Advertisement

Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 249–258 | Cite as

Gender Policy Models and Calls to “Tackle Demand” for Sex Workers

  • Carol Harrington
Article

Abstract

Why have proposals to “tackle demand” for sex workers by criminalizing their clients gained political traction in the UK? This article treats sex work policy debates as a site of contested norms concerning gender, sexuality, individual agency and the market. I argue that recent shifts away from a male breadwinner/female homemaker model of family life have disrupted established policy visions of desirable family and employment patterns. Calls to “tackle demand” for sex workers provide terrain to construct norms of gendered, sexual and market conduct which align with new policy visions of the dual earner family, nurturing fathers and employed mothers. Analysing recent policy documents, this article shows that governmental arguments in favour of “tackling demand” claim the policy will promote both women’s employment and gender equality in personal relationships. Furthermore, end demand discourse individualizes responsibility for continued gender inequality to the deviant sexual desires of a few bad men. The article concludes that end demand discourse deflects tensions inherent in policies which promote gender equality while reducing support for at-home mothers and thus exacerbating feminized poverty.

Keywords

Adult worker model Activation policy Sex-buyers Criminalizing clients Prostitution Sex work policy 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.

The author received no special funding to carry out this research.

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Agustín, L. (2008). Sex and the limits of enlightenment: The irrationality of legal regimes to control prostitution. Sex Res Soc Policy, 5(4), 73–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. APPG. (2014). Shifting the burden: Inquiry to Assess the Operation of the current legal Settlement on prostitution in England and Wales. London: All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade Retrieved from https://appgprostitution.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/shifting-the-burden.pdf.Google Scholar
  3. APPG. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  4. Baird, & Vera. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  5. Banyard, K. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  6. Brooks-Gordon, B. (2010). Bellwether citizens: The regulation of male clients of sex workers. Journal of Law and Society, 37(1), 145–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carline, A., & Scoular, J. (2015). Saving fallen women now? Critical perspectives on engagement and support orders and their policy of forced Welfarism. Social Policy and Society, 14(01), 103–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cook, I. R. (2015). Making links between sex work, gender and victimisation: The politics and pedagogies of John schools. Gender, Place & Culture, 22(6), 817–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Daly, M. (2011). What adult worker model? A critical look at recent social policy Reform in Europe from a gender and family perspective. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 18(1), 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Faoite, M. (2016). Prostitution inquiry – Publications - written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  11. Dunlap, E., Golub, A., & Johnson, B. D. (2003). Lived experience of welfare reform in drug-using welfare-needy households in Inner-City New York. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 30, 39.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. EHRC. (2016). Research summary 41- working better: Fathers, family and work-contemporary perspectives. United Kingdom: Equality and Human Rights Commission Retrieved from https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/research-summary-41-working-better-fathers-family-and-work-contemporary.Google Scholar
  13. European Women’s Lobby. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  14. Fawcett Society. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  15. Frisken, A. (2000). Sex in politics: Victoria Woodhull as an American public woman, 1870-1876. Journal of Women’s History, 12(1), 89–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gender and Law Class on LLB Law Degree at University of the West of England. (2016). Prostitution inquiry – publications - written evidence. London: House of Commons. Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairscommittee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.
  17. Gregory, A., & Milner, S. (2011). What is “new” about fatherhood? The social construction of fatherhood in France and the UK. Men Masculinities, 14(5), 588–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. House of Commons Home Affairs Committee. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications. Third report of the session 2016–17, (pp. 1–57). London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  19. Hubbard, P., Matthews, R., & Scoular, J. (2007). Regulating the spaces of sex work: assessing the impact of prostitution law: Full Research Report. (ESRC End of Award Report, No. RES-000-22-1001.) (p. 23). Economic and Social Research Council. Retrieved from http://www.researchcatalogue.esrc.ac.uk/grants/RES-000-22-1001/outputs/read/57c94666-2bc1-460b-8bdc-445dcecf7834
  20. Immigrant Council of Ireland. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  21. Jenson, J. (2009). Lost in translation: The social investment perspective and gender equality. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 16(4), 446–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Knijn, T., Martin, C., & Millar, J. (2007). Activation as a common framework for social policies towards lone parents. Social Policy & Administration, 41(6), 638–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kowalewska, H. (2015). Diminishing returns: Lone mothers’ financial work incentives and incomes under the coalition. Social Policy and Society, 14(04), 569–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. León, M. (2009). Gender equality and the European employment strategy: The work/family balance debate. Social Policy and Society, 8(02), 197–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lewis, J. (1992). Gender and the development of welfare regimes. Journal of European Social Policy, 2(3), 159–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lewis, J. (2001). The decline of the male breadwinner model: Implications for work and care. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 8(2), 152–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lewis, J., & Giullari, S. (2005). The adult worker model family, gender equality and care: The search for new policy principles and the possibilities and problems of a capabilities approach. Econ Soc, 34(1), 76–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mackey, T. C. (2005). Pursuing Johns: Criminal law reform, defending character, and new York City’s Committee of Fourteen, 1920–1930. Ohio: Ohio State University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Maher, J., Pickering, S., & Gerard, A. (2012). Privileging work not sex: Flexibility and employment in the sexual services industry. Sociol Rev, 60(4), 654–675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Manchester Feminist Network. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  31. Matthews, G. (1992). The rise of public woman: Woman’s power and Woman’s place in the United States, 1630–1970. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. National Board of Catholic Women. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  33. OECD. (2007). Babies and Bosses-Reconciling Work and Family Life: A Synthesis of Findings for OECD Countries-OECD. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/els/family/babiesandbosses-reconcilingworkandfamilylifeasynthesisoffindingsforoecdcountries.htmGoogle Scholar
  34. Rape Crisis, & Surrey and Sussex. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  35. Rooms of Our Own. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  36. Roseneil, S., Crowhurst, I., Hellesund, T., Santos, A. C., & Stoilova, M. (2013). Changing landscapes of heteronormativity: The regulation and normalization of same-sex sexualities in Europe. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 20(2), 165–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. SAY Women. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  38. Scott, E. K., London, A. S., & Myers, N. A. (2002). Dangerous dependencies the intersection of welfare reform and domestic violence. Gender & Society, 16(6), 878–897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Scoular, J. (2004). Criminalising punters: Evaluating the Swedish position on prostitution. Current developments. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 26(2), 195–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Scoular, J. (2010). What’s law got to do with it? How and why law matters in the regulation of sex work. Journal of Law and Society, 37(1), 12–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Scoular, J., & O’Neill, M. (2008). Legal incursions into supply/demand: Criminalising and Responsibilising the buyers and sellers of sex in the UK. In V. Munro & M. D. Giusta (Eds.), Demanding sex: Critical reflections on the regulation of prostitution (pp. 13–33). London: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..Google Scholar
  42. Scourfield, J., & Drakeford, M. (2002). New labour and the “problem of men”. Critical Social Policy, 22(4), 619–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Serughetti, G. (2013). Prostitution and clients’ responsibility. Men Masculinities, 16(1), 35–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Thomas, J. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  45. Dyke, V. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  46. WAPOW. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  47. Women at the Well. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  48. Women’s Support Project. (2016). Prostitution inquiry—Publications—written evidence. London: House of Commons Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/prostitution/publications/.Google Scholar
  49. Wright, M. W. (2006). Public women, profit, and femicide in Northern Mexico. South Atlantic Quarterly, 105(4), 681–698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social and Cultural StudiesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations