I was hoping not to feel the need to address this on any blog but that has changed. For those of you not deeply involved in the online escort community, the furor is over Alexa DiCarlo and her degree of “realness” . She’s a prolific blogger/Tweeter (among other things) and generally spends a lot of time online and active. She’s developed a huge following, mostly mainstream, though every sex worker I know reads her blog or Tweets or is familiar with them.

She and I have corresponded for about two years, if not slightly longer (would have to check but the real info is on my desktop currently in storage). We have written a couple times about this “faux ho” incident. Nothing I say here isn’t anything I haven’t already said to her. No, I have never met her. All our contact has been of the virtual kind.

I have questions I feel are unanswered. Though I have heard questions about who she is for over a year, I didn’t feel that asking her via email would solve anything. I did not think a public airing was the way to get answers either. But it was done. Indeed, what should have been just a discussion — a chance for everyone to say their piece and ask questions — has turned very ugly and non-sex workers feel that sex workers are turning against each other because of the hideous ripple effect happening online. Apparently, some have been moved to make physical threats against her (and her loved ones). This is crossing a major line. Threats solve nothing and I certainly do not support this treatment of Alexa. (That these threats probably can’t be carried out is irrelevant to me. There is no need for threats, period.)

Though I’ve no doubt she’s traded words with people (as we all have at some point), I have never seen her maliciously threaten anyone. The human writing as Alexa is almost always a very positive person and quite intelligent. Yes, Alexa is a real person. Whether she is an escort exactly as she describes is still a question I haven’t resolved to my satisfaction. That doesn’t negate her being a real live human being. It seems some people are forgetting that.

Alexa, if she is writing erotic fiction, is a sex worker. If she is an escort, she is a sex worker. If she is a former stripper, she’s a sex worker.

why i care

Some pretty serious charges of content theft have been leveled against her. At first, I really didn’t care that she was using photos not her own but some excellent points have been made along the lines of copyright violations, ownership, proper crediting and taking money from the sex workers who worked to make those images. So yes, that is a major issue. And more than once she has used words not her own or used someone else’s content in such a way that it was very familiar to the content-creator (if not completely word for word). She is not the first or only offender though, and this issue has less priority for me than two other issues.

My biggest issue with her writing/online persona has been that she calls herself an activist, yet won’t meet with other activists. Her insistence on hiding from everyone is not the attitude of an activist. By the very definition of activism (in any field), one must come forward. Her mainstream following sees her as an activist, though she risks nothing with a purely online persona. Not all sex worker activists talk to the media but all — at some point or another — meet with other activists. That is what we do and how we trust. We cannot trust someone we’ve never met. Sex work activism in the US requires a lot of trust. It is our bond.

Nor is she forthcoming in her real life. As bold as she is online, in her real life she tells few people that she’s an escort (at least, according to what she’s said on her blog). She risks far less than many sex workers who are out to their families, yet she can’t come out? No, I’m not happy with someone who blogs explicitly and tells the online word how proud they are of being a whore but then goes about their real life quietly. Yes, being a sex worker has real-world consequences, which is why many choose to have a low-key professional presence.

It’s hard to be out and I know that. It’s an earned freedom. I have no problem with online bloggers who blog completely anonymously (not tied to any other online persona). Nor is it that every sex worker needs to be “out.” But when you work hard at giving yourself a huge online voice and then don’t carry that voice into your real world…you’re not an activist. This is a philosophical discussion we’ve had more than once and merely that — a discussion.

Though it seems people are working hard to figure out “who” she is and out her in her real life. That is not right and I don’t support non-consensual outing of sex workers. I’m hard-pressed to imagine what sex worker does support it, but I’m sure there are some angry people who feel she “deserves” it. No, she does not.

She obviously has time/energy and a great mind. I’ve enjoyed many of her essays on sex work and related issues, even if we don’t always agree on every point. Her My First Professional Sex website/project is a great idea and I hope it continues. It’s the first time I’ve seen something like this online. Her energy would be a welcome addition to the movement, if she would just be willing to meet with us in person.

That she is not willing to meet in person casts a lot of doubt on her authenticity as a sex worker. It does not cast doubt on the authenticity of her passion for sex work issues. And it’s also perfectly okay if she stands outside the movement. She wouldn’t be the first sex worker who has — but even they are known to others.

