Listen Up.

by easilyriled

— From the Archives —

Okay. so here’s the thing. why is it that when I say “women in prostitution” people (especially ‘do-gooders’, liberals, men and trannys) hear “sex worker”? I don’t use that kinda demeaning, oppressive language. even if women in prostitution use it to refer to themselves. There is no such fuckin’ thing as a “sex worker” fer crying out loud. All women in prostitution are rape victims. And if they’re not calling themselves that it’s not because they’re not victims, it’s because they’re trying to not go fucking crazy. No one likes to say, “i was/am victimized”, but let’s face it, men have done some terrible things to women, and these women in particular, and they continue to do it, and for some of these women the only way they can manage to lurch from one moment to the next is to claim that ‘yes, this is my job and i’m gonna do the best job i can’. even though she would fight and kick and holler and lay her body down to prevent her little sister or her mom or her auntie or her friend from taking that kinda job.

but i digress.

I am taking a class, and on the first day, i said i was doing research about the harms perpetrated by harm reduction on women in prostitution in Vancouver. someone said, “sex work” and I said, I would never use that terminology, because it de-genders prostitution and offers pimping some legitimation. I just gave a real short response. But people keep using that ridiculous, damaging, misleading term–and then the other day, this one classmate sent me a link to some ‘research’ that’s being done in new york about and with GIRLS in the sex industry–aka, CHILDREN. Said classmate said in the e-mail to my advisor to send me the info, “i think she is working on sex work”. GAAAAAHHHH!

Now, i know i am easily riled. but it galls me that all these people who are bending over backwards to ‘use the most respectful terms’ can’t even HEAR when some of us say what we freakin’ mean, and explain why we use the words we use, and even go so far as to say, “I find that terminology offensive and damaging”. They claim to want to use ‘respectful’ language, and when we explain six different ways to sunday why that language is NOT respectful, they don’t have the argument, or engage with you in any respectful way, they just carry on as if they hadn’t HEARD in the first place. christonacracker…

But how do you gain access to girls in the sex industry (aka sexually exploited children) without calling them what they claim to want to be called (“young sex workers”, i guess). You do what every fucking researcher does, you give them $5 and some pizza.

then you introduce yourself and get their names and then you call them by their names.  then you get to know them, and you start telling them, “you deserve better, you know”. and you tell them, “the men who are doing this to you are wrong”. and you say to them, “here’s a place you can go”, and you say, “you’re strong and capable and look at all the things you did to stay alive and keep safe and protect your friends–let’s talk about how to get out of this life, so you can have a life that doesn’t include paid rape” .

Research. there’s enough flippin’ research already. Can we just get on with the work of freedom now?

sweet sufferin’ mother of jesus.

A version of this post was previously published on Easilyriled’s Blog.

10 Comments to “Listen Up.”

  1. i’m so glad you wrote this!

    no woman would choose to be physically, mentally and emotionally drained of all she has – it is not a career choice. i hate it when people say that woman who dance naked in clubs aren’t being abused because they are making tons of money for doing something so easy. i wouldn’t say that was easy. i don’t like anyone looking at me for more than a second, even with my clothes on. i feel degraded and devalued on a regular basis just existing in this society – dancing naked for mere money, stupid money that has been deemed of the utmost value in this world, that’s not worth being treated like a commodity. ugh. GRRRRR!

    i’m glad i can come to this blog as a safe place to see our struggles in written word and feel invigorated to keep fighting.

  2. Me, too — glad you wrote this! I haven’t had opportunity to post recently in response to the great and liberatingly enlightened articles of the bloggers responsible for this hub, so a thousand thank you’s for being here even when all of us don’t write back to tell you!

    It would probably make me want to run screaming into the streets to be following today’s pimp-erasure and dehumanizing of women marginalized by the “prostitution scandal” (USA secret service and all military branches) about men getting caught. I’m guessing there’s no analysis of how hard and degrading this “work” is to the women who are being cast off in the online homepage depictions as if they are lower life forms and not even worthy of comment as human. Perhaps this is why the “sex workers” prefer to be called workers instead of prostitutes. And now that it’s global news about so many men in high places (guarding the USA’s Pres., for ex.) commonly having access to prostitutes, can we next expect the “news” and their man-ipulators to seem outraged about prior news calling the women “prostitutes” instead of sex workers so that the harm to women (and girls) being raped by men for money is further minimized as if what the women are being subjected to is more like typing than like men raping women? Sometimes the “sex work” paid for by men against girl children snaps the pelvises of the little girls, I’ve read in reputable scholarly accounts. I cried in collective grief when I read that. But the little girls (usually trafficked/enslaved into the USA, or living and “working” in another country with a “sexual tourist trade,” and/or otherwise not being tracked in the USA states’ non-networked school systems as to student databases) are disposable to men who are evil enough to rape children and find it exciting.

