The first place the tour guide took us on our walk about Amsterdam was the red-light district. We turned a corner, and Voila! Women in windows. Scantily clad women in windows. Like watches or purses, except that I never felt self-conscious staring at a display of watches.
Prostitution is legal here. You know that. I knew that. Still, it's a little shocking--I don't have a better word for it--to pass these little four-foot wide window perches with women sitting or standing there leaving no doubt about why. Pot is legal here too. Actually, it's not; just no one, including the police, cares.
So what about that? Let's start with pot. I guess its fine. I confess to not having too strong a feeling either way. I don't think getting stoned regularly is the gateway to a productive life. But then neither is getting drunk regularly. So, I don't know. Whatever.
But prostitution bothers me. It's between consenting adults, and all that, so why should I care? Even the state doesn't care. It makes money (taxes) on it. But it's not the way I like to think about women, and more importantly, I don't think its the way they ought to think about themselves.
Prostitution, even if legal, perpetuates the stereotype of women as sex objects. A sex object is different from a sexual partner. Sexual partners are the inspiration for sonnets. Sex objects are the inspiration for scorn.
We don't need to be looking at women as fucks for sale. Something that can be bought, even a woman's body for fifteen minutes, is no different than anything else that can be bought. It is not your equal. It is your possession. It is yours to do with as you please. Without any responsibility on your part for its over-all well being, never mind its humanity. It's yours to buy and use and toss aside.
That's what slaves in America were. That's what too many women in too many parts of the world still are. We men need to take a stand against looking at women that way. Until we stop seeing them as our disposable sex toys, we cannot truly see them as our equals.