Are They Bad Girls or Brilliant? by Aphrodite Phoenix

Are They Bad Girls or Brilliant?

The Truths behind the Fight for Independent Prostitutes' Rights
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A part memoir, part polemic about the plight of the upmarket escort takes a range of institutions and groups to task.

This formidable volume seeks to define and explain the life and will of the “true whore” in order to legitimize prostitution as a profession. “True whores,” the author argues, are a special, saintlike class of women who operate as veritable priestesses and healers (“The true whore, is loving, the clergy of Goddess”). Phoenix (AND THE POINT of All this Agony IS…?, 2014)  distinguishes “true whores” from “streetwalkers” in rich and sometimes gruesome detail. She sees sex work as a helping profession, not unlike nursing or child care, and covers a range of topics, from ideal visions of what life should look like for prostitutes to her failed relationships with abusive and dishonest men. She also expounds on the health benefits of being a true whore and the ancient history of the profession. Even though Phoenix’s research is expansive, there are few sources that meet her approval as legitimate representations of the “whoring” lifestyle. Most absorbing are the author’s stories from the front lines of whoring. While an effort is made to integrate such episodes into her moral and political argument, the result is somewhat preachy toward those sex workers who find themselves addicted to drugs or hostage to pimps: “I’d gotten over that stumbling block; why couldn’t other women?” Also among those who meet Phoenix’s disdain are women who are overweight. In seeking to compare women who are fat and women who have sex for a living, the author gets downright acerbic: “How can you shove in the donuts? The pizza? The chips?...Sucking cock is a whole lot more healthy…I’ve ogled her globules, her swellings, her bloat and her bulges.” But then, Phoenix will delight with her striking and sometimes funny turns of phrase, such as her description of her specialty, fellatio, as being able to “speak very conversational French.” Likewise, her questionnaires and lists of advice within the last hundred pages are quite entertaining.

Though passionate and informative, this opus becomes repetitive, meandering, and flamboyant in its implication that women should aspire to a “whoring” experience.  

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-5173-1805-5
Page count: 734pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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