I’ve been in the south of Poland for the past few days, where two films about prostitution made waves last year. Both are concerned about teenagers’ immorality and lack of meaningful values, a topic that never seems to go out of style. Japan’s enjo kosai are the most famous teenagers who have sex with older men in order to buy stylish goods, but research reveals this relationship around the world. What seems to signal a loss of morals (for many commentators) is that the teenagers in question are not ‘poor’, since poverty is seen to ‘excuse’ selling sex. See recent ideas about the desire to keep whore stigma away from women engaging in transactional sex.
The two films from Poland tell the story in a post- communist context, where an abundance of money and consumer goods also signify the failure of another system of values. Note: I haven’t seen the films yet.
Piggies is about young men who have sex for money with Germans who cross the border. The film’s director, Robert Glinski, says he wanted to ask the question: Do young Polish people have any morals? ‘Twenty years ago we finished with the socialist system and we went into capitalism. The morality in Poland has changed at every level, mostly in young people.’
Katarzyna Roslaniec shot Mall Girls at a shopping center in central Poland, where four teenage girls turn tricks with men they call sponsors. ‘Look at a guy’s shoes, his watch and his phone and you can tell if it’s expensive. It’s a start, right?’ Sex is exchanged for products like blouses, not for cash, and is provided in mall toilets or cars in the parking lot (Poland Looks Inward).
Tonight’s talk on Sex at the Margins is at the Jagiellonian University, 1800.
– Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist