sex work

– A Bunny’s Tale –

Please don’t be mistaken by the title, it was nothing innocent as you imagined.

It was in fact an investigation journalism written by Gloria Steinem, when she was undercovering in Playboy Clubs as Playboy bunny in the 1960s. She made up her names, backgrounds and age to enter the scene without causing trouble, there she seen many interesting situations whilst she seen/experienced deeply on women being treated unfairly as a sexual object.

Despite my disagreement on her opinion toward sex work and women, I must admit that her notes on her two months as the playboy bunny was indeed fascinating, just like reading insider’s tale on almost every industry. It also nicely described how sex work (voluntary ones, I use voluntary to distinguish in case people might think I neglect the potential coered ones) aren’t totally different from actual labours – we all worked hard with our body for the job given, we all have to put on a face/gesture/preparation to make a brilliant “performance”, as Arlie Hochschild (1983) would’ve said.

Even it’s Gloria Steinem and I wasn’t fan of her, her writing was in fact wasn’t bad.

Look it up -> http://dlib.nyu.edu/undercover/bunnys-tale-gloria-steinem-show-magazine (the actual article)

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– SARA (film) –

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In Hong Kong, SARA the film caused a load of stirs and talks because of this scene,

the scene was an actress call Charlene Choi and after years of playing sweetness and innocent, she plays in this film a woman who went through many problems, from being sexually assaulted by close relatives to having a sugar daddy. Sara was a woman she met in Thailand, whom shared a very tragic fate with C.C.’s character and C.C. wanted to save.

I must admit I am more than interested in her relationship with the sugar daddy, especially their interpretation from “sell & buy” to building up an actual attachment.

It also brought questions over Hong Kong’s issues, from government being corrupted and useless to all kinds of matters.

I would like this film to be shown in Film 4 one day…

(trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ6sIE2m5fU)

 

– Byzantium –

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Finally watched Byzantium last night, after cooking vegetable fried rice !! I must admit despite the brutality style of killing/murder in the duration of the film, I quite enjoyed it. Some said the story was hardly interesting (as there are no excitement), but I enjoy it as it was like mystery novels you gotta keep flipping pages… I like Saoirse’s character, filled with history and want to write to let the world know her story. However I have issue with the boy she falls in love, especially when he betrayed her trust by passing her story to the tutors and cause troubles for her and her mum (Gemma Arterton).

Gemma Arterton reminded me of “Mona Lisa” (N.J.s previous film I watched) – they both have been working as sex worker for sometime, both were strong and able to react quickly to situations. However I like Arterton’s character more because of her clean-cut and resourceful characteristics , for example she was able to turn a run-down hotel into a brothel. Also the times when she was able to get up and go with work, such as the time as soon as she arrived the town she began working her way to money as a street sex worker. Sex Work in my eyes through this film was like vampires, both were so against the law (morality more like) yet shared such strong aura for attractions and a deep sense of history.

One of the things I liked and noticed was Neil Jordan’s choice of location, in both “Byzantium” and “Mona Lisa” many events happened at seaside town (my guess was on Brighton). Seaside towns back in the post-world-wars were the most popular choices of working class families for summer holidays, they eventually gone into ruins (part from Scarbrough and possibly Whitby) states when airline travel become accessible. The decadance suit the vampire’s “long histories” well, for their symbolism of memories and past happiness…

One of the most visible thing was the brotherhood – in the film the entitlement of becoming a vampire was just like selecting a barrister: rich, male and powerful. G.A.’s character broke all three entitlements: women, poor, with no powerful family (sex worker too). Yet her seizing chances gave her eternal life and S.R.’s character. While she was able to liberate (well in theory) women to fight for her own life, the brotherhood claimed she has to be killed in the film, the pursuit equals the relentness fight women have to take, to ensure their rights not being taken away.

So yes, overall it was a nice film, actually I need to re-watch “Interview with the Vampire” some point.

