You’ve probably heard of Kesha, she’s an American singer and songwriter with a wild and kind of ‘raunchy’ image. Her lyrics are usually about partying, getting drunk and sex (“don’t be a little bitch with your chit chat, just show me where your dick’s at”) and it’s obvious that her image is constructed for her by her management. Young sexy women singing about rough sex just sells very, very well.
Kesha has now sued her producer for sexual and physical abuse, you can read some of the horrible details of her allegations here. I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that young women in the music industry are vulnerable to abuse. Personally I believe fame is a damaging thing and would be worried if my child (or anyone I love) would become part of such an industry. But although many people are passionate about women in the media, and everyone knows that women in the music industry are more vulnerable to abuse from both management and customers, not a single person has proposed criminalising the industry.
“Heavy-handed restrictions on women would hurt women, not protect them. To make it illegal for women to be musicians and pop stars would be abusive and unfair in itself” says Noah Berlatsky in this great article. “Reducing violence against women shouldn’t come at the expense of cutting women off from professional opportunities and potential income. But sustained prejudices and stigma against sex workers prevent us from seeing that the same is true when talking about sex work.”
Yes, women in the sex industry are vulnerable to abuse. But just like marriage, the garment industry and the music industry, the answer is not to restrict women’s rights or criminalise marriage, buying clothes or listening to music. It’s actually stronger human rights and worker rights that combat abuse. The complete opposite of criminalisation.