Marshall McLuhan, who coined the phrase in the title, said "a light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence" and is a perfect example of how a few words can conjure up the worse images.
I have been reading what both sides have to say about the current debate in Ireland regarding escorting and the "Turn off the Red Light" campaign is a brilliant move because it conveys images of people operating in a seedy area of the city where sexual activity takes place in a run down flat with a mattress on the floor, a 15 watt bulb providing the only lighting and women that look dishevelled. Or they will imagine sexual activity taking place in the bushes, in a car, an alleyway, etc and doing so under the supervision of a tattooed and scary looking pimp who comes by every couple hours to collect the earnings from terrified and vunerable women.
While the above images do exist, it is not every escort's situation. Many women have made the decision to become escorts for any number of reasons. It might be a very attractive university student who has stunning looks and decides she can earn a very good income while pursuing academic studies or a very sexy 40 something lady whose husband has left her after a long marriage where she was a homemaker and has no skills in the current labour market and sees a demand for milfs. The list goes on. However, this is not what people think when they hear the term "escort". Many escorts live comfortable lives just like anyone else with the exception that they provide sexual services for a fee and most often in the comfort of a bedroom; either at a incall location that the escort has or the client's home or hotel.
The fightback should not be a "Turn off the Blue Light" campaign because people will not relate to it. They just won't. What they will relate to is when you speak of the State interfering in the private lives of individuals; hence the focus should be on whether the State has any business in what goes on between consenting adults in their bedrooms.
What will irk people is when you start talking about legislation that determines what sexual activity is legal or not legal in the privacy of their bedrooms or any room in their homes. It was not too long ago that many countries had sodomy laws. The common people do not envision that escorts operate from the confines of nicely decorated and warm apartments with fresh sheets and towels, etc. It is the pictures and videos of horrific living conditions that are shown on during news coverage of women being rescued from forced prostitution. These are the images that people retain in their memory and whenever they hear the term "escort"; it is how they perceive that person's environment to be.
The lightbulb is a very powerful symbol. Without light, you are in darkness. The "red light" is representative of prostitution in some seedy neighbourhood. In fact, most people will have nothing nice to say when they hear the term "red light district".
Therefore, the argument has to be about whether the State has any business in what goes on in your bedrooms. Does it have any business legislating parameters dealing with sexual affairs between consenting adults? The danger with the State being involved in this area is that it leaves the door open to further legislation that goes beyond dealing with escorting.
Just my thoughts. Look forward to your thoughts and comments.