Is It Moral – A Reply
Let’s begin by asking ourselves a few questions about behaviour.
There’s a number of guys out there who sponsor girls to quit the bars and return to their home villages. Then there’s a whole bunch more, many of them Stickman readers, who having mongered in the bars, find a girl he likes, marries her and takes her back to his own country. Now why do they do that?
Before we get to some answers, let’s throw another couple of situations into the ring. During the Second World War, there was a problem in the UK with so-called ‘good’ English girls hooking themselves to American servicemen in exchange for luxury items that were only available for high prices on the black market. It was a problem big enough to warrant discussion around the British war cabinet to wonder what to do about the issue.
And again, more recently – in the past couple of months, in fact, there was the curious case of a young middle-class girl who blogged in one of the UK national daily newspapers under the pseudonym “Belle-du-jour”, about her high-class hooking in order to finance her university studies.
In all of the above cases, why did the women behave the way they did? Why did the Thai women quit the bar scene when they did? And why did the farang women take up whoring in the first place?
At first sight it would seem that they did so for financial reward, and that might be 90% accurate if you said it. But the 100% correct answer is that the financial rewards in prostitution were significantly greater than the income they would have received in a more regular job. The “significantly greater” is the key element here.
Mongers sponsor girls with a level of income that they hope will prevent the girl from sliding back into the bar once his back is turned. The monger tries to reduce the significant gap in income that working the bars provides when compared with a farm labourer’s, or similar, income. Of course, we know that the sharper girls will see sponsoring as a way of increasing their income as an additional source of revenue to prostitution. But when the sponsorship deal is struck none of the girls are going to admit to this, and the sponsor’s expectation is that the girl will quit the bar scene.
In the same way, when a guy marries a bar girl and takes her back to his home country, the expectation is not that she will continue her work as a prostitute. It’s an interesting point to think about. Why is it that two people who met in a bar, had a commercial sex transaction supposedly free of any coercion, on arriving back in his home country as a married couple, should then remove themselves from the prostitution scene? If it was good enough in Thailand, why stop on returning to the home country? The answer can only be that the hooker will greatly increase her income, either as a spouse to a farang, or from receiving an income from a regular job in Farangland. The significant gap in her income from a ‘regular’ life has increased to a point where it is no longer financially rewarding to continue to prostitute herself. Again, like the sponsored girl, there will be a number of women who will continue their profession, but that may be because the guy has a lot less money than they reckoned on, or some may just be so hardened to the bar scene that they cannot change their habits.
But the girl who does return to her village with an income from a sponsor, and the girl who quits the commercial sex industry when she marries a farang do so because the significantly greater rewards in prostitution are no longer there, and whatever gap there may be is not great enough to make up for the downside of hooking. Take away the gap and they stop whoring.
And how about the guys involved in these situations, do they want their girlfriends and wives to stop whoring because there just might be a moral element to this? I think there has to be. And if there are any Stickman readers married to former bargirls out there who think that there is no moral element to their teerak no longer turning tricks, then I would love to know why they have quit their profession.
So what happened to our English war-time roses? Well just like their German sisters of that era, once the war ended and the European economies returned to a civilian state with plentiful supply of luxury goods, the black markets disappeared, and so did the need for ‘good’ girls to go out and supplement their income through hooking. They stopped whoring, even though they could have earned some income from continuing. They stopped because the significant income gap disappeared, or at least they could get luxury goods without needing a significantly higher income than normal.
And our latter day “Belle-du-Jour” revealed her identity to the media once she had completed her studies. Of course, she was asked why she had become a high-class whore. Simply because the alternative of working hundreds of hours as a lowly paid waitress was unappealing to her. Faced with the choice of leaving university and starting her career loaded down with bank debts, or getting paid big bucks to finance her studies by spending a few hours a week on her back, she chose the quick route to financial freedom. But one graduated, the income from a regular job was such that there was no longer a significant gap between what she could earn as an aspiring lawyer and a bedroom vocation.
Through all these situations the common thread is that women become hookers because there is a significant increase in the income that they can achieve compare with normal avenues of income generation. Even though they may be using that income for different purposes, feeding the family, paying hospital bills, financing their studies, or just blowing it on luxury goods, once that income gap has been diminished most of the women chose to stop whoring. For this reason, I think it is a wrong argument to say that women enter freely into prostitution because they are well paid for doing so. If they could be paid well for alternative work then most of them would take the alternative route.
And this is where the question of morality comes into it. In the Thai bar scene it is the farang paying 2000 baht or whatever, who creates the significantly higher rewards that attract the women into the bar scene. It is the punter who is providing the demand to drive the industry, and if there were not the significantly higher rewards then the girls would remain on the farms and in the factory. So I just don’t see this as being a transaction of equally willing buyers and sellers. If the huge rewards were taken away then the numbers of women in the business would dwindle. Where there are alternatives, women usually take them.
Of course, there are always going to be a number of women who find the risk/reward ratio acceptable regardless of how low the income is, but it is a fact that the women engaged in commercial sex do so because of the high rewards on offer when compared to the alternatives.
So punters may think they’re doing a big favour to developing countries by coming to places like Thailand and the Philippines and dropping big notes into the economy. In reality they are doing real long-term damage to the social fabric of the country. Long-time bargirls suffer physical and mental damage. Where you find whoring you often find sleaze – drugs, alcohol, gambling, and crime. Everything else, from advice on how to shower, to being a gentleman and treating the girls courteously, to discussing how much better the GFE experience is compared to western women, is really just background noise. Such chit-chat puts a gloss on immoral behaviour by making it appear to be normal behaviour. But when you look at how women behave when alternative forms of employment can close the gap on the financial rewards of prostitution, then you realize that whoring is not performed as willingly or as freely as some of Stickman’s commentators would have us believe.
Marc Holt asks us to believe that he no longer mongers because his current relationship provides everything he needs. But perhaps the Australian welfare benefit system means he is no longer a player in the scene. Caveman thinks religion is to blame for mongering being seen as immoral, but I doubt whether many mongers are religious, even if many religious people are mongers, as Caveman claims. However, the Caveman test of immorality is a good one. But I thinks he is incorrect in thinking that mongering is two consenting adults engaged in a sexual activity. The financial power of the western punter in Thailand makes for an imbalance relationship. And Caveman makes a wrong call when he claims the girl has made a free choice of profession.
Very interesting perspective. I especially liked the second to last paragraph.