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Prostitute or tramp? What's the difference?

Maryanne Comaroto

We all know the chief difference between a tramp and a prostitute, right? Of course - the prostitute gets paid for what she does. But these days, the line between the two seems to be getting more and more blurry, as women who have done what used to be unspeakable, are now more than eager to sell their stories to the highest bidder, regardless of who gets hurt or what the consequences are.

To take an example from my own life: I was once engaged to a man who was already married to someone else. Indeed, the fact that he was married throughout our relationship is what ended up being the deciding factor in our breakup. And yet, during all the time we were together (several years), it never even entered my mind to pick up the phone and call the newspaper, to give them all the details they would need to ruin the lives of the victims in the situation - his wife, his family. Aside from the fact of not wanting to humiliate them, there was also the issue that I would be humiliating myself - I had done something shameful, something embarrassing, something I did not want anyone to know about. Far from alerting the press, I didn't even dare tell my closest friends what was going on. Even though I was hurting and desperate for some kind of solution to the situation, I felt I had to go through this alone.

He and I did love each other, and we told ourselves we could make it work, but in the end we both knew that we had entered into territory we shouldn't have, and that it could never have a happy ending. We were young, and we were most certainly immature. And although I am certainly grateful that I was able to learn something from that time in my life, it still makes me sad to think about what he wife had to go through.

Nowadays, there are women out there who wouldn't think twice about calling up the tabloids and reporting their sexual indiscretions to the world. Rather than hiding in shame, they come forward without even a hint of embarrassment, happy for everyone to know exactly what they did with which married man, and where, and how many times. Meanwhile, the families are left in tatters, and the reminders of shattered lives are on every tabloid front page. The recent situations with Sandra Bullock's husband and Tiger woods are good examples of how some women will do their best to bring all of womankind down with their trampy exploits.

So why has this started happening? Why has being a tramp suddenly become the new fashion? Money, of course. The tabloids pay for these stories of cheaters, and they pay well. The more women who come forward, the more of a media buzz they can create, and the more everyone profits. To make money this way, to take your income from being a tramp and advertising it... well, it's basically the new prostitution. It's hard to believe that we have come to a point in our society where it seems acceptable for a women to cash in on their tramp behavior, or to drag it all through the media for everyone to see and judge, but here we are. This is where we are now as a culture.

Is it possible to pinpoint where this trend began? Can we ever understand exactly what started causing women to think it was okay to behave this way and smear it all over the newspapers? Well, I'm certainly not going to claim I know the answer to that complicated question, but I do know one thing: we need to find a way to rebuild our self-esteem, and to find a better way to make money than to sink to this level. We've worked so hard to get where we are - let's not go any further toward destroying that progress.

To see Maryanne discussing her personal experience in this vein, view this week's video blog visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odk2p36PadY

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