Article Title & Main Argument
The author’s first main argument is that poverty drives these women into prostitution.
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Sex trade in Sosua flourishes because both the prostitutes and their customers believe they are getting closer to satisfy their fantasies, the sex tourists go after what they consider “ideal sexual partners” while the women believe they are cultivating relationships with wealthy clients who are potential husbands.
She also points out that the advent of technology and globalization only promise to make the sex tourism industry in Sosua grows exponentially (Brenan, 159). Lastly, the author points out the disconnect between the great expectations of Dominican women who engage in prostitution and the grim reality on the ground.
In today’s world, capitalism is blamed and sometimes used as a scapegoat that takes the blame for the woes of the poor populations all over the world, however, for many of them, the “cause” of all their problems is the very same thing which offers them so much hope in life since it is generally believed that the higher your class, the less your problems, and who wouldn’t want to jump on that band wagon?
Sosua: a preview
The island of Sosua is a perfect example, despite the extreme illustration used; it serves to drive the point home. A vast majority (if not all) of the women who engage in prostitution feel they were pushed into it by economic pressure, they are all from extremely poor backgrounds.
A second Achilles heel for them is that they are women with limited formal education. These dire conditions make prostitution in sosua a viable option and what makes it even better for them is the limited number of restrictions to the control of the money once they get a hold of it.
Basically if social inequality exists, all odds will be against them, this is because they are on all the undesirable ends of the basic class indicators, they are poor, illiterate, own no substantial property and live in the worst places.
The sex tourists are from a higher social class, they are probably well educated ,have stable incomes and probably own a lot of property in their home countries, at least this is the image they portray while they are on holiday.
However, they too are driven from their homes, the only difference is what they are pursuing, while women in the Dominican republic are in the pursuit of their basic necessities, the sex tourists are in pursuit if lustful fantasies.
Power struggle: Karl Marx
Karl Marx’s definition of class power suggests that privilege of power is derived by somehow marginalizing others. This is a direct hit at capitalism in which it is said that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer and this serves to vilify the rich or the upper class citizens who appear are accused of reaping the fruits of the poor people’s sweat. Is this really the case in Sosua?
Are the women in prostitution the victims of the sex tourists or are they merely victims of circumstance? Are the white men from European countries taking advantage of their poverty or is it just another case of supply and demand? The truth of the matter in my view is that both parties are trying to take maximum advantage of each other’s circumstances and “resources”?
It is evident that before prostitution takes place, a lot of scheming is carried out. on one hand, a poor woman in the Dominican republic looks at the sex tourist as her ticket to upward class mobility and she will go to great lengths to see to it that she achieves her objective or move as close as possible to it.
She is aware that majority of the male tourists who solicit for her “services” is socially challenged and probably lonely. She then plans how to promise him the companionship of the lover he never had, of course at a price.
On the other hand the sex tourist also has needs which he believes the prostitute in Sosua will fulfill ,he views an experience with her as the ideal hedonistic adventure, he knows he will achieve this because he has disposable income whereas she is desperate for just that and will go to great lengths to get the precious money.
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Unlike the Marxist theory, in our context, both the poor and the rich are in a bid to take advantage of each other and because of class power, the sex tourists seem to be having their way while all the women have to show for their effort is shanties they live in, a clear indicator that they are on the losing end.
This is clearly indicative of a culture of capitalism that is being cultivated in today’s world, the poor are constantly being pressured to produce more and more while those in privileged positions ensure the laborers have very little control of resources.
This leads to dependence on the rich in that the ones at the bottom of society do not have much of an option but to accept what they are given by their “masters” hence some observers and analysts stating that slavery was abolished but it is still being practiced in this day and age, the slave’s main motivation being upward mobility as regards class.
Brennan, Denise. “Selling Sex for Visas: Sex Tourism as a Stepping-stone to International Migration”. Global Women: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. eds. Ehrenreich, Barbara and Arlie Russell Hochschild. New York: Holt. 2002. pp. 154-168. Print