We respect your opinion, provided that it was our opinion first.

We respect your opinion, provided that it was our opinion first.

March 25, 2008

In Praise of Prostitution

Bratz™ and the Western Tradition
Nick Olson

Eight-year-old Susie Simmons has had enough of Barbies. “I used to look up to her,” she said, “until I realized she’s just not very stylish.”

Much to the chagrin her overbearing, puritanical mother, Susie has traded in her ambitions of becoming a doctor/lawyer/astrophysicist/Olympic gymnast for a different set of dreams.

“Now I want to be a prostitute, just like Lilee!” Susie says, proudly displaying her liberally dressed Bratz™ doll. “She’s just so urban chic!” Susie squealed.

But the proliferation of Bratz™dolls across the country has priggish mothers across the country squealing in a slightly different tone. “Since they were first released to the public in the summer of 2001, they’ve done nothing but venerate the sex industry to the young ladies of this country,” wailed Elizabeth Williams. “That my children and your children are being taught to emulate prostitutes is abominable.”

Leading cultural analysts disagree. “The success of these dolls marks a great victory for women everywhere,” Dr. Starshyne Churchill contends, with the authority of her Ph.D. in Cultural Harmony. “From dolls to movies to accessories, the prosperity of these dolls evinces the desire of even toddlers to participate in their own sexual revolution. Now our daughters can open themselves up to an even greater level of sexual freedom.”

“How can Barbie or other dolls serve as my rolemodel?” Susie asks. “She’s only been though one divorce. What does she know of life experience?”

Susie’s mother still disagrees. “By our own volition, our children are being transformed into prostitutes,” she says, grimacing at Lilee’s inflated lips, midriff-flaunting tank top, immoderate makeup, miniskirt, fishnet stockings, and precocious bosoms.

What Ms. Williams and Mrs. Simmons fail to realize is that prostitution holds a long lasting tradition of not only societal importance, but also cultural esteem. Can La Traviata, Verdi’s greatest opera, be imagined without Violetta’s heroic prostitution? Is Les Miserables conceivable without Hugo’s whorish heroine, Fantine? Is Raskolnikov’s redemption in Crime and Punishment even imaginable without Dostoyevsky’s meek mistress, Sonya Marmeladova? No, nor is much of history conceivable without our matriarchal strumpets. How would General Joseph Hooker have faired in the American Civil War without the carnal consolation of his courtesans? Could you even be here to make objections were it not for the sacrifices of long-forgotten concubines who gave birth to your ancestors? Of course not. Could the book of Joshua be written without its harlot-heroine, Rahab? Do not even the gospels proclaim the glory of prostitution through Mary Magdalene?

Bearing this heroic tradition, Bratz™ dolls continue to circulate, encouraging our daughters to consummate their dreams in the example of Cloe, Jade, Sasha, Yasmin, Lilee and others.

“With Lilee’s help, I can finally become the prostitute MTV has always told me to be!” Susie chirps. Despite her mother’s protests, rest assured that Susie will be serving the common good in no time.