You’ve probably already seen the news about former Pussycat Doll Kaya Jones speaking up about being part of a prostitution ring not a ‘girl group’, but I have some basic thoughts on it. Feel free to ad any.
Ariel Levy wrote about the rise of raunch culture in her book ‘Female Chauvinist Pigs’.
Germaine Greer critiqued the notion of Grrrl Power in ‘The Whole Woman’.
And Kasja Ekis Ekman discussed how women and girls adopt the idea of the “whore” as a fashion statement (without ever having been prostituted themselves) in her book ‘Being and Being Bought- Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self’. Appropriating the ‘uniform’ of the “whore” without having to experience being the “whore”; without acknowledging pimps dress prostituted women this way, and without knowing that their ‘slut celebration’ clothing is a cruel parody of our sexual servitude and degradation.
Their valid critiques reminded me of when I wore an Anarchist T-Shirt in my youth without having the foggiest idea about Anarchism. I just thought it was punk, so it was cool. A closer example is people who replicate ‘hobo’ fashion with their $400, ‘designed to look dirty’, ripped jeans. Mocking the homeless whether they realise it or not.
While women and girls are sold merchandise to perform our guise of the “free, sexually liberated” female , prostituted women are ignored and stuck with the reality.
Women and girls are divided in to camps, one of which celebrates the “slut power” ideology that those of us in the sex-trade keep saying, (falling on deaf ears), is no kind of power at all.
When I first saw and heard the Pussycat Dolls song “Dont’ Cha” I shook my head at just how plain un-sisterly it was. You’re so mean, I thought. Yes, my boyfriend probably did wish I looked just like you, so? Why do you want that? Why do you want him to want you? Why do we want them to want us “like that” at all?
I saw women in designer clothing ( not just the Pussycat Dolls but so many others) mocking me and my sisters. Glamourising our daily condition of being bought and sold over and over again- playing the “whore” but never having to endure it themselves.
Body-shaming other women and pandering to men being sold as uber pop-feminism. Women divided from each other again.
But while I knew women were and are constantly marketed this way and it is capitalist patriarchy winning all the time, I never imagined that these Pussycat Dolls, these women, were literally, not just in the commodified image way, but literally, being prostituted:
I don’t know why I was even slightly shocked by this revelation, and why it broke my heart to learn it.
The idea of the “whore” is that she has a particular sexiness a wife or girlfriend doesn’t so she is the one who lures men away from partners, and that equals power. The song “Don’t Cha” repeats that mantra overtly. Of course the opposite is true, men do the luring, the procuring, the buying.
Kaya, I remember thinking, at least you can choose something; you can replicate our signature “whore” clothes for fashion without being forced to be one, like me and my sisters were. I assumed despite all I knew about feminist theory and women as commodities, you had some kind of power and were making fun of us. Mocking us without knowing us, using our exploitation as a prop. Parodying us in that particular way only people with money and power do.
I was wrong . I wept when I learned this had happened to you and the other women. I’m sorry. And glad you got out when others couldn’t.
More power to you Kaya Jones