by Poppy Coburn
Wednesday, 17
March 2021
Spotted
11:59

Why are universities so keen to support prostitution?

Doctor or cam girl? Our universities don't think there's much difference
by Poppy Coburn
Will these two be encouraged to embark on a thrilling career in sex work too? (TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

The discovery that the University of Leicester has created a ‘Student Sex Work Toolkit’ shouldn’t surprise anyone. The kit itself is comprehensive, and could presumably be used as a helpful ‘how-to’ guide to get into the sex trade: the legality of sex acts is listed in a handy chart, with ‘selling underwear online for sexual gratification’, ‘escorting’ and ‘sugaring’ all placed in the legal category.

Additionally, the guide provides a kind of ‘sex work do’s and don’ts’ guide for staff, with the rather chilling announcement that staff should avoid ‘assuming the student wants to leave sex work’ or ‘perpetuate myths regarding sex work’. One hopes that the omission in the guide that staff mustn’t pay for the ‘services’ of prostituted students was as to not state the obvious.

Of course, scorn should not fall on Leicester alone. Several prominent universities, including Bristol, Goldsmiths and my own university of Cambridge have either created their own versions of this guide or are in the process of doing so. Today, we live in a bizarro-world where, on one hand, universities will smother their students in endless courses in safe sex, consent and student welfare — while simultaneously ‘supporting’ students working in the most dangerous ‘profession’ on the planet.

Credit: University of Leicester

Teaching staff are (rightly) reprimanded for sexual improprieties with students, thanks to the imbalance of power between them — yet presumably, should a man in a position of power buy sex from a student, those nasty questions of consent disappear into the ether. There is something unsightly about universities plunging its students into debt while holding up prostitution as a valid choice for financial aid.

Increasingly, it seems that the more ‘radical’ you style yourself as, the more likely you are to start unwittingly repeating ancient libertarian talking points. The radicals approach to sex is something like this: “Out with those stuffy moral arguments! They’re SO 19th century!” What are you really left with once that’s done?  Sex is a commodity, women are market actors and universities are giant careers fairs. Whether that student’s future profession will be that of a doctor or an e-prostitute is of no consequence.

Perhaps there is nothing shocking about universities, in their endless quest to produce the best ‘product’ for student consumers, taking on the role of pimps. A brief examination of the reaction from contemporary student feminist groups reveals the sort of logic one would expect from the johns themselves — ‘sex work’ has always existed, will always exist, women have a right to choose to sell sex — and this is a closed debate.

Perhaps the Leicester example shocks only because so few people see just how cynical young people have become about our socio-political futures. A sense of belonging, public morality, community bonds — all of these structures have fallen away in the face of cold, hard market logic.

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago

We live in strange times, and they are getting stranger. But the fact is that these universities now exist primarily to make money.
Thus they need the students to make the payments, so to speak, either directly when it comes to board and lodging, or indirectly when it comes to the tuition fees.
Sex work helps to ensure that the universities get their money. And that, it seems to me, is what lies behind this.

Richard E
Richard E
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Universities are money making machines that print tickets/degrees. Supported with state backed loans. Meanwhile they undermine the society and the structures of this country.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

They exist primarily to support agenda. You utterly trivialize and mislead when you say it is about money, it is NOT. That a great deal of money is involved is just another facet of agenda. It forces all to have a vested interest, it puts out graduates with debt sufficient to manipulate them from voters to workers. Money in this amount, and applied to the youth just heading out to the world, are massively under the influence of the system. A student in the 1970s in UK was not as they had had their stipend, rather than their payment, and so left free men and women.

Neil John
Neil John
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

There’s a lot more going on in SOME Universities, but the liberal arts and ‘umanities are implicated in much of this nonsense, and are milking s-too-dense of their loan monies to pay for it.
The serious STEM subjects often suffer from lack of students and student income, as only limited numbers of able and serious students exist, most prefer the easy courses.
How things may change once (IF) ARIA is established and funding STEM research is yet unknown.

google
google
1 year ago

A great article. I have no crticism or anything to add. I will only say that, having a young son, I feel more and more afraid of the future with each passing year; but heaven alone knows what it must be like to have a daughter. Maybe I’m reading the wrong things, and becoming too pessimistic – OTOH, forewarned is forearmed.

JP Edwards
JP Edwards
1 year ago

Why bother with the University bit, let them send out the guide in their online prospectus. Straight to work and avoid all that uni debt in the first place.

Last edited 1 year ago by JP Edwards
Roger Borg
Roger Borg
1 year ago

The obvious answer is because they view women as whores whose only real value is in selling their bodies to the highest bidder.
I’m sure they might prefer to phrase it in a very different way, but I prefer to use the honest phrasing and self-description of the stunning and brave Grammy winner Ms Cardi B.

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
1 year ago

Oh, Leicester University at it again. Their last stunt was to drop Chaucer in favour of bame “subjects”.

