Frenje's Reviews > Brothel Mustang Ranch & Its Women

Brothel Mustang Ranch & Its Women by Alexa Albert
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Jan 29, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in January, 2011

Fascinating peek into the social and psychological dynamics of legal prostitution at the Mustang Ranch in Nevada. Albert weaves together an interesting and multi-dimensional story, with perspectives from the working girls, the brothel owners, the staff and the johns.

Albert says in her intro that it's not her intent to "redeem these women", but "to awaken readers to their humanity and bring this issue out of the realm of caricature and into that of serious debate". And she does an amazing job of writing about the industry and women without veering into sensationalism or pity, even though I found some of the middle chapters dragged a little.

Having read the book, I still struggle to understand the complexity of a woman's decision to become and stay a prostitute of her own free will, and still idealistically hope that there's a way for the world to get along without prostitution altogether. But hey, since that's not going to happen anytime soon, I do think it important for policymakers to consider how best to regulate (or not regulate) the industry.

I'm not certain that this case study makes for a very convincing argument for legalising prostitution -- not so much from the STD angle, as from the point of view of promoting the welfare of the women -- because the Mustang Ranch just seems too much like a one-off that evolved from a rather unique history and set of personalities.
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