Maintaining Standards

G.B. Shaw called sexual morality the “trade-unionism of married women”, meaning a collective agreement to drive up the price of their (sexual) labour, with marriage as the tariff price. It follows from this that the respectable female’s hatred of the prostitute was that of organised labour for non-union strikebreakers, or what the British used to call scabs.

But it is not all about price. There is another element in the female animus against whoredom, one that Shaw, with his keen interest in Darwinian evolution, ought to have nailed. (Perhaps he did somewhere, and my memory is inadequate.) It is anyway implicit in his doctrine that any “decent” woman would rather have a tenth share in a first-rate man than outright possession of a tenth-rate man.

It is part of what it means to be human, in both sexes, to keep the unattractive down. Our language identifies beauty with goodness, our bad guys always have physical imperfections or worse, and our basic attitudes to ugliness range from righteous indignation to fear and loathing. That uglies do not get laid is therefore felt as profoundly necessary. Affording them sex threatens the fabric of reality.

For this reason prostitutes are despised for undercutting decent women in another way than price: by taking just anybody, they violate the guild agreement on quality standards. That is, whores take to bed even the uglies, to which the respectable (now PC) woman, acting as the representative of the species, demands, “Nobody touch those!”

Posted on June 9, 2010 at 19:19 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, The Life Unbeautiful

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