The Deuce: Candy and her skewed take on empowerment
The Deuce is a drama television series set in Times Square, New York City in the early 1970s. The Deuce tells the story of the rise of the porn industry in New York and its subsequent effect on prostitution.
One of the main characters, Candy, is a prostitute that doesn’t have a pimp. She prides herself on her fierce independence and ability to make a living selling her body for sex without a pimp. She is originally skeptical of the porn film industry because it doesn’t pay well. But, after she fills in for a friend in a porn film she is fascinated by the production of pornography. This sparks her desire to become a porn producer. The series follows her through her struggle to break into the porn production industry as a sex worker. There are other sex workers in the show that work under the thumb of pimps. Their lives are ruled by these controlling, volatile, and violent men but in contrast Candy seems so free and independent because she has no pimp and is aiming for bigger and better things, porn film production. Yet, the show still follows Candy into dark places. Candy is horribly abused, manipulated and lied to by men, and even witnesses murder. It is clear that although Candy does not have a pimp it does not keep her free from the dark realities of selling your body for money.
At the end of the season Candy succeeds in breaking into the pornography industry as a producer. This is portrayed as this huge triumph; she is making money in the porn industry and is off the streets as a sex worker. Candy is excited to finally be involved in the creative process of directing porn and giving the performers confidence. Candy sees creating pornography for consumers as empowering and a much better option than being on the streets.
Candy’s character is meant to show that creating pornography is an empowering step up when in reality it’s not.
Pornography is centered on reducing an individual to their body parts for personal private pleasure, which reinforces a patriarchy that views women’s bodies as public commodities. This is the exact same way that prostitution degrades a woman to just a body that provides sexual pleasure for a man. In both situations, woman’s bodies are being used for profit.
Let it be very clear that Candy’s progression from prostitute to porn producers is not a step up the ladder.
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