Naturally, the whole concept of feminism is for women to be able to make choices, either career choice or choices about their lifestyle, bodies, sex life etc. But there are certain topics where a lot of feminists themselves do not agree, and prostitution happens to be one of these huge disagreements. Even though prostitution could be a woman’s choice when she is not coerced into doing it, there are a few arguments that go against it, showing that prostitution itself cannot only be detrimental to the woman involved, but to other women and the society as a whole.
According to some advocates of feminism, it is believed that women have right over their bodies and their sex lives, they should therefore be left with the option of choosing to trade their bodies for a living, or not. Also, some people see it as a great step towards sexual liberation for women. They believe prostitution will serve as a means for females to be able to express themselves sexually, which is one of the agendas of gender equality; Sexual liberation – women being able to be sexual whenever they want, being able to have sex whether married or not, without being judged differently from men etc.
As liberating as the option of legalizing prostitution may seem, it still has negative impact on the society as a whole, which should be compared to the so-called benefit of prostitution – sexual liberation.
According to a study of 475 people polled, a large percentage of prostitutes said they were in difficult situations in their lives when they decided to go into prostitution, and most of them wish to stop the occupation . This indicates that a lot of women who are into harlotry only do it, because they have no better job opportunities, or have low level of education and low socioeconomic classes, which means if all these women had better opportunities, they probably wouldn’t have considered this occupation. Gender equality on the other hand paves way for women employability, among many others, therefore, with the success of feminism, women wouldn’t have to bother with prostitution, because they will now have better job opportunities and no longer need to trade their bodies for money.
Coupled with the fact that only females from a lower class are involved in prostitution, it has been recorded that harlotry has long time side effects on the women involved, like depression, anxiety, drug abuse, suicide etc. This shows that prostitution is detrimental for the ladies involved themselves and should remain a crime, just like any other self damaging act. If feminism truly supports women empowerment, then it makes absolutely no sense to advocate for self devastating act like sex trade, as it affects the females involved both physically and mentally.
Another important reason why prostitution should not be given a chance, is that it largely supports patriarchy than it enhances sexual liberation for women, because once the society accepts women having sex for money, it means a monetary value can be placed on sex, therefore sex has a ‘value’, a value a woman gives out for money. This brings us to the very basis of patriarchy that believes sex is a value that shouldn’t be given out, except here, the woman is exchanging it for money, thereby reducing her own value by having sex for money, because she is giving that ‘value’ out to the man. Besides that, sex trading supports the patriarchy notion that believes sex is not for the enjoyment of women, but for the satisfaction of men, because in prostitution, men are the ones who get satisfied, not the women, because these females only ‘give’ sex out, which is not in line with sexual liberation.
In addition, advocating and normalizing prostitution may also end up paving way for inequality, as other women may begin to trade their bodies for things other than money, like positions in workplaces, promotions at their jobs or power in general. The possibility of this is because prostitution puts value on sex for women, and not for men, this value since it can now be exchanged for money, can also be exchanged for things other than money, which is not in line with the core values of gender equality, just as the name goes.
With a system that fights against sexual objectification of women and fights for sexual liberation of females, placing monetary value on sex, and making it an occupation does not only give males a pass to objectify women, but also disrespect women, as men can now see women as sex objects. Likewise, normalizing whoredom increases rape and sexual assaults towards prostitutes themselves and other women in the general in the society, as fellas now see females as sex objects who are supposed to fulfill their sexual desires. Besides that, prostitution also snatches sexual freedom from ladies, because once they begin to get paid for sex, they no longer enjoy sex, as what is most important is the satisfaction of the male who paid for the sex, and not the lady ‘giving’ it out. She may even be coerced into doing things she does not want to do just because she’s being paid for a ‘service’.
In summary, the demerits of prostitution are far more worse than the benefits of legalizing prostitution. It should therefore remain illegal and a crime, if feminism is to move forward and achieve to aims. Although women do have choices when it comes to their bodies, if such choices poses threats to them or to the society, then we have to do away with such choices as they are detrimental to females and the society as a whole.