Why I don’t give a fuck about sex workers’ rights.


Today I read a review of Diablo Cody‘s new film, “Jennifer’s Body”. If you’re not familiar with Diablo Cody, she was the person who wrote the screenplay for “Juno”, one of the most nauseating, contrived pieces of hipster shit I have ever had the displeasure of seeing. Ms Cody, in case you didn’t know, rose to fame because of her blog “Pussy Ranch” which detailed her year (pffft! Pathetic! A year?!) stripping. I despise Diablo Cody with every inch of my being but, well, that’s another post entirely.

“Jennifer’s Body” has got nothing to do with sex work, but seeing Diablo Cody’s name made me think about how prevalent sex work and sex workers are these days. There’s even a new book out, which is getting a lot of press, called “Hos, Hookers, Callgirls and Rentboys: Professionals writing on Life, Love, Work and Money”, which I can’t bring myself to read because I just don’t care.

book

Yes, most sex workers probably have a lot of juicy stories to tell, and, yes, the voices of certain sex workers deserve to be heard (those women who are poor and marginalized, and who are forced into the sex industry just to survive) but, to be quite frank, there is nothing more boring to me than reading about other people’s sexploits, whether they occur as the result of a “natural” hook-up or as a result of money changing hands. Who the fuck cares?! We’re all adults. We all know what happens during sex.

My life as a sex worker is horrifically boring. It’s the same wrist movement thing, day-in, day-out. My clients are so fucking dull, too, that I often wonder if there is a factory somewhere creating john clones out of the same middle-aged-paunchy-software engineer mould. Even if I had the world’s most exciting and attractive clients, I’m sure that even that would start to get old, too. For me, sex has never been the most interesting thing about sex work; it’s people’s motivations which have always fascinated me. What is it that makes men come and see people like me?

The increased visibility of sex workers has also led to more and more sex workers’ rights groups coming into existence. Many of them are more concerned about helping street prostitutes or saving the victims of trafficking; but there are also some who actually care about the rights of women (and men) like me, e.g. people involved in more so-called “high-end” sex work who have often chosen to work in the sex industry. In many ways, this is a good thing, as there is obviously still a lot of social stigma attached to being a sex worker (well, at least for some people…not for the likes of Diablo Cody. They graduate from college, slum it for a year as a stripper just for “a laugh” and then get to write a “gritty” memoir about their “hard” life). For many sex workers, it’s probably important to know that there is an organisation out there which will support you, and not judge you. I imagine this must be a lifesaver for sex workers who are leading a double life, and find the stress and loneliness of that too hard to handle. Luckily, I’ve never really had to hide my lifestyle from many people. Of course, I don’t tell everybody I meet (especially Americans, as even the so-called “liberals” will often freak out), but I have a husband who knows what I do for a living and most of my friends back home in Europe barely give a second thought to how I make my money.

Despite all of the reasons why sex workers’ rights groups are good, I find it hard to give a shit about sex workers’ rights. At the moment, it is true that I am not yet legally entitled to work in the US, so you could argue that I don’t have a choice about my lifestyle. However, I am very well-educated (I’ve got a fucking Master’s degree for fuck’s sake), and my kind of sex work is pretty much “under the radar”, so it’s unlikely I’ll attract any unwanted attention and have my reputation and career tarnished forever. It will be relatively easy for me, and those like me, to get out of the sex industry. So why the hell would I need somebody to campaign for my rights as a sex worker?

If my last paragraph makes it sound like I skip through life as a sex worker with nary a dark thought or problem, think again! There will always be people out there who will scorn me and look down on me. The following is a pretty insignificant detail but even just last week I got snubbed (or at least I think I did) by a blogger, Dana Damico, over on the NaBloPoMo website, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of what I do for a living. I read one of her blog posts, left a complimentary message, and attempted to “befriend” her. When I looked at my stats, I could see that someone (presumably her) from her blog, Feast After Famine, had visited my blog, but my friend request was never accepted. When I later returned to her blog, I saw a post in which she had mentioned attending amass in which the priest had denounced Obama’s health care plan as being anathema to Catholic teaching. Oh, I see, she’s Catholic! Well, that explains everything. At least she had the sense to question that priest’s views, but, hmmm, I bet she’ll have no trouble returning to that church in future despite the fact that her priest would quite happily condem millions of Americans to even more suffering and poverty because of his “righteous” beliefs. Me, on the other hand….a sex worker who would like to be a teacher and work in a high needs school? Clearly, I should be on a fast track to hell.

