In terms of sociology, Prostitution is a way for an individual to maximize their monetary intake or in other words “benefits” by selling the thing that they have readily, their bodies. In other words, it is the act or practice of participating in promiscuous sexual activity especially for money. Prostitution has been in existence for ages, going back to the Byzantine, Roman, Greek, and Egyptian Empires.
Ironically, the ancient religions of those eras dealt with the needs of the group and consequently developed protocols for dealing with sexual relations that have propagated throughout time to the modern era. As a result, prostitution is not about to disappear anytime soon, despite relatively recent local laws. Also throughout centuries, it has remained as a topic which the practice of it have been debated by many and now it has been legalized in Canada! Many might be outraged and even disgusted by this, but they serve a very important and a special purpose in our society and social class.
When analyzing prostitution through symbolic interactionism some of the key points are - reason to enter the business and their purpose in society; life as a prostitute and their echelons; and the pros and cons of the existence prostitution in our society. Prostitution is one of the oldest professions in the world. It is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for some form of payment. People who execute such activities are known as prostitutes. Prostitution is one of the branches of the sex industry and its legal status varies from country to country.
Estimates place the annual revenue generated from the global prostitution industry to be over $100 billion. However, prostitution is also one of the most gruesome working industry where thousands if not millions are exploited and scarred for life. In North America, majority of prostitutions are mostly female, poor and either immigrants or victims of human trafficking. Since they are at the lower class of society, they are also less privileged in terms of opportunities and living condition.
Thus their sole purpose of becoming a prostitute is to support themselves and/or their family. Also, since the majority of consumers in the sex industry are male, majority of prostitutes are poor, young females with low self-esteem and unstable life. Also since a lot of prostitution does not have education they do not have other alternatives. The simplest trade they can do without education is prostitution. They are often taken in shelter by their recruiter or “pimps”. They usually attract them by fulfilling their needs and then gradually take away their ability to think.
After in full control, they bring in customers (johns) who pay for these women to do anything they want to do. Sadly, a large part of their money is taken away by their recruiter or “pimps”, thus allowing the gap to be widened even more, leading them to perform sex for money endlessly in order to survive. However all this may sound harsh and cruel they do serve another special purpose, the reason why one becomes a prostitute are sexual morality and that our morality system which condemns prostitution actually also encourages it.
We live in a society where the belief being committed to a monogamous relationship and having sex with a spouse in meaningful while having sex with a prostitute is outrageous and absolutely unethical. This idea may encourage men to have sex with prostitute if they are looking just for sex and not the emotional attachment. Basically the sex industry keeps the “respectable” women pure while men can have their needs fulfilled elsewhere. Studies and documentaries documented in South Asia where prostitution is common, respectable women are less likely to engage in “immoral sex acts” like prostituting.
There are quite five ranks of prostitutes in the sex industry. The Escorts (call girls/ call boys) are considered upper echelon because they earn higher fees and have more option in their working conditions than others, have more years of formal education, dress more conservatively and do not consider themselves as a prostitute (example of an escort’s lifestyle can be seen in famous UK TV series “Secret Diary of a Call Girl”). After the Escorts comes the Bar girls/boys who are hustlers, strippers and table dancers that work in night clubs, bars and strip joints primarily.
Then comes the house girls that work in brothels which would run by a madam (female recruiter) or a pimp (male recruiter); they have very little to no freedom in selecting their client and cannot turn down a customer. After that come the bottom two classes – street-walkers and drug-addicts. The street-walkers are prostitute work at a specific location and in open street and dress very provocatively to entice their customers. The bottom tier, drug-addicts are man or woman who would have sex with others just to have rugs or money to buy drugs. These five ranks also determines how much freedom and options you have and the entry and exit in the sex industry; the higher the rank the hard to enter and easy to quit while it remains the opposite in the lower rank. The higher rank prostitutes also have more protection and security than the lower rank ones and there are more violent events (rape, death etc) in the lower rank than the higher rank that have an established business with higher and exclusive clientele.
Despite it’s danger and the cultural taboo condemning it, in the documentary Prostitution: the oldest trade, where several prostitutes were interviewed on how they feel about their job, all of them said they feel good because they are providing a service. They identify themselves as prostitutes openly in the society and had accepted their role quite well. When asking the same question and relating it to the current situation and events relating to prostitution, Margo St. James (founder of prostitution right organization C. O. Y. O.
