Prostitution may be one of the oldest professions and could possibly be the example of government regulation and discrimination. Countries all over the world have legalized prostitution and are now considering the title of “sex worker” to be just as common as McDonalds Manager. The countries that have legalized prostitution range from Germany to Argentina. However, the United States that claims to exude freedom and dignity has only legalized eleven counties in Nevada. The most convincing argument against prostitution seems to be that legalizing prostitution completely, will contribute to the widespread AIDS epidemic. Researchers have contradicted this theory by proving that roughly half of street walkers in NYC, Washington D.C., and New Jersey are HIV positive, while those who are legal in Nevada are HIV negative. Some might say that this data is perhaps ironic. Another supporting factor for legalizing prostitution is protection. Illegal prostitutes are beaten and abused daily and risk their lives on many occasions. In Nevada legal “sex workers” have the same rights to police protection as the towns preacher. Prostitution cannot be stopped because there is no effective way to close down a market between consensual buyers and sellers.
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Evil: Prostitution is immoral and countries that continue to legalize prostitution promote sex trafficking and abuse of women and children. Sex trafficking has been not only seen as derogatory, but also as a contemporary slavery. Women and children that are recruited into prostitution and human trafficking aren’t aware of the life they are destined to lead. These women and children who are trying to lead better lives and escape poverty find themselves in brothels, walking the streets, and pimped out by abusive individuals. The trauma that these women and children face cannot be reversed and often survivors claim that it didn’t feel consensual. Often the adults who survive prostitution/trafficking find themselves compensating pain with alcohol and drugs. These are problems that could have been prevented if prostitution was simply left illegal. If the United States completely legalizes prostitution the nation as a whole will witness the subversion of democracy. This is true because be legalizing prostitution women are left feeling like commodities because of the extreme gender discrimination. Prostitution is consuming and anyone involved can be wounded emotionally and physically.
The above two paragraphs compare and contrast the morality, discrimination, and decency of prostitution as a legitimate profession. This topic relates to sociology because the outcomes of prostitution are all according to societies views and interactions between persons. The strongest theory on prostitution seems to be provided by structural functionalists and the feminists.
Functionalists believe that they’re two reasons why an individual would want to become a prostitute; both reasons involve morality/immorality. The first reason is that society claims prostitution to be immoral, but condemning prostitution actually strengthens many people’s desires and encourages the deed. Society likes to believe sex is meaningful, so if men and women want meaningless sex then who else would they look to other then a prostitute. Another thought is that society believes that oral sex and anal sex is immoral, so if a man wants to engage in these acts, he goes to a prostitute. The prostitute not only fulfills the man, but also secures the moral integrities and purity of his spouse.
Feminists believe that the above theory is the prime example of sexism in society. Feminists also believe that the men who have sexual relations with prostitutes are equally immoral. Extreme feminists tend to believe that is prostitution is legalized it will teach young boys that dominating women is the norm and that it’s a woman’s “job” to please a man. The fear is that the young boys will carry this on into adulthood and spread to upcoming generations. Feminists strive to prove that if society legalizes prostitution individuals will assume that all women can be bought at a price and that men are more valuable than men.
The first source cited (Esselstyne) is valuable because this article examines the pattern of early sexual experience among prostitutes and how it differs from that common to “normal” women. This article will be useful in further research because it compares and contrasts common day prostitutes in the United States. The article also explains why some women actually become prostitutes. This source is credible because it was located through a scholarly search and found on JSTOR. JSTOR is a database where people can search through scholarly journals written by researchers.
The next Source listed is entitled “Prostitution” and is written by William Darity. The source was found in the International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, therefore it relates to sociology making it reliable for further research. The source relates prostitution and gender relations, discusses the variety of prostitution societies experience internationally, and states the trends of sex trade. The source was found through Gale reference library.
Kingsley Davis wrote the next source “The Sociology of Prostitution” which obviously relates prostitution to sociology. The journal questions why prostitution is such a problem in Western communities. Davis compares and contrasts the views of people who approve and disapprove of prostitution. This journal would be most helpful if continuing a longer research paper. The journal is credible because it was found through JSTOR, which is filled with scholarly materials.
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The next source discusses child prostitution among boys and girls. This article is written by K.L. Lerner. The article informs readers about the abuse and prostitution forced upon many children in Asian countries. This is relevant to Sociology as well as the United States because it discusses how children grow up believing prostitution is okay and end up infected and traumatized at a young age. The article was found through the Gale Virtual Reference Library.
Richard Symanski researched and wrote the next source entitled “Prostitution in Nevada”. The journal discusses the fact Nevada is one of the very few states that legalizes prostitution or even openly tolerates it. The journal informs the reader about the history of prostitution and brothels and also why prostitution has been legalized in Nevada. This source could really help if doing a longer research paper because the writer could compare and contrast Nevada’s outlook vs. other states around the U.S. The journal was found through JSTOR.
The last source included in the works cited is reviewed by E. van der Meulen, entitled, “Temporarily Yours”. The articles original writer is Elizabeth Bernstein who discusses male desire to consumption. The reviewer van der Meulen describes Bernstein’s take on prostitution as contemporary and highly recommendable. If a longer more in depth research paper were to be conducted a researcher might want to read this book to understand a contemporary view on an age old profession. This review was found through ProQuest, which is a database that allow a reader to search through peer reviewed scholarly journals.
The works cited provided includes sources that can help an individual understand societies view point on prostitution and hopefully help them determine their standing point on legalizing prostitution.
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