Margaret Donaldson
Margaret Donaldson
1 year ago

The students should rewarded with a degree for all their hard sex work. At least it would be some compensation for the degrading way the university perceives them. There could be a market oversupply, mind you, as many students might not want to pay for a service when they can get it for free in common with so many men. Will the uni provide an STD and counselling service for these sex workers? Part of its duty of care? I can feel a dissertation coming on here with some suitably incomprehensible research findings. It would be funny if it wasn’t so dreadful. A new variant on ‘In loco parentis’.

Dhimmitude Ishere
Dhimmitude Ishere
1 year ago

“The students should rewarded with a degree for all their hard sex work.”
Would practical demonstrations form part of the assessment process?

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
1 year ago

An oral examination, perhaps?

Peter de Barra
Peter de Barra
1 year ago

… the female outcry against this commodification is oddly absent : discuss.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter de Barra

They’ve reframed that they are the owners and they market themselves. Their bodies, their assets.
In the 90s, a prototype of victim culture wrote a letter to the school paper that she was th exploited one as exploited one as a freelance dominatrix, as whipping her clients hurt her hand.
I was shocked in Germany, in 2010, to read a univrersity newspaper article that focused on the theme of keeping your relationship during the exam season. Two weeks before, a Californian student paper was discussing how not to pick up venereal diseases with your hook up partners.

David Morley
David Morley
1 year ago

There is something unsightly about universities plunging its students into debt while holding up prostitution as a valid choice for financial aid.

Put like that, it sounds remarkably close to pimping or living off immoral earnings.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
1 year ago

Everything you say is absolutely right. But now I know about something I don’t wish to know and this topic has become a talking point amongst UnHerd readers, which means before long Ella Wheelan will be defending student prostitution in Spiked and the Spectator and it will become a mainstream issue, then it will be normalised. Better to leave Cambridge and Leicester to their idiotic ideas and let young people dismiss the idea, by natural generational embarrassment. After all, if academic support staff know anything about the do’s and don’ts of online sh*gging in social isolation then it’s probably very uncool indeed.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alison Houston
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

The answer to this question is so simple:

It is because Evil has taken over the university and all education and academia systems.

Hitler in the 1930s is an example of an evil agenda driving a nation to mass psychosis and utter destruction. That this day and age an equal evil is taking over, but it does not involve tanks and guns, allows it to not be noticed, the fact history is utterly re-written is an aid to this.

C Wrizzle
C Wrizzle
1 year ago

Wrap your head around this. Lots of student unions and universities will be against the Officer Training Corps or Army Reserve recruiting on campus, but they would be perfectly happy handing out this stuff.

Anton van der Merwe
Anton van der Merwe
1 year ago

This really more of a public health response, like giving free needles to heroin addicts, condoms to sex-workers, or dietary advice to those who over-eat. One is not condoning these activities, merely trying to reduce the harm. The fact that this is happening at all does raise the question of the exorbitant costs of University education, which is a major underlying cause.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
1 year ago

The article, and the comments, seem to assume that the student prostitutes are all women.

Surely there must be a market for nice young boys too? or trans persons ? Or people like my own esteemed MP Layla Moran, who claims proudly not to know the difference, not even as far as he/she herself/ himself is concerned.

This is scandalous prejudice, and should be addressed, especially in the context of a liberal campus.

Claire M
Claire M
1 year ago

Eugh! I’d rather clean toilets, wash greasy dishes in a restaurant, cut up meat in a slaughter house, collect corpses from murder scenes… than do sex work. How any university – anyone remotely connected with education – can even contemplate giving recognition (and advice) to women and girls demeaning themselves by taking money in exchange for being treated as commodities – as objects for sexual gratification – makes a nonsense of feminism. It also profoundly insulting to all those women around the world who are forced into sex and whose bodies are used without their consent.

ralph bell
ralph bell
1 year ago

The article seems somewhat out of date with the people’s commodification of their bodies, which some do through only fans, tiktok, Instagram and twitch. They see some others making a good living and want a slice of it, and morals are often secondary to making money. I think they are also able to have some control over what they expose and when they do it, unlike traditional prostitution. Some people will always be against prostitution which I would imagine the author is but it will never stop it happening. The university is hypocritical in its stance on cancel culture and student-student/staff relationships but I would be personally in favour of providing realistic and practical information about risqué activities, just as they would on ‘safe sex.’

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  ralph bell

Just to add, this is entirely to destroy the Family. That is why promiscuity is pushed because excess promiscuity will make one’s belief in a spouse never really be the same as if the other showed restraint in sex because they were waiting for a life partner they could commit to.

It is all in “The Frankfurt School 11 Points”. Marxists always seeked to destroy the family, the ratting out of family members under Stalin and Mao were exactly like Orwell’s 1984, as they destroy trust, and so love. Brave new world had an utter extreme of destroying the Family, as does BLM, if you read their manifesto. Destroying the Family is in every Dystopia as it destroys the soul. It is why the Liberals all promote single mothers.

