There’s been a small blitz of media attention directed at me (I haven’t been updating stuff, though, I’m behind). And it’s not at all when I expected or asked for it. My relationship is over so I moved to regroup and finish Book #2. I figured on a fairly quiet existence for the next couple months. Instead, all of this hits the fan the very day that I moved (right after I unplugged my computer, apparently).
What’s amusing is a lot of people think I just published the book to capitalize on the Spitzer thing. They don’t do enough fact-checking to discover its public-release date was mid-October 2006. Less amusing is how they mangle my bio or misquote something they read about me on the Internet, written by someone else.
Last night on XBN, I discussed this with Jill (rambled, actually). These are some residual thoughts on my brief experiences with the media as a self-identified sex worker.
A definite downside is that I’ve attracted the attention of every shock-jock in the country, it seems. I’m a chance for them to use as many dirty words on the air as possible and a chance to score points off me. Seems women are only fodder for men’s lame sex jokes. I’m done with these shows. No more. ‘Course, it’s actually easier to screen clients than screen radio stations (they tend to be misleading about the nature of their show, of course).
Or there’s an accusatory tone that would not be there if I were a client. Men get a “wink wink nudge nudge” thing when paid companionship is discussed. Women are branded and I bring out the self-righteous prig in everyone. The only explanation is that there must be something wrong with me. Being female and openly sexual means I’m off my rocker; something to be either pitied or reviled.
More infuriating, they think they know everything about sex work (escort work in particular) because they believe every stereotype they’ve ever come across. This makes them an “expert.” Which makes me wonder why they bother to have me on. None of my interviewers have yet to actually admit to having experience as a sex worker — only me. Yet apparently I’m not to be believed.
I’d love to get an interview like the one on NPR earlier this week (with actual sex workers). It was a serious, real discussion; calm, controlled, wonderful to listen to. But no, I’m not taken seriously enough for these gigs — few that there are. That would legitimize me, I guess.
One might say I’ve asked for it, and I sort of have. I need publicity because it helps book sales. But at what cost? It’s already taking a lot out of me. The horrors that sex work supposedly does to one’s soul did not happen to me with my sex work. It’s happening now by the mainstream media. I’m being treated in ways I would never tolerate from a client.
Two-edged sword indeed.