An overwrought, incoherent mini-tribute to my favorite periodical and worthy cause, $pread magazine
Do you know what it's like to go to the newsstand and see business magazines like inc. and then for a second get excited because you see a magazines for WOMEN-run businesses. But it's called something like "PINC." and you buy it even though you know absolutely nothing inside will have anything to do with the one industry that women should dominate. The sex industry (the pinkest industry). Not. One. Word. Of recognition. It's like trying to plan your own funeral in a society that doesn't have a word for death or acknowledge that everyone dies in the end. That's how crazy it seems to refuse to acknowledge the business of sex in general discussions about business, particularly businesses run by women. That's how fucking backwards and NOT progressive we are (but I'm sure most straight business-women think that IS progress, to not associate women in business with the possibility of anything remotely sexual except for harassment and victimization). The new ambitious woman is required not to be in charge of her body or to enjoy it in her off time or to use it to get ahead, but to project a consistently professional asexual image, don't you know? God forbid word leaks out that she even HAS a body underneath those clothes
! No, the working woman can only advance in status by keeping her tits and pussy discretely locked away in a witness protection program; showing off our assets only serves to make them a liability. If we show them to anyone on purpose it might make it harder for us to use them to prosecute some guy later who took an uncivilized interest in them.
The world thinks that starting an ebay business selling crocheted kleenex box holders is a better, more legitimate career* for a woman than turning tricks or being a webwhore. This is unbelievably STUPID to me and it's why women who do sex work are pretty motherfucking socially isolated. Because we're not just doing a job that's hard to talk about with other people, like being a paramedic or a soldier or a nurse who attends to the dead and dying and ends and saves lives; those people are considered heroic even if no one wants to hear the truth of their jobs. Those people usually work in teams, teams that don't have to compete against each other for pay; they can talk to EACH OTHER about their work. I'm not denying that there's competition in those fields for promotions (which do equal more money) and status and I'm certainly not denying that those jobs are hard (on the contrary) nor am I trying to say that sex work is harder than those jobs; what I'm trying to say is that doing sex work can be very isolating. Not only are we discouraged by polite society from talking about our work (and even laws against talking about it in some cases), but our work itself is often against the law. Very few sex workers can talk to their family, romantic interests, or non-whore friends about our tough days at the office, and developing a sense of camaraderie with colleagues is often challenging. There's no human relations department where we can file grievances. I'm not saying these circumstances exist for all of us or are necessarily unbearable or even undesirable for a lot of us, I'm just saying that it *can* be pretty fucking lonely in ways that are fairly unique. I am really lucky that I am a hermit to begin with, my partner does the same kind of work I do, and I'm out with my family and can be fairly open with them. Plus, my brand of sex work is really safe, no-(physical)-contact stuff. Still? There are times when I realize that my friends and family have no fucking clue who I am, what I do, or what's important to me . . . and don't WANT to. There are some things that I can only talk about with other people who do the work I do. I'm sure it's the same for lawyers, priests and teachers but they HAVE networks and coffee rooms and church and professional associations. Me? I am still stunned by finding out that my sister (who I'm very close to) assumed I would want my sites taken down if/when I die. Apparently my story is something she thinks I would want erased rather than shared and preserved in all of its grotesquely intimate nakedness.
So is it weird that seeing $pread for sale at a bookstore made my heart skip a beat and a pain dive down through my innards as though I'd just unexpectedly caught sight of someone I have a big crush on? I don't know if I can explain where that intense feeling of recognition comes from and the sense of being on the verge of something life-altering, like standing in a crowd and having a beam of sunlight shine specifically down on just you, singling you out as deserving of solace and renewal. While everyone else just mills around the bookstore, you are aware of being part of a group of people witnessing and breaking through thousands and thousands of years of foul, soul-staining, isolating, life-killing bullshit.
I think it's the sensation of battle (not war) victory upon seeing a visible representation of a long line of stigmatized women's voices finally coming to be recognized and legitimized, our h
erstories written by ourselves and our concerns and specific business needs addressed. Uncensored, not twisted or misappropriated or degradingly pitied by academia and looky-loos and feminism-hoarders. Not perfect, not artsifucked, but really fucking important. Our stories. VALUED in print and for sale in public.*Note: I mean no offense to crafty crocheters of kleenex box holders; I myself would love to know how to crochet. Plus I would never disrespect someone for honoring tissue boxes since I myself have a major kleenex fetish. I'm just reasonably sure that whoring is a more viable business than hand-crafting tissue cozies.**Confession: I delayed posting this entry because I let my $pread subscription lapse and felt like it would make me a liar to post this without my money backing it up. Then I realized that's silly since I will resubscribe and order the back-issues I missed. And who would know this if I didn't tell them? Why am I so uptight and guilt-riddled? I also need to finish my site redesign and include more links to things and people I care about.
Labels: feminism, gender issues, media, money, PHOTOS, rants, sex work, sociopolitical commentary, things I treasure, values