Harlots is a period piece about a brothel in the 18th century. Listed below are a few other shows worth checking out that deal with similar subjects.
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Female prostitution is one of the world’s most despised professions, but it’s also one of the most fascinating. Despite the fact that women (and men) freely give their bodies to those who pay for them, there is a sense of empowerment and liberation when doing so.
Shows like Harlots, which explore the social impact of 18th-century brothels while telling the dramatic story of women trying to be self-sufficient, do this well because of this. If you enjoy these types of stories for their entertainment value or the deeper meaning they convey, here are a few more worth reading.
1. Maison Close
There was a French show called Maison Close, which aired for two seasons in 2008, ten years before Harlots debuted on Hulu in 2017. It was set in Paris in the 1870s and revolved around the lives of three women who worked at a brothel called Le Paradis.
This prostitute hopes her wealthy main customer will pay her back. When Rose goes in search of her mother, who was a prostitute once, she finds herself forced into prostitution. Madame Hortense, the owner of Le Paradis, is dealing with extortion while trying to run her business.
Nearly everyone is familiar with the Jamestown settlement in Virginia thanks to the Pocahontas legend. However, what is often overlooked is the fact that while Jamestown was the first permanent British settlement in North America, it was not without its share of hardships. In addition, the colony was dominated by men, with only a few women present.
In order to attract British women to Jamestown, an incentive program that included marriage was implemented. The Jamestown TV series revolves around three women who travel to Jamestown to meet their chosen husbands who paid for their passage to the New World..
3. Secret Diary of a Call Girl
The call girl is an alternative form of prostitution to those found in brothels. Most of the time, she works for herself and sets up private meetings with clients over the phone.
In contrast to brothel girls, she keeps a low profile about her job, which creates the tension in ITV2’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Billie Piper, best known as Rose on Doctor Who, stars in the film based on a series of blogs written under the pen name Belle de Jour. She portrays a college student named Belle who also works as a call girl.
4. The Crimson Petal and the White
This BBC Two miniseries, based on the novel of the same name, used prostitution to tell a Jane Eyre-style story. It aired in 2011. William Rackham, an affluent young man from the Victorian era, develops feelings for a prostitute named Sugar.
However, he is already married and the father of a child by a mentally ill wife. As a result, William tries to hide his feelings for Sugar by pretending to hire her as a housekeeper. While this is going on, Sugar’s hold on him grows stronger, which causes the drama to heat up.
5. The Paradise
Department stores, one of the progressive aspects of the nineteenth century, gave women a new sense of freedom. Contrary to popular belief, women back then were not expected to leave the house unaccompanied for fear of being assaulted or sexually assaulted.
While department stores were once fashionable places for women to spend their leisure time, they also became places where women could work once they started offering similar luxuries to those found in their own homes. For example, a fictional department store’s inner workings are explored in shows like The Paradise from this period.
6. Cable Girls
Women’s liberation didn’t end in the United States in the 1920s, despite the decade’s importance. Voting rights were constantly changing due to the women’s rights movement in Spain, in particular.
Netflix’s Cable Girls centers on the women who worked for the new cable companies that sprang up as a result of the proliferation of telephone companies. In this Spanish drama, also known as Las Chicas del Cable, four women who work for a telephone company in Madrid try to find love and happiness in their lives. As noted in Bustle, the show does deviate from historical accuracy in some respects.
7. The Deuce
Pornographic films peaked in the 1970s at the same time as second-wave feminism. A decade ago, it was considered an underground industry. However, lax government regulations, ineffective prosecutions, and cultural shifts regarding general sex have made it more mainstream in the last decade.
As seen in HBO’s The Deuce, pornography and prostitution often went hand in hand. Starring James Franco as twin brothers who become involved with the Mafia in the late 1970s or early 1980s, the film Eileen “Candy” Merrell (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a prostitute and single mother, decides to join the burgeoning porn industry at the same time.
Despite the fact that Cranford has nothing to do with prostitution, it does center on a group of women who are dealing with a variety of challenges. A proposed railroad threatens a small fictional village in Cranford County, England, in the 1800s.
It’s the social power of the village’s women, mostly spinsters and widows, that sets this community apart. They are not only privy to all of the newest rumors, but they are also at the center of a lot of the village’s drama.
9. Call the Midwife
As a result of World War II, there was a famous baby boom in the 1950s, during which an unprecedented number of children were born. As a result, midwives were in high demand for both childbirth and postpartum care.
Nursing convents, like the one depicted in the film Call the Midwife, helped the poor who lived in cities like London’s slums. This critically acclaimed series, now in its ninth season, follows the lives of the midwives and the women they cared for.
10. The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale, on the other hand, looks to the future to see if women’s struggles will continue, rather than to the past for inspiration. This series and the book it’s based on have a terrifyingly plausible future.
Few women will be able to bear children for the ruling class once the United States has become a religious oligarchy and women have become increasingly infertile. One Handmaid, Offred, becomes the focus of a conspiracy involving an illicit liaison and an underground resistance movement. There are currently three seasons available on HBO.