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Legalization of Prostitution: Discussion Essay

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Updated: Aug 24th, 2021

Decriminalizing prostitution would permit women the chance to pursue their career choice without being punished. This choice should be considered a fundamental right for all. Should society as a whole adopt a consensus morality enforced by laws and subsequent punishment? Those opposed to legalized prostitution may argue yes, but public opinion has answered no. Many believe it wrong to enact ‘morality laws’ designed to restrict the free will of women, which only serves to further oppress women.

Some prostitutes say that they enjoy their chosen profession because they like sex and the money it provides, which is generally more than other professions. They believe they are exploiting men. They earn a good living by providing on what is usually given away for free. “The argument for legalization places great emphasis on the question of choice. Women can choose to be a prostitute, women can choose sex work, and denying this element of choice can be dangerous” (Chapkis, 1997). Legalization would make the profession safer and would allow for them to collect governmental benefits such as social welfare and could unionize instead of fearing punitive actions based solely on moral grounds.

Women of all political affiliations and feminist points of view rightly believe their gender has throughout history and still today been the victim of both overt and subtle manners of male repression. Though all feminists subscribe to this rather obvious reality, the various groups disagree on the best method of combating this social discrepancy. The act of prostitution illustrates this division of feminist philosophy. Radical feminists view prostitution as a social ill that only exacerbates the historical oppression of women, while liberal feminists generally view prostitutes as simply self-employed women. Radicals believe that prostitution should be eliminated (in theory), but liberals do not, they think that women should be free to pursue whatever career choice they want without governmental intervention. “Radical feminism tends to be mechanical in their analysis of prostitution, separating the moral and spiritual forces of relationships from the temporal forces (and) in doing so they present an incomplete view of relationships between men and women, as well as the intricate relationships between prostitutes and their client” (Bromberg, 1997). Radicals essentially are unbending in their beliefs despite any evidence to the contrary.

This group could be better characterized as fundamentalists, a term which is understood to imply clinging to belief system while summarily ignoring new information that contradicts these beliefs.

Liberal-leaning individuals would rather women be allowed to make their own choices and not have their morality questioned by those of an unyielding philosophy, whether by radicals or men. Only in this way are women truly empowered.

Women should be free agents, allowed to choose any vocation they wish. Women have historically been restricted in their choice of profession such as in areas of education, politics and business [often referred to as the ‘glass ceiling’] and their right to choose should not be limited by legislation or condemnation by those who are unwilling to modify their point of view. Prostitutes are not necessarily victims and realize the reasons to choose the sex profession as a multi-layered, complex and individualized decision.

Legalization would make the profession safer and would allow for them to collect governmental benefits such as social welfare and could unionize instead of fearing punitive actions based solely on moral grounds.

Works Cited

Bromberg, Sarah. “Feminist Issues in Prostitution.” Feminist Issues. (1997). Web.

Chapkis, W. “Live Sex Acts: Women Performing Erotic Labour.” London: Cassell. (1997).

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