To destroy the family is to make the people alone, helpless, lost, and completely vulnerable to the state as they have no one to aid and nurture them.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
1 year ago
Reply to  ralph bell

On a 90s road trip to Seattle, the stripper mile was conveniently located to campus, about a street over. Some famous strippers from Seattle, now writing screenplays for mega bucks in Hollywood, and earlier, fronting bands.

John Lewis
John Lewis
1 year ago

“Most dangerous profession on the planet”.

Really?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Lewis

I looked this up, certainly in the US prostitution is more dangerous than the most dangerous jobs, like fishing and logging, by about 80%. However they’re in regulated industries, trawlermen work with experienced people, will judge when it’s save to go out, have survival gear with them, radios to coastguard, trackers etc.

It’s precisely because prostitution is in a legal grey area that it’s so dangerous. It’s going to happen, decriminalising and focusing on massively reducing the harm seems the best approach.

ryansparklebyapples
ryansparklebyapples
1 year ago
Reply to  John Lewis

shhh.. dont be logical.. ps. dont look at statistics around the percentage of astronauts who’ve died at work(4%)..or how many ppl working with Orcas at seaworld died or got injured. .. or how many.soldiers die and or kill others (antler form ofndanger 9. or deep sea fishers
..
then again…with sex work… it’s the most dangerous if you measure danger in terms of the number of absurd ways people will come up with to show they hate us while pretending to be caring and all about solidarity of the cistahood ..

Bits Nibbles
Bits Nibbles
1 year ago

I think the author nailed it in the 2nd to last paragraph. The truth is people have been prostituting themselves, sometimes on campus, to pay for the tuition, for as long as universities have existed. Some of my friends dealt drugs of *all kinds* to pay for tuition. Is anybody shocked?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

How does the left tie itself into these philosophical knots? On the one hand, the sex trade is viewed as demeaning toward women; on the other hand, we have this. Make up your minds. Women either have agency and their bodies can be used as a commodity, or women are helpless waifs in perpetual need of guardianship from the rest of the world.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It’s not supposed to make sense. The aims of the Left are to create a cognitive dissonance within their followers by supplying contradictory ‘truths’. Under such cognitive dissonance, people no longer trust their own sense of right and wrong and must look to an authority figure to supply truth. In essence, it creates a ‘freeze’ in the minds of people with a weak sense of self. They’re scared of having ‘bad’ thoughts and therefore give up their own critical thinking capabilities. It’s a totalitarianism of the mind as we are currently witnessing with the current mob hysteria being whipped up against free-thinkers and dissidents. With the virus and vaccination regime which is taking place, we will soon move on to the next stage: totalitarianism of the body, if we are not perhaps already there right now.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brian Dorsley
No No
No No
1 year ago

I find it odd that none of the commenters have pointed out the one big difference between prostitution and rape/sexual abuse – the woman’s consent.

Claire M
Claire M
1 year ago

Eugh! I’d rather clean toilets, wash greasy dishes in a restaurant, cut up meat in a slaughter house, collect corpses from murder scenes… than do sex work. How any university – anyone remotely connected with education – can even contemplate giving recognition (and advice) to women and girls demeaning themselves by taking money in exchange for being treated as commodities – as objects for sexual gratification – makes a nonsense of feminism. It is also profoundly insulting to all those women around the world who are forced into sex and whose bodies are used without their consent.

Matt Whitby
Matt Whitby
1 year ago

Pimping young women to rich men for the sake of progress

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
1 year ago

I hope none of your collegiate sex workers find their way to any of our Atlanta spas.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
1 year ago

I agree with the author’s disgust. She is describing the ne plus ultra of commodification/alienation. And her attitude is not “SO 19th century”, the golden age of primitive capitalism/exploitation (cf. Dickens); but, congruent with Kant, where a human being is never a “thing”, but always an end in himself.

Andrew McGee
Andrew McGee
1 year ago

Congratulations to Leicester Uni for a bit of realism. So many of the comments on this article are exactly the kind of oudated ‘morality’ which needs to be challenged and dismantled.
And good luck to the students who take advantage of the toolkit.

Chris Mochan
Chris Mochan
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew McGee

Out of curiosity, by what metric is the morality of being against prostitution ‘outdated’? Is there necessarily a shelf-life for moral arguments?
And why does it have to be dismantled?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew McGee

Yes, god forbid anyone expect a university to engage in, you know, education. Is there a Sex Work degree one can attain at this fine institution?
This sexual schizophrenia on campuses is rich with irony more than anything else. In the US, claims of campus rape culture are followed up by sex week festivities featuring the latest toys in an air of libertinism.

George Glashan
George Glashan
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew McGee

Andrew McGee, are you a purchaser of sex work?