YWCA Hamilton: Voices

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superfreakonomics and sexwork

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Take a look at this article in the Guardian that makes the argument that the authors of the new book “Superfreakonmics” got it all wrong when they wrote their chapter on sex work.

Here’s an exerpt from the article:

Good news, ladies. You, too, can make millions by charging for sex! And you’ll just have a slam-bang, gee-golly splendiferous time doing it, too – at least if you absolutely adore the sort of men who pay for it. Be warned, however: Disliking those men will consign you to the minimum-wage ranks of sex professionals, forever longing for the big bucks you could be earning, had you only an appropriately chipper attitude….

Levitt and Dubner build their piece around a comparison of two prostitutes: Allie, who works from her bedroom and makes between $350 and $500 an hour, depending on the client, and LaSheena, who works on the streets and probably makes about $350 a week, based on statistics (some information – any information – as to LaSheena’s specific circumstances and earnings probably would have helped the comparison, but Levitt and Dubner seem, in this instance as in many others, not to have bothered learning about their subject).

LaSheena and Allie are the Goofus and Gallant of sex work, at least in the warped little scenario laid forth in the Superfreakonomics excerpt. Arising, as Levitt and Dubner seem to assume they do, from absolutely no context whatsoever (the fact that Allie is probably white, and that LaSheena is probably not, is never once addressed, for example; neither is the personal history of LaSheena explored in any detail, though we hear about Allie at excruciating length) they are not actual women so much as they are flattened-out, hollow caricatures of Success and Failure. Allie is a good prostitute; she has succeeded. LaSheena is a bad prostitute; she has failed.

 

Be sure to take a look- it’s a very interesting article.

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