And I do wonder at her motivations. That’s the other big issue that I haven’t resolved to my satisfaction. She’s put an awful lot of effort into creating her persona, more than most escorts at her level (or any level, for that matter). She’s stated more than once she’s making money to save/invest. Yes, her efforts at becoming known would certainly attract clients willing to contribute to her income. But…I still feel there’s something else. I’m not going to speculate on what, plenty of others already have. This remains an open question for me.

None of this is meant in an attempt to dogpile Alexa or malign her in any way. I leave my readers to draw their own conclusions. I honestly haven’t come to any firm conclusions myself. The person I know as Alexa is one that I like a lot and have had many great (email) conversations with. The questions surrounding her disturb me. I’m not interested in having others tell me what to think, nor am I interested in tallying her sins, only asking the questions that are important to me. There are much bigger issues in the world (see the post prior to this).

I am disgusted by the turn these events have taken. Someone always has to bring a gun to a snowball fight, I guess.

* For two other excellent perspectives on this, please read Serpent’s post and Aspasia’s post.

31 thoughts on “virtual seeping into real life

  1. Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with your feeling on Alexa as I,ve followed her via twitter and found her site interesting as well . I understand your passion about activism and how you think it should be done. However, I dont find her not wanting to “out herself” a reason to doubt her authenticity as a sex worker. Whether she is or isn’t I don’t really care nor should anyone really. If she is stealing content she should stop immediately. If she uses her blog for whatever financial gain, then congrats to her. After all sex work and Disney both work in the realm of the imagination.

  2. Cameron,

    I’m not saying how activism SHOULD be done, however, every activist agrees that she should have met with one of us. That’s not “outing” herself. Many activists use alternate names from their working names and are not public activists — they do behind-the-scenes stuff. But no, you cannot call yourself a sex worker activist in the US and repeatedly refuse to meet with other activists. Especially if you live in San Francisco.

    XX

  3. Well put, Amanda. You know I am in agreement with you about the activist component about all this, as I was quoted in the article as saying I had issues with Alexa calling herself an activist. As activists, we put ourselves out there to fight for those who are less comfortable or don’t have the opportunity to do so. We risk exposure by doing so, but only by showing our faces in public are we able to fight the shame and stigma that comes along with being a sex worker. You are definitely one of the bravest. Carol Leigh, Veronica Monet, Robyn Few, Margo St. James, and Norma Jean Almodovar are other great examples.

    While the internet has been an amazing tool for us activist, it has also bred a new kind of activism in which a persona can label themself as such without ever moving away from their laptop. In a way, this is disrespectful of the activists of yesteryear who didn’t have the luxury of computers or the internet and were forced to organize with their comrades in person (can you imagine???), the way activism should be done. Maybe I’m old school, but for as much as the internet has added to activism, it’s taken away from it.

    In my opinion, if Alexa really claims to be a sex worker activist, she has had plenty of opportunities to see how “organized” our community is by attending any of the three Desiree Alliance conferences (SF was 2007), attending the Sex Worker Arts fest this past summer (in SF), attending any of the December 17 events (there’s always one in SF), joining us at the March on Washington for sex worker rights last December (in DC), attending a benefit for St. James infirmary (in SF). I could go on and on…but the bottom line is that these are events that are organized by real sex workers and activists who meet with each other in person and genuinely care about each other. You need not “out” yourself to attend any of these public events either.

    So yes, as I stated, I take issue with those who use the label activist and then refuse to meet with other members of the community when asked. What are you hiding from when the whole purpose of this (and almost any other kind of activism) is to break down barriers?

