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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

It’s a sad fact that more women than men support the violent policing of women’s sexualities.  Think about that:  despite all the “feminist” rhetoric supporting a woman’s supposed right to control her body and sexuality, polls consistently show that more women than men are in favor of criminalizing prostitution; that is, more women than men believe male cops should deceive, rape, rob, brutalize, humiliate, cage and ruin the lives of other women for having sex for reasons of which these women disapprove.  Presumably-sane women, many of whom would call themselves “feminists”, think it’s perfectly OK for a state mostly run by men to make laws giving other men the “right” to guess why a particular woman is having sex, raping her if the cop claims it’s to “gather evidence”, then taking her possessions, locking her in a cage and inviting news media to splash her picture all over papers, TV and the internet…because her motivation for having sex is “wrong”.  They tacitly approve of her reputation being destroyed, her children abducted from her and any hope of a straight job forever closed to her because they wouldn’t have sex for the reasons she chooses to have it.  Oh, some of them like to pretend that they don’t want this to happen, claiming that the “Swedish model” decriminalizes sex workers (an obvious absurdity given “accessory” laws, “avails” laws, “brothel-keeping” laws, etc); however, even if it really did what the propaganda says, that would still mean they supported the principle of starving other women into homelessness and financial ruin for the “crime” of wrongthink.

There are a lot of theories, guesses and opinions as to why this might be, including mate-guarding (i.e., attacking other women their husbands might choose to fuck) and the idea that whores lower the price of sex by charging a flat fee rather than forcing men to accept a possible lifelong burden in order to get it.  And while these ideas might have some merit, they don’t explain why these same women aren’t equally upset by women who essentially give sex away, nor why lesbians are well-represented in the whore-hating crowd despite their sexual disinterest in men.  Now, it’s absolutely true that behaviors deriving from evolution aren’t logical; for example, a lot of human sexual behavior is clearly designed to increase the number of offspring that individual can produce, even if the individual has absolutely no conscious interest in producing children and even if he or she is sterile.  But given the human history of promiscuity and casual prostitution (read Sex at Dawn if you haven’t already), I’m not really convinced that whore-hating has a deep evolutionary motive, at least not directly; I think it’s more likely a byproduct of a general female behavior pattern which probably does have an evolutionary origin, but which isn’t specifically aimed at whores.

I don’t think it’s too controversial to say that in general, women tend to put more emphasis on social interactions than do men.  Baby girls stare at faces for longer than baby boys do, girls tend to travel in duos or small groups, women tend to have higher “social intelligence”, we work through difficulties by interacting with each other, we bond by sharing vulnerabilities, we emphasize consensus-building, etc, etc.  The reasons for this aren’t important to consider in this limited space; what does matter is that women have a much more pronounced tendency to think of ourselves as members of a group than men do, and a much stronger tendency to feel that the actions of other women reflect upon us.  In general, guys aren’t all that likely to be concerned that some individual dude’s behavior “makes all men look bad”, while it isn’t at all hard to find some collectivist “feminist” blathering about how the mere existence of Barbie, sex workers, sexy lingerie, kink, labioplasty or some other thing “demeans all women” or even “harms all women”.  Women trapped in this belief-system seem to imagine a deep and mystical interconnectedness of all women, as though we were all “merely the three-dimensional projections of a single hydra-like gestalt entity floating in hyperspace“; they therefore imagine that “any single woman’s sexual activities performed in private magically affect all women throughout the world as though we were one huge set of Corsican sisters, and therefore all women must submit to whatever limitations are imposed on our sexuality by our rightful leaders“.  Once one accepts the absurd premise, the anti-sex “feminist” demand for suppression of sex work actually makes a twisted kind of sense; to someone trapped in this horrifying belief-system, all the women in the world are stuck in one immense elevator together and the whores are smoking, farting and pissing on the floor.

