Author Topic: Prostitution in PC014 and EA  (Read 25914 times)

Anarkey

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Re: Prostitution in PC014 and EA
« Reply #40 on: July 07, 2008, 08:08:30 PM »
All the whores get to do is be in danger and be killed, sex up the main characters, or have hearts of gold (sometimes all three at once!).  Yawntastic.
I'm curious: have you listened yet to "The Right Kind of Town?"  Or, for that matter, to "The Grand Cheat?"  (I'm totally convinced myself that the Pseudopod story that week relates to prostitution, so I'm not going to address it.)

I don't think your characterization applies to either story.  I certainly want to be open to criticism, but are you criticizing us for stereotypes that are actually in the stories under discussion -- i.e., for things we're actually responsible for -- or for stereotypes that bother you in general and you just want to make sure we avoid them in the future?

Nope.  Haven't.  I'm a couple of iterations behind on both PC and EP atm.  However, I did hear episode 134, "Me and My Shadow", where everything I characterized was VERY MUCH in evidence.  I'm only here because of my amusement that this thread seems related to what I tried to say months ago.  Whether what I said then can apply to these two stories I can't say (yet), though I'll admit to trusting other posters and the general tenor of the conversation that this was (likely) the same sort of thing.  I'll definitely let you know if I think these particular two stories get a pass or not, when I've heard them.  I was also trying to (gently) address the parallels that Windup and Roney drew between the excess of prostitutes and the excess of private dicks and architects in fiction.  Yes, neither are in proportion to the population, but that's not the only problem with having too many prostitutes.  It's what the sex workers do and do not get to do in stories, whether they have agency, whether they get to be protagonists, whether they are characterized deeply or used as shorthand or stand-ins for real characters, and whether they represent a whole person or just their given profession.  Maybe all this and more applies to these two episodes (I'm quite curious to find out, now) creating a couple of good iterations of prostitutes, worth hearing. 

Still, I didn't want Cerebrilith or Ragtime to think no one else had ever said anything in this regard, and that they were unsupported or alone in their opinions.  And I am still beating the drums for you to avoid these stereotypes in the future, yes.

I don't like stories with elves in them either.  Same issue.
What do you think about EP165: Those Eyes?

We'll see.  Haven't heard it yet.  Though knowing I have elves to contend with in an upcoming episode of EP is...well...not exactly exciting for me.  Still, I try for an open mind.  Maybe it will be the best elf story since LoTR. 

I tried to write an elf bondage story once, in reaction to the whole lily white eternal perfect elf business, but I got bored with it before I got to the end.  It's still possible I'll go back to it someday.
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wintermute

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Re: Prostitution in PC014 and EA
« Reply #41 on: July 08, 2008, 06:55:06 AM »
I don't like stories with elves in them either.  Same issue.
What do you think about EP165: Those Eyes?

We'll see.  Haven't heard it yet.  Though knowing I have elves to contend with in an upcoming episode of EP is...well...not exactly exciting for me.  Still, I try for an open mind.  Maybe it will be the best elf story since LoTR. 

I tried to write an elf bondage story once, in reaction to the whole lily white eternal perfect elf business, but I got bored with it before I got to the end.  It's still possible I'll go back to it someday.
I have to say, I'm with you on the elves. Tolkien gets a pass for having actually been original with them, but there are very few varieties of elves that I can actually bring myself to care about. The elves in Peter F Hamilton's Pandora's Star / Judas Unchained, and Dark Elves in Warhammer Fantasy are about the only examples that come to mind at the moment.
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Re: Prostitution in PC014 and EA
« Reply #42 on: July 08, 2008, 08:24:30 AM »
I've been wondering about "Union Dues: Freedom with a Small 'f'" in this context.  Stripper isn't the same as hooker, though "car dates" are mentioned.
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SFEley

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Re: Prostitution in PC014 and EA
« Reply #43 on: July 08, 2008, 09:34:59 AM »
I've been wondering about "Union Dues: Freedom with a Small 'f'" in this context.  Stripper isn't the same as hooker, though "car dates" are mentioned.

