Are We Ready For Movies About Sex Work?

Think about the movies that you know are themed around sex work. Most of you will instantly think about the movie ‘Pretty Woman’, which we all know is not a true representation of what the industry is actually like.

Beautiful slim body of woman in studio
Beautiful slim body of woman in studio

However, it is hard to think of any films that actually show you the industry as we know it. The last I can think of was the ‘Love for Sale’ last year by Rupert Everett, and that was a documentary, not a film.

Many of us here on the Escort Scotland website are hoping for a film that will truly show the sex industry as it is, but every time a film starts off in the right way, it either veers off and gets it horribly wrong or it receives little attention because it doesn’t fit their stereotypes about sex work. So are we ready for a real movie about sex work?

“Much Loved”

The Cannes Film Festival is huge. If you get your film shown there, you will get a lot of attention and make a lot of money for your efforts, regardless of whether the film is good or bad.

For Nabil Ayouch he knew that Cannes was the perfect place to premiere his film “Much Loved”. The film is described by Variety as “a remarkably frank if unoriginal take (to international arthouse eyes) on prostitution in Marrakech”.

Ayouch has made waves before when his film “Horses of God” which looked at the attackers behind the bombings in Casablanca back in 2003, was released. However, he knew how important research was to this project and said that, before he went on to make “Much Loved”, he spoke to “between 200 and 300 young women who were, or had been, prostitutes.”

Clearly he did something right, as many at the film festival thought the frank look at the industry was just what they needed. That said, he seems to have, yet again, rocked the boat.

Sensual lady touching her naked husband

Outcry!

However, the film has caused a huge outcry in Morocco, which is a very conservative North African nation, and the government has taken action to ban the film from ever being shown in the county.

It’s hardly surprising, given the topic of the film, but that has stopped Ayouch from speaking out about the ban: “I’m shocked and surprised by this ban. I don’t understand that my film can be banned when we haven’t yet applied for a permit for it to be shown.”

It seems that the government are taking steps to make sure it is never shown, and they have described it as “a grave outrage against moral values and Moroccan womanhood”, as well as “a flagrant attack on the kingdom’s image.”

It is definitely an extreme way to react to the film, however the CCM stated that the “crude language” that appeared in the film “would not have been passed at the level of the commission” and that “at best, scenes would have been cut. At worst, it would have been refused.”

Censorship?

For Ayouch this is a step too far and he is fighting back in a very vocal way. He claims that “the freedom of expression of all Moroccan artists is under threat by this act of censorship by ancitipation.”

He also wants to make it clear that “prostitution is all around us, and instead of refusing to see it we should try to understand how women who have had difficult lives end up this way.”

However, many still have a problem with the film, and that last statement from him might reveal way. He is suggesting that certain difficulties in live lead people to the sex industry, and that makes it seem as though those involved have no choice.

Jay Weissberg of Variety also speaks out about the film and censorship they are facing, saying that “the storm will overshadow the movie, which pushes the envelope yet says nothing new about how prostitutes, and woman in general, are treated.”

Time for change?

Almost every single film about sex workers tends to focus on prostitutes. For some reason, their work on the streets is more shocking and so gets more people watching the film in the first place. So, more money for the film makers!

However, it doesn’t show what the industry is actually like. It is the same story, of women working the streets, facing danger at every turn, and needing to be rescued. Just look at ‘Pretty Woman’. She is rescued by a client and everything is magically okay.

The ending of the film fits the stereotype of “white knight upon a fiery steed” as he climbs the fire escape (or should we say tower?) to rescue her.

So it seems that almost every movie out there is adding to the stereotype and stigma surrounding the industry.

Couple in ecstasy

Are we ready for it?

Are we actually ready for a real movie about sex work? All the evidence suggests that we aren’t, as people are still buying into the stigmas surrounding sex workers. They are still seen as lost, lonely people trying to gain acceptance in any way they can.

Personally, I am more than ready for a real look. I don’t think there is a single film or TV show out there that goes “this is what the sex industry is really like” and I think we need that.

So what would you be most keen on seeing in a sex work movie or TV show? What are the key points you think the world is missing? How can we prove to them that most of those working in the industry are happy to be here?

You can let us know what you think by visiting the Escort Scotland forum, or by leaving a comment in the box below. Whatever your views, you can share them with us. Maybe you know of some films that do accurately represent escorting and prostitution? Let us know!

Lara Mills
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Lara Mills

Lara Mills is a writer who has four years of sex industry expertise behind her. Since she entered the adult industry, she has worked on the Escort Advertising forums, before moving into her current role three years ago.

Since then she has gained a fine reputation with her blogs on sex advice, sexual health and amusing news stories from around the globe. She is also a campaigner for the rights of sex workers from all over the world.

In her spare time, Lara keeps herself active by going running, and is something of a film buff. She also loves to go travelling.
Lara Mills
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2 thoughts on “Are We Ready For Movies About Sex Work?”

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