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Friday, May 24, 2024

The news media had a field day this past week: New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer was discovered to have spent more than $80,000 on prostitutes.

Then came the discovery that one of his working girls, Ashley Alexandra Dupre, was a 22-year-old aspiring musician. She was tan, toned, brunette and not unlike many of us co-eds. Indeed, her MySpace photos looked similar to those of my own friends on Spring Break.

I haven't really been interested in why an influential, successful man risked everything. That story's been told. I was, however, completely engrossed by his lady of the night.

You see, I always imagined prostitutes to be like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, - walking on Sharpied high heels, speaking incorrect grammar and sporting cut-up outfits.

But Spitzer's siren was none of those things. So what would prompt a privileged, put-together woman to become a call girl? Sure the Manolo Blahniks and trips to St. Tropez are lavish and enviable, but psychologically, the job's got to get to you.

Then I realized that mentally it came down to power. And what is more powerful than eliciting money in exchange for just, well, you?

It made me think - aren't we all guilty of using sex or, for women especially, our sexual allure as a power tool? Sure we're not getting paid but we are garnering self-worth and with it, power.

I'll be the first to admit that I have attempted to acquire both through sex.

After all, the pursuit of attaining sex - of giving in to it, of rolling around the sheets with reckless abandonment - lends itself a boost in the old self-esteem meter.

The concept is nothing new, but in today's society isn't it also a bit pathetic?

Women have so many other options for earning self-respect. Going to college is a prime example. In fact, doesn't using sexuality to secure esteem seem somewhat desperate and passé? There's a woman with a viable opportunity of leading the free world, for crying out loud. Surely women have come further than this.

At the same time, sexual experimentation can be incredibly freeing. Unlike high-priced call girls, we can pick our partners, our positions, our place. We choose to be hunter or huntress, submissive or aggressive, good girl Jennifer Aniston or vixen Angelina Jolie.

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It all leaves my head spinning. Sex for power: demoralizing or liberating?

Perhaps it's a bit of both. Making a career out of selling oneself or becoming a trophy wife will only lead to disappointment. After all, looks will fade and then what marketable skills can you actually reference on a resume?

Furthermore, as college students engaging in the hookup culture, we need to be equally aware that growing up requires more than knowledge of the Kama Sutra and post-hookup etiquette. It requires the maturity to recognize that power is best attained through achievement.

Nothing is sexier than that.

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