  4. I can only talk about this from my personal standpoint, much as Amanda has set out to talk about it from her personal standpoint.
    I feel differently about it: I feel that it has always been clear that “Alexa” is a persona, a project. “Alexa” has said that herself on her blog. Many workers I have met have talked about their work identity like that. One worker here, talking about her work name, recently said: “the project that is ‘Jane’ is over, ‘Jane’ isn’t me and now she is over”.
    Because I am not a worker, and because I am not subject to the injustices that workers are, it isn’t personal to me. It’s not that it doesn’t matter, it does, but whether Alexa is a “real” activist doesn’t get me bent out of shape.
    What does concern me is that many of the links assume some right to decide how it is that Alexa should behave. I think that they are doing her an injustice in doing that. Alexa is free to create a persona, to create a presence and to write as she sees fit. It’s up to every reader to decide whether that is “real” for them. As far as I see it, the only right I or anyone else has with respect to Alexa is to say (if I choose) “she doesn’t speak for me” or “she doesn’t speak for my group/association/…”
    For me Alexa is authentic. I can’t tell whether her work is fact, fiction or somewhere in between. I admire her writing, I admire the persona she chooses to represent. Whether it is “fact” or “fiction” doesn’t change that. I might do things differently to her, but that is of course my right and has nothing to do with her.
    I’ve come, over the years, to feel that the world is a place of relatives, not absolutes, a place of shades and nuances, not black and white. I feel that we should respect Alexa’s choices as her right and we shouldn’t simply turn on her as many in those links appear to have done.
    Just for the record, I don’t count myself as one of the “horny [old] men” that one commenter suggested were her followers and defenders. Rather I count myself as another human who thinks we should extend respect and fairness to the widest spectrum of human behaviour.
    At it’s worst, the behaviour and the rhetoric of some workers towards Alexa is as bad or worse than the stigma and persecution that society places on workers. It’s not right when it’s done to sex workers and in my view not right when the same sort of behaviour is directed at Alexa. It’s hypocrisy.

  5. It bothers me to see a hard line put down on what one MUST do in order to be called an activist – especially by sex workers, who should understand the consequences that may be involved w/ a sex worker “outing” herself. (And that those consequences vary from individual to individual.) It’s similar to other hard-line approaches I’ve seen that have turned me off to activism – when people don’t respect my abilities and limitations, but instead impose an across-the-board mandate of what one MUST do in order to be an activist (instead of recognizing that there are MANY ways to be an activist), it just doesn’t feel right to me.

    As to the rest of what you’ve said about how Alexa has been treated, I agree – I feel like the entire internet has lost its fucking mind the past week and a half or so. However as a non-sex worker I haven’t felt it’s my place to express that opinion.

  6. Very well written Amanda.
    I have never really cared if what Alexa had written on her blog was real or not. It never bothered me.
    But, I was concerned when I learned that the photos on her escort site were most likely stolen and then more recently became concerned when I learned that she was taking non-pros and advising them to meet with her “clients” under their real names. That really bothered me.
    When I questioned the photos on her escort site, she either would avoid answering the questions or she would delete my comments from her blog. I thought that was interesting.
    I do not agree with people making threats and now this issue with people trying to “expose” other escorts- this is insane. I don’t show my face because no one in my life knows what I do, not because I have anything to hide. This whole situation makes me very nervous though…

  7. Reading this makes me ponder…

    Do any of you really want to start alienating “activists” from aiding, joining, supporting your cause?

    I would think the sex worker society could not afford such additional suffrage — especially when it is inflicting it upon … itself.

    I would think activists would be grateful for any participation it can get…?

    Just pondering…

  8. Let me please re-word my reply!
    I worded my statement about Alexa helping non-pros start escorting incorrectly and I need to clear it up.
    She did not flat out tell the girl to begin escorting using her real name. My statement was worded wrong and came out incorrectly.

    My worry is that without proper research on their own, and just reading her blog (which points out the great sides of escorting) a non-pro might not fully understand what she is about to get into.

    Thanks, Danielle

  9. Serpent,

    Yes totally. Living in SF, she was NOT isolated from the activist community and was repeatedly invited to meet with various members who are based there. Internet activism is perfect for those who are isolated or who face tremendous danger in meeting. This is not the situation for her.

    critical Alpha,

    As you yourself stated, you are not a worker, therefore you will NOT see the issues the same as we do. (How do you feel about copyright violations, for instance?) Alexa created effects online, I don’t care if she viewed her persona as project or not (all of us view our work identity as separate from ourselves).

    I don’t take any more issue with her explicit blogging than I take with anyone else (PLENTY of girls blog explicitly and I never like it). But no…she cannot claim to speak for activists when she is not actually involved. I could claim to speak for WordPress because I’m a blogger, but since I’m not actually involved in the running of the organization, I’m pretty sure they’d get pissed.

