Student no: 14270465
Word count: 2415
Are there good reasons for treating the selling of ‘sexual recreation’ differently from the selling of other personal services?
This essay will explore the complex debate of whether the selling of sex is different from the selling of any other personal service. In particular, the idea that it is more inherently harmful than other personal services. I will begin by discussing this claim, then presenting Scott Anderson’s support for it. Furthermore, I will then be criticising Anderson to show that I agree that sexual recreation is harmful to women, however not because of the job itself. Because of how toxic masculinity causes sexual recreation to be instrumentally harmful to women when they are forced into prostitution, therefore there are good reasons for treating forced sexual recreation differently from the selling of other personal services.
Justifications for inherently wrong prostitution:
To begin the discussion, it is important to clarify what is meant by the term: sexual recreation and how I will interpret it in this essay. The selling of sexual recreation is often referred to as prostitution, which is: ‘’a kind of occasional, limited transaction in which a person purchases “live” physical sexual recreation from someone who provides it in order to receive tangible, nonsexual benefits as compensation” (Anderson 2002, p748) This is how I will refer to the selling of recreation in this essay. To consider whether there are good reasons to treat it differently from other personal services, we must distinguish between whether it is intrinsically different or instrumentally different. To distinguish this, the legal and political aspects of prostitution must be put into consideration. Exchanging or participating in sexual activities for money or other goods is legal in the UK (Wilkes-Som 2017) however, there are still arguments to criminalise prostitution due to the negative impacts it has on women. Throughout my reading of feminist literature, the most common justifications for this seem to be:
(P1) the economic uncertainty of the job
(P2) the vulnerability of the women who are involved
(P3) the trauma they may face as a result.
I will explain each justification and show how since they also apply to other personal services, there are not good reasons to treat prostitution differently in itself to other personal services.
P1 stems from the idea that prostitution can never give a woman a steady income as it is dependent on how ‘desirable’ the woman is. Like a lot of other career options, biases can be shown to different employees depending on class, race and sexual orientation. Therefore, a prostitute may struggle to gain a steady income from her job, thus not having the means to support herself. However, as mentioned this is a common theme in all modern-day careers and is evident through things such as the BBC gender pay gap scandal in July 2017. The publication of the...