I tweeted at this people that id never drink their shitty vodka and id make sure no one else i know would either. Enough with the damn hooker jokes. It’s a cheap shot, from a cheap company and really its not funny.
Jessie Nicole Of SWOP-LA sums up how I feel.. please pass this message on and think about drinking a different brand of vodka. Preferable one that doesn’t rely on putting down a whole class of people for a little extra ink.
What is a sex worker? Yes, that debate rages on. I have a feeling it always will. It’s not easy to get women of different fields of sex work to self identify as sex workers. They have their own preconceived notions of what a “sex worker” is and the media and the abolitionist groups that want to use the word “prostituted woman” in place of sex worker doesn’t help. I wonder what those same groups would call a phone sex operator when she self identified as a sex worker? A intentional prostituted obscene phone caller? Thats the opposition the people who are against sex work, (hell they are usually against plain old sex too) trying to control the definition of what I am. I don’t like that, not one bit.
The simple fact is all kinds of workers who are in the sex business are sex workers. But since the media loves to focus on prostites AKA escorts that its often hung like a mantel around a escorts neck to the detriment of other kinds of sex work. Like phone sex operators or professional Dominas or say strippers. Who are all sex workers. True all areas of sex work have different priorities and maybe that’s why its so hard to bring them together and get them to all self identify as sex workers. If you’re an escort you might be more concerned with legalities of your profession (and changing the laws to make your kind of sex work legal) then say a porn star who’s work is already legal and who might be currently embroiled in the whole CAL-OSHA demanding you use a rubber and dental damn in making a x-rated film debate. However because our focus might be different that doesn’t mean were not all sex workers, that we don’t all use our emotional and physical labor in the sex business to turn a buck, put food on our tables and roofs over our heads.
Nothng about us without us
At Slut Walk recently I worked the SWOP-LA table and passed out literature and tried to bring awareness to what SWOP-LA wants to do. End violence and the associated sigma against all kinds of sex workers. I talked to a lot of people and the people who were most resistant, the most judgemental were the people who identified to me as porn stars and strippers. Not that’s not to say that’s as a group they are the most resistant. In this instance that’s what i encountered. The civvies there were way more open minded then the majority of current sex workers who spoke to me. I found that sad. To me that said the media and the abolitionist are gaining ground. If they can make current sex workers somehow ashamed about identifying as one, well then that’s going to be hard to overcome. Because that’s what it felt like to me. That they were afraid to say ” yes i am a sex worker” because the stigma came with the term and the job. I’m not a sex worker, my job is legal, I’m a porn star! I’m not a sex worker i work in a club, I’m a dancer! Im not a sex worker i’m a Domme i don’t have sex with my clients! Those others who are not as legit as me in whatever way are sex workers. Those attitudes to me says that the opposition gaining ground. That’s how i see it. Can you imagine when the civil rights movement of the 60’s was going on if people were afraid to say “I’m black and I’m proud” ala James Brown because they didn’t want to be associated with or put in the same category those other not so acceptable black people? How far would the movement have gotten then… a big fat nowhere.
I don’t know what to do to solve this problem. Maybe its getting some big shot XXX media darlings to identify as sex worker real loud and splashy. Maybe its just talking to people one at a time and wearing them down. Hell i dunno. I know that when i m with a group of Dommes and they’re are discussing work issues one always has something snotty to say about escorts/prostitutes then they look at me and try to say well not you… you’re different. I always cringe. I’m not different and when that happens i know i have to work harder to get non escorts to pick up the sex work mantle and not let the abolitionists win the messaging war they are engaging it. Because that’s what this is, make no mistake this a war and we are not as well funded or armed as our opposition. This is a fight not only for the rights of sex works but for the narrative. This is a fight we have to win or all sex workers will lose. if they delegitimize and marginalize some of us they delegitimize and marginalize all of us. Yes, this war… and war is hell.
Slut walk was by all accounts, a success. Could it have been more successful, yes but cant things like this always be? I went to work the SWOP-LA table and help spread the word about sex worker issues. Being as the point of Slut Walk is to bring attention to and stop victim blaming and slut shamming they would be by all accounts a receptive audience. Sex workers are often the targets of slut shaming and are often maligned as well as often being targets of violence and sexual assault. Why? Because people forget were human and think because in many cases the sex work we do is illegal we wont go the authorities to report crimes against us and if we do.. were often not taken seriously. Yes, this still happens and yes this is the 21st century not the dark ages were living it. But i digress. I was happy to speak to as many people as i could about SWOP-LA and what they/we are working towards, about sex worker rights and also to help promote the next SWOP-LA event. Yes, i was fund raising too at Slut Walk and SWOP-LA did rake in a few bucks which should help offset some costs. I personally wet out of pocket on flyers and so did a few others. I was working the SWOP-LA table along side Jessie Nicole SWOPs director and Serene Sin a BDSM educator and professional Domina. Other SWOP members and supporters showed up notably Mistress Justine Cross. I met Mistress Sativa, Porn Star Jessica Drake, and lots and lots of really nice interested and motivated young people. I even had a nice chat with the lady from NOW who hopefully will table at the next SWOP event. That’s a big deal as NOW hasn’t always been the most receptive to sex workers in general. All in in all it went well and us ladies of SWOP-LA rocked it. You should have been there.
