Empowering or degrading? The feminist view on prostitution

Torn between the empowerment of women in control of their sexuality and earning money for it and those that are seen as nothing more than victims of a male dominated society, the feminist view offers critical thinking on prostitution.

Emily Rose offers summaries and discussions on the varying feminist views on prostitution. The article suggests that Existentialist feminists see that “prostitution can be liberating and empowering to women and prostitutes are entrepreneurs”. However many see the negative side of the industry…

In response to About.com’s “Is Prostitution a Victimless Crime?”, they note that “What’s Recreational Sex for Some Men is Abuse for Many Women”.

Calling upon writer and anti-pornography activist, Andrea Dworkin, they expose the view on prostitution that it is not built on the empowerment of women but is a business of degrading women.

Andrea Dworkin made it her life’s work to focus on the sex trade and reveal it for what it is – not a free enterprise but a business built on the backs, the blood, and the debasement of women.”

She highlights what she sees as the truth about prostitution and “refutes the argument that a high-priced call girl charging $5,000 an evening is any more empowered and independent than a 13-year-old runaway beaten by her pimp.”

[F]rom the perspective of a woman in prostitution or a woman who has been in prostitution–the distinctions other people make between whether the event took place in the Plaza Hotel or somewhere more inelegant are not the distinctions that matter….The circumstances don’t mitigate or modify what prostitution is.”

Dworkin is not alone in her strong view on the reality of the sex industry. From University of Rhode Island, professor in women’s studies, Donna M is a leading researcher on the trafficking of women.

“There is no dignity in prostitution. Many of the acts of prostitution, including those that are photographed in the making of pornography, are intended to degrade, humiliate and express domination over women. They are acts of misogyny, not respect or affection, and have nothing to do with love or intimacy. Women don’t emerge from sexual exploitation into positions of power, respect or admiration. They remain powerless as individuals and an underclass as a group…..

Prostitution and trafficking are extreme forms of gender discrimination and exist as a result of the powerlessness of women as a class.”

These ideas suggest that at any age, prostitution is an industry built on the objectification of women and thrives on their lower position in society.

Are the numerous dangers and the evident degradation of women in the industry outweighed by those women that find empowerment in the industry?

Let us know your thoughts and experiences by commenting below or email us privately at investigatestudentprostituion@gmail.com.

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