A Sociological Perspective Of Prostitution In Contemporary Singapore: Is Prostitution A Form Of Work?

2644 words - 11 pages

Prostitution is believed to be one of the oldest professions in the world. The fact that it drifts away from conventional definitions of work in a multitude of aspects leads one to view it from a critical perspective. Though prostitution shares many similarities with other forms of occupations, it has been labeled as a social deviance by 'outsiders'-society that does not support prostitution. Hence, though prostitutes themselves might view prostitution as their job, those who do not engage in the trade view it from a derogatory angle. The definition of prostitution as a form of work varies between different sections of society. According to Keith Thomas (1999), work has an end beyond to itself, being designed to produce or achieve something that involves a degree of obligation or necessity. The late Victorian economist Alfred Marshall said labour was 'any exertion of mind or body undergone partly or wholly with a view to some good other than the pleasure derived directly from the work. Prostitution has been treated in a way as a deviant activity and sexual slavery. More recently it has been treated as an understandable and reasonable response for socio-economic need within the context of a consumer culture and within a social framework that privileges male sexuality (Pheterson 1986). Women working as prostitutes are exploited by those who manage and organize this industry. In contemporary society, prostitution for many women is freely chosen as a form of work. Ultimately, the sex industry is structured by deeply embedded attitudes and values, which are oppressive to women, for it depends upon the naturalization of certain principles, set by society. In this essay forth, I shall attempt to address the issue on female prostitution in Thailand between the 16th to 20th century as a form of work within the sociology of work.Prostitution is a form of work. A sex worker is a person who earns remuneration by providing sexual services. The term was coined by American prostitute-activist Carol Leigh (also known as "Scarlot Harlot") in the 1970s as a political term. To the sex worker itself, her body is seen as a commodity to ensure her survival. Prostitution has also has its own form of division of labour. A distinct scale of responsibility is accorded to the individual ranking of people associated with this industry. As far as the sex worker is concerned, prostitution is a form of work.Over the years, it has been possible to transform the social conditions under which the sex work or erotic labour takes place, but to improve the status of them by transforming the cultural and ethical meanings or notions attached to prostitution or in another words, the whore stigma, has never been easy. In the early middle ages, labour was thought of exclusively as physical labour however gradually the concept of mental and intellectual labour developed and became accepted. Sex work is both physically and mentally engaging. A prostitute exerts physical labour as well as...

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