Conservative feminists, together with other idiots, oppose honoring “revolutionary” sex worker

by on February 12, 2009  •  In Sex work

Images The following post from the Times of London tells the latest chapter in the story of a woman I'm embarrassed to say I had never heard of, but who was well enough known in Europe to garner lengthy obits like the one in The Independent, which called her a "virtuoso writer and revolutionary whore." Someone needs to write a biography about this lady.  As for the likes of the "women's rights activists" who object to honoring her, the less said …

A decision by the [Geneva] city government to transfer the remains of Grisélidis Réal, a renowned prostitute and champion of prostitutes’ rights, to a grave of honour next to some of the city’s most illustrious former citizens has erupted into a very public row. In the conservative Swiss financial centre the idea of a prostitute being buried near to the Protestant reformer Jean Calvin, the right-wing Argentinean-born writer Jorge Luis Borges or the educationalist Jean Piaget has appalled traditionalists and even angered women’s rights activists.

They believe that the elevation of a woman who represents a profession demeaning to their gender is wrong and have threatened to stage a protest. “This is an insult to all women. It is the pinnacle of bad taste to bury a woman who glorified prostitution next to the religious reformer Calvin,” said Odile Roulet, a Geneva lawyer and activist who has lodged a complaint with the local council.

Born in 1929 to a respectable middle-class family, Réal became a prostitute after completing her studies in art and music. She moved to postwar Germany to entertain Allied soldiers, with a preference for the British whom she deemed “true gentlemen”. She became popular as an author of books about her life as a high-class prostitute, such as A Courtesan’s Dance Card. In her memoirs she detailed the often embarrassing perversions of her clients, many of whom were later publicly identified from her descriptions.

When she retired from entertaining clients at the age of 66, Réal became a social worker, establishing associations and groups to help prostitutes and to campaign for their rights as sex workers. She died of cancer in Geneva in 2005 aged 75 and was buried at a normal cemetery. In March last year Geneva city authorities said they intended to exhume her remains and lay them to rest at the Cimetière des Rois – Cemetery of Kings.

Local laws stipulate that only people of exceptional merit can be buried at the cemetery, but Patrice Mugny, an MP and head of the cultural authority of Geneva, said Réal deserved her neww status. “Grisélidis Réal championed the women’s right of choice and she fought her whole life over for prostitutes to be able to do their job with dignity. She was famous all over Europe for her struggle,” he said…


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