A fellow sex worker rights activist, who is based overseas, recently expressed dismay over Prop 35 passing on his Facebook wall. I responded with a link to an article written by activist Melissa Gira Grant on RH Reality Check on the subject (a very well-written, precise, clear article, by the way), specifically calling attention to some of the comments in the thread as a reflection of the mentality that allowed Prop 35 to pass with 81% approval. A random person on the activist’s wall makes contradictory claims to have 1) read it; 2) approve of the measures; and yet 3) express ignorance of the details and asks to be “better educated” on the subject, apparently by me.
No. I’m not your damn school marm. Sex worker rights activists write plenty of articles on the issues that concern us, in newspapers (on those rare, few occasions we’re allowed to be heard in anything even approaching mainstream publications), on individual organization’s websites, and, of course, on blog posts. Also, there are always links provided! WE LOVE LINKS! They’re filled with…linky goodness like more information!
I would have a better reaction if I had merely made a statement about the Proposition without providing a link or if said link had been filled with academic jargon that goes over most people’s heads, including other academics. I also express very strong skepticism at anyone who makes a judgement first and asks to be better educated about the issue second.
“But, Aspasia,” you begin, “doesn’t that attitude discourage potential allies?” If it does, then you’re not going to be much help in the grand scheme of things. You see, the minute said ally express open support for our rights, someone (if not several someones) who is a prohibitionist or at least holds that philosophy will be quick to point out how wrong said ally is. At the least; at worst, the prohibitionist will instantly name said ally a misogynist, supertrafficker working for the Big Pimp Industry who loves raping women and girls…and kicks puppies in the mouth. If said ally is unable to counter these attacks with information they gained from their own research, yes including the opinions and thoughts of sex workers, then they’ll also be accused of being our puppet. Quite honestly, we don’t need puppets.
Prohibitionists love puppets though. They are more than happy to tell you exactly what to think, what to say, when to say, and how to say it*. Every argument, the tired old cliches are trotted out like a sad-ass parade of bullshit and while that may have worked at first, some sex worker rights activists feel that more and more of the parade bystanders are seeing the shit for what it is. Independent, quick-on-the-take discourse keeps prohibitionists on their toes and they usually fail miserably considering certain ones refuse to share the stage in a debate with sex worker rights activists. A bit strange considering the accusations regularly levied against us by said prohibitionists, they should be able to easily wipe the floor with us.
Moreover, seeming to spoonfeed someone information will give the impression that we are “forcing” someone to think one way or another. As far as activism, we activists would be accused of brainwashing. As far as mentoring escorts, then we could easily be accused of trafficking, the 21st century synonym for ‘pimping’ but with far greater implications. Individually, we may not give a shit what “everyone else thinks”; as a group, however, we are easily discredited as we are not often given credit for being much else than victims, greedy immoral sluts, pathetic idiots with a lifetime of bad luck and worse decisions or some cynical combination of all of the above.
So yes, do your homework and don’t be in a rush to give an opinion. Believe me, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to.
1 lb. venom
1 lb. mockery
1 lb. contempt
1 lb. manipulation
1 lb. dehumanization
Should bake for several years but a couple days is fine. Your argument will be half-baked and shitty and undone in the middle. But that’s okay, whores are stupid anyway and they won’t notice…oh wait.
UPDATE: This person has officially crossed into “twat” status. She claims that “if she, as an educated professional, couldn’t understand the article” then naturally other people can’t either! Weird, I responded, as there are plenty of uneducated, non-professionals who understood the article just fine.