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    Why No Society Should Legalize Prostitution

    This is a rather long reply...sorry, the reason I put it in a separate thread is because I'm not discussing Pakistan solely, I think my argument holds for all societies.
    =================================

    NY Ahmadi wrote: “It is an issue more closely related to Healthcare (as Nadia has pointed out) and Public Policy than with Religion.”

    Well I think you’d agree that its more of a combination of issues. Whether the moral behavior of citizens of a particular region is determined by religion or some other combination of factors, it does play into issues such as ‘prostitution’. Morality and ethics are two of the factors which determine our legal structures, and they are in most parts of the world partly defined by religious beliefs.

    NY Ahmadi wrote: “In fact, the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa where AIDS is widespread have little to no prostitution.”

    Are you sure about this? As I understood it AIDS was spread to a large extent through the sex trade in west Africa. I read an article about this in Details magazine a few years ago.

    NY Ahmadi wrote: “Where prostitution is Legal, the STDs are virtually non-existent due to the practice of this profession.”

    So your basically saying you want the ‘Johns’ to have ‘clean meat’. Your saying lets make sure the ‘Johns’ get some ‘prime clean meat’, both clean of STD’s and clean of any abuse from their Pimps. What your doing is helping the major casual factor leading to prostitution – that being the existence of demand. Your in fact increasing the demand. This isn’t a solution, its a triumph for those seeking to abuse and exploit women for profit.

    NY Ahmadi wrote: “Secondly, by legalizing and legitimizing you take the ugly element out of this profession, as ZZ has pointed out. You get the Mafia out of this business.”

    And who takes over - the state? The state starts to pimp 12 year old girls? Or do you put restrictions on the age? Because I thought one of the major reasons pushing legalization was the so called protection of the ‘prostitute’? Well if you push the legal age of prostitutes upwards (perhaps to 18), what do you do with the ones under that age? Why not deal with all prostitutes equally, (if your getting rid of child prostitutes why not older ones too) why are we being age specific? Or do you also support the legalization of child prostitution?

    NY Ahmadi wrote: “Thirdly, you treat prostitutes with respect that they deserve. Prostitutes are human being like anyone else. They should be treated with dignity and respect and should not be persecuted for doing something that might not be their own doing.”

    Prostitutes come from abusive families. They end up in this profession because they were abused as children. I believe 90% of prostitutes in the US have either been raped as children or been involved in incestuous relationships against there will. Andrea Dworkin says that ‘incest is boot-camp for prostitutes.” In legalizing and hence legitimizing prostitution, we shove all these factors which lead to the phenomenon under the carpet. If we want women to be treated with dignity and respect we have to probe a bit deeper into the reasons women become prostitutes in the first place. Your analysis has missed that very point. Its not prostitution which needs to be legalized, its the position of women in our societies which needs to be re-evaluated. Women shouldn’t have to see prostitution as an option. Prostitution is not a profession, which gets any respect, because it doesn’t deserve any respect. To gain respect you have to earn it. A prostitute can’t have any respect, because nobody will offer her any, she can’t even respect herself, because respect is a two-way process – its reciprocal. If nobody respects you, you can’t respect yourself. You can’t be isolated on an island and respect yourself – you need that outside acknowledgement which is ‘earned’.

    NY Ahmadi wrote: “Finally, it might (underlying might) teach us a lesson in tolerance and acceptance of diversity. All human beings deserve to be treated with respect.”

    Being respected is the least of prostitutes concerns. They don’t want to be prostitutes, they’d like to move into a profession which demands respect. You think they like to give 15 blow-jobs in one night and get gang raped by a group of unruly men on their bachelor parties. A person has to become disassociated from the world to be able to handle that kind of psychological and physical torment. Why would we want to legitimize it by legalizing it? To disassociate yourself, you have to take drugs and alcohol (most prostitutes abuse these substances). And you can’t say legalizing it will take away the psychological pain a person feels knowing the hole in their body is the only thing worth something, of value to them. Your protecting the customer – instead he should be brought out into the open, his actions should be known, right now he is comfortably ‘invisible’.

    NY Ahmadi wrote: “If we don’t agree with some of the things they do, it should not stop us from listening to their point of views, or from accepting them as simply being different.”

    I don’t hear prostitutes arguing for legalization. I think they’d really rather be doing something else. They don’t like their profession. Society has left them with no options. Why not open the door for them, rather than legitimize their profession (if you want to call it that) and push them further into a life of misery? Many are single mothers and need help. Perhaps a better welfare system could provide that, some sort of school to help aid them attain skills.

    NY Ahmadi wrote: “Studies have shown that free distribution of condoms have resulted in lower teen pregnancies and lower rates of STD transmission.”

