Because this power that individuals have, the government had to come in and outlaw prostitution.
The Conflict Perspective
• The conflict perspective highlights the relationship between power in society and sex work. The laws that make prostitution illegal are created by powerful dominant group members who seek to maintain cultural dominance by criminalizing sexual conduct that they consider immoral or in bad taste.
• Conflict theorists argue that women become prostitutes because of structural factors such as economic inequality and patriarchy. Capitalism and patriarchy foster economic inequality between men and women and force women to view their bodies as commodities.
• Conflict theorists suggest that criminalizing prostitution uniquely affects poor women, especially poor women of color, who are overrepresented among street prostitutes.
The Functionalist Perspective
• The functionalist perspective argues that the presence of a certain amount of deviance in society contributes to its overall stability. According to Emile Durkheim, deviance clarifies social norms and helps societies to maintain social control over people’s behavior. By punishing those who engage in deviant behavior such as prostitution, the society reaffirms its commitment to its sexual norms and creates loyalty to the society as people bind together to oppose this behavior.
• According to Kingsley Davis, in societies that have restrictive norms governing sexual conduct—including the United States—prostitution will always exist because it serves important functions: