Vice Squad
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Belle de Jour

Belle de Jour is the nom de plume of a putative (and now former) British sex worker; Belle's renown took off when her blog won the Guardian's Best Written Blog award of 2003. Since then, she has published two books and contributed a regular column to another British daily.

Belle is back in the news because an eight-part tv series based on her adventures will begin to air in Britain next week. Reactions are polarised, with many commenters arguing that the show will misleadingly glamourise prostitution, while others (including Vice Squad) suggest that it is fine to dramatise one slice of the prostitution market, even if it is the least problematic slice. Belle herself is unimpressed with the critics (who have yet to see the show, of course), but her characterisation of academic vice commentary hurt a little; it was something along the lines of: "...soundbites from po-faced academics who also have no direct experience of the lives they imagine they are saving through master's theses that a grand total of four hand-wringingly earnest people read..." I didn't say that her description was inaccurate, only that it hurt.

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