Caius Fellow makes case for prostitution

She compared prostitution to working in the military

Fellow and Director of Studies for Economics at Gonville and Caius, Dr Victoria Bateman has called for economists to “embrace the sex industry.”

Dr Bateman made headlines last year when she protested against Brexit by going naked to a two hour faculty meeting with “Brexit leaves Britain naked.” written on her body.

In an article for the Time Higher Education Magazine, Dr Bateman points out how big the sex industry really is, pornography alone  “has been estimated to generate more revenue than Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, eBay, Netflix and Apple combined.”

Yet, she writes, “it is territory that currently receives serious attention only from gender studies. This means that prostitution particularly “has for too long been left to operate with virtually no official support or recognition. And sex workers have therefore been left vulnerable to exploitation, not just from pimps and clients, but also from the authorities.”

Amnesty International supports the decriminalisation of sex work, but “the issue remains highly contentious”

She argues that the reason for this is not the “usual justification (…) that the sale of sex is “immoral” and that it preys on the most vulnerable in society.” It’s because we value what men do over what women do.

In the article she compares the “male-dominate spheres of soldiering and boxing”, which are glorified by society, to “consensual prostitution – a largely female trade” which is condemned, despite the fact that both “come at significant risk to the body and the brain”.

Bateman compares prostitution to soldiering, another physical profession

Similarly, she argues, we’re “completely comfortable with people in effect pimping their brains (…) But if you’re born with a great body and are able to hone your erotic skills, it is seen as animalistic and shameful to make money from those ‘assets’.”

For Bateman, this is ultimately because “making money from the female-associated body is less respectable than making it from the male-associated brain.”

Pimp my brain

She relates prostitution to economics, writing that “The neglect of the sex trade is an eloquent symbol of fact that women are seriously under-represented among economists.”

Her final point is that the irrationality, as she sees it, needs to stop: “Now, for society to be inconsistent is one thing. For supposedly rational economists to be likewise is another. As a profession, we economists need to be standing up to irrational societal norms.”