Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Prostitution Arguments

 I just finished watching a 7 video series on feminism and prostitution. The speaker and creator of the videos highlights numerous logical fallacies in the arguments revolving around prostitution. I found the series to be insightful and well articulated. To watch the series, visit here: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9F1C8FB094FAED74

He comments a lot about using the comparison of prostitution to another form of employment (using the technique of categories). He choices to use the word "prostituted woman" inside of "prostitute" to highlight the woman is a person who does a job, not a woman who is a job. He also believes the expression "sex worker" normalizes prostitution, which he believes should not be normalized.  His underlying argument is the industry of prostitution needs to be shut down, but he makes it very clear that this point is not attacking the women in the industry. He compares this argument to the argument against war. When someone argues against war, it does not mean that they do not support the soldiers, it means they are against war as a whole. It is the same with prostitution, when we argue against prostitution, we are not criticizing the women, we are attacking the industry and social structures and ideologies that allow for such an industry.

He also comments on the argument strategy of attacking/criticizing the other party. As in, asking them if a party has ever talked to a prostitute, as if they would not be able to know unless they have actually spoken to someone in the industry.  He compares this to a heart surgeon, the doctor can heal and save people without having a heart condition.  The very assumption that we do not get our information from a prostitute unless we talk to one of them is fundamentally flawed; who says the authors of the books we read or professor we talk to are not in the industry? 

One of his best arguments and points was about the legalization of prostitution. He believes in the complete abolition of prostitution and here is part of his argument: When arguing about the legalization of prostitution, many people compare it to what the legalization of drugs would look like. With the legalization of drugs, the illegal drug industry would die off because the legal industry would provide people with abetter product. With the legalization of prostitution, however, the issue is men will want unregulated access (no condoms, etc)  to regulated bodies, thus creating demand for an illegal, hidden industry. Also, if the legal industry did mandatory sexual disease tests, the women who don't meet the requirements would be more likely to go to the illegal industry. He highlights this issue with the example of Victoria, Australia, where prostitution is legal but they still have a booming illegal market.  He ends with noting that unless the legal market for prostitution had no regulations, an illegal market will develop.

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