The Functionalist Theory Of Prostitution

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Register to read the introduction… Functionalist sees society as being composed of parts that work together in harmony to support the structure. From this perspective, prostitution fulfills a social need for sexual release. If this need cannot be fulfilled within marriage or a mutual relationship, then it can be fulfilled through a financial relationship. Sexual fulfillment reduces sexual tension and restores balance, a key factor in a well functioning society.

Powerful dominant group members who seek to maintain cultural dominance by criminalizing sexual conduct that they consider immoral or in bad taste create the laws that make prostitution illegal. Conflict theorists argue that women become prostitutes because of structural factors such as economic inequality and patriarchy. Capitalism and patriarchy foster economic inequality between men and women and force women to view their bodies as commodities. They also suggest that criminalizing prostitution uniquely affects poor women, especially poor women of color, who are overrepresented among street
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Many suggest that we could greatly reduce the number of victims, if the demand for them was penalized. If there were no men seeking to buy sex acts, no women and children would be bought and sold. If there were no brothels waiting for victims, no victims would be recruited. If there were no states that profited from the sex trade, there would be no regulations that facilitated the flow of women. Another debate is the legalization of prostitution, Proponents of legalization ultimately believe that outlawing prostitution violates an individual's civil liberties and one's freedom to do what one chooses with one's body. Like those in favor of legalizing drugs, proponents of legalization of sex-for-money argue that everyone benefits when sex work, which will go on regardless of legality, is monitored and regulated by the government. As a consequence, the spread of STD’s would lessen, as would violent crimes against sex workers. Proponents point to Nevada's relatively successful bordello system as evidence legal prostitution can work. (The Legalization of Prostitution, by James Bovard, September

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