cliches and wrong ideas

I subscribed to The Nation for a couple of years, long ago, and generally liked Katha Pollitt. But, like many otherwise intelligent people, she goes sideways when the topic of sex work comes up. Her essay, mostly taking issue with Melissa Gira’s book Playing the Whore, has a lot of juicy bits I want to chew on. Heather Berg has a completely different, and very valid, view of Pollitt’s article here.

It doesn’t matter to Pollitt that sex workers are not a monolithic group, nor does she recognize that some sex work writers might actually be leftists themselves. She is highly offended that the ideology of the sex worker rights movement doesn’t follow what she thinks it should follow. She gets downright insulting when she attacks the term “sex work.”

sex work is work

“The ‘sex work is work’ cliché is that prostitution is much like any other service job—being a waitress is the usual example. I dunno how many waitresses would agree with that…” First, I love how the extremely important statement that “sex work is work” is relegated to a cliche. Is it? I don’t think so, not until everyone in the current culture agrees that sex work is work, all sex workers are working hard at a respectable job, they’ve heard it all before, let’s move onto something new. We’re not there yet. Not even close.

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reactions v

getting paid on time

One thing sex workers have going for us is that we get paid on time. Smart ones get paid upfront (this is standard for most, but not all, of the world). While I’ve often compared mentally freelance writing work with sex work, they’re only now catching up to the pay-upon-completion model. Not the same as pay-upfront, more like pay-as-you-go but for a legal occupation, it’s a huge step forward.

make an authentic logo

Too funny! Hipster logos!

speaking of authentic

Yes, that guy I mentioned in the first section did indeed make another one of his damned “authentic” posts. I cursed at the monitor for subjecting me to it, then unsubscribed. I’ve added a couple new non-sex-work blog subscriptions and am much happier. Thank you, non-authentic bloggers, for writing more of what I like reading.

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reactions iv

authentic

Tired of “authentic” as the new buzzword. It’s either being used by completely inauthentic people, or it’s being used in a such a way that renders any true authenticity meaningless. I’m following one blog where the writer has decided to “be authentic” and if I have to read another one of his vague and presumably powerful posts about something supposedly authentic in his life, I’m going to scream and unsubscribe (and I’ve read his blog for years).

As for escorts — find a new word. Though at least authentic is better than zest. Don’t get me started on that escort trend-word. (I would love to write an escort ad that includes the line “I’m authentic, as well as genuine and real.”)

“authentic” as a “lifestyle”

This is even more irritating, as supposedly there is only one way to live authentically: eat certain foods, wear certain clothes, believe certain things, practice yoga and/or trail running, and yammer on about how it’s all changed your life on every social media platform you can find. Ideally, you’ll also sell ebooks about how everyone else can live just like you, especially if your readers are white and/or male. (Taking it further are those who have sold all their possessions and live out of a suitcase. I’ve found it’s an overrated way to live.)

The authentic trend bugs me because I do not think the word means what they think it means. It’s a good word, getting used into meaningless dust. Can’t everyone go back to using zest in an irritating way?

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adult industry truth survey

If you haven’t heard, two activists have come together with the help of DePaul University to create the first sex worker-run survey of sex work. This is an academically-reviewed study and they plan to publish the results in academic journals as well as mainstream media. Serpent Libertine and Crysta Heart are friends of mine as both activists and sex workers. I’m extremely pleased of their efforts against the anti-sex trafficking agenda. It’s not an easy feat to get a university behind a project run by sex workers. (Maybe one day they’ll tell us how they did it?)

The website — AdultIndustryTruth.com — is full of information about the survey, which runs through July 2014. The survey is open to anyone who works with sex in the US. The website and survey is engineered for anonymity and safety.

This particular survey concerns the issue of consent and coercion. This is truly the gap that separates sex work from sex trafficking (and something I’ve discussed in real life with others). Consent makes the difference to sex workers and their experiences; it should make the difference in policy but unfortunately, it currently does not. The AIT survey aims to help illustrate that difference.

As a sex worker who has chafed at the attention people like Melissa Farley get with their “research”, I’m thrilled to see sound research accomplished by sex workers. Nothing about us without us gaining a small foothold in the US.

Follow the button below to take the survey, feel free to repost this information anywhere you can. The larger the results, the more accurate the information will be.

AIT survey

You can follow AIT on Twitter or Facebook.

the world according to stupid clients

After years of receiving my own pile of emails and phone calls, years of listening to other girls, and my own friends who work Backpage, here is how the world would be if it functioned like these men apparently believe it does.

I assume these men are clients of some poor soul. They aren’t real clients and aren’t civilians. They live in their own special realm.

— Makes a dental appointment: “Here is a picture of my great teeth. They’re so amazing you need to pay me to clean them. What? You’re going to charge me anyway? You money-grubbing whore.”

— Speaks with a general contractor: “You’re going to bill me for this? I thought you liked working on my house so much you’d do it for free. You’re such a money-grubbing whore.”

— Calls a bank after 5pm: “Oh, so you just closed once you made all your money for the day. I see how you are, you money-grubbing whore.”

— Walks into a Mercedes dealership: “I want the newest S model. In black. Turbo. Fully-loaded. Full warranty. Free oil changes for life. And I only have $100. What? You won’t do this amazing deal? You money-grubbing whore.”

— Calls the home number of the manager of a local steakhouse at 4am: “Wake up. I want a steak with all the trimmings right now. The steakhouse is closed? You advertised steak and I want steak. Wake up and cook my steak. I’ll be there in 5 minutes and I only have $20. You can’t tell me no! I’m a customer! You sleep-grubbing whore.”

— Sends long love letter to therapist: “I love you unconditionally forever. You listen to me and make me feel good. You’re the most wonderful person in the world. What? You don’t want to date me? Why not? Fine. I hate you. All you care about is material things and your stupid boundaries. You money-grubbing whore.”

— Argues with bill collector: “All you care about is getting paid. I am living a spiritual life and money is not important to me, you money-grubbing whore.”

— Calls local mechanic at 4:54pm. At 4:55pm. At 4:57pm. At 5:01pm. At 5:03pm. At 5:05pm. At 5:10pm. At 5:11pm. At 5:12pm. Finally leaves message: “I hope you’re better at fixing cars than you are at answering your phone. I wanted my car fixed but my car is too good for you. You disease-ridden, money-grubbing whore.”

— Sees doctor. Goes to pay: “Why am I being charged? Not only was the doc so nice to me and took care of me, that’s what the doctor likes doing. Why should I have to pay since they like being a doctor so much? Money-grubbing whore.”

— Writes the CEO of Gulfstream: “I really like your jets but can’t afford one. However, I’m 49yrs old, 5’10”, 190lbs, drug/disease-free and like classic movies and read a lot. Could we meet for lunch so I can go ride on one of your jets anyway? NO? How dare you say that to me! I offer so much as a passenger. You money-grubbing whore.”

— Calls his local Chinese delivery restaurant: “I’m 2500 miles away but could I get delivery in the next half hour? No? Why not? I really want Chinese food and think your food is great. I’m willing to pay, and have a coupon. I don’t understand.”

— Argues with wife: “I didn’t marry you because I loved you! I married you so that I could pay your bills so you would have sex with me! And now you won’t have sex with me?! Marriage is paying for sex! You’re not living up to your end of the agreement! You money-grubbing whore.” Goes off, contacts escort off Backpage: “Here’s a picture of my penis. It’s really big and I’m really hot. Free sex — just for you! You want paid? You money-grubbing whore.”