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.
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.