Why Do We Forgive Male Celebrities Soliciting Sex Workers?

May 19, 2014
By Sophia ZhuEditor: Sophia Zhu
Why Do We Forgive Male Celebrities Soliciting Sex Workers?
Huang Haibo, a well-known actor who is famous of playing "good husband, good boyfriend" roles in TV dramas, was caught soliciting sex workers in hotel in Beijing, on May 16.[baidu.com]

Huang Haibo, a well-known actor who is famous of playing "good husband, good boyfriend" roles in TV dramas, was caught soliciting sex workers in hotel in Beijing, on May 16.

Major websites in China immediately launched website polls asking the public "what do you think about Huang's act?" The polls have attracted nearly 180,000 user votes, in which more than 60% of users believed that "He is a single man, it is understandable."

Why? Why is his behaviour tolerated by so many people?

The problem does not end here. If Huang was a woman, and a female actress was caught soliciting male sex workers, would her behavior be forgiven this easily? I guess the answer is probably no.

Huang was forgiven based on the common assumption that sexual desire is a natural thing for men, and for men only.

When Jackie Chan, perhaps the most famous Chinese movie star of our age, was caught of having an affair (resulting in a daughter out of wedlock), he simply replied: "I made a mistake any man could make."

Jackie Chan's remark was widely accepted, by both men and women. His wife stood up for him and accepted his apology. He was once again the perfect husband and the perfect movie star.

The idea that male sexual desire can not be controlled is so deeply embedded in our society that we simply feel we should not lay any moral judgments upon men when it comes to sex. They should be forgiven the minute they admit they have made a mistake, despite the fact that they might not necessarily feel that way.

The gender difference is one reason, on a deeper level though. This also shows that Chinese people's changing attitudes towards sex and commercialized prostitution.

In China, prostitution is clearly forbidden, which the law has made very clear. A recent sex trade crackdown by the Chinese government has shown the determination of China to crack down the illegal sex business.

But like drugs, you can't ban prostitution completely a profession that has been existing ever since the beginning of human civilization. It is illegal, but many people are now asking, what about our desires? For those who are single, who have the economic capacity to pay for sex services, what's wrong with it? Why can't we legalize the sex trade like certain other countries?
That is a much more complex question, but it is beginning to get more attention. When a famous actor, who is single, gets arrested for paying for sex services, people are curious about what is wrong with legalizing the industry.

Furthermore, sex is no longer shameful or private, and having sex is no longer a forbidden topic at the dinner table. Chinese people, particularly the younger generation, have a much more tolerant attitude towards sex than the generations before them, including their attitude towards sex workers and sex before marriage.

"He didn't do anything really bad, just sex and he paid for it," one netizen wrote.

(Women of China)

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