A friend of mine linked to an article from the Sydney Morning Herald, written by an escort named Melanie, on his Facebook wall. In the article, Melanie described how and why she got into sex work and how she feels about it. Well-written and straightforward, I guess it was too honest for my friend’s associates because all of the typical prohibitionist lines came spilling forth from the mouths of people who would probably otherwise declare themselves “liberal,” “progressive,” “feminist,” “sex-positive,” and other positive associations.
These people questioned her veracity and honesty, skeptical that this could ever be a free choice under restrained economic circumstances; this one seems to be popular with people who don’t understand economics. These people used the favorite go-to silencer employed by white feminists who want to show how enlightened and PC they are: that if she wasn’t “cis” and white and Westerner then it’d be different. Weird, because there are plenty of white, female, Western women working the low end of the trade and a sizable representation of non-white female Western AND non-Western women working the high-end, apparently the only end where choices exist. And of course, since all differently-bodied, non-white, and/or non-Western prostitutes have no choice ever, Suzy Feminist from America must tell you, person who thinks sex work may be positive in a variety of instances, that she’s read all about intersectionality in sex work and let me tell ya, false consciousness and constrained non-choices are all that exist outside of English-speaking Western countries! These folks seriously need to get acquainted with the people they claim to speak for, which is why I simply posted the link to this post from my previous blog space and left it alone. The very person I described as Suzy Feminist ‘Liked’ the link I posted but I doubt that she, 1) read it; or 2) understood it since that post, and this one, is inspired by people like herself.
And did you know that all of us who don’t find our work degrading live in a bubble?
These attitudes are encountered by sex worker activists all the time. The insistence that our work is bad and degrading and even if it is good for us, if it is bad for someone else then it is ALL bad, which is amazingly not applied by these “enlightened liberals” to anything else that would fit that situation to a T, including but not limited to: sex, relationships in general, marriage, pregnancy, abortion, taking birth control, farming, house work, construction work, education, family structure, religious worship, etc. The idea that nothing can be good unless all negative outcomes are removed is one of a childish intellect. Life is good and bad and meh and so everything that can manifest in life can be good or bad or meh. This attitude that we get from people who claim to be “concerned” for us is condescending and dehumanizing and…wait for it…OBJECTIFYING and one that most of us wouldn’t ever, ever tolerate from a client, and indeed what many of us have very rarely encountered from a client, no matter what rate we charge.
Sex worker activists who don’t identify (or are hesitant to at times, like I am) as feminist or liberal or sex positive or at least have very strong criticisms of them are questioned by those who do. I’ve talked about this twice before in “Feminism: Still Not Getting It” and “SlutWalk: Problems and Controversies“, specifically drawing on two well-written statements from Furry Girl and Dr. Brooke Magnanti (featured in her new book, The Sex Myth) about why they do not identify as feminists any longer. The key point I made in “Feminism” can be made here:
Feminists like Robyn tend to be mystified, and subsequently angered, by the tendency for younger generations of feminists to turn away from the movement. Of course, said feminists comfort themselves with the false notion that all these younger women are supposedly more obsessed with being “fun” than being “serious”. If they acknowledge the fact that a lot of these younger women, who grew up on the very feminist notion that they are individuals who have their own voices and own experiences, see how they treat women who have dissenting opinions on their own life and experiences and object to that sort of ideology. Any adult with the sense God gave a goose would object to being infantilized. I’m sorry, but isn’t that one of the charges against The Patriarchy? Feminists doing the same thing doesn’t make it acceptable, in fact, it makes it markedly worse. The very people who are supposed to be on your side are stabbing you in it. Honestly, we have a loud, mainstream feminism that will defend a woman who very likely killed her own daughter before defending and supporting a sex worker who says, “No, actually, sex work wasn’t that bad”. There’s something seriously wrong here.
Feminists/liberals/progressives with shitty attitudes, exploitative law enforcement agents, and bad clients are all interchangeable for a lot of us and yes, this is why WE don’t like YOU.
And here are a couple of videos to watch, because the supposed “voiceless” absolutely, positively speak for themselves. You need to listen: