I caught an interesting documentary on television the other night, “Sex – Made in Germany”. It seems that prostitution and all things related are legal in Germany and and the programme featured some very successful entrepreneurs and their businesses. Apparently the state is bringing in some big bucks because of making the industry legal and along with them, private businesses are also raking it in. However, as usual women don’t make as much money and some of the ways of earning a euro or two as a prostitute in Germany (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) are quite sad and shocking.
Prostitution is a big subject for me, much bigger than politics or religion about which you can hear me happily giving an opinion whenever you want! For the record, I have voted and I have been to church so I have my opinion based on my experience. I’ve not sold my sex for money and I’ve never been inside a brothel nor spoken to a prostitute so where does my in-built distrust and disgust come from regarding this age old industry?
I think this is where my matriarchal influenced life comes in, a place where women were their own bosses and no man told her what to do or how to do it. My maternal grandmother stood her own ground against a patriarchal system and rose to the top of her profession in Jamaica back in the 30s and 40s, unheard of at the time. My paternal grandmother was a busy mother of six, living on the breadline, but boss of her house and keeping everyone in check. Has that influenced me? For sure it has! Men didn’t expect so little of women where I was growing up, they expected an awful lot.
I have had a blessed life in which education and values were bestowed upon me in all their glory. As a girl growing up in the 60s and 70s, expectations were there, albeit it did seem limited at the time. At 18yrs and leaving school the choices were university, teacher training, nursing or secretarial school – we were expected to do something with our lives. I chose secretarial school as my cunning plan was to be CEO of a multi-national! Unfortunately I read The Women’s Room by Marilyn French and things didn’t work out that way, but that’s another story!
The part of the documentary that really affected me was when the programme was interviewing the successful owner of one of the biggest chains of mega brothels in Germany. Filmed at home with his four children who are privately educated in Waldorf and international schools, he is asked about them taking on the family business when they’re older. His answer shows his pride of his children and he would be delighted if they took over the family business. The interviewer then asks if he’d be happy with his daughters working as prostitutes and to see his face, appalled at the idea and then hear his answer jerked me back to reality! Of course not was his answer! What a brutal thought he shuddered! Here is a man who would not want his own daughters to work as prostitutes yet his business celebrates prostitution!
Further disturbing facts about the documentary show how this type of establishment is considered the norm amongst men from all walks of life and they start going there when they legally can. Here in Mallorca we have a lot of young Brits coming on holiday to Magalluf as a wierd rite of passage and in Germany, that rite of passage for boys is going to one of these mega brothels instead! I can’t imagine my sons as clients in that sort of place. First born never did a Magalluf rite of passage either!
How sad it is that the one of the most wonderful expressions of human love namely sexual expression can be turned into something so sordid. Physical love, an opportunity to sexually connect and explore on another dimension but instead used as a service in which the man has the power and connecting to someone’s feelings don’t come into it. I have nothing against prostitutes, facts show that many of them are there because of sexual abuse, poverty, violence or trafficking. I simply do not understand how men can pay for sex. There is nothing glamorous or sexy about it, there is nothing sweet or cute about it, there is nothing that I can see that makes it acceptable – nothing about exploiting women is right to me!
For the prostitute, things did get a little better with these new laws in Germany which allowed prostitution to become legal but it wasn’t enough. As usual, elsewhere in the world, prostitution is alive and kicking and still benefitting men.
And for the father who expects so much from his daughters, how sad that underneath it all it’s about us and them at the end of the day.