UPDATE: I was most probably wrong about this. The problem with prostitution is probably it’s negative effects on the institution of marriage and that is not taken into consideration here. I am starting to consider the possibility that marriage is a foundational aspect of modern society and it is more fragile than most people realize. I am leaving this post up here for posterity.
Recently I have been reading about prostitution and the law because somewhere I read that it was not illegal. In-depth reading forced me to conclude that prostitution should be legal. When someone argues prostitution should be legal some feminists, religious people, social reformers etc argue that it should not be legal. Here I would like to point out why they are wrong.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST PROSTITUTION
- Prostitution causes emotional stress for women involved.
Prostitution is legal and regulated in New Zealand, Germany, Nevada (USA) etc. Why was it allowed there if it was so traumatizing for sex workers?
Whenever an individual takes a job they have to weigh in the costs and benefits of doing the job. I for one would give anything to wake up every morning, sit before my computer watching movies and videos, eat, drink, sleep, surf the Internet and not give a damn about working. But we work because we have to. It is not pleasant but we do what we think weighs more on the cost benefit analysis.
When we do a job, we are essentially taking payment for every discomfort we encounter for doing that job. For example everyone would like to be a Doctor or Engineer. Few would like to be a sweeper, a bus conductor or a shoe polisher because of the low social status afforded to people doing these jobs. But people still do it because they think the money they make from sacrificing the dignity of a white collar job satisfies them more. No job is separate from this analysis. This is why soldiers are paid more for their work, because it is dangerous. Whenever you are paying someone for their work, you are paying them for their discomfort in their work, the loss of dignity and potential mating opportunities they face by doing the job, the risks they face doing the job, all kinds of physical, mental and emotional pains that they endure for doing the job for you etc. The compensation for all these troubles is contained in the remuneration that is paid to them which is determined by market forces.
- Prostitution causes men to treat women like objects for their pleasure
Sorry. I can’t understand that either. Suppose you are waiting by the bus stop and you want to smoke. You light a cigarette and the police come and pick you up. You pay a fine of 500 bucks. What have you learned? It is not alright to smoke cigarettes in public. If you smoke in public you have to pay for it. Similarly when you visit a prostitute, you use her sexually with no respect to her feelings for your own sexual gratification and turn over your hard earned cash, what have you learned? It is not alright to treat women like they have no desires or feelings. If you do, you will have to pay its price. Hence the act of visiting prostitutes encourages the idea that the feelings of women are not to be discarded in a sexual encounter.
Now, a good friend of mine reminded me that this conclusion is valid only if money is a scarce resource. And true, when courts orders fines they take into account the financial capacity of the guilty party. But this conclusion is wrong here. Because as long as there are high-class prostitutes who costs extremely large quantities of money rich men will buy their services until they feel the cost of it, unless you are talking about multi-billionaires who are mostly above the law anyway. There is also the possibility of discriminative pricing when we have government regulated prostitution. But I expect the incorporated brothels will realize the value of branding their most beautiful women and creating a luxurious effect. For example, we all perceive Angelina Jolie to be the most beautiful woman in the world when all the other top actresses could just as well be equally beautiful. We are drawn more into brands like Angelina Jolie, Aishwarya Rai etc because their publicity teams want us to.
Some people also argue that legalizing prostitution also encourages exploitation of the poor women. Well, the poor women are already exploited for prostitution. When we criminalize prostitution we are certainly not protecting these women, that is for sure. I read in the book “More Sex Is Safer Sex” that in some areas street prostitutes are more likely to give “freebies” to the police officers than get arrested by them. But people don’t understand the fine dynamics of poverty. If poor people are getting exploited because of poverty then in most cases poverty is the real problem. I would like to give you an example.
Some people say that child labor must be abolished. Though it would be ideal to pull all children out of the workforce it is not the problem, only a symptom. Research shows that even in families where children are sent to work, the parents pull children out of work the moment they can afford to do so. Poverty means making hard choices. These choices may be sending your child to work or starve to death. It is not our job to second guess their situation. That would be like we ordering every poor family in Africa to buy Adiddas shoes. Since Adiddas shoes tend to make us happy they should be happy about it too, right? If poverty means starvation or prostitution most women will chose prostitution. Unless you can show them a way out (and if you do those who want it will take it) it is not alright to make those choices for them.