    Yeah, I’ve heard the argument that no one cares if her work was fact/fiction but again, those arguments always come from those who are not sex workers. Most sex workers cared — a LOT — or else this topic would’ve never come up. There is real reason to care. Your opinion is yours but…there are very valid reasons for people asking the questions they have. That this has affected hundreds if not thousands of workers should tell you there are more issues at stake than you seem to think.

    Amber,

    With all due respect, read Serpent’s comment on this. Read my reply to Serpent. Meeting with each other and talking to each other is not much of a “hard line” to be an activist. But in the US, we can’t risk trusting with anything less. Imagine if we had brought Alexa onto our listserves/conference calls without ever meeting her! We still don’t know WHO she is.

    We cannot take that risk. Frankly, we have enough issues with the people we DO know, much less anyone unverified.

    Danielle,

    She was trying to arrange civilians dates with her clients?? I was not aware of that. Your second comment shed a little more light on that but…I’m disturbed. And that’s dangerous from a legal standpoint for all concerned.

    The original intent was not to expose Alexa but call her out and start a discussion. None of this was meant to expose other sex workers and no one approves this (except the obviously sick people trying to harm sex workers). Some serious issues were raised but the right way to handle them has come and gone, it seems.

    Silvia,

    Re-read what I wrote and what Serpent wrote. Yes, if you want to call yourself an activist – at some point you WILL be expected to meet in person with other activists.

    And since when did activism mean you have to be in front of a camera? All meetings are discreet and locked-down from the public BECAUSE we need a protected space. How is this not understood?

    If you live in Alaska we won’t be as insist on meeting. If you live in SF (activist-central) and have a blog with millions of hits and call yourself an activist — then yes, we want to meet you for coffee.

    No, being an activist is not easy and all of us feel effects from it. That’s why we take issue when someone who is NOT an activist calls herself one.

    XX

  10. With all due respect, read Serpent’s comment on this. Read my reply to Serpent. Meeting with each other and talking to each other is not much of a “hard line” to be an activist. But in the US, we can’t risk trusting with anything less. Imagine if we had brought Alexa onto our listserves/conference calls without ever meeting her! We still don’t know WHO she is.

    We cannot take that risk. Frankly, we have enough issues with the people we DO know, much less anyone unverified.

    Amanda,

    I understand that, and I would never suggest that someone be added to listserves or conference calls without having met someone in person who can vouch for them. My point was that there are many different ways to be an activist. Some of those involve meeting and working directly with others in one’s field. But not everyone has the ability nor the desire to do activism in that way. Many people disagree w/ me on this, but I feel that blogging and other forms of “speaking out” are forms of activism. They are forms that are more accessible to people who, for a variety of reasons, may not be able to become involved in the more traditional sense. I know several people locally for whom this is true wrt the sex workers’ rights movement, and thanks to blogging and other online measures, they feel they can have a measure of influence without having to risk their lives and/or live in San Francisco and attend rallies and marches.

  11. Amber,

    I agree there are different ways of being an activist and the Internet facilitates that. However, many activists — me included — felt she was attempting to speak on our behalf without taking the steps to be involved.

    And again and again — I’ve pointed out that meeting with other activists does not neccessarily entail interaction with the public. But it does include meeting with other activists. Otherwise you end up with problems like we have here.

    And again — she DOES live in SF where it would’ve been REALLY easy to meet with someone in person and have a chat. I know that invites were extended and declined. Meeting for coffee is NOT the same as marching in a rally or appearing on TV. I hope people can understand the difference because I really can’t make it any clearer than that.

    XX

  12. Amanda,

    I’m not trying to be difficult, and I understand what you’re saying. I’m probably not being entirely fair, because I’m not arguing so much w/ what YOU have said in this post and comments, but sentiments I’ve seen expressed elsewhere while (admittedly tangentially) following the ongoing larger conversation.

