Academic Habit

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in General

From the Guardian’s piece on Sunday about the outing of Brooke Magnanti, aka Belle du Jour, the PhD who anonymously wrote the Diary of a London Call Girl blog (which was turned into a British TV show):

Among sex workers themselves there was little surprise that a well-educated woman like Magnanti had got into prostitution.  She took the job because she ran out of money as she was finishing her PhD; she is a now a research scientist. Hers was an extraordinary experience of prostitution; she was lucky, because prostitution ordinarily is, simply put, a condition that kills women.

The 34-year-old said she decided to unmask herself because the stress of the deceit was making her paranoid. Interest in her identity increased when her memoirs became a television series. Dr Magnanti, who now lives in Bristol and is a research scientist for The Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health, became a prostitute because she needed a job that left her enough time to complete her studies.

She kept her double life a secret even when she started the blog describing her experiences and the books which followed. Dr Magnanti told the Sunday Times she worked as a prostitute from 2003 to late 2004, and found it “so much more enjoyable” than her shifts in another job as a computer programmer. She told the newspaper “I don’t want this massive secret over me any more,” and that she feared an ex-boyfriend might reveal the true identity of Belle de Jour.

Sunday’s entry on the blog said: “It feels so much better on this side. Not to have to tell lies, hide things from the people I care about. To be able to defend what my experience of sex work is like to all the sceptics and doubters. “Anonymity had a purpose then – it will always have a reason to exist, for writers whose work is too damaging or too controversial to put their names on. “But for me, it became important to acknowledge that aspect of my life and my personality to the world at large. “I am a woman. I lived in London. I was a call girl. “The people, the places, the actions and feelings are as true now as they were then, and I stand behind every word with pride.”

A spokesman for her employer, the University of Bristol, said: “This aspect of Dr Magnanti’s past is not relevant to her current role at the university.” The spokesman added that Dr Magnanti’s revelations would not affect her chances of future employment with the university.



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