The best evidence for my theory being the correct one is that, as I alluded to above, sex workers aren’t the only women policed in this fashion.  The women who demand the criminalization of commercial sex also tend to be anti-kink and bigoted toward transwomen; this cannot be explained by “mate guarding” or “sex price depression” theories, but it makes perfect sense in light of the notion that nonconforming women somehow “pollute” womanhood by our very existence.  The poison vomited out by Trans-Exclusionary “Radical” Feminists (TERFs) is especially telling (the fact that these women are in no way “radical” is a subject for another day); their screeds tend to be larded with nonsense about some imaginary monolithic “shared female experience” (as though there were such a thing) which excludes transwomen, and how that makes them not “real women” (a slur that, not coincidentally, is often hurled at sex workers as well).  Add to that the fact that TERFs are nearly always Sex Work Exclusionary “Radical” Feminists (SWERFs) as well, and I think we have a smoking gun.  But wait, there’s more:  as many bisexual women can attest, there are still quite a few lesbians out there (though, thank Aphrodite, not as many as there used to be) who insist that bi-women can’t have “real” lesbian relationships, or that we aren’t “really” queer, or whatever; when I tweeted about this last week I received no fewer than four replies to this effect from would-be Dyke Cops within two hours.  Back in my formative years in the ’80s, it was even worse; I was actually told by many older lesbians (older than me, that is; some were as young as 30-something) that “real” lesbians didn’t use dildoes on each other, that fisting was abhorrent, and that kink was basically a mortal sin (“How could you possibly want to hurt another woman?!?  What’s wrong with you?!?”)  It’s absolutely true that the latter kind of sex-act-policing has largely vanished from lesbian communities, but the fact that it ever existed speaks volumes.  There is a large and very vocal subset of women who are deeply horrified by the fact that other women are unlike them sexually, and many if not most of them are perfectly willing to use coercion – up to and including the threat of sexual violence inflicted by armed men – to punish these other women for the sin of being different.

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I’ve always been uncomfortable with pigeonholing, the notion that it’s possible to completely define people by whatever groups they might belong to.  It’s the basis of all bigotry and “us vs them” thinking, and those who forcibly include others in their groups are no better than those who exclude others because they belong to certain groups.  In other words, I’m just as offended by women who say, “you’re a woman and so you must act in this way and accept this political dogma” as I am by men who say, “you can’t do such-and-such because you’re a woman.”  Yeah, I’m a woman.  I’m also human, American, Caucasian, middle-aged, brown-haired & brown-eyed, and of fairly average height and weight.  My sexuality is responsive to both men and women, and I’m turned on by a lot of things lumped under the category “kink”; I also make a living providing sexual services, and I’m extremely good at what I do. I used to be a librarian, and I’m still a pretty good writer; I like a lot of different ethnic cuisines (especially Mexican, Italian, Indian and Thai) and dislike green, leafy vegetables and undercooked food.  I have reasonably broad tastes in music, but there are a number of genres I can’t really appreciate; in fiction (whether written or performed) I tend to prefer fantasy, horror and speculative fiction, and I also prefer shorter stories & shows to longer ones.  I enjoy animation and role-playing games (in-person, not computer-based), and I used to be considered a helluva DM.

So as you can see, there are lots of labels which could be applied to me, and lots of groups to which I might be considered to belong.  I could be called a human, American, Southerner, New Orleanian, lapsed Catholic, pagan, woman, brunette, whore, courtesan, ex-librarian, writer, speaker, anarchist, radical, queer, kinkster, polyamorist, nerd, witch, bitch, mentor, healer, activist, public intellectual and many other things; some people call me ugly terms like “pervert”, “pimp” or “criminal”, while others prefer flattering ones like “heroine”, “angel” or “goddess”.  But the one thing all these descriptors have in common, whether they’re objective or subjective, bland or emotive, insulting or adulatory, accepted by me or not, is that they do not define me.  There is not a single one of these terms which tells you all you need to know about me, not even the ones I proudly embrace (such as “whore”).  Even if you string them together (I’ve been known to refer to myself on Twitter as a “kinky bisexual whore”, and I’m generally introduced as a “sex worker, writer and activist”) it still doesn’t even come close to telling you what I’m actually like, or serving as more than an extremely general predictor of almost anything about me (other than the specific trait it denotes).  The fact that I’m from New Orleans might give you a few clues about me, but it couldn’t predict the kind of movies I like; the introduction I mentioned above lets you know I’m probably very confident, but says nothing about my dietary preferences; and the fact that I’m bisexual tells you absolutely nothing other than that I wouldn’t automatically reject cuddling up with any given person on the basis of their sex.

