Nov 7 08 7:15 PM

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For Miry - and all the other cam models who are temporarily "publicly available women" but who might also want to be recognized as Public Personalities and Performance Artists...and not simply sexual commodities.
So why the interest in a long dead Venetian Poet and famous Tarfa? Well, she was called back from the grave in the 1998 film "Dangerous Beauty" - in part because she was an historical role-model for that whole new group of post-modern sexual performers and alt/sex personalities in San Francisco who claimed that their sex work made them members of the "creative class." A group that Elizabeth Bernstein describes so well in her book "Temporarily Yours."
Take a look for yourself here:


Veronica Franco
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Portrait by Jacopo Tintoretto.

Veronica Franco [1] (1546-1591) was a poet and courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice.

Life as a Courtesan

Renaissance Venetian society recognized two different classes of courtesans: the cortigiana onesta, the intellectual courtesan, and the cortigiana di lume, lower-class courtesans (closer kin to prostitutes today) who tended to live and practice their trade near the Rialto Bridge.[1] Veronica Franco was perhaps the most celebrated member of the former category, although Franco was hardly the only onesta in 16th-century Venice who could boast of a fine education and considerable literary and artistic accomplishments.

The daughter of another cortigiana onesta, Franco learned the art at a young age from her mother and was trained to use her natural assets and abilities to achieve a financially beneficial marriage. While still in her teens, Franco married a wealthy physician, but the union ended badly. In order to support herself, Franco turned to serving as a cortigiana to wealthy men. She quickly rose through the ranks to consort with some of the leading notables of her day and even had a brief liaison with Henry III, King of France. Franco was listed as one of the foremost courtesans of Venice in Il Catalogo di tutte le principale et piu honorate cortigiane di Venezia.

A well-educated woman, Veronica Franco wrote two volumes of poetry: Terze rime in 1575 and Lettere familiari a diversi in 1580. She published books of letters and collected the works of other leading writers into anthologies. Successful in her two lines of work, Franco also founded a charity for courtesans and their children.

In 1575, during the epidemic of plague that ravaged the city, Veronica Franco was forced to leave Venice and lost much of her wealth when her house and possessions were looted. On her return in 1577, she defended herself with dignity in an Inquisition for witchcraft trial (a common complaint lodged against courtesans in those days). The charges were dropped.

There is evidence that her connections among the Venetian nobility helped in her acquittal. Her later life is largely obscure, though surviving records suggest that although she won her freedom, she lost all of her material goods and wealth. Eventually, her last major benefactor died and left her with no financial support. Although her fate is largely uncertain, she is believed to have died in relative poverty. [2]

In 1565, when she was about 20 years old, Veronica Franco was listed in Il Catalogo di tutte le principale e più honorate cortigiane di Venezia, which gave the names, addresses, and fees of Venice's most prominent prostitutes; her mother was listed as the person to whom the fee should be paid. From extant records, we know that by the time she was 18, Franco had been briefly married and had given birth to her first child; she would eventually have six children, three of whom died in infancy.

As one of the più honorate cortigiane in a wealthy and cosmopolitan city, Franco lived well for much of her working life, but without the automatic protection accorded to "respectable" women, she had to make her own way. She studied and sought patrons among the learned. By the 1570s, she belonged to one of the more prestigious literary circles in the city, participating in discussions and contributing to and editing anthologies of poetry.

In 1575, Franco's own volume of the poetry was published, her Terze rime, containing 18 capitoli (verse epistles) by her and 7 by men writing in her praise. That same year saw an outbreak of plague in Venice, one that lasted two years and caused Franco to leave the city and to lose many of her possessions. In 1577, she unsuccessfully proposed to the city council that it should establish a home for poor women, of which she would become the administrator. By then, she was raising not only her own children but also her nephews, who had been orphaned by the plague.

In 1580, Franco published her Lettere familiari a diversi, "Letters written in my youth," which included 50 letters, as well as two sonnets addressed to King Henry III of France, who had visited her six years earlier. We have little information for her life after 1580. Records suggest that she was less prosperous in her later years but was not living in poverty. However, she published no more writings.