    And more broken hearts. Abstinence is a better alternative.

    NY Ahmadi wrote: “Some here might think that referring to me as a prostitute is an ‘insult’. Trust me, it is not an insult. I see no difference in being an Economist or being a Hooker.”

    This is one of the main arguments of those in favor of legalizing prostitutes. And you’ll notice its the ‘Johns’ who are making the argument, arguing profusely that prostitution is a profession, a job. They want to legitimize ‘sex’ as work. Well little girls don’t grow up saying, “mom I wanna be a doctor, a lawyer, no, no, I want to be a prostitute mom!” That’s not the way the world works. Its not legitimate, and its not respected, and never will be. People don’t want to be prostitutes, because the profession rightfully doesn’t demand even the slightest glimmer of respect. And the ills which go along with it are too many to mention.

    NY Ahmadi wrote: “The only problem I have with these whole societal generalities is that it is relatively easy for a Man to go to a Hooker to take care of his sexual frustrations, Women do not have the same luxury. I think society should accept the idea of Male prostitutes as it has with females.”

    And here we come to the biggest failure in your analysis. You fail to realize that prostitution is the product of the patriarchal values instilled in our respective societies. Prostitution is a product of male supremacy . Women are prostitutes, while men are not, not because its a profession they choose, but because men dominate all other fields of work. Further these women are met with other obstacles, many are women living in dire conditions of poverty and facing conditions of isolation due to the ethnocentrism and racism prevalent in the societies in which they live (i.e. most prostitutes in the US are poor black females). Give them some job skills rather than legalizing their profession and re-evaluate the hierarchical arrangement of gender in the workplace – open up more positions for women. Prostitution unfortunately is the only profession where women make more money than men. Men don’t prostitute themselves because they don’t have to, they find employment.

    Women who are prostitutes, whether legal or illegal, will still be faced with the psychological torment and physical abuse, both from the past and present. Men who pay for these services are misogynists. They get off on abusing others, on insulting them. That type of abuse cannot be legitimized by the state. Especially a state which includes Muslims. Women are too be protected from such abuse, legalizing prostitution, is in fact legalizing abuse. Because women who are subjected to providing 15 blow-jobs (again sorry for being graphic, but this is the reality and the only way I can think of getting the point across) in a night and being called a ‘slut’ and countless other insults, are not providing any viable service, they are being abused and exploited by men. And its that exploitation that has to stop, not be legitimized through legalization.

    The question shouldn’t be – should prostitution be legalized in Pakistan? But rather, should there be greater penalties for ‘Johns’? Should they remain invisible or should their names be broadcast? What can we do to arrange our society in a fashion to eliminate the forces of male supremacy which make prostitution the only hope for a segment of our society which is already been abused, exploited and isolated?

    Achtung


    "The legal right to be free from torture and cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment is recognized by most nations and is internationally guaranteed. In prostitution, women are tortured through repeated rape and in all the more conventionally recognized ways. Women are prostituted precisely in order to be degraded and subjected to cruel and brutal treatment without human limits; it is the opportunity to do this that is exchanged when women are bought and sold for sex. The fact that most legal prohibitions on torture apply only to official torture, specifically torture by state actors, illustrates the degree to which the legal design of civil rights has excluded women's experience of being denied them."
    Catherine MacKinnon


    [This message has been edited by Achtung (edited September 27, 1999).]

    #2
    Dear Achtung,

    It is a good analysis, but again it comes out of your own comfortability (or lack of it) with the idea. Who are we to decide what is ‘moral’ and what is not? I totally disagree with your opening of defining Law as it should a product of Morals and Ethics. Morals cannot be ‘legislated’ and they should not be. What is to stop me from saying that ‘prostitution’ is good as you to say it is not.

    The condition and problems you site that prostitutes encounter are very valid and very true. Perhaps the picture you have painted is only a ‘blown up’ detail of a much greater problem. I totally agree with you that they are victimized, taken advantage of, and their civil rights violated (according to some data, one prostitute is killed every six minutes in the USA). That is exactly the kind of problem I wished to address. I believe that by legalizing it, you will take that ‘victimizing’ element out of this trade. The only reason no prostitute comes out in the open to demand for rights and protection is because she is doing something that is ‘illegal’. The trade is here and it is the oldest trade in the world, and whether or not you and I like it, it is going to stay here.

    I also read a more recent article about sexual habits of African males. They have multiple sex partners, sometimes with the knowledge and consent by their own women. Prostitution does exist in sub-Saharan Africa, but it is the sexual proclivity that has made this problem worse there, and not the prostitution. I guess you can call the women who engage is sex with multiple men, but my definition of prostitute is the one who gets paid for doing it. In some places in Africa, that is not the case.

