Once a Whore, Always a Whore?: The Critical Meaning of Prostitution in François Ozon’s Jeune & Jolie

Pogkrong Boon-Long


With its coming-of-age theme, François Ozon’s Jeune & Jolie presents the life story of a middle-class seventeen-year-old literature student who secretly works as a call girl on the internet as a sideline. She conceals it from her family and later gets caught accidentally by the police. My analysis of this representation finds that Ozon thoughtfully presents the meaning of prostitution in critical ways by questioning and reconstructing the myth of the taboo profession in many ways. Moreover, such a critical meaning potentially empowers audiences, especially women, in the dimension of sexual identity through the experience of the protagonist who employs prostitution as her “wild” activity in her spare time in daily life to explore and experiment with her sexual pleasure which cannot be easily shared with other members in her family or a close friend at school. Importantly, prostitution leads the protagonist to a transformation of her identity, including her self redemption from being bound up in a taboo profession, and such a condition is significantly depicted in relation to the elements of age and urban area, which surrounds the protagonist’s living environment and influences her life activities, especially her sexual activities.

DOI: 10.5901/jesr.2014.v4n4p141

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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)

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