Tag Archives: Free enterprise

A Cry for Justice:The Abuse of Prostitutes, by Fred Reed

Fred Reed makes a cogent argument for legalizing prostitution, on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

One of the few remaining unjustified restrictions on the freedom of women–one of few remaining barriers to equality in the workplace–is the prohibition of prostitution. No other service industry is forbidden to women on the basis of gender. Other sexist obstacles have come down. It is time this one did.

Treating prostitution as a crime represents an unconscionable restriction of a woman’s right to control her body. This right is legally recognized, allowing her to have an abortion, and must certainly extend to allowing her to decide with whom to go to bed. Any rational feminist (I know, I know) must favor legalization. So must libertarians opposed to governmental interference, conservatives favoring free enterprise, and advocates of free-markets. Keeping prostitution illegal smothers initiative and prevents capital formation.

Note that America’s attitude toward prostitution is not the norm among civilized nations. It is legal in Spain, Germany, Holland, Finland, Austria, Denmark, Italy, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, and many others. Canada, idiotically, makes it legal to sell sex but not to buy it. (It gets cold up there, and I guess sometimes they forget to wear hats.)

Feminists, most of whom are in little danger of sex with a man, have for mysterious reasons regarded prostitution as exploitation of women. This is like saying that piano movers exploit musicians. A prostitute offers a service for a fee, like a barber. We do not penalize barbers, most of whom are men, but do penalize prostitutes, most of whom are women. It is a clear case of disparate impact—in a word, of sexism.

Typically feminists, pathological reformers, and married women oppose prostitution. That is, they want the government to control the sexual lives of women. This is an outrage, and little better than purdah. Can suttee be far behind?

Note, though, that feminists are not disinterested parties. They regard heterosexual sex as miscegenation, and heterosexual men as poachers. With them it is a matter of competition for resources. Married women, moving on in years, putting on a bit of weight, and perhaps not erotic thunderstorms in the first place, yearn not for houses full of young, luscious, available and—Hallelujah!—feminine women within hubby’s purview.

Reformers argue that because prostitutes are mostly women, somehow the trade represents discrimination against that sex. How so? Piano movers have almost always been men. Does this imply that a woman who has her piano moved is exploiting men? This would seem to imply that pianos by law should be stationary.

To continue reading: A Cry for Justice: The Abuse of Prostitutes