Nussbaum Argues for Legalization of Prostitution in NY Times

Ignore the Stigma and Focus on the Need
Martha C. Nussbaum
The New York Times
April 19, 2012

Feminist arguments about prostitution portray financial transactions in the area of female sexuality as demeaning to women. But all of us, with the exception of the independently wealthy and the unemployed, take money for the use of our bodies.The stigmatization of prostitution may be based on convincing, well-reasoned arguments. But it may also be based on class prejudice or stereotypes of race or gender.

When prostitution does not involve coercion or force or the use of children, the most urgent issue is the poor employment opportunities for working women and their lack of control over the conditions of their employment. The legalization of prostitution would likely make things a little better for women who have few options to begin with. The really helpful thing for feminists to ponder, if they deplore the nature of these options, will be to help expand those possibilities through education, skills training and job creation.

Faculty: 
Martha Nussbaum