But the only time the protagonist does one, it's to pull a gun on the guy and get information leading to the rescue of an infant.  She wasn't there just to "be in danger and be killed," she was the main character so she wasn't "sexing up the main character," and she certainly didn't have a "heart of gold."

If the complaint here is that sex worker characters are mere placeholders and don't get to do anything, I would offer that story as a counterexample rather than an example.  Same for "Right Kind of Town."  I would agree with Anarkey about Mike Resnick's story, "Me and My Shadow," but so far that's the only Escape Artists story mentioned that seems to meet her criteria for clich├ęs.
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Roney

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Re: Prostitution in PC014 and EA
« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2008, 05:27:45 PM »
Oh hey!  This conversation sounds incredibly familiar!

I agree with you entirely on that story (and nearly agreed with you in the thread, except that you seemed to have said it all more clearly than I could).  My impression in this thread was that it was the quantity (or rather, coincidental airing) of stories with prostitute characters that was at issue.  The debate about the quality of each character would be better carried on in the individual story threads.

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And when I say I'd like to see stories with fewer prostitutes in them it's never because I have a problem with prostitutes, it's because I'm sick of the shorthand. 

And it's not just in fiction.  I was sure I'd read somewhere in The Guardian that their style guide frowned on describing someone (particularly a victim of crime) as "a prostitute", because unlike other professional descriptions (such as "Mr Smith, a bank manager" or "Miss Brown, a hairdresser") it's a short-cut in the reader's mind not just to socio-economic pigeon-holing but also to moral judgement.  This is a trick frequently abused by the press in the UK, and not just the tabloids.  (I think The Guardian preferred the clumsy formulation "a woman who worked as a prostitute" partly because its clumsiness draws the reader's attention to the distinction.  But if it is in their style guide, it's not in the online version that I could link to.)

Anyway, the recent characters who worked as prostitutes in PC and EP (can't speak for PP as I'm many months behind) didn't strike me as fitting any lazy stereotypes.

NoraReed

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Re: Prostitution in PC014 and EA
« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2008, 12:52:56 AM »
I've got to say, I like the prostitution stories. They're frequently the ones I send to my friends. EP's "This, My Body" and "I Look Forward To Remembering You" actually are two of the ones I recommend to people who don't usually read sci-fi or listen to podcasts.

It seems like there's a pretty good reason there are more stories about prostitutes than anything else: they're more interesting than most groups. It's like complaining that there are more astronauts in sci-fi than there are window-washers. Astronauts, superheroes, werewolves, aliens, elves, prostitutes, magicians, time-travellers and mad scientists  have more interesting lives than, well, normal people do, so of course they're going to be overrepresented.

Cerebrilith

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Re: Prostitution in PC014 and EA
« Reply #46 on: July 13, 2008, 09:31:19 AM »
I've got to say, I like the prostitution stories. They're frequently the ones I send to my friends. EP's "This, My Body" and "I Look Forward To Remembering You" actually are two of the ones I recommend to people who don't usually read sci-fi or listen to podcasts.

It seems like there's a pretty good reason there are more stories about prostitutes than anything else: they're more interesting than most groups. It's like complaining that there are more astronauts in sci-fi than there are window-washers. Astronauts, superheroes, werewolves, aliens, elves, prostitutes, magicians, time-travellers and mad scientists  have more interesting lives than, well, normal people do, so of course they're going to be overrepresented.

I don't think that prostitutes really belongs on that list of people with interesting lives.  Everything else on that list is either supernatural or in an active adventure seeking profession.  They have interesting lives for the most part because they seek it out.  Prostitutes on the other hand are generally caught in miserable subsistence lives.

Just because a story includes a prostitute who leads an interesting life does not necessarily mean that that persons life is interesting because they are a prostitute.  Not all, but a large number of stories could be written with the sex worker in question with some other profession leading an interesting life and still work just as well if not better.

I'm definitely not of the opinion that prostitutes or any other character type should never be used, but like anything else if they are over used or used where they aren't really appropriate then they weaken a story.