Archive for January 14th, 2011

What’s the buzz?  Tell me what’s happening! –  Tim Rice, from Jesus Christ Superstar

Sleeping cuddled up next to a man with the flu can have only one probable outcome, so when my husband came back from his recent business trip with such a “bug” it was inevitable that I would catch it as well.  But his body and mine appear to have different strategies for dealing with such infections; he slowly gets sicker over a course of days, then suffers for a few days but can mostly still do sedentary work on his computer (albeit at shorter hours), then slowly recovers over a few more days.  My body, on the other hand, opts for the all-or-nothing approach; I was perfectly fine Tuesday afternoon, had chills and a minor cough Tuesday night, then woke up Wednesday morning at Death’s door.  I took some medicine, returned to bed directly after breakfast and slept/rested until 3 PM, at which time I briefly emerged from the blankets to post my column, fix dinner and then crawl back into bed until 10 PM, when I got up to have some tea and homemade fruitcake and watch a couple of episodes of South Park.  By 11:45 I was drugged up and back in bed again. Yesterday I felt much better and mostly played catch-up, though I did give a telephone interview to a television reporter from Dallas who is doing a story debunking the “Super Bowl as prostitution Mecca” myth; he said it will air Super Bowl week so as soon as he gives me the go-ahead I’ll let y’all know the time and channel (readers outside the Dallas area, including myself, will have to see it on their website).

Late last night I felt much better, and slept like a doped-up baby, but that meant I was left without a column for today.  So, I’ve decided to call my readers’ attention to some recent posts on other blogs which are deeply interconnected with some things I discussed on December 22nd and 27th.  The first appeared in Bound, Not Gagged on Christmas Day; the commentary after the article is definitely the most interesting part.  While that commentary thread was still growing, Amanda Brooks published this column on January 1st, the same day I published this one.  I swear it was completely coincidental; Amanda and I really aren’t in cahoots any more than any other two women of similar viewpoints might be.  Of course, Camille Paglia wrote “Women are in league with each other, a secret conspiracy of hearts and pheromones.”  But sometimes, the conspiracy is even secret from us.

When you read Amanda’s brilliant article, make sure you also read the commentary, and then you may want to go on to Furrygirl’s comments about it on January 6th and Kelly James’ on the 10th, then Douglas Fox in Harlot’s Parlour on the 11th.  It’s funny how all this seems to have started with what I considered a simple statement of fact in this blog post on BNG; mind you, I’m not claiming to have set this fire on purpose because I’m just not that fiendishly clever.  However, it does my subversive little heart good to think that the spark which set off this powder keg came from the shoe of my horse.  But no matter where it started, Amanda gave it a name:  what we’re hearing in all these interlocked posts is the voice of the invisible majority of sex workers.

The invisible majority I’m talking about are the lower to middle-class independent online providers all over the US.  They are the majority population of sex workers in the US (strippers would be the next most-populous category, I think).  Most do not live in San Francisco or NYC (because there is a lot more to the US than those two cities).  The slight majority are white (because the majority of the US population is white), but an almost equal number are non-Caucasian — the overall split is very nearly 50/50.  A higher percentage are mothers than in the movement.  Their politics span the gamut but they usually have very definite liberal views on sex work!

They’re generally an open-minded bunch: they have almost zero tolerance for racism, understand the discrimination gay people face and most are cautiously open to transgenders.  The most unfortunate thing about them is a widespread adherence to the sex work-hierarchy and their profound dislike of street workers.  This is something that a little education and mind-opening personal interaction could change.

One thing they do feel is excluded, and rightly so.  They are.  The Internet has allowed the invisible majority to connect and share ideas.  They’re reinventing the wheel by trying to start activist groups because (surprise!) they want the laws to change and they want a voice in that change.  There is energy.  There is also a sad lack of information and leadership skills because they’ve been excluded from the movement for so long.  They, like I used to, don’t see many in the movement they can identify with.

The ultra-PC concerns the movement spends so much energy on is foreign to the majority…So many people in the movement have internalized their stigmatization by mainstream society they lash out at anyone who appears to represent mainstream society.  Activists deliberately ignore the reality of the bell curve.  The movement forgets that sex workers do not live and work in a vacuum.  Sex workers are the girl next door.  They cannot live and work anywhere else.

I know exactly what Amanda means, and judging by the responses to her post I’m not remotely alone.  In the musical number linked at the top of this column Judas attacks Mary Magdalene (portrayed in this show as a prostitute) with the words “It’s not that I object to her profession/But she doesn’t fit in well with what you teach and say/It doesn’t help us if you’re inconsistent;/They only need a small excuse to put us all away.”  Those words could well be directed from the movement at the “invisible majority”; obviously they don’t “object to [our] profession” because they share it.  But because we don’t “fit in well with what [they] teach and say” they want us to shut up, sit down, do as we’re told and refrain from contributing in any meaningful way.

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