Essay About Prostitution

Topics: Moral

This sample essay on Essay About Prostitution provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Prostitution forms an age-worn but interesting chapter in the history of civilization and presents an important problem for modern society. All civilized countries have offered solutions, none of which are satisfactory, and only a few of them have even modified its baneful influence. We commonly speak of prostitution as being the oldest of the professions, but in the light of historical investigation, this is hardly in keeping with the truth.

In order to understand the social construction of ‘prostitution’, we begin with common definitions from The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) (1989).

In the English language, the word ‘prostitute’ can be used in several ways. Prostitute can be used as a noun: ‘A woman who is devoted, or (usually) who offers, her body to indiscriminate sexual intercourse, esp. for hire: a common harlot’ (OED, 1989a, p.

673) or a verb: ‘To offer (oneself or another) to unlawful, esp. indiscriminate sexual intercourse, usually for hire; to devote or expose to lewdness (Chiefly refl. of a woman)’ (OED, 1989a, p. 673) Dictionary descriptors of ‘prostitution’, the industry or practice, include ‘whoredom’ and ‘harlotry’ (Oxford English Dictionary, 1989a, p. 74). Prostitution is any, or a combination, or all of the following: a) sexual harassment b) rape c) battering d) verbal abuse e) domestic violence f) racial practice g) a violation of human rights h) childhood sexual abuse i) a consequence of male domination of women j) a means of maintaining male domination of women Dictionary definitions provide only part of the picture.

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Discourses surrounding prostitution have varied greatly throughout time, demonstrating its dynamic conceptual nature.

Prostitution Essays

Despite these developments, particular beliefs have prevailed: for example, nineteenth-century morals have a direct influence upon the worldwide prohibition against prostitution (Perkins, 1991). The definition of a prostitute, as Rey (1851) describes her, as “a woman who allows the use of her body by any man, without distinction, for a payment, made or expected. ” Havelock Ellis says practically the same thing- “One who openly abandons her body to a number of men, without choice, for money. Both descriptions emphasize the fact that it is not the abundance of lovers which makes a woman a harlot, but the nature of her relationship with them- “The sale of the sweet name of love. ” In the suppression of individual inclinations she differs from a mistress, a concubine or a polygamous wife. The Roman jurists held that the fee had nothing to do with prostitution. It was the mingling of the sexes, the lack of an individual bond between man and woman and the universal and unrestrained gratification of sex passion that were its essential features.

The fee is always contra bonus mores and not legally collectable. The mercenary side, so prominent today, is a secondary factor, resulting from the development of civilization. Remuneration is only an inevitable corollary of the consideration that a wife is the property of a man and therefore of definite value. The Profession of prostitution,” says Parent Duchatelet (1836), “is an evil of all times and all countries, and appears to be innate in the social structure of mankind.

It will perhaps never be entirely eradicated, still all the more must we strive to limit its extent and its dangers. With prostitution itself, as with vice, crime and disease, the teacher of morals endeavors to prevent the vices, the lawgiver to prevent the crime and the physician to cure the disease. All alike know that they will never fully attain their goal but they pursue their work none the less, in the conviction that who does only a little good, yet does a great service to the weak man. The earliest discourse, based on theology and philosophy, emphasized the immorality and corruption of female souls. Nineteenth-century religious writers considered prostitution to be a ‘social evil that threatened the family as well as the social order’ (Ryan, 1997, p. 20). Prostitution later entered the closely linked medical–legal domains; criminalization of prostitution was facilitated by conceptualizing prostitution as a public health issue, stressing its role in spreading infectious diseases (Ryan, 1997).

During the 1970s, the prostitutes’ rights movement arose, which argued that prostitution represented a form of labor, comparable to other ‘helping’ professions, such as doctors, social workers or lawyers (Perkins and Bennett, 1985; Perkins, 1991). Moreover, it was also conceptualized as a contract between equals, having the effect of describing it as a commercial transaction: ‘In this view, individuals own their labor power and stand in relation to their property in their body and capacities in the same relation as their property as property owners’ (Jeffreys, 1997, p. 73) This view dominates the current reality of the adult prostitution sex industry. This has been evident by its largely visible status through maintaining ‘an important presence in political and sexual culture over the last decade’ (Sullivan, 1997, p. 201). It is alarming that the age of entry into prostitution is clearly geared toward younger and younger groups. Kathleen Mahoney, a professor of law in Calgary University, Canada argued in 1995, “How do we even conceptualize ‘juvenile’ prostitution, when the age of consent for legal sexual activity is constantly lowered, as in the Netherlands and the Philippines? The prehistoric period can, of course, supply us with little accurate knowledge. The earliest human records, about 4000 B. C. , make reference to it, but for anything of value, we must turn to comparative ethnology, where the customs of primitive people throw considerable light on the early stages. There seems no evidence that the elemental sex instinct, “the ever-raging animal in man”, as Plato called it, has been altered in the slightest degree by all the centuries of culture and education.

The advancing development of mankind in early times, brought sex attraction into close conjunction with the religious impulse, and upon this basis sprang up. A free sexual life, along with the social life, has continued to our own day. The origin of prostitution is closely connected with the rise of brothels and the development of the system of free love. No longer do all the girls, but only a certain few, offer themselves to the frequenters of “houses for men”. These few generally live in selected domiciles and are paid for their sex services.

The “common woman” also offers herself to strangers and travelers, and this may be the origin of the “hospitable prostitute”. In Africa, through the influence of slavery, practically all prostitutes were slaves. A young woman was bought, sheltered in a special hut and required to offer herself to anyone in return for a small present, the owner of the slave receiving the earnings. In Dahomey, the King was the proprietor of all these women- a case of “government control”. In ancient Egypt, Arabia and Israel the courtesan was recruited from divorced and cast-off wives who wandered about from place to place.

A study of racial development shows that prostitution exists among all aboriginal peoples where sexual intercourse is restricted or restrained, and that it is nothing more than a new form for the primitive mingling of the races. In its entire history it is a derivative from the free sexual life of primeval man. As Schurtz says, “In all places where free love is separated from passions and their satisfaction prostitution is found. ” In a civilized society, we should organize that the burden of inequalities, which underlie prostitution, should not be carried by children.

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Essay About Prostitution
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