The Australian filmmaker Michael Glawogger documents on the acts of prostitution in three different cultures. He begins his examination in Thailand and visits the Fish Tank brothel in the city which is famous for these acts (Glawogger, 2011). He notes how prostitution takes place in the city and the cultural backgrounds of the act. His second destination is a brothel in Faridpur, Bangladesh famously known as the City of Joy that hosts several prostitutes. Clients visit the brothel and identify their preferred prostitute using a coded numbers. Prostitutes are confined in a glass-like confinement where customers can easily look at them and choose their preferred partner. The third brothel that Michael Glawogger visits is the Zonas de Tolerancia or simply the tolerance zones in Reynosa, Mexico which is the established location for prostitutes. The brothel is guarded by police and men are allowed to go and pick their preferred partner, undertake their actions and leave (Weitzer, 2011). From a sociological point of view, this essay will analyze the documentation to identify the cultural differences available in the three societies regarding sexuality and prostitution. It will then compare the cultural beliefs on sex in the three societies and the United States.
The documentary is a clear reflection of the underlying knowledge on sexual and prostitution sociology. It reflects the description of the various theories described in the course. Firstly, the functionalist approach states that prostitution is a functional aspect of the society. The act seeks to satisfy different needs of various members of the society. Clinard and Meier (2011), state that women engage in prostitution to meet their financial needs whereas men engage in this act to meet their sexual desires. In the three cases in the documentary, most of the women engaging in prostitution are low-class people looking for a source of income.
The conflict theory, on the other hand, states that men pay for sex as they deem it right to pay for entertainment and thus have sex with women as a way of attaining some level of satisfaction and entertainment (Llewellyn, Agu, and Mercer, 2008). Women also feel that they should be paid for the services they offer to the men. The three cases show an exchange of money for the services rendered.
Sex differs in various cultures and is influenced by various factors in the society such as religion and other beliefs. Even though almost all cultures regard sex as sacred and prostitution as somehow unethical, most societies accept prostitution as a way of balancing different aspects of the society such as the need for sex among men while assisting the women financially (O'Neill, Pitcher, and Sanders, 2009). However, in the three societies, sex has been embraced a lot in the society unlike in the United States that is still regarded as unethical and criminal even though they exist. In these cities, there are designated places and brothels for sex purposes unlike in the United States which is done illegally and under the law. In Mexico, for instance, the authority protects the area set aside for prostitution (Clinard and Meier, 2011). The documentary shows the variances in the cultural beliefs on sexuality in different places and societies and presents a controversy in the practice of prostitution in various places in the world. In Bangladesh, women simply learn prostitution as a form of trade and the act is passed from one generation to another and questions some of the theories underlying sexuality and prostitution.
From the documentation, it is clear that there is a significant relationship between religion, society, sexuality, fetishes, and orientation. The society shapes the perception of people on the other factors and determines how they operate in a given region (Glawogger, 2011). The society shapes the sexual orientation in the society. In Bangladesh where the society has utterly accepted prostitution and women have fully embraced the act, most females are likely to engage in the act.
Women in the region know that their position in the society is to offer sex to their men and keep them satisfied and in return, they make money from the practice. Another key factor that increases the acts of prostitution in the society is the economic hardships in the society. In the regions featured in the documentary, women suffer due to limited sources of income (Llewellyn, Agu, and Mercer, 2008). They, therefore, resort to prostitution to supplement their little income and meet their economic challenges. The sex work shown in the documentary varies with that of different places that completely illegalize prostitution. In the United States, the act is not conducted openly like in the ones shown in the documentary.
This documentary is somehow biased since it highlights only a few factors that cause prostitution. It utterly links prostitution to culture and religion which are not be the main causes of prostitution (O'Neill, Pitcher and Sanders, 2009). The documentary also looks at prostitution only in some specific brothels in the country which may be misguiding and portray the entire society as having significant levels of prostitution. It is also one-sided in that it views prostitution from only the women side ignoring the role of men in the activity. The men also inspire women to engage in prostitution by paying highly for the services.
The documentary portrays the societies involved to have fully accepted prostitution. It does not show any rebellion on the act and that people engage in the act legally and do not see it as ethically wrong (Glawogger, 2011). Politics also plays a key role in the act since they pass laws that support the act of prostitution. In Mexico, for instance, the law through the police protects the brothels which show that both the legal and the political systems allow prostitution. Religion does not also condemn the act likewise to education which does not inform the members involved in the act of the dangers of engaging in it. According to Weitzer (2011), social institutions such as brothels and bars are part of the sex syndrome by allowing prostitutes to engage in sex freely. The brothels are other institutions that promote the act.
Most of the people who were part of the documentary are utterly wrong and made the wrong choice. While I understand these people in that there is need to raise finances and become economically sound, prostitution is not the only source of income available (Clinard and Meier, 2011). These people can choose other sources of income since prostitution is ethically wrong and causes both physical and psychological torture to a person engaging in it. This is one of the main reasons why the people practicing it use some drugs before they can do this business.
The main social force that drives people to engage in prostitution is the urge to be economically empowered and belong to a certain high social class. Most of the people in the documentary are caught in issues related to gender and class since as women they use prostitution to change their social class. There is nothing about love or dating in the documentary but is pure prostitution for economic benefits. Whores glory shows the ill nature of the society. It shows a society that loves sex and money (Llewellyn, Agu, and Mercer, 2008). Women who can watch this documentary and are not sex workers will feel that their dignity is lowered and are sexually exploited while men are likely to uphold the belief that women are sex objects. The documentary alters my beliefs on ethics and the connection between some religions such as Islam and Buddhism on sex and prostitution.
Clinard, M. B., & Meier, R. F. (2011). Sociology of deviant behavior (14th Ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.
Glawogger, M., (2011). Whores' Glory: Monika Willi. Wolfgang Thaler. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhgpTrgLYt4.
Llewellyn, A., Agu, L., & Mercer, D. (2008). Sociology for social workers. Cambridge, UK: Polity.
O'Neill, M., Pitcher, J., & Sanders, T. (2009). Prostitution: Sex Work, Policy, and Politics. London: Sage Publications.
Weitzer, R. (2011). Legalizing prostitution: From illicit vice to lawful business. New York, NY: New York University Press.
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