Is Prostitution a Social Problem? Why?
Heinous crimes such as murder and rape are accepted as deviant behavior in all cultures. Is prostitution one of those heinous crimes that most people detest? There are three fundamental perspectives in sociology. These paradigms provide an insight as to what a specific phenomenon will be all about. These are: structural-functionalism, conflict, and symbolic-interactionism. We will examine prostitution under these perspectives. Structural-functionalism uses a macro-level of analysis. It is adaptive and looks at the relationship of the “parts” of the society. Conflict theory is another macro-level of analysis. It uses the premise that the rich/elite control the poor/weak. It is also about the competition of the social classes for resources. The other perspective is the symbolic interactionism. This uses a micro level of analysis and talks about symbols that are used in a society, as well as the face to face and nonverbal actions of people. Structural functionalism sees that each aspect of a society is an independent aspect and contributes to the society so that it functions as a whole. In a functionalist society, the government pays for the poor people’s housing and education but the poor people should, in turn, pay for their taxes (Schaefer). Now the children will grow up and then they will become a functioning member of the society and will continue to be law-abiding, tax-paying citizens. In a perfect society, all the parts/aspects of the society go well together to form a productive and sustainable society. The believers of this perspective believe that functionalist society is held by social consensus, which means that the members of society belief and unite together on a single goal and they work together to achieve that goal. Conflict theory, on the other hand, believes that change is necessary to improve a society (Schaefer). They propose that there is tension in every society and that there are people who may not like some things in a society. Unlike the structural-functionalism, conflict perspective does not believe in maintaining a status quo but rather encourage social change. Conflict theory believes that the rich control the society while the poor suffer for their actions that are generally primed to generate more wealth for themselves. This is because conflict theory is derived from Marxist values. Symbolic interactionism on the other hand is analyzed on the micro level (Schaefer). It views human beings as creatures that live in a society full of meaningful objects that signify meaning. These objects can be material or abstract: they can be cars, schools, relationships, actions and even symbols. For the symbolic interactionist, everyday behavior of a person is the key to understanding a society. Using symbols, one may know one’s values. For example, a clenched fist may be interpreted as aggression in the United States but not so in other parts of the globe since it may even convey respect. In the United States, a finger pointing at the head may mean suicide but in Japan, bringing a fist to the stomach means suicide. These behaviors are learned in every society, and for the interactionists, deviant behavior is learned. Using these perspectives, let’s examine prostitution. Under functionalism, prostitution would probably legal so that it can become a helpful arm of the society. It would have to be taxed. If it would be taxed like in socialist countries, it would definitely help the society since, well, sex sells, and