Sex work in the spotlight

There’s been a recent kerfuffle in South Korea over the debut of a k-pop group called Honey Popcorn (허니팝콘), a trio of Japanese women who previously worked as adult video entertainers in Japan. I don’t want to delve to deeply in the story, but it’s basically a collision of misogyny, anti-sex worker bias, and anti-Japan xenophobia. The story has come at an interesting time, however, when sex workers are increasingly visible in mainstream news.

Anastasia Vashukevich, a Belarusian escort who goes by Nastya Rybka, has ties to Paul Manafort, is seeking asylum, and claims to have evidence of Russian collusion. A male escort exposed over three dozen priests to the Vatican who were hypocrites in their anti-gay preaching. Adult actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal have been exposing Trump for what he is.

Seeing sex workers’ represented at all is a surprise to be sure, but certainly a pleasant one.

There certainly needs to be a space to talk about the negative aspects of the sex industry: coercion, male gaze, human trafficking, and the entrenchment of regressive social values. However, I am still glad that sex workers are receiving a degree of public exposure. Perhaps one day sex work will be legalized and legitimized, instead of being the dirty little secret that only occasionally makes it into the spotlight.