Rethinking Prostitution: Purchasing Sex in the 1990s

Rethinking Prostitution: Purchasing Sex in the 1990s

Rethinking Prostitution: Purchasing Sex in the 1990s

Rethinking Prostitution: Purchasing Sex in the 1990s

Synopsis

The growth of AIDS has focused renewed attention on the institution of prostitution. In contrast to the moral panic reaction of some sectors of society, very different initiatives are being displayed by other groups in relation to the need to scrutinize the social, moral and legal status of prostitution and to reflect on the arguments in support of or against legalising brothels, paying particular concern to prostitutes' own health. Rethinking Prostitution covers male as well as female sex workers and considers in detail their status in law; drugs; issues of health and health care; the changing nature of sex work; partners, boyfriends and pimps; and the potential for redefining prostitution. By drawing on the expertise of researchers across all aspects of the industry, this up-to-date text focuses on an institution and industry ripe for re-assessment. Rethinking Prostitution will be of considerable interest to students, lecturers and researchers in medical sociology and women's studies, social workers in training and practice as well as the general reader as an area of topical interest and concern.

Excerpt

In contemporary society prostitution, for some women, offers a good enough standard of income for shorter working hours and some degree of autonomy and independence for those working for themselves. Sex work has always been an alternative form of work for women (Henriques 1962; Finnegan 1979; Walkowitz 1980; Bullough and Bullough 1987; Day 1990; Meil Hobson 1990; Roberts 1992). But sex work also brings fear, violence, criminalization, stigmatization and reduced civil liberties and rights of human dignity, as well as the risk of disease and, for some, death.

The history of prostitution is one of immense contradictions as the prostitute is a figure represented in varying guises: whore/ priestess, whore/goddess (Mesopotamia, circa second millennium BC). Whores achieved a certain level of autonomy leading to education and status within Ancient Greek society. They became bad girls, especially as the growth of Christianity and later Protestantism contrasted the ideal of the good wife and mother with bad girl and sinner. Increasingly within the Victorian period ideals of social purity and morality contrasted with dire economic poverty for working class/underclass women involved in a prolific sex-for-sale market, particularly in London (see Henriques 1962; Zola 1972: Finnegan 1979; Walkowitz 1980; Kishtainy 1982; Bullough and Bullough 1987; Roberts 1992).

Currently women working as prostitutes are perceived as bad girls, contravening norms of acceptable femininity, suffering whore stigma (Pheterson 1986) and increasingly criminalized by the state, policing practices and the lack of effective action taken by the state to address male violence against women (see Hanmer and

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.