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March 20, 2016 | Author: | Posted in human sexuality, social sciences

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Prostitution in the world today is a universal industry that is assumed to gross more than a billion dollars a year and to involve between 100 ,000 to 500 ,000 women

the majority prostitutes are physically unappealing some of them have obvious physical defects . In the last three decades prostitutes detained by the police tend to be overweight and short , with poor teeth , minor blemishes and untidy hair . Some are [banner_entry_middle]

tattooed with legends like “Keep off the grass ” and “Admission 50 ” They are typically indifferent to men regarding them simply as “trade ” They are hardly ever rebels in any cognizant or premeditated sense . In contrast to the vivid shadow they are given on stage , in films , or novels , the majority have comparatively uninflected personalities . In describing her work , a typical prostitute said it was “a little more boring ” than her former job as a clerk Prostitution pays badly : At three 10 tricks a day , 6 days a week , the average prostitute may gross about 9 ,300 per year and net from 5 ,000 to 6 ,000

Kempadoo and Doezema expose the neo-colonial discourse in much recent feminist and pro-sex worker writings from the United States and Western Europe , which create a hegemonic western script ‘ about sex work (p 12

Prostitution is simply one part of the larger picture of universal gender injustice

On the other hand , prevailing members of society reinforced by institutional practices have distinct parameters of permissible public . Hardly ever do deviants have a voice in such processes , and while they do , the discourse should be constructed in terms adequate to the status quo (McKeganey , Neil

and Marina Barnard , 1996 . Thus , district groups may force local governments to outlaw street or car prostitution on aesthetic , economic , and moral grounds , but prostitutes are never seen about how forced removal to high-crime areas impacts on their activities and lives . Religious groups are frequently at the front position of moral panics , fueling antireform efforts in their zeal to penalize prostitutes or their clients , and lawmaking groups frequently cooperate with these sentiments to form restrictive laws or penalties Again , social crusaders might collaborate with the state to encourage anti or pro-prostitution laws but fail to engender a social mandate Vague laws and discretionary enforcement practices are the consequence

Prostitutes ‘ lives their backgrounds , enthusiasms , and futures concerns women who found their approach into the official registers . The social pros of prostitutes extorted from these records are those not of demimondes listed in the gentleman ‘s guides to elegant brothels , but of women who had to practice their trade in public places . These women not often recorded their own histories what we know of them comes from manuscript records of almshouses , prisons , city hospitals , police registers , and private reformatory institutions

Several general characteristics of the experience of prostitutes in industrial cities resulted from market forces , work pressures , and the social disgrace to prostitution . An approximately universal social fact about prostitution , both past and present , is the extent to which it is an occupation of young women . Through the second half of the nineteenth century , the average age of prostitutes in Boston , New York and Philadelphia was between twenty-one and twenty-three . Similarly prostitutes in Paris , London , Bologna , Stockholm , and Amsterdam , during the same period , were between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five , with an average age in the early twenties . Nearly three-quarters of the prostitutes illustrious in the Boston records were twenty-five or younger in the city as a whole , census figures demonstrate the greatest meditations of women to be in this age group . though , even in cities with comparatively few young women , prostitutes still leaned to be under twenty-five


`Prostitute society ‘ is a subculture . The affiliates of the prostitution subculture have redundant `normal ‘ society and its values , beliefs and norms . Women concerned in prostitution as having relinquished the standards of behavior in normal society and chosen a diverse way of life

For example , `She [the prostitute] has openly renounced standards satisfactory to ordinary society , she has acquired a profession where she is needed .and most important of all , where she finds herself in the company of people who are like herself in personality and viewpoint (Wilkinson , R . 1955 , pp . 108-9

The subsequent sense in which Wilkinson presents prostitutes as outcasts is that there is a disparity between prostitutes and the social group to which they belong and `normal society . All through her narrative she asserts that behavior that is intolerable to `normal ‘ members of society is acceptable to prostitutes

The stories of the violence with which the ponce treats the prostitute are not all exaggerated , but the understandings of its significance are often quite wrong . We are dealing with a class of people whose behavior standards are utterly different from our own . A beating-up is of far less significance to the girl herself than others who hear about it imagine (Wilkinson , R . 1955 ,

. 122

The insinuation of this is that prostitutes are different from other women as fundamentally similar events , relationships and situation takes on diverse meanings when experienced by prostitutes . Thus , physical violence by a boyfriend , which would be understood as violent abuse by `ordinary ‘ women , is basically not significant or even particularly out of the ordinary for prostitutes

Other instances of construction of prostitutes as outcasts who are different from other individuals are her s of the banality with which criminality and `anti-sociality ‘ are treated in `prostitute society , the `disinclination [of prostitutes] to pertain themselves to work or to personal organization , and the way in which prostitutes treat each other with `kindness , generosity and hospitality ‘ but also display `intolerance , lack of loyalty and even premeditated betrayal (Wilkinson , R . 1955 , pp . 130-1

Prostitutes are different from other women by virtue of their social rootlessness prior to their participation in prostitution and their sub cultural location afterwards . The supposition that all individuals are `forever searching for ways of belonging ‘ allowed her to invoke a normalizing argument whereby prostitutes are usual social actors entrenched in deviant social networks

