Posted by: bklunk | February 5, 2007

Let’s Talk About . . .

This post from Ramblings right or wrong: International Politics gets to what some might see as the core of human rights, equality regardless of gender. Are societies that strongly promote a value of chastity by sexual segregation violating human rights with often damaging results? Or are they simply ordering their societies according to their own cultural lights, as they should be allowed to do?

Sexy politics… (the profession of prostitution)

Syria is one of the many Arab countries which social values and conduct have been ruled by sexual restrictions and seclusion. This, along with poor education, and a large percentage of people within poverty, are the main reasons why prostitution had played such an important role in their cultures. Although many believe this career to be immoral and only leads to immoral actions as well as breaks within social and family structures, prostitution has revisited countries which have banned it. As people are becoming more politically correct within growing societies, one must question how this profession has become, and still remains,” the oldest surviving profession in the world” (Moubayed). The answer is our dependency on the most taboo subject within the Arab nations; merely, SEX. The animalistic obsession of sex is formed in men especially, when they are deprived from it. In fact, divorce rates are seen by experts as incredibly high, mostly because of different sexual appetites between the couples. The problem is that within Syria women are seen as only sexual objects, as this is what the men are deprived from the most. When men lack a sexual outlet for their needs, many problems arise. The first being the lack of respect for women. The second is that the lack of this sexual outlet, “actually fuels more dangerous sexual deviations… They can neither work or think properly, affecting overall production in society” (Moubayed). . . . Firstly, could there be another option, other than prostitution, to help the Arabic views of women and bruised mental state of men, lacking sexual relief? A Mid-East -Based journalist poses this question with an obvious answer that is easy to miss. When looking at America today, we see a large percentage of the population of men who do not need prostitution as an outlet. This is probably because of the subjects of sex much less taboo, and chastity less stressed. Males and females are able to exist equally, and frankly. An option other than prostitution can be stressed education on sexuality and its norms as well as less of a barrier between the sexes. An evolution of knowledge is needed in order to gain respect and lessen the possibility of a psychological sexual disorder.

After reading the blog, I agree with Moubayed, that prostitution should be legal in these Arabic countries; most importantly,
Syria. But the question posted asks not if prostitution should be legal in Syria, but if it should be legal anywhere. At first, when examining my own beliefs on prostitution, I realized that I respect women’s rights to her own body, and what she chooses to do with it. Prostitution is just another profession. Who am I to look down upon a woman who feels that this is her career path? Although we see most of America content with prostitution being illegal, the profession still exists.  And in America we see a rise in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. I believe that if prostitution were regulated we could also somewhat minimize the spread from prostitution, as well as create a more “safe and healthy environment” (‘Ahab the ancient Syrian’) for the women who chose this career path. Therefore, my vote is to not ban.

The issue raised here, it seems to me, isn’t so much whether prostitution should be legalized or decriminalized, but more generally that it is a great problem for a society if women are viewed ONLY as bodies available to satisfy male sexual urges and bear children.  I imagine that the more women are viewed as persons whose potential is not limited to their role in sex and reproduction that the question of prostitution will be framed less as a question of controlling sexual behavior and more as a question of not treating such a core element of one’s person and personality as a commodity.

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  1. I agree with the idea that the problem is not whether or not prostitution should be legal or illegal, but much rather with the concept of how women are viewed. I think it is sad that a woman’s self-image could only be seen as “worthy” to themselvess by the act of prostitution. Women and men live together in this world, and while it is true that they are biologically different and different in other ways as well, I would hope that equality could be given to each gender. Ultimately with equality for both genders, prostitution would not have to be a considered job, or occupation, or means of dealing with oppressed male sexual desire.

  2. Although I think we all agree that this issue is largely based on the structural gender inequalities present in Syria rather than simply a squabble over the legalities of prostitution–it is a difficult problem to resolve for a number of reasons. There is a big difference between “gender roles” and “sex roles” that is being blurred in this issue. Gender roles are a direct result of socialization, these are learned habits that link daily activities, responsibilities and behaviors to a specific gender that can differ depending on a host of variables such as culture, age, religion, political environment and so on… Sex roles on the other hand are merely biological, such as pregnancy, because the ability to bear children is unique to females. The problem lies in the assimilation of the sexual act as a gender role for which women are responsible–prostitution. This is where the degradation occurs. A kind of “gender equality” –at least with regards to the issue of prostitution—could be maintained if “sex roles” were kept separate from “gender roles”.

  3. I understand that women have rights over their bodies, but this does not constitue the solicitation of sex for money legally. If a women really wants to recieve money for sex she well, but that does not mean that it has to been done so legally. Prostitution is not going to improve any society and even more, will not improve the stature or perception of women becuase they will be objectified even more. Though these men may be more sexually satisfied, they are not accomplishing the ulitmate goal of increased respect for women. In the United States I feel that the prostitution laws are perfectly fine the way they are and there is no reason to change them. Like the article said, men and women in the U.S. live equally and harmoniously for the most part together, I do not feel that by easing up on the laws regarding sex will improve them anymore.

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