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Playing With / Disposable Sex Worker

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Basic Trope: The main victims of a violent criminal are sex workers, and are usually treated in a disposable fashion by the narrative.

  • Straight: Bob murders Alice, a stripper. Police are fairly casual about the murder case, and in the narrative Alice's murder is only referred to in an off-hand fashion.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Bob is a Serial Killer who only ever targets sex workers, none of whom are even reported as being killed (never mind investigated), and Alice is his latest victim.
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    • Dave uses a bomb to explode a brothel, timed so that when it goes off, there will be as many people as possible inside. He captures those who don't die in the blast for a torture-murder more typical of a Serial Killer.
    • Bob murders Alice, a phone-sex operator or Cam Whore.
    • Alice was the cream of the crop of classy sex workers. She had the works- regular health testing, birth control, and skill in other areas of entertainment and social graces. She wasn't some random streetwalker who had to fear being arrested- in fact, she probably knew the chief of police (perhaps or perhaps not in that way). Bob still goes out of his way to murder her.
    • Bob murders Alice for engaging in Enjo Kosai or other types of Platonic Prostitution. Alice has never actually had sex with her clients, but Bob doesn't care.
  • Downplayed: Alice, a stripper, was one of Bob's victims, but managed to survive and eventually heal, although she didn't get as much news coverage as his other victims because she worked in the sex industry.
  • Justified:
    • The sex industry is a shady one even at the best of times, and because of this it's often overlooked by law enforcement and the media. Sex workers also tend to be reluctant to talk with the police out of fear that they'll be arrested. This makes them the perfect targets for violent criminals, as they are more easily accessible to the criminal element and will not provoke as great a law enforcement response as if they were middle-class white women.
    • Being a prostitute usually entails being alone with someone you don't personally know. This is a very precarious position to be in, and violent criminals exploit it.
    • Bob is a violent misogynist with numerous issues about women, and women who work in the sex industry particular. He consequently tends to dehumanize them, making it easy for him to murder them.
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    • Bob is a Knight Templar Vigilante Man who believes that prostitution is the ultimate evil. He lynches sex workers as part of his twisted crusade against promiscuity and because he believes that Police are Useless since they won't give prostitutes the punishment he thinks they deserve- e.g., the death penalty.
    • In Alice's culture, prostitution is seen as shameful, and that shame reflects on her family. She ends up the victim of a honor killing by Bob, a male relative.
  • Inverted:
    • Alice is a murderer who lures her male victims in by posing as a prostitute and promising sex.
    • Bob is a Serial Killer who targets specifically chaste women and virgins. He wants to degrade and debase them because, in his view, any woman who doesn't really get around is a revolting hypocrite or an aberration that needs to know her place.
    • Sex workers are the only ones guaranteed to never die. If attacked by a serial killer they will escape, and they will never get hurt during a shooting spree.
    • Prostitutes are the only exception in Bob's Selective Slaughter, as his mother was one, and they remind him of her; ergo, he would never kill them on purpose.
    • Bob goes out of his way to try and rescue prostitutes (even if some would rather he didn't), not kill them.
    • Bob kills men who solicit or exploit prostitutes, not the prostitutes themselves.
  • Subverted:
    • The scene is set up to make it look as if Bob will murder Alice. Instead, he leaves her alone.
    • Alice was not a stripper, but Bob mistook her for one.
    • Alice escapes him.
    • Alice, despite working in the sex industry and initially being dismissed, turns out to be Bob's most important victims. Before dying, she fought back and wounded him, allowing the police to get his DNA. Alice gets the majority of the media coverage for her Dying Moment of Awesome.
    • Alice used to be a sex worker, but has since left the industry. She has a nice house in Suburbia, a husband and children, and a steady job in an office.
    • Bob kills Alice's abusive pimp.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Bob changes his mind and murders Alice anyway.
    • It turns out Alice was a stripper, but the people that knew her did not know this because she kept it secret and / or used an assumed name for her business.
