So. Someone who I follow on facebook, linked to this – a post by one Lucy Blake about sex industry forums.
For a while, I was – ahh – active on certain blogs. Now at this point, permit me to say I’m kinda over it. I’m 45 – certifiably middle aged. Retired from the scene. I don’t know Ms Blake, have never met or booked her. But she and I are on opposite sides of a certain divide. A political one, for want of a better word.
From my side of the divide, Lucy Blake’s post in relation to punter blogs is notable in a few respects.
Firstly, the sense of entitlement. How dare these men, the “punters”, have forums! How dare they decide who does and does not post! Why: try being a worker on these forums these days! Perhaps. But try opening a mens-only health club these days, or a mens-only anything at all. Women seem to feel they have an automatic right to colonise male space – the very existence of it seems to affront them. Happily, the web is charmingly politically incorrect in this regard. Zionist or Nazi, Black Panther or KKK, punter or WL: anyone can set up a site and manage it as they see fit.
But what of the content? What dreadful discussions take place, that Ms Lucy is so excised about?
- if we may or may not charge extras (and no we may not)
- how much we may charge and if we have the right to charge is debated
- threads are begun re: under what circumstances we must give refunds to clients just to make sure a bad review is pushed home to us and we feel the necessary pain if a review deemed us unworthy and our attempt to make it up to the client fell short in their opinion.
- the color of our bagina’s is described in great detail in reviews, but people forget our height, the color of our eyes and our names
- there are threads on how much do sex workers earn and do we have the right to earn that much considering there is no Uni Degree in hooking. Why pay someone more than $18 an hour if they don’t have a degree logic?
Awww! You’d be forgiven for missing that the WLs actually charge money for sex, that it is – in fact – a business. (Having said that: blackmail is a bad thing, and I agree that threatening a WL with a bad review in an attempt to get free extras is wrong – probably even illegal, strictly speaking. Extortion, you know.). Service providers complaining that their clients discuss money and rate: the hypocrisy leaves me speechless.
Are clients really not to discuss amongst themselves the services they pay for, and the providers that provide them? If a girl decides to charge a reasonable rate, is it wrong for the clients/punters/whatever to decide to go to her, rather than to someone more expensive? I’m sure that might be news to the few girls that do provide a fair service at a fair price, and pride themselves on doing so.
- there are threads on how to get laid for free on adult dating sites on a site sex workers are paying to advertise on
The faux outrage! So many kinds of wrong, it is hard to keep track. Whinging about men trying to get laid for free on a dating site, and not a wisp of recognition that if a site is a dating site, then using it to hook clients for commercial sex is at least as morally wrong. (See Deuce Bigalow for a very fine explanation).
[ed: I misread this – yeah, that’s kinda in bad taste. Like talking up Holdens on a we love Fords site.]
[ed ed: But then again, if the outrage is “OMG, there people that take my money to advertise are turning around and undermining my business!”, you know what to do: stop giving them your money. Ms Blake’s concern is a little misplaced, anyway: men who are happy to pay for sex do not have the time or inclination to dip their toes into “Plenty of Fat”, or the others. Prostitutes provide something that is difficult to get elsewhere.]
Speaking of which:
I am constantly stunned how men on forums are so outraged that their rights blah blah blah are being impinged upon.
Jesus. There’s none so blind as they who will not see. Ms Blake’s post is one long rant on the moral rights and wrongs of how men conduct themselves by – you know – talking with one another online and how it impinges her rights.
Sigh. What else do we have? More of the same, I’m sure, but I’ll look though it:
our PMs and posts are taken across forums without our permission, twisted and used against us. If we try and defend ourselves or another worker, we have a new areshole kindly kicked open for us.
Shock horror! People quote your words back at you! Is nothing sacred? Although fair enough: PMs are a bit of a gray area. Almost as bad as a girl repeating apres-sex pillow talk to another girl (*cough* Tess Ryan *cough*. Why yes, I am still dirty over it.)
Most forums ONLY have male Mods who are not sex workers and if there are female Mods, they are treated as tokenistic at best.
Basically we are contained, we are denied access to information, sex workers have no space to organize within hidden forums like punters do, and we have no authority or decision making ability.
If you want to rip any community apart, if you want to disempower what do you do?
You form a cool group or ruling class and give them all the perceived and real power. Conditioning from the time we are born tells us we want to be a part of the cool group or ruling class – aka hidden punter only forums
A) Bawww! Mum! The boys won’t let me in the clubhouse! I been silenced! I been contained! I got no authoritah!
