Or sex workers. Or Companions. Or whatever. If money is given for sexual activities, it’s fair game. I sort of adore fictional whores, as I often end up being one (explained right down there). I’m not just saying it as a derogatory slam against promiscuous women. Go be promiscuous if that’s your thing. No, this is my compendium of actual paid fictional sex workers, ’cause I’ve already done lady badasses and why not.
10. Every time I am in the chorus of anything.
Well, okay, two out of three times that I did musicals back in school. But even in Birdie I was the worldly Bohemian beatnik promiscuous one with boobs. So it’s close enough. Back in the day, I was often used for the “chorus whore,” as I fondly came to put it; I was one of the hallucinated dance hall girls in Oklahoma! and the kitchen wench in Once Upon a Mattress. To this day, I am convinced that I am always put as that because I am often one of the only women in the cast (well, it was junior high and high school) with breasts.
9. The girls of Sucker Punch (Emily Browning as Babydoll, Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea, Jena Malone as Rocket, Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie, and Jamie Chung as Amber) in the first level of hallucinations
I clarify ’cause in reality, they were all in a mental hospital. But in one of the alternate universes, they all worked in a swanky brothel that involved rhinestone-y dance numbers. (A good way to tell which of the girls you “are” is to examine each of their costumes in “Love is the Drug” on the extended disc. I’m of course Amber, as a French maid. Incidentally also the only one we see partaking in whoring.) So they totally count. And they were damn sexy, too.
8. Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger, LA Confidential)
A very seemingly classy sex worker, but a sex worker nonetheless. Lynn was just a girl from Arizona who looked like Veronica Lake and ta-dah! Pierce Patchett was running her as a lookalike prostitute out of a pretty decent little house of her very own.
7. All of the Dolls (Eliza Dushku as Echo, Dichen Lachman as Sierra, Enver Gjokaj as Victor, Miracle Laurie as November, Amy Acker as Whiskey, etc., Dollhouse)
Dolls do non-sex things. They hostage negotiate and fangirl and scientifically research and train horses and spy on their neighbors. But it’s… well, it’s kind of a sex thing a lot. And with so many different sex things, it’s worthy of note. I mean, Echo alone goes through the gamut of every fantasy ever, almost. Victor’s whole engagement as a swain for “Ms. Lonelyhearts” and that messed up business of Sierra and Nolan Kennard and November as Mellie bless her heart. Well. It’s definitely not always the good side of sex. But it’s there nonetheless, and well-written even when it’s messed up.
6. Satine (Nicole Kidman) and the other women of Moulin Rouge
Like the Sucker Punch girls (or, I suppose, they like her) Satine’s a dancing whore. A singing one, too. And dammit, all she really wants to do is be an actress. (Even if the play they put on has her playing a whore. A courtesan. So it’s not much of an act.) She’s the Sparkling Diamond, gorgeous in a corset and doing the ginger thing beautifully. And the other whores are wackily theme-y, which makes for the fun. There’s the requisite French maid, there’s actually one the credits list as Babydoll, there’s one dressed like a Les Mis girl, there’s a harlequin, there’s one with a lot of tattoos, there’s one for everyone. (And their costumes are gorgeous.)
5. Trixie (Paula Malcomson) and the Gem Saloon girls (Deadwood)
The Gem Saloon is the… less classy whorehouse in the town of Deadwood, but they’re real. They’ve got a whole variety of things, but at the beginning, there’s Trixie. Trixie’s not gonna take anyone’s crap, and she’s Al’s right-hand girl in a way. She’s a lady that’s not gonna let anyone walk all over her, and that’s awesome.
4. Joanie Stubbs (Kim Dickens) and the Bella Union girls (Deadwood)
The Bella Union is the classier whorehouse in Deadwood, and Joanie is a classy dame. She’s less a whore and more a madam, nowadays, but she’s been with Cy for years, and she’s sort of his right-hand woman at first. Her own opening-a-whorehouse endeavor doesn’t go so well thanks to some icky betrayal and murder, but she’s strong and epic too. That’s the important thing, I think, in a fictional whore. I don’t think any of the fictional whores on this list actually abide by being treated like crap; either they get the hell out or they try to get the hell out or they try to reform the organization or they just kick major ass. Joanie sort of gets the hell out and sort of tries to reform the organization.
3. Nandi (Melinda Clarke) and her people at the Heart of Gold (Firefly)
Because, remember, she’s got boy whores, too. Nandi once was a Companion, but she’s made it her mission to head out to the Rim and run a plain old whorehouse in that still-respectful-of-her-workers way. She’s willing to die for this belief. And that makes Nandi a badass madam, too.
2. Inara Serra (Morena Baccarin, Firefly)
Inara’s still a Companion, though, and that means she’s somewhere between a courtesan and a geisha. It’s not just sex, it’s romantic entwining and conversation and art and skill and beauty. It’s sort of neat. I mean, it’s not a perfect system. But getting to choose your own clients definitely makes it slightly less sucky. And like many of the women on this list, I envy her wardrobe.
1. The Old Town Girls (Rosario Dawson as Gail, Jaime King as Wendy/Goldie, Devon Aoki as Miho, Alexis Bledel as Becky, etc., Sin City)
They top this list because they are the most badass of badass whores. We don’t see any of them but Goldie really actually whoring, but they’re definitely whores. They’re unashamed of their sexuality, and they use it as a weapon almost as much as they use actual weapons. They aren’t gonna let anyone treat them like crap either, and if someone does? Well, they’re getting very dead.
–your fangirl heroine.