Sex workers and their lives are not up for debate. I do not care about your opinion, and I certainly do not care about what you think makes me safe or not. I don’t care because it is not you. When you quit sex work and move on, you no longer hold the torch and you should, rightfully so, pass it to working sex workers. Laws, life, stigma and society changes and what also changes is what makes us safe. A sex worker who stopped working in 2005 will not have a clue have what makes us safe online because it has advanced. Also, stigma and society changes and this heavily impacts on how sex workers react. For example, Client Eye is publicly advertised compared to say, in the US where blacklists are hidden for safety reasons.
The Managed Zone is constantly up for debate by people who have never even driven through the area, let alone worked there. Many of whom comment from the comfort of their homes, with the heating on, tweeting from their new phones. To make it worse, they earn money from punching down hard and slagging off sex workers and trampling all over their voices. Yes, I mean you Julie Bindel and Dr Jess Taylor, amongst many others. Commentators who are so far removed from sex work, even if they once dipped their toe in the industry. Shagging a bank manager for a loan doesn’t mean you have lived the life of a sex worker. If this was a true reflection of sex work, I’d be a millionaire from all the loans I’d get from clients.
What is it really like then? Actually, despite sex workers constantly calling it boring, which it is sometimes, it is downright dangerous at times. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous jobs you can ever do. Working street isn’t fun and I’m not here to paint a pretty picture of it either because it’s cold, lonely, boring, dangerous and I’m 5ft and get intimidated by clients sometimes; especially when they say things like ‘I could just snap you, you’re so small’. Fucking your bank manager won’t get you the same crap either and it certainly hasn’t meant you’ve lived your life anonymously because of the stigma associated with it; in fear of giving your real name out because you fear being evicted or arrested. No.
I am fed of commentators and people thinking sex worker’s lives are for public discussion when we are not, we are just trying to live. Many of us live on the breadline, living just enough to get by in life without falling on our face. Some, the true survival sex workers, are out there having sex because they’re unsure where they are sleeping that night so they need money for a shelter. Some trade sex for food, drugs and other essentials. They have no fucking idea what it is like to sit in-front of a counsellor and cry your heart out and tell her you have sex for money because you’re so scared of being brassic again and ending up homeless. No. Instead, they write about us, as if they know better than us.
These ‘feminists’ say they champion marginalised women and their voices, but not sex workers. Would they do this to domestic violence victims who have faced exceptional levels of violence? If a victim said ‘I don’t think this law will help’ or ‘I know what would have made me safe’, would we have said ‘oh shut up, you’re too traumatised hun, we know better than you’ and then go on to call her a wife beater, pimp or whatever else? No, we fucking wouldn’t. It would be a disgraceful and you’d lose your job. However, when it comes to sex workers, we are apparently exactly that – too fucked up and traumatised to speak for ourselves.
People who haven’t had dick in the mouth like Julie Bindel think they know better about sex work, male clients and safety than me – the person who puts dick in their mouth for money and has grown and eye in the fucking back of my head because of safety.
Online, people call me ‘something to ejaculate into’, ‘cum dumpster’, ‘piece of flesh’ or whatever disgusting, vile, degrading language they use. Their justification is that this is what men call and think of us. In all honesty, no client has ever called me a piece of flesh. Even if they did, this is NOT an excuse for you to use the same vitriolic language as them, in fact, as ‘feminists’, you should be challenging this language and not using it yourself. They say we are constantly being raped and if they think that, why do they find it acceptable to call a rape victim a ‘cum dumpster’. Believe me, if you said that in a SARC, you would be dragged out by the ear – and rightfully so. These people are so anti-men that they apparently find it acceptable to use their ‘alleged’ language against me as well.
If you knew a woman who was constantly called a piece of shit by her husband every day, would you then refer to her as a piece of shit? No.
I have been more degraded by radical feminists in their language and little consideration for me, my life, experiences and voice than any client. I would rather sit in a room with a shitty client than a nasty radical feminist. At least the client pays me to feel like shit.
The sex worker rights movement MUST be led by sex workers, and predominantly actively working sex workers. The influence by people who fucked their bank manager, or Bindel, who as far as I know has never even touched a dick are disproportionately platformed than actual sex workers. Would white people be at the front of BLM? No. Would white, British born people be at the front of immigration rights movements? No. Would I ever be at the front of Thai decriminalisation of sex work? No. I can support these or even have adverse opinions but it is not my place to dominate.
I would LOVE to give greater voice to the other women who work in the Managed Zone but I am also very well aware of the shit they would get because of it. Sadly, they have so much to say and can say it for themselves but they’re scared to, or at times unable. I fiercely safeguard them in this sense because I desperately want to bring them up with me, but at the same time, I don’t wish to bring them into the place where they are open to such abuse. I saw what the BBC documentary did to vulnerable women who were complex drug users, and I would never replicate such exploitation of them and their voices for gain. It becomes a horrible cycle in which they are silenced, and then the void is filled by people who haven’t a clue.
These women are fierce, loving, resourceful, resilient, and despite the absolute hardships some of them have faced, they get up every fucking day and get through it. They have more courage than I will ever have and I admire their strength in the face of true adversity. I challenge anyone to live their lives and despite the low status they hold in society, I know many would struggle to get through the same situations they have, especially on their own. I admire their courage, bravery and their ability to push through every day, even when they feel like they can’t. Some have dire circumstances and actively work with very little to get by. People are so quick to write them off and yet, I know these very people wouldn’t stand a chance in their shoes.
I am fed up of the politicisation of sex work when in reality, you are talking about people and their lives. These are not up for debate and are not some sort of ideology you can fuck around with. Policy really hurts people, it has direct impact on the ground. You find many of those who are at the upper echelons of policy, activism, or whatever else are no longer sex workers, or never have been or think they know everything from at textbook. Activism with in itself is a privilege that I think people forget. The women working the streets do not give a fuck about the political debates that rage behind the scenes because they are just trying to live and get through the day. Does my friend Alicia care what Bindel thinks? No she doesn’t. She’s worrying about where she is sleeping tonight, how she is going to eat and how she is going to find the money for heroin and crack tonight.
Until I discovered sex work Twitter, I didn’t care either and had no idea. Ignorance is bliss but it took me many years to find the debates behind it and even now, I struggle to grapple with much of it.
Personally, I could not give a shit about the morality debates behind sex work and I refuse to engage with those people because they are simply irrelevant. I do not give a shit if you think I’m a slut, immoral or whatever else because you are not feeding me or paying my bills. Also, survival does not care about labels and names. I assure you, there are many more immoral things that occur in this world in sex work that root in greed, abuse and power but they are socially acceptable, left unchallenged or silenced. If your argument to eradicate sex work is based on a moral premise, then you have no standing to be at the table because unless you are Jesus Christ himself, then people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I have also likely fucked their husband/son/dad somewhere.
I’m not really sure the point of this blog post, but it is my ramblings. I am fed up of the same shitty arguments that I am sure people have had for years. I’ve had enough of Eaton shagging her bank manager and then running commentary on sex work as if she knows it all. I wonder if her PayPal, Monzo, AirBnB accounts have been frozen from her disclosure of sex work? I wonder if she sat in a hotel room in lingerie dealing with text messages saying ‘hi’ all day. Probably not. Has Bindel even touched dick? Probably not. Sex workers should lead sex worker rights movements, policy making, personal accounts and it should not be lead by those so fuelled by feminist ideology, writing policy in the comfort of their income, housing, safety and warm, and at times, luxurious homes. Sex work just isn’t about that.
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