Now I have also read in Wikipedia that feminists are the most vehement opposers of legalization of prostitution. I hate all kinds of freaks such as feminists, anti-racists etc. These people tend to value that the feelings and lives of some type of people are more important and deserves special attention as opposed to looking at mankind as a whole and building a race of unity and harmony. So I am going to say my observation why I think feminism supports criminalization of prostitution. But it is my belief that if prostitution was decriminalized it would not benefit men in any special way as a group. So all male chauvinists can f*** off too.
My observation comes from a study of evolutionary psychology for a long time. It has helped me understand why men and women behave in a certain way, why they want different things from a relationship, why we feel the way we do etc.
Evolutionary biology states that as men our best sexual strategy is to:
- F*ck as many women as possible
- F*ck as many times as possible
- Leave as soon as copulation is over and not take care of the offspring
Why is this? For every creature its tactic is to maximize the gene pool. For example, if I have 100 children and an anonymous guy named Jack has 4 kids, then I have a more –for lack of better layman’s word- “Male Genetical Fitness” as opposed to Jack. This is because when my kids have 10000 kids Jack’s kids will have only 16 kids. Since the rate of growth for my gene pool is more, my descendants would overrun Jack’s kids. Hence Natural Selection tends to favor males that produce as many kids as possible. Clearly f*cking as many times as possible means there is a higher chance that your sperm gets fertilized. Now why is it necessary to leave as soon as you have copulated? This is because males face the risk of cuckoldry. If males raise the offspring, he runs a risk of investing his own resources trying to raise someone else’s child.
For women they cannot afford to be as promiscuous. This is because if women face the risk of pregnancy. This is why females are more picky about their mate. They want to select the best genes for their offspring and also ensure that the time they spent nursing the offspring is put to good use. Hence for the females the optimal strategy is to find the best male (strength, confidence etc) and make sure that the male invests as much resources in the offspring as possible.
For this reason it has universally become the norm that males have to convince the females to mate. This is true in every species. Some do it in the form of dancing (peacock) others does it in the form of nuptial gifts (a monkey offering a treat to a female monkey in exchange for sex). Now all modern societies are built on the foundation provided by these genetic forces. Marriages are designed to maximize “Female Genetic Fitness”. Marriages are the worst thing you could do to your genes apart from remaining completely chaste. You are agreeing that you would only f*ck one woman and invest completely in the raising of the offspring. How did the society come to this?
Before getting to that let us consider the generic buyer-seller situation. Suppose I want to sell my phone and you want to buy it. In a sale it is always better to ask the other person to quote the price. For example, let us say that I am willing to sell the phone for 7000 bucks and you are willing to pay me 8000 bucks. If I ask you: “How much are you willing to pay for it?” and you say “8000” I have a profit of 1000 bucks, because I would have sold it to you for 7000. Now, if you were to ask me for the price I am willing to sell it, you would have saved 1000 bucks because you were willing to pay that much more for it but you didn’t have to now.
My conclusion is that by refraining from quoting the price of sex female kind have slightly forced us to give more and more in return for sex. And lest we forget all male-female relationships are essentially rooted in sex. Even if you don’t want to admit it, the reason you are nicer to a girl as opposed to a boy is because your genes want you to.
Look at the current state of affairs these days. You follow a girl around. You beg her to go out with you. You carry all the expenses including transportation, cost of food or tickets, you drop her off and if she feels like it she has sex with you. If she feels like it!
The real threat of prostitution is that it quotes a definitive price on sex. Once the social stigma and media brainwashing wears off, loads of men will start to think: “Why should I go into all this trouble when I can so easily get it from a brothel?”. That would mean the power of the bargaining chip that women hold will weaken. That might be the reason feminists really oppose legalizing prostitution.