Popular Legal Solutions to Prostitution : An Examination of their Social and Political Consequences for Women
Women in prostitution are a reflection of the social value of women in general. Systems of prostitution affect women both within and outside of prostitution. Women feel the effects either directly, as victims of prostitution, or indirectly, as the targets of negative patriarchal social discourses. The effects of prostitution are felt through social and political limitations, including a violation of women's rights. As stated, these effects harm both prostituted and non-prostituted women. In order to eliminate these social and political constraints on women, a legal solution must be found. This analysis discusses the most common of these theories: criminalization, decriminalization, legalization, and abolition. I will use Foucault's theory of doctrine as a creator of social discourse to examine the social and political effects of each hypothetical legal solution. Though each theory has its strong and weak aspects, only abolition attacks the root of the problem of prostitution, understanding and seeking to deconstruct harmful, misogynistic social discourses.