Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Reinventing the Oldest Profession

Narratively, on sex workers and sex work activism:

Doff, for instance, who is currently pursuing a creating writing M.F.A. and has written a blog about her work as a stripper, says she was recently rejected for a job cleaning animal cages after the veterinary clinic learned of her past.

“I’m like, really—I can’t clean up cat shit because of something I did thirty years ago?” she recalls, incredulously.

There are some really powerful/funny/scary/thoughtful narratives here (that's the naaaame!), don't miss it.

11 Comments / Post A Comment

Sella Turcica

I have HPV that rapidly went into precancerous cells (carcinoma in situ of the vulva and cervix), possibly due to immunosuppressants I take for lupus. I also have two first degree relatives who had carcinoma in situ but different risk factors. One was a sex worker, an escort. Most medical professionals I tell (and I reveal it only when I need to and not her name, she's private) take the info in stride. One in particular (not my regular) was so shocked by the notion she dropped her stethoscope.
I've also worked with women in recovery who prostituted themselves for drugs or while using and men who traded drugs to get sex for the feeling of power. (I've never known a male client to admit to trading sex for drugs, but I haven't been doing this long.) As the link points out, there's a difference between those who engage in sex work out of choice and those who are forced into it by circumstance or coercion. Outreach, regulation and prosecution of johns, pimps and illegal sex workers can help keep people who do not choose the life from having it forced onto them. More openness about sex work in general can prevent future stethoscopes from being dropped.


@Delighted by User Re: men who trade sex for drugs, I'm not sure of its prevalence but I know it happens. Jim Carroll wrote a bit about hustling in the 70's for smack money.

Sella Turcica

@Danzig! I'm sure it happens. I have been working with people in early recovery and something as intense as gay prostitution for drugs would require more trust. I'll have to check out Jim Carroll.

Lola P.

i was a co-founding member of SWOP-NYC and was photographed (but not interviewed) for this article. i think the photos are gorgeous and speak to what's going on but the copy, oh man. you're right that there's some awesome narratives here: the people who were interviewed, anyway. the author's narrative suuuuucks! i read that shit with one eye squinted shut and a grimace.

getting so busy with describing someone's appearance as "heavy-set, brown-haired, baby-faced" and about her "fleshy cleavage" that he doesn't even get to her daunting list of accomplishments in legit bettering the lives of a hell of a lot of people? or the weird, damaging editorializations (read no further than "self-described sex worker activists") that totally undercut the message of a community coming together in mutual aid? i'm not going to keep ripping this apart 'cos, you know, but i found this to be a serious disappointment.


@Lola P. yes. those are pretty much my exact thoughts. I was like, wow, these people are telling powerful stories. But seriously, they are so important that you should probably find a better copy-editor!
second thought relates to up-thread: the contrast between owning sex-work, and trafficking, was well-done.

The Lady of Shalott

@Lola P. YES. A good, interesting, important piece like this deserves better writing. You shouldn't have to read sentences multiple times to figure out what they mean and piece it together based on the context! Geez.


@The Lady of Shalott "the sense of empowerment that Blair felt was nothing knew—it was exactly the point."


My kingdom for a copy-editor.


What I'm wondering is, what are Caitlin Moran's thoughts on this issue

Also I don't know how well-regarded it is within the community, but I check out Tits and Sass on occasion, they have a lot of first-person narratives of sex-work life.


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