sex industry supply and demand

Frances Bolton (PHI) fbolton at
Mon Jun 1 14:52:12 PDT 1998

I think you're right to bring up a possible growth in demand for B-class prostitutes. I also found the example of Sweden instructive. Now, you mentioned that many of the new prostitutes are immigrants. Is there the same level of racism in Sweden? And is there anything like "the crack epidemic"? Now, the men who are scared/repelled by the C-class prostitutes might indeed be willing to engage the services of a B-class prostitute. But they will still have that fear of an HIV infected crack whore. And, since the US media keeps talking about "crack in the Black inner cities," these men might just avoid any Black prostitutes, even if they are B class. For B prostitutes to maintain their B business, they might have to become more like A prostitutes.

I used to be quite close to some dancers who worked together in a club that was "gentrifying." That is, it was making the shift from being a C club to a B club. There were quite a few C-dancers there, a three or four B dancers, and maybe two A dancers. Then a bunch of university students took jobs there, they were, I'd say, B+, B class. A couple of A dancers came in after the students. The C dancers became cheaper and raunchier and maintained their business. Every man in the place bought dances from the A dancers, but they would generally spend the entire evening at the same table and walk away with a thou after four hours. So they didn't really affect business much, because no one else in the place would have been able to get that kind of money out of someone. Among the B dancers, the B+ became the new standard for B, and everyone else became B- and made less money. According to Katha, the place would have gotten alot more busy because there were more dancers, but that did not happen. What happened was that the acceptabe/desireable standard for dancers changed.


On Mon, 1 Jun 1998, Katha Pollitt wrote:

> So, re this question of welfare reform driving down price of a
> prostitutes services (the B-class prostitute's services, as Frances
> helpfully specifies). You are only looking at the supply side, but what
> about the demand side? Let's say that there are men who can't afford A
> class prostitutes, and are scared or repelled by C-class ones-- I mean
> don't you wonder about men who'd take advantage of some pathetic skinny
> drug addict who offers to blow them in a doorway? But maybe (because of
> welfare, pre-reform) it wasn't so easy for these men-in-the-middle to
> find a B-class one, so they didn't get as much paid sex as they would
> like. If so, we might not see the price go down if more women become
> prostitutes. We might just see more prostitution.
> Jan Myrdal was at The Nation a few years ago. he said that street
> prostitution had been virtually eradicated in Sweden at one point,
> thanks to the welfare state and lots of employment for women. But now
> it was coming back with the budget cuts, mostly immigrants. This
> suggests that the number of customers for prostitution expands and
> contracts according to the number of prostitutes.
> best, katha

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