Who's on the right side of this debate?
A debate is raging across western Europe as a petition to end the practice of reviewing s*x workers on the website Escort Ireland is gaining traction. Some say that leaving reviews of women who sell their bodies to men is extremely degrading to women, but the women who utilize the service say they have every right to run their very personal business on their own terms, even if it means being subjected to being reviewed.
Escort Ireland not only advertises women who sell their bodies, they implemented a customer review system so that interested customers could see how well the ladies performed for their previous clients. There’s a star-rating system for how lovely they are, how they appeared in real life as compared to their online photos, the satisfaction the customer received, and the value of the service for the price they paid. The customer can also leave a detailed written review.
The reviews are what have caught the ire of ordinary citizens who find them offensive and degrading. It’s as if the women are being talked about like a commodity.
One review reads, “Pretty face but that’s as far as it went, was very cold experience, felt like a number. Asked for extra which was advertised but was asked to pay extra which I didn’t take. Overall not recommended, not a good experience. It’s just business, wouldn’t recommend there are better out there.”
Stop It Now
The online petition, begun by a woman named Chloe McKintyre, currently has 11,780 signatures; their goal is 15,000 signatures. Speaking about her effort to stop the rating system, Chloe wrote:
“On the Escort Ireland website, men can log in to find a woman they want to rent for s*x. Following the appointment they then leave a ‘review,’ in which they rate various aspects of the experience out of five stars.
In my opinion, purchasing s*x already contradicts true s*xual consent, and it is clear in some of these reviews, that the men are aware that the woman was not ‘into’ the s*x, or was ‘unwilling’ or ‘unenthusiastic’ not to mention ‘unresponsive’. In current discourse around s*xual consent, we talk about how s*xual consent must be enthusiastic and ongoing. The men who leave reviews are not interested in whether the woman is enthusiastic or not. It is illegal in the entire Island of Ireland to purchase s*x, so this platform which enables and encourages and promotes illegal behavior should be abolished.
My heart and my mind hurt writing this and I wonder how we have to even ask people to sign this petition for the Government to address it.”
People are so enraged by the rating of women that they feel the escorts are victims. Alison Batts commented on the petition, “Rapists reviewing their victims. Money cannot replace consent.”
Women who willingly engage in s*x work are equally appalled by this situation, but they’re offended because they don’t feel like they’re victims of anything. They choose to have s*x for money, and it is consensual. A statement was issued by the S*x Workers Alliance Ireland about the rating system and about how the women who work in this industry feel about it.
The statement reads: “We are very concerned with people saying our consent means nothing, as that leads to actual violence. When I say yes to s*x for money that is me giving consent. If I say no or am forced to against my will, even as a s*x worker, that must be understood as rape. The Government made it illegal for s*x workers to advertise in Ireland and so we are dependent on these sites to sell our services. If you want workers to have more control of our work then you must allow us to operate lawfully.“
Escort Ireland stated that the rating system is not mandatory for women advertising on the site. They can opt out of the service or they can choose which reviews are seen.
Do you think that a review system for escorts is degrading, or should the women in the industry have the right to decide how to promote their business? Let us know what you think in the comments and SHARE this story!