“Sex work” is having something of a moment in pop culture. Yes, prostitution has been around a long time, but the narrative's changed. The language-shift towards "sex work" is very much a part of that change, as we are now meant to see prostitution as "just a job like any other," even a source of empowerment for women. Any negativity attached to the sex industryis said to be the result of "stigma," ergo the solution, we're told, is to normalize prostitution, not speak out against it.
Last week New York Magazine, a publication known to not only relay but define our zeitgeist, ran a cover that boldly asked: "Is Prostitution Just Another Job?" Jump over to the small screen, and you'll find plenty of buzz for Starz's latest drama The Girlfriend Experience, which invites viewers into the life of a law student intern-come-high-end escort. Prostitution, as an industry, is coming out of the shadows, but rather than being exposed for what it really is, it seems that we're looking at women selling their bodies with indifference—or worse, glory.