Piers Morgan and American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers went head-to-head on Good Morning Britain, Tuesday, in a heated debate over stripping and the empowerment of women. The segment was held as Hustlers — a film based on the true story of a group of New York strippers turned scammers — hit theaters this week.
Biba Tanya, a former stripper, opened the segment by describing her experiences in the sex industry, and how her opinions changed as she grew older.
“If you’d have asked 20-year-old, topless-on-a-pole Biba whether she was a feminist, she would have absolutely agreed that she was. That I was empowered, that I was earning my own money, that I was calling the shots,” Tanya proclaimed. “In hindsight now, as a 38-year-old mother of three, I can see that it was a very dangerous industry. But for another thing, you’re turning yourself into a commodity for one massive boys club. That’s not a feminist. You’re turning yourself into something that’s bought and sold, and I don’t see how any industry that sacks you if you have cellulite or tan lines is really doing anything for feminism, or for the empowerment of women.”
Sommers partially agreed with Tanya, but argued, “Shouldn’t that be up to the woman to choose?”
“Feminism is supposed to be about liberation and about women making choices,” Sommers claimed, before Morgan interrupted her explanation to declare, “I think my issue is somewhere in between. I find it pretty ridiculous when people like Kim Kardashian you know post topless selfies and flipping the bird and so on, and claim that this is feminist empowerment, because anyone can do that. Any woman can do that. I do understand and respect your premise thought that, ultimately, a woman should be free to do whatever she wants to do with her body, and that should be respected.”
Morgan’s co-host, Susanna Reid, rolled her eyes and questioned, “Well isn’t that the same thing though? Why is it different when the Kardashians do it?”
“Because I can respect a woman’s right to do what she wants to do, but I don’t think it should be categorized as feminist empowerment,” Morgan replied. “I don’t think it’s empowering, or particularly liberating, for any woman to just take their clothes off… Is that the message you want to send to lots of impressionable young women?”
Later on in the interview, during a heated exchange between Reid and Sommers, Reid declared, “It’s a real challenge for women, trying to operate in this environment where we know that we’re seen differently, and so you might want to monetize that, or be liberated about it, or be empowered by it, but actually you end up in a situation as Biba just described, where actually you’re just being exploited and vulnerable.”
Sommers responded, “One has to be careful, but what I’m trying to say is not to make these sweeping generalizations that this is harmful… Why call it objectification if you choose to do it, and you’re dancing, and you’re beautiful, and men are enjoying it?”
Watch above, via Good Morning Britain.