Cover image for Backstreets: Prostitution, Money, and Love By Cecilie Høigård and Liv Finstad

Backstreets

Prostitution, Money, and Love

Cecilie Høigård, and Liv Finstad

BUY

232 pages
6" × 9"
1992
Co-published with Polity Press

Backstreets

Prostitution, Money, and Love

Cecilie Høigård, and Liv Finstad

Backstreets is a major breakthrough that takes us into the daily, lived experiences of prostitution to reveal its harsh and brutal realities. Nowhere else have we seen the violation that prostitution is to women so fully and sensitively revealed. From women’s lives Backstreets exposes the lies of liberal romanticization of prostitution. The unavoidable conclusion of this work is that we must challenge every social condition that gives men license to use women in these ways.”

 

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Backstreets is about prostitution. It allows the individuals who participate in it—prostitutes, pimps, and those who buy sexual services—to tell their own stories in their own words. Women, for example, explain why they become prostitutes and how they experience the daily sequence of "tricks." Men discuss why they become customers of prostitutes and what they get out of the experience. Pimps describe how they see themselves and the prostitutes upon whom they depend.

The authors have studied the prostitution market of Oslo for over ten years. Their research has involved extensive interviews with participants, observation of Oslo's prostitution district, personal interaction with prostitute women, and analysis of city police records. They conclude that prostitution is embedded in the gender relations of an economically stratified society and that those who experience prostitution over an extended period of time suffer deep emotional damage.

Backstreets is a major breakthrough that takes us into the daily, lived experiences of prostitution to reveal its harsh and brutal realities. Nowhere else have we seen the violation that prostitution is to women so fully and sensitively revealed. From women’s lives Backstreets exposes the lies of liberal romanticization of prostitution. The unavoidable conclusion of this work is that we must challenge every social condition that gives men license to use women in these ways.”
“No single study has gone this deeply into the aftermath of steady involvement in prostitution on the self-images, self-feelings, and personal relations with the opposite sex for both prostitutes and customers. The similarities of some of these prostitutes’ experiences with the reactions of survivors of incest and rape are also thought-provoking. Few studies ever present this much data on the backgrounds, strategies, and life-styles of customers and pimps. This triangulation’ of the world prostitution—utilizing data about a significant number of women, clients, and pimps—provides an unusual depth to this work.”

Cecilie Høigård is Professor of Criminology at the University of Oslo. She has written books about prostitution, social work/welfare, and unemployment.

Liv Finstad is Director and Lecturer of Criminology at the University of Oslo and president of the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology. She has written various books and articles about prostitution, prisons, drug abuse, treatment programs, and social work.

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