My Tale of Degradation
It’s not easy being a sex worker rights advocate, although I am growing accustomed to hearing “but it’s so degrading to women!” on a daily basis. Yeah, I get it- you’re outraged that a woman could even suggest that sex workers have a CHOICE in the matter. You tell me that there is no such thing as choice when it comes to sex work, and that porn performers/strippers/prostitutes are all victims. You assume that you know what’s best for every single woman in the world, and if she doesn’t agree with you, then she’s just ill with the fever of patriarchy.
It’s the same song over and over again, I get it.
Are there victims of sex trafficking out there in the world? Of course there are, and sex worker rights advocates aren’t blind to this. We just want everyone else to realize that sex trafficking is NOT THE SAME as sex work. Rather than working against one another, perhaps the sex worker rights advocates & prostitution abolitionists should come together and build on common ground.
Additionally, are there sex workers who feel degraded by their occupation? Women who would choose another line of work if they had the option? OF COURSE. Please stop assuming that all sex workers feel this way.
Now we have Santorum running around talking about the dangers of porn, give me a fucking break. Seriously, is the world ending? Are politicians growing stupider by the hour? #STFUsantorum
Now, let me tell you my own story of degradation. Yup, self-disclosure. Ready? I hope you don’t judge me for the story that I am about to tell you…
I’ll set the stage for you- a typical night at work. I worked there a couple of years ago, when I was in my early twenties and broke as hell. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, but it was the best way that I knew how to make money at the time. Quick, fast cash in my hand at the end of every shift.
I will never forget the way my stomach used to feel as I’d drive to work. Dread, pure fucking dread. Even as I write this, I can feel the bowling ball forming in the pit of my stomach. Fuck that job. Fuck those awful customers.
Anyways, it was good money, and that’s why I did it. Night after night, breasts hanging out, catering to my customers, trying to just focus on the dollar bills that were being flung my way. I can’t emphasize to you enough how much I fucking hated it, but when I’d leave work with $400 worth of damp dollar bills in my hand, it’d be worth it. Sort of.
Guys would talk to me, and I would feign interest. I didn’t give a fuck about their lives, jobs, wives, worries. I just wanted them to disappear, but I had to act interested to get those dollar bills. I faked it well; that was my job.
There was a lot of petty drama between the other girls, I tried to not get involved. It all seemed so catty and ridiculous. I would go in, make my money, and get the fuck out. When people asked me where I worked, I would lie; I didn’t want them to know that I worked in such a shithole. I felt embarrassed. I felt degraded.
Those were the worst years of my life. I am so happy that I got out of that industry. Now that I look back, I wish I’d been a stripper instead. I would have felt less degraded than being…a bartender.
Yeah, a bartender, not a sex worker. I know…you think only sex workers feel degraded, but I would have felt less degraded as a sex worker.
Open your eyes, open your mind. Stop speaking for sex workers.