And yet there are people who absolutely refuse to get this.  I’ve run into folks who presume that because I’m a white Southerner I must be racist; others who imagine my dislike of greens carries some deeper meaning than that they shouldn’t offer me spinach at dinner; still others who declare that my love of sci-fi shows & fantasy games allows them to make predictions about my sex life and living arrangements; and many thousands who fantasize that my profession means I must either be a “victim” or an “exploiter”, or even both.  Then just the other day in an exchange with Matisse, I wrote that my terms for letting women snuggle up to me are generally less strict than my terms for letting men do so because “I’m bisexual (leaning lesbian at this stage of my life) & most women don’t try to fuck me without paying“; a dude replied to this with “Oh, a lesbian”, as though that entirely summed up my personality and now he understood everything he needed to know about me.  Forget the fact that “bisexual leaning lesbian for the time being” isn’t the same as “lesbian”; even if I did identify as a lesbian that still wouldn’t give you more than a small fraction of a description of my sexuality, and it wouldn’t tell you squat about any other aspect of my personality.  The fact that I enjoy kissing and petting other women no more defines my “identity” than the fact that I like spicy food or the fact that I prefer fiction of the imaginative variety; it doesn’t even tell you what I don’t like because preferences aren’t necessarily exclusive (I also like kissing men, eating vanilla ice cream and some movies with absolutely no element of the fantastic).  It’s simply not possible to understand any human being by knowing one fact about her, no matter what cops, politicians and tribalists may want you to believe; pigeonholes are fine for pigeons, but unsuited for people.

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Stealing Time

Early risers in the US may be laboring under the misapprehension that today’s column posted an hour later than usual, but that would be incorrect.  My column posted at exactly the same time it always does (except for some equinoxes & solstices); it’s just that your clock is fast.  Now, you may protest that your clock isn’t actually fast because everybody else’s is equally fast, but that simply wouldn’t be true; the fact that everyone agrees that a lie is true doesn’t actually make it true (consider “sex trafficking”).  Just because a government demands that we all lie about what time it is from late winter until mid-autumn doesn’t make that lie true; it just creates a shared lie.  Now, I’m sure some of y’all are ready to pontificate in the comments about how time is a lie anyway and blah blah blah, so I’ll save you the trouble: no.  In the mid-19th century telecommunications and fast travel by railway necessitated timekeeping be standardized instead of judged by the local solar time, and so at first railways and then governments adopted standard times and, soon after that, time zones.  “Daylight Saving” or “Summer Time” schemes do nothing but throw that standard off and add complexity to coordinating schedules in different parts of the world; the practice costs the US alone an estimated $434 million per year, so we can assume the world cost is in the tens of billions.  And for what?  So people who work 9 to 5 jobs (of which there are far fewer than there used to be) can have extra time to spend outdoors, despite the fact that the amount of time people in the industrialized nations who invented and maintain this silly clock-setting game spend less time outdoors than they ever have at any point in recorded history.  Good grief.  How about we drop the nonsense, and those with flexible schedules just go to work an hour earlier so they have their after-work outdoor time?  Companies who want to can even adopt summer hours if they like (as many still do).  And that would let people like me, whose pineal glands refuse to settle down until at least 4 to 6 hours after sunset, actually get to sleep sometime before 4 AM.  Yes, this is a cantankerous grumble; please feel free to ignore the crazy lady with the big tits and the outlandish opinions, and just keep doing things as the government tells you to whether they make any sense or not. 