    The problem of prostitution is pretty bad in Pakistan. It is swept under the rug as many other problems. It should be brought into open and alternatives should to discussed solve it. Legalizing is one alternative. You are proposing stiffer penalties. I don’t think that stiffer penalties are the solution. For example, drug smuggling is punishable by death yet Pakistan is the major exporter of drugs. I am not arguing that drugs should be legalized, because drugs ‘kill’ and prostitutes don’t.

    If it is legalized, it will take out (in my opinion) all the horrible things (that you so eloquently described) that happen to prostitutes. In fact, in England there is a coalition of hookers that is active in getting their profession admitted into the lists of legal professions.

    You have also touched upon the issue of ‘sexism’ (as a diatribe of cultures). I recently finished a book by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, (The Anatomy of Prejudices) where she proposes a typology of three distinct kind of hate: obsessive, hysterical, and narcissistic. It is not a book of academic distinction, but it is a good effort to understand hate (for lack of a better term) than declaring war on it.

    I think, and you might disagree, that we are both looking at the same picture from different angles.

    I must also say that this is the kind of debate that we should engage in, rather than throwing garbage at each other. Garbage is OK once in a while to keep the interest (of some participants) going, but a more civilized, and rational discussion is a much better alternative. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Comment


      #3
      NY Ahdmad wrote: "The problem of prostitution is pretty bad in Pakistan. It is swept under the rug as many other problems. It should be brought into open and alternatives should to discussed solve it. Legalizing is one alternative. You are proposing stiffer penalties."

      I think stiffer penalties is a short term remedy. But more so I'd propose an investigation into the causes and effects of prostitution. I don't think legalizing prostitution or advocating stiffer penalties will root out the underlying causes which push girls into this market.

      By legalizing prostitution, what we are saying in effect is: Girls who are raped and abused at a young age (which is the case for the majority of prostitutes), who attempt to run away from that abuse, who are already isolated from society due to their social status and race/ethnicity/religion, will be provided with no sensible options by our society, rather our society will legalize the very rape and abuse that put these girls on the street in the first place. Our society in effect will legalize the exploitation of these women. We will regulate the exploitation to insure the 'John' gets 'clean meat', insuring that these girls practice safe sex, are not physically abused and don't abuse the drugs which they so often require to dissassociate themselves from a life where the hole in their body is worth more than their intellect. These women do not want to be prostitutes, they don't enjoy their work (read any interview of any prostitute and you'll find this - so why not help them find life long skills and re-arrange our society in a manner which opens doors for them, rather than opening the doors for men who require entry to further abuse their bodies?)

      This solution does not address the primary reason for the existence of women prostitutes - that being male supremacy in all spheres of their lives. This solution rather, in the further interest of the male customers, who remain the ultimate winners in the arrangement, legitimizes their mysogynist abuse of women.

      I don't think society 'needs' prostitutes in the same way, I don't think society needs pedophiles. I don't hate prostitutes, I don't hate their profession. I do hate their customers and their pimps. And by promoting the legalization of prostitution you only make the state the new pimp.

      Achtung

      Comment


        #4
        oops!

        [This message has been edited by Achtung (edited September 28, 1999).]

        Comment


          #5
          Prostitution is illegal in India too. But that does not solve problems.

          In cities like Bombay there are huge number of migrant labor. They have families and they love there families and send a significant portion of their incomes back home. But physical desires could take over. The age of marriage has grown considerably. There is financial status to be aquired before marrying. Sometimes you may have sick wife whom you do not want to divorse or bring one more on her head. I am not supporting going to prostitute in any of these cases. But I would say *it is easy to preach morals*. People live difficult life, literaly dog's life and if you deny them even sex which at least dogs have, they may not really agree on.

          Now u put tough penalties, and get these prostitutes out of what they are doing now, what will you provide them. Ours is not a welfare state and has no money to take care of each citizen. What job these women will do? The people who are demanding job do not get it and how will you give jobs to all these women who mostly have been brought up in this business and are often illiterate and have no particular skill. Will society accept them in various jobs? Will a shopkeeper give a job to former prostitute knowing that she has been so? Can you be sure that they will not be exploited since they have no male member to fall back on. Few weeks ago, there was an article in 'dawn' by an western woman comparing Karachi and Bombay. She narrated how difficult things are for a single woman in Karachi. This is for a well to do person. What will happen to these women.

          And if you decide to live with it and slowly trying to address several groups whjich are part of the problem, legalizing is the way to do it, i feel. Big NO for advertizing or like in west and penalties for it. But maybe looking at the problem from a more realistic and not over moralistic viewpoint will help.

