Radical Feminists can suck my strap-on, and pay for the privilege of it.

I’ve been a feminist for a while now. My values have changed a lot as I seek to be more inclusive in my activism, but generally “feminist” was a word that covered the majority of things I felt my politics were about. Feminism was important to me in my journey through life and as an activist. Then I started doing sex work.

Unfortunately, lots of radical feminists have opinions I don’t agree with. Many of these disagreeable opinions revolve around a white feminist ideal, that brown people in “third world” countries are making bad decisions, and it’s up to them, the white feminist saviour, to come to their rescue, that sex work is violence and should be banned. Uh, ew? So basically I think Muslim women can wear whatever the fuck they want, also its for activists in Africa to fight against FGM not white saviours, and also trans women are women. Oh, and also sex work is real work and should be totally decriminalised. These points of view make me unwilling to share my space with white thin radical feminists.

See, some of my feminist sex worker friends have been ejected from feminist groups and collectives because of what they for a living. I have found myself increasingly wary in feminist groups or around other feminists because there is a chance they will find my work deplorable or disgusting. You’re kicking us out of spaces we have a right to exist in, and you refuse to listen to our experiences. I’m sick of being silenced and denied access to spaces because of what we choose to do for a living.

Last week my article “Doing Porn Helped Me Love My Fat Body” went live on Offbeat Home & Life. It was an overwhelmingly positive experience, and I felt supported by the Offbeat Empire team as they prepared it for publishing. While the commentary on my post was mostly positive, one comment thread on Facebook really irked me. It was questioned what I meant by “porn”, because pornography is a “loaded” (teehee) term that may alienate some people. It was implied that certain types of porn are more acceptable than others, such as “feminist, ladylike” porn, softcore erotica, etc, and if –that– was what I meant then I shouldn’t use the term “porn” because… sensibilities of readership, I guess? I had to state, quite frankly, that I put things in my vagina on film for money, and that I mean porn porn, not classy ladylike erotica.

It pisses me off, you know? It really fucking gets my goat that as feminists we’re still saying what is or isn’t okay for women to enjoy or participate in. There was a pearl-clutching comment about “bad porn” that includes “100 guy cream pies”, and look honestly if the pay is good and there are snacks available on set are good I am here to film that 100 guy cream pie, with no shame or loss of dignity whatsoever, and I will enjoy counting my money on the way to the bank. It is my right as a woman to decide what I am okay with doing, what things I enjoy, and what I want to do for work. It is not up to SWERFs to point fingers at me and tell me I am being a bad woman, a bad feminist, because I’m a sex worker.

classycunt
“Only classy ladylike cunts allowed in feminism” – RadFems, probably

It shits me that as adults we’re shamed for making money doing porn, or as full service escorts, or by not having sex at all with anyone at any time, or by wearing items of clothing that are important to us, or making choices about our own bodies. We’re adults, and we don’t need pearl-clutching white feminists wagging their fingers at us because we’re not doing things they approve of, things that are more becoming of women. Brown women do not need white RadFems whitesplaining shit to them. This is no fucking better than the society we left behind, for fuck’s sake.

I’m sick of SWERFs, TERFs, and other genres of RadFems. I’m sick of them mansplaining shit to us, of letting their toxic ideologies infiltrate in watered-down versions into general feminist ideals. I’m sick of the RadFems of old who are now just irrelevant, offensive dinosaurs vomiting their ignorance across the media (you know exactly who I mean, I’m sure). There is no space for intolerance, ignorance, or policing of how others live their lives in our feminist movement, and indeed I think their rhetoric is unfeminist.

I’m taking back my feminism, continuing to stick things in my vagina for money, and generally being a crass unladylike example of politics. Just the way I like it.

The deaths of mentally ill people are never a blessing

I first started showing signs of mental illness in my mid-teens, and by the time I was 19 I had been hospitalised twice. It was a low time in my life, punctuated by horrible interpersonal relationships and a shitty living situation. I was a shitty person to the people around me (and myself), and when I went into hospital the second time there was a lot of popular opinion that I was beyond help and deserved the suffering I was experiencing, and that ultimately I deserved to die.

I cannot explain to you how it felt to lash outwards, then curl inwards and look into the depths of my pain and feel like a burden. I felt like I inconvenienced the people around me with my illness. It was too loud, too intense, too much. I felt ill equipped to deal with life, and I leaned heavily on my loved ones. I was so overwhelmingly ashamed and embarrassed of myself, and I felt like life would be so much easier for everyone if I simply was not alive any more.

A decade has crawled, leaped, and wriggled by and now I am a happily married woman with many successes to my name. My mental illness is ever present but under control, and I have learned that even though I am mentally ill I am still deserving of love, support, and respect.

xo
xoJane probs shouldn’t have published this tbh

On May 20 xoJane ran an essay by Amanda Lauren entitled “My Former Friend’s Death Was a Blessing”. Wow, right? The gist of the piece is that this woman, Leah, tried to hook up with Lauren’s crush, but other than that didn’t have any boyfriends, and lived in an untidy house. All crimes worthy of capital punishment, I’m sure.

This article later had the by-line changed to Anonymous, before finally being pulled and replaced with an apology by xoJane, though the original article was captured by web.archive.org if you’ve got the spoons to go looking for it.

The story continues as Lauren begins stalking her ex-friend Leah, a mental illness sufferer, on Facebook because she was morbidly curious about the fact that Leah was a sex worker. She goes on to say that she has nothing against sex work (yeah, I bet), but that Leah simply couldn’t consent to performing sex work because of her mental illness. I’m sure Lauren is totally able to make those claims because she was stalking her on Facebook and was therefore an authority on Leah’s life. This is news to all of us mentally ill people who are doing sex work to support ourselves, and I’m sure in future we will all be sure to ask Lauren’s permission before continuing to be sex workers.

The story comes to an end with Leah drowning in a bathtub, and Lauren’s commentary on how it was a blessing because “(s)he would have either been institutionalized or a major burden on her family”. Lauren goes on to say in another interview with Daily Dot that “Do you know the laws in America? You can’t just put away mentally ill people even if they need help. My goal in writing that essay was to bring light to the plight of the mentally ill.” It is worth noting that this piece says an awful lot more about Lauren’s failings as a decent human being than it does about Leah’s, a fact that obviously passed Lauren by as she penned it.

I know that reading these words affected me greatly, causing much reflection on how it felt to believe I was a burden on my loved ones, and I cannot imagine how her words would have affected people who currently experience these types of intrusive thoughts. Mentally ill people, you need to know that you don’t deserve to be “put away”, you are not a burden on the people around you, and you have inherent worth as a human being in this world.

Reading her piece, and the subsequent Daily Dot interview, it was more apparent than ever that mentally ill people do not need neurotypical and ableist commentary on our lives. We need the freedom to tell our own stories, without condescending, dangerous, and insulting commentary of the type that Lauren dishes out. We deserve respect, and the ability to have our voices shared and heard, especially on so-called feminist sites like xoJane.

If you’re mentally ill, please let me assure you one last time that you are a worthy person in this world, and your life is a blessing to the loved ones around you. People like Lauren exist, but their light in this world are far diminished by the radiance you exude. You have value, and potential, and worth. Don’t forget. I love you!