reactions

Since I often read things and want to comment but don’t, here are my comments. A lot of these links came from Tits and Sass since I no longer bother with my Google Alerts.

escort photo documentary

While the story is somewhat unique, the pictures of Eden working are completely recognizable to any touring hourly escort. Locales may differ, there may be a lack of cigarettes and wigs, but everything else is very, very true. Escort work really can be this boring and mundane. Just like stripping. Just like data entry. Just like anything.

Hong Kong escorts and review board exploitation

I remember Sex141.com when I went to HK. I was never on the site because it wasn’t a good fit for me. I was: too old, Western, English-speaker, outcall-only, had much higher rates than the local girls. I had no idea it developed into the terror it has. (TER is probably kicking itself for not figuring out the bad review scam Sex141 pulls.)

HK girls work in limbo. Sex work is partially decriminalized and partially illegal, depending on what, where and how. While the laws seem clearly defined on the surface, sex workers face almost as much police harassment as US sex workers. My firm belief is that anytime there is an illegal aspect to sex work, the workers will suffer. The public and police will exploit the illegal aspects as far as they can, nullifying any legality. This is why sex work has to be completely decriminalized across the board. No exceptions.

Because of this half-and-half system, they have no recourse against Sex141. Because of the market and the laws, the girls are regularly ripped off: unlike sex workers in the rest of the world, they’re afraid of getting the money upfront because the client will run away or call them a ripoff (I did not have that problem with the clients I had in HK — different market). They’re stuck with abusive clients and there is no legal recourse for them. After the murders in 2008, all the one-woman brothels had CCTVs installed and the images of bad clients are regularly printed out and circulated but there is no way to make sure every sex worker has that info. They have problems with clients every day, just like US sex workers.

This is not to say that the girls don’t want to work there because they do. It’s far safer than China and the money is better. The problem, as always, is illegality. The only solution, as always, is full decriminalization.

birds!

Some nice pictures of birds and their owners but I hate that birds don’t matter unless they’re a trend item. Just like every other animal.

condoms for oral sex

It’s true that a lot of sex workers use condoms for oral sex and those that don’t often wish to. It’s nice that we’re acknowledged to be engaging in safer sex than most civilians. I’ve used condoms for oral sex with civilian one-night stands and it surprises them but they never object. In fact, they’re more open to the idea than a lot of clients. Maybe because they’re younger and of the safer-sex generation?

another prostitution documentary

Yet some more media types who feel that paying their subjects somehow taints the project, this time on a documentary about truck stop sex workers. Not surprisingly, they had a hard time finding any sex workers willing to be filmed without payment. Why would the women want to expose themselves for free? Talk about exploitation. If you’re going to do a documentary about sex workers, understand the basic nature of sex work and realize you have to pay for access.

The supposedly progressive and humane attitudes of the filmmaker is summed up when he says the sex workers interviewed “are strangely relatable despite their unorthodox lifestyle,” without realizing maybe the women are “relatable” because they’re human beings in addition to being sex workers (a prime example of the whole idea that sex workers come from Planet Hooker and exist in a vacuum when they’re not at work).

…which made me realize

Along the same train of thought, I’ve only recently realized that my most popular blog posts were the ones where I put myself in most danger — both in real life and by blogging about it in real-time (the series on Bella’s brothel). I consequently learned not to do real-time blogging (along with some lessons about brothel work). But it’s disheartening to think audiences were reacting to the danger aspect more than anything else. Maybe they weren’t, but it’s the impression I’ve come away with.

Kristen DiAngelo interview

In other movie news, Kristen DiAngelo discusses her movie project. Her interview made me cringe for a number of reasons — her ignorance of any sex worker movement or that any other sex worker has appeared in the media, for like, the last 30 years — but I can’t understand why she feels forcing disease testing on sex workers is somehow going to be a good thing. We already have that system in the US and I don’t think Kristen has subjected herself to it (because it’s not a very palatable system). Mandatory disease testing for sex workers happens only within a system of heavy state regulation — no other way to accomplish it.

Mostly I take issue with her statement “Politically, clients often get the worst end of the stick. They get demonized worse than we do.” There is no Dec 17 memorial for clients because there does not have to be. Outed clients can retain their marriages, children, jobs and careers (e.g. Spitzer and every other politician caught in a prostitution scandal). What sex worker gets that luxury? So what if arrested clients had their names publicly posted? The authorities have been publicly posting arrested sex workers’ names, faces and often their work information for years. Exactly how do clients have it harder than sex workers? (Don’t tell me “ruined marriages” because clearly they were committed to ruining their marriages in the first place.)

I’m really hoping the interviewer took Kristen’s remarks out of context or failed to print the full exchange.

personal vs professional sex

On a book review, Caty Simon says of the author “Yeah, she didn’t draw any huge distinction between ‘work sex’ and personal sex the way I feel like there’s this tendency in the movement to do.”

Not exactly. The huge distinction between professional and personal sex comes about due to the emotional and physical realities — it has nothing to do with politics. I recognized the difference with the first escort client I had. There is no mistaking that professional and personal sex exist in two different worlds. Very nearly everyone I’ve ever talked to feels the same (and when they disagree it has nothing to do with political beliefs). I’m guessing Calloway (the author) is either not very sexually experienced or just not that introspective. (Overall, the rest of the author’s experiences fall along the lines of typical escort experiences, though she clearly hadn’t learned to speak up if a client causes her physical pain.)

It’s preposterous to imagine the sex worker movement has so much persuasive power that it changes the way sex workers view their own sex lives. I just don’t see it happening. It’s laughable. If the movement had that much power, the laws would be different already.

6 thoughts on “reactions

  1. Aspasia

    It’s preposterous to imagine the sex worker movement has so much persuasive power that it changes the way sex workers view their own sex lives. I just don’t see it happening. It’s laughable. If the movement had that much power, the laws would be different already.

    I think I’ve seen some of this among some activists. I have some theories but I’d rather not express them online.

  2. Amanda Brooks Post author

    Aspasia — Really? Wow, that’s just not healthy. It’s one thing to have your mind opened to new perspectives, quite another to let someone else define your existence for you.

    I guess remaining unPC has its protections.

  3. Caty Simon

    I guess I should’ve been more clear and written that obviously differentiating between work sex and personal sex is also a function of experience escorting. I CERTAINLY make a distinction between work sex and personal sex, for one. I recently felt very exasperated with a boyfriend of a colleague of mine who was whining about how he’s worried her clients will seduce her away, as if she’s focusing on her own pleasure when she’s having sex with clients!

    But I think the movement very much DOES shape the perspectives of those deeply involved in it–any ideological model one is deeply involved with tends to do that. There’s a difference between our movement having the clout to change laws and having the ability to change US as we’re working on it.

  4. Caty Simon

    Btw, I hadn’t read the Kristin Diangelo interview and had no idea how bad it was–will have to take a look. It REALLY bothers me when one of our own suggests something as intrusive and rights-violating as mandatory STI testing.

  5. Amanda Brooks Post author

    Caty — I’d like to hear more about how you feel the movement is shaping sex worker’s views of their own sex lives. This is news to me. Or maybe it’s an unknown boundary — I don’t listen to what anyone says about my sex life unless I’m fucking them.

    Kristen’s interview was enlightening. Again, I have no idea how much may have been taken out of context or left out entirely. I hate the idea of forced education but then, smart women have changed my opinions on matters by showing the bigger picture.

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