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Nobles Are Prostitutes
Nobility is a thin facade over the unsavory and indecent social reality
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(permanent link) added: 2012-06-17 00:51:41 sponsor: Xzenu (last reply: 2012-06-18 09:48:18)

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We are such similar creatures, you and I...
We both screw people for money.
--''Edward the industrial tycoon, Pretty Woman

Sex-workers are sometimes seen as the lowest of the low, willing to debase themselves to any length. But if this is why we don't respect prostitutes, the why do we respect the nobility? Because of their glorious, honorable and wholesome facade? Beneath all the bullshit, isn't it really the same thing?

Depending on the setting, "nobles" may refer to for example feudal aristocracy or the upper crust of global finance. In either case, this trope tends to pop up on the cynical side of Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. The person who brings up this trope is usually a noble, and a rather sad and disillusioned one at that.

The nobles can even be seen as being more depraved than the supposedly lowly whores: They have the power, yet they will sell out every one of their supposed principles for the smallest objective. Or the principles themselves may be nothing more than weak justifications for the abuse and self-abuse.

Besides deserving more scorn, the nobles may also deserve more pity. While regular prostitution may or may not be relatively unproblematic, the ladies of nobility have a much smaller chance of getting to chose their clients or in what way they have to sell themselves this time. This often takes the form of Arranged Marriage (often without any chance of Child Marriage Veto), Sex for Services (often political services) or some form of I Did What I Had to Do. The latter does not have to have any sexual component for a character to bring up this trope.

This is not about sex. It is about the idea that sex-workers sell themselves, screw people for money/favors, and so on, while being generally lowly & dirty. And the idea that the same applies to the supposedly glorious & honorable elite. As such, this is mostly a rather dark subtrope of Not So Different.

See also Deadly Decadent Court, Sex for Services, Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny. Contrast Unproblematic Prostitution, where a character may be royalty as well as a sex-worker without actually being this trope.

Note that this trope is about how the lives of nobles are being portrayed. Like other tropes that depend on a character or narrative to cast the scene in a certain light: No Real Life Examples, Please!.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • In Whatever Love Means, it is stated that all women in a patriarchal society are forced to be whores. The reason why whores-in-the-traditional-sense are so scorned is that they drive down the market value of the "respectable" women.

Film
  • In Pretty Woman, Edward has for a long time been growing more and more resentful about his work as a business tycoon. As he explain to his street prostitute friend Vivian that his job is to do hostile takeovers on other companies in order to break them up ad sell the pieces, she respond that it is just like stealing cars and sell the parts. He meekly defend himself with asserting that his job is technically legal. Moving on to discuss her own job as a prostitute, she explain that it is all about going through the motions of love like an emotionless robot while pretending to like it. His response: We are such similar creatures, you and I. We both screw people for money.
  • In Sara Dane, a lady is chocked to learn that the protagonist has gained social status by funding one of the Governor's projects - angrily dismissing this as Sara having bought her position in society for money. An older and wiser lady replies: "My dear, all social status is bought, in one way or another".

Live-Action TV
  • In Game of Thrones, the deeply unhappy and chronically depressed queen Cersei bring this up from time to time. She ragefully compare shipping off her daughter to an Arranged Marriage with pimping her out for street prostitution. Later she holds a long drunken rant about how noble women often get no other choice than to sell themselves sexually to whatever man happens to be victorious in battle. That a noble woman's primary bargaining chip is between her legs.
    • It has previously been shown that she have personal reason to e envious of regular whores: As a young queen, she was deeply in love with her husband the king - but he scorned her in favor of the endless supply of young women supplied by the local brothel.
    • It should also be noted that Cersei normally maintains a polite facade of righteous and glorious nobility. Her outbursts about how it's really no better than prostitution


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