There comes a time when the world lets you know you are getting old. It’s usually an event denoted by a single action. When your children roll their eyes at something you said which would have been cool just a short while ago. Or when one reaches a certain milestone birthday. When one consults the mirror and sees fine lines marching across one’s face which were not there the previous day. Or like me, I found out on Twitter today I am old. My firmly held viewpoints on certain subjects is now considered passe, out of date and offensive.
I weighed in on a ‘discussion’ between the comedienne Margaret Cho and Twitter user THE Foo (@politibunny) and the subject matter is something very close to Margaret Cho’s heart, sexual assault, sex abuse and surviving sex abuse. The actual ‘discussion’ quite tedious and is not the point I am trying to make. I added my two-cents here and said “Sex workers have rights too. They’ve a right to not be violated just because they sell their bodies for a living” and the response was swift by Twitter user Nora: “ew what? Sex workers don’t sell their bodies, yo. They sell their time, an experience, and a service.”
I must be really confused about what a ‘sex worker’ does, or I’ve been hiding under a rock for too long. Yes, sex workers do provide a ‘service’, a very personalized one, I must add, personalized to each customer. Last I checked they are selling sex as preferred by the customer, and yes, they use their time (obviously) to provide an experience, but don’t they still do all this with their body? Aren’t they using their body to provide this experience and service?
Then it hit me, I am not confused. I am getting old. There is now a politically correct way to describe sex work where it’s a viable career option and somehow I missed it. Another lovely Twitter users (GrossMetalFuck) also chimed in to educate me about what sex workers do.
“…to say they sell their bodies is an objectifying statement” – So again, they are selling a ‘service’ (with their body) but it’s a ‘service’ nonetheless. I am not ‘objectifying’ anyone, but merely describing a job description, the oldest profession in the world no less. I must be having a slow day today. No, wait, I am just old.
I am an all-inclusive feminist, I am not a SWERF (Sex-worker exclusionary radical feminist) or a TERF (Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminist) or second wave or third wave feminist. I got cross-eyed just typing this. Anyone who defines herself as woman, regardless of how she became a one (born or transitioned) is included in my brand of feminism. No one (man or woman) should be sexually assaulted, ever, period. No one should be violated without their consent, period. Not ever, not under any circumstance, no ifs ands or buts.
Though not backed up by science or research, I believe transgender people and sex-workers are a particularly vulnerable group for assaults. Not because, as the lovely GrossMetalFuck pointed out, “Sex workers also aren’t inherently violated any more than non sex workers are. And there are more non sex workers”, but sex workers and transgender people are at the margins of society, their profession and transgender status does not provide them the same kind of sympathy or protection as other women who are not in those categories. When sex workers and transgender people are assaulted, there’s a kind of ‘they deserved it’ attitude. When your line of work is providing a service which is sex related, what does it matter if you are raped? If a transgender person is raped or attacked, the sentiment is they provoked the attack by not being upfront about their transgender status, like the story of Brandon Teena, a transgender male who was brutally raped and murdered for daring to live his life as a man. I believe all people deserve protection from sexual assault.
So, back to me being old, forgive me if I strongly feel that sex work is not something a girl should aspire to if she’s got other career options. Sex work, in my mind should be work of last resort, which many girls around the world, sadly, have no choice but turn to sex work for their basic survival. Many girls are also sold into sexual slavery without their consent and if given a choice, they’d rather not be servicing sex to her customers (trying to be PC here). This does not mean I am sex-worker phobic, but before a woman decides to sell her sexual services, she must have had other goals and dreams. But if she didn’t, that’s fine too, she still doesn’t deserve to be violated.
I mean, they don’t grade fathers. But if your daughter’s a stripper, you fucked up. – Chris Rock
If this makes me an antediluvian prig with a stick up my behind, then so be it. Chris Rock said many times, his job as a father is to keep his daughters ‘off the pole’. Amen.