William Acton’s views on prostitution were, for the most part, surprisingly unbiased, unemotional and logical. He believed that women fell into prostitution through seduction or because of poverty in the majority of cases. He also believed that these women are not entirely bad, although that is what the masses concluded. He thought prostitutes were just women who had lost their way, but that did not mean they could not return to a pure life. This may have been a slightly radical belief in the 1850s where unchaste women were shunned and exiled from society. Even now, after many radical movements about gender, age, and race, our society tends to uphold those standards of chastity.

Despite the disapproval of the moral majority, there are societies today that encourage women to have sex with multiple men. This practice is called polyandry. Polyandry occurs when one woman has more than one husband. These polyandrous societies exist today in the Himalayas and other secluded parts of the earth where this conduct is seen as neither unusual nor immoral. These people have practical reasons for their practices, the same way that Acton thinks prostitutes have practical reasons for their impurity. Fraternally polyandrous families (those in which one woman marries two or more brothers) have many important reasons for their way of life. This lifestyle means they do not have to split up the family’s farmland, which is already scarce in the Himalayas. If the small amount of farmland was divided for each new generation, everyone would go hungry. Also, polyandry keeps the population from booming because women can only get pregnant so often, but if each of her husbands had a different wife, the number of newborns would multiply rapidly.

Our society tells us that these beliefs and practices are wrong. It also says that there is no cure or return from prostitution and that those women have already fallen.  Acton’s piece disagrees by taking a professional stance as opposed to making biased statements about prostitution. The thing about falling is that with strength, you can pull yourself back up and brush the dirt off.

~J.W.

“Multiple Husbands.” You Tube. National Geographic. 18 May, 2007. Web. 23 Sept., 2012.

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