SYDNEY — On Australian panel show Q&A, author Jane Caro caused a stir when she said women in traditional marriages could be considered prostitutes.
During the all-female panel discussion on Monday night, the thought leaders were asked for their views on prostitution as a conscious choice in the Western world.
The question stemmed from an interview with former journalist Amanda Goff on television show Sunday Night, during which she revealed she had chosen a new career path in prostitution as a high-class escort earning $5,000 a night. In the interview, Goff said, «Nobody is taking advantage of me anymore. I’m going to become empowered».
In response to Q&A audience member Diana Mbaka’s question, Caro dived in with what she announced as «something really dangerous».
Caro said she believed a historical society where the main currency of women within a marriage was sexual favours and the ability to reproduce, was a form of prostitution.
«I would argue traditional marriage, which included conjugal rights, particularly when women were not able to go to work, or were fired when they first got married, and were selling their bodies and their reproductive rights to their husband — he bought them, by giving her room and board in return — was a form of prostitution,» she said.
«So I think we really need to discuss what we mean by prostitution, at least the women who choose it as a career choice -– freely and uncoerced, that’s very very important –- only have to put up with their customer for about an hour. Once upon a time, it was a lifetime, ladies, a lifetime.»
Swedish author Kajsa Ekman, who wrote the book Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self, dismissed Caro’s point as a «very abstract comparison».
Using the example of Amsterdam, where prostitutes need at least three paying customers a day to afford rent, Ekman said, «We are talking about a world in which a lot of people in prostitution have sex with up to 15 buyers a day.»
— Christopher Hoare (@Chris_Hoare) September 2, 2014
— Bradley Tanner (@Braddlesadl) September 2, 2014
People like you are a step backward for feminism @janecaro. Feminism is about empowerment and choice, which we have. You’re a disgrace.
— The Truth Express (@TheTruthExpress) September 1, 2014
Caro later defended her comments to News.com.au, after being slammed on social media. “I stand by my analogy, particularly when there was no such thing as rape in marriage,” she said. “We really trapped women economically and legally in marriage, and they had no control over their body.»
«I’m making an analogy that for a very long time — not now, thank goodness — that women’s major currency was sexual favours. Read Austen — it’s all about finding a rich husband. That’s my point.»
@Callow13Emma No such thing as a common whore or an uncommon one at that. Was talking about marriages when conjugal rights existed, anyway.
— Jane Caro (@JaneCaro) September 1, 2014
@JaneCaro I disagree. Lizzie Bennett had nothing to offer Darcy. He was rich, had a governess & servants, had Ms Bingley begging for it
— Stephanie L Anderson (@stephlca) September 2, 2014
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