647 N. San Vicente Bl West Hollywood June 4th 12pm
Have you heard of slut walk? Its a phenomenon that started in Canada and has spread world wide. Its a movement to reclaim the word “slut” and to try to end “slut shaming” In Canada an officer of the law was speaking to some students and said “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized” That’s an all in one statement. It slut shames and it victim blames. Its a double whammy and coming from a person in a position of authority in law enforcement well no bueno, really, really no bueno. OK the officer was reprimanded and sent back to where ever they train to get well, retrained but it was the spark that started the slut walk protests. People taking to the streets to stop slut shaming our girls… all over the world.
Los Angeles is now in the mix and they have a slut walk planed for June 4th, 2011 in West Hollywood, CA and I will be there. Yes, I’m a slut. Well, I was a slut before a i was a whore. I suppose some people would still call me a slut. I’m also a female who doesn’t feel like the shirt i chose to wear or the skit i pull up over my hot ass should be responsible for the violent act of rape. Slut shaming needs to stop, its prevalent in or society and its hurting our girls.
I will be at slut walk LA on June 4th to show my support and to work the SWOPLA (sex workers out reach project LA) table. Please if you’re there come by and say hi, sign up for the SWOPLA mailing list and take to the streets and let your voice be heard… You don’t have to be a slut to participate.
What is a sex worker? The term sex work was created by sex workers themselves and is deliberately vague. Sex workers encompass a lot of different kinds of sex work. Yes, there are all kinds. Sex worker is not euphemism for prostitute, though prostitutes are sex workers. Sex workers can be Cam girls, porn stars, erotic masseuses, escorts, Professional Dommes, Strippers, Phone sex operators. Basically people who use their sexuality and emotional labor for their job are sex workers. They work both in the legal side of sex work and the underground illegal world of sex work. I personally work in both. I currently do a lot of different kinds of sex work but for a long time i was simply an escort. I fucked for cash.
I’ve also tried with little success to get involved in sex worker activism. I truly believe that sex worker rights are human rights and coming from the illegal world of escorting i get really angry when people tell me i cant do with my own body what i want to do. That it’s legal for me to screw a guy because he bought me dinner, or because its easier to fuck him then to try to disengage and not fuck him after a date, or because its Thursday but i can not fuck him because he offers me cash to do so. My sexual/emotional labor I’m allowed to give away to whom ever i want but the government wants to put laws on my body mind and soul telling me i cant sell it. The honest exchange is not allowed but the manipulation and underhanded emotional bullshit that often comes along with sex… that well that is encouraged. It’s ass backwards to me and yes part of the appeal of my working as an escort is because i like to buck the system and don’t like anyone telling me how to live my life. Really its for the money but the rebel in me gets a certain thrill at being a little bit of an outlaw.
She works hard for the money
My life would be easier if escorting was legal or decriminalized. I wouldn’t have to worry about going to jail to make my rent, i wouldn’t have to be wrought with fear if i needed to go to law enforcement because someone tried to harm or rob me. I would have access to the same services everyone else had with out fear of reprisals. It would also go a long way to helping to eliminate the stigma that comes along with sex work. Once a whore always whore. That stigma is very real and though many escorts live a secret life and no one knows of their sex work its a stigma we live with, we even brand ourselves. It can and does fuck with your head. Even the most grounded have played the “how could i have let my life come to this” game at one point or another. Destigmatizing escorting is a good first step in helping to over come those stigmas. It will be a long haul though, of that i am painfully aware.
Other kinds of sex work is already on that path. 10 years ago young women didn’t aspire to be porn stars, now many do. The profession is much more legitimate and socially acceptable. I believe a lot of that is to do with the concerted effort of porn companies like Vivid Video working double time to cross over to mainstream acceptance. Of course the Internet and having all that material at your fingertips didn’t hurt as well. However that doesn’t mean there is no stigma its MORE legitimate and acceptable its not entirely legitimate and acceptable. Women are still cast out of families for having been in porn, years later they are fired from jobs because of their porn past, they are branded whores and bad women forever. And that’s the legal side of sex work add a prostitution arrest and in some cases registering as a sex offender for 10-15 years for being a prostitute and your life will change forever… and not for the better.
I have really high hopes that someday sex workers will have the rights that all workers have and the recourse, services that all workers have but it will be a long, long fight with very little resources and lots and lots of hard hard work. I’m trying to be more involved. Ive hooked up with my local chapter of SWOP (sex workers outreach project) in a very small way. SWOPLA has a new director Jessie Nicole, shes bright eyed, enthusiastic and really wants to do some good AND she needs your help, your input and your support. She also needs your cash (hey, it’s tax deductible). So do something good for sex work and sex workers alike. Help her out with something, Throw a few bucks into the kitty, volunteer a little time at an event to get the word out or just write her an “i support what you’re doing letter” Do a little good today you will feel better for it, i know i do.