Prostitution, as an industry, originates at two levels: its genesis can be found in the status of women in society; however, it gets the vital boost from the fast emerging irresponsible Capitalist World Economic Order. Let me elaborate my point further. Men and women are naturally complementary to each other, and, among other things, achieve the much necessary carnal pleasure in the most natural way. However, sex, very much like violence, has been considered as an object of negative fulfillment by religion and society, and probably there is also some truth in it, but it’s not validated and definitely not sacrosanct enough to curb the natural instinct of gaining carnal pleasure. Rather, in all probability, it’s extremely important to fulfill the so very natural desire.
The logic of gaining carnal pleasure must have been so profound that religion couldn’t stand against it and institutionalized it in various forms in the society. For the common man, it got institutionalized in the form of monogamy, and, for the powerful, in the form of polygamy and prostitution (courtesans, devdasis, etc.). However, in all its forms, it only exacerbated the already weak condition of women in the society. The man was always in a paradoxical state of ironical confusion. On the one hand, he never wanted to see his dear ones to enter the prostitution industry for he knew the woman was being exploited, whatever the showcasing; however, at the same time, he couldn’t resist the need for carnal pleasure through mean alternatives; so he never let prostitution be institutionalized for the common man, but he didn’t mind its use by the powerful. It became a natural division in which the woman were altogether forgotten and commodified as the sources of carnal pleasure and nothing more. Thankfully, with time, the stress on sex in marriages has reduced, and, gradually, the commodification of women in marriages and similar relationships is getting eliminated. It would actually be prudent to completely dissociate sex as an issue of importance in marriages and treat it is an important subject in itself and thus find solutions to its misunderstood connotations.
However, the other commodification which was in the form of prostitution and allied industries gets even further boost in the present times of irresponsible Capitalistic World Economic Order. The examples are in abundance to exemplify the above hypothesis. The flourishing of sex trade as an industry in the so-called emerging economies, where the governments don’t even mind claiming the women’s sexuality as an economic resource for development, is one of the most obvious example. What is this if not well organized commodification of women? Legalization of prostitution also does the same in disguise of giving rightful identity to prostitutes in society — there are certain things which just can’t be justified by their practical importance, and legalizing prostitution is one of them.
With the advent of pseudo-feminism, the definition of prostitution has changed slightly by also including males as a source of carnal pleasure for the powerful, both women and men. Probably, this is something which has its root in the propensity of human beings to suppress the weaker creatures. So, in essence, Capitalism, which acknowledges and propagates the superiority of one human being over another (with which I have no problem), when practiced irresponsibly, propagates and even institutionalizes the ills of the society, and, in such circumstances, we create more problems than we solve.
I don’t know the solution to the basic problem of understanding sex in a dignified manner. But, I have definitely understood that prostitution and allied industries, which treat human beings as commodities (euphemistically brands) and can’t give true respect to the subjects of the trade, can’t be justified in any manner, whatsoever, and are definitely undesirable.
©2007 Ankur Mutreja