A civilization where women and children are sexually commoditized is one in terminal decline. The next enduring superpower will be one that had successfully shielded its women and children from the ongoing epidemic of mass-mediated sexualisation. Any futurist worth his salt will vouch for this axiom, as well as note the inverse correlation between the enfeeblement of the current superpower and the procession of phallic chevrons that accompany its military compulsions abroad.
But the faculty of reason—and of cause and effect—is inevitably lost on a society where adjunct professors may resort to prostitution in order to make ends meet. And believe it or not, this is exactly what is happening in the United States.
According to a Sept 28 report in The Guardian, a quarter of part-time college academics or “adjuncts” in the United States are subsisting on public welfare programs such as Medicaid, food banks and charities while they live off streets, in shacks or in their cars. “Adjuncting” is the result of runaway capitalism that has benefited a privileged 1% at the expense of an overworked and underpaid rabble. It is a convenient way of providing substandard teaching for higher fees and revenue at US universities and colleges.
Living conditions for these “fast-food workers” of US academia have become so grim that the American Sociological Association had to downgrade faculty jobs to a level below stable middle-class careers. With a median annual salary of $22,041 (2014 average), a female adjunct professor may be tempted to earn as much as $200 an hour in the flesh trade. This portraiture of the US gig economy is further debased by twisted enjoinders from well-paid gender and sexuality professors who actually promote sex work as “empowering”. From Ivory Towers, we seem to have graduated to Ivory Parlours!
One nightmare scenario facing female adjunct moonlighters is an accidental propositioning from one of their own students in a darkened alley. But like their academic mentors, America’s future workforce might have been in the cul-de-sac of life for the same reason. These encounters are often mediated by websites such as Backpage.com and SeekingArrangement.com that have managed to reduce once-effervescent children into young sex workers.
Hunger is the cruel motivator here. The Urban Institute, in a report last year titled Impossible Choices: Teens and Food Insecurity in America, revealed that approximately 6.8 million US youths aged 10 to 17 years struggled with food insecurity. This figure included 2.9 million boys and girls who go hungry on a quotidian basis and another 4 million who lived in “marginally food-secure households.”
Desperately poor female teenagers are even trading sexual services for food through an academic-sounding arrangement called “transactional dating.”
The situation is no better in the United Kingdom, with nearly a quarter of UK students contemplating sex work to either make ends meet or fund their preferred lifestyles. A Liberal Democrat councillor, Dennis Parsons, even went to the extent of suggesting prostitution as a career choice for pupils during a party conference.
The toxic ramifications of a hyper-sexualized environment are routinely ignored by Anglo-American policy-makers and their media factotums. As a result, there has been a two-fold surge in child-on-child sexual crimes over the last four years in the UK alone, leading researchers to dub pornography as the “electronic cocaine” of our age. Blaming it on porn per se, however, is a disingenuous deflection of a growing tendency in alfresco exhibitionism, notably showcased by virally-popular “wardrobe malfunctions” at celebrity events and concerts. And these often involve celebrities who ironically champion human and women’s rights even while they are victimized by sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein.
The fallout from this licentious cauldron is predictable. The United States is currently staring at an uncontrollable STD epidemic, with Washington, DC, emerging as the capital for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). A recent study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that Chlamydia outbreaks in Washington, DC, had exceeded the national average by 118% in 2016 while Gonorrhoea and Syphilis had surged by a staggering 230% and 175% respectively during the same year.
Not surprisingly, the city that imposes “international law and order” on the rest of mankind is also one known to exact sex for prime parking slots by none less an authority than a Chief Deputy US Marshal (CDUSM) himself—as revealed by an Oct 16 Department of Justice report!
When the heart of a nation is debauched, one can only imagine the rot spreading through the arteries of society. Each year, one in four American teenagers is stricken with STD/STI. Apart from poverty, social malaise like pervasive despair, binge drinking and one-night stands among students and young adults stoke this silent epidemic.
There are more than 110 million total STD cases in the US at any one time, costing the US economy $16 billion per year and counting. Half of the estimated 20 million new cases in the US each year afflict youngsters between age 15 and 24 years.
How the United States is supposed to “lead the world” under these venereal circumstances, as its politicians and media pundits are wont to fantasize, is open to question. Pimping out the US military on behalf of defence contractors, after all, is hardly different from adjuncts prostituting themselves for basic necessities.
President Donald Trump has promised to fix this—by entertaining a military strike against North Korea! He has little time for trifles such as 95 million Americans who are perpetually out of the workforce, despite promises made to the contrary during his electoral run last year.
Therefore, keep your fingers crossed for the latest eructation of geopolitical indignation from America’s putrescent underbelly. Wouldn’t it be ironic to see US media “presstitutes” shedding apocryphal tears over the plight of North Korean women and children (or some other target of regime change) during the run-up to America’s next military misadventure?
Mathew Maavak is a doctoral candidate in risk foresight at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).