    Mary Daly termed patriarchy the “sado-state.” And the sadism (or hypocrisy or self-serving denial, a milder form from the “better” men) wastes our lives in horrors and/or mind-numbing minutia required to survive in the predominant global cult-ure men have made. Ick. Is there another planet where we women can live? (Sad, but understandable, because of internalized misogyny and because men control the property ownership/taxation/zoning system, that the hippie-era wimmin’s land movement couldn’t survive as meaningful sanctuary for large numbers of women.) I don’t know how much more of this we can all sustain.

    So, because I have nothing else to keep trying, I’ll practice the metaphysics of divine Love’s supply, and meditating to get beneath the horrors men perpetrate, and coming here to read and know that I am not alone, not the only one who sees, not the only one compelled to be as free as possible and still survive as a woman on this earth.

  3. That is just one of the effects of neoliberalism, ”universalism”, I think Mary Daly coined that term. There’s no inequalities anymore in society because they’ve all ben fought and won already, so if the majority of ”sex workers” are women, it must be because… well, because women tend to choose that career more often because they enjoy being whores, or something, don’t you know. I’ve also noticed you can’t say anymore that women are battered or raped or objectified, you always get as a response ”not women, PEOPLE! because increasingly the media objectifies men and and men also get battered and raped and abused” so that’s the main system’s tactic nowadays to invisibilize women’s specific suffering for their oppression.

    There’s always time to address the oppression of some men, the oppression of poor people in general, the oppression of some races or ethnic groups, the oppression of homosexuals, and even of elders and sometimes children, but women? LOL, shut the fuck up and suck cock, bitches. That should give everyone an idea of the dimensions of the oppression women deal with. It’s just beyond the word ”oppression” and even ”slavery” itself, there are no words for it. In uni a group of so-called feminists in which I belong, we wanted to do a demonstration to raise consciousness for violence toward women and we were just allowed by the heads of the ”feminist” platform (a fun-fem and a DOOD!) to do demonstration against ”violence”. I asked why they wouldn’t allow us to focus on women and got the shittiest answer ever: ”because it discriminates men who are victims of violence! Violence hurts everyone, sista!”. Some of us refused to join.

    ”Sex work” = specific torture and holocaust against WOMEN. Empiric experience in the very bodies of the ”sex workers” during 6000 years proves it. End of story.

  4. Women get the disrespect of being called “baby makers” but accept those women over there (and children!) should be called “sex workers”. Both reduce women to their men-imposed fuck functions.

    What if I happen to think “baby maker” is a noble term for mothers and were to call them that even if they protested?

  5. “MILF” (from American Pie movie series naming sexxx-aaay moms) is so well-known a popular acronym from a male perspective. Instead, if all women “got” that men are always relegating women to their MIFF [“men-imposed fuck functions” to use Sam’s apt phrase, or the equivalent women-taking-care-of-men functions for those men like (most) siblings or (some) fathers not interested in PIV with us], we’d start to care so much less about men in general and so much more about womankind (and ourselves).

    Tonight I emailed a letter to the nuns recently, publicly and globally scolded by the pope, in solidarity with them as women although I can no longer fathom anything but an economic survival reason for a woman to be in a man-o-theistic religious order even if women are running it (when not being scolded). I urged then to secede! Break ties with the unholy see! The nuns (thankfully) aren’t fulfilling the pope’s agenda of promoting women primarily as baby makers, and the vatican doesn’t really give a good god damn about girls and women in prostitution because boys who can be pedophile-priest targets are of such greater import to the pontiff so aptly named (in reality): Ratzinger. LOL. It’s a cosmic giggle for us, isn’t it?

