Everyday Feminism posted a great comic that discusses the difference between empowerment and objectification. I think this is an interesting discussion, because I can understand both sides of the argument.
I think that areas like pornography and sex work are still tricky to decide who has the power (an the comic discusses this) but this clarified certain things for me. For example, if I put on some sexy undies, take a picture of myself, and send it to my partner, this makes me feel empowered. Why? Because I have the power in the situation. I was feeling sexy, I chose the clothing (or lack thereof!), I chose to take a picture, and I chose to share it (and with whom to share). This makes me feel empowered. Now, if my partner puts the picture online or shares it with his or her friends without my permission, then I feel objectified because the power is now on the other side of the spectrum. The power is now in the hands of those who are disseminating the picture, and I have no control over where it might end up.
I absolutely believe that for someone who chose sex work (be it pornography, prostitution, or whatever) it can definitely be empowering. If you have made that choice for yourself (you were not forced or coerced in any way, and you are not doing it because you have no other options) that can be very empowering! I can imagine that were I a sex worker, the ability to not only share my sexiness with those who enjoy it, but also making my own money (sometimes really good money) would make me feel pretty darn good. For instance, I have a friend who used to dance in a strip club, and with a few exceptions, the way she talks about her past work is primarily positive. She is a beautiful dancer, she enjoys dancing, and she enjoyed the way it made her feel. Ever since I learned about her old job, I have thought it was pretty cool. I like hearing stories about her time as a dancer, since it is something I have never, and likely will never experience. It’s a view on life that I don’t have, and I cherish the ability to learn about it from my friend.
Check out the comic below, and tell me what you think.