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As I’ve often said, MRAs and feminists are basically the same critter.  Both groups have a small fraction of thoughtful individuals who are genuinely interested in examining the ways in which society treats their gender unjustly, both have a larger minority who are bat-shit crazy and suffer from delusions of persecution, and both are mostly made up of unhappy individuals looking for something to believe in.  The more unhinged members of both groups are obsessed with kindergarten notions of “fairness”; for feminists this usually looks something like, “Waaaaah, it’s not FAIR that men tend to be bigger and stronger than women, and that women don’t usually make as much money as men merely because we actually want lives and aren’t willing to sell our souls to corporations!  Waaaaaaaaaah!”  And for MRAs it usually looks something like, “Waaaaaaaah, why do I have to pay women to fuck me?  It’s not FAIR that men usually want sex more than women, so women can put conditions on men having sex with them!  I should be able to have all the sex I want without paying or jumping through hoops, Waaaaaaaaaaaah!”  Most of the time, whiny-baby feminists avoid me because I’m a whore and therefore anathema to their weltanschauung, but often whiny-baby MRAs will approach me online because they’re laboring under the serious misapprehension that because the deranged feminists hate me I must be on their side (Republicans and Democrats often make the same Very Stupid Error, but that’s a discussion for another day).  Well, on Wednesday one such individual got on my last nerve, and so I decided to carpet-truth-bomb him thus:

Hi, welcome to this place called “physical reality”.  Here, matter is organized into many different forms with varying degrees of scarcity.  Naturally, scarcer resources are more prized.  So there’s a field of study called “economics”, which studies how sentient beings interact with each other in order to get the resources they need by trading other resources they have more of.  Resources are not distributed “evenly” or “fairly”; for example, the sun has a whopping huge supply of helium (it’s a waste product there), while on Earth it’s scarce and getting scarcer.  This isn’t because of “capitalism” or “patriarchy” or “privilege” or anything else; it’s just the nature of physical existence.  I as a sentient being found something I have a lot of, namely sex appeal, and I trade on that to get things I otherwise have a lot of trouble getting & holding on to, such as money.  If you don’t have anything you can trade, sell or negotiate with to get something I want or need, you won’t be able to get what you might want from me, just like if I can’t get the money the grocery store wants, I won’t be able to get the groceries I want from it.  This is reality.  Learn it.  What you need to do is stop bitching about life being “unfair” (no shit) and find something you have that others want & will pay you for, such as labor.  That’s all.  Everybody is in that boat.  Sex is a resource, and so is money.  One can be traded to get the other, just like any resource can be traded to get other things.  The end.

I honestly can’t comprehend how anyone over the age of 8 can fail to comprehend that the world isn’t “fair” and can never be; the only way it could be would be for everything to be reduced to a thin haze of hydrogen spread evenly through a static universe.  Some people have more of one resource and some of another; that’s why commerce was invented.  And even though some individuals do have more resources and advantages than others, most individuals are still lacking in other areas (which is, of course, why commerce works in the first place).  Yes, I have more than my “fair share” of sex appeal, intelligence, personality force and general health…and far less than my fair share of other nice things, such as emotional stability, consistent orgasmicity, the ability to navigate formal systems, the ability to sleep more than three hours without sedation and the ability to move around and position my body any way I like without becoming violently ill (and that’s by no means a complete list).  Money can’t make up for any of those defects, but it can purchase workarounds for many of them, and my sex appeal can get me money.  And that to me seems like a far more adult, realistic and practical life-strategy than sitting around whining that it isn’t “fair” that I can’t enjoy air travel, vibrators and many other things large numbers of people take for granted.