  13. Did Amber really say she’s concerned about how “Alexa” was treated?

    wow… just wow

    1. There is no Alexa

    2. Take a look around to see who really is being outed, “exposed” and threatened

    I think everyone would have like it if this “situation” hadn’t been played out in any public way but how was that supposed to happen? Many people reached out to “Alexa” in a private way for over a year, the answer from “Alexa” was always NO.

    Why was it always no? Because there is no Alexa”.

    To see people who should know better, who do know better continue to buy into the line that “Alexa” is somehow being harmed in all this, floors me. “Alexa” Is a fictitious character. I am surprised at how after everything that has been reviled and everything that has come to pass, that any one in this community would feel sorry for “Alexa” and “her” treatment.

    Yeah, lets all be concerned for the well being of and be concerned for how someone who doesn’t exist is being treated and lets let those who do exist and are actually being harmed as a result of this fictitious characters existence just hang in the wind.

  14. The “but I’m doing this for the good of the people I’m claiming to represent” approach was also something used by the Shirley Shave/Henry Baum blogger. As Shirley, Baum wrote: “I guess that’s one reason I’m writing about [my work]. To defend myself. To show that under any exterior, even one so glazed in sweat, there’s a decency sometimes better than what is considered ‘normal.’ Call it a manifesto for the pre-judged.” Oh right so *that’s* why he faked an online persona in order to get a book deal—so he could open the world’s eyes to stigma against sex workers. It all seems so noble now.
    Remember JT Leroy? Or the more recent case of Margaret B. Jones/ Margaret Seltzer? Women and men, for their own personal benefit, try to co-opt the experiences of marginalized groups of people, and it’s unethical. It doesn’t benefit the group they’re trying to represent, no matter what the impostors may tell themselves or others.

    And Is this really how some of you who claim to be allies see the state of sex worker rights in the US? That we’re so desperate for good PR we’ll take people pretending to be one of us in order to get it? I suppose there are those still convinced that Alexa is actually a sex worker, and therefore qualified to speak for and advise others in the same position, but I don’t understand how that confidence can withstand verified sex worker after verified sex worker saying “this does not ring true.” At this point, Alexa’s been pretty soundly dressed down by various academics whose area of expertise is sexuality, and there’s little doubt that her pictures (and text) were stolen. Why is her credibility in any area still intact? Even if she is an escort, would any other escorts want her as their public face?

    Amanda, thank you for this post. Although this issue keeps being painted as painfully divisive and splintering the sex worker community, I’ve actually seen the opposite effect. Sex workers who didn’t know each other before have started corresponding with others, getting engaged in a larger dialogue about the sex worker community, and many of them have managed supportive and intelligent public discussions on the matters raised. I know things are scary now given the insanity that is the unapologetic outing campaign, but I sincerely hope that someday we can all look back on this and laugh.

  15. Come on guys the truth is most likely Alexa is either a 300 pound mama’s girl or mama’s boy hiding behind a keyboard who fantasizes about being a sex worker. But this is this internet which a lot of times is total bullshit. If the bullshit is really believeable we call it fiction or entertainment. If it is bullshit and Alexa is a fake the internet has helped a “nobody” become a celebrity in the sex worker circle. Hats off to Alexa whoever she is even if she is a fake and total bullshit. I think it is hilarious and she might be an eighty year old lady having the time of her life pulling the wool over our eyes.

  16. I’m obviously giving Alexa the benefit of a doubt. And I am reminding people who’ve gone off the deep end that there is still a real person behind the persona (as is true with all of us).

    That being said, the need that SOMEONE is feeling for retaliation is making me sick. It’s taking realness to the other, unwelcome extreme.

    The questions posed about credibility have made me reflect even more strongly on why activists insist on trust for their own safety. For those of you who are NOT activists – it’s because we have each other’s backs. Yeah we fight and squabble. But when someone else or I have had real troubles, there is always someone to step in and offer real-life help. We do this because we trust. We cannot trust someone we’ve never met. Like I said, trust is our bond. The trust keeps us as safe as possible and is necessary for that safety.

    The privilege and honor of meeting incredible humans like Veronica Monet, Carol Leigh or Robyn Few is not about someone giving up their own safety. It’s about becoming part of a huge, diverse group. If someone is already activist-minded they probably have a desire to meet with other like-minded people. Anyone who has been to the various conferences know that people will come far and wide just to say “Hello, I’m so-and-so and I write that blog.”

