Themodule Sex Work in China’s Pearl River Delta: Accumulating sexualcapital as a life advancement strategy is one of the journals thattalked about one of the most taboo “jobs” of the world which isprostitution. This module tried to convey how sex capitals arecapable of improving and developing a woman who works in the sexindustry physically and mentally.
Inthe Introduction part of the paper, the sample size that is stated issmaller than the normal minimum sample sized used. Here in themodule, only 23 xiaojieswere used in the experiment yet it should be 30. The sample sizeshould be sufficiently large which is usually greater than or equalto thirty so that the Central Limit Theory will hold true and thedistribution to the sample mean will be normally distributed (Anon,n.d.). The study also only focused on the mainland parts of China,though commerce is very evident in the mainland parts of china, studyshould also be conducted to the rural regions of China to determinewhether the sex capitals only be a life-advancement strategy to allthe sex workers of china in rural and urban areas.
Manydefinitions of prostitutes were stated in the module but it was notable to come up with an absolute definition of them. Regarding themas a residue of capitalism (Huang, 2001) can be true because of thetreatment of sex as a commodity that can be exchanged for otherobjects. But who do these sex workers work for to be deemed as suchresidues? Another definition of them is that they maybe in need ofeducation (Mo, 2005) but what is it something that they need to learnabout? Those questions were not clearly answered by the module. Maybeit will be impossible to come up with an absolute definition of sexworkers because many considerations should be made like theirnecessities, contexts and scopes of practice to be able to come up toone. The refusal of the women to be called immoral and unethical alsoimposed serious issues because their practice clearly disobeys theChina’s Prostitution Law (National People’s Congress, 1991) thatviews prostitution as a crime and is punishable by law. Ding and Hohowever, were successful in conveying the needs of the sexual workersphysically and mentally. They were able to show how resourceful axiaojiescanget as well as showing the other benefits that are incorporated inthis type of industry.
AlthoughKASAMA already defined prostitution as a type of formal job (1997),this module did not also clearly defined the practice whether it is ajob or not, Chinese government still see it as against the law sothere will be no legal rights to protect these women if they continueto practice this type of industry. Therefore labelling it as a formaljob would be pointless.
Dingand Ho could have also chosen better sites of the study too. ThoughPearl River Delta is one of the most industrialized places of China,Beijing could be a better substitute. Beijing as we all know is thecapital of China and more rural migrants come there for differentpurposes (Liu, n.d.). Beijing has 15.81 million inhabitants (NationalStatistical Yearbook of China, 2007) where greater number of femalesex workers could have found to achieve the minimum sample size of30. Also, Beijing has more bars, clubs, parlours etc. which are saidto be the primary places where sex trading usually happen. Beijingalso has more number of ethnic groups than in Pearl River Delta. Ifthere are more ethnic groups, a study can also be included ifnon-Chinese natives do also avail of the services of these sexualworkers. Although the best thing to do is to get samples from eachplace in China but due to financial and resources restriction,samples in one place will be enough given that it will reach theminimum number of sample size.
PearlRiver Delta, being one of the places experiencing intensive economicdevelopment (Ziteng, 2000), is still some steps away from the successof Beijing to be considered as a good site for conducting this typeof study. Sex workers might be more resourceful there since Beijinghas more population therefore it means that there is more competitionthere that will result for the sex workers to be more resourceful andmore skillful to get patrons. The authors might get better data fromthese more “skilled” sex workers since they have more experienceand their abilities might be better.
Despitethe unethical and immoral views of people in the practice ofprostitution, Ding and Ho were still able to convey the benefits thatthis industry can bring to the mental and physical well being of thepeople who are doing it. On the other hand, they are unsuccessful ingiving more cons about this practice because they focused more on thepros. This practice still has its dangers that may put the life ofanyone who practices it at risk (Audet, 2003). Aside from drugs(Weigang,1993), violence and the possibility of being put to thejail, different types of sexually transmitted diseases may also bespread which may lead to HIV (Suiming, 1996) and AIDS (Raymond,2003). Prostitution will also increase the number of sex traffickersin a place (Jeffreys, 2004).
Also,male sex workers should also be included in the study becausealthough there is a dominance of women in the sex industry, there arestill men who practice it. By studying also the male sex workers, wemay able to see whether sexual capitals can also be applied to themin developing themselves and their manhood just like to what it claimto be to women sex workers. By examining male sex workers, we canalso compare the differences on how they will use and maximize theircurrencies. Though most women are often considered as unskilled andfragile workers (Zhang, 2001), Ding and Ho quite shown sexism in themaking of this module practically because it is implying that theweakness of women is usually the cause for them to engage in acts ofsex industry.
Theauthors should not also give a large part of their blame to the hukousystemas the cause of women to do sex work. Because from their samples,only two xiaojieswere found to be urban hukousthat came from the small rural towns of China. That number yieldedsmall likelihood of their claim about hukou as one of the main causeof the sex industry in China.
Theirmethod of selecting these xiaojieswas also vague. How will they know that they really interviewed realsex workers? The authors did not disclose their screening process inorder to have credible subjects.
Theauthors also showed the Chinese government’s lack of competency inimposing their law against prostitution. Sex workers are still ableto find ways to elude the authority and this is not a good image fortheir police and other concerned agencies (Guangnai, 1995). In orderto minimize their practice, police forces should be more observant tothe industry of sex workers. Police force should also learn to adaptto the development of practices of sex workers.
Ithas been said that the field of sex in modern China today is partlydifferent to other social fields (Farrer, 2010). For me it is notreally true because the field of sex is included to our social field.It will always be included there because the sexual field issomething that has always been in our society although it issomething that people in the society will rarely talk about in public(Jeffreys, 2012).
Ingender and sexuality research, it is highly relevant to know theimportance of the emotional domain that asserts great, oftenunnoticed, influence on the life choices of people (Jankowiak, 2006). We should also consider the imagination, dreams or futureaspirations of these sex workers that made them part of this business(Mahler and Pessar, 2000). This study will not hold true to everywoman in the world because of the limited sample size, the site ofthis study only happened in China and the samples are only from Chinawhich should have been better if samples were women from many partsof the world. However, this module can still provide ampleinformation regarding sexual works that women and men engage in.
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