Eros Guide and the 1500 photoshoot

photagsI was minding my own Twitter business when it popped into my stream, Eros Guide announced they were coming to my city, Washington DC for a photo event. I clicked the link. Seems Eros is getting into the escort photoshoot business and they are doing it in DC. I was pretty irritated right away but not for the reason you might think.  What bothered me about this was that Eros Guide was selling these photoshoots for outrageous amounts of money 1200-1500 dollars of hard earned escort cash thats 3/4 times the going rate and marketing it towards “new escorts” The package they were offering was a shoot with a photographer with a minimal portfolio that had a grand total of 1 adult photo, one location for everyone just to make sure your pictures looked like all the other girls shooting, a make up artist, a “social media blast” whatever the fuck thats suposed to mean and of course an ad on their site. You’d also get a cookie cutter website of some kind as if online escorts don’t overwhelmingly have those already. If you opted for the higher shoot price you would also get a totally unnecessary video which they would give you the embed link to or put it up on YouTube or Vimeo for you where it would surly violate TOS and get your account deleted. Ask me how I know that.

Lets break this down…

Photoshoot: I’ve done shoots with multiple girls in one day and i’ve always offered a discount on them. I used to call them “shootouts” back in the day and it was mainly used by ladies who just needed a few current photos to add to their existing galleries. Why did I offer a discount on them? Because when you have one location and multiple girls you run the risk of having your photos look similar. You don’t have time to reset lights 5,6,7 times when you are pushing though that many models a day. You only have time to pose a girl in the same 4 poses as the girl before and move on to the next. Thats just a fact and anyone who tells you different either hasn’t done a shoot like that before or is flat out lying to you about what they can achieve.

The Eros shoot information was vague, never telling you how long you’d get to shoot or how many photos you’d get and if they’d be retouched or not. All the details you’d want to know and information you should have before making a decision on any shoot let alone a shoot that expensive. For that kind of money you should be shooting with a photographer with a name and reputation or you should be getting a fair amount of shoot time, like a half day or a full day. You will get neither with this Eros Guide Photoshoot event. Its just logistically impossible.

So why is Eros getting into the photo business?

vintage-cameraIt seems to me Eros is trying to compete with Backpage. Backpage is kinda kicking their ass in some markets and i’m sure they would like a slice of those profits.  Instead of buffing up their 2nd or third tier markets and getting those markets to recognize Eros as the go to site, it looks like like Eros is trying to peel off Backpage customers in hopes that the eyeballs with come with them. The implication is Eros thinks those customers don’t know how to market themselves or doesn’t have photos up to Eros’ standards. All that would all fair and good if thats how they were framing these little photoshoot events. But thats not what they are doing. They framing as if they are helping providers. To further add to that perception they are offering a free lunch (no such thing as a free lunch!) where they will have “speakers” who will offer escorts services. Let me rephrase that. Where escorts will be captive audiences to people who want to sell them stuff.

The frame is, come to our one stop shop and walk with everything you need to market yourself as a high end hooker. I.E. Advertise with us and not with them. With us you’re high class with them you’re just a whore. And thats what pissed me off most about this. This whole thing is being marketed to girls who wouldn’t know any better because they might be new to the business or  who have little resources which is why they are advertising where they currently are and Eros is taking advantage of that to the tune of 1200-1500 bucks.

Lips Real Talk: how many dicks does a escort have to suck to pay for a 1500 dollar photoshoot? Because when you start thinking like that then it becomes crystal clear what a rip off this is. Is Eros luring ladies with the promise of getting more money per hour because she has an ad on Eros and some assembly line photos?  Really thats all it takes? Who knew! Oh i know anyone who’s been around the block a few times and has been in the business for more then a hot minute. If it was that easy everyone would a high end hooker.

I’m extremely disappointed in The Eros Guide. I have been critical of them in the past but they spent a long time building up good will, trust and reaching out to members of the escort community. That effort was reflected in my continued support of them over resent years and my personal efforts to try to always answer questions when i was asked to help them understand sex workers and their needs better. But this…. this is a huge miss step. Add to that fact that after i tweeted my utter disgust over this whole debacle i got chiding text messages from a Eros staff member i’m friendly with who attempted to tell me how wrong i was but in the end only solidified my opinion that they are being totally and completely tone deaf at best and have a hidden agenda at worst. Years of trust crumbled in just a few hours. How fucking sad is that.

