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Representing the Prostitute

Can feminists theorize prostitution if they have never worked as prostitutes? Feminist analysis would be very partial if we could only speak of that which we had personally experienced. In the absence of personal experience feminist theorists can rely upon other women’s accounts and upon the exercise of their own critical political intelligence. In the area of prostitution the exercise of┬ápolitical intelligence is particularly necessary since the voices of prostitutes even within the literature of the prostitutes’ rights movement of the 1970s and 1980s do not agree. The main voices in this literature proclaimed that prostitution was a job just like any other or even a form of sexual self-determination for women. But others described prostitution as seriously and inevitably abusive.

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