“Would you want your daughter to be a prostitute?”

Corry Doctorow links to a defense of legalizing prostitution that, among other things, addresses the “Would you want your daughter to be a prostitute?” question:

I’m particularly aggravated, when I support legalizing sex work, and people say triumphantly: “would you want your daughter to be a sex worker?” as though that should matter. I’d rather she not be a lobbyist, or work in a sweatshop, or a coal mine, or be a malpractice lawyer, either. But it doesn’t have a lot to do with me, either way, and if she were to do any of these things, I’d like her to be able to call the cops on someone attempting to take advantage of her, and be able to use Turbo Tax at the end of the year to report her income.

The one thing I’d add is that the question plays on the fact that in English, “wouldn’t want X” is routinely used as an understated way of saying “want not-X.” I’m not in the habit of having vicarious career aspirations for the kids I don’t even have yet, but that doesn’t mean I want my future kids to not have jobs. If I had an (adult) child who was considering getting into sex work of any kind, I’d want them to know what they were getting into first, but I wouldn’t oppose an informed decision.


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