Friday, February 28, 2014

Prostitute Panache

Bethany Cooper

It amazes me how ignorant people are on the truths of prostitution. The belittlement and hostility society holds against prostitutes is bias. This idea of new nasty women isn’t in fact new at all. Prostitution has been around has been around just as long as other not-so popular occupations. Prostitution has been around for quite some time, and the negative portrayal tied to it today hasn’t always been around. In fact, in the 18th century, prostitutes were viewed in a much more emotional tone, and society recognized the scarcity of economic opportunity women had.[1] I’m not here to say prostitution is the way, but I am here to say prostitutes are people too. Take the character Fantine in Les Miserables. Those who have watched this film often felt a deep and saddened tone towards her. Looking at her struggle shows a common reality in prostitutes, and when she finally has nowhere else to turn, she too ends up in prostitution. I find that many people didn’t see disgust towards her, because they knew she was just trying to take care of her daughter.
The reaction people had towards Fantine are those similar to the feelings towards the film “Pretty Woman.” If people knew the individual stories of every prostitute, they may not make such hard judgment towards their lifestyle, as it is not normally just “chosen”.
But although opinions have changed, these aren’t the only differences in the prostitution business. The appearance of “promiscuity” has evolved just like many aspects of the lifestyle. Ironically enough, makeup style has nearly gone polar opposite in the business. Today everyone desires a darker, “tan” complexion, while back in the day men lavished over pale women wearing bright red lipstick.[2] Funny how “beauty” changes so quickly while we are busy spending so much time trying to obtain the image we see as “beautiful.” One aspect of prostitution that actually hasn’t changed is the longing for a thinner, more petite woman. While many men like seeing “meat on their bones,” it is most common for
a man to desire a thin woman, especially looking in today’s images.
Many people don’t see the work that goes into prostitution. Often times society is so busy judging and disrespecting prostitutes that they don’t see the struggle these people go through. I hope that people will soon go back to the “old fashioned” view of prostitution by attempting to see the reality of what these people face, and how it’s often not easy.

[1] Newton, Richard. "18th Century Prostitute." (online forum message). Jane Austen's World. March 24, 2012. (accessed February 21, 2014).

[2] "Makeup: 18th Century Whores and Ladies." (online forum message). Making History Tart & Titillating. October 20, 2010. (accessed February 21, 2014).

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