    By the same token, PONY keeps its membership very tight for the safety of its members. That safety overrides soothing anyone’s ego for feeling left out if they’re not willing to be verified. Haven’t heard anyone complain about PONY’s security requirements.

    Monica,

    I’m glad to hear that the questions being raised are making others stop and think. I’ve spent a lot of time the past few days reflecting on a lot of sex work and activism issues. It’s an important part of our individual growth processes that I think we overlook too often.

    I received a reference request today from a girl who went to great lengths to prove who she was via email. I have no idea if that is normally how she introduces herself or not. I was impressed she went to so much trouble.

    Casey,

    😀

    RFLOL

    XX

  17. Thank you for this post and discussion, Amanda.
    Your post comes closest to reflecting my own thoughts and feeling. I loved Alexa’s insights.

    While I understand the safety, trust, and content stealing concerns, I have felt dismayed by the situation in general. And emotionally, I still am feeling concern about how Alexa is treated rather than concern about these issues. I know she has done wrongs – but I guess, I came to relate to her really strongly. She helped me with some discoveries of my own sexuality and personal growth.

    I also wanted to say that her views and perspectives as an escort never seemed fake to me. Never. While I have not met Amanda, I have met other sex workers in the US community, and I have advertised and had reviews under both “Thais” and “Ingrid Nevin” (my new working name) on a local Calgary board.

  18. I first saw this Alexa blog after seeing the link from your blog (or her comments on your blog). The sexual style she promoted and claimed to practice (no-condom blow jobs, “throat fucking”, bukkake, etc.) completely turned me off, so I didn’t read it regularly, but as you said, it was difficult not to come across links to and from her, and she did post links to a lot of information and developments during the RI prostitution law debate.

    I think that her use of others’ pictures, especially the way she did it – by putting them on her professional / advert site and representing them as being her own – is a serious deceit. Especially because she apparently took them from another sex worker, and especially because she presented herself as a high-end escort offering a high-class experience.

    I can’t say that I’m personally very offended by her falsifying her academic credentials, since I put less stake in them than most people do, but its just a stupid thing to do. I can think of several other similar examples of people in other fields doing the same thing, and who saw their careers crumble when they were exposed. As much as I hate to see how more and more career fields are being forced to legitimize or license themselves with extensive academic training (I think it breeds more industrialization and rote process-following of society), people who do what Alexa did actually promote that trend by lending support to the view that ideas should be given credence or a platform on the basis of the opinion-holder’s resume rather than the ideas themselves. If you want to voice your opinions, whether on the internet or elsewhere, there are probably more opportunities to do so now, whatever your academic resume, than ever before. If you are articulate and persistent, you can make yourself heard, and you will never get everyone to agree with you in any case.

    Even though I can see why some comments I’ve read have led people to think that sex worker activists are an exclusionary group, I don’t see how it’s fair to make that accusation, especially on this basis. There are many people, on the internet or otherwise, who support sex workers and their causes and are embraced for it – because they are usually honest about their advocacy and background. Anyone who followed or participated in the RI prostitution-law debate would have seen for themselves how sex workers and non-sex workers, by personal testimony, letters, movies or otherwise, in Korean or English, sometimes together and sometimes independently, worked toward the same common purpose. But when someone like Alexa adopts and mirrors the language and themes of established activists, promotes herself to mainstream society as representing and speaking for sex workers (and whether she explicitly said she was is not relevant, given how strongly the tenor and tone of her commentary flowed that way) but refuses to meet with or cooperate with those she claims to be in common cause with, and then is found to have been doing all this under false pretences, it is only natural for those who have been getting represented (and not of their own volition) to be offended. You shouldn’t have to be personally affected to understand why those who are would be upset about it.

    If there was anything in the Alexa blog I found easy to believe, it was that the writer was 23 or 24. Of what of it I read, a lot of it smacked of that age and point in life of someone who had come to a realization about many things in life, but confused them with being absolute truths. Although the blog was intelligently written, it didn’t seem very insightful to me. So much of it seem to be done to draw in a mainstream audience that she could instruct in things that were unfamiliar to them but rather basic to those familiar to sex work (or sex), and which drew a lot of adulation, which she clearly soaked up. And I found the extreme sexual practices and the way she promoted them (as “exploration”, etc.) distasteful to say the least. It just encourages the worst of some men’s wants, and encourages (young, inexperienced) women to appeal to those ugly tendencies.

