Regulation of Prostitution (Historical). Week 6. Foucauldian influence on analysing the history of regulation of prostitution. (1) Importance of discourse in constructing prostitution as an issue. Discourses include
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(1) Importance of discourse in constructing prostitution as an issue. Discourses include
(from Nead, Myths of Sexuality p. 115)
Law rests on and reproduces gendered constructs. Penalizes and stigmatises women whose autonomous sexuality was seen as corrupting, and which challenged the norms of bourgeois female sexuality
Women are the source of venereal disease, they spread it to men (the reverse rendered invisible). Their moral corruption is mirrored by (shown by) their diseased state. Unnatural because autonomous in displaying an independent sexuality, not ‘passionless’. Moreover, sexual impropriety shows in the body, police imagined to be able to recognise a common prostitute on sight.
Men are acting naturally (seeking sexual outlets), and even if ideally men should be able to control themselves the ordinary working class soldier or sailor not expected to be able to. Cannot subject men fighting for their country to genital examination.
Women’s civil rights depend on their sexual propriety, but not men’s.
--Rescue and rehabilitate fallen women
--Prevent women from entering prostitution
(Bartley, Mahood, Walkowitz)
All directed at ending prostitution not regulating/ controlling it as a necessary evil.
In these context visible prostitution was seen as very threatening to marriage and British way of life. May have been less prostitution, but found more offensive.
`Both the prostitute and the homosexual are symptoms of a malaise in sexual relationships. The natural unit of society is the family and the sex instinct is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
Indeed, girls themselves would not become prostitutes unless their emotional natures were warped and unstable to begin with.’ (Eustace Chesser)
Wolfenden formulates rationale for punishing prostitutes based on two principles
What people do in private is their own affair and not the state’s, but the state can and should intervene if sexual behavior enters the public sphere/ causes a nuisance. (Wolfenden strategy)