Perspectives on Prostitution
Beginning around 1910, many religious and civic organizations in the United States started to develop a nationwide campaign against the immorality of prostitution. Although the government and other organizations may view prostitution as an immoral act, depending on a person s social perspective, he or she may view prostitution as being acceptable in today s society. On the other hand, a person may see prostitution as an immoral display. This once again depends on the person s sociological point of view.
When prostitution is viewed with the perspective of differential association, what type of people he or she is surrounded by, and also what type of environment that surrounds the person will determine the person s analysis of prostitution. If a person has grown up surrounded by prostitutes, pimps, or anything in general that deals with prostitution, the person would view prostitution as being an acceptable way of life and survival. Likewise, a person that has not been surrounded by prostitution or has never encountered it will tend to see it as deviant and unjust.
From a control theorists view, a person s view on prostitution will be determined by how other people view the subject. If a person continually comments on how prostitution is wrong and deviant, the listener will feel threatened by the person s remarks and therefore be against the act in fear of being immoral and going against the current standard. For example, a homosexual that has the fear of coming out of the closet can be considered as an instance of control theory. If the person s parents or close friends express that they are homophobic or show great hatred towards homosexuals, the person will feel threatened. The person feels this threat of telling others about his or her sexual preference because of the fear that once they express their homosexuality, they will no longer be accepted or will be outcast by their parents or current social group.
Labeling theory can be explained by stating that a person will accept what other people believe he or she is by the label they are given. If a person is labeled as a fag or a slut , the person will not try to disagree with the label placed upon them. The person will simply accept who he or she is determined by society and continue on with no rebuttal. As stated by Henslin, the label that a person is given becomes part of his or her self-concept, which then leads them towards deviance or can also steer the person away from deviance (1999). Therefore, if a person is labeled as a prostitute, from a labeling theory point of view, he or she will consider his or herself as prostitute because of the label society has given the person.
A strain theorist will state that prostitution is caused by stress. Stress in this sense can be categorized as poverty. The person feels this stress because he or she is poor; therefore he or she is not satisfied with his or her own existence and is distraught because of the current state they are in. The person feels the need to improve upon his or her well-being. Because the person is poverty- stricken and most likely uneducated, they feel they have no way to sufficiently provide for themselves or their families other than succumbing to prostitution. The stress caused by the poverty they posses gives the person the power to excuse the feeling of deviance and immorality from his or her acts because of the state of poverty that he or she is in.
Lastly, a control theorist will state that prostitution is evident in today s society because of the lack of opportunities that poverty stricken people have. If more jobs and more opportunities were available for the poor and lower class, prostitution would not be evident in the world today. Because of the lack and insufficiency of employment, some people give in to prostitution to hopefully create a better life for themselves.
Prostitution can be viewed from a numerous amount of sociological perspectives. From the views shown above, it is difficult to determine whether or not prostitution is considered as deviant or ethical. A person s background, experiences, and current social status will all play a major role in determining his or her view on the questionable practice of prostitution.