimate as working on an assembly line, or being a college professor. In Marxist-academic parlance, I am a “word worker.”
And they’re just sex workers.