@klemay Yeah, I totally get where you're coming from. I agree that online we tend to see a disproportionate number of personal essays that may give a misleading impression that sex work is nearly always totally OK and fun, and it was refreshing to get a different perspective here. I also concede I might have been expecting too much given the limitations built into the interviewer's circumstances.
@ru_ri Thanks to you too for bringing up something that I admittedly paid less attention to than I should have! I understand though, that there are probably insurmountable limitations to what I was hoping to get versus what the interviewer could get. Maybe/hopefully a follow up though with more people from the sex industry will round this out.
@klemay To clarify, my comments aren't coming from the perspective of not wanting to hear from a sex worker who doesn't like her job, but primarily as a point concerning the language barrier between the interviewer and interviewee. I don't mean I have any expectation that giving her the ability to communicate in a way she could express herself more fully would lead to her actually saying she likes any aspect of her job, but rather it would permit a deeper examination of the question the interviewer had when he approached her: how can she stand to keep doing this? She was able to convey that she was able to because her family needs the money and she was able to cope because of religion and laughing with her coworkers, but a better effort at overcoming the language barrier could have gotten a richer explanation of the people and faith that keeps her in a job that can be so dangerous and makes her so unhappy.
@ru_ri Oh, yeah I do think the "Really, Hairpin?" comments don't add much and many times seem to come from a place of expecting disappointment, and I think that's unfair. I loved Edith and Jane's reign, but I think Jia and Emma are still doing great things, especially Jia's expansion of her interview series. I'm the type who tends not to comment unless I'm confused or concerned though (or I guess there's an opportunity to make a cheap joke), so I concede I'm likely not helping with the problem of the comments section turning into a less welcoming space.
You highlight an interesting part of this piece, but I guess what kept me from more fully exploring that part is how distracted I felt about the fact that once he realized they didn't have a fluent language in common, he didn't make an attempt to bridge that gap or find a different interview subject where the gap wasn't as apparent. It's as if he decided this was good enough. To me that ends up keeping her and her story at arms length and almost makes me feel complicit in perpetuating her marginalization when I read this. The way this was set up with the initially harsh description of her appearance and the gawkers' reactions to her, which IMO deliberately created a picture of someone deserving of only pity/ridicule/revulsion, I had high hopes that the change in setting to a one-on-one interview would do more to contrast that initial characterization of her, to return more dignity and humanity to her by having a real conversation with her. But that ended up falling short of what I was hoping for, because he ended up not giving her the full range of expression she is probably likely capable of in a different language. I think actually a lot of the comments on this particular piece have shared this concern in a fairly respectful albeit straightforward way, but are getting shut down with unnecessarily defensive responses (e.g. the comments about wanting to see commenters try to do better with their own 700 word pieces?). Maybe Jia's interviews (and Logan's on The Billfold, if anyone here is interested and hasn't checked those out) have given me unreasonably high expectations?
@roadtrips Yeah, in addition to agreeing with some of the observations made by previous commenters (both positive and negative), I'm also troubled by how dismissive some commenters are of any critical observations that have been made about this piece. I agreed with mollpants' questioning of the extensive use of direct quotes where the interviewer and interviewee didn't have a fluent language in common, but it seems any point of criticism is going to be immediately reframed as the commenter just being trollish or needlessly negative or being the commenter's own problem instead of a problem of the writing. It seems lately the comment section just doesn't seem very welcome to conversations that include diverse perspectives. That's a shame, because I like that Jia and Emma seemed to have made a conscious effort to shift the balance of the posts to add longer pieces and interviews with a broader variety of voices than what I could find elsewhere. But I feel like I can't talk about these pieces, only compliment them.
@Lisa Frank This week has been the worst, not the least because of the mansplaining bullshit illustrated in Jia's music festival piece and that Mea Culpa piece on The Toast (to clarify, awesome, wonderful, well-written pieces eloquently getting to the heart of how fraught it is sometimes to dare to be a woman out in public unchaperoned, but unfortunately both inspired by recent real life experiences). I loved those pieces because they made me feel less alone in my anger over some commonplace bullshit I also have to deal with regularly, but I also hated them because ugh, this just confirms how commonplace this revolting behavior still is. And then there are always the dbag trolls coming up in the comments saying, oh ho ho, kind of an overreaction li'l lady, don't you think? Why don't you respond to men's treatment of you as an inferior being in a more sensitive, less arrogant manner? You know, so as not to hurt their feelings?
@chnellociraptor Yes! Such sharp, witty answers! Also LOVED this: "I remember I played both Sacagawea and Martin Luther King, Jr. in our first grade plays—my mom likes to say I was an effective public speaker, but I was also the only non-white person in my class." Oh, moms.
@Lurkasaurus Nthing what everyone else has already said about that receptionist being a jerk. I don't have much else to add except that I have significant telephone anxiety and it helps me to write out scripts that account for several possible responses on the other end, including having to leave a message, so that might help in setting an appointment, if you're like me and get flustered on the phone. Write out what you want to say (e.g., Hi, I'm a new patient I want an annual check up and I have some general health questions but I'd like to talk to a GP to get referrals before blindly trying to guess which specialists might be right for me. Why no, I don't just need a pap, there are other parts to me to check out besides my vagina, but thanks juicebox, etc.) and all the ways you can get the conversation back on track to getting an appointment so you're fully prepared for any other jerk receptionists (though let's hope there aren't any more in your near future, and maybe that guy was just having a shitty day and taking it out on his job).
@miss buenos aires Ooh are you talking about the New Yorker article from a few years back called "The Itch"? I am also not a scientist and do not know anything about neuroscience, but that article was seriously fascinating and seemed to have science backing up the effectiveness of mirror therapy.
Between this and yesterday's Lazy Man's Guide to Seducing Women post, it feels like Long, Hard Look in the Mirror Week at the Hairpin. I think I need to talk to some cake about this. (Seriously though, I've missed reading between the texts so much!)