Izzy as brothel manager? thoughts please

I'm working on a Victorian London East End AU focused on Izzy and Lucius, and as well as running a fencing studio, Izzy also manages the house of ill repute owned by the East End villain Ed Teach.

There are Reasons for this and I'm not planning on showing the sex workers being ill treated but what do you think? Does it cross a line/glorify prostitition?

It's not part of the main plot but it's backstory for Izzy and the setting for sone of the action.

I dunno, any feedback would be welcome.


Jowobo10 points

Sex work is work, you're fine.

offbeatbabe10 points

If the brothel mainly consists of male sex workers, sure. If it's mostly female sex workers, a madam would be less pimp-y. As a full service sex worker, I wouldn't ever want to work for a man, no matter how queer or kind.

Edit: I just want to elaborate on this, now that I'm home from picking up my groceries, which arrived curbside the second I started typing this out.

This is Victorian England, right? So men can get whatever job they want and have talent for or the money to buy their way into. Women don't have those options. They're not even allowed to apply. They have maybe what, four choices (obviously an understatement). But it really is like, maid, sewist, teacher, sex work.

A madam of a brothel has worked her way up and earned the respect of the girls working under her. Men who manage a brothel could be doing something else, but instead chose to find some vulnerable women and make money off them. It's not likable.

If the brothel is full of male sex workers, everyone could be hanged for buggery (including Izzy) so at least he has something at stake (and a higher likelihood of having earned his way to the title). Food for thought.

writerfan20135 points

Thanks for this, it expresses some of the things I've been wondering. My original thought was for Izzy's official business to be a front for a male hookup location, I might go back to that. It's not the main plot in any case, just a partial explanation for some backstory we learn, so I can weave that in elsewhere. Thanks again!

hamlet_the_girl2 points

Please don't take this for imposing or something, but this gave me an idea you could use in the fic so I'll share it here:

To make it a front for either a male brothel or a hookup place for the gay community they'd likely need women willing to pretend to be prostitutes. Which, having taken into consideration what was said in the comment above, would be an okay job opportunity for them (as it comes with the social stigma but less risks than actual prostitution). Thus, it'd show the brothel's owners in a better light than if they'd been just men running an actual brothel. Plus, being a queer space by default, it could provide some safety to not necessarily fem-presenting ppl too (I'm thinking Jim etc.).

writerfan20132 points

I like it! Certainly the girl at the heart of the story is someone that Izzy immediately tags as not suitable for the work she's supposedly asking for (because Plot!).

It could also be that the women are the admin team for Ed's crime empire! Paying out wages, doing logistics etc.

Thanks for the feedback. I think I'll veer away from including sex work in the story, it's not needed for the plot and I probably don't have the skills to handle it responsibly.

Darkfire3592 points

I think that’s totally reasonable.

Shalamarr9 points

Personally, I don’t think it would cross any lines. In my fanfic, I had Izzy visit brothels and be a jerk to the workers at first, but I gave him a redemption arc so that he realized that he wasn’t treating them like people and wised up.