          Comment


            #6
            Really good discussion guys.
            The question of whats moral and whats not is a good one but I don't think you can take this out of the discussion. NYA, you say that its not for us to judge but the very reason you want it legalised is based on morals and ethics (to eliminate the victimisation, cruelty etc) would'nt you say? Its really difficult to just isolate the issue and not reflect what society thinks as a whole, how else do you measure 'respect' then? No one is born into a totally free thinking independent world and left to decide their own values and ethics - we are all influenced by what society thinks. I tend to agree (yes predictably) with Achtung on this one based on the question of morals and ethics and all the other reasons outlined by Achtung and yourself.

            Comment


              #7
              Dear Achtung,

              What makes you so certain that stiffer penalties (in conjunction with other suggestions) will work? Any examples?

              I don’t believe that exploitation of women and young girls is related to the practice of prostitution. Young girls are exploited, raped, sold, bought, outside of prostitution. By legalizing, the State does not become the ‘pimp’, but a regulator so the atrocities you associate with this trade are addressed. Kidnapping and rape are criminal activities at any cost. The violators should be brought to justice whether they are pimps or a feudal lord.

              I totally agree with you that social net should be provided to prostitutes to furnish them with other marketable skills. This net should be provided to women regardless.


              Dear Camille,

              What makes so you say that my morals make me lean towards legalizing prostitution? It is to the contrary. My morals dictate me to look towards everyone with respect. Prostitutes deserve the same respect that you and I do. My disagreement with Achtung (penalties vs. legalizing) is not based upon my morals, but common sense (my common sense). I think decriminalization of this trade addresses this problem (or issue, if you will) better than letting it go on underground. If I am convinced that stiffer penalties will address this problem, I will change my mind. But show me how that will work.

              I have stated earlier that this profession is NOT sanctioned by any religion or belief system (that I know of). I understand that. I also believe that we should look at this problem outside of religion.

              I still believe that this victimization (Achtung’s points about Interviews with Prostitutes) is a direct result of this trade being ‘illegal’ and ‘underground’.

              Once the State legalizes it, it can keep an eye on it.

              Dear ZZ,

              Your views make a lot of sense to me. In big Pakistani cities, problem is pretty much the same, although on a much smaller scale than e.g., in Bombay.

              Comment


                #8
                NY Ahmadi wrote: “What makes you so certain that stiffer penalties (in conjunction with other suggestions) will work? Any examples?”

                Its the other suggestions that would most definitely work. Stiffer penalties have to be supplemented with greater social welfare for young teenage women, networks of support for those abused, work and study positions for women to attend which will provide them with a viable job. This along with stiffer penalties for men (not prostitutes – this is also the Islamic position – men are much easier punishable for lewdness, when compared to women) will help reduce not only the ills associated with prostitution, but prostitution itself. That is exactly what we want to do, not put a bandage on the problem, but eliminate the problem in itself. Sweden has embarked on such a campaign, they already have strong social welfare system, they’re strengthening it even more, and stiffening the penalties for Johns.

                Surely you would agree that society free from prostitution is better than a society with legalized prostitution. Legalizing prostitution is like legalizing poverty. Like making it legal to be a homeless person, it just puts a bandage on the problem, it doesn’t address the actual problem at all.

                NY Ahmadi wrote: “I don’t believe that exploitation of women and young girls is related to the practice of prostitution.”

                Your joking right? Another definition for prostitution is the “exploitation of women and young girls”. Come on...When people argue for legalization, whether it be the legalization of drugs, ciggarettes, alcohol or sex, they are talking out of economic interests. There is alot of money in all of these. Just look at the adult entertainment market. In order to gain that money, weather those selling the merchandise are private or the state, you have to exploit the ‘service provider’, in this case the prostitute. Prostitution is exploitation.

                NY Ahmadi wrote: “By legalizing, the State does not become the ‘pimp’, but a regulator so the atrocities you associate with this trade are addressed.”

                Ok, first the figure I find from certain studies of American women, is 90% of women prostitutes were abused, raped, mostly through incestuous relationships prior to their becoming prostitutes. Does the state also provide some kind of psychological care for these women, while at the same time advocating that they continue to be ‘raped’ and abused. How do you regulate prostitution? Do you place rules on the service? Here are a few possible new rules:

                Government Regulator: “You can only provide 10 blow jobs maximum, honey than you go home.”
                Government Regulator: “No Mr. John, you can’t call her a skanky slut or a hoe, or ask her if you could mutilate her body with your cigarette butts, that’s no allowed under bylaw 56.5 of the NY Ahmadi legalization act. Oh yeah and remember, missionary position only!”
                Government Regulator: “No honey you can’t take those drugs, I know its hard to escape from the fact that you have to have sex with 15 guys at the same time, but you know the rules, no drugs allowed, now here is your birth control pills, remember clean meat is quality meat.”
                Prostitute: “Aww, but these guys keep reminding me of my father, when he raped me, can’t I just have one hit, so I can partially escape the pain?”
                John: “Well with the new NY Ahmadi legalization act, at least my wife doesn’t have to know that I’m a misogynist pig who likes to abuse young poor black girls, she’d freak if she knew the freaky stuff I like to do with these ho bag sluts.”

