Louise Kay: Prostitution: What’s the harm?
My good friend, Louise Kay, was on BBC3 this week, being filmed for a subject that is quite evocative. I know Louise fairly well in real life, and when she originally told me that she was being filmed being followed for a show called “Prostitution: What’s the harm?” I was concerned that she may be misportrayed or taken out of context.
The whole issue of prostitution is a big one and evokes very strong opinions whenever it is discussed. I think that it is naturally an issue which is easy to be very much against, and hard to proactively back due to the sensitivity of the subject.
I’m not about to get into a debate via blog (though if you must know, I support the idea of girls working in the industry given the right set of circumstances), but the program certainly addressed a few pointers.
I’ve read many reports where people have been filmed for a program and subsequently believe that they were misrepresented when the piece has been edited together. Subsequently I also suspected that Louise may be in for a rough time during and after the broadcast.
Louise, if you hadn’t already guessed, does escorting for a living. She started as an office girl for an insurance firm, but eventually quit that job to become a webcam girl.
That naturally progressed to escorting simply because it was in the same sphere of industry. That’s not to say that many girls make the transition. As Louise pointed out in the show, it’s not for everyone. It takes a mental toughness as well as a physical presence to do what she does.
Make no bones about it, Louise has both of these attributes. Although she has a strong Essex accent at times, which I think misleads people and makes them underestimate her, she has her head screwed on and knows what she is doing.
If you ever get a chance to really talk to her, and to get beyond the Louise Kay character, which is a more outgoing and vocal representation of the girl I know as a friend, you’ll find someone very sweet, albeit strong-willed. Someone who cares for people, but has been hurt in the past. Someone who has a plan for the future.
When the show came on, it was a good twenty minutes or more before Louise appeared on screen. Interviewed on the balcony of a local flat, she spoke confidently and candidly. There were some tough, direct questions asked, and Louise answered them well, without flinching.
The show is well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it, especially as it touches on the whole subject of prostitution and how people react to it. Interestingly it seems that the younger generation of 18-30-year-olds is far more au fait and happy with it, which is refreshingly liberal.
I texted Louise after the show, congratulating her on how well she came across. As I said to her at the time, I expected her to come across well, as I knew she was capable of doing so, but she exceeded that and I really don’t think she could have come across any better. Even the feedback on Twitter seems to have been relatively positive.
Again, I was worried that the keyboard warriors may be out in force, slinging mud, insults and threats through the anonymity of cyberspace.
Fortunately, that seems to not have been the case. Louise is, naturally, over the moon with how things went. I am surprised that, three days after broadcast, a TV executive has not yet been in touch with her regarding opportunities to talk more on TV. Yes, she was that good.
So Louise, when you read this, as I’m sure you will, congratulations. I am so proud of how well you carried yourself, and how you got your message across, and I am proud to call you my friend.
You can follow Louise Kay on Twitter.
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The program “Prostitution, what’s the harm?” is available on iPlayer for a short period of time.