In 1998, Sweden passed ground-breaking legislation criminalizing the purchase of sexual services which sought to curb demand and support women exiting the sex industry. Grounded in the reality of the violence and abuse inherent in prostitution — and reeling from the death of a friend to prostitution in Spain — Kajsa Ekis Ekman exposes the many lies in the ‘sex work’ scenario: Trade unions aren’t trade unions. Groups for prostituted women are simultaneously groups for brothel owners. And prostitution is always presented from a woman’s point of view. The men who buy sex are left out.
Drawing on Marxist and feminist analyses, Ekis Ekman argues that the Self is split from the body which makes it possible to sell your body without selling yourself. The body becomes sex. Sex becomes a service. The story of the sex worker says: the Split Self is not only possible, it is the ideal.
Turning to the practice of surrogate motherhood, Kajsa Ekis Ekman identifies the same components: that the woman is neither connected to her own body nor to the child she grows in her body and gives birth to. Surrogacy becomes an extended form of prostitution. In this capitalist creation story, the parent is the one who pays. The product sold is not sex but a baby. Ekis Ekman asks: why should this not be called baby trade?