Selling Sex—just another business transaction?

In Victoria’s Time-Colonist newspaper (Jan. 31, 2010 issue) the article “Victoria brothel film makes its debut tonight” recounts the backstory of a documentary that premiered in this year’s film festival entitled, The Brothel Project. The film documents the attempts of a local social activist and a retired prostitute to open a co-op brothel. They wanted to achieve legitimate business status for the brothel and benefits for its “sex workers.”

I guess there is no shortage of potential co-op sex trade workers for such a venture. The newspaper says there are 1,000 licensed escorts in the greater, or maybe more accurately, the lesser Victoria region. When it comes to anything dealing with sexuality we, North Americans, love our euphemisms. We prefer to beat around the bush and see in print words like “sex worker” or “escort” rather than the plain old English words “prostitute” or the more edgy “whore.”

But times change. One of the main personages in both the Brothel Project film and the TC newspaper article, Mia Bella, whose name translates loosely into something like Gollum’s “my precious,” says that she doesn’t mind being labeled a whore. “It’s not an insult,” she’s quoted as saying.

Well, the largest online dictionary says the origin of the word “whore” lies with the ancient “barbarian” Goths. As a noun, a whore is defined as:

“1) A woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse, usually for money; prostitute; harlot; strumpet.”

Perhaps, given our present emphasis on gender equality, we should include a secondary meaning in the “whore” definition entry. Why not include something like this:

2) Also a man, especially a political or sensual animal sort of guy, who can be bought or controlled by some selfish, narrow interest or lust rather than being primarily concerned with the good of someone else or the community as a whole; immoral; despicable; a user.

Should gaining one’s livelihood by prostitution, by being a whore, be accepted as a legitimate form of business? Some 3,400 years ago, when framing the constitution for an ideal, family-friendly nation, Moses wrote this. He must have asked his Authority whether donation’s made from the wages of whoredom were just as acceptable to that nation’s only registered charity as those working in legitimate, recognized businesses like: herding goats, counting shekels, weaving cloth, selling used chariots, or working as a scribe for the Hebrew Times-Colonist:

18 When you are bringing an offering to fulfill a vow, you must not bring to the house of the Lord your God any offering from the earnings of a prostitute, whether a man or a woman, for both are detestable to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 23:18, NLT).

Our present secular society changes all the time. The meanings of words in our vulgar language change. People can also change either for the better or for the worse. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. What makes an individual, a family, and a nation happy can be found in what is better known as “eternal truths” or perhaps the “spiritual wisdom” found in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures—the divine narrative. Jesus of Nazareth said this:

I tell you the truth, the tax collectors [despised as greedy crooks like many of today’s CEOs] and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you [the cultural elite who run society and who substitute human ideas for those written in the divine narrative]. 32For John [the Baptist] came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did [because they understood what they were]. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him (Matthew 21:31 NIV).

Two women of the Bible, Rahab the Harlot and Mary Magdalene, had earned their living by presenting their bodies to the lustful desires of their paying customers. Men who use prostitutes are not interested in loving and caring for such women beyond tossing them a handful of cash. And the smart whore knows to get paid before the act, because it’s infinitely harder to collect afterwards. But the stories about Rahab the Harlot and Mary Magdalene recount that when they encountered what makes for true happiness and leads to a good life—leaving behind a career of prostitution was a no brainer for them.

Don’t kid yourself! When was the last time you heard a romantic love song about a whore and her multitude of Toms, Dicks, and Harrys? Selling promiscuous sex is not a good career choice if you want to achieve lasting personal happiness, whether we make it legit in this corrupt society or not. Do not be deceived!