For millennia human communities were egalitarian and prostitution was unknown.
In her book, The Creation of Patriarchy, Gerda Lerner showed that prostitution was invented relatively recently in the long history of the human race, when men seized control and started the system of male supremacy known as patriarchy.
One of the key ways the men controlled women was to divide them into two groups: respectable women and prostitutes. Respectable women had to cover their heads and the prostitutes were not allowed to cover their heads – so everyone could see which group each woman belonged to. The respectable women were dependent on the patronage of a named man – her husband or father. The prostitutes were fair game for all men, any man, to rape. So women accepted “respectability” in order to avoid being fair game. And then she had to make sure that she was always taken as a respectable wife so she wouldn’t be mistaken for a prostitute who was fair game. She had to distance herself from the prostitutes. And so women were divided, one from another. In order that they could be more easily screwed.
As such, we see prostitution as a form of violence against the individual women and against all women. We do not believe that equality between women and men is possible while the buying and selling of women for sex is considered acceptable.
Page published: 30 March 2016