Body Matters: Essays on the Sociology of the Body

By Sue Scott; David Morgan | Go to book overview

Chapter 6

Selling the Body, Keeping the Soul: Sexuality, Power, the Theories and Realities of Prostitution

Susan S.M. Edwards


Introduction

Prostitution is, in the public mind, defined as the sale of sexual intercourse. Women who sell sex become prostitutes in the commodity exchange of sex for favours in kind or for money. Prostitution in both everyday and legal discourse, however, does not always result in the sale of sexual intercourse. In legal discourse this point was illustrated in the case of R versus de Munck (1918) 1 KB 635, where Darling described a prostitute as 'a woman who offers her body for acts of lewdness for payment'. The law then well understood the plethora of male requests for sexual and related services. Yet, for the most part studies of prostitution have rarely addressed the specific forms of services demanded of women or the nature of the prostitute's encounters with male clients, or how women try in these apparently 'intimate' sexual incidents to retain their autonomy whilst segmenting and selling parts of their body as commodities. Prostitute women, in their effort to retain their autonomy and private space, demarcate and rigidly define quite precisely certain conduct and behaviour as beyond bounds in the truly intimate encounters, thereby placing boundaries around certain parts of the body, and certain symbolically significant acts, privatizing specific aspects of socalled sex and intimacy. Such boundary defining is essential for survival and whilst this has little bearing on the fundamentally exploitative characteristic of prostitution, it is an essential survival strategy for women who sell sex.

In debates dealing with prostitution as exploitation there are those who argue that if prostitution were to be accepted within society and prostitute women assimilated and treated as any other women this would negate any exploitation, because women would be in control of their lives. Some prostitute organizations, notably the International Committee for Prostitutes Rights (ICPR) (cf. Pheterson, 1989), campaign for 'rights' for prostitute women, including the right to work as prostitutes. This, of course, like the parody of Plato's 'happy slave', is flimsy embourgeoisement, and cannot alter the fundamental exploitation that exists nor the indisputable fact of commodity exchange, nor the enduring fact of patriarchy, however improved are the work conditions or social status of the prostitute. As Evelina Giobbe, a former prostitute and founder member of WHISPER, (Women

-89-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Body Matters: Essays on the Sociology of the Body
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 148

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    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.