(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Truth. Citizen Truth encourages opinion pieces from a wide array of political spectrums in the hopes of fostering understanding.)
This is the second entry of the Modern Day Gentleman column on Citizen Truth. Walter will regularly add entries which detail issues of masculinity, feminism, and the intersection of the two. The first entry can be found here.
Issues With Giuliani’s Statement
Former Mayor of New York City and current attorney for President Trump made the following statements yesterday regarding porn actress Stormy Daniels:
Yes, I respect porn stars. Don’t you respect porn stars? Or do you think that porn stars desecrate women? Do you think that porn stars don’t respect women and therefore sell their bodies? So yes, I respect all human beings. I even have to respect, you know, criminals. But I’m sorry I don’t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman and as a person and isn’t going to sell her body for sexual exploitation.
Giuliani would continue:
So, Stormy, you want to bring a case, let me cross examine you. Because the business you’re in entitles you to no degree of giving your credibility any weight. And secondly, explain to me how she could be damaged. I mean, she has no reputation. If you’re going to sell your body for money, you just don’t have a reputation. Maybe old-fashioned, I don’t know.
Giuliani excusing his statements as old-fashioned does not pardon the ignorance nor the damaging tropes his comments allude to. Men and women who consent to sex work are indeed career workers, who are fully capable of displaying high degrees of intellect.
I have personally interviewed sex workers on and off the record concerning a piece I am working on, all of which are substantive individuals who should not have their character come into question — especially when detailing incidents of abuse or misconduct.
However, porn actress Nikki Benz is currently dealing with this exact situation, stemming from a December 2016 incident, “I now have to prove to them, please don’t dismiss me because I’m an adult star. … I do feel like if I wasn’t an adult star, and I did a mainstream movie where I had to act like I was being raped and I actually got raped, it would have been dealt with in a week. But because I’m an adult star, I feel like I’m not a priority. And I hate feeling that way,” she stated during an interview with Buzzfeed.
In Giuliani’s mind, Benz does not have credibility due to her working in the adult industry. It is extremely unlikely he shares these same opinions towards men in the industry, or that he considers them to be sex workers.
His comments are misogynistic in nature, and every gentleman (and decent human being) should be appalled by his statements. Whether or not you would have intimate relations or date a sex worker is irrelevant, the characterizations made by Giuliani are deeply troubling.
Judicial Watch explains how Giuliani misused taxpayer money to see his mistress while Mayor of New York:
As New York mayor Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani hid his extramarital affair by charging tens of thousands of dollars in travel and security expenses—to visit his mistress–to obscure city agencies and excluding the trips from his official city schedule.
From 1999 to 2001 Giuliani charged taxpayers for extra travel and security to visit his mistress, Judith Nathan, at her Southampton apartment. Giuliani eventually divorced his second wife and married Nathan, but he has always insisted that the lengthy affair had no effect on his duties as mayor.
To avoid getting caught, Giuliani billed the personal travel and security expenses to various city agencies that would otherwise have nothing to do with mayoral costs. They include agencies responsible for aiding the disabled, regulating loft apartments and providing attorneys for the poor.
For someone who used taxpayer money to finance his affair, he should not be one to speak on the integrity of another. His use of others money to pay for his sexual escapades is far more of a character flaw than Stormy Daniels working in the adult industry.
A sex worker isn’t abusing the trust of taxpayers nor do they attempt to virtue signal how moral they are while representing an individual who makes allusions to how they enjoy committing acts of sexual misconduct.
What To Takeaway
Rudy Giuliani’s statements and general mindset remind me of two lessons I wrote about in my first Modern Day Gentleman column over a year ago for Elite Daily:
2. Always be respectful.
This honestly shouldn’t even need to be said, yet it unfortunately does. Millennial women are harassed online at alarmingly high rates, and many are consistent recipients of rape and death threats. Obviously, there is never an acceptable time to threaten the emotional and physical well-being of a man or woman.
To be direct with the guys reading that, it’s all right if you don’t agree with something a woman says — just don’t be a dick about it.
4. Respect her intellect.
…Just do everyone a favor and give credit to women for their intelligent thoughts and opinions. Again, you don’t always have to agree with what she has to say — just don’t discount her based on her sex.
While not applying exactly to the comments of the former New York City Mayor, the lessons remain relevant. One doesn’t necessarily have to support the various fields of sex work; although, if you consume pornography it’s wise to not protest over the morals of adult entertainers.
Respecting who they are as individuals and their actual level of substance is far more fruitful. Carter Cruise, who works as an adult entertainer and DJ recently said the following on her blog concerning a statement made by an unnamed man who criticized the social media content of a female DJ:
…This is problematic because it’s based on the assumption that if women “cover up,” men will respect them more, which is outrageous. Women have been covering up for like, ever. Back in the day it was scandalous to show your ANKLE as a female. Were women equal then? No. Did the layers of fabric and corsets deter men from objectifying women? No, because no amount of clothing can reverse the deeply ingrained male power complex that men are superior and women exist for their pleasure.
That same power complex is the mentality behind a man believing a woman must have used sex to achieve something. When a man sees a successful woman and his first thought is, “who did she sleep with for that?” it’s not because of what she’s wearing, but because he cannot process how a woman would get something over a man EXCEPT through sex. What a woman is or isn’t wearing could possibly exacerbate and “justify” their misogyny, but it isn’t the root of the problem.
It’s difficult to argue that her comments are far more substantive than anything Giuliani has stated on national television over the past several weeks. As a society, we need to stop stigmatizing consensual sex, especially concerning the sexual activity of women.