But , prostitutes are as well depicted as the same as other women as they inhabit a subculture that subsist in tandem with `normal society . The prostitute subculture is not diverse (in the sense of fundamentally distinct and separate ) from usual society , but merely a refraction from normal society . several of the explanations of deviance that have tinted the sub cultural position of individuals have symbolized deviant subcultures as existing either in opposition to mainstream culture whereby the values and norms that point individuals ‘ behavior and actions are a result against mainstream culture , or in tandem with mainstream culture , whereby the sub cultural norms and values are a indistinct mirror-image of mainstream norms and values . however in both conceptions the subculture is not discrete or separate from mainstream culture somewhat the subculture exists in a close affiliation with mainstream society as both reacting and refracting subcultures rely utterly on mainstream society for their existence

In constructing prostitute society as refraction from mainstream culture , prostitutes is women directed by primarily similar norms and values as those which guide other women , though these norms and values are spoken in different ways

The social displacement and criminal subculture descriptive model focuses on women ‘s relationship to , and position in , the wider society to elucidate their engagement in prostitution . Questions are asked concerning the extent to which women are segregated , or cut off , from legitimate or adequate social relationships and institutions , and attention is focused on the extent to which they may have `fallen through ‘ what are professed as normal , restraining institutions and relationships such as the family or work . In addressing what it means to be a prostitute , assimilation and engagement in prohibited and often illegitimate relationships and institutions is stressed so that the extent of involvement in , for instance , a criminal subculture

In its ideal type , the social dislocation and criminal subculture descriptive narrative posits a `hard ‘ social determinism , whereby association in prostitution is seen as the consequence of subtle and multifaceted social forces . Most significantly , the individual is conceptualized as devoted to an ethical code which makes his [sic] misdeeds mandatory (Matza , 1969 ,

. 18 . Thus , for instance , prostitute women are seen as belonging to and unswerving to a normative system that makes their engagement in prostitution almost expected


Sexuality is a productive source of moral panic , arousing intimate questions regarding personal identity , and touching on critical social boundaries . The erotic acts as a intersect point for a number of tensions whose origins are somewhere else : of class , gender , and racial location , of intergenerational conflict , moral acceptability and medical definition . This is what makes sex a particular site of ethical and political apprehension and of fear and loathing

Mary McIntosh (1978 ) has argued that issues of sexuality and sexual need are sociological rather than biological issues and that further the “ideology of male sexual needs both supports and is supported by the structures of male dominance , male privilege and monogamy (1978 :3

The history of the last two hundred years or so has been interspersed by a series of panics around sexuality over childhood sexuality prostitution , homosexuality , public politeness , venereal diseases , and genital herpes , pornography which have frequently grown out of or merged into a generalized social anxiety . Eventually there have been shifts in the center of those events . these days the public lewdness of pornography have replaced the nineteenth-century preoccupation with the `fallen sisterhood ‘ of prostitution , and the homosexual as folk devil has been removed by the child molester (though the two are often willy-nilly moulded into one . More critically , over the past hundred years the language of denunciation has changed : from the anathemas of received morality to the oratory of hygiene and medicine . The evolution between the two modes a long revolution in sexual regulation has never been easy , or finally realized . Like poor Oscar Wilde in the 1890s , you might be accused in the public press as wicked , found responsible in the courts as a criminal , and subjected to medical and psychiatric examination as some species of `erotomaniac

Fundamentally , the procedure of entering prostitution can be alienated into three consecutive stages . First , at several points in the woman ‘s life the different social institutions within which she is located `fail ‘ her . Second , the woman is displaced from `normal ‘ society , which occasions a `wandering and disorganized ‘ state . Third , whilst itinerant the woman is introduced to prostitution . This `is a slow process and the girl is used to the idea by the time she accepts it

`Disorganized personality ‘ of prostitutes is a outcome of the `social deficiencies ‘ they might have experienced in their early years , or of unexpected occurrences such as the birth of an illicit child or a marriage breakdown that might have `dislodged ‘ them later in life

The situation might be summed up as one where recurring failures within social institutions , which she expected would remain constant have produced in a girl feelings of inconsequentiality and apathy , render her susceptible to people and opportunities promising some compensation

And thus `It seemed to me that the personality which must result from the processes causing this state of social relation in a woman would be sufficient to account for her accepting the suggestion of the situation and becoming a prostitute (Wilkinson , R . 1955 ,

. 108


McKeganey , Neil

and Marina Barnard . Sex work on the streets prostitutes and their clients Buckingham Philadelphia : Open University Press 1996

Kamala Kempadoo and Jo Doezema , editors . Global Sex Workers : Rights Resistance , and Redefinition . New York : Routledge , 1998

McIntosh , M (1978 ) Who needs prostitutes ? The ideology of male sexual needs , in Smart , C . and Smart , B (Eds ) Women , sexuality and social control

Wilkinson , R (1955 ) Women of the Streets : A Sociological Study of the Common Prostitute (London : British Social and Biology Council

Matza , D (1969 ) Becoming Deviant (Englewood Cliffs , NJ : Prentice Hall

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