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pin-dancing-angelsProhibitionist fanatics are fond of telling us that the “vast majority” of whores are “trafficked sex slaves”, passive and “voiceless” vegetable-like entities who are reduced to this state by the magical potions and mind-control powers of evil “pimps” and then posed like sex dolls for uncaring “johns” to use.  They even bizarrely reverse the actual statistic, claiming that “98%” of us are these pathetic creatures, despite the enormous evidence to the contrary.  But let’s forget about studies for a few minutes; let’s ignore the fact that no normal man would want to have sex with a cowering, bruised, malnourished, dirty lump of flesh, and that any real sex worker can tell you how much time, effort and money we need to expend so as to look as pretty, happy, healthy and enthusiastic as possible.  Let’s ignore the fact that for prohibitionist claims to work, literally every single man in the US would have to be fucking a “trafficked child” every single week of his life.  Let’s forget about the literally hundreds of requests I’ve gotten from men asking how they can avoid “pimped” escorts, the thousands of requests for reassurance every young-looking sex worker has to field before she matures to a point where she’s assumed to have agency, and the inescapable fact that very young sex workers often lie up about their ages in order to minimize this chronic annoyance.  Let’s even ignore the fact that highly-publicized pogroms sold to the public as “sex trafficking investigations” virtually never turn up anyone coerced, and even when they do the number is tiny and the cases look essentially nothing like the propaganda.  I just have one question for the prohibitionists:

Where are they?

Where are all of these “trafficked sex slaves”?  And where are the “pimps”?  Show me some of them, please.

See, I can show you thousands of Twitter accounts, blogs and essays from sex workers; I can provide photos of absolutely enormous crowds of sex workers protesting against criminalization of our work, especially in the countries prohibitionists claim to be “hotbeds” of “sex trafficking”.  I even know ladies who’ve worked under really shitty conditions, exploited and coerced by husbands or boyfriends…and they all support decriminalization.  But all the prohibitionists can produce are a handful of show ponies like Rachel Moran and Theresa Flores, whom they parade around endlessly to recite their lurid tales of rape and beatings in front of crowds of gawking yahoos who then go home to masturbate.  Almost none of these so-called “survivors” can produce an arrest record, the name of a “pimp”, an old ad under which they were supposedly “sold for sex”, or any corroborating evidence whatsoever; what’s more, their tragedy porn always takes place conveniently years or decades in the past, long enough for the evidentiary trail to have been washed away by their bucketfuls of crocodile tears.  And you know why?  Because these supposedly “trafficked” hordes are nothing but the products of fevered religious imaginations, phantasms that not only never existed but never could exist because they break every known law and fact of physics, biology, psychology, sexuality, sociology, statistics, history and common sense.  They are nothing but angels dancing on the head of a pin, nonexistent entities whose existence is propounded by evil and sociopathic “leaders” as an excuse for tyranny and a distraction from their complete inability to actually solve even the simplest problems of the real world the rest of us are forced to inhabit.

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I told you that I was going to be doing a lot more hands-on activism, and…you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  –  “The ‘Active’ in ‘Activism’

