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Billie Piper On “Secret Diary Of A Call Girl,” Sex Work And Feminism

“When I first started playing [Belle/Hannah], when I first read the script, I found it very hard to believe that those kind of women in that profession really [could be feminists]. I was quite judgmental about it. I thought ‘I’m not entirely sure that there’s any way that you could be that way and feel liberated and independent and call yourself an out-and-out feminist.’ It’s a very gray area. What happens with the character of Belle is that it starts off being, ‘This is who I am, this is what I am, it’s all fine, I’m in control,’ to feeling like she questions her ideas of feminism, and mostly down to the relationships that she forms with Ben and other people. It’s something she starts to question more and more. Actually nowadays, it’s really hard to define feminism in a way, because it’s hard saying ‘we’re strong women, we’re career women, we make our own cash, and [yet] we wear provocative clothes, and say provocative things,’ and the whole idea feels slightly flawed now to some extent. … It is a massive kind of compromise. In one breath it’s like ‘this is my life’ and, on the surface, very enviable, but it would take a certain kind of person to be able to do that as a profession.”

Billie Piper, who plays Hannah/high-class prostitute Belle on “Secret Diary of a Call Girl,” on being called out by her boyfriend Ben’s mom about not being a good feminist. Do you agree with her? [TV Squad]

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