                NY Ahmadi wrote: “Kidnapping and rape are criminal activities at any cost. The violators should be brought to justice whether they are pimps or a feudal lord.”

                Prostitution is just paid rape. I’m astonished by the fact that you believe women want to do this with there lives. Like they grow up dreaming of being a hooker and getting gang raped by 20 men.

                NY Ahmadi wrote: “My disagreement with Achtung (penalties vs. legalizing) is not based upon my morals, but common sense (my common sense).”

                Where does your common sense come from? Were you born with it? What shapes it? I agree completely with Camille, you can’t separate your moral views, your ethics from your views on issues as contentious as legalizing prostitution. They are fraught with questions of ethics and morality. Visit any introductory philosophy class in ethics and ask the question you’ve asked here and see how many different ethical and moral stances you get on the issue.

                NY Ahmadi wrote: “I still believe that this victimization (Achtung’s points about Interviews with Prostitutes) is a direct result of this trade being ‘illegal’ and ‘underground’.”

                Weather it be legal or illegal, victimization will still exist. Because prostitution is victimization. Do you actually think the psychological trauma these women go through will be eliminated if we legalize and legitimate it?

                I don’t know what else I can say personally, I feel like I’m repeating myself. Go visit http://www.prostitutionresearch.com for more information on the effects of prostitution on women.

                Achtung

                Comment


                  #9
                  Dear Achtung,

                  You can disagree or agree with Camille or yourself, it is not important. In terms of your suggestion for me to take Philosophy classes, I will think about it. Who exactly are you referring to as ‘Johns’ in your scenarios.

                  If your ‘John” is the pimp. He should be scared about this profession becoming legalized, because he will no longer be able to abuse those very prostitute. Now they will have protection by the State.

                  If your ‘John’ is the customer, he will equally be worried about this profession becoming legalized. Because of the same reasons as with the other John.

                  In terms of abuse and rape. Rape goes on outside of prostitution also. Many times unreported because of certain things. Associating Prostitution with Rape is minimizing the horrific element attached to Rape. (Rape is not about SEX, it is about violation). The countries where Prostitution is Legal (e.g., Holland, Italy – in fact there is a Hooker in the Italian Parliament), prostitutes do not suffer same humiliation (twice) but are treated with respect and dignity that they deserve.

                  You probably know what Prohibition (20’s) did for the US. Banning of liquor opened the doors wide open for the Organized Crime. Calling those who support legalizing alcohol as people with no morals will get you a lot of places in the world, but not in the ‘free’ world. So the association of Morals with Public Policy is a crappy argument. Public policy is never formulated on moral and ethics, but pragmatism (a lesson for you in Public Policy 101). You can not say that issues such as Abortion, or legalizing marijuana reflect the values of those who formulate those policies. One can be a Stanch Catholic (or Muslim for that matter) and still be able to appreciate the legality of Abortion, simply because it is a ‘matter of choice’.

                  Let me pose a hypothetical to you:

                  “If a hooker wants to sell her body for sex willingly, will you support her?” Willingly is the underlying term. Don’t give me an answer that no one will do it willingly, just assume for a moment that someone is willing to.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    NY Ahmadi wrote: “Who exactly are you referring to as ‘Johns’ in your scenarios.”

                    John refers to the customer. It always has, see that is how they keep themselves invisible to the public, protected from the scrutiny of their wives and community.

                    NY Ahmadi wrote: “He should be scared about this profession becoming legalized, because he will no longer be able to abuse those very prostitute.”

                    You are working under the erroneous assumption that prostitutes enjoy their work. They don’t. Weather the regulator be the pimp or the state, the prostitute still suffers from mental anguish. Regardless if you provide her with the utmost respect, society at large will not grant her the same considerations. Her life will be virtually the same as before, now you are only protecting her from the physical abuse of the ‘pimp’. Your still offering her no alternatives to the life she ‘hasn’t’ chosen to live – for if she had a choice, she would undoubtedly choose something else.

                    NY Ahmadi wrote: “In terms of abuse and rape. Rape goes on outside of prostitution also.”

                    Of course it does, did I say it doesn’t? I’m not in favor of rape, or paying someone to rape them (also known as prostitution).

                    NY Ahmadi wrote: “Associating Prostitution with Rape is minimizing the horrific element attached to Rape. (Rape is not about SEX, it is about violation).”

