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Street Walk Essay: Socio Quiz

This paper is an elaboration and analysis of social problems observed during a late night stroll around Toronto. Numerous observations were made and a few people were also interviewed to acquire a more direct and accurate observation of the scenario. In the following paragraphs, each observation made during the late night walk shall be considered in light of the social problems and principles it can be identified with.

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The primary observed points constituted Church/Carlton/Jarvis/Gerrard, Filmore’s Bar at George & Dundas, Gay Ghetto at Carlton & Church, Boys Town at Grosnover and Bay, and Regent Park. The purpose of these observations was to acquire a thorough understanding of the numerous social problems that exist in society and the manner in which they relate with each other. The late night street walk was designed to be carried out in the form of groups of students and the central objective was to develop a clear and firsthand perception of communal harms and evils. The observations were fundamentally made through direct surveillance made through physical presence by standing at a distance from the subject under observation and studying the individual’s activities and surroundings. The paper shall proceed by identifying social problems and relating them to social theories based on psychological perceptions and perceptive build ups that prevail across modern day society.

Grosnover and Bay

In Grosvenor and Bay, a boy was standing at the corner, prostituting himself. Patriarchy was observed in the most obscure form at this point since the boy was not simply selling himself for the sake of acquiring money but a conversation with the boy revealed that he was doing so in order to acquire money for a purpose: He wanted to purchase medicine for his sick mother. The boy’s age was considered to be less than eighteen and he was quite cooperative and obliging in the conversation. It was evident that the boy was the victim of an Inferiority Complex as he continued to narrate his story and made frequent references to himself as person who nobody would want to hire and who was of no use to anybody. It was evident that poverty was forcing the young boy into prostitution and he had reached a state of mind where he considered himself to be unsuitable for any job setting. The boy was observed to be so lost that he had not even given serious consideration to the possibilities that he would explore as he grew older or the career that he would attempt to adopt later on in his life.

It was observed that the boy was a classic case of the mutation of imagination and the subtle evolution of conditioning (Uebergang, 2007). A compounding nature of subjection to criticism and failure seemed to be at the root of the boy’s desperation to earn quick money and the situation was only further aggravated by the boy’s inferiority complex. It can be suggested in light of the boy’s condition that the boy’s current state may have long term implications on the boy and may cause him to develop addictions (Farley, 2003). Also, the general context of the neighborhood observed was also observed to be threatening. If what the boy told us was true, then one can surmise that the boy was peddling himself in a location that was highly dangerous and where the boy could be exposed and could eventually become addicted to different forms of corruption.

The boy did not reveal any information about his father however and it was apparent that the general prevalence of patriarchy still holds strong in society (Evans, 1996). Whatever the reason for the father’s absence was, the boy was attempting to play a role that was that of his mother’s husband and it is therefore justifiable to conclude that the father was not a part of the picture. The concept of patriarchy was observed to have evolved in this case into one where the woman’s position is one that the man of the house is attempting to protect (Marshall, 2005).

The research brought forth a new perception of prostitution through which there was no doubt left in the fact that a significant cause because of which numerous forms of corruption prevail in society is the external mechanism through which poverty is channeled into slums such as these. Most of the people engaged in prostitution were observed to be ones who were not present by their own choice at all but were present in the neighborhood out of either an obligation to their families or out of the singular desperation into which they were thrust by society. The boy engaged in prostitution had lost aim of his future and was no longer in control of his life. This fact was one that brought forth another side of the entire observation. Not only is modern day society highly male dominated but is also one that does not take kindly to the weak.

The boy was in a position in his life where he had the responsibility of his sick mother and while the boy was not of an age that justified the position, the responsibility of taking care of his sick mother was one that he could not escape no matter what or how he tried. Having lost all desire to live his life for his own being and making choices for his own self, the boy had entered a perilous level of inferiority complex where he did not choose to engage in any activity whatsoever that could help him to actually develop himself. It can therefore be justified that his actions were ones that were based on decisions made on the spur of the moment and for the spur of the moment without having given relevance to any long term consequences.

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In terms of the understanding of this incident in light of the Social Bond Theory (Kendall, 2008), it is apparent that in the perspective of attachment, the subject is extremely attached to the mother and has taken on a commitment that had induced the individual’s involvement in the scenario in which he is present. While the Social Bond Theory perceives commitment as an element that relates the subject to adherence to law and regulations, it is evident that in the case of this boy, adherence to family protection and upkeep norms appear to be of primary relevance. In this perspective, the case of the boy comes forth as a highly unique application of the Social Bond Theory in which the outcome is far from deterrence but lies in the extensive opposite.