    I truly believe that you reap what you sow in life, and if people claim to be someone or something they aren’t, eventually it will catch them up, although I agree that some of the spouted threats and vindictive comments are just stupid and / or dangerous. As you said, there are so many more serious issues facing sex workers and anyone who supports them, as, having seen too many women bankrupted financially or emotionally, arrested, jailed, deported or otherwise persecuted by mainstream society (not necessarily the majority) and their police over their involvement in sex work, I can certainly attest.

  19. Thais,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts because they are different from most. And no, you haven’t met most of those you correspond with because you’re quite far away. However, there is a reality and consistency in how you approach your online work that Alexa has lacked in a few key ways — which started this whole mess. And you’ve been around for a while too! 🙂

    Lee,

    Long time no see! Nice to see you back. And in fine form too! Your comment is mandatory reading.

    Agree with you on the photos thing. It’s never cool to use someone else’s work w/o permission or pass photos of someone else as you. In fairness, she’s not the first high-end escort to blog explicitly, she is the first to seek massive attention for it.

    Your point about academic credentials is an interesting one worthy of a whole discussion in and of itself. For a while, having a degree was the key to a much better future. Currently, many view it as a key to long-term debt. Though in the sex work arena, many in the mainstream will not take those without formal education seriously. Major class prejudice coming into play, along with stereotypes about “dumb hookers.” Anyway, like I said, this is a whole other discussion 🙂

    Thank you for your comments re: activism. Yes, that is the point. It’s one thing to say that you’re supporting sex worker rights (by whatever means you do), it’s quite another to say you’re representing the group of activists if you have never met them or become involved with the organizations themselves.

    And I agree that her sex posts weren’t always insightful. As you point out, she is young and exploring. I wasn’t all that profound at 23 either. She was much more pointed with her essays on sex work issues — which was beneficial to her large mainstream audience.

    Yes, there are much more serious issues facing us, including someone who is actively targeting sex workers online and the everyday real-life issues women all over the world face whether over violence, access to sexual health care or simply being able to work free from fear and feed their families. Much much more important than all the words tossed around over one blogger (and the fallout).

    XX

  20. Amanda-

    You probably know this already, but as a heads up to interested parties, RPD will resume tomorrow, Jan. 3.

    (If my information is correct.)

  21. Hi Amanda – I think Susannah Breslin’s Letters from Working Girls predates myfirstprofessionalsex.com.

    I re-read Monica Shores’s piece last night, and it was perfectly mild and appropriate to me. What was inappropriate to me was subsequent public speculation on specific identities, including the naming of names and posting of IP addresses. That should have happened behind the scenes. Lesson learned, hopefully.

    I guess we can take the standpoint of relativism and say that no one person can dictate who gets to be the voice of the movement. And that, if we wish to preserve the right of all blogging sex workers to retain their anonymity, we must tolerate the occasional imposter. But I’m troubled by a cartoonish persona like Alexa trivializing the work of real sex workers. I’m also troubled by the precursor to the Alexa persona, Caitlain of Caitlain’s corner (it’s the same person – that’s not disputed). Advising minors on how to perform sexual activities like “How to eat ass” – is that good for sex workers? I’m also troubled that the act of calling Alexa’s authenticity into question is dismissed as a catty witch hunt. Fake bloggers have been a bone of contention, with lots of internecine battles, since blogging was invented. The case of Strumpette, which has a lot of parallels to Alexa, comes to mind. Why wasn’t that called a catfight? Was it because the parties involved were all almost all men?

  22. Outis,

    Thanks for this. Should be interesting.

    prudetheobscure,

    I was ignoring Letters From Working Girls because the topics are totally not the same. Apples and oranges.

    The rest of your comment is right on. Though I would say that imposters generally aren’t tolerated once questions come to the surface. Oddly, I just had a very similar conversation this morning with a sex worker I know.

