Swedish student who stripped + prostituted to pay bills is suspended by college

map of Sweden

(May 2011; Stockholm, Sweden)

A Swedish student who stripped in Stockholm and also prostituted to pay her way through college is suspended by dean at the college she attended. Fellow students supposedly felt her extra-curricular jobs reinforced the idea that women are sexual objects & they were uncomfortable with her job choices.

“I have never felt like an object but rather found the whole experience pleasurable,” the student wrote in her report when the dean of the college confronted her about it. She even offered to give up her jobs so that she could remain in school. But the dean suspended her. The student plans to file a complaint about the school’s decision to the Swedish Equality.

Selling sex in Sweden was decriminalized in 1999 but it’s still a crime to buy sex so customers are seen as exploiting prostitutes when they seek out their services. Those opposed to the legislation are concerned that organized crime has a stake in the sex industry (not surprising).

While some prostitutes feel more empowered that they can report violence against them, not all feel this legislation works for them. Some want support services such as helping sex workers exit this industry, a needle exchange program, medical testing, & condom outreach. Seems like pretty reasonable requests to offer sex workers especially when there’s legislation in place so they can ply their trade. These are the services that can really improve sex workers’ quality of life. Seems like society gives mixed messages: “you can do sex work but we’re not going to give you basic services so you’re healthy while working.”

It seems like the dean would have preferred the student to be the stereotypical down & out, exploited victim who claimed she had no other choices & hated herself for resorting to sex work. I wouldn’t be surprised if the student now returns to sex work full-time because her education choices are sharply shortened. Prostitution is decriminalized afterall…

As someone who stripped through grad school and worked alongside tons of women who were undergrads & grads by day & stripper by night, it seems like people should be more supportive of women finding creative ways to get an education and improve our quality of life. Even here in the US, the college stripper is commonplace, but the college prostitute (really any prostitute) remains stigmatized. If college wasn’t so damn expensive & society invested in making education truly accessible (including no need to take out student loans), then maybe we’d have a world where women have viable career options. Until the day that poverty is wiped out, sex workers will continue offering their services.

article: http://www.thelocal.se/33872/20110519/#
BBC: “How Sweden tackles prostitution” : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6343325.stm

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