                    And legalizing prostitution only minimizes and legitimates the horrific elements of exploitation and abuse associated with prostitution. (Prostitution is not about SEX, it is about exploitation and male supremacy).

                    NY Ahmadi wrote: “The countries where Prostitution is Legal (e.g., Holland, Italy – in fact there is a Hooker in the Italian Parliament), prostitutes do not suffer same humiliation (twice) but are treated with respect and dignity that they deserve.”

                    Who told you this? This makes me laugh. I can just see the Dutchman and the Italian, saying, “oh my did you hear about the profession Isabella chose, she’s going to be a prostitute, I couldn’t be more proud, all respect in the world to her, she deserves it!” I’m not saying we should disrespect anyone, I’m saying we have to re-evaluate the position we place females within our societies. Shouldn’t they have alternatives to this form of work?

                    NY Ahmadi wrote: “Calling those who support legalizing alcohol as people with no morals will get you a lot of places in the world, but not in the ‘free’ world.”

                    Why its a free world, I can call them whatever I want to. But hey, I didn’t call them anything. I simply pointed out that legalizing drugs, alcohol or sex is fully supported by those who gain economically from the profits reaped at the expense of the naive who either pay for the services or are the product being sold.

                    NY Ahmadi wrote: “Public policy is never formulated on moral and ethics, but pragmatism (a lesson for you in Public Policy 101).”

                    And where does this pragmatism come from? The air? Who defines what is acceptable and what is not? Where do those definitions come from?

                    NY Ahmadi wrote: “You can not say that issues such as Abortion, or legalizing marijuana reflect the values of those who formulate those policies.”

                    They reflect the values of those who formulate the policies, in addition to the values of the taxpayer, the lobby and the corporate world. Those who have enough power to influence changes in policy. I worked for a year as a policy analyst with the Canadian government, I have some knowledge of how policy is formulated.

                    NY Ahmadi wrote: “One can be a Stanch Catholic (or Muslim for that matter) and still be able to appreciate the legality of Abortion, simply because it is a ‘matter of choice’.”

                    According to you it is a “matter of choice”. But according to the Pope (a staunch Catholic) and the Ayatullah Khomeini (a Muslim) it is not a “matter of choice”. Anyway this is another topic.

                    NY Ahmadi wrote: “If a hooker wants to sell her body for sex willingly, will you support her?” Willingly is the underlying term. Don’t give me an answer that no one will do it willingly, just assume for a moment that someone is willing to.”

                    No I wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t support anyone who was willing to pay for her services or act as her broker in the marketplace. I wouldn’t because by supporting her, I would be basically saying that the society in which I live in, cannot provide any alternative source of income for this person. The act of selling ones body for sex, weather willingly or unwillingly, goes against my moral and ethical values. I wouldn’t support such a person. The question you are asking, is like asking, “would you support a person who will kill themselves, or let someone else kill them willingly?” The answer is, no I wouldn’t, even if they were dead set in their ways and felt that it was the best alternative for them, I’d rather fight the system and try to provide some other viable alternative.

                    Let me add that there are few women in this world who are willing to sell their bodies for sex. Those who do, do not enjoy their lives. The best example are the actors in the ‘Adult’ entertainment business. When interviewed and questioned about their work, these individuals are quick to point out that they do not enjoy their work and that they’d rather be doing something else. For prostitutes this is even more true, for their job is less glamorous (if I can call a porno star’s job glamorous). There job isn’t even worthy of being considered a job – because its better defined as ‘exploitation’. You just want to legalize that exploitation.

                    Achtung

                    “They dug their long nails into my flesh and I would close my lips tightly trying to stifle any expressions of pain, to hold back a scream, but in spite of my efforts they would part and let out a low, muffled moan. Often the man would hear it and mutter stupidly in my ear, “Do you feel good?” In answer I would purse my lips and prepare to spit in his face, but he would start biting them with his teeth. I could feel his thick saliva between my lips and with a push of the tongue sent it back into his mouth. Among all these men there was only one man who was not stupid and did not ask me if I was feeling good. Instead he queried, “Do you feel pain?” “Yes” I said.

                    “I was no more than a successful prostitute, and no matter how successful a prostitute is, she cannot get to know all men. But with each of the men I ever knew, I was always overcome by a strong desire to lift my arm high up over my head and bring my hand smashing down on his face.”

                    Firdous, Egyptian prostitute character sketch, from Nawal El Saadawi’s “Woman at Point Zero”


                    [This message has been edited by Achtung (edited September 29, 1999).]

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Really well put, Achtung !!

