Provocatively Dressed Women Running Online Businesses: Is it a Big Issue?

Samnang and Sothie have not met one another at the street Café for quite a while now. Recently, these two friends were dealing with a tiring amount of work. Nevertheless, the two pals found a small gap between their working hours and met each other for a cup of coffee. Today the two were discussing the sexualized nature of online sales and whether or not women conducting online businesses are using revealing clothing as part of a marketing strategy.



Sothie: It’s just a bit of teasing for the online customers, they’re using their bodies to promote their sales—what could possibly be wrong?



Samnang: Well, if it is just a bit of teasing then it is not really a big deal, but when they’re exposing far more of their sexual body parts, then I’m not sure. Sometimes I think it goes too far, I wouldn’t want my wife to see me looking at their adverts, but they pop up all over social media



Sothie: What is wrong with what these women are doing? It is their body you know—their body, their right.



Samnang: I know. Of course, it is their right. But, at the same time, I feel like it harms our tradition and our culture.



Sothie: Well, there are no laws which forbid the sexual exposure of one’s body. And again, it is a personal right. Besides, maybe some of these women have few opportunities—maybe this is their only option.



Samnang: I know, I know. It is a personal freedom and yes, there are no laws for the regard of this matter. Nevertheless, this specific matter does have something to do with a code of ethics, Sothie. I really want you to understand the code of ethics—it’s not technically a law, but, it is a guideline, a rule, a personal understanding, a personal respect or even a duty which dictates what we collectively find acceptable. Even though if it is not reinforced by the law, our code of ethics can simply be considered, in a sense, the morality of a career. Sometimes, morality can also be written inside the state’s laws. Laws force people to obey. Otherwise, there would be punishment and penalties. However, if a person decide to disobey the code of ethics, that person would not be punished by the law. But, he or she might be punished or judged by society itself.



Back to our main discussion, there are no laws limiting this sexualized kind of business. These female sellers have been disregarded and defamed by the Khmer society. The strategy they use, with the involvement of exposing their bodies, does not seem to have a sense of social value.



Sothie: Wait… if this kind of business model does not really contain the sense of social value, why are there still so many support from the customers? Besides, haven’t attractive people always been used to sell products? From perfume and fashion right through to insurance and mobile phones—advertising always uses sexy models to make products seem alluring.



Samnang: Your question seems like a mockery to me, but it does challenge me, Sothie. I just want to finally tell you that a good customer should stay away from ever supporting this kind of business in which sexual exposure is heavily involved.  



Sothie: Ok, so if you don’t like it, then don’t buy it—I think there are much more pressing problems in society and the world right now than a few women selling things in a provocative manner on the internet.


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