By GRACE JENNINGS-EDQUIST
Jane Caro is a well-respected, Australia-based feminist author, journalist and social commentator.
She’s also making headlines across the country today. Last night on national television, she compared marriage to prostitution.
Appearing on the ABC’s Q&A program, Caro was asked a question about prostitution as a career choice following the publicity surrounding the revelation that Sydney journalist Amanda Goff led a double life as a mother and high-class escort.
The response Caro gave was articulate, considered and deeply divisive.
“I’m going to say something really dangerous now,” Caro began. “When you have a society where women’s main currency is really their sexual favours, their ability to reproduce, then a lot of what women do is a form of prostitution.”
Caro argued that in traditional marriage, women were historically expected to have sex with their husbands in exchange for a “room and board”.
She continued, “I would argue traditional marriage, which included conjugal rights, particularly when women were not able to go to work, or were fired when they first got married, and were selling their bodies and their reproductive rights to their husband — he bought them, by giving her room and board in return — was a form of prostitution.”
“So I think we really need to discuss what we mean by prostitution”.
Fellow panelist Kajsa Ekman, a Swedish author, dismissed Ms Caro’s analogy as “a very abstract comparison”.
Pointing to the sex trade in Amsterdam, where prostitutes service more than a dozen clients a day to pay rent, Ekman said: “We’re talking here about a world in which a lot of people in prostitution have sex with up to 15 buyers a day.”
Caro claims, “At least the women who choose it as a career choice, freely and uncoerced – that’s very, very important – only have to put up with their customer for about an hour,” she said.