One of the things I love about Blogland is the support and community it creates. When Tom wrote me in support the Little Witch doing a Carnival On Feminism, my first response was that I would try and think of something but that in general, I just piss feminists off. He replied that Lina had "...asked a very interesting question whether sex workers help or set back feminism..."
The reason I generally piss off feminists isn't only because I'm a sex worker who's proud to stand and say what's she's done. It's because they don't usally appreciate my flavor of Feminism and my viewpoint on the prevailing form of Feminism. Because it's like talking about Religion and Politics and Abortion, I generally shy away from the conversation as I get tired of the lightening that comes my way. But, oh well...I'm stepping out these days so will again here.*
Does escorting help or set back Feminism? I don't think it does either. Or maybe it does both, depending on the situation. I guess I'm kind of frustrated and sad that the question needs to be asked because I'm frustrated and sad about Feminism in general. And on so, So, SO many levels I don't really care about the discussion any more as I did enough of it years ago. I'm over talking about it because I decided instead to quietly do.
Wow...until about fifteen years ago, I would never in a gazzillion years have thought those words would ever come out of my mouth. I was a radical, Patriarchy Hating Feminist for more years of my life than not. I blamed men for their evil plan when they created The Patriarchy and its ultimate cause for every ill on the planet. Even jello was part of the sinister master plan (joke). I had a vision of communities where only women and children lived. For sex, we would bus in a load of men from time to time...then they would go away, leaving the rest of us to live in harmony and peace. I knew that anyone who didn't understand the One True dynamics of the world was either blind, ignorant, foolish or puppets...or some other awful thing. I was so vocal and militant about it, many people noticed. I was labelled a Man Hater by more than one observer. The Silent Male of a few months ago and I would have had a great time talking...er...shouting at each other, smile.
But I went through a huge transformation in my personality and outlook on life. It led me from being a Man Hater to a Whore who decided to participate with men in our healing. Part of that journey was looking at myself and my feminist ways and how destructive they were to me and, in my opinion, all of us.
I got tired of seeing myself as a Victim.
I learned that I cannot become empowered by tenaciously clinging to my Victimhood. Every time I speak about how I have been "wronged" as a woman, I am declaring and reinforcing my victimhood. Singing the I AM A VICTIM song over and over and over until it's embedded in every brain synapse does not lead to a strong vision of the self. It might give the outer illusion of strength, as anger and loud bitching often can. But the loudest shouter is not the person of power. They have to shout so they look powerful to cover up the fact that they don't believe they have any at all.
How in the hell does a VICTIM be truly powerful? A very different "battle" ensues when it originates from a place of standing in my power rather than screaming for the world to change itself so that my Victim can feel safe.
I don't know what the lingo of today's feminist is. When I was mucking around in that world, one of the battle cries was a yearning to revisit the definition of "power" from that of "power over" to "power within." When a battle is fought by a Victim, they fight in a way to regain "power over." When a truly powerful woman stands in her own light and follows her Path, she beams a power from within. It's that power that will ultimately win the day because it's centered and balanced and knows itself. It doesn't create more enemies, blaming everything around it for its situation. It builds bridges to find a common way to resolution. This Power just quietly goes about its business, following where its led to impact the immediate world around it. It knows that change starts right here. It decides to let Victims scream the big, loud, song and knows that nothing much gets done on that level because Victim operates in a way that separates.
Women don't exist to support Feminism. Feminism exists to support women. When women remain Victims, they need to have others around to support their feelings of "rightness." If someone disagrees with their "club" they become "the enemy" and lose that club's support. Lines are drawn, the battle ensues, with Victim demeaning Other to make it's point (dirty battle tactics of someone with no internal sense of power). All the while the one who thinks differently just asks for the right to exist as they choose. Victim requires that everyone have its point of view. It needs the support of the club to survive. The club is the only place it can find strength because it has none itself.
If a woman, say like a Whore, challenges that viewpoint they come under the crossfire. Victim clings tenaciously to the rightness of its position and need to crush, ostracize the 'other,' to maintain that position. I keep wondering how feminism supports women when it takes this tactic. I certainly don't see that it does. What I get is the message that we all have to conform to the standard MO or we are attacked more fervently than "the Patriarchy." I thought this was the antitheis of what Feminism is supposed to stand for. I understand the dynamic and need for that within the Vicim mindset (must squash those close dissenters to solidify our position) but refuse to support the machine that creates it.
When feminists finally and fully embrace their power from within, they won't have anything to say to women who choose to be sex-workers. They won't care because they will feel so strong internally that they won't feel threatened by women who make a choice different than the ones they make.
I understand it's easy to have the Victim's mindset. There's lots out there that isn't pretty. But to be truly effective, I found that I needed to make the choice to change my perspective and see differently. This Whore's message to Feminists is to please let Victim Go. Or don't...your choice and I will support you in that choice. If you find seeing yourself as a Victim as productive or that it makes you happy, go for it with my full blessings. But if you want to find peace within yourself, quit requiring that I look at myself as one because I won't go there with you. If you keep focusing on me, I'm only going to piss you off...and what's the point of that? Life's too damn short and precious to spend so much of it being pissed.
I see you as my Sister. I wish you could see me as yours and treat me like one.
So back to the original question: Does Escorting help or set back feminism? Just for fun, let's say both.
Sex Work does set back Feminism in that it gives some Angry Feminists the opportunity to judge other women, divide women and sing the Victim song a little louder in yet, another area. And since in Victim mode we need to have someone to blame, let's just point out that this isn't the "fault" of escorts, but rather the Feminst's choice to separate and judge their sisters.
Sex Work doesn't set back Feminism in that it has no impact on any individual or movement unless unless the individual or movement decides to let it do that to them. Much as I wish I could wave my magic wand, I can't control your feeling like a victim.
Sex workers are Feminists in that we're women standing for our choices no matter how anyone else around us says we should be acting or conducting our lives. We refuse to listen to the Religious Right, to judgemental people in the Harper Valley PTA, arrogant people who decide they know what's best for us because of how "sick" we must be, and Angry Feminists. That would be my brand of Feminism- the one that I live and that remains my commitment today. ________
Important Post Script
As this is the internet and I have no idea who will be reading this, thus which buttons will get pushed creating a person unable to hear what I'm saying, I want to state very clearly that I abhor the idea of prostitution anywhere. My definition of prostitution is where anyone does anything they don't want to do just for the money, whether it's selling their body, a vacuum cleaner, or their time sitting at a computer terminal..and obviously Trafficking Women is in a different league than selling a vacuum, OK? These are not feminist issues... they are societal issues, humanist issues. They are neither the same thing nor the same discussion of a woman or man who chooses to become a sex-worker and that decision's impact on feminism. OK?