    XX

  23. I enjoyed some of Alexa’s stories and her blog. But it looks like she is a fake and a fraud, what a shame. It’s sad.

  24. Regarding the strong feelings, and the negative feelings, about a possible poseur (?poseusse?) who claims to speak as “one of us,” I’d like to offer some validation from a different angle.

    I’m not a sex worker. In the context of that community, I’m a “civilian.”

    However I *am* an ex-submariner, who served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for a number of years. I earned my dolphins, went on patrols, and did the other stuff that submariners do. It’s 95% boredom, 4% excitement, and 1% terror, even in peacetime. The sea does not forgive mistakes.

    So when I read something by an author who claims to be a submariner but who pulls dumb-ass boners, I’m … critical. If he talks about the reactor “going critical” as if that’s a bad thing, I’m … super-critical. You get the gist, I’m sure.

    There are people who envy those who do dangerous things. Out of envy, some of these people pretend to be one of them. Some buy police uniforms and carry little flashing-light “bubbles” that can go on the roof of their cars, so they can pretend to be cops. Some buy military medals that are awarded for acts of heroism, so they can pretend to be heroes.

    And they are bitterly resented by many of the people who *really* do (or have done) those dangerous things.

    And perhaps some of them pretend to be sex workers, online. Where “no one can tell that you’re a dog.”

    Such poseurs are often very convincing, very articulate. They may be very bright. They may themselves resent having lives that did not turn out to be as dangerous and exciting as the ones they envy. Doesn’t justify what they’re doing; it just makes it harder for the rest of us to figure out what they’re doing.

    It also doesn’t justify violence toward the poseurs, or threats of violence (of any kind of violence).

    But it does explain (and, I think, justify) the strong feelings that the real-deal people have, about the posing.

    My two-cents, from a “civilian” who doesn’t like poseurs either.

    — RunSilent RunDeep

  25. I wish that every illegal sex worker and john’s real identity was posted all over the web. Let us all know who’s glamorizing and luring more little girls to support the sex industry – built and maintained on the backs of pedophiles and the children that evenually become high risk low class last resorts. Add all of their names to the Sex Offendor Registry for 10 years. Let every family member, potential romantic interest and employer know what kind of human filth we are dealing with. Prostitution is a Hate Crime against all women, it’s victims are endless. Keep it illegal and impose heavy fines on any women who insist on breaking the law in their quest to become a human toilet for men.

  26. Jenny White,

    I really feel sorry for you for having to grow up and/or live in such a repressed, strict, inhibited atmosphere that nutured your mind that spews out such hate. If your husband and/or boyfriend utilizes(ed) the services of a sex worker, then that is his fault; deal with him and not some person who is not at fault. If he utilizes(ed_ the services of a sex worker because he is unable receive what he seeks at home, then that is your fault; go to a professionally trained psychologist together with your mate to solve your relationship problems.

    Until you know the reason each and every sex worker in your particular area (city, county, state) made the decision to beome a sex worker, do not make blanket statements that do not have any validity. It could be that they are in it for the income or because they really like sex and are able to earn income from a job that they really enjoy.

    Sorry that you are having trouble with your sex life. FYI; there are upscale escorts that are advertising yearly rates of between $500,000 and $1,500,000 just for being a companion and offering a sensual and erotic lifestyle to another individual. Has your husband and/or boyfriend offered you anywhere close to those amounts to unclinch your legs and mouth? If not, maybe you should consider your options instead of being stuck in a loveless, lifeless relationship. Have you made the choice to be a celibate person? Which I really hope not is not the case because you are really missing out on a tremendous amount of pleasure.

    Do you belong to that cult in Kansas that attends the funerals of soldiers that were killed while serving this country? If so, the whole lot of you are absolutely not reading the same Bible I am or you are only reading the passages that certifiable, psychotic leader of that cult is allowing you to read. Or did you just become unchristian on your own without any help from anyone else?

  27. Jenny,

    You haven’t bothered to read my recent post on haters, have you? You should. Take every point to heart.

    BTW, if every sex worker and every client all over the entire world was outed, there would be like 5 people left who wouldn’t be a provider/client.

    Larry,

    “Or did you just become unchristian on your own without any help from anyone else?”

    😀 Well-put.

    XX

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