May 16th, 2006

Everyone faces stereotypes.  Prostitutes are definitely no exception.  But, unlike stereotypes about race, gender, class, etc., stereotypes about prostitution aren’t refuted in the classroom or in after-school specials.  An alarming number of people honestly believe that all sex workers are deserving of their judgement and/or pity.

Not to say that there aren’t men and women in the sex industry who have troubled pasts/presents, but everyone is different, and while the archetype of the poor lost soul fallen to a life of a debauchery may be easier for some people to swallow, it hardly holds a candle to the empowerment and revelry of something like The Sex Workers Art Show.

Still, old habits die hard.  I admit even I was surprised at the confidance and presence of the prostitutes lining the streets of Amsterdam.  It can’t be easy to stand behind a glass door wearing a bikini all day.  And having fun doing it…  If I was wearing a hat, it would go off.

It seems though that virtual prostitution may be helping to dispel some of our old stereotypes.  Recent press attention has opened a few windows into the world of virtual prostitution, and shown us not sad, dollar-desperate individuals, but players doing what society still considers blasphemous in real life: enjoying themselves, and making money doing it.

The escorts I’ve spoken to in Second Life reflect a similiar sentiment.  They’re there because it gets them off, not because they have to be. 

Of course, virtual prostitution has fewer risks and is easier to get started in that real-life prostitution, but the point isn’t to say the two are the same.  No, the point is this: If players across the country can be finding liberation in online sex working, why can’t real-life workers be doing the same?

Tags: Blog

5 Responses to “Virtual Prostitutes: Combatting Stereotypes, Defying Expectations”

  1. Brummbar Says:

    No, the point is this: If players across the country can be finding liberation in online sex working, why can't real-life workers be doing the same?

    Because one is make-believe prostitution and the other is the real thing.

  2. FerrousBuller Says:

    Errr, for the same reason I can get a cathartic, vicarious, socially acceptable thrill from capping people in the head in a video game; but I get arrested for doing that in the real world?

  3. Bonnie Says:

    Again, I’m not saying virtual prostitution and real-life prostitution are the same thing. I’m just saying that 1) people need to open their eyes to the fact that prostitutes are individuals, not sympathy cases, and that 2) maybe the example being set by empowered online prostitutes can help incite that change.

  4. New Game Plus » Bonnie Rueberg on Virtual Prostition Says:

    […] Journalist Bonnie Rueberg of Heroine Sheik has written an interesting post on virtual prostitutes. Although my views vary from hers, I’m always happy to see another writer respect the people who are prostitutes first as humans and not victim-blamed scourges of society. She points out that virtual worlds create a safe place for people to: Of course, virtual prostitution has fewer risks and is easier to get started in that real-life prostitution, but the point isn't to say the two are the same. No, the point is this: If players across the country can be finding liberation in online sex working, why can't real-life workers be doing the same? […]

  5. George Says:

    >> prostitutes are individuals, not sympathy cases

    The prostitues I have known, a handfull, not as a client, were individuals AND sympathy cases. I would love to know one who was in the profession because she got off on it. But I have not found her yet.

    I do know that some porn stars will proclaim that they were never abused. How true that is I am not able to claim without excersizing some faith one way or the other. The fact is, I can not know. I just assume that pron stars and prostitues love their jobs and have never been abused. But that would be faith talking.

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