On April 26, Teen Vogue posted an article titled “Why Sex Work is Real Work” by Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng. Teen Vogue tweeted the article out again today.
Yes, sex work is real work! https://t.co/v9T3b7eBj6
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) June 16, 2019
The author, who is also the founder of Nalane Reproductive Justice, explains why she believes sex work should be decriminalized.
“The idea of purchasing intimacy and paying for the services can be affirming for many people who need human connection, friendship, and emotional support,” Mofokeng said.
What drew outrage, beyond the obvious, was that the article was published in Teen Vogue, a magazine targeted toward 13-year-old girls.
This article reduces the work of a medical professional to that of a sex worker. In her piece, Mofokeng questions why having a medical degree to talk about sex-related problems differs from physically performing sexual acts. Both are a transfer of cash, therefore both ought to be legal.
With that line of logic, we should legalize all drugs because doctors give out drugs; therefore crack dealers should be allowed to give out drugs. They’re both a transfer of cash, after all.
“I find it interesting that as a medical doctor, I exchange payment in the form of money with people to provide them with advice and treatment for sex-related problems; therapy for sexual performance, counseling and therapy for relationship problems, and treatment of sexually transmitted infection. Isn’t this basically sex work? I do not believe it is right or just that people who exchange sexual services for money are criminalized and I am not for what I do. Is a medical degree really the right measure of who is deserving of dignity, autonomy, safety in the work place, fair trade and freedom of employment? No. This should not be so. Those who engage in sex work deserve those things, too.”
Why would a topic of such moral ambiguity be promoted by a magazine for teenagers?
When I was younger, I used to pick up an issue of Teen Vogue before I would head over to the neighborhood pool. The magazines were filled with trendy models and articles about Selena Gomez. The biggest scandal, from what I can recall, was the Selena Gomez-Justin Bieber break up. How did a magazine that used to dish about celebrity scandals choose a topic as perverted as sex work to preach to young women about?
Not only was the article was tasteless, given the audience, but it also failed to talk about legitimate problems with consensual prostitution and closely-related sex trafficking:
I don't doubt that a small % of women enter into sex work consensually. But it is beyond selfish for @TeenVogue to prioritize their needs & desires above the needs & desires of women who are victims of this industry—women (and girls) who are trafficked, abused, and desperate. https://t.co/PZ6REWnT0N
— Kelsey Bolar (Harkness) (@kelseybolar) June 17, 2019
This article was a slap in the face to those young women who are trafficked and abused at skyrocketing rates. Between 2010 and 2015, there was an increase of reported child sex trafficking by 846 percent.
In 2014, the Department of Justice reported that more than half of sex trafficking victims are 17 years old or younger. While Teen Vogue is pushing a sex liberation agenda on young women, they are bypassing the unfortunate truth that some of their readers may become victims of this industry.
Promoting unlimited, legal prostitution is not freeing and not something that we should be promoting to young women, especially during a time when women are doing exceptionally well in America and the doors are opening for women in all job fields. In fact, 70 percent of people see the wide-ranging benefits of female leadership. Why should we open up avenues for women to fall into the dangerous clutches of sex work—or worse, sex trafficking—when the working woman’s opinion is of such value?
We should not be promoting a sex liberation narrative to 13-year-olds. We should be teaching 13-year-olds about community, family, careers, literally anything else. You would think a doctor would know that.
It is unimaginable how someone would promote such a skewed ideology of feminism to such a vulnerable readership.