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Stromae's 'State Funeral' For A Sex Worker

Prostitution - still taboo?

Belgian singer-songwriter Paul Van Haver - better known as Stromae - sets out to re-position society's attitudes to sex workers with this music video advertising his new album 'Multitude'.

The 'Fils de joie' track depicts an imagined state funeral for a missing sex worker in a fictional country.

 Stromae takes the chorus role of the 'son of a whore' while also depicting a pimp, a client, and a policeman through the lyrics of the verses.

The singer's tone and lyrics in expressing raw reality with understanding will remind many of us of the legendary Belgian singer-songwriter, Jacques Brel (1929-1978), author of music commentary such as 'Le Port d'Amsterdam'.
The visuals of the staged funeral, with an over-arching monumental structure, precision marching, and a tribute flyover, are heavily resonant of military displays. Sparks of sexuality/sensuality leap out in almost unseen flashes against the dreary backdrop.

Meanwhile in London...
The musical 'Pretty Woman' is showing in the West End. 

Trailer link here.

Hollywood heavyweights Julia Roberts and Richard Gere starred respectively in the 1990 movie as the 'hooker with a heart' and the rich businessman she makes an honest man of.
'Pretty Woman' continues to trigger distaste at the glamorisation of the age-old trope of woman/beauty, man/money.
It's not the first screen/stage treatment of prostitution.
Iconic singer/actress Barbra Streisand played a prostitute in the edgy 1970 movie 'The Owl and The Pussycat', in which she forcibly moves into her neighbour's flat when he gets her evicted from her own apartment over her sex work.
'The world's oldest profession' has always been creative in eluding censorship, from the coy advertisements for personal services in early 19th-century US publications to the collages of graphic pictures and services adorning 20th-century London public 'phone boxes.

The global sex industry is worth an estimated $186 billion a year, with Spain the highest-spending per capita, and China, India and the USA topping the ranks in terms of women serving.

Complexity and complicity
Stromae - an anagram of 'maestro' - highlights the complexity and complicity involved in today's sex industry.
Perhaps these are the new taboos.


Posted by Tree Elven on 08/07/2022

Keywords: Stromae's 'State Funeral' For A Sex Worker, prostitution taboo, taboo topics, controversy, sex workers, music video, Stromae

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