Sex and Harlots

rs_600x600-170309063115-600.harlots-hulu.ch.030917I started watching Hulu’s Harlots. I have found it very addictive. We’re only two episodes in and I’m looking forward to next week’s episode already. The basic premise of the series revolves around a feud between two brothels in 18th century London. The series has some strongly crafted compelling female characters, and I like how it’s a story about women, written and produced by women.

However (yes, here it comes) I do find the portrayal of sex puzzling, if not worrying.

In a story about harlots and brothels, of course there will be sex. You’d think you’d encounter sex in all its varietals at least, from tedious and lackluster to utterly depraved and lustful to kinky to intimate and any others besides. Instead what Harlots has presented so far makes sex a joke. Sex is, by and large, presented as being something lewd and comical.

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The Only Time a Writer Will Tell You to Watch Some Damn TV

Until recently, every time someone proudly told me they “don’t watch TV” or “don’t watch much TV”, my knee-jerk reaction was to congratulate them. As if to endorse their choice.

It makes sense, of course. The notion that TV and film — visual media and narrative — are somehow “less worthy” than written literature, for instance, is something that my culture constantly reinforces. We are told TV makes us dumb and intellectually lazy. It’s called the “boob tube” after all, and countless scholars and cultural critics have weighted in informing us of the inherent dangers of too much TV and media.

But lately when someone tells me they don’t watch TV, I’ve been more of a mind to ask them: “Why not?” and to confront them with the fact that not watching TV doesn’t make them better, or their choices more informed, or superior. In fact, it makes them ignorant.

I will go on a brief tangent to help reinforce my point.

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