Transsexual

A transsexual was interviewed briefly during the late night stroll. She told us that the feeling of wanting to be a woman had been present in the mind from as long as she could recall. The intensity of the feeling was observed to be so strong that the transsexual had gone through surgery in order to have her gender changed. The transsexual was observed to be in a state of mind where she had absolutely no objections or regrets about the gender change through surgery and openly declared that she was happy with her life. While the general perception regarding transsexuals holds that they are of a shy nature, it was observed she was not shy at all and was not ashamed of her choice or decision in any manner.

Feminism can be found to be very strongly in action in this transsexual’s case since the individual is clearly choosing to take a stand against biological certainty (Stryker & Whittle, 2006). The individual is of the opinion that the genetically present biology should not have any influence whatsoever on the destiny of the individual. The transsexual did not merely appear to be attempting to revolt against gender based restriction of roles but was one who appeared to have made an independent choice in life.

The transsexual appeared to harbor an attitude which was slightly aggressive towards questions regarding any potential regrets or compunctions at having become a transsexual. This indicated that there was the presence of an unpleasant and unwanted conflict (Hollows & Moseley, 2006). Either the transsexual was feeling insecure about the change of gender or the degree of acceptance that the transsexual had been given upon implementing the decision of changing her gender. Or the second possibility could be that the transsexual did not acquire adequate acceptance and reception and had been subjected to stigmas of in-acceptance upon changing gender.

Another fact observed was that the transsexual was encountered in a neighborhood and at a time when there seemed to be a tendency for underhanded elements in the society to be out in the streets. This led to the development of the hypothesis that the transsexual might have encountered such a harsh level of in-acceptance that she had to resort to prostitution out of the need to earn money.

Crack Central

The next observation point was the corner of Sherbourne & Queen, which is also referred to as crack central. It was observed that drug dealing was going on without any hindrances or obstacles. Drug dealers were present and were not only selling cocaine but were actively involved in sniffing it as well. What came forth as more surprising was that most of the dealers were young and were between the ages of twenty two and thirty five. Another acute observation was the fact that there hardly seemed to be any decent women in the area. The only females present were those who were extensively intoxicated and those who were there with the men who had bought their services for the night.

This observation was one that came forth as a stark realization of the fact that the modern day society is one that is still highly male dominated and is one that serves to raise questions about the degree of comfort and security that the modern day woman is provided in a male dominated society (Enns, 2004). It is essential to note that while the identification of this attribute did not bring us back to patriarchy, it brought us to the realization of the manner in which there is a strong need to realize the vulnerable and exploited form in which modern day society has left women. One cannot help but associate Chauvinism with the scenario at hand.

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Gay Ghetto

The Carlton and Church is also referred to as the Gay Ghetto and is a place where the general observation held that male and female gay couples chose to express not only their orientation openly but also engaged in public displays of affection without any hesitation. However, it was observed that a gay individual asked one of the late night stroll members if he was gay and expressed his desire to go back to the hotel with him. Even though the incident was harmless and was asked out of polite curiosity, it was later felt that the advance was perhaps inappropriate in the part that the gay individual had also taken the liberty of mentioning the intimate desires without regard to the team participant’s sexual orientation beforehand. It was surmised that the tendency to do so owed itself to the still present stigma and suppression that many gay individuals in modern day society. The Carlton and Church was therefore serving the role of a haven for the gay couples who came there and was an avenue where they could express their orientation openly. The expression of the desire to engage in intimacy was therefore interpreted as a tendency of the gay individual to make the most out of being in a situation where he could express himself openly.

Another observation made was that the gay community was highly cooperative and welcomed the late night stroll group into the bar. The people present in the bar were extremely warm and made the group feel very comfortable. There was perhaps even an element of safety that the bar held. This element of safety can be associated with the presence of members of a specific social group. The bar allowed the gay people present to form a small tie or establishment of sorts that was free of external contaminants. The gay people present in the bar appeared to be feeling safe and while there appeared to be a tendency for the gay people entering the neighborhood to proceed to the bar since they felt safe in the bar. This indicated that the gay community still has a significant degree of acceptance that they desire and that they still have not reached a natural degree of comfort where they can express themselves openly in general circumstances other than when they are present in their own community.

