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Money vs. Love: A Working Girl’s Dilemma

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For those of you who follow E!’s reality show Girls Next Door, news of Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett’s upcoming sex tape was probably a shock. Well, the fact that she made a sex tape with her boyfriend back in 2005 isn’t too hard to believe, but apparently Wilkinson was actually trying to shop the tape around after getting engaged to Indianapolis Colts player Hank Baskett. Drama alert!

As I read through the various news articles covering the debacle, the hardest parts to read were the ones detailing Baskett's humiliation and rumors of an upcoming divorce. Wilkinson-Baskett has made a living working in the adult entertainment industry, first as a stripper and then a painted lady at Playboy mansion parties and nude model. Of course, you should never lie to your partner regarding something of this nature, but recent episodes of Wilkinson-Baskett's show, she has hinted at financial instability for the couple and their newborn baby. Wilkinson-Baskett can frequently be seen referring to the fact that pro football players can be dropped at any time for any reason – a nightmare which came true for Baskett while Wilkinson-Baskett was pregnant.

While it’s easy to fault Wilkinson-Baskett for her bad judgment, we have to keep cultural context in mind. The high demand for sex and female nudity transforms them both into a commodity. Pornographic material and sexual favors can be bought and sold at a price equivalent to their perceived value, which everyone knows is at an all-time high right now (just look at our sex-saturated media).

I’m sure that life has come to a screeching halt for Wilkinson-Baskett since leaving the mansion, where all of her bills were taken care of for her. Her husband is laid off, she has a baby on the way, and since she’s pregnant she’s no longer getting offers for high-profile club appearances and modeling jobs. What’s a gal to do?

Being forced to choose between love and money is not unfamiliar to women of our generation. Now that we have all of the same rights as men, if we aren’t as successful (or more successful) than them financially, then we’re seen as the lesser sex. What everyone forgets to take into account is that some of the highest-paying jobs for women right now (per hour) are stripping, escorting, and posing in pornographic media.

Before we go on a witch hunt for any woman who’s ever made money selling her body – whether in a relationship or not – we need to look at the environment that cultivates and ultimately inspires this type of behavior. Perhaps the reason that women view their bodies as tools for getting ahead in life is because that’s what they’re taught to believe.

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