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Feminist Perspectives on Prostitution as an Illegal Contract - Essay Example

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The researcher of this discussion will attempt to examine the rationale for rendering contracts involving prostitution illegal by reference to radical feminism and the rationale for legalizing and enforcing prostitution contracts via liberal feminism. …
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Feminist Perspectives on Prostitution as an Illegal Contract
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Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the statement that contracts for an illegal purpose will not be enforced by the courts. In the UK, prostitution per se, is not illegal. However, many activities associated with prostitution such as kerb crawling, solicitation, living of earnings from prostitution, operating a brothel and advertising prostitution services are all illegal. Nevertheless, at common law, contracts purporting to support or encourage a sexually immoral act will be regarded as illegal and thus deemed illegal contracts. Prostitution is regarded as the promotion of sexual immorality and as such, any contract involving prostitution is regarded as an illegal contract. The liberal feminist or contractarian perception of prostitution argues that absent the use of force, prostitution is a legitimate economic choice for women and thus should be treated as any other contract of service or employment. Radical feminist theorists however, argue that prostitution involves selling one’s body and is not simply the “use of the human body” but also the “sexual use of a woman’s body”. Radical feminist theory is consistent with the perceptions that prostitution is immoral and thus contracts involving prostitution would be illegal. Liberal feminist theory dismisses the immoral characterization of unforced prostitution and argues that prostitutes should be accorded the protection of the law via the law of contract and in particular service or employment contracts....
minism, an argument can be made in support of illegalizing contracts involving prostitutes in cases where the prostitute is forced into prostitution or is a minor. However, women who voluntarily turn to prostitution, may not see themselves as forced into the trade and will not likely see themselves as victims. From the perspective of radical feminists, prostitution represents the “subordination”, “degradation” and “victimisation” of women by men.10 Radical feminists argue that prostitution by definition is an act of violence. In this regard, there is no such thing as “voluntary prostitution”, because it invariably involves some form of force, “even if the worker is unaware of it”.11 Radical feminist Susan G. Cole characterizes prostitution as institutionalised male dominance and likens it to institutionalised slavery and dominance by the White race. In institutionalised slavery Blacks were hurt and via institutionalised prostitutions women are hurt.12 Radical feminist Andrea Dworkin argues that prostitution cannot be understood by reference to the exercise of individual choice. According to Dworkin, prostitution together with rape “negates self-determination and choice for women”.13 In general, radical feminists argue that prostitution is an inherently harmful institution for women on three specific grounds. Firstly, prostitution involves purchasing a service that involves the degradation of the women offering the service. Secondly, prostitution itself relies on the perpetuation of inequality in terms of social and economic statuses and power between the prostitute and her client. Finally, prostitution “contributes to the perpetuation of the inequalities” underlying the “practice”.14 With respect to the first ground that prostitution ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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