Hooker Harvey’s

Hooker Harvey’s was perhaps one of the few places that caught the attention of the group the most. It appeared to be an informally known epicenter for prostitution. It was noticed that the operations that incorporated corruption were not isolated from each other but were heavily integrated with each other. This observation was made from the fact that a flesh monger who had been observed to have driven around the block for nearly nine times later stopped his car and came out of his car to simply sell drugs to a boy. The flesh monger was in his middle ages and must have been around forty or forty five. All the while, a prostitute sat in the flesh monger’s car in wait for customers while the flesh monger showed her off around the block. Another observation made was that the prostitute continued to remain in the car while the flesh monger came out of the car to sell drugs to young boys, the prostitute stayed in the car. The observation made from this occurrence was that the prostitute was in complete control and under authority of the pimp, indicating a high degree of reliance on the pimp. Another observation made was that the pimp appeared to be selling drugs to black young boys, which indicated that there was a strong element of corruption and a ghetto like internal structure functioning in the neighborhood.

Around the same area, another observation made was that there were men driving by in cars and most of the cars had men in groups of three or four sitting in them. They were peering outside of their cars as if in search for something. This researcher was not dressed in any manner that would resemble the dressing of a prostitute, yet a car with four men in it came by and asked the researcher to get in. Fortunately, a male researcher was also present in the proximity and he immediately took this researcher away from the scene. This small incident that spanned no more than perhaps a few seconds showed that the neighborhood was known and somewhat formally acknowledged as a center for prostitution. No matter what the dressing of a woman may be, a woman standing in the neighborhood was taken to be a prostitute (Hooks, 2000). In an inductive perspective, this observation can be surmised in a manner such that the inference holds an indication towards a deteriorating perception of the woman in modern day society. In day time the area may have been absolutely perfect with all kinds of people walking by, but the night appeared to have brought out a side of the neighborhood that was in stark difference to the picture that must have been present in this very neighborhood during the day.

Filmore’s Bar

This was an area avidly patronized by white working class men, an interesting fact worth mentioning is that mostly all who patronized Filmore’s were white working class men, possessing rented cars. This indicated that either they were non residents or that they were trying to maintain a degree of anonymity to avoid investigators or other such, wifely traps. However any one of these disturbing facts clearly indicates that the degree of corruption in this particular area was extremely high. Investigative observations led to an incriminating factor that almost all of the patrons were of the 40 and above age category. Pointing out that clearly many of the visitors were married, and corruption like this was causing temptation and was the cause of many broken lives, and disrupted childhoods. The location itself was not very secluded; therefore it was of an extremely adolescent exposed nature.

With all the acts of sexual intercourse being carried out, one would imagine that a place like this could lead to the highest degree of Aids the world has ever seen. Secondly, corruption leads to not only the disruption of normal otherwise happy lives but the conversion of an entire neighborhood into a brothel of sorts can be a source of the greatest globalized industry which is the pornographic industry. This transpires the kidnapping of girls, selling of young children and the works.

It came forth as a bit of a surprise that Filmore’s Bar was an establishment that seemed to be catering to a rather established segment of people. Most of the men at Filmore’s Bar were observed to be white and a vast majority of the people was observed to be in a highly intoxicated state. The bar seemed to be serving a purpose similar to the one that the pimp on the street was observed to be engaged in but it was observed that the men coming to the bar were economically rich. The prostitutes present were ones who appeared to be catering to a higher class and there was no doubt that the price of a prostitute must have been much higher in the bar than that of a prostitute on the street. Another observation that stood out was that there was that most of the cars parked in front of the bar were those from car rentals, indicating that most of the bar’s clientele was based on people who came out of town.

This inference is one that speaks volumes about the reputation of the neighborhood. Not only is the bar infamous for being a hub for prostitution for the high class but this understanding appeared to be one that went far beyond the people residing in the neighborhood and even in the city. Most of the men appeared to be working men and over the age of forty, which further indicated that the bar catered to a clientele that had the means and the money to pay for the high class services provided by the bar. However, the women in the bar were selling their bodies the same way as the women outside on the streets. They were asking women if they wanted to have a fun night and it was evident in this fact that the reputation that the women on the street held was the same that the women in filmore’s bar held. The only change was in the immediate scenery, whereas the mutation of the conception of feminism remained the very same. The woman in the bar was one who nothing more than sold her body, as did the woman on the street (Devlin-Glass & McCredden, 2001). The customers in both cases were men while the only difference that existed was that the men in the bar were those who agreed to pay more money than the men on the streets who roamed the blocks in groups of three and four in their cars.

