^^^First off…wow….she’s beeeeaaauuutiful. The shape of the eyes, her hair, her skin tone, and her fabrics. Seeing the subtitles really makes this disheartening…which sets the tone for this post.
I was absorbed in a jaw-dropping, eye-widening documentary called Whores’ Glory by Micheal Glawogger. First off, I applaud the director for being so objective and unbiased. There’s balance in the movie. There’s no nudity until the end, and the focus seems to be the testimonies. It can’t be easy to extract so much information on such a popular topic. Next, I love how all of the commentary was from those being interviewed – it gave the film more realism without added explanation, and created a closer relationship with the topic.
So, I was scanning through Netflix seeking something refreshing to the senses – something that would give me a different type of pulse. Then, I graced across this documentary which begins with the prostitution culture in Bangkok then curves over into Bangladesh, and then finalizes in Mexico. I stamp each reality as captivating yet nostalgic. In some places, like Germany, prostitution is just a regular job with occupational hazards. In others, it’s the consequence of coercion and poverty. While the director didn’t give clearer distinctions between the two, he still captures the oddities and the business-like ambiance. It’s eyebrow-raising to see the blend of religious beliefs with the profession; maybe because it’s unexpected. This reality seems to be spoiled with controversy, but it’s sensible. When you’re in the trenches of such obscenities, you’d seek to solidify it with a foundation of morals rather than a quicksand pit of chaos. Observe their living conditions that overshadow their dreams and you witness the boisterous cues of a scuffle for survival. You still notice the hints of humanity in this murky realm – one that seems to be the bastard of a patriarchal society. This reclusive community provides a service that’s enslaved to scorn and shame. Yet, all the while the women are abandoned as they supporting each other. There are even traces of a stern, elderly mother-type acting as a beacon of wisdom to stabilize the frustrations of the women. She counsels them. She nourishes them with soft-spoken, harsh truths. She hugs them, rubs their shoulders, and wipes their tears. And after receiving some revitalizing compassion, they’re shunted back on stage – one that assumes the form of a prison. Some of these stages are elongated concrete boxes with transparent windows. And in them are dolled-up beauties with assigned numbers pinned on their chest. Some of these stages are crumbling hotels, while others stomach the resemblance of actual prisons. Certainly, the dystopic environment invokes depression as you witness these women showcased in the standardized materialist fashion. Displayed like merchandise as clients shred them into objects of pleasure with their razor-sharp, lusting eyes. However, there’s a low tone of dignity and respect. There are rules. There is a self-preserving philosophy branded in the hearts and minds of these women.
He’s purchasing a few minutes of pleasure with the body, not your soul.
Most whom are intimate with this industry know what love is; furthermore, they acknowledge a higher power. The center of this entire schematic is money: the main ingredient which offers bittersweet zest. Each girl cradles their own ambitions and fantasies. But in the other palm rests the uncompromising weight of barter for their bodies for survival. You hear personal accounts of the types of clients they encounter. Some speak with a light dew of remorse about their production numbers: 1-5 clients a day. Others flaunt their production numbers ranging between 15 to 20 clients a day; and they express this proudly. But these are old numbers spurting from older women reigning in their forties. The struggles of a has-been litters in all professions, it seems. As a surprise to some, it is common for these women to have boyfriends and husbands who are very aware of their discouraging job. This suggests that the local economy lacks jobs to supplement better living. Some families are pressured into this form of servitude with burdened mothers selling themselves…or their daughters for a year or more.
