Sometimes, it's just a cigar

This is our truth, tell us yours

It’s Structural, innit*

Over the weekend the sex work community rallied around when Eden Alexander had her fundraiser cancelled, the money seized (although it has now been returned) and tried to support her as best we could. I had only interacted with Eden a few times but even from so far away her pain and confusion at why an attempt to sort her life out had been thwarted was heartbreaking.

Of course the fact banks and finance companies impose a whole host of rules and restrictions on sexual behaviour is not new. I first encountered it when I posted a picture of me squirting on a swinging site. It was a fabulous picture, taken outside at night, my corset glowing, and squirting pics are hard to get, believe me I have tried often enough! However the site in question said it was a watersports picture, and as such was illegal. In correspondence with them I linked to the Peacock trial, explaining that pissing might not be everyones cup of tea, but it had been ruled that viewing it was no longer obscene. They countered with the real reason they censored such pics, and it turned out discussions on various topics, their credit card company would not like it.

From Chase Bank to paypal sex workers face organisations deciding that they are not welcome, although these same organizations have been willing to take money from us for years. WePay blamed the credit card companies, yet those same companies are happy to have people use their products to buy credits on Adult Work or pay for the subscription only porn channels, Visa/MC have no problems with sex work when it is on a corporate scale. However wepay and other insist that they are not the whorephobes, the banks made them do it!

We have written before of the fact capitalism hates sex work. It may seem oxymoronic, after all sex workers are in one view the ultimate small businesses, the oldest profession as they say, the very definition of an entrepreneur. However under a capitalist patriarchy these are not actually desirable traits. Oh lip service is given to the idea that working for yourself is desirable, the Condems even pretend that they support it. However structurally capitalism prefers us wage slaves and huge barriers are put in the way of breaking the chains. When private property first arose in the Ancient world ( I am writing from a European and near eastern perspective here, I do not know enough of non western cultures to extend this, although China after the Warring States seems to follow a similar pattern) then the position of women changed. From observing those few societies across the world who do not prioritise private property and still live hunter gatherer existence it becomes clear that private property and patriarchy are interlinked.

When we moved into a city based, farming and good producing society goods became private. The means of producing those goods became of ever increasing importance, and the easiest way of ensuring their were workers was to breed them. Women became another means of production, and of course who had access to them sexually needed to be policed. Societies without private property are rarely monogamous and have little interest  in the paternal parentage of a child. By contrast who fathered a child has always been one of the great obsessions of western culture. This is because of the need to produce, and control workers. A man had a ready made source of workers in the woman or women he was partnered with, however if their sexual behaviour was not controlled then other men might father children on them, and thus claim the workers as their own.

As capitalist patriarchy developed the control of the production of workers was extended, first from the household and into society at large. The lessons learnt from controlling individual women were extended into controlling the populace. Religion, fear, threats and appeals to divine authority and knowledge were used to keep the workers in their assigned place, just as they were used to keep the woman in her place in the household.

Which brings us back to sex workers, and why they have earned the ire of the banks and others who seek to uphold capitalist patriarchy. By earning merely with our bodies we sidestep so many of the chains meant to keep us in place. We challenge the millennium old whorephobia which has been preached to the women determined to be acceptable breeding stock. They had to be indoctrinated with the idea sex work was wrong for two reasons. Firstly, as already explained control of patrilineal inheritance, secondly sex workers have always had freedoms denied “acceptable” women, most notably freedom of movement and education.  Since patriarchy was built on who inherits the sex worker was outside of its need to police women bodies and minds, but to ensure that other women did not see their own captivity sex workers were presented as lesser, marginalized in law and refused the protections of capitalist patriarchy. However throughout history enough women have seen through the attempts to convince them that giving up control of their minds and bodies in return for limited protections of patriarchy and chosen to sell sex.

What is the one thing capitalism hates? An awareness of the empty lies at its core. Sex workers challenge it on every level, we refuse to produce workers for patriarchy, we refuse to work for patriarchy, we use our own bodies to make our money rather than dedicating out bodies to the capitalist gods. Is it any surprise then that the banks want to exclude us? This has nothing to do with prudery or moral values, this is to do with the fact we challenge the very foundations of western civilisation, one fuck at a time.

Eden still needs help

* the title of this piece comes from a discussion this weekend of how annoyed mainstream feminists get when we are uppity and use big words.

**I dont do footnotes, its pretentious bollocks on a blog, go read a book, Athenian attitudes to sex workers and anything on the Hittites would be good places to start


8 comments on “It’s Structural, innit*

  1. carter2011
    May 19, 2014

    yup, it’s structural, and it’s endemic….


    • jemima2013
      May 19, 2014

      see we will get linked to again by the New Statesman if you insist on using sunday words like endemic 😀


  2. jemima2013
    May 21, 2014

    Reblogged this on Sometimes, it's just a cigar.


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  4. thelyniezian
    May 22, 2015

    We read a lot here about how “patriarchal capitalism hates sex work” for reasons of its own. But is it not possible that the very idea of “sex work” could in itself be a creation of that very same system? I seem to understand there were those historical societies that might have paid lip-service to the idea of sex workers as disrespectable and to be looked-down on, but de facto had a place in the established order for them, perhaps as the very same patriarchs (for want of a better term) needed some way of letting out their sexual desires outside the (allegedly self-imposed) strictures of marriage and reproduction? Ultimately, should sex not be a two-way thing and why then should it lend itself to commodification (sex as a commodity to be sold in exchange for money as if the person offering the service derives no other benefit from it)? We could suppose that such a system does allow some women on the margins of “respectable” society some means of having relative freedom and the means of earning a livelihood, but ultimately, if that freedom is limited to the sphere of servicing a paying customer in what they desire, how is it any less part of the system of control?

    Ultimately, your whole argument is at most defending a livelihood by dressing it up in the language of feminism and socialism. As it is there are reasonable criticisms of sex work that do not rest solely on some patriarchally-derived notion of “whoreophobia”.

    Personally (and I’ll admit this is based on my faith more than any conventional scholarly understanding) I don’t buy the idea that all traditional notions of marriage and family are based on property relations or anything like that*, or that religious beliefs concerning the same were simply post-hoc rationalizations to justify the oppression. Or how a small number of very modern hunter-gatherer societies are automatically a guide to what existed in prehistory.

    Also, I think you are talking about capitalism in only one sense of the term, i.e. the one which assumes there must be some form of exploited labour for it to be classed as capitalism. If its assumed that sex work is legitimate enterprise, then it is no different from any other self-employed sole trader- and whilst larger firms may have it in their interests to squeeze out the petty bourgoisie in order to control the market, it’s not like this sort of demonization happens in all areas.

    *I don’t deny that, at points in history, women were treated in marriage as if they were some form of property and reproduction had something to do with producing more workers. What I question is the idea that was the origin of marriage and family as it has come to be.


  5. thelyniezian
    May 24, 2015

    (And yes, this is just surmise, by the way).


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This entry was posted on May 19, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .

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