Franco's life was recorded in the book The Honest Courtesan, by author Margaret F. Rosenthal. It is claimed that this book "draws a compelling portrait of Veronica Franco in her cultural, social, and economic world. Rosenthal reveals in Franco's writing a passionate support of defenseless women, strong convictions about inequality, and, in the eroticized language of her epistolary verses, the seductive political nature of all poetic contests. It is Veronica Franco's insight into the power conflicts between men and women — and her awareness of the threat she posed to her male contemporaries — that makes her literary works and her dealings with Venetian intellectuals so pertinent today."[citation needed]

Film portrayal

Catherine McCormack portrayed Veronica Franco in the 1998 movie Dangerous Beauty (released as 'A Destiny of Her Own' in some countries), based on Rosenthal's book.


"When we too are armed and trained, we can convince men that we have hands, feet, and a heart like yours; and although we may be delicate and soft, some men who are delicate are also strong; and others, coarse and harsh, are cowards. Women have not yet realized this, for if they should decide to do so, they would be able to fight you until death; and to prove that I speak the truth, amongst so many women, I will be the first to act, setting an example for them to follow."


1. ^ Margaret F. Rosenthal discusses this distinction in her article, see below.


* Eight books of poems and letters by Veronica Franco may be found here. Search by author on Franco, Veronica
* A portrait, attributed to Tintoretto, may be found here along with one of her most famous statements.
* A more extensive discussion of the film may be found here.
* Rosenthal, Margaret F., "Veronica Franco's Terze Rime (1575): The Venetian Courtesan's Defense," Renaissance Quarterly 42:2 (Summer 1989) 227-257

Categories: Mistresses of French royalty | Italian poets | People from Venice (city) | 1546 births | 1591 deaths | Italian courtesans and prostitutes |

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"I would no more be a Master than a slave. It does not conform to my idea of Democracy." Abraham Lincoln 1856.

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#1 [url]

Nov 7 08 9:33 PM

Wow...This movie is one of my favorites, but i never knew Veronica Franco was a historical person...shame on me

I am already given to the power which rule my destiny.
I am holding on to nothing, thats why i have nothing to defend.
I have no thoughts, thats why i will SEE
I am afraid of nothing, thats why i will remember myself.
Silvio Manuel

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#2 [url]

Nov 8 08 2:54 AM

Could this be the lady that inspired Billy Joel to write Always A Woman ? Quite a story here. I'll have to check out the movie! ( Just kidding about the song ... but I suspect it fits )

Be kind, for [nearly] everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -- Philo
Curiosity Didn't Kill This Cat. -- Studs Terkel
Simply paying attention allows us to build an emotional connection. Lacking attention, empathy hasn't a chance. --Daniel Goleman

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#3 [url]

Nov 9 08 4:39 PM

Thanks UL. This movie was a "must see" for me ... I had never heard of it before but I discovered that it's available for instant play from Netscape. Very powerful and seemingly honest story.

I've had the honor, privilege and, pleasure to have known one WebCamGirl who has many of Veronica's qualities. In her chat room I had heard her say one day, "I could devour you with my eyes!" in response to a challenge from one of her guests. I don't imagine that she wrote the post in the link above but she certainly has the capacity! Tears welled up in my eyes while I watched the movie and considered the timeless implications and the concern that I have for my temporarily missing friend. I'd stand as someone who has a deep respect for good people with honest intentions who manage "bounded authenticity" in their lives and in their work. Even though our entertainment is delivered in a virtual environment the associations can make a real difference in peoples lives. I disagree with WebCamGirl's assessment that a decent man of 50+ years would never go to a webcam or porn site ... but she didn't know so what good would it do to argue about it?

Yesterday, I went to the library searching for "Dangerous Beauty" but didn't find it. Instead, I selected Dangerous Minds which also brought a few tears to my eyes. It was an amazing coincidence for me because just the day before I had been discussing Bob Dylan with a friend and just beginning to think about a few of his lyrics. Seemed like my 'accidental' movie was exactly the one that I was meant to be watching that day. I'm convinced that our Universe works!

Teaching is NOT an easy job either! I hadn't heard of "Dangerous Minds" either ... so I can get out to the movies more often now that I have Netflix and convenient access to the DVD collection at the library!

Here's a powerful clip from Dangerous Minds ( 1995 ) Choice

Be kind, for [nearly] everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -- Philo
Curiosity Didn't Kill This Cat. -- Studs Terkel
Simply paying attention allows us to build an emotional connection. Lacking attention, empathy hasn't a chance. --Daniel Goleman

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#4 [url]

Nov 9 08 4:58 PM

Indx, yes teaching is a very hard job.

To become a teacher, is to give of yourself. To share your knowledge and wisdom with others, so they can learn, adapt, better themselves.

It is sometimes a thankless profession, underpaid, and underrated.

