Memoirs of a whore

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March 5, 2006

The pseudo-history of the prostitute

With all the hype surrounding the film Memoirs of a Geisha (Rob Marshall, 2005) over the past few months, I began to wonder about the history of prostitution. Now, it's not that a geisha was originally considered a prostitute, but it appears that the American occupation of Japan after WWII led to the common concept that they were prostitutes and indeed some sold themselves to soldiers as such. With this in mind, I wonder whether or not it was and always has been war that have caused the innocent and often times elite women of different and obviously losing cultures into objectified cum vessels. In one way it makes sense since the life of a soldier prior to the 20th Century would have been one where they were away from their wives for exceedingly long lengths of time. In which case, and more interesting would be the history of gigolos. ;)

Of course, none of my assumption above is particularly true. Unfortunately, the accuracy regarding the birth of the whore is tentative at best. Still, the profession can be traced to Greece where hetaerae were often women companions of high social standing and you can see remnants of this in the well-educated geisha, concubine, or courtesan. Still, prostitution is older than this and there are recordings of it from 650 BC in China, and it is even earlier mentioned in the law-codes of the Sumerian Renaissance (Third Dynasty of Ur, 2112 to 2004 BC).

Why prostitution exists isn't too hard to figure out, but how it came to exist is a more intriguing query. At first I'm led to believe that it wasn't because women saw a sudden multi-million silver-shekel business opportunity, since their traditional roles as chattels has long been to service men. However, not all cultures are or have always been patriarchal ones.

In fact, some anthropologists suggest that prostitution is a remnant of matriarchal societies and some feminists hold that as animals men have traditionally been wanderers and in order to feed themselves and protect their young in pre-historic times, females would ply men with sex in exchange for food and protection duties. The more a woman put out, the more she received, which is a principle that sure doesn't look much different today than perhaps a million years ago, be it prostitution or quite frankly, marriage. (lol)

Posted by sloth at March 5, 2006 4:50 AM

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