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It is evident from this observation that the neighborhood was one that appeared to hold a generalized understanding of women; one that regarded the woman nothing more than an object and an entity to make use of in exchange for money. Alcohol and drugs appeared to be rampant in their prevalence across the bar and appeared to be fueling the entire experience that the men in the facility were having.

The degree of sophistication of this place, hinted toward the high class seniority of prostitution that was going on here. It was not some small time brothel that operates at the side of the road, with hookers offering their bodies right out on the streets like some hawker offering his cheaply sold goods. Everything was done is a sophisticated high class, atmosphere, which only meant higher paid flesh mongers, and higher paid prostitutes. The atmosphere has a very minor link to the fact that the pomp and show was for the benefit of their clients. They were looking to attract the highest paying customers offering the highest bids on the most expensive prostitutes. That is how Filmore made its income.

This was a high class white collared working class patronized brothel that played a major role in the corruption increase at the time. With no attempt to shield its clandestine affairs, the patrons and prostitutes alike, were very aware of the power of their sexuality and flaunted it openly. Intoxication was a major source of their shamelessness. After all they had to be coherent to be aware of the compromising situation they were in.

Conclusion

It is apparent from the discussion that social stratification in the modern day society tends to mutate into an alternate form during the night time (Loudon & Bitta, 2001). This form is one that is extensively different in its social perceptions of gender and attempts to harden the barriers and increase the degree of isolation present between different social classes. It was evident in the observations made that the stratification is one that is tends to go against feminism.

Also, with regard to gender inequalities, it is evident that there is a significant under-crediting of the role of women in society. In this social stratification structure in particular, it was evident that women are being treated as an object in this particular night-time form of society.

When considered with respect to the labeling theory, it is apparent that not only the applicants of the social labels but also the recipients of the social stigmas have chosen to accept the presence of the social stigmas and have chosen to adhere to them in the course of their day to day lives. None of the people observed appeared to be reluctant or opposed to the roles that they were fulfilling and it was apparent that they were very firmly placed in their stigma riddled roles.

One can surmise from the discussion of the observation presented above was one that depicted the existence of a particular in society. The observation indicated that modern day society functions in a manner that is particular to it. While modern day society may have developed and may have become extensively sophisticated, an internal paradox exists inside this sophistication in the form of the shape that modern day society tends to take upon nightfall. There was a highly strong of corruption present in the observed neighborhood and one can surmise from the observations that modern day society is still dominated by man. The extensive presence of man and the extensive degree of prostitution and drug selling observed was more than enough to indicate that this dominant form of man was one that was not limited to a specific group of people but was deeply rooted in society. As uncanny as the resemblance may be, the idea of the childhood story, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, seems to hold true in the most crude of fashions if one was to isolate the manner in which all sophistication comes down to nothing as night approaches. the fact that the rich and relatively well established gentry of the area, residing in Cabbage Town, did not choose to step out of their house upon the approaching of night only served to further strengthen the observation that the presence of corruption and evil is still dominant and is fueled and strengthened by social problems such as poverty, family obligations and other similar elements. The walk proved to be an extremely enlightening and revealing experiment and ascertained the fact that no amount of text based study can replace the awareness that one acquires when exposed to reality and made to experience it firsthand. Not only did the walk provide answers to several questions but was next to empirical in opening up new horizons and giving birth to broader questions in the mind of this researcher.

Reference

Devlin-Glass, F., & McCredden, L. (2001). Feminist poetics of the sacred: creative suspicions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Enns, C. Z. (2004). Feminist theories and feminist psychotherapies: origins, themes, and diversity. New York: Routledge.

Evans, P. (1996). The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to Respond. Avon: Adams Media.

Farley, M. (2003). Prostitution, Trafficking and Traumatic Stress. New York: Routledge.

Hollows, J., & Moseley, R. (2006). Feminism in Popular Culture. Oxford : Berg Publishers.

Hooks, B. (2000). Feminist theory: from margin to center. London: Pluto Press.

Kendall, D. (2008). Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. Connecticut: Cengage Learning.

Loudon, D. L., & Bitta, A. J. (2001). Consumer Behavior: Concepts And Applications. New Delhi:Tata McGraw-Hill.

Marshall, J. (2005). Humanity, freedom and feminism. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Stryker, S., & Whittle, S. (2006). The Transgender Studies Reader. US: The transgender studies reader.

Uebergang, J. (2007). Inferiority Complex and the Self-image. EarthlingCommunication.com , 1-15.

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