Talking point: so is prostitution empowering?

12 January 2010

Cast your mind back to 2007, when Secret Diary Of A Call Girl star Billie Piper controversially described her role as prostitute Belle de Jour as, ‘The story of a witty, well-educated girl who enjoys having a lot of sex and likes being paid a lot of money for it. She makes no apologies for it. It is her choice and she is very much in control.’

We were immediately thrown. In the UK, 75% of prostitutes have been physically assaulted and 90% want to get out of the profession. Most tellingly, 70% suffer post-traumatic stress disorder on the same level as frontline soldiers and victims of torture. Choice? Control? Hmmm.

Then we watched Call Girl and, yes, along with 748,000 other viewers, we liked it. Prostitution was portrayed in silk negligees and expensive stockings. We wondered if Billie had a point about prostitution being empowering.

The real life Belle de Jour, Dr Brooke Magnanti, claimed she missed her former life as a prostitute and the satisfaction of ‘doing a job well’

However new mum Billie seems to have changed her mind. After filming a sex scene for the new series, she said, ‘There is a part of me that thinks: I have to go home and feed my son now, and I'm going to need several showers before that. And a lot of praying.'

What do you think? How come intelligent, educated women like Billie and Brooke seem to say one thing and do another? Where do you think this prostitution debate will end?



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