Working Girls

Prostitution is always a tricky thing to film. Either the filmmaker takes the side of as a patronizing man who wants to help the obviously defenseless young girls or that these prostitutes are the embodiment of the ideal female who is nothing but a sex kitten. I find both of these portrayals awful and slightly annoying. This film on the other hand takes the side of the prostitutes. It presents the side of economic stability and financial independence, which is what some prostitutes enter the business for. (not all. One minor in women’s studies in college does not make me an expert on prostitution)

This film is interesting for several reasons. The woman who is the protagonist is a bisexual woman with a relationship with a woman. These two women also have a child (who is super cute). She is also Yale educated and a photographer by profession. However she felt like she could not support herself, her girlfriend, and her child on photography alone. So she becomes a prostitute. When you get to the apartment, the other women tell their stories as to why they ended up there. One is saving to buy a boutique, the other is trying to go to school to be a lawyer. They are cynical about their positions and see sex in the capacity as only a way to make money, not to fall in love or become a better person. I respond to that sentiment. It is just a job and with a job comes annoyances and reward. You feel both as you enter the room with these women, our protagonist in particular.

Although the women are beautiful, they also seem very real, like you see them in a cafe, a movie theater or at home relaxing just as well as you could see them having sex. This film also treats the act of sex as a very real and frank thing. You see our protagonist (Molly) putting in her diaphragm, cleaning herself off and having sex with these men. It is nothing titillating ever. Like I said before, this is just a job to her.

By the end of the film, she decides to leave the sex working behind her. Maybe it was because of her boss being a silly nag or the corruption of innocence embodied by a new girl, or she reached her final fiscal goal. Who knows? All that I know is by the end I am ready for her to leave too. She wasn’t “saved” by one of her johns or by her girlfriend. She decides what she will do, she decides when she wants to leave and she decides if she wants to come back.

I don’t know if this film is true to reality. I’m guessing that a lot of women working in the sex industry do not have degrees from Yale. However, this is just one woman’s story about her version of prostitution as a legitimate source of income. I respect that. I respect this film.

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