You may call her a whore, a bitch, a prostitute, a tart… but behind it all she is a daughter. Through a letter format, this middle aged Berlin prostitute explains her rebellious detachment from her father. This text hides meaning and criticism to the patriarchic family structure and consequent messages it has conveyed. Aimmee Dudevant confesses and leaves us to conclude for ourselves.
Looking back on my life and the lives of people I have had considerable contact with, I make attempts to see crucial moments of impact. Moments that have considerable influence on our thought processes, decisions, how we look at life, and how life in turn looks at us. Society, religion, and media have a significant monopoly on regulating our behavior, especially when it comes to our roles, gender roles in particular. But in my experience, the most significant and what should be the most trust worthy, is that of the family. The family is meant to analyze, interpret, clarify, and in many cases transcend these social signals. My moment of impact came from an amalgamation of familiar and social communications, when I decided to become a whore. When I saw my role in life to be a full-time job and that I should be the boss. A single correspondence between my father and me exemplifies my embodyment of innocence.
My Dearest Father,
I came across this letter you wrote to me when I was 15 years old. Do you remember writing this to me?
My Dearest Daughter,
First and foremost, I want you to know how much I love and adore you. You are my angel and princess. I know my restrictions on you in the last years have been hard. I know you think you hate me because I control how late you are allowed to stay out, what you wear, and with whom you go out. But it is for your own good. I am only trying to protect you from the mischief of men. I know it is hard for you to understand at this time, but at some point I hope you will. The truth is that men, especially boys, are driven by their desire for sex. I know with your hormones raging as they are, you are also highly vulnerable to these coercions. I only want to preserve your innocence as long as possible. You cannot trust men, especially these boys, because they lack the capacity to think beyond their hormone driven disposition. I know you also think you hate me, because I give your brother Jake, more freedoms, but he is a man. I do not have to worry about him getting raped or pregnant. I do not know what I would do if anything happened to you my princess. Please try not to hate me for my wanting to protect you. I only want the best for you.
All the love in the world,
I know we have not spoken much since I finished college over 10 years ago, but I have been busy trying to find my place in this world. As a young woman, I looked up to you and we always did things together. In my eyes you were the perfect man. You were always there and you treated mom and me like queens. I do not know the personal details about your divorce, but, through my own experiences in relationships and life, I have a pretty good idea of what happened.
As I have wandered through this journey of life, I have always had in the back of my mind what you said in this letter that you wrote me so long ago, “men are driven by their desire for sex and that you cannot trust them.” You were right, at the time I despised you so much for not allowing me to learn how to carry myself in this man’s world, but rather you kept me hidden away. I could not understand how it was fair to keep me in solitude, as an unattainable object, while you let Jake have free run of his exuberance.
When I was a girl and dreamed of one day getting married, I only wished to have a man as devoted and true as you. But in the end, not even you were impervious to your own theory. I loved how you took care of me and mother, but as an adult, I came to resent how you kept us dependent on you. Your energies given to our preservation, protection, and even adoration in the end, propagated your theory of men and became a self-fulfilling prophecy, not only for you, but also for Jake. Giving him his freedoms without censure, allowed him to have two children and become a father to neither.
All my life, I have been in and out of relationships, unable to trust the men I am with. I cannot even say that at any time did any of them truly ever deserve my trust or what should be valued in me the most. But, even if they had, I would not have known, because I never really knew my true value myself, until now. I am now 35 years old. I have a college education and I live a free life, however, alone. I have sought to find the right guy and in my most recent attempts, I placed an ad in the personals of Craigslist, amongst others, and I have to say, I hit rock bottom, when Jake responded to my ad, not knowing it was me, with nothing but a picture of his cock.
I know this perpetuation of objectifications is unlikely to change overnight or even at all. But for myself, I can change the way in which I am objectified and at least demand value for that which men desire most. If men will only ever see me as an object, then I shall collect on the fruits of this labor and expect remuneration. I can play the game along with them, but from now on, the game will be played with my rules or not at all.
So to respond to your letter father, I do understand. I understand, the who, what, why, and how…vividly. I do not hate you, I never did. I am only disappointed that when you were given the position in life to empower your children and to teach them dignity, honor, and respect, you took the easy way…to go with the status quo. But, father, it was not all for nothing, as I have become powerful and prosperous only because of this deficiency of men and because you taught me never to trust them because of it.
Your Dearest Daughter
Confessions of a Whore in Berlin