How about auctioning your virginity?

The name Catarina Migliori has been everywhere in the media recently as she has stirred the world with her decision to auction her virginity. The 20-year-old Brazilian student decided to take part in the documentary held by “Virgins Wanted” where she would document her journey of auctioning her virginity online. The winner was a 53-year-old Japanese businessman that goes by the name “Natsu” and bid a remarkable US$780,000. Many agree that what Catarina is doing is prostitution but according to her interview with “The Daily Mail” she believes: “If you only do it once in your life then you are not a prostitute, just like if you take one amazing photograph it does not automatically make you a photographer.” If that train of thought is indeed true, then if you only kill someone once, you are not a murdered.

According to the Oxford Dictionary prostitution is defined as “the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment.” Going with this definition, what Catarina is doing is undeniably prostitution. However, why does prostitution have such a negative, immoral connotations?

She has attracted a lot of abuse on various social media platforms. Along with many demeaning fake pages claiming to be her; on twitter people have been calling her “disgusting” (@michaellennon), judging her actions saying things like, “I bet her parents are very proud of their successful daughter” (@pinsip) and being overall derogatory.

While most people have been looking at Catarina with ill repute eyes and judging her behavior, the media is swamped with examples of money or material items being exchanged for sex and they do not get nearly as much criticism. The creator of Playboy, Hugh Hefner is notoriously known for always being surrounded by beautiful, young women. He refers to them as his “girlfriends” but they get weekly allowances and presents in exchange to have sex with Hefner and take part in orgy parties in the mansion. Several of his ex-girlfriends have written books sharing their experiences inside the Playboy mansion. They would also be invited to celebrity events and enjoyed the temporary fame that came along with being his “girlfriend”. Yet, despite their behavior, they receive great acceptance from the public. Kendra Wilkinson, one of Hefner’s most famous ex-girlfriend often receives tweets claiming she is their “role model” (@GlenCoco_4Real), “I love you, you are my idol”(@AmandaWhalon).

The image most people associate with the word prostitute is of a “cheap” woman on a street corner. The word received such negative connotation after it has been associated with so many women being sexually exploited, sex slavery and “pimping”. However, there are many conscious, smart woman that are happy to have sex in exchange for money and many men that are willing to participate in that exchange; so what is wrong with that?

Catarina is a young middle class girl that does not necessarily need the money for survival purposes. She claims she is going to use some of the money to help her community and the bidder is willing to pay the highest price. You can look at it as a trade of one sort.

We got to keep in mind the current dangers of prostitution; however if prostitution were to be legalized then some of these dangers could be eradicated. With the legalization of prostitution, prostitutes would be forced to use condoms, they would be subjected to regular STI and drug tests; the fail of either of these tests would result on a penalty of some sort. They would consequently receive benefits from the government and have to pay tax. The legalization would get rid of the criminalized image that has been linked with prostitutes and leaves them vulnerable to abuse from society.

If prostitution is engaging on sexual behavior for financial/material gain, then if a man buys dinner or drinks for a girl with the presumption he is going to have sex and the outcome is correct, is it prostitution? If someone’s job is solely based on manual labor and they put themselves in danger of a physical injury on a day-to-day basis, like footballers or mine workers, is it not just like prostitution?

While some people are open with their decision to opt for prostitution as a way of life others see it as degrading, unacceptable behavior. Religious beliefs play a big role in influencing people’s opinions on the subject of prostitution and that is clear on social media websites. On twitter, @abreo, shares his view on the sacredness of the body and how unholy prostitution is as it keeps a woman from marriage and building a family.

When controversial issues arise, like Catarina’s, social media platforms are the medium most people use to shares their opinions due to its easy access and wide-ranging sharing abilities. As to whether you think what Catarina Migliori is doing is acceptable or if prostitution should be legalized, that is up to you; but why not take advantage of the great social media technologies and share your views with the rest of the world?

Aline Siekierski (@AlineSieks)