Much of our discussion about the ethics of stripping centered on free choice. Many of us seemed to conclude that a prerequisite to an ethical stripping system was that women need to be able to make the “free choice” to strip, rather than being forced into stripping by financial necessity. However, the realities of our nation’s employment system make me wonder why we focus on sex work only. There has recently been a flurry of outrage concerning the practices of Wal-Mart, the US’s largest private employer, towards its employees. While Wal-Mart boasts the largest revenue stream of any public corporation worldwide, it also encourages its low-level workers to apply for food stamps and Medicaid, knowing that its low wages and poor-to-nonexistent benefits will not be nearly enough, and an Ohio Wal-Mart has even come under fire for asking its low-wage employees to contribute to a Thanksgiving food drive for its even lower-wage employees. Such allegations have also been aimed at other large employers, such as McDonald’s and Target. With such bleak employment opportunities, I wonder whether anyone but the most privileged members of our society can make truly free choices about any kind of employment, whether it be stripping or working 3 low-wage, no-respect jobs. We tend to focus on women in sex work because of the sensationalism, but we need to rethink the choices we give all of our citizens, regardless of gender or trade. Only when all workers are offered respect and a living wage can we truly discuss free economic choice.
Kim, Eun Kyung. (2013). http://www.today.com/news/wal-mart-defends-controversial-food-drive-employees-2D11618754
Mitchell, Stacy. (2013). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacy-mitchell/new-data-show-walmart-who_b_3402985.html