Since the movie Pretty Women, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, hit the big screen and became a worldwide success, it changed the way the world saw escorts. This movie showed us the glamorous side of the business; it was a fairytale of the life of a gorgeous woman who happens to be a prostitute who is saved by a prince Charming type.
Where did the idea of escorts originate and how did this concept relate so well to the entertainment business? Pretty Women is just one of the successful movies that involve an escort. How is it that something that is socially frowned upon, made to look so glamorous on the silver screen?
The concept of escorts and gorgeous women date as far back as ancient Greek times. There were versions in Asia that dated as far back as 2400 BCE. In these times, a woman did not have much going for her if she was not from an affluent family; this meant that it would be very rare for her to find a husband. In ancient times, if a woman could not get married, she did not have much in the way of a life, and vice versa, married women were no better off. Women could not pay taxes or own property. So how was a gorgeous woman to find some freedom and be able to own property? Queue the escorts, prostitution was not illegal in these times, and escorts could enjoy more freedoms than married women. Escorts could socialize with men and they could own their own properties. In fact the profession of being an escort could have even been considered to be a well-regarded profession. There were incredibly successful escorts in Athens, one of them being a woman who socialized with Pericles, an Athenian statesman, and Socrates, a famous Greek philosopher.
As time went by and the subject of human rights became more of an issue, escorts and prostitutes began to receive a bad reputation and seen as it was a business that could make money, women began to get exploited. During World War II, the Japanese would provide “comfort women” to their soldiers. These women were forced into the business and there were many more cases such as these. Prostitution was made illegal around the 1900s in America.
The entertainment business began to make escorts look glamorous again. Movies such as Pretty Women and Moulin Rouge created a fantasy for women to play out through these most beautiful women in the movies. It was thrilling to see a gorgeous woman who was trapped in a down and out life and a handsome affluent man comes in and saves the day. This is how the entertainment business made escorts more socially acceptable.