For those of you who have been around awhile, you know that I loathe Ashley Judd with the fury of a billion suns. The reasons are too numerous to count, but if you do a search on Ashley Judd right here on our very website, you’ll have hours worth of content that can paint the picture for you.
I look at her Instagram from time to time, because it often proves to be a goldmine for fodder for this site. A couple of days ago, she posted a video clip of an appearance she made in Paris recently to talk about violence against women. Her caption for the video clip was as follows:
I kinda had to do a double take on that one – “The presence of cash is the proof of coercion.”
Whizzah whuzzah? The presence of cash, if you ask me, is the proof of a consensual business transaction. It’s like the complete photo negative of coercion.
The arguments around prostitution and whether or not it is or isn’t “sex work”, whether it should or shouldn’t be legalized, etc. are super interesting. I’ll be honest – I haven’t completely fleshed out my own stance on it yet. I tend to lean towards the idea that it should be legalized, taxed and regulated simply for the safety of the sex workers themselves, and that it’s a woman’s prerogative to use her body as she sees fit, provided that she’s not causing harm to anyone else. I mean, it makes no sense to me that if you film the act of a woman having sex with a man to make a porno, and those actors are paid, that’s legal and perfectly OK, but if a woman charges a man to have sex with her off camera, that’s illegal and not OK. How is one really different from the other? It’s exchanging sex for money, regardless.
But then there’s the part of me that can see the point of people who insist that prostitution can never really be the true choice of ANY woman unless she’s in a desperate, untenable situation. And then – is it truly a choice or is it simply self-preservation, a last resort to survive? Or, as Ashley calls it, a #choicelesschoice?
I’m a bit conflicted on it. But I’m nowhere NEAR the point of thinking that a prostitute accepting cash for providing a sexual service equates to RAPE. Ashley Judd is flat bonkers.
And she’s getting called out on her IG post by fellow feminists who can’t understand why she’s denying women the choice of their own careers. Some are saying that it’s the very kind of stigmatization of prostitution that Ashley is engaging in that creates an environment that’s conducive to violence and/or the devaluation of women. Check out these responses:
Did y’all know that sex workers have a term they call feminists like Ashley Judd? It’s a SWERF, which stands for Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminist. And Ashley is getting called that. A lot.
According to that piece, Kate D’Adamo, who is a sex worker rights advocate, tweeted to Ashley Judd saying, “Congrats on your hard work trying to make #MeToo a space where those most likely to face and harm are unwelcome and unsafe. #sexworkerlivesmatter.”
Ashley’s response? “Hi, Thanks for your perspective. I disagree. I believe body invasion is indeed inherently harmful, and cash is the proof of coercion. Buying sexual access commodifies something that is beyond the realm of capitalism and entrepreneurship: girls and women’s orfices [sic].”
Again with this “cash is the proof of coercion” nonsense.
Let’s extrapolate for a moment.
People love watching football as a form of entertainment. More and more, however, we’re learning about the potential long-term damage that repeated rough physical contact can cause to the men who play football professionally. Regardless, I think it’s fair to say that men who enter the world of professional football know the risks to their bodies, and accept them because they are compensated in such a way that makes it worth it to them.
How is that different, really, than sex work? Both professions basically entail selling the use of one’s body for the enjoyment of other people.
Back to Kate D’Adamo. She explained Ashley Judd’s opinion of sex work to the Daily Beast as follows:
“All sex work is inherently harmful, and increased criminalization of the sex trade, focused on buyers and everyone around sex workers is the response.” She continued, “This perspective only works if you think about the sex trade as entirely divorced from ideas about sex, bodily autonomy, capitalism more generally, and the impact of policing and surveillance on communities of color. It also only works if you don’t listen to the people who would actually be experiencing what you’re advocating for.”
Another sex worker who went after Ashley Judd on Twitter, @BrookeBrou, said, “I find [Ashley Judd’s] posts rendering a SW to her orifices incredibly disgusting. I mean, I’d never see a client who is like that. I’ve never even seen a client who sees me or other girls or any woman in that way. They understand we are real people with autonomy and intelligence.”
Keep in mind – in areas where prostitution is regulated and legal, prostitutes can choose to either accept or decline any client they choose. This is why the whole “cash is proof of coercion” thing is such nonsense. Are professional football players being “coerced?” Or are they simply making a choice to participate in a profession that carries with it some bodily risk at a compensation level that makes it worth it to them?
D’Adamo concluded her thoughts on Ashley Judd this way:
“Judd’s opinions on sex work should be given as much time and space as the Pope’s opinions on period cramps.”
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA OH SNAP.
Anyway, I’d love to know your thoughts about this. Discuss.