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Prostitution Reconsidered

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Prostitution Reconsidered

Prostitution has been around for centuries and has been a heavily debated practice for as long as it has been utilized in society. Prostitution is first and foremost viewed and known as the selling of ones body, sexuality, sex, and so on. However, according to most standard, English dictionaries there are two slightly different interpretations of what prostitution is. One is the aforementioned definition, and the other explains prostitution as the incorporation of one’s insignificant skills in order to gain financial profit. According to the latter definition of what prostitution is, it is quite possible to compare sexual labor to the well-known practice of “gold-digging”, in which lower-class women seek financial security through marriage to wealthy men. Through most analyses of sexual labor and prostitution that I have reviewed, it is described as an exploitive, degrading, corrupt, and immoral custom that needs to be eradicated. However, upon closer analysis of prostitution according to its above interpretation, I believe that the existing negative views concerning the effects of prostitution on female identity should be re-considered. Specifically focusing on research that explores the existing relationships between wealthy, male, tourists, and female sex workers in foreign countries, I came to understand that these women are very similar in many ways to non-prostitute American women with comparable relationships. In this essay I will argue that the practice of sexual labor in foreign countries is no different than the practice of women seeking wealth through marriage in the United States, and should therefore be free of condemnation, be seen as a legitimate method of forming relationships, and be viewed as the financially empowering occupation for women that it potentially could be.

Referring back to the above definition of prostitution when exploring the existence of sexual prostitution, the “valueless” or unworthy skill that the definition refers to would be a women’s sexuality. Contrary to this view of sexual prostitution, I see sexual labor as the utilization of one’s incredibly valuable sexual abilities, to successfully procure a substantial income. It is a perfect example of how women can manipulate men through their sexuality. I continuously see women in bars and nightclubs in the United States who basically conduct themselves in the exact same manner as you would witness a female “prostitute” behaving with a wealthy tourist in same said bar or night club. They are both dressed to seduce or attract with the intent to grab the attention and lure a potential male mate or “customer”. For example, in Cuba where the existence of prostitution is more casually seen as a form of sexual tourism, women, also known as jineteras, can be seen dressed seductively roaming the streets and local sights in order to draw the attention of wealthy visiting men. The jineteras do this for many reasons, but the main idea is that they could potentially form a romantic relationship with these tourists that they could benefit from financially or otherwise. Many women who do this are simply looking for a thrilling night on the town or a romantic weekend during which they will “trade” their knowledge of their city’s attractions as well as their affection, for material gifts, possibly currency, and affection as well. “ Some are professional prostitutes, with chulos (pimps) and a simple work-for-hire approach. But many more are merely young women…girls, looking for temporary companionship with a foreign male as a way to get by, an admission ticket to the other Cuba they wouldn’t ordinarily see: a chance to visit a decent restaurant, a nightclub (Frommers 2). “ Because these women go into these situations looking for this type of interaction they are considered prostitutes, whereas single women in the United States who have the similar intentions, when entering a bar for instance, would just be seen as flirting with or courting the opposite sex. In effect, this prejudice creates a double standard between American women and foreign women which succeeds unfairly in taking power and worth away from these foreign women only. There is no reason for this imbalance of power to exist as it only serves to perpetuate the existence of the “Other” stereotype for foreign women vs. white, American women. Seen for simply what it is, jineterismo, or this form of sexual tourism in Cuba is just another way for local women to meet these successful, powerful men that are like the knights on white stallions we always dream of meeting. When realistically compared to the dating practices of American women, this form of “prostitution” which obtains financial rewards for “services rendered”, we can see that American women dating rich, older men with the hope of gaining financial security through eventual marriage is just

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