The Commodification of Sex Argumentative Essay by TemiA

The Commodification of Sex
Argues in favor of the legalization of prostitution.
# 153880 | 1,726 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2012 | US

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This paper focuses on the morality of the commodification of sex and argues in favor of legalized prostitution. The writer analyzes the asymmetry thesis, defends Igor Primoratz's claim that there is currently no good argument for the immorality of prostitution,and discusses Debra Satz's claim that any harm from prostitution stems from its perpetuation of gender inequality in society. Finally, the paper asserts normalization of the profession would be a better remedy than continued criminalization.

From the Paper:

"Primoratz reaches the conclusion that there is no strong argument for the immorality of prostitution. He begins by evaluating the paternalism objection, which states it is prima facie wrong to do harmful things, and others should use moral sanction to prevent us from doing things that are bad for us (Primoratz, 162). Prostitution involves a number of harms, including increased exposure of sexually transmitted diseases, mistreatment and violence from clients, exploitation, and ostracism. I could reject this objection simply on the basis that, even if prostitution does cause harms, it is not the place of society to protect any individual from any harm he causes to himself (Mill, 16). The idea that society should dictate which harms are acceptable for its citizens contradicts the ideology America was founded on. Further than that, however, Primoratz asserts that the negative aspects of commodified sex stem from the act itself and the negative attitudes society holds toward sex work. If society did not condemn prostitution and refuse to legitimize it as a profession, legal and medical policies would be implemented to prevent many of the consequences critics associate with it. "[T]he paternalist argument takes for granted the conventional moral condemnation of prostitution, and merely gives an additional reason for not engaging in something that has already been established as wrong" (Primoratz, 163). Without an argument for the validity of these puritanical values that translate to society's negative attitudes, since both these attitudes and prostitution play a role in the harmful effects of prostitution, we cannot attribute these negative consequences solely to prostitution. Therefore, the paternalistic argument cannot make the claim that prostitution is bad enough to withhold sanction to engage in prostitution as a legalized profession."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Anderson, Scott A. "Prostitution and Sexual Autonomy: Making Sense of the Prohibition of Prostitution." Ethics, July 2002: 748-780. Web.
  • Kant, Immanuel. "The Formula of Humanity." From Popular Philosophy to Metaphysics. Web.
  • Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty and The Subjection of Women. London: Penguin, 2006. Print.
  • Primoratz, Igor. "What's Wrong with Prostitution?" Philosophy, April 1993: 159-182. Web.
  • Satz, Debra. "Markets in Woman's Sexual Labor." Ethics, October 1995: 63-85. Web.

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