This is our truth, tell us yours
CN for rape and brief mention of self harm
If you are a sex worker openly advocating for sex workers rights it is not uncommon to come across pearl clutching women who are eager to assure you that they are glad you enjoy your work and have a wonderful charmed life, but their concern is the other women, the victims, the shadowy unknown mass who need their pity and rescue.
This false split, between sex worker and victim, happy hooker and oppressed woman, unrepentant whore and pentitant prostituted woman has been deconstructed a number of times by numerous sex workers. Yet still it persists. You want the right to work in safety, therefore you must not understand the reality of sex work. You believe that being able to report to the police without fear of eviction or your partner being arrested is a necessity, so of course you are young, childless, probably flying around the world and removed from the reality of “real” women’s lives.
Real women aka pearl clutchers aka white feminists aka Mistress Epps feminists sip their spiced lattes and know that a real woman would be so damaged by selling sex she would hide it, not speak about it, cover her shameful whoring body and beg on her knees for forgiveness.
Real women know if you have ever been raped you are turned off sex, possibly forever, and that the only sex you could possibly ever have again is gentle and fluffy and probably wouldn’t involve penetration and most certainly never approaches a fantasy of wearing the dress you were raped in while being beaten and buggered by your Dom.
Real women know who they admit to the class of women. Behave in a patriarchally approved manner,at all times but most especially as a victim. This came up on my course, when one of the students said that all rape victims find sex difficult. This was someone training to be a therapist, what hope for any victim who doesnt fit the real woman mould?
Sex workers challenge the pearl clutchers because we carry within us, our experiences and our very bodies the fact that we are not simple, unnuanced projects to be worked on. We can be a fat middle aged survival sex worker who thinks to much for her own good and still want rights. How odd is that? Rights might not be about helping the privileged but about protecting the vulnerable. Rights might not be about someones fantasy of what sex work is but the reality of having to fix your make up so the next client doesnt see the tears. Rights might be about holding a knife to your arm because the pain is too much, and then putting it down because the anger means you live to fight another day.
Nuance, google it.
Every time you say “Its the other ones I care about” you are dismissing the person in front of you are the wrong type of victim.
Victim Blaming. google it.
Every time you say that its the other women, the abused, exploited women you care about, without knowing the complete life history of the sex worker in front of you, you are ignoring the fact no one ever looks like a survivor.
Anger, google it.
Every time you say your anger discourages me, I care, be reasonable you are saying your feelz about a subject matter more than the pain of the person standing in front of you
Human decency, google it.
Patriarchy tells us the good victim forever wears the scarlet letter, changes her life, gets herself to a nunnery, stops fighting, stops shouting, stops screaming, just stops, becomes a ghost of a woman who drifts through life as an example to the others.
There is no happy hooker versus survivour except in your fantasies. We are women in an age where 1 in four are abused as children, where rape is endemic, where sexual assault is dismissed, where cat calling is a compliment. When you assume the reality of our lives is different to the reality of your life you are denying us entry into the class of women. Every time you do that patriarchy takes another sip on our tears and whispers “good girl” happy with how well trained you are.