Whether a society is able to successfully eradicate deviant behaviors is a question that has left many pondering. Prostitution, a practice in many societies is one of the deviant behaviors and affects mostly family institutions. It is however unfortunate that some states recognizes the practice and even legalize and license the practice with the excuse that it is a source of revenue. Homosexuality and abortion too are common prevalent deviant behaviors that have so rampant in our societies today.
Most governments design their policies basing on the strengths and weaknesses of these deviant behaviors. These behaviors have their pros and cons in society’s the essay will explore on the cons and pros of these practices. Introduction A deviant is a behavior or an action that is contrary to the accepted norms of the society. Norms set the standards upon which a society should behave. These norms are not necessarily moral. Deviances are not necessarily bad either; this is because their existences in the society initiate changes for the better.
However, if everyone in the society conformed to these standards, the society would be stagnant. That is, there would be no challenges and neither would there be any attempt to innovate new things. Some deviances are good to the community as they are a source of income even though they might not conform to the rules of the church. This makes deviance a necessary evil. The norms of the society keep changing with time. Something that was considered to be a norm in the 1970s might not be considered a norm today or vice versa.
Different societies hold different cultural beliefs and values and therefore they have different norms and hold different beliefs and values. A deviance of one society can be a norm to another society. In a nutshell, norms are contextual and are relative to place and time (Thio, 2009). Deviances can be criminal or simply irritating. To create a peaceful and harmonious society, a society always tries to collectively eradicate deviances in a society and setting up rules and regulations upon which its inhabitants subscribe to. Offenders of these laws are punishable in the traditional court or the mainstream court.
Sociologists have therefore designed theories that help us to understand why people do or do not conform to the norms of the societies, and the effect of these deviances in our society. Basing on three major sociological functions namely structural functionalism, symbolic interaction and conflict theory, this essay evaluates the existence of prostitution, abortion and homosexuality in our society (Thio, 2009). Prostitution Prostitution is said to be the oldest trade in the history of mankind. This is the provision of sexual services in exchange for money.
In the ancient days, most countries embraced prostitution as a norm. For instance in Greece prostitution was practiced by both genders however most of the women practitioners were independent and influential and were required to wear specific clothing’s. In Rome, prostitution was practiced by both genders and women prostitutes were equally influential. Prostitutes were also required to be registered. Most of these prostitutes were slaves, abandoned children raised up as prostitutes, and also women offenders were enslaved into prostitution as a mode of punishment. Ideally prostitution was fully acceptable (Thio, 2009).
In the middle ages, the church labeled prostitution as a sinful act. However, the church was a bit tolerant on the basis that prostitution helped prevent other bigger sins such as sodomy, masturbation and rape. This allowed for growth of prostitution. In England there emerged the biggest brothel that was owned by a bishop. In fact, Pope Sixtus the 4th was the first to issue a license to a brothel. Today prostitution is mainly practiced as a source of income. In most cases these prostitutes cannot find any other form of employment since there is an acute shortage of jobs in the world.
This practice is also common amongst the poor. Some countries have also seen prostitution as a form of revenue and thus endorsed it (Thio, 2009). By the 16th Century, there was a strong resistance to this practice as a result of an outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases particularly syphilis. By the 19th Centuries most governments abolished and criminalized prostitution. Attempts by many countries to legalize prostitution have been received with a lot of resistance because of the HIV/Aids scourge and also because the act is considered sinful.
It is argued that that legalized prostitution allows for organized and controlled prostitution, whereby prostitutes will pay tax, and that infection of deadly diseases such as HIV/Aids and syphilis will be monitored and thus will be easily prohibited. The attitudes towards prostitution have changed overtime. Today the practice that was embraced by many is now shunned. This practice is now considered socially unacceptable by most societies and thus anyone who engages in it is punishable by law (Thio, 2009). Abortion Abortion is the termination of life of a fetus or embryo by prematurely removing it from the uterus.
Abortion is practiced across the globe. It is estimated that every year there are about 42 million abortions. Some countries have legalized abortion while others have not. Their reasons to legalize or not legalize abortion vary from health, ethical, to cultural grounds (Thio, 2009). Just like prostitution, abortion was well tolerated in the early and middle ages and there were no laws governing this practice. Pope Sixtus the 5th (1585 – 90) was the first to protest against abortion terming it as an act of homicide. According to the Pope life began at conception and therefore it did not matter at what stage one carried out an abortion.
By the 19th Century most countries had banned abortion however, today people practice illegal abortion. There have been debates all over the continent on at what point life begins. For some, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, life begins at conceptions while for others life begins when the embryo is formed. Taking away ones life is both considered sinful and criminal act in most countries. These attitudes against abortion were accentuated by the emergence of human rights activists and churches and were championing rights to live of the unborn (Thio, 2009).
In the 20th and 21st Century some countries such as United States ad United Kingdom have legalized some forms of abortions; for instance incases where the mother’s life was in danger, or when the pregnancy was as a result of rape. While in Soviet Union and Iceland abortion has been fully legalized without any restriction. They argue that people will always do abortion anyway, and that this is the only way to assure safety abortion practices (Thio, 2009). Homosexuality Homosexuality is a romantic and sexual relationship between people of the same sex or gender.
Homosexuality has always been received with a lot of criticism. Ordinarily people have been socialized to believe that sexual relationships can only be between two opposite sexes. For instance, in 1886 a leading sexologist Krafft-Ebing Richard classified homosexuality amongst deviant sexual practices while in the 19th C psychologist classified it as a disease. Today critics of this union cite that the union is contrary to their cultural and/or religious believes and values (Thio, 2009). People are still skeptic towards homosexuality however; attitudes towards this form of sexuality are slowly changing.
Some states in the United States of America have already legalized this form of union and are therefore allowing legal matrimony. Other countries have however been adamant and have even enacted laws that prohibit these unions. Human rights groups have come up in defense of homosexuals especially in places where they have been discriminated upon for instance, employment and housing. In 2006 the American Psychological Association and other legit bodies came in defense of the homosexuals and described them as stable and healthy relationships. In the religion realm there has been conflicting interpretation amongst different religion.
Most of them regard the relationship as sinful, while others simply state that all human beings were created in the image of God and that no one should judge the other (Thio, 2009). In conclusion, these deviant behaviors from any perspective we look at them, they should be discouraged at all costs as they pose more harm than good to our society’s good morals. The risk are evident and as much as people will argue in the context of rights, that it is their lives and they have the right to do as they please, I strongly oppose to tolerance of this deviant behavior as they bring more harm than good to our societies.
Thio, A. (2009). Deviant Behavior; New York: Pearson Education.