Well, Ms Damico, if you did not mean to snub me, then please accept my most sincere apologies. If, however, you did, well, there are still no hard feelings on my part. In fact, if your rich husband, who clearly earns enough to allow you to stay at home and be a mother to your four children, should ever lose his job in this terrible economy, I’d be more than happy to offer you a position working beside me! We could do doubles! I’ve never done that kind of thing before, but apparently the men go crazy when they have two women at once! That way you could earn enough money to be an independent woman instead of being kept by your husband as you are now.

Ooh, that comment was a bit below the belt, wasn’t it, ms Damico? Somewhat nasty and unfair, huh? Especially because I know nothing about your life and the choices you and your husband had to make…just like the way you know nothing about me and my choices…

But let’s get away from Ms Damico (who got me a little more worked up than I expected! Wow!), and tackle a more serious matter…My being a sex worker could spell the end of my future career as a teacher if word ever got out about my “moral turpitude”. Many would disagree, of course, but what the hell does my past and current involvment in the sex industry have to do with my ability to be a knowledgable, caring, good teacher?! If there is one area in which sex workers do need rights, then it should be this one. It should be illegal to fire people because of their involvement in the sex industry (unless they were somehow encouraging colleagues to use their services, or the like).

Nonetheless, you’ll still never find me out on the barricades campaigning for sex workers’ rights even if I do get my arse kicked out of the first school I find myself in because of my “immorality”.

Why?

I’ll tell you why!

It’s ridiculous to focus on the rights of sex workers like me. It’s too much of a niche issue. Focus on improving the rights of all women (and gay/transgendered people) instead, and then you’ll see people respecting sex workers more. Focus on helping people understand that a woman (and also a gay man/a transgendered person etc) should be free to live her life, and use her body as she chooses…whether that’s giving birth to four kids and being supported by your husband, or giving handjobs to boring software engineers so you can go to grad school to be a teacher. If we can respect each other’s choices, and understand that human sexuality (in all its many glorious shapes and forms) is not a dirty, dangerous thing there will be no need for sex workers’ rights.

Advertisements

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 thoughts on “Why I don’t give a fuck about sex workers’ rights.

  1. pandabox33 September 19, 2009 at 10:38 am Reply

    Shit P. my head’s spinning. So much anger !
    Maybe she doesn’t accept friends request at all. Why feel rejected by someone who won’t give you a chance, someone you don’t know, who doesn’t matter ? She’s only a blog, a statistic. She’s not a friend or someone you know. Fuck her and find other bloggers to compliment and befriend. 🙂
    I do care about sex worker’s rights. But the only organization here I know about is “secret”. No website, no canadon.org profile so we can give money, no entry in the phone directory. What worries me about this “choice” of career is that these women (and you as well) have more chances of getting into trouble : getting beaten, being raped etc. I don’t know that this organization caters the needs of “high end” sex workers like you because instead of being on a street corner “waiting for the bus”, it’s a word of mouth thing or through massage etc. You are less visible than the street prostitutes.
    Oh and there are way more organizations for gays, lesbians and transgenders than there are for sex workers.
    Oh and I’m Catholic and see, I accept you. I am glad you decided to befriend me. You live your life and I live mine. And even if I’m Catholic, I’ve done weird or terrible things. But I don’t go to mass.

    • petrichoric September 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm Reply

      I actually wasn’t really all *that* bothered by this woman’s “rejection”. It wasn’t pissed off by her, but instead by women like her who profess to be liberal, but who still judge sex workers even when they don’t know anything about our lives.

      So, if your Canadian sex worker rights’ organization is secret, how did you find out about it?!

