Monday, August 15, 2011

Prostitution | Poverty meets Sexual Suppression

"Prostitution is bad, and must be stopped at any cost", is the general response you get from most people.

And all the feminists and the women right activists, cops and all the rest of the social moral policing circus go barging straight into the brothels catching the helpless prostitutes and their desperate clients in the act, that can hardly be called love making even by the most twisted and sick minds and drag them out half naked in public straight to the prison. And in the process snatch away whatever little dignity they had left.

Even though everybody agrees that prostitution is bad, nobody seems to really know what it is exactly about prostitution that is bad. Because if people knew what was wrong with prostitution, then they would also know how to fix it.

You can usually tell how well an individual or a group of people understands a problem, by looking at the way they try to solve that problem.
And our way of dealing with such issues, reflects on a very poor understanding of the problems of the world to say the least. The way we handle social problems like prostitution cannot even be called finding a solution to the problem. At best it can be looked at as desperate attempt at trying to cover up our own mess.

Of course there is no denying that some people are into the profession because they make a lot of money, are happy being sex workers.
And if a person is happy prostituting herself/himself, I have nothing to say to them. It’s the rest of the helpless unhappy sex workers that I am concerned about.

Most individuals are too busy leading their own little selfish lives and have no time to ponder over these social issues, and since people have not had the time or concern to come to their own intelligent conclusions about such problems, they just mindlessly repeat what they have heard other people say over and over again without having any understanding of the actual problem.
Something on the lines of "Prostitution is an ugly scar on the face of humanity, and must be gotten rid of".

While I totally agree with the fact that prostitution is ugly, sad and degrading to women, I disagree with the method being employed to counter prostitution with the same intensity.

Prostitution, just like war is a product of our society.It has grown out of the very structure of our society ans is a result of the very way of life which we have all agreed to live by.

But while most people very willingly like to take a lot of personal pride in talking about the seemingly positive results or accomplishments of the way of life of our species, the most common and over rated one being technological advancement.
On the other hand we as individuals and hence as societies are equally reluctant to accept and embrace the adverse impacts of our social paradigm.
And since we refuse to accept that all social problems are consequences of all our choices and actions, to keep hoping for any real change to occur only seems more and more pointless.

Problems like prostitution are dealt with as if it is an ugly burden that was imposed on our society by some external force and needs to be gotten rid of.

The haste with which we want to turn a blind eye to, or cover up these ugly faces of human paradigm reflects on a nauseating sense of shame and embarrassment that we as individuals and societies are too fearful to face.

May be deep down inside we all know that each one of us is responsible for these problems, but we keep running away from facing ourselves.
Because if we accept that these social and individual problems are a result of our way of life, then we can no longer point fingers at other people for these problems and will inevitably have to change the way we live.

So in order to avoid having to give up our selfish lifestyles, we quickly try to detach ourselves and our actions from these problems and make believe that a problem like prostitution is something that is being forced on to us for no fault of ours and try to fight it as an external adversity that exists independently of our choices and actions.
Just like how a father wants to take all the credit for his son's achievements if the son is successful according to social norms, but wants nothing to do or claims to have nothing to do with his son's failure if he is not successful, all of us as individuals only want to associate with the positive aspect of the social paradigm and claim to have nothing to do with the negative.

Anyway let us try and see how our choices, decisions and actions as individuals lead to a problem like prostitution.

On taking a closer look it becomes clear that prostitution seems to be the love child of two more basic or fundamental problems with our society.

1) Poverty
2) Sexual suppression

Let us look into how each one of us is contributing to the problems of poverty and mass sexual suppression and in the process try and witness the birth of prostitution from our very actions.

Our social design is based on a very animalistic drive of selfish competition for survival. You look around and you see everyone competing for everything, for schools, for colleges, for jobs and for every other senseless thing.
Through all these competitions, everybody is trying to secure more resources and money for themselves, in order to improve their individual chances of survival. Now when everybody is trying to pull limited resources and money to their own houses and bank accounts, there is bound to be a struggle and fight for resources and power. And where there is a fight someone has to lose.
So some people manage to successfully compete and secure more money and resources for themselves, while the others lose and are forced to struggle for a basic survival. And people who managed to snatch away resources and money now find themselves in a stronger position to compete further and continue to hoard more and more for themselves. We see everybody increasing their bank accounts deposits, whether it be politicians or any common man.
And the people, who had failed to secure resources for themselves, now find it even harder to compete with people with more resources. And hence in our society we see that rich people keep getting richer, and the poor get poorer.
So while we see some people staying in mansions worth millions of dollars and driving super expensive cars, many others barely manage to find one meal a day.

