Diary of a Sex Tourist: a photo essay defying the stereotypes
Peter Schafer’s Diary of a Sex Tourist is a masterful take on a loaded topic. He says:
Opponents of the Amnesty proposal typically portray sex workers as powerless victims and, of course, every story of victimization must have villains. Men who patronize sex workers are invariably portrayed as abusive and demeaning in order to fit that narrative. And I have no doubt that many are. But caricatures only get you so far in developing sound public policy. There is no single uniform experience for sex workers or a single uniform type of client. Public policy must do its best, in this case, to support the safety and well-being of sex workers.
…the series contrasts quite a lot to other photo essays on prostitutes, which typically place the viewer as a voyeur to a degraded yet exotic existence, with depictions that harden rather than challenge prejudice and stigma. The women in Sosúa do not live the degraded lives of outcasts but, on the contrary, have a status that reflects their centrality in the local economy. Disarmingly ordinary, they elicit not pity but empathy and respect as they defy the false dichotomy that defines a woman as either madonna or whore.
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