May 24, 2010

I was recently on the Black Voices website and ran across a very provocative article by Dr. Boyce Watkins entitled, Exclusive: Teen Prostitutes Prey on Athletes and CelebritiesNow of course you know the title alone piqued my interest, which I'm pretty sure was the point, and so I had to click the link and read.  What followed is something I could only describe as a patriarchal manifesto of blaming the victim in order to explain why some athletes and celebrities get caught up with underage prostitutes.
 
In the article, Dr. Watkins uses another article to highlight his thesis about how money hungry teenagers have come up with schemes to scam vulnerable athletes and celebrities out of their hard earned money and reputations.  The article focuses on a woman named 'Regina' (obviously not her real name) who explains how this ring of teenage prostitutes are on a mission to exploit any celebrity and/or athlete they can get their hands on.  Here is how Regina describes the girls:
 
"They have a list of men they plan to sleep with before they're 21 years old...athletes and celebrities are on it." Young girls, ages 15 and 16, pretending to be 18 and older. A woman named Regina has seen these girls even as naive as 13 posing as older women, sporting fake identities ordered from online vendors.
 
Oh and it gets better:
 
"They think...why make $100, when you can make $1,000?" said the woman.

The motto isn't indicative of the mind-set of every prostitute. Instead, it describes a different kind of lust for money, precisely the kind of lust that it takes to partake in this undercover world. The female predators that Regina spent time with specifically target men they know have money.

It's an elaborate plan. The money they gain supports the drugs, alcohol, shopping and partying. It's fun, it's foolproof, and --above all -- it is blackmail. After all, these men obviously involve themselves with prostitution, and therefore perceive themselves somewhat responsible for being there in the first place. They pay up to make it all go away.
 
I know you're saying to yourself, "I didn't know teenage prostitutes had such ingenuity."  Neither did I.  Who knew that these prostitutes were so savvy.  Here I was thinking that the majority of these girls were damaged human beings whose vulnerabilities and naivete had been exploited by adult men and women (and in some cases even kids their ages), but based on this article it would appear that I am sadly mistaken.  This article paints teenage prostitution with a broad brush as being nothing but a bunch of money hungry girls who want some extra cash to go shopping and the men who are naive enough to get caught up in their web of deceit are nothing more than victims.
 
There are many problems I have with both articles but one of the main problems I have with Dr. Watkins' article is that fact that he seems to be insinuating that some teenage prostitutes are not that of victims but instead that of predators and the grown ass men who wish to partake in their young flesh are nothing more than victims:
 
The woman's story also serves as a cautionary tale to those who think they can dabble in prostitution without facing danger. While you might be on the prowl sexually, and truly believe that you are the predator, you may wake up one morning after a long, forgotten night and realize that instead of being the predator, you are actually the prey. Men like Nushawn Williams, who knowingly spread HIV to the women he slept with, are out there as well. The idea of engaging in responsible sexual choices might seem a bit antiquated, but perhaps it's okay to get to know someone for a while before sleeping together. Not thinking carefully before engaging in sexual activity might possibly cost you your life. 
 
What young girls do you know that just decides to dabble in prostitution?  How many little girls you know say they want to be a prostitute when they grow up?  Come on think about it.  I'll wait for the answer.  Now, don't get me wrong. I'm pretty sure there are some manipulative people out there, but to pretend that this is the majority is completely misleading.
 
Dr. Watkins article is a fine display of the patriarchal mindset.  It finds a way to assuage men of their guilt when it comes to the arena of teenage prostitution because everyone knows that when sex is involved a man loses all critical thinking skills and thus there is no possible way he can tell the difference between a 15 year old girl and a 25 year old woman...SMDH.  For some reason men are always deemed the victims when it comes to women and sex.  The ownness always has to be that of the woman. 
 
Here's a concept for all the potential 'Johns' out there.  How about not soliciting people for sex and maybe you wouldn't have to worry about whether or not the person is of the correct age of consent?  I know that maybe a foreign concept, but trust me it would work better for you then saying that you were exploited by the prostitute when it turns out that she was underage.  You put yourself in a compromising position so how about you take responsibility for that.
 
The young girls involved in prostitution are all victims whether you deem them that way or not.  Trust me, any child who gets robbed of their innocence and only identifies their self worth through the selling of their body is a victim of something.

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