I recall a discussion I had with a past lover, regarding prostitutes. His theory was that prostitution stems solely from the lack of education. Totally disregarding the objective conditions that enslave the vast majority, the core of his contention stands on the popular belief that a college degree is a ticket out of poverty.
The base, on the other hand, stands on the shaky ground of his subjective assumption regarding human laziness.
He argued that prostitutes had choices—that they could work in the factory or call centers, or, at the very least, serve as maids or house help—disregarding the fact of the growing rates of unemployment, underemployment and job mismatch.
Hastily, he asserted that the only reason they had chosen the fatal path of sexual exploitation is the fact that in that scheme, money can be easily generated.
With figures based on flimsy estimation, he even calculated the possible income of prostitutes. A total of P2,000 a night could lead them to earning a sum of P20,000 in 10 days, and P60,000 in a month—excluding tax, of course.
Deducting their expenditures, they could still save a lot more, he claimed. Prostitution gives them easy access to the acquisition of material possessions—so easy it is that they have practically chosen to stay in the said industry.
He has, however, fundamentally disregarded the factor played by the failing economy, the growing social inequalities, and the fact that we were debating, not about commodities sold at a relatively fair price, but about the sheer exploitation of his fellow human beings.
To begin with, the unemployment problem stems not from the lack of education but from the lack of employment opportunity itself. Being connected to a larger oppressive scheme and considering the societal graces and their economic state of absolute poverty, the women have been forced by this system to swallow every opportunity for survival purposes, even if it means hocking their human dignity.
They are not prostitutes. They were prostituted.
To say that those women have choices and conclude that laziness is the root cause of their situation indicate perfect ignorance. If the condition for a decent standard of living means meeting the physiological, social and other needs and keeping the mortal existence beyond subsistence level, then most are living a life of sheer indecency.
In this era of economic inequality, options are available only to a privileged few. The rest of the population has to struggle. In the world of these women, options do not exist.
Because universities never teach pertinent matters about life, intellectual learning is reduced to a mere commodity framed in the form of a diploma. And given this feudal society that implants irrational beliefs in his head, I cannot blame my past lover for his uncritical reasoning.
But in his pool of anti-people and inhumane stances, I have lost all interest.
Also, in his poor sense of humanity.