– Madame de Pompadour –

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I have to admit that I was not a huge fan of French history,

but I was fascinated by the history of Louis XIV til Marie Antoniette’s death.

In between them/those period, came Madame de Pompadour – a fascinating woman with a humble background, who managed to make a lot of difference on France in culture.

Of course she was written by many people, but I was especially fascinated by Nancy Mitford’s writing upon her. Nancy made Madame de Pompadour seemed someone who we sometimes bump into from day to day, made the work or the idea of her job as mistress less than simply about sleeping with the king. In the biography, Madame de Pompadour worked to entertain the king, to be a woman without trouble – a woman who wouldn’t cause man any unnecessary stress unless he was willing to, for example willing to provide income for her to spend.

Through the biography (and through previous posts on mistresses), there were overlaps between work as mistresses/courtesans and sex workers (especially high-class escorts), who were positioned outside general circles men have. There were also a great deal of involvement on other elements, especially emotional involvement, e.g. mistress has to help the man relax from his duties.

– Mistresses –

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For the last few days, I have been in a bad state – un-inspired in creativity, stressed for the need of jobs and desperation for stability. I want to write stories and yes I have good ideas, yet I seemed constantly struggled to articulate everything I want to say from mind to words.

Then as my man managed to kill most of the pop-in adverts on my computer, I was able to visit Books.com.tw after many months without visiting. Then there I saw this book: Mistresses, A History of the Other Woman (written by Elizabeth Abbott). I remember the book well, because Paris Shih the Taiwanese cultural scholar once mentioned it in his Facebook and praised the wonderful quality of the book.

As we may or may not know – back in the history mistresses were “normal” to exist despite the importance of marriages, it was more than normal for a king to have mistress while married to a queen. For example, Madame de Pompadour the most famous mistress in history. Despite their nature in otherness, they proved to be powerful in some ways, some even changed the history. Sometimes mistress became an ideal woman for men to be at ease (if you ask me this sound very escort like!), for example Eva Braun the long-lasting mistress of Adolf Hitler – she wasn’t clever, or you can even use the word ordinary. Yet her lack of involvement with Hitler’s political life enabled Hitler to keep himself from stressed over his plan to take over the world!

To me being a mistress seemed a very fun job yes, but at the same time being in that position pretty much equals being a hidden character. So really I don’t think it will be for me, to be honest. However through sex work positions such as high-class escorts e.g. Belle de Jour or Sugar Babes (for Sugar Daddies), we could still see some basis of mistress, such as able to provide fun and able to ease the stress for the “clients”.

– #MegaBrothel –

I was watching this at Thursday night,

it has been interesting I must admit.

Yet part of me found the legalization rather questionable,

while NZ and Australia’s decriminalization seemed relatively less troubled…

Not just for the safety’s sake on sex workers – both physically and psychologically,

but also I always found the idea of having third party (e.g. pimp or anyone directly involved in between customers and SWs) involved financially very scary….

– Sleeping Beauty –

I would love to watch this film since it released, but at the time I was too scared of watching the film alone.

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(The House of the Sleeping Beauties by Yasunari Kawabata, Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

The story focused on a young woman who worked as a “Sleeping Beauty”, a woman who slept on the bed while men in all age touches and well possibly exploit them in their sleep. The idea in a way was disturbing, as such work could be very easily conflated into un-consented sex or even rape. I also dislike the idea of being asleep while all these little things happened, as it increased the sense of vulnerability and therefore it would be much harder for one to protect ourselves.

There were also a lot of emphasis upon men (mostly in older age within the trailer) stroking the bodies of the young woman, which like the two books in the photos – they shared a mutual sense of nostalgia on youth, the closing point of death. Through the descriptions, the punters in both the two novels and the film had been having their memory lane moments over the women they have been with.

Need to see this film for sure, somehow, if I can find a time and mood.

Need to see this too!