I must admit: I am fascinated by prostitutes. For all the characters that frequent films, from 3 Needles to Almodovar’s Todo sobre mi madre and Volver, there is still something mystifying about learning of a seemingly “normal” person who can cope with the moral ambiguity, physical and legal danger, social stigma, and health risks that are inherently part and parcel of the profession.
The character study of Barbara Terry, 52, while a bit simplistic, is no exception. One comment of hers I thought was particularly interesting:
“This place [the prostitute’s street, and the institution] has made me strong. It keeps you young.”
While it’s easy to label prostitution as a corrupt institution, especially when it’s tied to politicians and tax dollars, I’m waiting for the day that it’s legalized, or at the very least recognized as a profession by the US government. Just like legalizing marijuana would lead to more tax revenue, legalizing prostitution would allow for greater access to health check-ups, as well as greater tax revenue from income taxes (as was part of the reasoning for allowing prostitutes to operate in Brazil). As for those that attack the profession on moral grounds, I would argue that those who purchase sex will still find ways to do so regardless of the legal status. Besides, since when were land grabs investors and oil company executives even regulated?