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 â€œrealnessâ€ . 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 â€œout.â€ 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.