Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A smidge disturbing.

In a move that will surprise you, I recently saw some of the Tyra Banks show. No, really, I did! My wife in particular will likely be surprised since my loathing for Tyra Banks' other vehicle "America's Next Top Model" is virtually boundless. Nonetheless I, Drek the Uninteresting, have seen some of the program.

In my defense, however, I saw it because in this case the subject matter is more than a little bit disquieting. On this particular instance Tyra was interviewing women who are moving into the business of professional prostitution. This would, by itself, not be terribly remarkable as far as sensationalist programming goes were it not for an additional little detail. The woman in question is 18 year-old Summer whose budding career in pornography and prostitution is managed by her 44 year-old father. Who gives her bikini waxes. And reminds her to bring "something sexy" to work so she can please a man.


You can see a clip of the show over on Jezebel who has the following to say about it:

Today's episode of Tyra was about women who are looking to become legal prostitutes in Nevada. One particularly fucked up segment featured Summer, a pretty 18-year-old who is an "up and coming" adult film actress about to start working at the infamous Moonlight Bunny Ranch. Summer's father is also her manager, and he not only talked her into working at the brothel, but gives her Brazilian bikini waxes. Almost more insane? They actually show him doing it. Now, I'm pro-porn and pro-sex work, and I feel like people should be allowed to make their own choices when it comes to how they want to make their money. But maybe I'm not as progressive as I thought I was, because this shit is just wrong. Oh, and when Summer is shown crying when her dad drops her off at the brothel? He says, "you forgot something," and you think he's gonna give her words of encouragement or a hug, but instead, he hands her a giant bottle of lube.

She's absolutely right about the clip and I admit my reaction to it is similar to hers. I am just enough of a libertarian at heart that I don't really have an ethical problem with someone working in pornographic films or prostitution. I won't say that I regard either career path terribly favorably but I'm not sure I see it as a social good to prohibit those sorts of work either. That said, my reaction is one of utmost revulsion. Is it, as Jezebel suggests, that I am just not as progressive as I thought?

Well, first off, I don't think it has anything to do with being progressive or not. Frankly, I find the term "progressive" to be ridiculous propaganda on roughly the same level as "partial birth abortion." Moreso I think my revulsion stems from the interaction between Summer and her father. You see, if someone wants to start a career like this then I don't see any reason to stop them, but there's something a bit disturbing about one's own parents encouraging their child to become a prostitute. It's a dangerous, demeaning occupation even in a state like Nevada where standards are, in theory, adhered to. One could make the argument that this is no different than Tiger Woods' father encouraging his golfing ability but, really, is that true? Sure Woods' father profitted off of his son's commitment and sacrifice but, at the same time, there's a big difference between hitting a little white golfball and jerking off a lonely trucker.

Then again, is the element of personal service a good reason to view this work as demeaning? What about nurses or workers at retirement homes who may have to assist their patients/clients with all manner of personal hygeine tasks? Is it inherently more demeaning to perform oral sex on a stranger than to clean fecal material off of their body? Really, probably not. So what are we left with? This work isn't necessarily more demeaning than work performed by nurses and there's a long tradition of parents guiding their children's careers. Is it that this career is more dangerous? I mean, there will unavoidably be some exposure to bodily fluids which introduces the risk of disease transmission but, again, the same is true of doctors and nurses. And again, like medical professionals, I'd wager that there are both safety measures (at least in legal brothels in Nevada) and social controls that allow distance to be maintained in the relationship.

So where, exactly, does my revulsion come from in this case? I think it bothers me to see a father more or less pimping his daughter out. I think it bothers me not because there is anything intrinsically wrong with attempting to support his daughter's career- however unconventional it may be- but because there is too long a history of fathers pimping their daughters and, indeed, being praised for it. And when you get right down to it, I suspect that he's doing it for the same reasons that men have historically done it: to satisfy some need or desire of their own rather than for the good of their child. Why else "help" your child into a career of limited duration, limited financial benefit, and essentially no respect or esteem? If there's one thing we should be able to rely on from our loved ones, it is that they won't sacrifice us on the altar of their own selfish desires.

And at root, that's what bothers me.

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Blogger Marf said...

I must have missed something... How does "Drek the Uninteresting" have anything to do with a picture of a pirate?

As far as the article, I too, have strong libertarian views. I'll say this: At least she has her father's blessing.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 2:01:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

I don't quite remember myself how it got started but one of my co-bloggers (who co-blogs quite rarely anymore) decided that I was best represtented by an image of a pirate. As I was amused by this, I adopted the practice (infrequently) myself.

It's an in-joke so obscure even I don't remember the origin. How's that for ridiculous?

On a different matter, however, I should probably clarify that while I have real libertarian sympathies, I wouldn't consider myself a libertarian. Then again, my strong pragmatic bent makes it difficult for me to think of myself as an anything-arian.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 5:00:00 PM  
Blogger Marf said...

I think I can call myself a libertarian. I have my own views and opinions, it just happens to be that most of them coincide with libertarians.

And I should clarify my opinion on the article. I have no problem with the profession, or even with the fact the father is "pimping" his daughter (as long as she's of age). What I didn't like about it, is it looks like she was forced into the profession; that she doesn't really want to do that.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 5:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pirate thing may have come from the Pastafarians. But it’s just a guess.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 2:23:00 PM  
Blogger Marf said...

Ah, yes... Pastafarians. I'm currently in the process or reading The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 4:26:00 PM  

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