                      NYAhmedi....don't you think your views are a little bit too radical for the subcontinent ?
                      Making prostitution legal would be taking it a bit too far.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Dear Bombaykid,

                        You have been away too long. It is not a radical idea. It is the oldest profession in the world. It was legal in Pakistan until Bhutto made it unlawful under pressure from the Mullahs.


                        Dear Achtung,

                        Since we are dealing here with a ‘figurehead’ (a slang in my profession to refer to Policy guys), let me buck the level up a notch.

                        You said Prostitution is not about sex. What do you think when a ‘john’ goes and pays 20 dollars to a hooker, what do you expect he expects to get in return? Do you think he will get a lecture in ethics? No. In reality, most customers that go to prostitutes go for sex. There is nothing wrong for a person to go have sex legitimately and consentually if there are no other alternatives, i.e., divorcees, widowed, men with no girl friends, etc. I would rather a person pays for sex than raps someone. I would support such a person, would you? (Since you associate rape with prostitution, I know that you wouldn’t support this). Many people in this world, however do not think that prostitution and rape are two of the same things.

                        In terms of Pope and Khomeni, it is not their body so they can think what they like.

                        You are probably not aware of red light districts (all legal) in many Western European countries, as well as in many countries of the former Soviet Union. The debate in many Eastern European countries in not any more about legalized prostitution, but to lower the age of consent for homosexuals. If you like, I can refer some material. In terms of Italian parliamentarian who is a hooker, it is true, ask any Italian and he will tell you. She was elected when I was in college; I saw her campaign on TV with her boobs exposed. Leave it to Italians! Apparently she is very successful as a politician. I would not mind some hookers in Pakistan Parliament sitting next to those who think that world revolves around them.

                        I would be more than delighted to discuss (in a separate discussion) about how when the Policies are formulated based upon ethics and moral, what mess is produced as a result. As you noted, that policy is influenced by many factors: taxpayers, lobbyists, interest groups, etc. That’s exactly the way it should be, and not the by ethical standards of the formulators. That was my point, and you misunderstood me but somehow agreed with me (unintentionally).

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                          #13

                          NY Ahmadi wrote: “You said Prostitution is not about sex. What do you think when a ‘john’ goes and pays 20 dollars to a hooker....”

                          I believe that two consenting adults should be free to make the decision to have intimate relations, free from interference from the state. However, I don’t believe that consent should be based on ‘monetary’ compensation. I feel this is in fact sexual ‘exploitation’. Further, I feel that the consenting parties must be ‘rational’ adults, capable of making decisions, fully aware of the consequences and with full information on the availability of alternative methods of gaining an income. Rational adults would exclude the mentally handicapped, those who are mentally ill, drug addicted, children and youth, abused, and the impoverished. Prostitutes often come from one of these categories, they sell their bodies at night to survive, while they pan handle or steal during the day. Sometimes they are paid with money, other times with drugs. They aren’t capable of making ‘rational’ decisions as consenting adults, there decision rather are made in lieu of there desperation, lack of alternatives and need to survive.

                          NY Ahmadi wrote: “There is nothing wrong for a person to go have sex legitimately and consentually if there are no other alternatives, i.e., divorcees, widowed, men with no girl friends, etc

                          No other alternatives? What does that mean? Why don’t you try thinking about providing alternative employment for prostitutes instead of worrying about the alternative ways for men to gain grotesque sexual pleasure?

                          NY Ahmadi wrote: “I would rather a person pays for sex than rapes someone...”

                          Women don’t go to prostitutes – you think this is because there are no male prostitutes. Well if this was the case, according to your logic, women would be raping men. Women actually don’t procure the services of prostitutes, because prostitution is about male supremacy. It’s about exploiting women. Women aren’t in a position to exploit men in our societies. What we have to do is try to make it so neither can exploit the other.

                          NY Ahmadi wrote: “In terms of Pope and Khomeni, it is not their body so they can think what they like. “

                          If it’s about freedom of choice, freedom to choose what you wish to do with your body, you should also support those who wish to commit suicide. They too should be granted the freedom to make such a decision. No? Suicide should be legalized. If your willing to pay someone else to kill you, that should be legalized also.

                          NY Ahmadi wrote: “In terms of Italian parliamentarian who is a hooker, it is true...Apparently she is very successful as a politician. I would not mind some hookers in Pakistan Parliament...”

                          Why would you want to see prostitutes in the parliament? Your argument seems to be backwards. It’s me who is arguing for alternative careers for prostitutes. You’re the one shoving the sex trade down their throats. I’d love to see women get off the streets and into all types of professions. I’d like to see that kind of empowerment. That is precisely why I oppose the legalization of prostitution. You seem to have missed that crucial point. By legalizing prostitution you make it a ‘legitimate’ career (which it is not), it makes it more difficult to support social service agencies attempting to provide these girls with an alternative. Instead you put more money into running brothels and insuring customers get good clean meat.