We all see building our individual bank account deposits as a very natural thing to do but we make a lot of noise when politicians do it. Not because it's corrupt, but simply because they managed to hoard a lot more than most of the common public could.

The problem is that everybody creates an image for themselves, and calls it ‘me’ and builds their lives centered on it. To this image of ‘me’, people usually attach a few other people and call them my, this usually includes few family members and in some cases friends.
And the moment there is something that is ‘me’ and ‘my’, there automatically comes into existence something that is ‘not me’ and ‘not my’.
So people might postpone or give up the idea of buying the next big TV, car, or house if their own sisters and mothers were on the verge of being forced to prostitute themselves to make a living because they belong to the image of ‘me’ as my mother and sister.
But since people fail to connect to the whole of humanity as ‘my’, even though women have been forced by poverty to sell their soul and dignity for survival, all of us continue to build our individual bank accounts so we can take that next big holiday abroad, and buy the next cool gadget. Because we see these other women as 'not my' mother or sister.
Hence we see how all of us individually are responsible for the plight of women in this male dominated society.
But prostitution is not a supply driven market, but rather a demand driven one. Women with all other hopes lost, decide to make a living by selling themselves because a demand for such a service already exists in the society.

And this is where we come to the second problem of sexual suppression.

Even if someone, whether man or woman is prostituting themselves because there is a lot of money in the profession, the fact that a need for the existence of a profession like sex worker arises out of sexual suppression cannot be denied.

It seems that as part of the society, we all contribute to sexual suppression to some degree or the other for two reasons.

1)Even though different cultures and countries handle sex with varying degrees of sensitivity. One thing that is more or less common to all cultures and religions is that chastity, and abstinence are looked at as moral virtues and sex is either considered a taboo or less respectable to say the least.
Now As I said earlier, that everybody creates an image for themselves called ‘me’ or ‘I’.
And just like competing for resources is necessary for survival, competing for a positive social image is equally critical to social existence.
Social acceptance is very necessary for survival, because a negative social image leads to inevitable ostracisation of the individual.
Another important point that needs to be made at this point is the fact that sexual instinct is the second most dominating human instinct, after survival.
And caught up in a social paradigm where sexual instinct is suppressed rather than faced and understood for what it is, people being too fearful of being judged negatively for their sexual desires end up suppressing them. And as a result of suppression of such a basic instinct, doesn’t successfully put the sexual desire to rest, but forces it to come to surface in morally deprived ways like prostitution.

If psychology and study of the human mind has taught us anything, it’s that the only way to get over one’s fears, and anxieties is to face them, and not to suppress them. Suppression only leads to depression, and conflict.

2)The second reason for sexual suppression being the fact that just like we selfishly compete for resources, we also compete for sexual partners. And it usually helps to condemn or discourage other people from engaging in sexual act, so that with everyone else out of the way we can improve our own chances of sexual intercourse.
Our contempt for sexual act seems to arise more out of jealousy than out of concern for moral values.
I am sure everybody wants to be part of as many out of the box sexual experiences as possible, but since people find themselves deprived of fulfilling their desires. They discourage other people from achieving that too, by labeling the act as evil, or unhealthy. As a species and civilization we clearly love sex. Our increasing population is a testament to our sexual inclination. But while we like to go wild behind closed doors, once out we like to maintain a sombre image. And as this social charade of double standards continues, many people are completely deprived of sex and all the sexually frustrated people find themselves heading to the red light districts to get what the society deprived them of.
So we see here again, that for our selfish need to maintain a positive social image as individuals, and to compete for sexual partners we lead a two faced life and have created a social paradigm that when combined with poverty in a male dominated society inevitably leads to prostitution.

Continuing to live in a social paradigm
1)Where everybody is selfishly competing with one another for survival, and people are forced to do anything and everything to make a living and,
2) where the second most strongest instinct of sex is continuously suppressed and tabooed rather than explored and intelligently understood.

and then trying to stop something like prostitution, will directly result in even more stronger suppression of the sexual drive and will only end up bringing out the sexual needs in ways so sick and perverted that will make prostitution look like child's play.

The only way to free humanity from these miseries is to shift from a social paradigm where everybody leads a self-centered life to one where concept of 'me' and 'my' becomes obsolete.
Once people truly grow beyond their selfish needs, then possibly we can think about sharing our resources equally and handling and understanding life without perversion for selfish means.
Any other method to tackle social problems like prostitution short of the required self-change will only be a band aid, or temporary fix and not a solution.

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