A Bad Week For Sex Workers
By Elizabeth Swan on
“Why don’t you get a normal job?” My sister said to me about six years ago. On asking her what she thought a normal job was she replied “Tesco or something.”
I have done all the ‘normal’ jobs and I’ll tell you something. Only acting came close to the feeling of euphoria I have when I’m in session. Funnily enough factory work, retail, cleaning, call centre etc etc never came close. Well how could they? If you name a minimum wage job I have probably done it. I used to work my arse off to save my money...but the thing is, only sex work has allowed me to actually save. It also allows me to work when I want, how often I want and most importantly, see who I want. For me that is the foundation of a happy work life.
I wish I had started a lot sooner. If I had dommed through drama school I wouldn’t have come out with 20 K debt. Almost all people come into this line of work for the cash. It is a job that you can do if you have no education. It allows you to then go down that route and study if you want too. Or not. Others are enjoying the time they finally get with their children. One woman I met who worked in a brothel said “why would I clean six days a week when I can do this for one day and spend the rest of my time with my child?”
Of course there are some women who would argue with that. “What would your child say?!” “Surely you don’t need to do THAT?” and my personal favourite, “Your soul! What about your SOUL?!”
Aside from my sister these women are almost always middle class. They are the ones that would swan into Laura Ashley and talk down to me. They are the ones who were rude to me when I was a waitress. They are the ones in the street who expect me to get out of their way.
Because here is the thing. They will talk down to you whatever job you do. They need you to know your place. And as a sex worker you are an unknown variant. An aberration. No longer serving their coffee you are more likely to be spanking, shagging and stripping for their husband.
So they try to shame us to get us to toe their line. This week we have seen Bristol council and the MPs attempt to close down the only two lap dancing clubs in the city. In an interview on Jeremy Vine, Jacqui Smith said about the dancer;
“Jessica sounds to me like the kind of person who can get work elsewhere.”
How fucking patronising and condescending does a woman have to be to say that to another woman? But Jacqui, like many of the women who claim to be feminists, would have Jessica working behind a counter serving her pampered ass, not giving two shits that Jessica is now struggling for money.
Then we have the MP Diana Johnson again trying to push through the Nordic Model, this time using the Policing, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill. Now the Nordic Model is disastrous for sex workers. Since it has been implemented in Sweden women have been evicted, their children taken away from them and of course violence against SWs goes up. In the Republic of Ireland since the same model was implemented violence against sex workers has increased by 92%. https://uglymugs.org/um/
Johnson knows this. As do all the other Labour MPs who want it. Jess Phillips, Harriet Harmon, Stella Creasy and Sarah Champion. But they want to remove us BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Imagine saying you are a feminist and then condoning the murder of women who have different lives to you? Then they have the audacity to say they want to stop violence against women. They use the death of Sarah Everard to push forward their agendas.
Then there is the anti porn lot who insist that porn makes men violent. Articles appeared in The Daily Mail and The Guardian this week supporting this ridiculous claim. These same feminists seem to think that men have become violent only in the post porn days. Tell that to the women who were murdered every century since humans walked upright. Or did the cave drawings make the men do it?
And what about the countries that don’t allow porn? Surely that would mean countries like India and Saudi Arabia are always lovely and respectful to their women right?
These are supposed to be intelligent women and yet their own morality clouds their thinking to the degree that I, a four GCSEer from Stoke can outthink them.
The most staggering and upsetting thing that happened this week was the murder of eight women in three massage parlours in America. Six of the women were Asian. I find this hard to find words for. My heart aches for the women and their families. This racist, misogynistic attack was also an attack on sex workers. Indeed the man went to THREE massage parlours killing the women. The Labour MP Sarah Owen chose to use these words in a tweet,
“These killings come on the back of increased anti-Asian American incidents and rhetoric, similar to what we have sadly seen here and in Europe #stopasianhate #stophate.”
WHAT ABOUT THE FACT THEY WERE SEX WORKERS SARAH? But of course that doesn’t get mentioned. It would be pesky wouldn’t it because some smart alec would point out that Labour want SESTA/FOSTA implemented in the UK. In America SESTA/FOSTA has prevented women advertising on the internet so they now need pimps or to work in parlours to get clients. The murder rate has gone up since it began in America and of course this caused some of our UK feminists to rub their hands with glee. And so there I am a couple of years ago listening to them debate it in parliament. Well, debate implies two sides. There was the Labour lot, the anti abortion lot (DUP) and the anti trafficking, Christian lot sitting in the audience. And me and a couple of other SWs also sitting in the audience, biting our hands throughout to stop ourselves from screaming.
They will keep trying. And we will keep fighting. But when you hear these women claim to care about violence against women what they are really saying is “as long as that woman is like me.”