Feminist Views on Sex-Workers and Prostitution. Essay Example.

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A brothel - is a place or a building where sexual activity is carried out for monetary compensation.

Street prostitution - refers to sexual activities done in an open space within a town (within streets of the towns) were popular prostitutes can access clients

Escort - are individuals employed in brothels to give security to prostitutes offering services outside brothels

Pornography - is the distribution of graphics or written materials containing explicit sexual activities with the aim of creating erotic situations on viewers.


In this discussion, prostitution is examined under the feminist theory to unravel various views held by different scholars about prostitution and its causes. Feminist views, therefore, address many issues within the feminist movement initiated to bring to light the vulnerability of female individuals in the society. More so, the existence of a diversity of many societies has rendered women victims of criminal activities. As a result, position view is an overarching standpoint that is either critical or supportive of prostitution and seeks to liberate the members of the society entangled in such vices as prostitution and commercial sex-workers. Prostitution has been a major global concern since it swallows women men and minors who are trafficked across transnational boundaries. Prostitution, therefore, calls for an in-depth analysis into what social and political factors could lead to its prevalence

Feminist views address many issues within the feminist movement initiated to bring to light the vulnerability of female individuals in the society. More so, the existence of a diversity of many societies has rendered women victims of criminal activities. As a result, positions have been arranged into an overarching standpoint that is either critical or supportive of prostitution and seeks to liberate the members of the society entangled in such vices as prostitution and commercial sex-workers.

In other terms, prostitution is a gender-neutral term occurring in various forms and is explained as the sexual activity that an individual -sex worker gets involved. The exercise can either be direct or indirect and is carried out for purposes of monetary compensation, for benefits in kind or a service as agreed upon by the transacting parties. A sex-worker, therefore, is an individual who is either voluntarily or involuntarily involved directly or indirectly in sexual activities with the aim of extracting benefit out of it. Most of the sex workers are women, and the clients are men and others would take various sexual orientations. Prostitution takes various forms as brothels, escorts street prostitutes, and pornography.

Prostitution is illegal in most countries across the world, and nobody knows their number currently. This is because no government that allocates resources to compile their statistics as it does in other professionals such as plumbers, physicians, teachers, and other legal occupations (Laite, n.d.). However, in the U.S, one analyzed research found that there are about 70,000 women who are prostitutes who engage in about 700 prostitution acts annually (Weitzer, 2011). However, other studies that have been conducted in estimates that in U.S only; about 500,000 prostitutes are working part-time because most of them work in other legal occupations. This estimate included all those individuals who said that since their 18th birthday, they had engaged in sexual activity with someone who paid them. According to Weitzer (2011), 11.9 % of men and 1.8% women confessed that they had engaged in sexual activity for money. This translates to 13.5 million male who have involved themselves in prostitution activities mostly as clients and 2.1 million women. The number of prostitutes is still high even though it is illegal. In 2010, police officers and other agents who deal with law enforcement made about 63,000 arrests for prostitution and other commercialized activity (Weitzer, 2012). Most of these people who were arrested were engaging in prostitution although some were male customers. 69% of these individuals who were arrested were women.


Outline of the theory

Feminism is defined as equality among all genders and non-patriarchal practices of solidarity; this theory is a sociological postulation attempting to offer critical issue based analysis of both sexual orientations in a contemporary world (Jones and Turley, 2014). Most scholars have come up with several theories to explain the various criminal activities and deviances which lead to cultural differences in treatment of both males and females. The feminist theorists have made positive contributions and have since come up with findings to restore respect, dignity and to enhance the voice of women. Feminists theory tries to unravel four different structures attempting to explain the difference between men and women in cultural and societal setup. This theory, therefore, assumes a structure that tends to address gender differences it is applied to assesses how both men and women experience the social world differently. The theorists delve more on gender differences regarding roles assigned to different gender and, societal expectations and marginalization of female gender in a strongly patriarchal society hence devaluation of women as they are denied access to various opportunities like self-actualization and to compete favorably with men (Valentine, 2007).

Gender oppression has been identified by psychoanalytic feminism who seeks to express clarification on the way female individuals are treated in the society and what society expects of them. There is gender marginalization concerning female. It clarifies the oppressions are coming with emotions and childhood development in a male-dominated society. Radical feminism shades hope to females who are considered low and inferior being that womanhood occupies a special and important place in society thus should be accorded recognition and dignity in the society. It likens physical violence to oppressional patriarchy. It states that the oppression can be overthrown if women woke up from their slumber and collectively unite to realize their strength by confronting oppression levied upon them by men.Gender inequality is an aspect of the feminist theory that tends to wage war on the representation of women in the public arena since women were sidelined by the male counterpart who viewed them as objects of burden (Dominelli, 2002). On the contrary, the theory encourages women to take up arms and rediscover their self-worth. Liberal feminists, therefore, call for a division of labor for the real equality to be realized across the human gender.Structural oppression is an extension of the Marxist theory of capitalism where the proletariats are referred to as objects of labor. Women were regarded as the low class, are experiencing exploitation when it comes to social stratification since men view themselves as capitalists and hence continue to exert more pressure on the women as they are viewed as feeble creatures in the paratracheal society.