                          NY Ahmadi wrote: “I would be more than delighted to discuss (in a separate discussion) about how when the Policies are formulated based upon ethics and moral, what mess is produced as a result.”

                          We are talking about laws here. The ‘legalization of prostitution’. Yes the Ten Commandments did make a mess. I especially don’t like the ‘thou shall not kill’ part. I don’t know how that moral delinquency made it into our legal system.

                          NY Ahmadi wrote: “As you noted, that policy is influenced by many factors: taxpayers, lobbyists, interest groups, etc. That’s exactly the way it should be, and not the by ethical standards of the formulators. That was my point, and you misunderstood me but somehow agreed with me (unintentionally).”

                          No I didn’t agree with you. You have to learn to read (carefully). Obviously the ethics of the policy maker are evident in the policies he or she formulates. Not only his/her ethics but also the ethical considerations of the taxpayers, the lobbyists and interest groups. You think if the KKK were running the US, there policies wouldn’t reflect there ethical and moral stance? You think the Democrats and Republican’s differences in policies don’t reflect the differences in both the ethical and moral viewpoints of the party and party members as well as constituents? I wonder why the Republicans just tried to impeach Clinton, using ‘moral values’ as a platform to dismiss the President of the US.

                          Just to make my position a bit clearer to you (since you seem to keep on missing this crucial point) – I am opposed to legalizing prostitution because supporting such an initiative would legitimize a trade which reflects the patriarchal values embedded in the psyche of our society. Prostitution is a reflection of male supremacy and moral depravity. It is not as you are arguing a sign of our acceptance of female sexual freedom and liberation – its quite the opposite, its a distortion of freedom, its an enslavement in fact, a denial of an alternative path to becoming fully human once again. It is dehumanization of a gender.

                          If we keep moving the line of ‘acceptable’ behavior over, in order to include actions, which at one time were thought to be morally unacceptable, we will be left with no values to uphold. A society with no values dissolves into nihilism. I believe this is the direction in which we are slowly moving (this of course is yet another topic).

                          Achtung




                          [This message has been edited by Achtung (edited October 01, 1999).]

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I am with Ahmadi on this. Moral grounds are too flimsy. Is it immoral to have sex for money? Why, who does it hurt if both adults consent? No, its not about sexual liberation or women's lib thing, after all its not a one-sided 'affair'... What *any* man/or woman want to do with their body is their business, no one else's.

                            Legalizing, may significantly reduce victimization of unwilling, or minor girls into this practice. Only those women would be in the profession who want to, others can ask for justice openly... like in any other job. The laws can be enforced to monitor age-group, health, security, exploitation, etc.

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                              #15

                              I don’t think the laws can be “enforced to monitor...exploitation” (in all of its facets), although it may be able to monitor and regulate “age-group, health and security.” I think prostitution, weather it be regulated or not, “is” exploitation. In the field of science, scientists are made to insure their studies meet with ethical standards. These standards must be upheld whether one uses human subjects or animal. The consenting subject may gain some type of compensation (food for animals, money for humans). But increasingly there is pressure to insure that the subject is not harmed. I think you can relate this same argument to the treatment of prostitutes. The difference is the ‘end’, in science the end may be a cure for a disease, while the means to that end is the test to be conducted on the subject (the end in some circumstances justifies the means). In prostitution the end is sexual gratification, and the means to that end is sex and humiliation for monetary compensation (I personally don’t feel that the end justifies the means). I don’t think enough research has been conducted to assess the impacts of this transaction on the prostitute, whether the impact is physical or mental. I would guess that there would be a tremendous mental anguish due to both the degrading duties involved in the sex trade and the stigma associated with the trade. So if we are able to protect animals from ill treatment through ethical considerations, why not give prostitutes that same consideration?

                              If the situation were easily reduced to one of two consenting adults, sans ethical considerations, we should also support the targeting of poor unemployed single black mothers for the purpose of controversial scientific study, with their consent, in exchange for much needed monetary compensation. Maybe with their consent we can inject them with viruses and try to see if we can find a cure. If its the money they want, than I’m sure we can find some desperate enough, perhaps strung up enough to accept our offer. We can also practice mutilation and torture techniques on consenting young black men who could use the cash. We could even recruit subjects who are consenting in the developing world, there we would find all sorts of desperate people who would be willing and consent to be ‘harmed’ for monetary compensation. Or would such practice be considered unethical? If both parties are consenting to the treatment, why interject. Or is one consenting only because no viable alternative (i.e. form of income) has been offered? Why not offer that alternative, rather than legitimize their exploitation?

                              Achtung

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