Friday, July 24, 2009

Should Prostitution Be Legalized?

More than a decade ago, this question was raised by a global organization funded by the same instrumentalities acting as the advertising arm of economic globalization. We opposed it then as now, opting instead for decriminalization. Though they are close in goals and objectives, fine distinctions still exist between legalization and decriminalization.

The most important of these is that legalization would institutionalize and codify one of the pillars of women’s oppression: the ideological perspective that they and their bodies can be bought and sold.

Those in prostitution represent a small segment of the female population, even though women – and poor women of color – comprise roughly 95% of the global sex trade’s commodity. Yet legalization would establish a social and economic principle for ALL women… namely, that they and their bodies can be. should be, a commodity.

Corollary to this social principle underlying legalization is the perspective that even the most intimate of human relations can be reduced to the cash nexus – and hence ALL human relationships are reducible to cash and commodity trading.

It is the ultimate expression of women’s oppression and exploitation under capitalism.

It is also the ultimate affirmation of the patriarchal principle, embedded in all of class society, that women are not human beings.

Make no mistake about it; this struggle is an ideologically defining one for what should comprise women’s liberation. -- #

10 comments:

Jollene said...

Thank you for posting this - especially at this time, when Gabnet is facing a surge of pro-legalization organizing from both usual suspects (liberal feminists), and some surprising new players whose membership base would be devastated by legalization.

Ninotchka Rosca said...

Thanks. I should add that contrary to claims made, legalization is about the rights of brothel owners, traffickers and pimps;
decriminalization is about prostitutes' rights.

Anonymous said...

No!

Anna said...

Decrimininalization should apply to women engaed in prostitution but operators of prostitution dens and those who run agencies that traffick women should be criminally liable.

Decriminalization shows our rejection of the old practice of putting all the blame on women for the existence of prostitution and of its reflection in present-day police operations--prostitutes get arrested while bar and brothel ownwers go scot free

Anonymous said...

This also brings up the issue that many women in prostitution were forced into the role. I've read many stories where women have been promised work oversees only to find themselves made into prostitutes by the employer and have their lives threatened if they do not cooperate. I remember an episode on Oprah where such victims were little girls some not even teenagers yet. Then thousands of Oprah veiwers wrote to their politicians that created a positive change in the system...a law I can't remember concerning trafficking of girls.

Anonymous said...

There ought to be more severe laws and punishments for pimps....wishful thinking?

gtf9472 said...

The lack of legislation severely punishing pimps and people who patronize prostitution reminds me of an earlier enty in this blog and books such as the The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. My brother couldn't understand the significance of why the protagonist of The Handmaid's Tale was coerced into sex by man in power. To help him understand I put it in crude slang. He wanted bragging rights for his penis, I told him. Then he got it. Men use sex to diplay their power and domincance.

gtf9472 said...

OH snipe! Dominance not domincance....argh!

Anonymous said...

I think that could be the root of the problem....there won't be any prostitutes if there were no customers. I was thinking about the scenario presented earlier about people, women in particular being forced into prostitution. It does make sense to decriminalize prostitution in that scenario. I mean does being a victim of sodomy make you a criminal? Reminds me what happened in Dubai with Alexandre Robert who was charged with rape for being the rape victim because homosexuality is a crime in U.A.E.

Anonymous said...

The vacuous answers of tonight's beauty queens in the Miss Universe contest only makes the message of your entry more clear. I was really sadden to hear to open consent they gave to male domination in all of their responses to the judge's questions. Eliminate Miss Universe already! It has no place in modernity.