Everyone has their own approach to developing a sex worker/courtesan persona. What ever your journey is, remember, you represent a strong group of people who have worked hard to gain ground and respectability in the SCA. What you do as a sex worker/courtesan persona, or while wearing the symbols of the Knowne World Courtesan, reflects on everyone. Take your time to study the history of sex work, courtly etiquette, misogyny, sexism, and whorephobia before taking that leap. And then make your entrance on your own time, when you’re ready. I spent a year before I donned the red veil and hart pin (psst… that’s not a requirement).
The Origin & Definition of the Word Courtesan:
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary and the Mirriam Webster Dictionary, a courtesan is a “a prostitute with a courtly, wealthy, or upper-class clientele.” The word courtesan is believed to been first used in 1533. It is comes from the Latin word cortem which evolved into cortigiana (Italian) which refers to a woman courtier or “of the court” (the male version is cortigiano). And then to courtisane (Middle French).
Courtesan vs Sex Worker Terminology
The above definition is one of the many reasons that we also use the term “sex worker persona” or combine the two, “sex worker/courtesan persona” as not all courtesan personas fit that definition, and we absolutely don’t want to imply a “whorarchy” where one type of sex worker is better than the other. Also, courtesans, or whatever term you use, had sex for money, they were sex workers.
Considering A Sex Worker/Courtesan Persona?
I strongly recommend listening to the KWC’s Podcast called Whores to Culture, especially “Flirting Part 1&2.” It’s dedicated to how to create and have a sex worker/courtesan persona, and the things you might encounter along the way.
Whores to Culture Podcast
(And if you can, please consider supporting them on Patron)
Here is some more information and a worksheet to help you get started:
About The Knowne World Courtesans
Researching Historical Sex Workers/Courtesans:
Information About Historical Sex Workers