Response Paper Example on “Scarlet Road” (2011)
Sexuality is one of the essential elements of a person’s life. The sexuality of a disabled person is even more significant in relation to social reluctance and stereotypes. It is hard for one to understand that disabled individuals can have a sexual life, and like any other person, they want to feel loved. Scarlet Road, filmed by Catherine Scott, is a documentary revealing the need for the provision of sexuality to people with physical disabilities and urging not to encourage discrimination against sex workers in the industry. After watching the picture, I have learned that the concept of prostitution has not changed in relation to this development, and the disabled customers have been fed with the illusion of love and friendship, and the entire organization is dishonest.
The documentary Scarlet Road was produced in an attempt to deliver a message to people around the globe that people with restricted mobility must be able to enjoy their sexuality in order to enhance their relationships in society. Rachel Wotton founded Touching Base, the organization employing so-called “sex workers” who are ready to fulfill any sexual needs of physically disabled individuals in a domestic setting (Scott, 2011). The movie is basically about this organization, its workers and customers, and the importance of Rachel in the entire system of operations on a daily basis. Mrs. Wotton shares her experiences with clients and presents video interviews with them as evidence to support her claim that she is doing a selfless good deed by providing sexual services to those abandoned by society (2011). She also complains about the discrimination and the reluctance of the local authorities and the government to recognize her activism and support it with legislation. In my opinion, there is no difference between her service and ordinary prostitution.
In the film, Mrs. Wotton defines herself and many others working for Touching Base as “sex workers,” and, consequently, she is trying to change the concept of prostitution so the community can adjust their perception of sexual services. The leader of the organization is not satisfied with the fact that people do not understand her mission in the provision of sex for disabled individuals. She believes that she can contribute to the improvement of the sexuality of thousands of physically disabled people and thus change their way of life. Rachel intends to replace the term “whore” with the more official and more sophisticated term “sex worker,” but she does not realize that even by modifying the wording the concept will never change. No matter the efforts the organization would make in developing an advertising company, in active participation in international forums, or in the production of a movie, this profession still remains questionable and immoral. It is also not possible to amend the concept, legalize it, and pretend that the world has become much better.
The legalization of brothels and services they provide would benefit many people of different populations and minorities through the satisfaction of their sexual needs. It would make sex workers legal participants of the social, economic, and political life of their countries, as they would be obliged to pay taxes. Rachel Wotton is not scared of such a course of events and would be more than happy if the community would think the same way. However, the society is not ready to consider a prostitute as a typical citizen who has rights and liberties on a national scale. When medical researchers discovered that the smoking of marijuana could contribute to the reduction of cancer tumors and eradication of cancer cells in the human body, medical professionals urged governments to legalize the drug and use it for treatment purposes. Since then, humanity evolved and should continue doing so. But when Mrs. Wotton, who is neither a medical researcher nor a specialist, says that prostitution should be legalized for the treatment purposes of disabled individuals, it is difficult to consider it without scientific proofs.
The leading star of the movie claims to enjoy her job and urges everyone to support her in her actions. During the conference in Copenhagen, Rachel said the following: “I really like my clients” (Scott, 2011). If a person really likes someone, he or she would never need to persuade others by saying “really.” It might be just an assumption, but I believe that by saying so, Mrs. Wotton strives to control the sympathy and comprehension among those sitting in the auditorium. Everyone at the conference already knows that the community has bullied her. Therefore, the expression of the affiliation to the sexuality of disabled populations helps Rachel to have a massive impact on the perception of listeners who have no other choice but to obey. The rational evaluation of Touching Base could not be performed, and thus people could not see that it is just a brothel that seeks money from unhealthy individuals. Moreover, the institution creates an illusion of love and friendship.
The delusion was developed when the organization of Mrs. Wotton promised to deliver love and care to those in need. In the film, one of the clients stated: “Rachel makes me feel like I have a girlfriend” (Scott, 2011). The person with terminal disabilities is convinced that a sex worker is something more than just a participant of their sexual life and that she can also fulfill psychological needs. In another scene, a driver picks up a client who after some time is saying that the driver is his friend. The driver, on the other hand, is being filmed and cannot deny anything reported by the disabled customer and laughs with coercion (2011). The organization created artificial relationships with impaired people who are already physically damaged and could be damaged mentally due to the obligation of using sexual services. Some individuals may struggle to draw the line between what is real and what is fake while sex workers continue to make a profit.
One may argue about the right and wrong of the provision of sex services to people with reduced mobility. The term “sex worker” cannot change the concept of prostitution and make everyone believe in the goodness of brothels. The sexuality of disabled people is an important aspect in their lives and “the family and community are crucial in offering a route map for the lifeworld including the sexual terrain” (Addlakha, Price & Heidari, 2017). It must be family or community members to assist impaired individuals in enhancing their psychological health and sexuality through the application of legally authorized practices, instead of paying for a one-night stand.
1. Addlakha, R., Price, J., & Heidari, S. (2017). Disability and sexuality: Claiming sexual and reproductive rights. Reproductive Health Matters, 25(50), 4-9. doi: 10.1080/09688080.2017.1336375
2. Scott, C. (2011). Scarlet Road [DVD]. Australia: Paradigm Pictures.