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.

Neutrality is Ignorance giving itself a pat on the back

I grew up in a very rural location on large farms in outback Australia. My parents are under-educated, poor, and completely ignorant of current events. Both of them lack the critical thinking it takes to examine the media that is presented to them, often taking things at face value and being misled. This was passed onto me as a child and I grew up isolated and ignorant, in more ways than just my ignorance of current events. I believed in Santa Claus much longer than other children and didn’t know what puberty or periods were until I was almost upon it, and this perceived immaturity led to much embarrassment at school when exposed to my worldlier peers.

My schooling itself wasn’t brilliant, and classrooms and teachers were shared between at least 2 or 3 different grades at once. Teachers were stretched thin trying to teach grades 4, 5, and 6 all at once in the same room, and I confess I feel I didn’t learn much of anything. I didn’t even have sex education until I was in high school. We moved a lot, I changed schools a lot, and there were huge gaps in my education.

My ignorance spanned until I was in my early 20’s, long after I could blame it on a pisspoor rural education. I had no idea about current events, politics, social justice. I was ignorant, and made ignorant choices when faced with government elections. I didn’t know what I was doing and educating myself seemed like a huge insurmountable task.

oppression

I can’t remember when or why I started to be more socially conscious, but somewhere along the line I started to pick up current events, and slowly but surely I began to get educated. The more educated I got, the more interested I was in learning more. I was ashamed of being ignorant in the past, and I didn’t want to remain that way. I started to fight back against social injustices I faced, and started to speak out against the social injustices others faced. It wasn’t good enough anymore for me to be ignorant, and I wanted to do my bit to spread education to the people around me by hitting that share button and by speaking up in a gathering.

I used to smoke, so I’d spend a portion of my day outside on the verandah smoking, and listening to the banter of my family inside. One day I overheard my husband and housemate talking about a game they had been playing, and one of them began to say the word “prostitute” and without a pause they stopped and corrected themselves with “sex worker”. Not long before that my husband came home from work in a bad mood because one of his workmates had tried to show him a meme image of a fat person wearing leggings. My husband had asked what was so funny about it, to the confusion of his workmate, and they had a brief discussion where my husband let his colleague know that he wouldn’t entertain fat hating rhetoric or jokes in his presence.

It was these two incidences that made me realise that by talking, and sharing, and having these conversations, it was wriggling its way into the minds of the people around me. I felt sometimes like talking about these things alienated me, but I realised that just because people weren’t “liking” or commenting on my posts didn’t mean they weren’t reading and learning and changing.

My father and I are now mostly estranged, but my mother lives with us. She is still ignorant, and declares she doesn’t want to know anything about current affairs or social injustice. She says she doesn’t need that negativity in her life. My mum has had a hard life, and my father abused her mightily, and I can understand why she puts up these walls to protect herself, but also I can’t help but feel disappointed in her unwillingness to remove her blinkers.

I am only one person, but I refuse to turn my back. I refuse to avert my eyes. I refuse to put my head in the sand. It can be uncomfortable, it can be confronting, but I have to turn and look at social injustice in the eye, because for many people in this world they do not have the luxury to turn away. So I look, and I learn, and I encourage the people around me to turn their faces towards the injustice, and I encourage them to use their privilege to boost the voices of others.

Man, we just have to do this. What good is our privilege and loud voices if we don’t use them to make change and do some fucking good in this world? We cannot choose silence.