Inimg_20170302_202514 the two years since I moved to Seattle, I’ve been a lot more hands-on in my sex worker rights activities; whereas in the past I mostly just wrote about the subject, now I also speak in public, give lots of interviews, participate in protests, speak to politicians and try to amplify as many other voices on the subject as possible.  And when I sat down to write this year’s column recognizing Sex Worker Rights Day (which is today), I realized that it’s no longer possible to cleanly divide my private life from my activism.  Whereas seven years ago most of the people I dealt with regularly had no idea I was a sex worker, now it would be much easier to count the number who don’t than the ones who do.  Those few friends who aren’t whores themselves certainly know I’m one, as do the majority of the professionals I deal with (my accountant, my hairdresser, my doctors, my manicurist, etc, etc), and even when strangers ask what I do for a living I generally tell them; the few exceptions are usually when I’m in a social situation with a friend who isn’t out to the others in that situation, or when dealing with people who might hassle me if they knew the truth (like officials).  Indeed, very few people now call me anything but Maggie; it was actually a little odd to hear Grace using my legal name when she came to visit at Christmas.  But this really isn’t surprising; if anything, it’s the natural outcome of the mission I took on when I started this blog.  I wanted to demystify the demimonde, to shine light into the shadows that let prohibitionists spread their lies about us so successfully.  As I’ve said so often in interviews and speeches, the movement for gay & lesbian rights didn’t start to gain traction until enough queer people were “out” that most people realized that they knew and perhaps even loved someone queer; it will be the same for sex worker rights.  And while I don’t blame any sex worker living under a criminalized or “legalized” regime for keeping her silence, it’s imperative that those of us who have less to lose be as “out” as we can manage under our individual circumstances.  I have no spouse to embarrass, no children who could be taken from me, no family I’m not already estranged from, no future career plans that could be torpedoed by an employer discovering my history of harlotry.  And while no sex worker is safe while any of us are considered criminals, I have less personally to lose than many others and so I’m proud to be both visible and respected for my work, without shame or fear.  The tide has turned and the wind is shifting; sex workers are more visible than we’ve ever been, and nobody without power hunger, profit motive, or a personal ax to grind is in favor of criminalization any more.  In a way, the “sex trafficking” hysteria was an early symptom that we’re winning; since our opponents couldn’t credibly portray us as villains any more, they turned to casting us as victims.  And now that narrative, too, is failing, as reasonable people everywhere realize that criminalization makes things worse for those in bad situations.  The day is coming when the prohibitions will start to fall like dominoes, and when it does I’ll be even more proud to know that I was one of those who helped knock that first one over.

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Without Consent

fascists-with-vaginasAnother Twitter rant, lovingly preserved for your delectation.  This one was inspired by partisans taking exception to my being disgusted when other partisans compared a tyrannical, pro-police-state politician to women fighting for rights under Islamic theocracies on the grounds that said politician has a vagina.  The rant seemed to confuse a lot of doofuses who don’t follow me, but must have seen it in retweets; the idea that the behavior of cops and politicians might be rooted in psychosexual drives was apparently so deeply disturbing to them that many of them felt compelled to hurl insults at me, most of which can be paraphrased as “lol girls are dumb”.  But without further ado:

NEW POLICY: Defend a politician in a reply to me, be instantly muted without appeal.  Politicians are all sociopaths who want to control others non-consensually.  I don’t give a fuck what party they belong to or how much they’ve dazzled you with their bullshit; I’m not interested in it.  And I have no stomach for watching you grovel to them in my timeline.  Look, y’all, I totally get that dominating other people is a huge turn-on; it certainly is for me. BUT I ONLY DO IT TO THOSE WHO CONSENT.  Politicians & cops want to do it to those who do NOT consent; in fact, most of the thrill for them seems to be inflicting their will on non-consenting participants.  That is evil & wrong.  We have a word for using other people to get a sexual charge without those  people’s permission; it’s called “rape”.  And I won’t engage with those who try to defend it in real-life, non-fantasy scenarios.  Furthermore, as a switch I also fully understand that being controlled by someone else can be a huge turn-on.  But once again, with consent.  I’m not turned on by random assholes trying to top me without negotiating my consent, using threats & violence to wring compliance out of me.  If you want to grovel to random assholes, call them the equivalent of “master”, lick their boots & let them beat & exploit you, that is your affair; may you get all you’re looking for out of that relationship.  But I don’t want to watch, and I’m not going to indulge you in your exhibitionist submissive fetish by watching you grovel to cops & politicians in front of me.  You want me to participate in your perverted public humiliation scene?  I’m willing to do that for my normal posted rate.  But try to force my participation without negotiating my boundaries & conditions first, and I’ll mute you so fast you won’t know it happened.

And no, I’m not interested in debating “social contracts” with you.  I signed no contract, nor do I implicitly agree to one by participating in the lie of “elections”.  Nobody has authority over me unless I choose to give it to them; anything else is just cooperation gained by force or the threat of violence.  I reserve my BDSM games for the bedroom; those who want to act it out full-time, lifestyle, in public, with the possibility of permanent damage or other permanent negative consequences, are far more perverted than I’ll ever be.

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