    • Although she momentarily escapes, Bob chases Alice down and kills her anyway.
    • Bob kills her because of her past, not her present or future.
    • He then kills her because she "knows too much."
  • Parodied: The heroes learn that a serial killer has arrived in their town. The first thing they do is to hide every sex worker in said town.
    • Bob murders Alice for working for a porn site...on the billing side.
    • Bob murders Alice for running a kissing booth at the carnival.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob's victims are murdered as a result of convenience rather than him targeting certain people; some are sex workers, some not. However, sex workers are more common victims simply because their industry means they have little protection from the law.
  • Averted: Bob does not target sex workers. While Alice happened to be a stripper, he was not aware of this, and her case is treated normally in courts.
  • Enforced: The author wishes to establish Bob as a violent serial killer without having him murder anyone the audience is intended to care about, and selects a sex worker for this purpose.
  • Lampshaded: "These sickos always target the girls on the street..."
  • Invoked: Bob explicitly decides to attack sex workers under the justification that he is cleaning up the streets.
  • Exploited:
    • Bob murders Alice and several other sex workers in order to conceal another crime, both to draw attention from his other crime and because he believes that no one will concern themselves greatly over the deaths of sex workers.
    • Alice has to kill to survive. To appease her conscience, she does so by posing as a sex worker and lives off of serial killers ensuring that she ends up saving more lives than she takes.
    • Carol the policewoman knows that Bob the Serial Killer likes targeting prostitutes, so she disguises herself as one when on the hunt for him in hopes that he'll target her and be arrested by the other policemen secretly tailing her.
  • Defied:
    • Alice and her friends, fearing the risks of working the streets with potential violent killers, take measures to defend themselves and each other from those who threaten them.
    • Bob, realizing how pitiful Alice's life is that resulted her into a prostitute, decided to spare her.
  • Discussed:
    • "We're cops. We're going to deal with a dead sex worker one of these days, you'll see."
    • Two cops have the next conversation:
    Detective Carol: "Why is it when a sex worker like Alice dies, nobody cares, but when it's anyone else, it's a big deal?"
    Detective Dave: "People like distancing themselves from the victims. They don't like thinking it can happen to them. They like the idea that 'if you're not a streetwalker, you'll be ok.'"
  • Conversed: "Betcha the Victim of the Week is a sex worker this time."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Alice is an important character, genuinely likable despite being a sex worker. Her violent death is a big deal for the heroes.
    • Alice may have made some poor life choices, been unlucky, and not been directly related to the heroes, but she was still a person who had people who cared about her. Her sister Carla subsequently becomes an important character, driven by the need to make Bob pay for not even caring about what he was doing to Alice's loved ones.
    • Bob genuinely believes that killing sex workers is the right thing to do because he believes that he can get rid of prostitution by murdering all of them, and everyone would thank him instead. Unfortunately for him, this is not the case.
    • The sex industry is vital where Alice lives. After Bob murders her and several other strippers, the local sex workers leave in fear for their lives. As a result, the economy suffers and a great amount of pressure is put on the police to stop Bob.
  • Reconstructed: Alice was a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. After finding out the heroes decide that she isn't worth angsting about, although they'll still try to catch Bob.
  • Played For Laughs: Dave murdered Alice the stripper, but it took him 3,423 tries (of which we're shown 17). The only time Alice comments on this is during try #159, when Dave runs up to her while she's stripteasing and attempts to shoot her. The gun misfires, and Alice just says "You could've hurt me." The funny part was that she mistook the gun for a lighter.
  • Played For Drama: Bob targets sex workers because his parents were detectives murdered by an illegal prostitute who didn't want them busting her.
  • Implied: A Serial Killer is known to be active, but he's never quite at the top of the priority list of the police. He is never shown to have a specific victim type, but Alice the stripper gets unusually paranoid about him.

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