Much like my previous entry about Vanity/Apollonia 6, this began as a Facebook status and I decided it was better suited for a blog discussion.
Only in this case, I didn't even begin a Facebook status because I had this bad feeling that I'd be editing it for half an hour before I came to this conclusion.
The idea for this started when I read a couple things in the paper this morning. The first was about the notion of a registry for strippers and people who work in the adult entertainment industry.
Here's a version of it online for those who are interested.
It does bring up some good points, I will grant it that. Trafficking is an important issue that needs to be cracked down upon.
But the notion of putting these girls on a registry if they want to be the business... what's to say that isn't going to come back to bite them when they move on other industries that are less... what's the word... controversial?
Granted, some will have to declare it in interviews when they have to give their employment histories, but others want to move past it and deny they had to lower themselves to that business because nothing else was working out for them?
Maybe I'm not giving businesses enough credit here, but to me, I feel like that'd be a red flag they wouldn't be willing to work around.
For as long as I am working on this story and writing this novel, I'm probably always going to be looking at storylines in TV and movies and headlines in newspapers and thinking about my girls, my characters... as characters, I have them pretty much hashed out and developed in my head (as well as in various notebooks I'd been keeping). But some of these things probably be used for inspiration and might become elements in my story (in small and large capacities).
It's kinda funny because I'd been nowhere near this industry personally- yet I'd become so close to my girls that I feel protective of them. They don't even exist beyond my notebooks, Word documents and this blog, yet I feel I need to defend them from the stigma that comes from the adult entertainment industry.
Let's get one thing straight, though: my girls aren't strippers.
They are dancers that work at a nightclub. Ultimately what goes on is that they open at night for a number of hours. A lot of young people come to drink (the bar is the only fixture that remains of the original establishment- a restaurant in a degrading neighborhood that was losing money). There is dance music pumping through the speakers. But through the course of the night, the dancers come out to perform elaborate numbers.
I refer to them as "sirens" because they are a) gorgeous, b) the star attraction that draws the crowds- but unlike the sirens in "The Odyssey" they don't create shipwrecks, c) experts at what they do... which happens to be Latin dancing and entertaining.
Another interesting thing that appeared in the paper today- there was a poll asking how many people were in favor of prostitution and against it... the divide was pretty even- 45% for 55% against.
We're here thinking they aren't quite the same thing. But I had to point out that they're different parts of the adult entertainment industry.
I don't know how I'd feel about it being legal in the U.S.... I feel like it might change the aesthetic of the country. Not to mention it'd probably allow for more people to take advantage of the populous and sex trafficking would become an even greater problem than it already is.
What I know for sure is that where my story is set, prostitution is legal.
It's a small fraction of the operation I've constructed, but nonetheless, it is a point of contention.
This is a poor neighborhood, so really, the only source of income involves sex, drugs and tourism. If not one of the big cities like Rio De Janeiro, it's a small town on the outskirts of a big city like Rio. And tourists visiting the area might have heard about these legendary drop-dead gorgeous dancers and that's what generates business... a 4-5 star restaurant might not have the same effect.
I'd hashed out another "mythology" for my setting that does involve prostitution. It's a dodgy part of town I refer to as the Underground... and there, people specialize BDSM.
"50 Shades of Grey" helped a little bit with my creating this facet of the story. Even if it's just a small part of it, it's something else that adds to the motivation of one of my characters.
At this junction of the story- which is really the only junction I care about since it's the part of it making it into the main novel- only three of the sirens are involved in the prostitution side of things.
Ruby's motivation is money-motivated. The rent for lofts and apartments is really high, probably because the money is needed to restore the neighborhood, but with some corruption, it's probably just filling the pockets of politicians. Plus she does it so her twin sister Scarlet doesn't have to. Their experiences growing up with their abusive father had such a negative impact on Scarlet that she doesn't have the confidence to take a lead role in any of the performances (at best she's on stage with her sister and their "gimmick" is dressing and dancing as mirror images of each other). And as I'd recently realized, she hadn't any sexual experience since she was able to get away from him.
Amber's motivation is money-motivated as well, but for reasons other than rent costs. Whatever extra money she has left over after rent, it goes to two of her friends who are saving up to buy another establishment- which happens to be located in the Underground side of town. She also wants to use it as a place to put on her own performances: which don't just involve Latin dancing, but also other genres like hip-hop.
Her affiliations with BDSM, which she became an expert in while living in the Underground for the past 5 years, also helped her secure a position there.
And she also does it, believing Talia would never take her seriously if she was just a dancer.
The addition of the prostitution layer of the business was Talia's idea and it was what sold her on becoming a partner in the club ownership. But her motivation for it is more on the self-serving side of things than it is monetarily. Granted, the money she procured for the mob bosses that owned the place helped pay outstanding rent and utilities and it also goes on to pay for costumes, stage designs and so on.
But she's also a bit of a sex addict :shrug: it doesn't help that in her teenage years, she was told repeatedly by someone she trusted and cared about that sex is the only way to make money in this town.
Sadly, that is true for a lot of people in underdeveloped countries like the ones in South America... there are few opportunities to make a living and most are bound there by the sheer fact they can't afford to migrate to another country that has more to offer.
I honestly don't know why I suddenly took it upon myself to get on this soapbox.
This story all started with the idea of bringing some of my favorite songs to life in a visual capacity.
And originally it was going to be about a girl in the prostitution industry who ends up falling in love with someone she meets at random and her boss(es) wind up having to let her go.
I guess I also wanted to explore the stereotype- that girls who involve themselves in the adult entertainment business come from less than desirable backgrounds. They were either poor, grew up around the industry, were sexually abused, etc.
And I ultimately wanted to say that they are real people and shouldn't necessarily be taken for granted.
But also my greatest motivation: I've never really written a female centric story before. All of my work have involved love stories. Guy meets girls. They fall in love. A lot of shit happens and they either become stronger as a result or someone dies at the end.
Granted, there are some love stories involved here and that is part of the story. But the majority of it is about friendship among women, exploring different parts of yourselves and discovering you had strength that you didn't know was possible.