I am sure that many of you have a love/hate relationship with the movie “Pretty Woman”. (side note, did you ever wonder if Richard Gere played the same character as in “American Gigolo” and so when he made it big, he really had a soft spot for his fellow SW?, now that would have been a movie). On one hand Julia Roberts is a hooker with a heart of gold but on the other hand it perpetuates the stereotype that all SW’s are just waiting for that right guy to “rescue” them. This is illustrated in countless texts posted on Twitter. They range from the “let’s have a real date (no charge)” to the debacle of SA or SugarDaddy.com (for the record, I have come to hate the word Sugar Daddy, I have a daughter, there is nothing Dad-like in that arrangement). I was once in a situation where I dated a stripper for 6 months prior to my marriage. I didn’t want to take her away from anything and what she did was never an issue in our relationship (her constant discussion of her ex was. She quit stripping became a nurse, then want to law school. Also she was at my wedding. ) Dating her did cure my desire to ever go to strip club again, I learned a lot about that industry. Plus she kept our relationship totally separate. I did not visit her at work.
This is where my archetype of the narcissitic man/”damaged” woman comes in. These guys want to save you all because it will justify all of those controlling behaviors he has from his full set of insecurities. If he could only save the right hooker, she would, of course, be eternally grateful, respectful, submissive and totally put up with his shit forever. What a nightmare. Just fucking run, ladies, fun far and run fast. The subtext of some of the things these men text are just appalling, dripping with condascension, vulgar and often mansplaining. I don’t know what glitch causes men to act this way but science needs to find a solution.
The Pretty Woman stereotype pervades most people’s (those who don’t actually know a real SW) perceptions. There are countless groups and individuals who want to save SW’s from themselves. For the most part, SW’s don’t need to be saved from themselves. They do need to be “saved” (Liberated really, thanks @Alberta_Jasper) from some of the arbitrary things that happen to them just because they do sex work, things like being evicted because of a SW ordinance or lease clause, like losing custody of their children, like not being able to get paid for what they do because they got kicked off one more payment system. It has occurred to me that SW has a PR problem. The phrase “crack whore” comes to mind (arguably the women that are written about in USASexguide where “Anal” and “$30” are used in the same sentence may need a bit of a hand up). If the perception of SW were to the public what it really is, ie women of all shapes, sizes, colors, relationship statuses, educational levels, demographics, natonalities etc, things would change. I am envisioning a commercial like one of the old Colors of Benetton (dating myself). The NRA has lobbyists, The Sierra Club has lobbyists, everyone who gets things done at the legislative level has a lobbyist. What lobbyists really do is draft legislation for legislators to pass. These organizations also donate to and endorse candidates. Such actions create access to the legislators that is more direct than just being a consituent. Meeting with your elected officials creates access.