Considering Every Facet of the Issue of Prostitution

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The issue of prostitution has long been a controversial one. With the growing objectifying of women’s bodies, as well as the purchasing and selling of sexuality as a commodity, there is an “even more pressing need to understand the commodification of sex in the range and diversity of forms that prostitution is taking, and to analyze the significance of and impact of these developments on women’s status” (Barry 1994). Counter arguments to this claim that prostitution is “a practice of women’s resistance to sexual liberation from norms and traditional moral principles of sexuality that have served to control and subordinate women (Jeffreys 2009).” Thus, prostitution is said to be a form of liberation rather than a form of oppression.…show more content…
Logically, if prostitution were indeed a woman’s individual choice, these women should be able to determine and decide every aspect of the sex that occurs in prostitution – obviously, this is not the case. Ingrid Barclay’s study which aimed to examine the experiences of four women in one of Melbourne’s legal brothels, showed that “women remain disempowered even when coercion is not present (Sullivan 2005).” The women in this study stated that they felt as if they were obliged to do anything and everything their male clients requested them to do. One could then argue that it was the women’s choice to fulfill these requests, however, the very presence of feelings of disempowerment amongst these women signify that prostitution is, at its essence, a man’s will to dehumanize women.

There are further weaknesses to the argument of prostitution as woman’s choice, especially when taking into account the struggles women in prostitution face. Ironically, the woman’s choice argument fails to consider that most women do not in fact choose prostitution for themselves. Examples of these include women who are poverty-stricken and are forced to resort to prostitution to get by; these are women born poor with a severe lack of education. There are also women who

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