prostitution - Chapter 3 Prostitution Prostitution...

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Chapter 3 Prostitution Prostitution represents one of the most frustrating and contradictory social and political dilemmas facing contemporary society. The roots of this dilemma stem both from the ambivalent attitudes towards prostitution expressed by the public, and the difficulties inherent in attempting to control prostitution so as to minimize the negative aspects of the prostitution trade. In this respect, there is little doubt that prostitution is an activity that many members of the public consider deviant and undesirable. At the same time, there is increasing evidence that both the public and many politicians feel that prostitution is impossible to eliminate and that the best course of action would be some form of decriminalization or legalization. This basic dilemma is complicated by the philosophical dichotomy between the liberal argument that prostitution is a legitimate form of sexual diversity and the conservative view that prostitution is immoral. Further, many recent discussions have focused on the feminist position that prostitution is a patriarchal evil that represents the ultimate expression of male domination and oppression. All of these intersecting and frequently contradictory viewpoints contribute to a situation in which many people consider prostitution a deviant activity, many nevertheless feel it should be tolerated in some fashion, and absolutely nobody wants it in their neighborhood. This paradox is complicated by the fact that the prostitutes themselves are becoming increasingly vocal in demanding that their “chosen occupation” be legitimized. Many prostitutes’ rights organizations 1 have begun to argue that prostitution is a viable occupation and that it should be regulated like any other legal occupation. Regardless of the opinion one holds regarding prostitution as a social and moral issue, it seems clear that prostitution, and particularly street prostitution, frequently constitutes a divisive social issue, in which the interests of many different groups are in conflict. Thus, it is imperative that society resolve the legal, political and philosophical dilemmas which currently exist regarding prostitution, and adopt a legal and political approach which incorporates the rights and interests of all parties, including the prostitutes. The intent of this chapter is to discuss many of the issues which are considered crucial to understanding why prostitution evokes such a myriad of conflicting attitudes and emotions, as well as why it is so difficult to achieve effective control with our current policy of prohibition. These issues include the stigma associated with prostitution, the historical context of prostitution, the societal factors which motivate the entry into prostitution and the failure 1
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of attempts to control prostitution through ever tougher enforcement. Defining Prostitution
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This note was uploaded on 02/02/2012 for the course SOC 410 taught by Professor Nicklarsen during the Fall '11 term at Chapman University .

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prostitution - Chapter 3 Prostitution Prostitution...

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