      As regards sex workers being at a higher risk of violence/sexual assault…I’m not really sure how true this is. It’s probably very true for street prostitutes, who are very vulnerable, but women who work “indoors” are generally safer. As you said yourself on your own blog, most women who are sexually assaulted *know* the attacker. Doing what I do is definitely riskier than, say, working in an office, but, in my experience, sex workers who get hurt usually put themselves in a risky situation because they were desperate and couldn’t afford to take the precautions they usually would. I’ve definitely been forced to see new clients very late at night when I needed the money, and I hate that because it just feels scary and unsafe. This is why I’m glad I have a pit bull!

  2. pandabox33 September 19, 2009 at 11:00 am Reply

    I have just been to read one of her posts and I was blown away. I would want befriend her also. Her writing is good.

    • petrichoric September 23, 2009 at 2:40 pm Reply

      What post did you read? I read one about her feeling guilt as a mother. I liked that post because it was very honest. I get sick of all these fucking “mommy bloggers” who write drivel about their boring stupid kids. She is a very good writer…used to be a journalist apparently.

  3. phd in yogurtry September 19, 2009 at 3:13 pm Reply

    A plethora of software engineers as hand job clients? Who woulda thunk it? As one who listens to therapy complaints of wives and girlfriends of said engineers, it’s more than a culture of sexual taboo. It’s selfishness. Or empathy deficit disorder. It’s an insistence on pleasing oneself by thrusting times one hundred and then getting angry when the bored and frustrated woman below says she isn’t getting off and nicely asks for more targeted attention. It’s the refusal to understand that she is a person with her own pleasure preferences.

    Ah well, the steady income it provides you and me is some consolation, huh?

    • petrichoric September 23, 2009 at 2:44 pm Reply

      Ha! Yes, where would therapists and sex workers be without selfish men? I don’t know if all of them are selfish, though. Most, probably, but perhaps “clueless” would be a better word. Unfortunately, most of them just never learned that there is more to pleasing a woman than fucking penetration.

  4. CannonFodder March 10, 2012 at 11:36 am Reply

    What you are is brazen. Unapologetically so. Men usually get the short end of the stick. The rest of it is just female propaganda. Sure we can get off easily but the craven feeling that we are left with is torture. No matter how attentive we are, or how much time and effort we expend it makes no difference. You are never happy. Women “do their duty” and move on with their lives like nothing happened. For guys sex really is an “earth-shattering” experience. That in and of itself is a shameful, fact of reality that we are constantly held hostage to. Just another tool in your arsenal of narcissism and manipulation.

    Women have a way of pretending as if they really give a damn about who men are as indivivuals. WIth practice it has becomes really convincing to the un-scathed eye. To the burned, we know better.

    To you men are replaceable Ken dolls. Women use, abuse and lose men without mussing their hair. Your friendships mean much more than we ever will. We however must pull down the moon or risk your undying scorn. That, and the spreading of our deepest, darkest secrets on a worldwide scale.

    While you are pining away for your Twilight – flavored George Clooney clone, you skip the part where you admit that it is all about money and convenience. Thankfully I have long decided to walk away from you heartless, self-interested harpies and look for happiness in places that it can actually exist.

    Good luck to MM. He, most likely has real feelings for you. I hope that he soon realizes how generic your regard for him is. It is too bad that you can simply move on and use your selfish, one-size-fits-all brand of plastic affection to ensnare another defenseless man.

    You and your “ex-friend” the yoga teacher aren’t all that different sweetie. Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back.

    • petrichoric April 28, 2012 at 11:55 pm Reply

      “Twilight-flavored George Clooney clone”?? Um, did you leave this comment on the right blog?

  5. CannonFodder April 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Generic, generic, generic. That phrase represents just who and what was irritating me at the time. To quote a friend…”Regardless.” Still, when I look back I find myself wondering why I bothered to write in the first place. It is just an opinion that will change nothing. “I am just another useless drone Milady.” *Bows clumsily*. I’m sorry if my vitriol happened to land on your doorstep. I shouldn’t have posted. Vote for legalized, assisted euthenasia (No…not for U) so that I can have something to look forward to. Maybe I’d make better fertilizer. Here’s hopin’! (Wish me luck…)
    😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s