Last night, I went with a group of friends into Amsterdam. Only a 30 minute train ride away, Amsterdam is extremely accessible. While a lot of Dutch people I know complain about it being littered with tourists and unlike the rest of the Netherlands entirely, I think Amsterdam offers a lot of what I believe Leiden is missing in terms of diverse, young and artistic communities. We were planning to go to this surreptitious pub located under a bridge for a night of jazz. Unfortunately, though, we got the days mixed up, and by the time we finally found this mysterious place, we were told nothing was happening.
It was a nice night by Dutch standards, so we decided to walk around the city instead.
We ended up walking through the red light district, one of the places Amsterdam is famous for, of course.
I’m still having trouble articulating what I’m thinking, but seeing these real women in windows, and then watching people pass by, stare at, and sometimes disappear into these windows was fairly haunting. Behind the glass, under fluorescent lighting, these women looked like eerie barbie dolls behind plastic packaging. They’re advertised in such a way that separates them from reality. And some of these women looked so young… I am for open, positive and safe sex cultures, but I’m not convinced that was what I was seeing. I have no clue as to the autonomy or control these women have, but I can’t assume it’s very much, even in a place where prostitution is regulated.
Still thinking, and still processing. Comments welcome, as always.