But the chance to change or help another person, even if it is just one out of many,is worth the effort.

One random act of kindness, one act of unselfishness, can make a world of difference.

It takes just one person, to enact a change in others, to promote thought, and ideas. This can be the best gift of all, more than any monetary or materialistic things a person can achieve.

Have you ever seen the movie "City of Angels"? with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan. One of my favorite movies, and many good songs.

There is one line near the end of the movie, that touches me profoundly. I will let you find which one.

We all have our reasons and purpose for being on this planet. Some learn early what life is all about, and some learn late what it is all about.

In the game of seduction, there is one rule, never fall in love.

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#5 [url]

Nov 9 08 5:28 PM

Haven't seen it yet but at least I'd heard of it! Sounds like another great one for this board ... I'll check it out soon

I noticed in the news that Romanian Teachers went on strike or at least threatened to strike last week. I think there average salary is 200-250 euros per month and their government had promised to double their salary a little more than a year ago. And now, the government said they can't afford to fulfill their promise to the teachers ... Seems like some of the most important people in the universe often get the short end of the stick ( or carrot as the case may be )

Be kind, for [nearly] everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -- Philo
Curiosity Didn't Kill This Cat. -- Studs Terkel
Simply paying attention allows us to build an emotional connection. Lacking attention, empathy hasn't a chance. --Daniel Goleman

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#6 [url]

Nov 9 08 5:41 PM

250 Euros per month?
Hmmm, then maybe it's not surprising that so many cam models are elementary and High School teachers - or even surgical residents, moon-lighting online to supplement their meager salaries.. So sex work subsidizes their brain work. And perhaps provides an inspiring model for their students' future employment in Romania's one sure growth industry?

"I would no more be a Master than a slave. It does not conform to my idea of Democracy." Abraham Lincoln 1856.

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#7 [url]

Nov 9 08 6:14 PM

I read that too Indx,Uncle.

If you have looked at that economic report I sent you Uncle, there are many links discussed and give you info about economic conditions.

I am afraid that cam girl hostess jobs are the best alternative for them, but is it really?

So I ask where and when will it end? We did not cause their economic conditions, yet we promote their work, and are we changing or helping them or their futures?

Like some have mentioned, what skills, does camming help them in the long run?

Will they be able to use it as a reference for future employment? And the money obtained to return or pay for their studies, assure them they will have a decent job after graduation?

I know of some models, that have graduated and still do not make enough away from camming.

But I am certain that some will move out of their countries and use their degrees in another country.

And then have you thought about this:that there still is the need for people to perform most jobs that people in their own country that they do not want to accept. Which in turn provides opportunities for other migrants to fill from other countries.

And the parallels are similar in the USA. Many Americans do not accept the menial,low paying jobs that their parents or grandparents once held. So immigrants are filling the void or the needed labor that keeps the economy working. I point to the Mexican immigrants, that work the farms, or work as busboys, or do jobs that are beneath some peoples ideals.

In the game of seduction, there is one rule, never fall in love.

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#8 [url]

Nov 10 08 2:40 AM

It looks like Veronica Franco started doing more of what she really enjoyed (Writing) after the job she used to make more money with.
Making more money does not always equal more happiness.

I had posted an article that gave reasons why people are not rich or as I would think that they might not feel rich but in reality they might be.

Here is the quote that I thought people should look the most at and understand from the list of 10 things in my off topic post.

You don't do what you enjoy: While your job doesn't necessarily need to be your dream job, you need to enjoy it. If you choose a job you don't like just for the money, you'll likely spend all that extra cash trying to relieve the stress of doing work you hate.

In the case of the teachers from Romania and other countries working with low wages,I would suspect that many of them still teach even with low wages because they like their job.Seeing a student smile because they actually learned or got what the teacher was trying to get through to them is a reward itself.
I like helping people to be able to help themselves and teach them things that helped me live a better life.
I do alot of things for cheap wages that I could charge people more money for,but I don't. Just doing something that I like for others is almost reward enough,though i do need money for bills and food & clothing.
People ask me alot,if I think they paid me enough for the work I did for them.I keep saying yes and sometimes accept the extra money if they keep after me about it.

I enjoy some things that I do for work,but others I do just to stay busy.
Money comes second to my sanity.

Do what you Enjoy.. as I think Slider may have as a Quote ?..

Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow. Thornton Wilder

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

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Very Talkative

Posts: 72

#9 [url]

Nov 13 08 7:58 PM


I haven't read all of this post, but I did watch the clip (I haven't seen the film, tho)

I've chosen to become a teacher, but from day to day, I don't much thinik about what the deeper purpose of this decision means....