A.1) It isn’t my fault I’m petty! I’m not responsible for my own attitudes – I been conditioned! Conditioned like a lab rat – a lab rat I say! – to want to be cool!
A.2) And incidentally, when the men do anything it’s automatically a “ruling class”. Because they are men. (Thanks for the backhanded compliment. Or is it simply that Ms Blake feels that anything women do is automatically shit?)
B) Yeeees – I’m sure it’s only fair that if men get together to discuss WLs, then WLs must be allowed to monitor and censor their conversations. Yes, censor is the correct word to use. Ms Blake wants girls to be mods – not simply to be able to read posts, but able to close and delete them. That’s what being a mod, as opposed to a regular user, is about. Her complaint is precisely that she is “slienced” by not having the power to silence others. There’s a lot of that kind of thinking on the web and elsewhere.
(Oh Encyclopaedia Dramatica! How I miss you! Only you would dare say “Jews” at this juncture, although here in Oz we have other prejudices. How I miss your opinions on Aboriginals, and pretty much everything else.)
Again, the hypocrisy. And the stupid. How stupid? “sex workers have no space to organize within hidden forums like punters do” Well: start your own bloody website, then, Ms Incapable, Ms “I been silenced unless the big, strong men-folk make space for me on their forums, and let me mod their threads”. You need a) a domain name, b) an internet connection, c) a ‘puter, and d) some free software.
Or just compare and discuss clients in the back room. Like you always have done. Are you seriously suggesting that there isn’t an “ugly mug” list? Of course there is! And fair enough! I can’t recall ever a client saying that it was unfair that you have your own space. I cant ever recall a client suggesting that WLs having private conversations meant that they were disempowered, or contained, or denied access to information.
ed: Speaking of which – “sex workers have no space to organize within hidden forums like punters do” is just an outright falsehood. FIA, for one, did have a WL-only forum. It’s that straightforward – they bloody did. There’s yer space to organise: as if you actually needed one on these punter-centric discussion sites. The only difference is that “The Shed” was hidden and invite-only. Why was that? Because if it weren’t, people like Ms Blake would have started up a never-ending whinge and bitchfest about its very existence. As you see here. How did they know that? Well, a lot of the guys were married.
Of course, some of the guys wanted to see what was going on in the girls room, too. They were never taken seriously – guys can respect other people’s space (and you just already know Ms Blake’s response to that, don’t you? “But, but that’s different!” – “But Mrs Mortiboy, you drank and cheated on your husband, too” “But that was different!”)
Organise, come together – join NAUWU, join Scarlet Alliance, join Vixen, join SIN, join whoever or whatever your local sex worker org is
God, do I even need to spell it out? WLs have had forums for years and years. Before there was an online world, even, they had their journals. Am I to believe that al these organisations don’t have web forums of their own? Am I to imagine that security on them is not far tighter than the punter’s forums ever were? Some guys exchange experiences on a website and suddenly the world is ending.
Accept punters are NOT your friends they are your client base and it is only going to lead to tears treating them as your friends. It’s unfair on both the sex worker and the punter to maintain the illusion of bestie bestie friends friendship.
True. I like to use the hairdresser analogy. Why do women pay hundreds of bucks for a hair job? It’s not to get differently-shaped hair at the end of it. It’s to be fussed over, to feel good for a little while. They pay for their hairdresser’s time and attention. That’s what a WL sells – she doesn’t “sell her body”. Her time and attention. A counselor or pastor sells the same. Now, you can chat to your hairdresser and be on good terms, but at the end of the day she sees you because you are paying her. Sorry guys. She probably would not be hanging out with you otherwise. And you would not be seeing her except that you can get sex without all those pesky other things that women usually require: you know – a relationship of some description.
As a parting shot:
YOU DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXIST AND YOU DO HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO DICTATE THE TERMS OF YOUR SERVICE AND HOW OTHERS SHOULD TREAT YOU!
Christ! Someone posting on a blog is actually infringing your “right to exist”? For fuck’s sake, get over yourself.
And God, you are claiming that your clients – your clients – don’t want you to exist? Go speak to someone who has studied – for instance – law, and learn the difference between an adversarial negotiation and a hostile one. They are not the same thing.
Now as to “dictating the terms of your service”: yes. Absolutely. Not a hint of disagreement from here. This is the essence of consensual commercial sex. But remember: consent in meaningless if it is not mutual. Do a role-reversal on that sentence. That’s all that the punters are tying to achieve.