Friday, March 14, 2008

Poverty, Chastity

Much is being made of the revelation that "Kristen"/Ashley's stepfather is an oral surgeon. Not because oral, hehe, but because this is meant to disprove theories that she was a whore because she needed the money.

But has anything been disproved? Isn't it entirely possible that a wealthy stepfather would not have provided for his teenaged (and, perhaps, skanktastic) stepdaughter? Just because he's at the very least upper-middle-class doesn't mean she wasn't in a bad spot.

Now if she were a he, were gay, and had run away from home at 17 and survived as a prostitute, I'm thinking this would be a different story altogether, and the family's wealth would not enter into it. But although you hear less about girls having to leave home on account of skankiness (or who knows what) than of boys getting kicked out by homophobic parents, the principle's the same. Whatever 'class' she was raised, family conflict is family conflict and broke is broke. Translating a wealthy-suburban demeanor (which one might imagine she has) into a career as a high-class escort is hardly a Bourdieusian example of the bourgeoisie snottily keeping its offspring in the upper-middle-classes.


Withywindle said...

It does actually seem bizarre ... I don't have a sense that many fathers in these circumstances do cut off their daughters without a dime. It's difficult to prove a negative, or say how many data points make a trend, but it seems abnormal.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Of course it's bizarre. But in this case (given the drug use, the trajectory towards prostitution, etc.) it seems more likely that she was cut off than that she's some spoiled rich girl who made up the story of having been hard-up for cash to gain street cred on Myspace. As in, I don't think she's this week's Margaret Seltzer, fake-gang-memoirist. Also the oral doctor is her stepfather, and she does seem to have a biological father also on the scene, which adds a level of complication as to who thought they were expected to be looking after her.

Nick said...

I make much more of the fact that she lives in a 9th floor apt. in the Flatiron. Would that I had such an apt.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

I think the story goes, she had it all, lost it all, and then got it all back by selling sex to politicians.

Anonymous said...

Drug habits are supposed to be expensive--yes?

Allegedly she had one.