Relevant examples from research

A study conducted by the government of the U.S. dubbed The Link Between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking agitated by the quest to scrap out the exercise estimated an annual totality of 600,000 to 800,000 people trafficked across international borders. The study founded out a whopping 80% of the victims to be female with 50% of trafficked individuals being minors. The sole purpose of the traffic victims is to use them in prostitution industries. Huge numbers of women are introduced to such vices do not want to be in the business since the health implications of the business is coupled with a myriad of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and STIs. The study also revealed that the victims are suffering abuses of different degrees ranging from rape, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual magnitudes thus very harmful (Weitzer, 2012). An in-depth assessment of the core causes and problems associated with the massive trafficking was done, and the findings such as legalizing prostitution industry, poverty, human trafficking, abuse, neglect by parents were concluded.

Most of the victims according to a published scientific journal of trauma practice recorded 89% are desperate to escape the business. To reduce this heinous act, the government through intelligence service published pictures and leaflets of the names of individuals engaged in human trafficking for arrest. For instance, the Swedish government concluded that huge amounts of money get into traffickers pockets thus the vice could not be tolerated. Worst still is that men were found to be culpable in buying and selling of the women victims. The Swedish government has since prosecuted the pimp and brothel owners resulting in a decrease of 50% of women and 75% of men trafficked in two years (Scoular,2004). The finding also recognized that legalization of prostitution leads to increase in sexual demand hence scaling up global human trafficking. The funding led to the conclusion by the U.S government that no funding is made to any organization aiming to popularize prostitution.The sex industry is not limited to prostitution but includes a wide range of activities such as pornography, Internet sex, phone sex, strip clubs, and other related sexual services. However, pornography and prostitution are considered the most profitable of all. Most of these men come from different social class as both upper and lower class men engage in commercial sex activities. Clients have some particular motivations that make them choose to engage in prostitution. Some of the motivations include; the desire to engage in sex without a need of making an emotional commitment, the urge to make love with an individual with specific physical appearances such as age or race and lack of a sexual partner or satisfying partner, and the thrill of engaging in sexual deeds with a prostitute. One or more of these reasons may make a man engage commercial sexual activities, but some men may be dissatisfied with their partner or have no sexual partner, but they still do not engage in prostitution.

Application of Feminist views on Sex-Workers and Prostitution.

Feminist theory is a diverse social and political movement, aggregated into liberal, radical, socialist-feminist, anti-capitalist feminist among others holding different ideas that could be critical. For example, from the aggregation, there are feminist who are in support of prostitution depending on various perspectives that different individuals hold on matters prostitution. For an instant, anti-prostitution feminists like Kathleen Rebecca among other assert that prostitution is a form of exploitation caused by male and patriarchal dominance over women(Whisnant, Rebecca al, 2004). Therefore this act should not be accepted in the society.Their view on prostitution is that of a negative effect both on society and those involved in the business. They examine it regarding stereotypical set up that regards women as feeble, marginalized, inferior and sex object creatures who can only be abused by the male counterparts and are under subordination by the patriarchal society. Their arguments are based on various causes as coercion and poverty where they regard prostitution as unconscious and uncalculated precedence where most women become prostitute due to forceful subjection, or they were coerced by a pimp or brothel owners. They attribute this to extreme poverty, lack of opportunity or unfortunate stratum circumstances such as wallowing in drugs, stigma from sexual abuse. The social stratification plays a major role in subjecting women to prostitution. For instance, socio-economic classes such as illiteracy, low-class status, racial and ethnical minority bear the burden of oppression thus tend to impoverish women. They argue that prostitution is not a choice but a forceful subjection otherwise women with maximum choices would also be in the business too (Orabueze,2016).

Abolitionist Perspective

Abolitionists like Kathleen Barry believes that no one can truly consent to their oppression and oppression of others. She, therefore, proposes an idea of total abolition of prostitution by any available legal mechanism to enhance sanity to human social welfare. They base their arguments that prostitution and sex work are vehemently inherent and exploitatively exposing women to gender-based violence. According to dominance feminist Catherin Mackinnon, sexuality is a social construction of male dominance hence do not accept commercial sex work and prostitution as a legitimate form of work but as criminal activity in which females are exposed to by male gender. Neo-abolitionists have advanced in making legal constraints against exploitation and legalization of commercial sex activities thus enhancing rights of those involved (Whisnant , Rebeccaet al, 2004)

Anti-Prostitution Perspective

Anti-prostitution feminist also holds the same opinion and put forward ideas of long-term effect of commercial sexual activities on the victims leading to long-term trauma, depression, stress, anxiety, drug abuse and risk of suicide. Andrea Dwork...

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