Views on Prostitution

25 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2020

See all articles by Shulamit Almog

Shulamit Almog

University of Haifa - Faculty of Law

Ariel L. Bendor

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2019


The Essay argues that both law and art represent deeply-rooted cultural ambivalences and ethical incoherence towards prostitution. The choice of Picasso's Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as representative of this tension stems from the sui-generis status of the painting in the history of modern art — as an avant-garde which later became a canon. Of the various views evoked by the painting, four are especially prominent: a moralizing, a normalizing, a victimizing and a patheticizing view. The examination of various Western prostitution laws shows that each of the laws simultaneously expresses different perceptions and ideologies about prostitution, much like the views evoked by the painting. It appears that law is unable to avoid the cultural incongruity linked to prostitution, which is apparent even in countries that allegedly declare unambiguous standing towards it.

Suggested Citation

Almog, Shulamit and Bendor, Ariel L., Views on Prostitution (2019). Hastings Women's Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2019, Available at SSRN:

Shulamit Almog (Contact Author)

University of Haifa - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905

Ariel L. Bendor

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Faculty of Law
Ramat Gan, 52900

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