    When it comes to naming based upon predominantly male-imposed language, labels may belong on jars. Joe might want to become Josephine after body-mutilating surgery so he (I mean, she) can be a “sex worker” with a fake vagina, fake boobs and still working penis, but he/she will never be a potential “baby maker.” That distinction belongs to xx-chromosome woman-born women aka FAAB. What if Joe, oops, Josephine, thinks “woman” is a noble term for himself, I mean herself, and insists on my calling him, I mean her, a woman even if I find doing so demeaning to what I (and all other woman-born women) must suffer in the “baby maker” category from the pope on down the line of all man-born men (including, it would seem in this example, Joe, I mean Josephine)?

    Patriarchy’s circularity of unreasoning, and what we must do to unravel it, is as mind-boggling as its cruelty and hypocrisy.

    Analysis of what behavior is actually happening in a collective political reality — and who’s getting hurt by whom — always makes more sense to me than what men and male-dominant media wants to call it.

    Like calling a soldier a “troop” just because mass media has changed the naming game to remove the mass-mobilized plural sense of the word “troop.” It’s inane and insane because soldiers are overwhelmingly male and still use guns and blow things up with rape of girls and women as their spoils of military war, whatever you call them when they’re soldiering.

    Like calling a typical group including both sexes “hey, guys” does not change that there are women and men in the group or both girls and boys (and generally males doing most of the dominant talking, females doing most of the submissive smiling, cooing and ooh-eyeing). At least Katniss Everdeen is a different type of female from the media norm in The Hunger Games, as a young and courageous woman who cradles a younger (teen) woman (Rue) on screen with a loving lullaby, touching her physically and emotionally after one of the guys (literally a male) of the film inflicted a murderous wound. Whatever we call or label the movie (THG) as a whole, that moment is not a “hey, guys” moment of female erasure. Girls and women (myself included) watching the film were sobbing, as much for what we are not doing for one another as for what Katniss did for Rue to honor her being.

    However, most of the time men’s movie multi-plex offerings as well as their labels of language and their social behaviors have been configured 100% to erase us women as original beings. (If not smack, whack and destroy us more violently.)

    Men in charge by their collective behavior seem hell-bent on wanting also to destroy the world in quest of obscene power thrills and/or a patriarchal hereafter invented and existing only in their own deranged minds (and the minds of whatever supplicants have been programmed also to believe in the insanity of normality, the madness of patriarchy).

    Have I ranted enough for one 24 hours?

    Tomorrow I return to mundane reality inside patriarchy’s frame instead of this intellectual reality of the rad-fem hub. I’ll slip as much as possible into what Mary Daly called the “background” of elemental being, and seek energetic spiritual connection with the sisterhood. Thanks to all who write here for our collective sanity as radical feminist women.

  6. Paid rape is exactly what it is. These men pay prostitutes to rape them. If they weren’t paying the women I doubt to high heaven that they would let any random Tom Dick or Harry fuck them. Strippers too. Being naked is a private affair in our society. Stripping naked in front of strange, perverted men and getting dollar bills thrown at you is not empowering. Prostitution is NOT empowering. Saying that is as you said is the only way the women and girls stay sane throughout the acts. Pornography has gotten extremely violent in this day and age. What started as “sensual nudes” has become hardcore rape scenes. Also, “barely legal” porn has become more and more popular. It looks like child rape to me. Thanks for writing this article. Will this ever change?!

  7. But, but, but, saying nobody *wants* to do the fun fun fun Sex Work is saying women have no agency!!1!eleventy1!!! There’s a big difference between women who choose this and women who don’t…only nobody can really say what it is.

    Yeah, I visited Feministe again. Or was it Pandagon? .

  8. good lord. don’t put yourself through that! it’s a rabbit hole over there–thanks for your visit, Snark, and offering a bit of amusement on a gloomy sunday morning.

  9. I have to disagree with one thing–there is not now nor will there ever be enough “research” done—but it needs to be done by the right people (AKA Melissa Farley–Kathereine McKinnon–etc) without those kind of people doing the right kind of “research” the wrong people do the wrong kind of research–I am a survivor of 7+ years of prostitution and since having come out the other side of that hell it’s been a comfort to follow people like Dr Melissa Farley–I find comfort and validation that her “research” backs me up

  10. You’re right, Valarie, thank you for your comment. The so-called ‘research’ that gets funded, typically, is that which promotes the agenda of the dominating class, and maintains systems of inequality. Dr. Farley’s research challenges us to think and act in solidarity with the dominated. we must rise together.

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