Thanks for this post

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#10 [url]

Mar 29 11 4:20 PM

cool.gif Here's an interesting comment/ review about the film, "Dangerous Beauty".. And the way the significance of Veronica Franco's ife-story was interpreted in this "sex worker credo' written by Veronica Monet, who describes herself as a "Certified Sexologist and Sex Worker Rights Activist."

Here's the link to her blog: http://veronicamonet.wordpress.com/


Powerful Women
March 15, 2011 by Veronica Monet

I have found it to be quite true, that men of a certain type of power and success, can be easily intimidated by female power. For instance, they often marry vapid women who are more interested in their money than them. So many of my clients expressed a sense of entitlement regarding their wives – they were providing for them so they didn’t feel incongruent about “cheating” on them. I often asked individual men if they thought their wife was also stepping outside the marriage. The very idea would often elicit a scoff as almost every man had convinced himself that only he would engage in such behavior.

What I found particularly intriguing was how many of these same men hungered for a sexual companion who was anything but malleable. It led me to begin referring to this phenomena in this way:

Our culture prefers that Wives are Dumb and Docile but that does nothing for the Libido. Men may want wives and girlfriends who are easily controlled but in bed they prefer a companion who is powerful and challenging. It is the electricity of some level of intellectual and emotional challenge which drives desire. This is why the Patriarchy requires the Whore/Madonna Complex: a splitting of femininity into two camps so that women feel compelled to pick a side and thereby deny half of their reality as a whole human.

There is a beautiful movie entitled Dangerous Beauty. It is about the life of a Renaissance courtesan from Venice, named Veronica Franco. The movie illustrates perfectly the choice women faced of that time between being accepted as a person worthy of marriage (wives were not allowed to read, write or pursue an education) and being a free woman fully empowered to delve into domains normally reserved for men. Veronica Franco was simply too independent and intelligent to be a wife and her mother despaired for her future, so she instructed her in the ways of a courtesan. As a courtesan, Veronica Franco, learned to read and debate men in conversation. She took up fencing and she wrote her memoirs. This was a life of power reserved for courtesans. The price for admission was living outside the protection and approval of society.

Today, we speak of prostitutes as if they all live and work in the squalor of the streets. The fact is that the majority of modern prostitutes operate from their homes discreetly supplementing their incomes and/or financing their dreams, whether that is an education, a sole proprietorship or perhaps their art. They too, are women who are not satisfied with the “good girl” role. They probably feel stifled and silenced and confined by popular feminine behavior. And breaking free of that provides a sense of power they have rarely experienced in other contexts.

It isn’t all sunshine and roses. There are possible arrests and evictions and serial rapists who love to prey upon sex workers because the law affords almost no protection for a “fallen woman.” But for some, the risks are worth it. Anyone who thinks it is just about sex doesn’t understand this fatal split in the feminine. Anyone who thinks is it just about money, doesn’t understand how deeply many humans crave freedom of expression. Sex work is about sex and it is about work, but more importantly it is about breaking free of the rules which dictate women are either “good” or “bad” – either worthy of protection or worthy of persecution.

Few sex workers relate to this on a conscious level, unless they are sex worker rights activists or sacred prostitutes. But I have seen the light in the eyes of women just contemplating sex for money and they look positively excited and energized with the anticipation of what that might feel like and look like for them. I always caution them about the down side – the risk and the illegality and the very real prices I have paid for my choice. I don’t choose to encourage anyone to do something with such a high price tag. But once a woman has crossed that line and experienced her power to reject the shame bestowed upon the “whore” she will likely never be able to return to ways of being in this world which require her to repress her true feelings.

That doesn’t mean she won’t move on to another profession at some point. It does mean that she will be very unlikely to work for an employer once she has tasted her independence. It can also translate to putting up with less domination or abuse from men in general. The woman who has been paid for her companionship is much less likely to put up with anything she doesn’t enjoy or appreciate in a personal relationship. Of course this generalization does not apply to street prostitutes who enter the business under the tutelage of an abusive pimp. Nor does it necessarily apply to prostitutes who work in legal brothels because by definition they have abusive employers. But for your average middle-class, college educated escort, independence of thought and action becomes a privilege few are willing to sacrifice for the approving nods of the masses.

"I would no more be a Master than a slave. It does not conform to my idea of Democracy." Abraham Lincoln 1856.

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