Ashton Kutcher Vs Village Voice Media

Ok to play a sex worker, not ok to be one?
The Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore’s anti trafficking campaign “Real men don’t buy girls” has long bothered me. It’s made me so upset that i haven’t been able to write about it because i get too emotional when trying to put my thoughts down in writing. It bothers me for a lot of reasons. Because its the celeb cause of the day, because it’s always felt so completely dishonest, because it conflates sexual slavery of under age children with that of consensual paid sex acts between adults, because it ignores BOYS (as if they are never victims of trafficking) and i could go on and on and on and on and on. It upsets me and bothers me on so many levels that’s it has hard for me to verbalize how it makes me feel. Basically I’ve talked to friends, colleagues and tweeted on occasion but about it but that’s it, until today. Why today? Village Voice Media owners of Backpage wrote a front page story and debunked the child sexual slavery numbersthat both Dude where’s my car and Jules from St Elmo’s Fire and other abolitionist groups  love to throw around to solicit donations for their anti trafficking campaigns. Turns out the numbers are greatly and flagrantly exaggerated like i always FELT they were but now a Pulitzer prize winning paper has done the research and homework and confirmed what i had a hard time putting into words.The numbers are wrong. The facts are wrong, Demi and Ashton are wrong. Look Sexual slavery is a terrible thing, sex workers like myself want to stop it as much if not more then the average Joe. We know first hand the realities of sex work, much more so then an ex soap opera actress and the guy from that 70’s Show. We want to do our part to end child trafficking, that’s very hard to do when Sex work is criminalized and children engaged in prostitution be in by corrosion or choice are branded criminals and offered very little services besides a jail sentence. If we report a crime we’re at risk of being arrested ourselves and were often the ones most able identify a crime. We have access and knowledge others like celebrities and law enforcement dont. Plain and simple.

Both Demi More and Ashton Kutcher have made money portraying sex workers. Demi even famously underwent breast augmentation surgery for the role of a stripper. So what gives with the blatant hostility towards sex workers? Why do they need to use junk science and inflated numbers to further their cause. Why create and exaggerate  problems that doesn’t exist, when you can work to address the problem that does exist. Is it because if there are an average of 1,000 trafficked children a year that its not going to raise the money you don’t funnel down to services for victims, then if you LIE and say 300,000? It’s hard to get the big bucks without the splashy numbers, so they “find” splashy numbers even if they have to make them up or turn a blind eye to the fact that are are made up and inaccurate.

Ashton tweeted just today that “he only played dumb on TV”  as he got into a pissing match with a news outlet because he didn’t like them taking him to task for his inability to get his facts straight. He then went on to try to get advertisers to remove ads from The Village Voice  because VVM owns backpage and sex workers advertise there, which of course revealed all anyone would need to know about Ashton Kutcher’s real agenda. Ashton Kutcher is against sex workers, their rights and possibly their very existences. He’s an abolitionist and he let let his slip show in the midst of his Twitter melt down because he got some bad press.

… yeah he only plays dumb on TV?  I’m not buying that argument.

Related Links:

Village Voice: http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-06-29/news/real-men-get-their-facts-straight-sex-trafficking-ashton-kutcher-demi-moore/

NBC: http://digitallife.today.com/_news/2011/06/30/6982716-kutcher-vs-voice-in-twitter-sex-slave-fight

SWOP-LA: http://swoplosangeles.org/2011/07/01/village-voice-vs-ashton-kutcher/

MaggieMcNeill: http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/village-voice-strikes-again/

Charlie Glickman: http://www.charlieglickman.com/2011/07/when-arrogance-meets-activism-ashton-kutcher-and-sex-trafficking/

Gawker: http://gawker.com/5817554/

Boing Boing: http://www.boingboing.net/2011/07/01/ashton-kutcher-bulli.html

Reuters: http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/07/02/the-village-voice-looks-at-underage-prostitution-statistics/

The News Junkie: http://thenewsjunkie.com/2011/07/ashton-kutchers-stupid-twitter-war-against-the-village-voice/

Videogum: http://videogum.com/328481/the-village-voice-takes-on-ashton-kutcher-about-child-sex-slavery-or-yikes/psas/

Seattle Weekly: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2011/07/trevor_neilson_hollywoods_king.php

Tits and Sass: http://titsandsass.com/?p=2941

Village Voic: (follow up) http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-07-06/news/stuck-in-trafficking/