The clientele incorporates a plethora of men of various ethnicities and races whom express their reasons in partaking in this forbidden fruit. Few speak of sexual abandonment from their spouses, while the majority concisely strut their insatiable sex drives and their infatuations with bizarre erotic acts that girlfriends refuse to charter. The prostitutes expound on the personalities of their clients exposing the educated and uneducated, the wealthy and poor, the gentlemen and the assholes, the family guys and the bachelors, the boyish virgins, and the experienced seniors. We can imagine the many pains that come with delivering service. The girls protested how some d!cks are too big in girth and length, how others are flaccid (which means more time spent with the client than desired), and some take too long to orgasm. Some men come in drunk and reek of cigarette smoke that’s as stale and harsh as their attitudes. Some are fat, some handsome, and some with missing limbs. The women were very blunt in expressing their philosophies of the business, which are very comprehensive if you permit them. I empathized with all of the elements of this machine: the prostitute, the client, the passerby, and the attendants (somewhat like a salesperson/pimp – they get commission for sealing the transaction), and even the beautician. There was even a thrust of awe when I observed that this profession was indiscriminate towards males as well – barboys are what they’re called in Thailand. Some of them are gay, while others are bi-sexual. Yet they share a common platform of being handsome, clean, warm-hearted, and professional. All of these real-life personalities….enchanted in this net of unapologetic commerce. And then we have the spectators….us….in the bleachers….blasting cold-shouldered fouls and divisive commentaries; adding our ignorance to this concoction of sugary-staleness. We say things like “I’d rather die than resort to this level of existence” or “you’d never catch me in living like that” as we chase our toxic judgments with socio-economical and religious rhetoric. Some of us would even jeer and joke about the reality as we rest securely in our own. It’s easy to speak about a solid reality from a faint, moist realm of imagination. Yet, when you’re under the lens, and you’re imbued in their circumstances, your motives become slightly warped. Environments inspire character. It’s similar to being incepted into a dream. You’re teleported to an unknowable location surrounded by stimuli, and above all, you’re seeking to fulfill an unrealized purpose. It seems that there are more ways to die than there are ways to live. The odds lay a barrage of punches which corner you into the crevices of this business. Either you choose to submit or you keep fighting aimlessly in hopes to discover yourself as a victor.
Most of us would rather take a beating from the odds than to surrender….
Let’s keep in the forefront that prostitution retains a competitive nature as any business. It’s easy to get in the game when you’ve networked with the right people. It’s hard to leave when you have nowhere else to go as most of the prostitutes have murmured. A spectator could assume that their souls have been sold, but a businessperson would correct that assumption – materials are sold; a soul cannot be.
The prostitution business is the trafficking of human sexuality for money; and this opaque depiction of organized carnage is justified by causality. Whether you’re religious or educated, you’ve gained a whiff of knowledge about the historical imprint that prostitution has made in religious scripts and social studies. In Bangladesh, one guy explains that the absence of the local brothel would pilot the men to the point of raping the women due to their enslavement to desire. Other options are homosexuality and bestiality, which are actually taboo worldwide. He furthers the justification by saying that it provides a service especially for the families who have no other means to provide for themselves economically.
I ponder: would the collective’s existence be better if the matriarchal order was enacted? Many writers, historians, and anthropologists would say yes, since the Paleolithic Era held women in higher esteem than men. Men were deemed as interchangeable workers and seed-providers, while women crafted technology and art. Sounds like a reversal to me. But I’m digressing here. The intention is not replace consequence with a scapegoat. This is actually just a call for compassion, and maybe even appreciation. Maybe this call may inspire our triune selves to love each other a little more with less judgment…..at least for a couple of weeks. Maybe it’ll incite more judgment…(shrugs)
Personally, I’ve even had a first-person experience as a customer. I speak that with little shame because I’ve accepted the fruits of the decisions that led to the experience. I know what I did and why I did it. I remember even paying for sex and just engaging in conversation (and friend of mine was like “pfft…only you would do that!”) because I knew how cold this business is. I won’t cast this off as a decision of stupid youthfulness. I dove in with intentions, and I surfaced with a deeper compassion for women in this profession….and the consumers who support it. Most could say “John you could’ve done better”….and I could’ve done worst; it all depends on who’s measuring, anyway. No regrets, here; and I speak that proudly.
This documentary acted as a reminder of how enslaved we are to corporeal desire as we excavate the material world of resources to new limits of profanity and profoundness. The dreams of others create nightmares for many who endure an indefinite life sentence of antagonism.
How uncanny it is to love money till you reach the finish line of exchanging it for the love that you lost….and the love that you never had
For the love of money, but for the will to survive….how deep are you willing to go?
Ultimately, I just wanted to recommend this documentary for anyone interested in something a bit more dark, real, and extreme. Lemme know your thoughts if you’ve watched it (110min). My next movie will be the 2nd of the director’s three-part globalization series titled Workingman’s Death. A reviewer claims that it will make you more appreciative of your job as it expounds on the limits one would push in order to earn income.