Next month, Lyon County, Nevada voters will be posed with a ballot question: Should sex work in licensed brothels be legal. Ultimately, the county commissioners will have the final word. Critics say that legal sex work — abolitionists — is unethical. They specifically mention what are called ‘lineups’ –where the sex workers present themselves to prospective clients, calling the practice demeaning to women. Brothel owners disagree.
KUNR’s Bree Zender wanted to know how the sex workers themselves feel about it.
At the sound of a doorbell, all of the available women on shift at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, just outside of Carson City, line up in the parlor. The walls around them are covered with magazine pornography from the 1990s. Some of the sex workers are wearing lingerie, others are more casual and modest. Some are barely 18, others are a few decades older.
They stand up with their hands behind their backs, and say their stage names. In fact, that’s the only thing they’re allowed to say, unless the client picks them.
“Hello, I’m Mia,” said one.
“Hi, I’m, Stacey,” said another.
This process is called a lineup, basically an introduction to help clients decide who they want to ‘party’ or have an encounter with.
Critics of legal brothels say doing this reduces women to their looks. But for Randy Ryder, it’s simply a part of the job.
“I wouldn’t say it’s objectifying. It’s letting the client know what ladies are available and who is here in the house. It gives everyone a fair advantage and opportunity,” Ryder said. “It’s all about eye contact and smiling, and saying your name. Like, you can tell which girls want you to pick them over the girls that are like, ‘Oh, I’m tired.’ Like it just shows in your body and how you’re standing.”