T. E - Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) said, “I find that the women, generally, are ambitious, clever, intelligent, gregarious, and usually like people”. In terms of the profession she stated, “the profession itself is not abusive; it's the illegality; it's the humiliation and degradation that is dealt to them at the hands of the police. " The purpose of having prostitution in a society is contradicted and debated by many. Cecilia Hoffman, Sec Secretary of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Asia Pacific, wrote in the Aug. 997 paper "SEX: From Human Intimacy to 'Sexual Labor' or Is Prostitution a Human Right? " published on the CATW-AP website, "Prostitution violates the right to physical and moral integrity by the alienation of women’s sexuality that is appropriated, debased and reduced to a commodity to be bought and sold. It violates the prohibition of torture and of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment because clients’ acts and practices of sexual 'entertainment' and pornography are acts of power and violence over the female body.
It violates the right to liberty and security, and the prohibition of slavery, of forced labor and of trafficking in persons because millions of women and girls all over the world are held in sexual slavery to meet the demand of even more millions of male buyers of sex, and to generate profits for the capitalists of sex. It violates the right to enjoy the highest standard of physical and mental health because violence, disease, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and AIDS stalk, presenting constant and grave risks for women and girls in prostitution, and militating against a healthy sense of and relationship with their own bodies. However, this was contradicted by The Prostitutes' Education Network wrote in its "Prostitution Act of 1996" provided on its website (accessed Jan. 16, 2009) "No person's human or civil rights should be violated on the basis of their trade, occupation, work, calling or profession. No law has ever succeeded in stopping prostitution. Prostitution is the provision of sexual services for negotiated payment between consenting adults. So defined, prostitution is a service industry like any other in which people exchange skills for money or other reward...
Non-consenting adults and all children forced into sexual activity (commercial or otherwise) deserve the full protection of the law and perpetrators deserve full punishment by the law. Workers in the sex industry deserve the same rights as workers in any other trade, including the right to legal protection from crimes such as sexual harassment, sexual abuse and rape... There are some unscrupulous people in all walks of life -government, law, journalism, banking, law enforcement, the stock exchange, medicine, the clergy, prostitution, etc.
If every profession were criminalized when some of its members broke the law, there would be few legally sanctioned professions. Unscrupulous people should be summarily dealt with by the law, regardless of which profession they corrupt. " After hearing these two statements, there are no solid evidence to support or contradict the idea of prostitution existing and being legalized in North American society. Even though prostitution is a prominent example of deviance, society and mankind itself cannot survive without some form of deviance.
For instance, famous sociologist Emile Durkheim imagines a “society of saints” populated by perfect people and a society that fits perfectly defines the word utopia. But even in such society, there would still be deviance since the general standard of the behaviour would be so high that the smallest slip would be regarded as a serious offence. Therefore, Emile Durkheim states that in order for society and human life to work, there must be some form of deviance. Also, referring to the story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K.
Le Guin, in order for a society to thrive, it is crucial that there are single or multiple acts of deviance in that society. Thus there must be deviants in that society in order to create class distinction and separate one from another in that society for power and other needs and privileges. Thus, prostitution justifies our police, courts and legal system as well as our morals and education to create different forms of distinctions amongst members of our society.
In society, prostitutes are never valued highly in social class as a respected person, because they are considered deviant for breaking societal norms and are normally associated with “bad” and “horrible. ” Despite the fact they may earn the same as a lawyer or a doctor, our society contradicts that their ideologies and their way of living is socially unacceptable and morbid; and their source of earning illegitimate due to their work and working condition.
But the only reasons we do not accept it because it is not in our morals and even though they are just as human as us, they are horrible to us and we try to humiliate and disown them in every way as we can. The purpose of them in our society is to serve as a secretive lower class in our society and create the distinction between the so-called respected members and the so-called deviants. Therefore these are the facts I have found on prostitution, the oldest trade for an individual to maximize their monetary intake.
Throughout the research and the writing of essay I found facts that are truly shocking and quite intriguing, especially how they add up to the world that we live today. Despite it has been here for ages going back to the Roman, Greek empires, the purpose of it still remains the same. They serve as the lower class of the society that no one talks about and is considered the deviant of society. And the reason all this happens to create a distinctive contrast amongst the respected ones and themselves. Therefore, these are my findings to show the lives of prostitutes, their echelons and the pros and cons of having them existing in the society.