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.

Sex Workers Can Be Artists Too

So, I’m a sex worker. I make amateur pornography and sell it on the internet. I’m also an artist, a housewife, and dabbler in random things I find interesting. I make art and sell it under my legal name, and some of the art is themed around sex work. Now I’m not actually really “out” in that I never sat down and said “Hello I’m a sex worker”, but I slip sex work into my biographies and wonder if anyone notices. One of those biographies is on my art store, where I sell that aforementioned art about sex work.

Today I discovered that a sex worker found this artwork and said they had a problem with civilians profiting from making art with sex work themes. It would have taken them two clicks to find my biography that said I was a sex worker on the store page, but they didn’t bother to look, instead they levelled their accusation at me in a space where I exist solely using my legal name. I responded to let them know that I am indeed a sex worker and hopefully that will be the last of it, though I am filled with fear that they will demand proof of my work therefore connecting my sex work name and my legal name.

Above and beyond this issue of outing, it bothered me that someone can see an artwork about sex work and assume a civilian did it, that there is no way a sex worker could be making and selling art. The sex workers I know are talented people with varied skills in a wide range of fields, and it would never occur to me to doubt one of them could be an artist, or a singer, or a writer, or any other “vanilla, civilian” identity.  It hurt for someone to assume that because I made art I couldn’t possibly also be a sex worker and having part of my identity erased felt invalidating.

It brings to mind the fact many of us will block people we believe are civilians, when ultimately we have no way of knowing if they are or aren’t. A friend of mine reminded me that her main tumblr was a “civilian” blog, and that her sex work blog was a side blog. She is not out on her main tumblr but follows many sex workers and knows when she “likes” posts it will show up from her “civilian” main blog. She knows this means some sex workers may decide she’s a civilian and block her, but she is not in a position to connect her legal name to her work.

This makes me wonder how many sex workers we’re excluding in our communities because they can’t risk coming out on their own blogs, in the view of their real-life friends. I feel terrible that scores of sex workers are unable to join our community because we’re inadvertently excluding them. We want to be safe, and they want to be safe, and in the process people are getting tossed out like the baby in the bath water.

Being a sex worker means that we are always weighing up the choices we make, especially on the internet. How much we reveal, how close we are to our legal names, talking about sex work using our legal names. Each decision we make may end up with us being outed against our will, and I’m sure most of us don’t expect to be outed by other sex workers… but that is nearly what happened to me today. A sex worker didn’t believe that I could be an artist and a sex worker, and it may lead to a connection being made between my two names. It is scary that a finger-pointing sex worker who assumed I was a civilian could possibly demand proof of my sex working identity. Hell, even writing this may lead people to my legal name. It is just one of the many risks I take as a sex worker.

The moral of my story is that sex workers can be artists (or whatever the fuck else we want to be), but also that sex workers can also be the thing we fear the most. Sex workers can invalidate other sex workers, they can out other sex workers, and they can exclude other sex workers from their spaces. Sex workers can also be fatphobic, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and generally shitty people. An awful lesson to learn, but learn I have… for better or worse.