For many years, sex work was a solution. I could work and go to school. I could travel, live and work all over the world, participating in unpaid internships taken for granted as part of the undergraduate experience. As an undergraduate, I worked at two domestic violence shelters and as a rape crisis counselor. I went on to work in nonprofit development, grant-writing for a Somali women’s health organization in London, UK and, later, for a nonprofit that ran after-school programs for disadvantaged girls here in New York City, where I eventually made my home. In graduate school, I worked as a consultant for a high-profile feminist organization while also working as a research assistant in the Pediatrics Department of a public hospital. During this same time, I sold sex.
Sex work defines the people who do it like no other occupation. Associated with deviance, drug use, mental illness and disease, to be labelled a “prostitute” is to be cast as the lowest of the low. No matter the realities of our experiences, we are thought of as victims and as inherently damaged, either before or as a result of our profession. Sex workers are considered a danger to society, unfit for serious public service. Worst of all: once a sex worker, always a whore.
Eventually, for me, it proved to be too much. Despite all it had afforded me, sex work was a far from perfect occupation. The stigma associated with the profession only exacerbated the rigors of the work.
As I get older I’m realizing, more and more frequently, that George Carlin was wrong about a lot of things. A lot of things. But he was absolutely right about sex work. Selling is legal. Sex is legal. Why is selling sex not legal?
It doesn’t make you less of a person. It doesn’t change anything about you, other than your current employment situation. It’s filling the gap in a long-existing market, which is supposed to be exactly the sort of thing that capitalists and free-market advocates are all about. How do we live in a country that supports child labor before it shows support for a woman’s right to do what they damn well please with their own bodies?
Melissa Petro has two masters degrees, one of which is in Childhood Education, but she isn’t qualified to teach school children because she used to have sex more than some people? Or is it because she found a way to pay for her education that didn’t involve six-figure debt, thanks to a job without long hours. and didn’t interfere with the number of other projects she filled her life with?
“There was a slightly jarring moment when a fan asked the panel if there would ever be a female Doctor, and Steven [Moffat] pointed out it would be entirely possible, but then asked for a show of hands who would like to see that happen. This got about 50% of the audience raising their hands, but then he asked how many people would switch off the show if there was a female Doctor, and 20-30% of the fans put their hand up, to a certain amount of gasping from everyone else.”—
Anglophenia’s report from Sunday’s panel at the DW UK convention. Holy shit. (via nom-chompsky)
For the record, if you’re someone who feels that discrimination against people for their race, religion, gender identity, biological sex, or sexual orientation is wrong, you’re a feminist. If you believe that men and women should be equal, and that neither are more important to history or the future, you’re a feminist. If you find it absurd that men are still paid more for the same jobs, you’re a feminist. If you believe that women can do everything that men can do, like be professional boxers, mountain climbers, scientists, programmers, and doctors, you’re a feminist. If you’re tired of women fighting with other women and judging each other, you’re a feminist who is sick of internalized sexism. If you believe that a woman is made up of more than just boobs and vagina, you’re a feminist. If you are tired of people thinking you must be buying that video game as a gift, that you can’t possibly be a skilled gamer because you’re a woman, you’re a feminist. If you believe that rape is wrong, that blaming the victim of rape is wrong, and that no one can stop rape except the rapists, you’re a feminist. If you’re tired of being called a slut simply because you have sexual urges like everyone else, you’re a feminist. If you don’t believe that little boys should only play with Legos and little girls should play with Barbies, you’re a feminist.
I’m an atheist, an anti-theist really. Not only do I not believe a god exists, I have no belief in anything supernatural and I’m opposed to any and all belief systems that suggest supernatural influences are present in the natural world. I believe all such systems should…