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Discrimination in the wider community

Last week I had the horrendous experience of meeting a woman who embodies the beliefs of the sex negative, sex work hating radical feminists that I used to amuse myself with on Twitter. This woman cornered me for two hours, saying things like “your family is going to find you strangled to death in a pool of your own blood in your bed one day”.

She quoted Melissa Farley at me. Melissa Farley, for those of you who don’t know, is a radical feminist who has done some incredibly dodgy research (biased, unsubstantiated, cherry picked, completely unscientific) into the sex industry, and is known far and wide as a biased and untrustworthy source – the Canadian Supreme Court threw her research out as complete trash. I have been refuting Farley’s work online for years, because there are a lot of sex negative radfems in the world, spouting all kinds of demonstrably false claims about sex work and sex workers, but I have never met one face to face, and I am ashamed of my reaction.

I was gobsmacked. That is, shocked and stunned into submission. I’ve never had someone tell me to my face how disgusting they think I am or that they are convinced that I’m going to be murdered and that all my clients are rapists. I cried. I defended myself as best I could, but was mocked and harried and generally verbally beaten. I was told that I might be a well read whore, but that I’m not educated. I was told that my brain must have been rewired by childhood sexual abuseā€¦ for the record, I was never sexually abused as a child, or for that matter as an adult. I was told that if a hundred people were asked, 99 of them would think that my job is disgusting.

I have to say, I’ve been a sex worker for longer than I like to admit (due to vanity about my age, not out of shame for my job) and I have never ever encountered someone as highly unpleasant as this woman. She was convinced aspects of my job were illegal. She was horrified that some of my clients have become dear friends, and that they’ve become family friends, and that I treat them like anyone else. She questioned my screening methods and told me that sex work was the most dangerous professionā€¦ I pointed out that nursing (this woman has been a nurse for an extended period of time) as well as being a police officer or working at a service station was far more likely to get you assaulted than sex work.

She told me that sex work attracts home invasions and other crimes (false). She asked me pointedly about drug use, her assumption being that I must be some kind of hard core addict. She had a lot of nasty assumptions and nastier things to say. She demanded to know if I paid tax, and accused me of committing fraud, because she just didn’t believe that I had declared my income correctly. She accused me of trying to procure children for clients, and said that I was the same as a pedophile, a sexual deviant.

Every accusation was nastier and more baseless than the last. I couldn’t believe the things that were coming out of her mouth. I don’t associate with unreasonable or unkind people, I prune those people out of my life, and I think its left me less able to deal with obnoxiousness. I certainly don’t think I came off the winner in that conversation. On the other hand, I’m not in jail for whipping off my shoe and flinging it at her, so my temper has definitely improved. All I did was cry a bit, tell her she was unkind and wrong, and bring up the LASH report and the NSW workplace injuries report in order to refute her Farley quotes.

It all came as a huge shock. I don’t know why I didn’t just walk out. I felt compelled to stay and try to defend myself, and my community. And thats the thing, I belong to an enormous, loving, accepting community of sex workers and our supporters, which includes my personal friends and my family. I am sheltered from sex work stigma in my everyday life. In my community, if you asked people if my job was disgusting, 99 people would say hell no, and the one person who disagreed would be thoroughly reeducated by the other 99. People like this woman just don’t exist in my everyday life, and for that I am very grateful. Ā 

One Response to “Discrimination in the wider community”

  • Ken:

    I don’t think these people like reality. I see Asian sex workers and there the stereotypes get even worse. None of those I’ve seen seemed at all like they’ve been sex trafficked. Two of them have children and came to Australia after their marriages ended to give them a better life. One has the sort of parents who could pay for 2 years of university education in Australia, and now she is trying to get the money together to start her own business rather than working for her parents. Not to mention the stereotypes about me, that I like them because they are subservient. I admit I started because of lower price, but now I find Asian attitudes preferable. I have one concerned that I’m spending too much time on her, but I’m happy when she cums, and I’m happy when I cum, so why not do both in a session.

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